Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Change is in his future...and mine

Ryan, my 2-1/2 year old son, is adventurous. He likes to climb on stuff. And under stuff. He always has. Two weeks ago he figured out how to climb into his crib. Yesterday, he climbed out of it (and landed with a sharp thud on floor, followed by loud crying—he's not terribly agile...built more like a football player ☺).

So now my husband and I have to seriously consider a "big boy bed" for Ryan. However, I confess I am really anxious about this! My biggest concern: it takes this child over an hour to fall asleep at night! He lays in his crib (often with his legs propped up against the crib rail) and jabbers, recites movie lines, and sings at the top of his lungs. It's actually quite funny to observe... but I'm sure you can understand my concern. My schedule has been running like a fairly well-oiled machine around here... at least as far as knowing what to expect (what time everybody wakes up, etc.). And Momma needs her time with God first thing in the morning!

BUT, I have to remember how nervous I was when Brandon first slept in his "big boy bed" when he was just 2 years old... and he did it! He obeyed us and stayed in bed, and he still stays in bed.

So, another great millstone... er, milestone, that is... ahead for la Casa de K! Any advice or perspective is welcome! ☺

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Therefore... pray

Last weekend our pastor gave a message at church called "The End is Near" based on 1 Peter 4:7-11. Here's what I took away from it.

Verse 7—"The end of all things is near. Therefore..."

Therefore, what???

This verse was written about 2,000 years ago, and the end was near then.... so here in the year 2010 the end is likely even nearer now! (Especially when you look at world events.) What would you do if you only had 30 days to live? Or 100 days to live? Eat all the desserts you want? Take a vacation? Buy that $200 pair of shoes you've been eyeing? Share the Gospel with someone on your heart? Make amends for a broken relationship? Wrap up some other loose ends?

Pastor joked about his devotion to his ever-important "to-do" lists, and how his wife calls him a human doing instead of a human being.

But according to verse 7—therefore..."be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray."

Thought: *Do you believe more can be done by praying than doing??*

Verse 8—therefore..."love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."

Verse 9—therefore..."offer hospitality to one another without grumbling."

Verses 10,11—therefore..."each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms..."

Pretty convicting, eh? I thought so... especially the part about praying vs. doing.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Favorite things

This morning as I was lying in bed, before I got up for the day, I started thinking about things I would classify as my favorite things. Here is a short list...

1. a good stretch first thing in the morning (the kind that evokes a "rrrr" sound from deep within)
2. morning sunshine
3. a "coffee date" with a girlfriend
4. the sound of mourning doves calling
5. a mid-day quiet time on our patio (when the kids are napping) in the shade of the maple tree
6. singing my heart out to loud worship music in the car
7. going for a walk in the quiet of morning
8. a back-scratch
9. the [usually] sweet countenance of my boys when they first wake up ☺

What are your favorite things?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Seeing Jesus' loving, patient, kind character

This morning in the car, I was really thinking about God's love for me. I had these thoughts as I was watching a man limp across the street: "I hope no one makes fun of him and makes him feel bad" (as my eyes filled up with tears). And I thought, I bet that's how God feels toward that man... protective like a father. And then I thought, I bet that's how God feels toward ME... protective like a father... saying to Himself, "I will be upset if someone makes fun of my Sara..."—and that was a very precious thought to me.

For the last several days I have been reading from Luke, and writing down verses and thoughts about how Jesus ministered (showed love) to people in personal ways—and it is pretty neat (and obvious) to see His loving, patient, kind character. Some of my favorites are:

Luke 4:40 — "As the sun went down that evening, people throughout the village brought sick family members to Jesus. No matter what their diseases were, the touch of His hand healed every one."
---> Jesus touched each one individually, and healed them. I would bet He looked deeply and lovingly into the eyes of each one of them too.

Luke 5:18 — "Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus, but they couldn’t reach Him because of the crowd. So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, 'Young man, your sins are forgiven.'"
---> Jesus was teaching to a crowd when this happened, and He wasn't irritated that they interrupted Him. He saw their faith and this man's need, and He attended to them.

Luke 5:12 — "In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. “Lord,” he said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared."
---> Jesus touched this man, who had an advanced case of leprosy! The man probably hadn't been touched by anyone in a long time. That in itself must have been such a gift! But then Jesus healed him too!

So I'm just being reminded again of how very loving and kind Jesus is, how merciful and compassionate. Again, not sure how I lost sight of that—but probably something to do with me being a little too introspective during my struggles here, and not letting Him minister to my heart—almost like I rejected His love because I insisted I was too much of a sinner.... just like Peter in Luke 5:8 — "When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m too much of a sinner to be around You.” —But Jesus then went on to invite Peter to join Him in "fishing for men"...... amazing! Jesus doesn't require perfection, and His love and compassion for us is great! So awesome!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Organization = pleasure

I love organization. It's in my blood. It gives me great pleasure! I admit, I can be a bit compulsive at times... like at the store when perusing the greeting cards, I have to restrain myself from putting the ones that are out of place back where they belong! HOWEVER, being married and having children has helped me loosen up on my neatnik tendencies. ☺

Well anyway... I was just looking in one of my cupboards and went, "Aak! Too much clutter!" A little reorganizing was in order. Here's the before...

