Friday, February 25, 2011

My Soapbox on the Social Network

There are two kinds of people on facebook...those who use it as a purely social avenue, and those who use it as a soapbox of their political opinions. I will admit, I have worn both sets of shoes. But when I slip into the soapbox slippers, it affects me outside of the cyber realm. An opposing comment or a post that completely attacks my belief, can get under my skin and bug, bug, bug me.

In this information age, it is so easy to feel like you must contribute to the information...and if you feel passionately about something, you feel it is your duty to inform the misinformed, persuade the opposition, and stand up for what is right.

The problem for me is, when I have allowed myself to bear the burden of changing the minds of others, I get too emotionally caught up, too offended, too worried that my words aren't being "read" properly...and in the end, I run the risk of losing credibility with the very people I should be praying for and reaching out too.

Something that has surprised me lately, is how much I have felt like I need to guard my eyes when I get on facebook...not just from opinions that tick me off, but from advocates for issues I agree with... it is not right to always dwell on the negative, the unjust, the darkness...

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Sometimes I just need to guard my heart. I'm not always ready to be slammed with the stuff of life that can depress my soul. I have found that I need this self-preservation in order to be effective in my reality, in my God-given tasks...if I can avoid spiraling into the dark realm of hopelessness and constant witnessing of dark triumphs, I am more effective in the place God has me. And I can embrace the noteworthy, the lovely, and step ahead in faith, changing the world that way.

I am beginning to realize there is another way to fight the wolves out there, but it's not the in your face approach for me anymore. I have a BIG GOD and He has BIG PLANS. And even though I am far from a great example, if I can be the hands and feet of Christ-- raise my children as awesome men (and woman :) ) along God's path, support the just institutions, those who are actually DOING something and not just preaching it, then I don't think slipping into those soapbox shoes on a social network is necessary...Christ was among the people, living with them, LOVING them...not behind some screen...talking to people He may never see face to face, arguing with those He doesn't even know, really.

And while I am sure I will post something I am passionate about at some point again (especially during the election season), I'll think twice, because as much as I can justify that I am informing the misinformed...I am also risking the chance of ticking them off and losing their connection. What if I am the only Christ follower connection they have? Is it worth it?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

You Don't Have to Cook!

My husband took a "quick" business trip to Europe this past week-- 5 days. If you told me he was going to do this a few years ago, I would have fought it tooth and nail, not just because I am 8 months pregnant, but because I despise being the only adult in the house, and single parenting.
A lot of my whining was from fear. It's funny, because this has been brought up a lot in my current Bible study, and I am realizing my old fears aren't unique to me, and a lot of women struggle with it. I look back, and after about 8 years of resisting each business trip...and making my husband's life miserable in the process...and, with the help of a lot of prayer, listening to Beth Moore, and having some stellar mommy friends as examples of adjusting quite nicely to traveling husbands...I took a giant faith step trusting God to get me through.
Instead of living in "survival mode" the days he was gone, I started to continue with life as normal, and enjoying each moment with my kids, friends, and in my daily routine, as if he was going to show up for dinner that evening....which leads me to my biggest reason for blogging this...the ONE and ONLY great thing about a traveling husband....

You don't have to cook! :)

Peanut butter and jelly, chicken nuggets, crackers and cheese, fruit, and veggies with Ranch...oh, and LOTS of cereal consumption makes for a less-stressed single mom, and a pretty decent kitchen!

All this being said, I am so thankful that his job doesn't require travel except on occasion, because now I see it affects my boys more than me. They miss their daddy. And this morning when they asked when he would be home and I told them, they gave a round of applause.
Those boys love their daddy!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Sunshine Soup for the Parent's Soul

One of our many hikes this summer.

We have been in such a funk. 

Back in October my husband and I made the ultimate decision of parents with school age children-- to stop all extra-cirricular (how the heck do you spell that word??) activities in the name of family time and our own sanity! It happened smoothly, since my 6 year old was burnt out on swimming lessons after 9 months of perfecting the backstroke, and flag football was ending...
That first week with absolutely no rushed dinners or evening chaos was delightful!

It's been this three months, and just this past month I have felt the repercussions of such a decision. 


Ugh, I said it! I hate that saying, I hate it when my kids say it, but I must admit, our evenings are getting pretty monotonous ...and I am tackling the guilt monster of not having the energy or desire to come up with fun family activities.
                                     boosted my spirits and I realized it wasn't all on our shoulders as parents.

