In ALL things

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When I’m going through a particularly difficult time in life, I put on my Euchareste0 bracelet given to me by a dear friend.  When I would see it, it reminds me to give thanks.  Strong’s defines eucharisteo (pronounced yoo-khar-is-teh’-o) this way:  to be grateful, i.e. (actively) to express gratitude (towards); specially, to say grace at a meal:–(give) thank(-ful, -s).  Thankfulness ushers me into His presence.  Ingratitude leads me further to despair.  Thankfulness reminds me of what I truly believe about my Heavenly Father:  He could be trusted in all circumstances.  Ingratitude leads to the false belief that I’m all I have to see me through, counting out God’s presence and help.  The painfulness of a solitary journey through difficulties lead me back to Him pronto!  Make sure, He doesn’t leave when we choose the opposite of Truth – yet when we walk in unbelief, we are acting as if He’s not there.  That, I’ve found, is painful for myself and I believe for Him as well.

1  Thessalonians 5:18 New International Version (NIV) give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

The Message (MSG) puts it this way:  16-18 Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.

Life is difficult, full of problems, challenges, dreams unfulfilled, failures, disappointments. One of the conversations I continue to have with my children is: What are you going to do with disappointments? When things don’t go your way? How are you going to respond? And they think….and I allow them to think. Offering them the opportunity to prop themselves up on the Truth of God’s Word.  My prayer is they will choose to lean into God’s Truth to see them through anything.

M. Scott Peck’s take on “life is difficult” goes like this….I think I like it.  I want to transcend it.  John 16:33 (NIV) puts it this way:  Jesus is speaking and says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  Several other versions say “take courage” or “be of good cheer.”  I find that possible when I’m looking to the One who is with me through it all.

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So how can we cultivate this giving thanks in all circumstances – thanking Him no matter what happens?

  • Speak out loud your faith in Him – when I’ve found myself floundering in unbelief, I’ve gone back to what I know about Him, and I begin to speak it out loud.  And you betcha, other people, especially my children, have been around during this time of remembering who He is to me.
  • Handwriting scripture – during the holidays, my boys and I were practicing our writing most days by writing out scripture; it was such a blessing to each of us.  We would remember the Truth throughout the day and it would minister to our hearts (well, at least mine – I’m trusting it was in there’s as well).  I’ve been meaning for us to get back to it – here is a great resource for that at Sweet Blessings.  She has a daily scripture writing plan for each month.  If you’re a recovering perfectionist like myself, get yourself a pretty notebook – but if that’s not near TODAY and  your heart is needing some speedy recovery TODAY ushering into HIS presence, get a blank piece of paper and get to it!  You’ll be blessed!
  • Sacrifice of Thankfulness jar – I’ve wanted to try those “Thankfulness” jars during the month of November, or a yearly jar of gratitude.  But those are for the wonderful things happening, big or small.  Perhaps what we need is a sacrifice of thanksgiving jar, because we’re wanting to practice giving things in the hard spots of life, trusting God to see us through.  Then at the end of the year, we would read the slips of paper of the hard things, and recall God’s faithfulness to see us through.

God’s best to you and yours,

Stacy

 

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The Grocery Shopping Daze

In a daze.  That’s what I am when grocery shopping with my two, cute, sweet, adorable, BOYS.  The youngest is too big to ride in the buggy, that is, except that big ‘0 car buggy at Kroger that takes every bit of my leg power to push!  My youngest (3) is really not the challenge, but my dear 6 year old.  Grocery shopping with my Sammy has been challenging since he learned he could get out of the two-seater Walmart cart.  I remember one time I even had Daddy have a talk with him about cooperating with Momma, staying in the cart, blah, blah, blah.  And here we are, 4 years later, and I hate grocery shopping days.  And especially on this day, my mind drifts to the thought that I’d have an easier go at this if I stuck him in school and didn’t homeschool….on these days, the yellow bus looks appealing. 