...and after...

OK. Maybe to some of you, there's not much difference... but for me, immense satisfaction! ☺ Gotta love those Modular Mates® from Tupperware!

Friday, May 14, 2010

God IS love

And I ask Him'll be able to take in with all the followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love.
[Ephesians 3:18, The Message]

Two nights ago I was talking to my husband, Jon, about my continuing struggle to understand [to "take in"] God's love for me. I was trying to describe how painful it is... that it sort of feels like being in a loveless marriage, where God is just going through the motions—He's committed to stay in the relationship and choosing to do loving things, even though He doesn't really feel love for me. (Isn't that awful? Yes, I realize these thoughts are very skewed... do ya think the enemy has maybe been working overtime on me?!?)

But then Jon reminded me of 1 John 4:8... "God is love."

Talk about a light bulb moment! God IS love! (How could I have forgotten that?) He doesn't just act it out because it's the right thing to do; He embodies it!! He can't fake it or do it half-heartedly; it is His very character... the very threads of His being!

Oh, and regarding my feelings that God's love feels "collective" instead of individual (such as in John 3:16... "God so loved the world")—my pastor reminded me that God's character is constant and consistent: what is true collectively is true for the individual. And, God shows His intimate interest in our individual lives in Psalm 139—as God had just reminded me about two weeks ago (see my post from May 3).

I'm still processing this, but the truth of it is amazing—God loves me personally! And He loves you personally!

Perhaps to some people this might sound so elementary—you'd think I would know this stuff after 14 years! Obviously, the enemy really pulled one over on me through my parenting guilt—but as I "re-learn" about God's love and mercy, I think it goes deeper and deeper. And how can I not share what I'm learning?—it's exciting! And in case someone else is struggling the way I have, that they might find hope too.

Sleep peacefully tonight, friends—you are deeply loved by the God of the universe. ☺

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


My 4-year-old son just made me cry.

In a good way!

I was just getting him set up for his "room-time" (he has room-time while his little brother has nap-time). I explained to him that I was planning to lay down and take a nap too, because my head was starting to hurt, and that he would need to be extra quiet. Upon hearing this information, his brow furrowed and he said in a somewhat uncommon moment of sweetness, "Oh, Momma... I'm sorry your head is hurting. Can I kiss it for you?" Melt my heart! Tears started to well-up in my eyes as I let God minister to me through my son's sweet hug and kiss.

So precious.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Things I don't need

This is written with Lamentations 3:22-23 in mind... "To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God."

Who needs an alarm clock (or a rooster)... when your child awakens at the crack of dawn? Not sure what goes on with my 4-year-old son's "internal clock" but he seems to wake up earlier and earlier all the time. Ever since THE DAY daylight savings time began in March, he shifted back one hour instead of forward an hour!! (So his new wake-up time became 6:00 instead of 8:00!) How does this happen?? And for the last several days, he's been waking up at 5:40!

Who needs a treadmill... when you're up and down the stairs all day long? A diaper needs changing, someone needs discipline, Brandon needs assistance at the potty, grabbing the laundry, fetching snacks, etc. I guess that's the way it is with small kids ...and perhaps God's provision (after all, I can't seem to find time to get on the treadmill anyway)!

I hope it is evident that I am just poking fun at my "lot in life" and not complaining—this is kind of like comic relief for me! It's simply a glimpse of my reality—and it kind of makes me laugh because it's so crazy! :)

Love and mercy that never cease

Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is His faithfulness;
His mercies begin afresh each morning.

[Lamentations 3:21-23]

I love these verses! And this morning it really hit me... no matter what my circumstance—trouble or hardship, sin or mistake—God does not turn His back on me or get P.O.'d and withdraw His love. He may be saddened by it, as a father would be—but He is merciful in every situation! He wants the best for us and wants to help us succeed! That is so remarkable... so beautiful, this love of His! It truly is His kindness that leads us toward repentance! (Romans 2:4)

Oh, happy day ☺

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day humor

This was the Mother's Day card I received from my boys...

It says: Hope everyone pees where they're supposed to today. Happy Mother's Day!

That made me laugh out loud! Perhaps it was especially funny to me since I am dealing with a 4-year-old who is still perfecting his aim (or simply distracted while on the job). Ahhhh, a little comic relief is good for the soul. :)

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there! God bless you!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

It's sinking in!

This afternoon around 4:00, when I was just starting supper, my husband called. He needed us to come and rescue him. He's been on vacation this week and was on the other side of town having coffee and TWG (time with God), but he couldn't get his car started.

So I grab the boys and we head across town. Of course, I'm in a hurry, because I don't want Jon to wait any longer than he has to... and because supper would now be delayed.

I pull up behind an SUV at a stop sign. She's waiting to turn left. Ugh.... she's not taking ANY risks... and as I observe her missing several opportunities to turn, I start muttering under my breath. "This is going to take forever! Come on, lady!"