It was 60 degrees, snow melted, and the entire town was out running, biking, playing basketball, throwing baseballs, walking dogs...and our little clan was in the midst of it. I breathed easy knowing my boys were having a full fun afternoon, and I wasn't required to come up with something to entertain them from the end of school to bedtime.

My boys love the outdoors!

We love our neighborhood! 

And we LOOOOOVE sunshine!

We are definitely an outdoor family, hence our many camping trips over the summer, and our love of get-aways that explore nature's beauty (ahem...the beach!)
My 6 year old was reveling in the breeze pouring into the car and said,

"I wish they made a perfume that smelled like that!" Exactly!

So with soccer and baseball season happily around the corner, I am excited to say we are venturing back into organized activities for the boys. 
We did enjoy our slow time....for a while...we had many times of feeling like a family hanging out together in the living room, being goofy, not feeling rushed...but after the long winter, I am ready for some more running around again!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Baking Stage Fright

My poor attempt to "dress up" the crispy cookies
 I try to bake. And I do a decent job at it when it's just for us. But tell me I have to bake for a group of people, even if they're kindergartners, and I will inevitably fail.
I guess I have baking stage fright.
It's funny, but other challenging things in my life, don't have this same effect. Right now I am in the middle of submitting for a writer's contest, and the challenge of it doesn't scare me, but pushes me to do my absolute best. I wish I could take some of that drive for the simple things in life, like baking a dozen cookies for 6 year olds. But I guess it's good to spend that energy on my dreams, and the money on some nifty bakery-made cookies that I'll place on my own platter :)!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Very Blessed Soon-to-be Newcomer!

Appropriately hanging in the nursery

The baby has been moving tremendously this past week. Most the time, I can decipher knees, feet, fists, and a bottom.
The most exciting time though, is when my boys have the chance to feel their baby sister move around.
I love watching their eyes light up and smile. My four year old is exceptionally anxious...
"I can't wait until she comes!" 
My little boys may be rough and tumble (after a tackling match between the older two just this six year old sports a bright red cast for his broken arm!)
...But they have hearts the size of Texas, and love babies. 
Their little sister will be very, very blessed!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Like A Weaned Child

Surely I have composed and quieted my soul;
Like a weaned child rests against his mother,
My soul is like a weaned child within me.
Psalm 131:2
Oh how I love God's Word when it touches my mother-heart, after all, He designed it, right? I remember when I was nursing, I couldn't hold my babies against me and cuddle them. They would inevitably smell the milk, and route around frantically, knowing sustenance, or just plain ol' comfort, was near. Their little mission would be single-minded, to satisfy the strong desire to suck and fill up their growing bellies. 
But then, once they grew up, and I knew as their mother, it was time to wean--wrestling to gently take away the milk, but firmly persist through the night long battles and the stubborn child throwing his sippy cup across the room-- my heart wrenched at the end of such a precious season of providing everything for my baby. 
It was only when the battle was over, the will of the child finally lined up with my own, that I reaped the joy of the weaned child's head resting peacefully upon my chest, with no natural instinct telling him to be close to his mother's bosom for food, but to rest in his mother's bosom for love and comfort. It is a wonderful perk as a woman, to know you are needed by an older baby, even if you have nothing but a dry, warm place to offer.
The Lord has reminded me today, as I read through the Psalms of Ascent (Ps. 120-134), of my journey with Him using such a personal analogy in the Psalm above.
I remember when I first hungered for the Word of God. It was an insatiable striving to gather knowledge, regardless of comprehension, without resting in Him. I was infantile in so many ways- spitting up the words in a foolish way, desperately returning to His Word without completely digesting what He was trying to tell me in the first place.
But soon, I caught myself understanding, I felt His hands guiding me towards a more mature relationship with Him, and I knew it was time for me to stop needing and grasping, but to just rest and listen. He has equipped me to go out and walk, explore, live life, but always, I can come back and rest in Him.
For my soul to rest against my Father's chest, like a weaned child, with no selfish intentions, just perfect contentment knowing I am loved and cared for, is such an honor as a child of God. Of course, I will always need His Word, and I will seek it, just as a child needs his food, but I will rest in knowing I have my strong tower, I have my mighty chest to lean upon even when I'm not hungry.