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Posts Tagged ‘positive’

great expectationsI have this lovely inspirational stand-up book on my desk, which was a gift from my dear friend, Ann. Each day I can’t wait to turn over the next page to see what wisdom I’ll find among the pages.

The other day the page staring (or maybe “glaring” is more accurate) back at me read:

Follow your heart. It knows the way.

I suppose one could read this many ways. As a love-struck teenager, I may have taken this to mean I should follow my heart more than my head in choosing my beau. As a young mother, I may have read it as following my instincts instead of the advice of others when caring for my newborn son.

Now, however, I view it as following my heart when it comes to my career, my focus on my family and how I want to serve on a daily basis. And I wonder: What happens when your heart is telling you one thing and the circumstances of your life don’t easily allow for you to follow it? How do you reconcile the two?

And I think it comes down to this: Faith.

Ah, there’s that word again. As you may remember, faith is my “one word” for 2011. My focus.

…I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. ~Matthew 17:20 NIV

How do you reconcile what God is calling you to do with the obstacles life seems to throw in your path? I’d love to hear your advice and what’s worked for you. Drop me a comment below.

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Image by: deletem3

A short funny to (hopefully) make you smile.

So my son woke me up Wednesday morning by crawling into my bed as quiet as (an extremely well-fed) mouse (that is hard of hearing and thinks he’s being über-quiet but really barrels into the room more akin to a freight train with several squeaky wheels). He proceeds to place his super-cute face nose-to-nose with mine.

As I feel that hot little breath on my face, I slowly and begrudgingly pry open one of my eyes to find myself staring directly into the very large, very hazel eye of my six-year-old. Bat, bat, bat, go the insanely long eyelashes swooshing against mine. (Why is it that boys always get the best lashes, anyway?) I giggle and close my eye quickly, only to open it and bat back a few seconds later. This produces a second giggle, this time from the six-year-old.

He backs away, lays his head on the pillow and “tries” to go back to sleep. After all, it’s only 6 a.m. – and it’s my day off. Come on, people! Give me a break. Let’s at least sleep in until 7 a.m., shall we? Shortly thereafter, the not-so-quiet mouse is at it again.

Pat, pat, pat. Pause. Pat, pat, pat.

He’s patting my arm, like an adult might do to calm an upset child. Not that I’m upset; just trying to sleep. As I once again pry my eyelids open, I see him smiling down at me with his angelic face. This again causes an onslaught of giggles from me. How is it that someone so mischievous can have such an innocent expression on his face?

“Mom? Do you know why I’m doing all these cute things?” he asks in all seriousness. *Snorf.* (That’d be me trying to hold back a snort and a giggle at the same time.)

I blank my expression and say, “No, why?”

“Because I want you to get up early and come downstairs with me. I want to spend some time with you,” he explains.

Alright. Who can say no to that – even at 6 in the morning? I proceed to give him a big hug, and then drag my definitely not-so-quiet-self out of the bed and into the bathroom to prepare for the day. Gotta love it when your day starts off as great as that!

How did your day start today? Did your little ones or not-so-little ones give you some “fraddling” as my friend Michelle says on her site? If so, I’d love to hear about it. Drop me a comment.

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Soap Bubble

Image: Reini68

As I walk into the living room to check on the munchkin, I spy what looks suspiciously like spilled liquid on the sofa cushion. “Ah, munchkin? What’s this? Did you spill your water or something?” I ask calmly.

“Nope,” he says, eyes averted.

Okay…now I know something’s going on. “Okay…did your juice box spill, then?”

“Nope,” he says, eyes flick to me and then away again.

Right. Okay, time for a stronger approach. “Look, honey. I can see something spilled on the couch, I just need to know what it is so I can figure out how to clean it up. So…what is it? Water? Juice box? What?”

“Nothing, okay! Nothing,” he says frantically.

“I’m not going to be upset, hon–”

“Yes you will!” he interrupts. “You’ll be mad at me!”

Okay, now I know something’s going on. Accidents happen. Nothing to flip out over – especially something as simple as spilled food or drink. Come on. Get real. But he’s worried that I’ll be mad. Why?

“I promise I won’t be mad, honey. Please just tell me so I can clean it up,” I plead, again, calmly.

“BUBBLES!” he shouts, the word practically bursting from his mouth.

I stare, dumbfounded. “What? Um, bubbles?”

He nods, eyes downcast. “I took the bubbles out, and I knew I wasn’t supposed to. But I did it anyway. And they spilled. *Long pause.* I’m sorry.”

Lesson Learned

Aha. Well, connection made. He was upset because he knew he’d done something he was specifically told not to do – no opening/playing with the gigantic jar of bubbles in the house because the opening for the liquid is too big. Case in point.

Lesson learned.

“Oh. Um, I think some of it might have gotten on the pillows, too,” he says, smiling shyly and picking up two of the throw pillows that clearly show a lovely splash pattern on them. “I’ll help you, Mommy.”