I’ve tried everything to embrace shopping day.  Organized.  Unorganized.  Have them help me.  Have them hold the cart.  Allow them to run up and down the isle.  Don’t allow them to do previous mentioned.  Reward.  Punishment.  Smile genuinely.  Fake smile.  Grab arm and whisper in their ear.  Speak loudly so that an isle over can hear me.  Have breakfast at Chick-fil-a and shop early.  Have lunch at Chick-fil-a and shop late.  Leave them at home with Dad and shop at night.  Leave them with my Mom and hurry-shop during the day. 

So we shopped at Albertson’s today to spend $20 (I spent $40…that tells me something about Albertsons and why I don’t shop there) so I could get a Jennie-O Turkey CHEAP.  Then we went to Krogers for big shopping and my effort was to have the boys take turn being my helpers and they would get paid.  Somewhere in that they both ended up pushing the cart, which was really nice and helpful.  But the end of the trip was a kicker….with my buggy LOADED, I asked Sammy to help pull from the front – and this lead to a scrape on his boots which I still don’t know if he actually got hurt, but the blood-curdling scream that came several seconds later…was because??  Which annoyed me…..then I try to manuever my buggy (LOADED) past this white car….and get stuck on their side mirror…which actually moves back in place, but then a 2 gallon water falls off from underneath while I’m trying to make sure my out-of-control-loaded-buggy does NOT scrape with white car….Sawyer says “Mom, the water!”  I’m yelling “Really!  Do I get to have any more frustrations today?????”  and yell at Sawyer to just leave the water!  But he picks it up and lugs it to the car…sweet boy.  As oldest finally pulls it together (’cause I’m not thinking he was hurt) and then runs his mouth when I try to tell him I didn’t intend to hurt him or his boots…I’m realizing I’m melting and should not have turned down the LARGE Hershey’s Chocolate bar Sammy offered me at checkout! 

I’m at a loss here.  Unless I just simply decide, it is what it is and it won’t always be this way.  At this point, the yellow school bus is not an option! LOL!  And I’m grateful it’s not, as we have some marvelous times.  But the next time it’s grocery shopping day and Sammy offers me some chocolate, I’ll say “Thank you for reminding me I need chocolate!”  And pick up a Sonic diet vanilla coke on the way home!    Alas, my pantry and fridge are full with two turkeys in the freezer.  We’ve all had a nap and supper tonight is an Easty chicken Tortilla Soup.  For this, and God’s grace that we are now smiling again, I am thankful!

Surviving “no naps”

It was 8:41 pm when I walked out of the boys room – both asleep. Last night it was 8:32 pm. When they do nap (like on a Sunday) they don’t go to sleep until 10:30pm and that makes for a l.o.n.g. day. I can’t remember what happened on Monday night, but I had them up around 7am and they were getting cranky at Noon, at which point I fed them, read to them and we snuggled down in my bed for an hour and half nap!

I’ve been toying with “no naps” even before the holidays. It’s SO easy to go back to napping! Sometimes I don’t sleep well and I need a nap! My youngest (3 in three weeks!) could probably still use a nap, but he doesn’t want to miss anything! One thing I did try was having oldest rest on his bed with a book while I put youngest down for a nap (who likes for me to “lay down me” for him to go to sleep). This worked sometimes and Sammy and I would go do some school work and then take 30 minutes to rest (which Sammy usually fell asleep). And sometimes (when I wanted it to and even when I didn’t), Sammy would fall asleep reading his book! And Monday, I tried waking up Sammy after an hour nap – he woke up, changed positions, and went back to sleep for another 30 minutes!

So these past few days have been fairly easy to work through our afternoon “lull.” Tuesday we had organic produce co-op pick-up at 2:30, and errand, and then I took us to the park for park and bike riding time. Today we had to run a lunch into town for Dad. We’d made ourselves a picnic for the park but it was SO COLD (due to wind and no sun) that I couldn’t finish my lunch! The kids had already ran off without finishing their lunch, knowing their time was short! We’ll return on a day that the sun is out. So we picked up some Wendy’s chili on the way home, ate, I did some clothes folding while the kids played, and then I joined in for some block playing. We snuggled in a big chair for 30 minutes of Sense and Sensibility, then it was time for me to do some kitchen work. And surprisingly, the meltdowns we had encountered previously trying no naps haven’t popped up. I was on the verge of one today, but reigned myself in! LOL!

