Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Memory Lane

Each year, 3 friends and I take pictures of our oldest kids at the same place at a park. We have 5 pictures already! That really makes time seem like it's zooming by. Here they are...






Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Lite Brite

(This is from an old blog of mine I ran across today, written on 02/06. I thought it was worthy of a re-post here) :)

This afternoon at my parent’s house, my mom pulled out my old Lite Brite. (You know, where you stick the pegs in the black paper to make designs, and they light up.) Abby and I had a great time making all sorts of pictures! It was a lot of fun. I’ll get back to this.

I’ve been contemplating pride lately. It affects everyone. We can be prideful of our abilities, giftedness, appearance, position, talents, children, acts of kindness, apparent righteousness, status, whatever!

And as I played Lite Brite, I realized I am a peg. Plain, boring, and dull. However, when the light shines through me, I’m bright and colorful! Imagine if a yellow peg said to the blue peg, “I’m so much brighter than you! Look at how shiny I am! I’m the best peg!” It would seem ridiculous. They’re both equally boring and plain and dull. The light is what makes them shine. It has nothing to do with them.

Everything I am – talents, possessions, abilities, giftedness, lack of ability even – it all came from God. He created me for a purpose. When I’m connected to Him, He makes me shine. It’s not my own doing, and to brag about it, even in my innermost heart, would be absurd.

Now I see even more clearly what Jeremiah meant, “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” Amen to that!

Of course, the analogy can go even further. If I’m not in Christ, I’m in darkness. There is no in between. I praise God for sending Jesus, His Light, to our dark world so we don’t have to live in the dark anymore!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Cobwebs in the Soul

Today I'm having one of those days. I didn't get up when my alarm told me to, I had to rush right into the day w/ the kids, I didn't have a quiet time, I still haven't showered, I'm tired from staying up too late, I have dishes left over from yesterday, I didn't get my laundry put away yesterday, and I'm still not unpacked from our weekend in Ohio, so it's spilling all over.

I'm at the sink this afternoon trying to get some dishes put away so I can have space to make lunch and throw some food in the crock pot for dinner when I start thinking, "I have got to make sure I get up earlier! If I would have had time in the morning with God, this day would be better." My thoughts continued, "And I've GOT to make sure this kitchen is all cleaned up before I go to bed, no matter how tired I am, or I start out behind and the rest of the day is ruined." "And I absolutely have to go to bed earlier."

Then it hit me. And I said it out loud. "That is a lie!" My peace is not dependent entirely on what I do or what the circumstances are around me. Peace in a trial is sometimes easier because it's BIG. But peace amidst the ordinary isn't earned by routines and orderliness. Of course I believe that cleanliness helps! LOL! But really, God's peace is available to me all the time, no matter where I am.

So I prayed, "God, I need your peace and joy, because I've been in a rotten mood all day."

Nathan was jumping off the couch onto a big stuffed dog shouting "Look! Look!" So rather than "mmhmm-ing" him, I turned and watched. It really was funny, the way his little body would bounce and roll. I actually let out a genuine chuckle. Rest time came, and as I laid him down he asked to read a book. We read "Moo, Baa, La La La." Watching him make all the noises brought out another genuine and not forced smile.

I'm still feeling sort of all tied up inside. But I'm smiling, because I know that God will help me unravel the cobweb of emotions that sometimes makes a nest in my soul.

Time to go upstairs, unwind, and spend some time meditating on truth.

Even things that sound good can sometimes be a lie, and we miss out on all the blessings around us.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; I do not give it to you as the world does."
John 14:27-28

Monday, December 10, 2007

Eureka! I've solved my laundry problem!

As many of you know, my biggest nemesis in the home has always been laundry. As a kid, the laundry would pile a foot high in my room. When I got married, I was more sophisticated - I used the guest bedroom! And now that I have three kids, it almost got to the point of complete chaos.

I tried many systems that work well for others. Doing a load a day, doing a certain color each day, doing it all one day and putting it away the next. Each system left me with piles and piles of clean laundry because the folding and putting away was the part my brain never learned. Then, the clothes that needed to be hung would get so wrinkled I'd have to rewash them. OR the other tragedy - I'd forget I had a load going and leave in the wash until it started to smell, and then I'd have to rewash it. I hate the "Re" word.

The last time I complained to my friends about laundry, I showed a picture of my entry way covered in dirty clothes, stacked 3-4 feet high. I was overwhelmed and frustrated, so I decided I wouldn't hide away from my laundry, I'd face my fear and tackle it head-on. That day I did all of the loads, probably a zillion or so, and didn't quit until everything was put away. Whew! I even did the random things like sweaters that I usually never wear because they sit in a "need to be done in a delicate wash" pile all winter.

Ever since then, that has been my system. On Mondays I do laundry - all day and night. I don't hide it when it is dry - I set it out in my family room so it stares at me in plain sight. Every time my dryer buzzes, I switch the load. Once it is all finished, usually after dinner, I gather the kids and we sort and put away all the laundry. Even mismatched socks must find a home and not linger in a laundry basket until next week.

I've hesitated posting about this success for fear it was a short-lived victory, but I'm proud to say I've been lovin' laundry for eight months! Hooray!

I love this system because I look at laundry only one day a week, on a day when I'm usually home, and I don't have to look or breath or smell or touch or think about my least favorite chore the rest of the week!

It may not work for you - since most of your systems don't work for me :) - but I'm so glad I no longer have this to complain about! And I'm sure you are too. Now... if only I can get my juicer to clean itself...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Nearly Free Dates

I love going on a date with my husband! Last night I was thinking, we are in such a great city, there should be dozens of nearly-free dates available. This takes creativity because it goes beyond dinner and a movie. (And a trip to Target - we always end up shopping at Target...) I made them nearly-free because you still might want to get a coffee, bring a picnic lunch, or get something for dinner. And then there's always the babysitter.

Speaking of, some friends of mine do monthly date night swaps. Twice a month one family watches the kids while the other couple goes out. I think it's brilliant! Especially if you don't have grandparents close by.

As I started brain storming, I realized that it was harder than I thought! That's where you come in - add your ideas to the comments! Here is the list so far:

Art Museum on Thursdays
Play Chess or another game at Starbucks
The Library
Walk around the mall, people watch
Make your own movie
Cook something new together

Hike at Cool Creek Park, or another park
Walk the Canal
Free Summer Concerts all over the place
Bike, Rollerblade, or walk the Monon
Play Tennis
Outdoor at the Art Museum

Ok, this needs some work! Ideas, please! :)