Crazy munchkin.

The bubbles are gone, the couch is clean, and all is right in munchkinland again. Thank goodness.

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Minifig Characters #5: Sherlock Holmes and Dr....

Image: minifig

What springs to mind when you hear the words, “under cover”? Tales of espionage, danger and deception? Or, the Bible?

Right. And yet, they’re in there.

One-year track reading: Genesis 29-31

Focused reading: Genesis 29:16-30

What’s Hiding Behind the Veils?

After seven years of hard labor, Jacob enters joyfully into his marriage with Rachel, the woman he loves. But unbeknownst to him, Rachel’s father Laban tricks him. He sends Leah, hidden behind veils and veils of cloth, to marry Jacob instead. And he did — not discovering the deception until the morning.

And the manipulation doesn’t end there. Laban makes Jacob work for him for another seven years for taking Rachel as a wife as well. After all that, there are still struggles. Laban and his people are jealous of Jacob and his success. Rachel is jealous of Leah’s fertility. Leah feels unloved, unwanted and believes the more children she bears Jacob, the more he’ll grow to love her. God keeps Rachel barren for many years, which fuels her jealousy for Leah.

Chatty Cathy or Shy Sherry?

As I thought about today’s story, it occurred to me that while we think we know people, we can’t possibly know everything about them. What are their motives? Their intentions? Are they hiding behind a veil? How can we be sure?

We all have friends and family who are the friendly, chatty, boisterous, walk-up-and-hug-you-shake-your-hand-til-you’re-bouncing-up-and-down-like-a-bobble-head kinda person. Right? And then there’s the shy, quiet type who silently observes from the sidelines, speaking only when spoken to and rarely offering personal information in a social setting.

So which one do we really know?

It’s easy to assume it’s the Chatty Cathy friend. That there’s no way we couldn’t know this person, right? But, is that the case? What about the quiet Shy Sherry?

I find I want to draw them out. I want to know what’s going on behind the silence, behind the reluctance to share, behind the veil, behind the twinkle in the eye that sometimes appears. I want to uncover the mystery.

Dig Down Deep

But you have to dig deep to get there. You have to build up trust, share some personal stories of your own to begin that connection. And to do that, you have to be willing to be up-front and honest about your life — faults, weaknesses and all.

We often struggle to let down our guard from time to time for fear that others will think we’re weird, stupid, silly, ugly, uneducated or some other similar negative connotation.

And yet, it’s not until we turn our insecurities over to God — and our friends and family — that we truly let Him, and them, in. That we show the real ‘us.’ The ‘us’ who’s sometimes scared, who sometimes stumbles, who is sometimes uncertain, ugly, silly and weird. The ‘us’ God loves unconditionally. Yeah, that ‘us.’

What are you waiting for? Remove the veils. Drop the act. The under-cover assignment is over.

Today’s Reflection

  1. Look in the mirror, and describe the things you like about yourself.
  2. What don’t you like about yourself? Describe some of the things you’d change if you could.
  3. What aspects of yourself have you been afraid to show your loved ones (spiritually, emotionally or physically), and why? Ask God for the strength to share one aspect you’ve hidden behind the mask. And ask God to surprise you with how much your loved ones accept the real you.

Related readings: Psalm 139:23-24; 1 John 1:5-7

Next one-year track reading: Genesis 32-35

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I thought this post from April fit well with Faith Barista‘s Faith JAM. So…JAM away! (Updated 10/14/10)

FaithBarista_FreshJamBadgeG

reflectionWhat hard choice is confronting you today? What factors are you using to ultimately make the final choice? Will listening to God be one of them?

We all face choices every day. Some of them are easy, like choosing what to wear in the morning and selecting your morning coffee (although, depending on where you go, even this simple choice can be overwhelming). Other choices are much more difficult.

…myriad difficult choices face us – the right course of care for a sick child, moving from everything familiar for a new opportunity, following God’s leading even when the outcome is hazy, even when the right choice frightens us. You may toss and turn for nights without finding peace in your choice. The right choice is often the hard choice, but not always.

The story of Isaac and Rebekah is all about choices. The choice to follow his father’s advice to marry outside his town. The choice of the servant to send on this quest. The servant’s choice to choose Rebekah. Rebekah’s choice to leave her family with a servant she’d never met to marry a man she’d never met. Isaac’s choice to marry her.

Choices.

Making the Right Choice

So, how do we make the right choice? Robert Frost believed we should take the road less traveled. This implies the right choice isn’t always easy.

I know that for me, personally, I struggle needlessly to make whatever decision is at hand until I realize something. I realize the choice isn’t really mine to make. It’s God’s.

The minute I turn the choice over to God, it becomes much easier. The right choice almost always floats to the surface immediately. And peace follows – even if the choice will be a difficult one.

