Friday, July 29, 2011

Still...

I decided to do something new this morning. I've linked up with The Gypsy Mama for a Five Minute Friday. Today they're writing on the word "still" for 5 unedited minutes. (I have to be honest... I took out some punctuation... it's not easy to deny myself criticism!)

Still…

I still want to sleep more

I still want to clean out the closets upstairs

I still need to do the dishes

I still have laundry waiting for me

I still need to shower

I still have a lot of things on my to do list for the day

Good thing it’s just beginning

I’ve chosen well

I’ve taken time to be still before my God

My husband is still sleeping

My children are still on vacation at my mom’s

I have the opportunity to just be still

It’s a place I need to be more often

Still in thought

Still in quiet

Still in peace

Still in His presence

The source of all my desires

The giver of my every need

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm)

It’s the verse that brings my life into focus

Taking time to listen

It’s hard

It always feels like there is something to rush off to

Somewhere to be

Something on my checklist to complete

“Still” is hard to accomplish

This week my husband and I have been on a “staycation”. Money kept us from shelling out for a hotel and going away. Since we live in the great Chicagoland area, however, there is plenty to do. We both said it yesterday, it’s hard to relax. We feel like we need to be ready to rush to the next activity, get back for the kids or whatever other activity is on our calendar.

This time has been a gift and I need it more often. Moments of stillness draw us closer to God and closer to each other. In this busy world, I just need a little more time to be still.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Like and Unlike Mom



As I watch my girls interact each day, I can't help but see my flaws reflecting back on me. I listen to my youngest yell at the top of her lungs demanding that her voice be heard and it makes me want to change. My 5-year-old loses all rationality when she gets tired and it leads me to wonder if she will fight this struggle in adulthood as well. As I witness my oldest losing patience with her youngers sisters, I can't help but think my example is being followed. It is easy to see the negative behaviors I have passed down to my girls. My fear is that they will only remember these into their adulthood.

In the same way, I've always been quick to blame my parents for the negative characteristics I display. I like to have control and often strive too much for perfection like my father. The way I keep house (or lack thereof) I learned from my mother (sorry mom). In my head, I am always able to excuse away my behavior as my parents' problems.

Today's Hearts at Home blog hop question "How are you like your mom? How are you different?" leaves me struggling. It is so easy to criticize parent/child similarities. I don't want this post to end up being a list of everything I wish I could change about myself had have that reflect on my mom. The truth is that the list of things I love about my mom is much longer than anything I'd criticize. I hope that holds true of what my girls will say about me in the future as well.

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of one way I am like my mom is our passion for truth. It's not so much that we don't tolerate lies (although that is part of it) so much as we desire that our lives are lived according to God's Word. When advice is offered for our lives, the question must be asked: "What does God have to say about it?" Truth is our foundation. It is one thing I feel confident I am doing right and I'm grateful my mom passed that on to me.

One way I am not like my mom is in her love for children. Lock her up with a bunch of babies or a group of toddlers and she will be all smiles (although she may still need some Excedrin). Lock me up in a nursery and I feel like I'm missing out. I'll do it, but I'd much rather have the adult conversation. There is nothing my mom enjoys more than being with her grandchildren. I pray that God helps me be fully present with my children as they grow and I know it will take some major changes in my heart to become the kind of "Grams" my mom is. (However, it may simply be enough for me to remember the benefit my mom plays in raising my young children in order to do the same for my adult kids.)

Next time I wonder if all my girls will remember about me are my negative characteristics, all I need to do is think about what I remember about my parents. The positive always outweighs the negative. It's all about what we choose to remember. It wasn't until I became a parent myself that I realized they were simply trying to do their best. It's my choice if I hold onto the negative or the positive. I'm thankful that while I didn't have perfect parents, I had the best ones for raising me. I hope my girls will believe the same.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The fear of cancer and my faithful friend




I feared the word “cancer” again. Our almost-12-year-old dog has been behaving strangely for some time. Over the past few weeks, she has begun to destroy our house. Her breathing has become labored. Yesterday, the final ailment prompted us to the veterinary office. Her back legs were giving out as she struggled to get up, walk, utilize the stairs, or just simply squat.

“Pup” was appropriately named to match her energy and enthusiasm for life. Our aging dog has always had the vibrancy of a puppy. As I wrapped my arms around her body to hoist her in and out of the van yesterday, I struggled to keep control of my emotions.

My three little girls just said goodbye to two carnival fish that same morning. Could it be that our loyal family pet would soon be a memory as well? Despite my irritation of her incessant barking and tendency to always get underfoot, I was not ready to say goodbye.

I watched my elderly companion uncharacteristically take a nap on the floor at the veterinary office as we waited for the examination. I fought the choking tears as I attempted to explain the situation. She’ll be twelve in just a few short weeks but the turn for the worse has been so drastic. As I heard the possibility of cancer suggested, it wasn’t unexpected. Just some x-rays and we would know.

Peace and control of my emotions were the prayers I lifted to God as I attempted to hold in the sobs. I didn’t even ask Him to extend the life of my dog. She’s lived a full life. Having already said goodbye to my dad because of cancer, I tried to convince myself not to be so upset about an animal.

It seemed to take an eternity as I waited for the results. Smiling, the veterinarian shared that she had good news! While our dog is most certainly a senior, she has a healthy heart and healthy lungs! With instructions to administer Dramamine and an anti-inflammatory, I imagined my daughters’ smiling faces. (Apparently, many dogs as they age develop some problem with their inner ear that causes their balance to go and their back legs to give out. We will see if there is any improvement in a couple weeks. Otherwise, we will reassess then.)

For now, I need to learn to appreciate the inappropriately timed bark that has the potential to ruin naptime. As I trip over our 50-pound friend or feel her nail pierce my foot in her clumsy excitement, it will require patience to recall the tears I shed at the thought of losing her. Next time you hear me yelling and expressing frustration at our furry family member, I invite you to help me remember.

I am thankful that our faithful friend, Pup, appears to be a healthy, old girl.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Blowing my top... with a whisper?

Jill Savage had a quote by Lisa Welchel on her blog today:

“Often whispering can be more effective than yelling. Try it next time you feel like screaming. Your children may actually hear you more clearly.”

I yell at my kids all the time and it is showing up way too often in the way my youngest speaks to others. I need to start doing something different. Hopefully, I will remember this next time I want to blow my top.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I've got the joy

This morning I was asking God to help me find the joy. In one of my readings today, Sarah Young, author of Jesus Calling, points out that the way to find joy is by looking to Jesus. (I highly recommend this devotional book.) She highlighted Psalm 34:5:

"Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy." - Psalm 34:5 (NCV)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Speaking my Heart

This summer that I was so excited to start because I looked forward to relaxing has been anything but. I feel crazed and out-of-control. I asked God for help this morning. Attempting to refocus, I spilled my heart to Him. I just read this post at (in)courage and thought the author was speaking so much of what I'm feeling these days.

Today, I'm asking for God's love to quiet my soul.

"The Lord Your God is with you, He is might to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing." - Zephaniah 3:17