From the backseat I hear, "It's OK, Mom" as my son tries to reassure me. "God wants us to be kind."

Deep breath. "Yep, you're right, honey," I say. "I'm sorry for being impatient."

And then it hits me. He's getting it!! The God-stuff we're trying to teach him.... you know... "Talk about it when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up"'s sinking in! Even though he has many transgressions in a day, I felt much satisfaction that the things we are teaching him about God and His ways is indeed penetrating his little mind and heart! Hurray!!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What is success in parenting?

Hi there. Just thinking about parenting stuff again. Had a hard day yesterday for some reason... found myself near tears much of the afternoon.

But this morning during my TWG (time with God) I was asking Him for greater patience and telling Him how difficult I think parenting is, and I had these thoughts:

If I have difficulties in my marriage, am I a failure? No—that's normal when two individuals with differing ideas, personalities, and life experience come together under one roof. The key to their success is being humble before the Lord and unified through Him. Does "success" mean they never have strife? No. It means they don't give up, but keep striving to be obedient and faithful to God's ways.

So... if I have difficulties as a parent, why do I think I'm a failure?! In raising children, I'm starting out with raw material (not necessarily a blank slate, as the sin nature is present from birth)—and I have 18 years of training, teaching, loving, correcting, etc. these young, unique individuals. So what does "success" in parenting look like? Does it mean I never have strife? I don't think so. It means I am seeking the Lord for guidance and wisdom, and I am being faithful to do what He leads me to do.

I need to stop asking, "Why is this so difficult?" And I need to stop looking at anyone else's family and thinking they have it easier. (Quite frankly, if God had given me "easy" children, I probably would be judgmental and self-righteous toward others... so for that reason, I am thankful God knew which children to give me!) I don't think God calls His people to "easy" anyway. I need to trust that God has a purpose and a perfect plan.

This quote from an article in Christianity Today, called The Myth of the Perfect Parent, soothes me—especially in light of those who are considered "faith heroes" in Hebrews 11, many of whom "were raised in anything but model homes, and many of them were themselves highly flawed parents"—

"We will parent imperfectly, our children will make their own choices, and God will mysteriously and wondrously use it all to advance His kingdom."

Yes, Lord! Use it all for Your glory!

Monday, May 3, 2010

God knows me/us very personally

A few nights ago, I was reading a devotion from the book Finding Joy: More Confessions of an Irritable Mother. The author, Karen Hossink, was telling about a difficult morning she had, and how she felt like God had given her a hug through a store clerk's kindness, which turned her crabbiness into a smile. She writes, "I got into the van and I asked Him, Why? Why are You so kind to me? I have been moody and irritable. I am an emotional mess. Why do You love me? Then I remembered the Truth about God's love. It is unconditional. He does not take cues from me to decide whether or not He is going to love me on any particular day. God does not hold back on His love when I am PMSing, and He does not pour it out more richly when I am following in the footsteps of Mary Poppins. He loves me unconditionally, simply because He chooses to."

I love that! My eyes welled-up with tears, and God started speaking to my heart about how intimately acquainted He is with me. I wrote in my journal:

God knows everything about me (Ps 139:1b) and knit me together in my mother's womb (Ps 139:13b). Even the very hairs on my head are all numbered (Mt 10:30). Not even a single sparrow, worth only half a penny, can fall to the ground without my heavenly Father knowing it, and I am more valuable to Him than a whole flock of sparrows (Mt 10:29,31). How good it feels to know that I'm not just a number... not just lumped in with a group... but that I am an individual, and I was tailor-made by Him, making me His workmanship.

That evening with God was so personal and I felt the warmth of His presence. He reassured me that He is using this time (the pain/grief I've had in my heart for the last 2+ years) to deepen my faith in His love and grace, and just to give me a greater depth of concept of who He is. And to that I respond:

O Lord, I give my life to You.
I trust in You, my God!
Lead me by Your truth and teach me,
for You are the God who saves me.
All day long I put my hope in You!
[Psalm 25:1,3]

Sunday, May 2, 2010

At a loss for words...

I am kind of laughing and furrowing my brow at the same time. Are they serious?? Now really.... what can one say about such things? Are we, as a society, really this ignorant? (I am fighting the urge to make sarcastic remarks here... but "Whatever is...noble...pure...excellent or praiseworthy...think about such things...") *sigh*

The new me

Well, I did it. After 2-1/2 years of growing my hair out—for the ease of parenting small children (low maintenance, less frequent hair-cuts)....

I had 6" of hair chopped off on Saturday! Ta-da!

While I can see there is going to be a learning curve for styling it myself, I have no regrets. I was ready for a change... and just in time for the warmer weather ahead! :)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Parting is such sweet sorrow...

Today we say good-bye to an old friend, the highchair. Many sweet memories were made there... and a few big messes. :) But our 2-1/2 year old has graduated to a booster seat at the dining room table, so we no longer have need for the highchair. [My babies are growing up!] It was handed down to us five years ago, and now we, in turn, will pass it on to another family who has a baby on the way.

Farewell, ol' highchair. Be a blessing to this new family!