Monthly Archives: January 2013

Little Curly-Haired Boy

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Where did you go in such a hurry, Little Curly-Haired Boy?

Couldn’t you slow down and stay little just a little while longer?

More than anything else, I wanted to be a mom and twelve years ago you gave that gift to me. Because you were my first baby, sometimes you got the very best of me, but at other times, unfortunately  you got my worst.

I guess I’m still practicing on you as we go through each new stage together. Now you’re almost a teenager. Not only are you growing out of your clothes and shoes, you’re pushing against the boundaries that confined you as a little boy and trying to find the man you’ll one day be. Sometimes, because I love you and, though you may not believe it, know more than you, I have to push back when you want to travel down roads that wouldn’t be good paths for you to travel. But mostly I marvel at the great person you are. I’m so very proud of you even though I know I can’t take the credit for the Goodness that is in you.

I used to be in charge of all the minutes of your day because I was with you almost every minute of every day. I chose your clothes, your friends, even what you’d eat. Now I’m not with you all the time and you’re making more and more of those choices for yourself. I’m trusting that you will rely on the Goodness that is in you, the Keeper of your heart. I pray that you are allowing Him to order your steps and that as you become more independent of me, you’ll become more dependent on Him. As much as I love you, He loves you more.

I do love you. So very much. As we walk through this next season together, I pray that you will grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.

He has big plans for you, Little Curly-Haired Boy.

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Five Minute Friday: Cherished

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Before I start writing all willy-nilly for five minutes, a couple of things.

First, Kelly read my last Five Minute Friday post and told me that since our pool is a lap pool, if I try to dive into it, I would surely die or at the least, potentially cause great harm to myself. So if I learn to dive in 2013, it will not be in that pool. Good to know and I am really glad he reads my blog and keeps me (often) from doing crazy things that would not turn out nicely.

Second, I’m working hard to be more consistent in a lot of areas in my life and showing up here is on that list. It’s just that adding full-time teacher to my responsibilities when we decided to homeschool this year (not sure if I mentioned that) has put a major dent in my stack of free minutes, and that pile wasn’t overflowing to begin with. Just wanted you to know I’m trying and will hopefully get better. I appreciate those of you who still stop by to read.

So without further ado, I’m setting my timer for five minutes and I’m joining a bunch of other sweet bloggers at Tales From a Gypsy Mama to free flow write on the topic Lisa-Jo chose for us today. On my mark, get set…..

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Many minutes in my day I see their faces, but I don’t cherish them.

I hear their words, but I don’t let them sink into where I’m living in the middle of grocery lists and laundry piles and the next thing I can cross off on my To Do List.

I think about being “intentional,” but quite honestly, in the busyness of Wednesday, I let a lot of minutes slip on by in my hurry to get to the time written on my calendar. The place we have to be. The activity we have to attend.

But then there are moments I remember to cherish.

The way her sweet, angelic face beamed when I remembered to tell her how much I appreciated how I could trust her word. She needs to hear those words from me.

The grin he gave when I snuggled beside him on the couch to work his tangram puzzle with him. I need to remember that snuggling is his love language.

The very detailed story he told when I actually listened and with my body language told him I was interested and wanted to hear more. He’s not that far from being a teenager and I’m not guaranteed I’m always going to be the one he wants to tell his stories to.

The way we sat on the couch together wrapped up in one blanket holding hands. Sometimes I need to be reminded that we are still on the longest date of our lives. I don’t always remember to treat him like my boyfriend.

The sunsets this week that I stopped and savored. I’m so thankful for my life and where God has allowed us to be. I work very hard to savor every experience of this season.

The minutes this morning when I dug deeper under my blanket and deeper into God’s Word. I’ve been so inconsistent in my times with my Father, but I’ve been working on that this month. And I’m starting to feel a little closer to God again.

After she’s written a personal note to each member of her immediate family, Karen Kingsbury always closes the dedications of her books the same way:

“And to God Almighty, the Author of Life who has — for now — blessed me with these.”

I think it’s the “for now” that gets me, because I know firsthand how short “for now” can be. But it’s a reminder to me to cherish the faces, the words, the touches, the moments together and to let those I love know how very cherished they are to me.