So here we are. Trying. Highly grateful for more peaceful bedtimes (for they have not always been this way even BEFORE trying no naps). To continue to survive, I hope to plan a walk to see our neighborhood horse we feed carrots to, do some art (I’m still working up the courage to do finger paints…), go see relatives, read, read, read our library books, play a game.

I think we’re going to make it.

Handwritting

The night before I got to stay up WAY later than I like to. It was a wonderful time of chillin’ out since after waking up from our Sunday nap I’d been going nearly full-speed to accomplish some things. Only some things. I’m decluttering a little here – a little there. Which reminds me, I need to post our furniture in our newpaper and on Craigslist. That may sound like major decluttering…but I’m at least keeping one chair (so far…) and a friend is loaning us (for a few years till they build) a leather chair with ottoman – can’t wait for that piece!

Anyhow! So Sunday night I spent time really cleaning up my kitchen that was a total wreck (and we ate Sunday dinner out…) and actually enjoying it. I also read 2 chapters in The Secret (Beverly Lewis, Seasons of Grace book 1). And then I got to write 3 notes that needed to be written.

The first note was to my Momma. Sadly, I have to look up her address b/c that’s how rare I send her mail. But she does just live down the road…is that ok? Anyhow. In Sunday worship as our choir was singing a lovely version of “Jesus Paid It All”, tears were streaming down my face (and my hankies were not with me – more on my special hankies later) and all I could continue to utter to my Heavenly Father was “Thank you.”

Most of my growing up years it was just me and Mom. She and my dad had divorced when I was two; he was an alcoholic and was rarely a part of my life, until eventually not at all. She remarried a wonderfull, much older man that had been a part of her life since before I was born. He is who I refer to as Dad (passed away when I was in college from recurring cancer). They divorced when I was 13. All that to say, she was single mom most of the time. And considering who I am today, I think she and my Heavenly Father did a wonderful job!

So as I sat with my Love and my Sammy in worship Sunday morning, my heart was full of gratitude for a Mom who thought it was important to get us to church. During my early years she was also a Sunday school teacher for toddlers and I can still see the classroom table in my mind and a sweet smile on her face as she taught. Funny, thinking about it. Someday I hope to teach the two years olds – inspired by my Mom and Mrs. Clay, who has taught both my boys to “read from the bible.”

My faith is of such value to me that I have not words to express it. He is my ALL in ALL. And I’m so grateful for the grace given to me to believe in Him. My faith in Him is the only thing I will take from this world when I see Him face to face. So blessed was I to pen a note to my Mom, thanking her for listening to Him by taking us to church so that my foundation of faith could begin that way. She thinks I could be a pastor (which is hillarious, considering I’m Baptist and women are not in the pulpit!) What would have happened to me if I had not had that foundation in my early years to build upon?? And although I strayed from Him in college, there came a point when I began to hear Him calling me back to Him and I said “YES!” I haven’t looked back since.

The other two notes were to two of our ministers at church – a dear friend being promoted to Sr. Associate Pastor and the other moving from Youth Pastor to Develop Pastor. These are great men of God and our family was so delighted to rejoice in Father’s leading in their lives. We are blessed to belong to a wonderful church family with a staff that is….Father listener’s. Grateful for those men who faithfully serve.

B/c I missed the mail man yesterday I got to hand-deliver Mom’s letter as she kept the boys last night while the hubs and I shopped. I could tell it meant a lot to her. “Her children arise and call her blessed.”

Praying with one eye open!

