07 June 2015

Both to will and to do

Dear readers, thanks for bearing with me as I get into the hang of blogging again.  It's going to be rough and if you quit reading, I completely understand.  I'm doing this more to help me make sense of things myself.  I'm always happy to share and process with you, as well.

As I mentioned before, Amy Carmichael's devotional Edges of His Ways, has been a constant for me for just about 20 years.  In fact, I had an idea for a blog where I would post each day in response to that day's entry by Amy.  Every single year her writings point me to Jesus and to His love and every single year (and day and minute)I forget Him and His love.  

The Scripture she highlighted for yesterday, June 6, was Philippians 2:13:  For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

This is a perfect word for me on a Sunday morning where already things are not going as planned and it's easy for me to gripe and groan and feel sorry for myself. Amy provides an amplified version of this verse by Dr. Arthur Way, which I find encouraging today:
"You have not to do it in your unaided strength: it is God Who is all the while supplying the impulse, giving you the power to resolve, the strength to perform, the execution of His good pleasure."

Let us all go out today knowing that we have not to do it all in our unaided strength; He is all and will supply all. Lord, increase our faith.

04 June 2015

Just a Thursday morning

I was enjoying a good sleep this morning, wondering what time it was, feeling that surely I was sleeping in, when I heard our puppy begin to yip from his crate in the family room.
"Dang it," I thought, or maybe it was something worse.
I began to think through what day it is and what needs to get done and I remembered,"It's Thursday!  And I haven't prepared the church bulletin for Sunday yet!"  Normally I send all the elements of our bulletin to our design friend in Boston, she plugs it all in, we go back and forth for a bit with edits, and I send it to our local printer on Thursday.  Some Thursdays I get an email from the printer:  "Hey there, just wondering if we're going to see the bulletin today."
Yes, you are, after I scramble around a bit.

It's cool enough this morning for me to wear a sweatshirt while sitting on our back porch. As you can see, the sun is just rising above the trees at the back of the yard. It's about to get much warmer, but for now I'm thoroughly thankful for the cool breeze and the shade.

I wrote this post early this morning. Then before I thought it was finished enough to hit publish, I was swept into driving kids to camp, doing errands, making sure the dog doesn't chew up our whole house, feeding a person who can't eat solids (Clayton had his wisdom teeth out on Tuesday), making the church bulletin, going to work, picking up kids, taking to lessons, going to the store, cleaning up the clutter of the day so that we could host our lovely community group. Now I'm ready to hit the sack.  So you can see what kind of a run-around day it's been. But ending with a happy community group, good food, margaritas and not having to worry about getting everyone straight to bed is a good end to the day. 

30 May 2015

In the back yard

Yesterday was the last day of school for three of the kiddos. (Walter was done last week.) You may have heard that we've had a lot of rain in Texas over the past month. Flooding in our area has been minimal, nothing like the damage done further north and east of us.  In many ways the rain is most welcome because Texas has been in a long drought; that may be coming to an end (we hope).  
Yesterday was a welcome sunny day, not too hot, clear skies.  I took the opportunity to sit in the back yard and enjoy the not-hotness for a while, as I know I won't have many not-hot days from now until probably November.
I'm glad it's summer, but it doesn't feel as free or as gleeful as usual.  This year I've got a job which doesn't really take summers off.  I certainly have some flexibility and can also do work from home, if needed.  But I AM very glad to be free to get up early and not have to all rush off to school.  It's a good change in pace and I'm sure I'll learn the new rhythms of summer time and work time.
I think being a teacher all those years spoiled me to getting off work when the children did.  What a blessing!
What does summer mean for you?  Does your schedule change or stay the same?  What things do you look forward to in this season?

I liked the red of the flowers down below and the red of the umbrella up above.

Can you see the amount of water in the bowl?  That is how much fell night before last during a VERY loud thunder storm.   
There is our little buddy, Fenway.  He's just about four months old.  

26 May 2015

Come to Me

Sneaking in here, hoping to blog a bit more.

