Thursday, June 13, 2013

Who Are You Listening To?

This post is born out of my need to check myself - who am I listening to?

I'm not talking about actually listening to music or sermons. Mostly, what voices pop into my head when making a decision, when living life. The voice of fear "what if I fail", "what will others think of me"? The voice of default "it's always done this way, don't change it up"?, the voice of discouragement "you will never amount to anything", "you are not worth much"?

I think the greatest hindrance to obeying the Holy Spirit is not our inability to hear Him, but letting the other opinions (untruths) skew our path. For those who have followed Christ for a long time, it may be the opinion of other Christians you hold in high regard. For the new, it could be our past that does not let to easily, the voices that tell us we cannot change, you will not be able to break the cycle of sin. Praise God we can do NOTHING on our own, Christ already paid the debt, and He continually quickens us in His ways. So He not only initially saves, but redeems and sustains. He does not leave us as orphans. We have the Holy Spirit, always with us, speaking Gods Truth in our hearts.

And even as I write that, I know I don't always live on that Truth.

Instead, I think, what will others think of me? Will they look down on our family's choices? Will I look foolish? Will I appear a failure? Will I appear not committed? Sometimes it's like being a teenager all over again. The insecurity, the need for acceptance, the awkwardness of being different, or discomfort of maybe sticking out.

For me, this concerns a certain decision having to do with homeschooling. It's not a huge one, but it could be. Others could view my decision as something else, but I know it's a wise one. The Lord put it on my heart a while ago. And I need to follow through because its what's best for my kids, so thankful my husband is on board and he's my biggest supporter. So grateful he listens to me with ears wide open, no judgment, no condemnation.

It really helps to have someone like that in your life. Someone to lean on. Someone you know who is not easily swayed by what others think.

Next time you need to make a decision and you ask yourself "what will others think"...remember- what has God called you to? Can you not trust Him that He will see it through? He is big enough to handle it. And the purpose is to bring Him glory anyway, not maintain our 'good reputation'.

People are masters at making us feel weird for making a choice that goes against the flow, but they are wimps. Yes, it's dumb to make waves just to make a personal statement, but when we are doing it for the best cause ever, Jesus, there's not need to second guess.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

5:30 was my wake up this morning. Amazingly, I felt very rested. So I got up and watered my lawn and flowers. What a beautiful morning. The birds chirping, the heat from yesterday still hanging in the air.

I am trying to decide what I'll do with my girls today. Of course, we must do school, but I am also thinking we will go get some more things for our yard. A pot, a bench, a bird bath. I also need some sunglasses, so we'll likely stop at Target. Hm. Maybe it will be just a casual outing after all. I may reward their patience during Mommy's shopping with a trip to the park.

Funny Brilla saying for the week: She told her friend as they entered our garage (aka "the pit", there is so much junk in there) "We have a lot of stuff in our garage, we're rich." it.

Her friend wanted to know if we really were rich, hence how us moms both found out what Brilla said. Kids are fantastic.

I know where she's going with the whole "rich" thing. I know my daughters mind. Though she's only six, she is a deep thinker, and some times blows me away. After listening to Crazy Love (Francis Chan), we came to the conclusion that compared to a lot of people in poor countries, and even the USA, we are rich. We have a place to call home, we can afford the mortgage, heat, food and clothing. (Like, out of this world amounts of clothing.) We have always told Brilla we are very rich because God has given us everything we need, plus our wants from time to time. And that we should be so thankful for all He has given, we want to share all we have with others. Nothing is ours, it's all Gods, and He lends it to us for a time.

So, yes we ARE rich. We have beyond everything we could ask for or think up! As God as our ultimate Provider and gift-giver, we lack for nothing. Never have, never will.

 I need to remember this when I am in a funk. Often it's our worldly mindset that gets us thinking we don't have enough or need what we don't. God is gracious, he doesn't slap us upside the head for that kind of thinking (well not usually). Instead He graciously reveals Himself, gently prods. He knocks until we open.

I need to remember the simple faith of my six-year-old.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

This afternoon is lazy. These days are rare and I am soaking it up. The sun out gives extra reason to be happy.

Brilla is out playing with her friends and the littles are napping. And silence from Mike means he's catching winks too.

I got some gardening/yard work done earlier this morning. A friend also came over and offered to mow our lawn while Mike did some business-related things. Very kind.

Did I mention I have completed my yard?? Yes! All done. It took the average of four weeks, and I still have a few things I want to do, but it is mostly finished. I still want to purchase a couple pots, bench, and other foofy things, but all the weeding, topsoil, and bark processes are done, as well as flowers planted. It looks so nice that today I have been laying out on the grass, reading a book, enjoying it. In fact, just came in because I was getting too hot.

I have photos, but alas, I don't know how to connect them from my tablet. Hm, will have to work on that.

I just got back from a trip down to sunny (and smoggy) Los Angeles. Give me sun, though, and I'm not a huge complainer. It was in the 70s with slight wind. Perfect. My cousin got married to the boy she's been dating since high school! Ten years of dating is a long time! They are a very cute couple and I wish them the best.

I didn't take a ton of photos. I was busy chatting with my cousins (I have 33) or catching up with my aunts and uncles.

The first day was wonderful. I got to fly without children! So nice to not have luggage too. I did make the mistake of sitting in front of a family with older kids. You don't expect the older ones to be loud (we are talking ages 10-14) but they were. They sounded like they were riding an amusement park ride. Several hoots and hollers throughout the trip!

I was grateful that my Uncle Gil invited me to his home for home-cooked fare because I was ravenous! He is an excellent chef. He made sea bass, Mongolian beef, cucumber and kale salad, and beef tenderloin steaks. All topped off with rice! The Filipino way :)

So thankful I have such hospitable family in Southern CA, not all families are like that. In fact, I'm finding it's rare.

I helped out with decorating the ballroom but did precious little in the grand scheme of things. The theme was Disney since both Nick & Steff love all things Disney. There was even Disney theme music throughout the reception. Loved it. Black and purple. Old Hollywood themed dresses and tuxes. Almost a rocker chick/stud look.

Dancing was fun, though I missed not having Mike to sway and be-bop with. Of course, we don't have great moves. But we still love dancing. If we could do it all over again, we would have had dancing at our wedding.

I tried champagne for the first time. I don't like it. It's bitter. Or maybe I'm just a novice and have to get used to the taste of alcohol. For what it's worth, I think I much prefer the taste of sparkling juice and will stick with that. I have a hard enough time watching my calories as it is. I did not grow up with my parents drinking wine or much alcohol on a regular basis. I did hear them having it while out on dates, but never in the home. Mike's parents did not have alcohol in the home ever, period. So before you think us prudes, we simply did not grow up around it and that is why we don't drink. We have made a personal decision to not casually drink, but not because we look down on others who do.   We really are not interested in the stuff.

The older I grow, the more I realize how important relationships are. They were (are) important to Jesus, and I think it's inborn in each of us to want close relationships with others. Especially since we're made in God's image. I care deeply for my family and found simple happiness in catching up with each one of them. If I could sum up the best part of this trip to Nick & Steffie's wedding, it would be that. Getting to know those most closely connected with me.

As always, it feels grand to be home again. I enjoy getting back on schedule. I'm weird like that, just my personality. Though in another month or two, I will need another break :) Maybe that will be the time for us to go on a day trip.

I hear those in the Midwest are all done with school. Wish that was the m.o. on the West Coast. Nope, we have another couple weeks left. Really, we are home schooled and can finish anytime we please. Still have quite a few ends to tie, however. Brilla has a Science project presentation to give this Monday, and Latin continues until the end of the month. But we should be done with everything else by June 12.