Funny, I was thinking about my last blog post today (Worshipping with one eye open!) while in church – not realizing it was the last post I’d made!  But today I was laughing as Tony went to take my hand during the last prayer and I was laughing (quietly, of course) and praying with eyes open as Sammy was slipping into the isle…ready to GO!   Pastor Glynn is a wonderful man of God and preacher/teacher of God’s Word, yet I find myself wishing he would get on with it so that church is over!  This, of course, is only due to the movability of my son!  Today I was telling the Lord while in church that I felt like a black momma cat with it’s back arched and claws dug in – and I wanted to be that fluffy gray kitty with brown spots all curled up and comfy. 

I WAS grateful for the portion of Pastor’s message that I heard (with my ears consciously, Thanking Father in advance for whatever portion I “missed” would make it to His Spirit living in me).  It was on coveting.  I appreciate the opportunity to take that back to Father for His examination in my heart.  We are in the process of decluttering again as it seems the walls are closing in (and there’s not even a Christmas tree up yet!).  I have experienced Father’s gifts of things needed…and even wanted.  And when I see His hand bring a gift – oh, the joy!  And then His joy b/c of MY joy over His gift!  So, I ushered to Him all that is in my living room (even my dresser and coffee table, hand-made by my great-grandpaw Roberts and my grandmother’s small library table – one of her first pieces of furniture).  Everything is HIS.  So declaring He may take out and put in whatever HE wants!  And wondering if I should read up on Feng Shui! 🙂

And speaking of bringing in – He brought in some cool curtain panels for our bedroom that I’m anxious to tea stain and hang this week!  And needing to google if 100% polyester will tea stain!

Yesterday we sang a song by Chris Tomlin “I Will Rise.”  One of the fav part of the lyrics is “I will rise when He calls my Name” – I know this full  well, as well as I know my name, He WILL call my name one day and I WILL see Him face to face.  It IS well with my soul.

 

Back to the basics

Last night I was blessed to have a Mom’s Time Out with my ML friends.  I had about an hour spare time, so I headed to Starbucks and took out my Bible, asking Father for HELP!  My responses to my Sammy had not been God-honoring the past several days.  I apologized to him before we left, but knew I needed Father’s direction.  So He and I went to 1 Corinthians 13 – the LOVE chapter! 

So I’m back to the basics.  Love is patient.  Love is kind.

Although I had apologized to Sammy, that wasn’t enough.  I was delighted to sit down with him and let him know I’d met with Father and showed him the scripture He had directed me to, confessing that Momma had not been patient nor kind, but that she wanted to be because she loves God and she loved him.  He seemed to be quite receptive to the process Mom went through to make things right with God and right with him.

I don’t like messing up, but since I do it fairly often, I guess I better get used to it!  My hope and prayer is that my children see me running to Father, unashamedly approaching His throne of grace.  He is faithful to forgive when we confess. 

Thanking Father for all that transpires to allow me the opportunity to practice patience and kindness, demonstrating His love to my children through these attributes.  I have already had opportunity this morning as I’ve battled a neighbor’s runaway dog, shaving cream, toothpaste, a fish hook in a batman cape, and a 2 year old that continues to have to poo-poo whenever I decide it’s time to start school!

Patience ran off with my sense of humor..

It doesn’t take much to make me laugh and I like that about myself.  Although I laughed rather easily while in the workforce, it has been a bit more challenging at home.  Which, while in the kitchen getting lunch ready, I realized that I just needed to RELAX and LAUGH!  Laugh at the interruptions, the messes, oh the messes made by these sweet, cute, adorable and FUNNY boys! 

Enjoy.  Embrace.  Laugh.  Love. 

So here I am for a quick note to remind myself of my humanity and reflect on Christ’s sustaining power and strength.  When the boys wake up, WE are going to have us some FUN!

I’m off for a quick and necessary nap!

Oh, I was just on the Living Proof website looking up info about the Beth Moore simulcast I’ll be attending this weekend.  This sentence was part of a description of Beth (which I totally agree with) – “She is a woman of purpose, preparation, prayer and passion.”  Those are admirable qualities I need posted – and I think I’ll add “patient” to mine!