Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Please read THIS. It's a reminder of Truth (and Grace).

It seems as soon as I think of something good to write, it takes wings and disappears once I sit down to write.

Oh well.

Compromise - it's usually seen as a bad thing, like "compromising your standards". But the last 8 years of my life I have realized compromise can be a good thing, too. It's the thing that keeps a balanced life. It helps me roll with the punches when something is not, in the grand scheme of things, necessary (though it may be in my mind). The good kind of compromise keeps others' benefit in mind. It doesn't insist upon its own will all the time.

Really, what helps the believer live a well-balanced, compromised life, is the habit of surrender. Surrendering to the Holy Spirit's voice. I hear it, but so often, the noise my own heart or this world shuts it out. Or I've been in the practice so long of doing what I want, I just can't and don't want to. Sometimes when I think something has to be done a certain way, I learn to reevaluate. Listen to the Spirit. He's talking, I just need to listen and surrender.

Compromise or surrender might not seem like a big deal. But it's the little seeds that grow the tree. It's what led us to the church we are at right now. It's what led us to home school. It's vital to our marriage. It's survival in the journey of parenting. It's the unseen glue in friendship.

If only I could compromise, or surrender, best in family relationships. After all, those are the people God has specifically planted in my life. They know me best, they love me best. But they are so close that responding to each other becomes so ordinary, so grey. So hateful and unloving. I really think these are the ones that will shape me. Mold me into Christ-likeness. Surrendering to their needs and not mine will do a world of good. Do I hear the Spirit's voice when I am about to defend myself? Do I hear Him when there is laundry, food to cook, dishes to clean, and I have screaming children? How about when I am angry? Do I just let open the floodgates or do I surrender? Hmm. Loving those who could hurt us the most is hard, but it is also the road to joy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Whole New World

Growing up, I LOVED to read. I don't know how this hobby started. I'm convinced it's not completely conjured up by parents, but can just happen. Neither of my parents were avid readers and still are not to this day. My youngest brother started reading at age 2 and adores piles of books, but the middle brother, didn't pick up a single one - yet he's a mechanical engineer major, currently helping write calculus books. Go figure.

Do you remember some of these reads?

  • Mandie books
  • Encyclopedia Brown
  • Babysitters Club
  • Sweet Valley Twins
  • Trixie Beldin
  • Dana Sisters
I remember an instance where I was longing for several books in our school's book fair catalog. Someone had recently given me the Anne of Green Gables series. My mom told me I needed to finish the first book before buying anything new. It looked so thick and boring! Such disappointment! I have both a stubborn and determined nature. What did I do? Threw the Anne book away and close to promised I'd never open it again. But my determined nature got the best of me and I picked that book back out of the trash can and finished it by the end of the week. Two things happened: I got to order new reads, and found a new love for Miss Anne Shirley! Ended up not reading those other books for a couple months because of a fictional plot taking place on Prince Edward Island. To this day, I am smitten with the Anne books. I look forward to reading them with my daughters.

I have caught the bug again. It doesn't usually hit until about mid-October, when Fall starts reappearing. I am into books like fleas on fruit (and that's a very real simile right now). Since finishing Lies Women Believe by DeMoss, I have started The Pursuit of God by Tozer. It's the Christian classic that all have read except for me. It has been on my shelf for ages and am just now diving in. So impacting. Kind of like C.S. Lewis, in that I have to pause in between paragraphs to fully grasp the message. I admire writing like that, but more importantly, I am impacted by the content. Just finished chapter two, The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing, and feel that it should have gone on and on. Succinct, yet it often takes years to apply. Doesn't have to take years, I remind myself.

Another current read of mine is a secular novel, How to Eat a Cupcake. It first appears as quick, shallow fiction, and there are a couple spots to skip over here and there. But for the most part, it is about two friends who have a bitter past, coming together again. Meg Donahue gives the characters depth and keeps the reader intrigued. Who doesn't like a book with 'cupcake' in the title?

Here are some books I'm looking forward to...

Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus
Boundaries with Kids Participant's Guide

The Apothecary's Daughter
Our library system is amazing. It has almost every book out there. You are able to put any book or video on hold and have it transferred to the nearest branch. And you can renew the item twice. Unless I need a home school guide, devotional or cook book, or something for months on end, why buy?

This year (like last year), we entered the reading club. Well, it's really hard to record the minutes we read because they are so haphazard. We don't have scheduled reading time in the summer. Maybe during the school season, but there's no reading club then. I have decided we aren't doing the reading club again until the girls are old enough to track their own minutes and read on their own. It's too much hassle and makes it a chore!

My middle girl is in love with the library! She now knows how to be quiet/ the consequence of not doing it. She lights up like a firefly when we arrive! She gets so excited and always gravitates to the Peter Rabbit books first. Then she meanders to the board books. She even likes the ones without pictures, which she "pretend-reads". Love this age.

I am convinced that introducing books to your children opens up a whole new world.

Friday, August 10, 2012

I've Been Wanting

...to read my book on the back deck in the sun, but I still have laundry to fold.

...to fold my laundry but keep getting distracted by the internet.

...to clean my bathroom, wash laundry and wash my dishes! I did it by noon today!