Obey the guidance found in God’s Word, earnestly pray and seek trusted counsel, then trust God with the outcome. First trust God to have your best interest at heart and then trust him to lead you to the right choice.

What choices are you facing today? How will you make the right choice?

Quoted passages are from the Women’s Devotional Bible by Zondervan.

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As I mentioned yesterday, I’m starting to work my way through the one-year reading path of the Women’s Devotional Bible (Zondervan). To read along with me, read Genesis 5-8.

Today’s message hit home, and further reinforces I’m on the right path. How about you?

Prepare your house for the storms that are sure to come: Spend time in the Bible. Strengthen your relationship with God and with a godly community. Bring those you love before God in prayer. When (not if) the tempest strikes, you will have shelter.

The Floods Will Come

Imagine the conversation:

God: [Your name here], I’m going to destroy the earth and all its inhabitants — except you and your immediate family. I want you to build a giant boat and collect two of every animal in the world.

You: Oh. Okay. No problem.

Seriously? I’m thinking that in today’s day and age, that conversation may go more like this:

God: [Your name here], I’m going to destroy the earth and all its inhabitants — except you and your immediate family. I want you to build a giant boat and collect two of every animal in the world.

You: What?!? What do you mean?!? How in the world am I supposed to build this giant boat? What will people think? What will people say? Are you crazy? You must be crazy. And another thing, how in the world am I supposed to collect two of every animal on the planet? What, I just take a trip to the jungle and snag a python or two, swing back through the African plains to pick up a couple lions and head over to China for the pandas that would welcome me with open arms? Right. Sure. Uh-huh. Okay. Whatever. <Insert eye roll here, followed by spinning your finger in circles by your head to indicate God’s gone loopy.>

But…what would you do if faced with an impossible situation like Noah was? Many of us are faced with them daily. Family members become hurt or injured or even die. We experience heartache, sickness, unemployment, bankruptcy. The list goes on.

So, what are you doing to be prepared for the floods of life? Will you turn to God? Will you listen to him? Will you rely on him — even when others laugh, roll their eyes, or yes, even say you’re crazy?

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children posters teacher

Image by TheChristianAlert.org

This week we participated in our third parent-teacher conference. Based on last quarter’s discussion, we knew essentially what to expect.

The munchkin excels when he chooses to.

His teacher describes him as funny, smart and…reluctant to learn. She’s right. He doesn’t understand “the point” of school.

What’s the point?

We had a conversation a couple of weeks after he started school that went something like this:

Me: “So, how do you like Kindergarten?”

Munchkin: “I like it!” <Pause. Pursed lips. Furrowed brow.> “All except those worksheets.” <Insert eye roll here.>

Me (trying not to laugh): “What’s wrong with the worksheets?”

Munchkin: “I don’t know. What’s the point? Why do we have to learn something? Can’t we just have fun?”

And that pretty much sums it up. Needless to say, we had a frank conversation about how “learning something” is the point of school. And that those worksheets are just going to get more frequent and harder as the years go on. So learning them now is important.

Where’s the pay off?

The thing is, it’s not important to him right now. He doesn’t understand the “pay off” as his teacher put it. Again, she’s right. To him, there is no pay off. What’s the point?

We’ve tried to talk to him about college. That that’s when you  get to choose what you want to learn (becoming a paleontologist, for example), what you’re interested in, what you want to do for a living. But, really? A five-year-old’s going to get this? Right.

How do you teach that?

There’s an issue that further complicates this whole thing. How do you teach the whole “everyone-else-in-the-entire-class-is-sitting-on-the-carpet-right-now-waiting-patiently-for-instructions-which-means-you-should-be-too” philosophy?

He sees them sitting there. He doesn’t feel like sitting. Again, he’s thinking, “What’s the point? Why can’t I just stand?”

Right. What’s the answer there? Because everyone else is sitting, you should too? And the rebuttle? Ten years from now, we’ll be saying, “If everyone else decided to jump off a bridge, would you follow?” Uh-huh. It’s a bit hypocritical, no?

The social nuance of “right now you should follow what everyone else is doing because it’s social etiquette and necessary based on the classroom environment and because you’re too young to rebel against the system” is lost to the munchkin.

So what’s the answer?

Good leadership skills

A new blogger friend of mine, SomeGirl, recently commented about strong-willed children on the Changing Tactics post. She describes her oldest child as having “good leadership skills.”

I thought that was perfect! From now on, that’s the term I’m using to describe the munchkin’s strong-willed I’ll-do-it-when-I-want-to-do-it-and-when-it-makes-sense-to-me  nature.

Eventually, this attitude will be a good thing. Eventually, he’ll realize the point of learning. Eventually, he’ll understand the social nuances of proper etiquette.

Eventually.

Until then, I’ll be embracing his leadership skills and trying to steer him in a positive direction.

How do you deal with your strong-willed children?

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