I've been suffering with anxiety and worry of late. This song, though meant for children, makes me cry every time I hear it, and soothes my soul. The last line describes something I want very much to do: "Learn to rest even while you are awake."

The lyrics describe me too well:

Are you tired?
Are you worried?
Worn out from the day?
Have you been in a hurry?
I will slow the pace.

In her book The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, Rosaria Butterfield describes a time when she and her husband were planting a church. She was responsible for feeding 50 people, almost single-handedly, each Sunday. Reading about her experience as a church planting wife gave me an appreciation that our work in church planting is different. I can't say it's easier, as different things seem hard or easy depending on the person. But one thing she said intrigued me and still does. She said that in that deeply trying time of busy-ness and unrelenting work, she and her husband found rest in God's Word. What does that mean? It obviously wasn't a physical rest or a break in the work. I have been mulling that idea for months, and trying to remember that I can find rest from the unrelenting nature of church-planting by drinking in great draughts of God's life-giving Word.  

I pray I can hide myself in Him and find deep rest, even while I am awake and my body keeps moving. There is so much to think about on this topic. I'd love to know your thoughts or insights.

14 June 2014

Just sing

Ephesians 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.

"The reason why singing is such a splendid shield against the fiery darts of the devil is that it greatly helps us to forget him, and he cannot endure being forgotten.  He likes us to be occupied with him, with what he is doing (our temptations), with his victories (our falls), with anything but our glorious Lord.  So sing.  Never be afraid of singing too much.  We are much more likely to sing too little.
There are times, however, when we cannot sing aloud.  This verse covers that inward singing that so often lifts the heart Heavenward. God make us a singing company."

--Amy Carmichael, in my very favorite devotional of all time, "Edges of His Ways"

13 June 2014

Our wildflower field

Some people have nicely manicured lawns. Some,like us, have more of a weedy patch with some grass thrown in.
But these days, after some good rains, we have our own wild flower field in the front yard!
We are enjoying it so much while it lasts. Our big live oak with two swings in in and these flowers make our front yard a lovely place to be.

Last night there were storms all around us, but our town was as calm and as still as could be.  A tornado watch showed up on the TV screen as we were watching the Spurs game, and then my younger two were beside themselves with worry.  I tried to calm them by showing them how far away all the storms were. We looked at the weather radar on my phone, we noticed that we could see lightning but not hear any thunder.  They finally began to feel better when we noticed we could see clear sky from our back yard.  It was beautiful.

Last night wasn't a good night for me as a mother. I was too impatient, yelled too much and stormed around in frustration (with one child in particular, but all this ugliness affects everyone).  I am so glad they forgave me before we went to bed. 

Jesus, help me today to look to you, to keep perspective and to remember the tender hearts of my children.

12 June 2014

In sumerrrrrr!

Hola, mis amigos.

I'm posting pictures of gallery night at our elementary school (which was several weeks ago, before school got out), just because the ART IS AWESOME.  So colorful and fun.  And every student's art is included, which I love. Let's all be artists, okay?

This was Theo's chorus performance, in which he and two other boys sang such a sweet rendition of "Little Surfer Girl".  These kids are awesome and did a great job!

Yesterday we were at the pool.  Lucy and her friend, Ellie, were playing with a boy named Nathan, who had been in Lucy's class this past year.

He swam up to me and said, "I was in Lucy's class.  I'm going to be swimming tomorrow, too.  Can Lucy call all our classmates and invite them to come here tomorrow?"

It was so cute.  It was as if he were saying, "This swimming is great, but what would make it even better would be if ALL OUR CLASSMATES were here, too."  I love that!

Also of note:  in the car yesterday, Lucy told us that she knows what the word "ego" means.  This was in the context of a discussion about Justin Bieber (hmmm).  Her explanation is that when someone is famous or rich or has done amazing things and then they just take that TOO FAR, that constitutes a big ego.  She said, "I think that is what has happened to Miley Cyrus.  She just took it too far."  Of course, later I thought of all the spiritual applications I could have tied in...ah well.