...to sleep in. I got to! 8:30 was the amazing wake time for today.

...to go grocery shopping, but I can't because it's nap time.

...to go on a relaxing vacation that included sunshine and sand. I just got back from a vacation such as this
   one on Wednesday!

To record that wonderful vacation:

Day One: We met our goal of leaving before 8 a.m. My niece rode with us and helped out with the girls. Mike's sister is so nice in letting us use her Honda Odyssey to travel, while she transports the boat with their truck. That Odyssey has a ton of room! We stopped in Issaquah to have our McDonald's breakfast. We got donuts at QFC to boot. Hey, we're on vacation. Stopped in Ritzville for some tacos, then espresso. Can you say caramel macchiato? Yum. We finally arrived in Spokane and spent about an hour there. Had to shop at Costco (food for a whole cabin full of family), Safeway (more groceries), Target (first aid stuff), TJ Maxx (for me) and Sports Authority (for me too). Finally found the water sandals I was looking for at Sports Authority! After about 1 1/2 hrs, we finally left again for Priest Lake. Almost to Priest Lake, we stopped at Korner Klub for dinner, where we had great pizza. 8:30 p.m. was our official arrival time!

Day Two: Girls got to bed late and we did too, so didn't get enough sleep. However, sleep we did get was sweet. Eggs, toast and fruit for breakfast! People don't understand why we don't serve the kids first? So parents can relax while we eat! I do think as soon as the kids can serve themselves, they eat after adults, but until then...that's the reasonable order. Ever have to explain this to anyone? Got to meet Mike's cousin Bjorn and his family - girl friend Mollie and baby Olive (10 months?) It's been 5 years! Cousin Loren was there too. He is all grown up (24), just like my brother Brian! Wow, time flies. We all swam in the beautiful, clean and warm lake water. Brilla is a fish, she dove in and didn't get out all day. She spent the other part of her time building sand castles. I cooked dinner for everyone (with some help): tilapia, corn, zucchini, and grean beans. I forgot the potatoes. Dessert was Pop Tarts :)

Day Three: Michelle made breakfast crepes for everyone! Swedish pancakes with berries, cream cheese filling, peanut butter and whipped cream to put inside. Bjorn and Mollie also brough back Tully's coffee for everyone. It hit the spot. Went swimming again! After lunch, Mike, me and girlies headed out on our boat, going the entirety of Priest Lake. Thoroughly enjoyed looking at the homes and beaches. After that, sat on the beach, tanned and read a book. Went and played volleyball on the beach. Like my favorite thing to do. Then, went swimming again with Mike and Brilla. For dinner, we all packed in the cars and went to Millie's for absolutely delicious gourmet pizza. I loved the artichoke (had bacon, feta and of course artichoes with a drizzle of honey), but each kind was fabulous. Lounged and watched the Olympics on huge TVs. Went home and slept like babies.

Day Four: I woke up early, fed the girls breakfast. Then Reese and I went on a walk along the lakefront for a couple miles. God's beautiful creation astounded me and I couldn't help stopping to thank him for His beauty and majesty. Came back in time to walk to Elkin's and get myself an iced Americano. Perfect for an already warm morning. Watched the kiddos play some more at the beach while I read my book and sunned myself. My dear friend Julie and her newly married brother Matt, with his bride, Anne, came to visit for the evening. There was more swimming and lots of talking. We had dinner at Elkin's that night. Expensive but high quality. I had the Alaskan Halibut (just like the kind my generous neighbor Jeff brought over a few weeks ago-caught it himself!). Mike had the New York steak. No dessert because we were stuffed. Not to worry, had cinnamon rolls from Costco when we got back. Said farewell to our dear friends then put the exhausted children to bed. Stayed up super late and got to hear an amazing sailing story from Bjorn and Mollie. Mollie is the director of a Sailing School/Club in Sausilito, CA. I was blown away by their experiences. Wow.

Day Five: I do not want to leave and neither do Mike and the kids, but we pack up and leave anyway :( Of course, I get my Americano first. Mike takes the girls to the beach for a last hurrah in the sand and on the swing. We say good-bye to everyone, knowing it will be a whole year until we see them again. This time, we take the truck home, with our three girls in the back. It's fun to be so high off the ground, but feels like our Camry in that there's no room to spare in the cab. We stop in Spokane for lunch. Then make it all the way to the Columbia gorge before a bathroom stop. We stop in Ritzville for another potty break and to switch drivers/feed Reese. We have a fun detour through the Cle Elum/Roslyn area to see the Suncadia area. Mike was asked to build homes there. He would have to commute only on the weekends, so that would be a big job - great for the company, just a little hard on the family. But if it guarantees work, we are up for it! The area is beautiful. But the resort is pricey. We actually go inside Taco Time to eat our dinner. Their fish tacos are great. The girls laugh and enjoy the break. We make it home by 8:30 bed time! It feels so good to be in our own beds/crib. Thank goodness we cleaned up before leaving...don't like coming home to disaster. We lug in the luggage and sack out on the couch. 

Currently, we are recovered from the trip (everything is put away!), catching up on sleep and doing laundry. But we are heartsick for the lake! We miss it!