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Super Center Savior

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I have a love-hate relationship with Walmart Super Centers. I love them for their low prices and convenience. I think the millions of people who shop at Walmart every week would agree with me. I think it’s the millions of shoppers who agree with me who contribute to the “hate” part of my relationship with Walmart. There’s nothing like shopping for ketchup and laundry detergent with a few hundred of your closest, pajama-pant-wearing, snotty-nosed-kid-toting, flu-carrying friends. Like it or not, Walmart is a major part of the American way of life. But until I read my friend Jeff Noble‘s book Super Center SaviorI had never noticed how much my neighborhood Walmart has in common with my neighborhood church.

Before I tell you about the book, let me give you a little background on Jeff. I met Jeff and his wife Carolyn when were all students at Ouachita Baptist University. Jeff was the first person to put the idea of blogging into my head even before I decided to follow Carpool Queen into the murky waters of blogdom. I have guest posted on his blog and he thanked me by posting an embarrassing picture of us on a TWIRP* date (a Sadie Hawkins kind of thing we did at OBU). That’s the kind of friend Jeff Noble is. Oh, I kid.  I felt honored when he asked me to preview his book last summer, but we were in the process of a crazy move and as much as I wanted to read the book when it was just a baby, I just couldn’t fit it into my days or nights. So, I didn’t get to read Super Center Savior until it was all grown up into a real-life book.

Jeff is a pastor with a shepherd’s heart, so initially I thought this book would be geared towards ministers, but really, this book is just as informative to anyone who has (or even wants) a relationship with Jesus. That’s not to say that this book doesn’t have lots to say to those to whom God has entrusted the day-to-day ministry of the local church. In fact, I was amazed at how well Jeff relayed his message to both those who serve the church as an occupational calling and those who may only be weekend attenders. It’s hard to communicate effectively to multiple audiences, but Jeff has done that masterfully in this book.

I think what I love most about this book is its practical application supported by God’s Word. But this isn’t stuffy, over-your-head theology. Even if you’ve never met Jeff, if you read this book you would feel like you were sitting across a table from him at a Starbucks, talking about living life between Sundays in the places God put us to represent Him. I certainly didn’t feel like Jeff was preaching at me, but in several chapters I identified ways that I’m missing out on living out my relationship with Jesus.

For example, in one example where the church has more in common with Walmart than it should, he talks about how sometimes, like Walmart, the church offers us a lot more than we need. Of course we are to use our gifts to serve in the church, but this statement struck a chord: “If you’re consistently involved in the activities and ministries of your church but not in your community, you may be attempting to meet your own religious needs rather than the needs of others.” Later in another chapter he says, “Life is lived 24 hours a day. Let’s get out there and live it with people rather than with the version of Christianity that allows us to go ‘to’ church and then go home without interaction with people that don’t know God.” I’ve thought about it and I realized that I have very little interaction on a daily basis with people who don’t think like me and live like me. I’m too busy going from good thing to good thing to stop and see the ministry opportunities when my life intersects with other people that may need a kind word, a prayer, or even just eye contact. I’m frantically doing life, but I often forget that the reason I’m still here on Planet Earth is to represent Jesus to the people God puts in my day.

This would be a great book to read through with your spouse or another friend or in a small group setting. I highlighted lots of good stuff that I’d love to flesh out with some friends. Jeff even mentioned some other books that I now want to read to add even more to the discussion he initiated. I feel like Jeff started the conversation, but left plenty of room for us to add our voices. Kind of like a brainstorming session where the capital “C” Church gets together to talk about how we can better do little “c” church to make it better represent what Jesus had in mind when he entrusted it to His best friends. How have we followed in the disciples’ footsteps and where have we gone off the trail? How do we tear down the walls of our church that keep us looking inward to make ourselves available to those who need what we have the most? I think Super Center Savior offers some great insight on how to begin answering those questions.  And if you’d like to connect with Jeff, he blogs regularly at www.journeyguy.com and I know him well enough to know he’d be more than happy to interact with you. Although I would be careful about giving him access to any embarrassing big-hair college pictures that you don’t want the world to see.

 

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Five Minute Friday: Dive

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I never learned how to do a dive properly. I told myself I couldn’t. I wasn’t brave enough. I wasn’t graceful enough.

One summer when I was young, my next door neighbor tried to teach me how to dive. I would watch her closely, trying to memorize her form. Arms arched gracely above her head, fingers overlapping. Body curved, head down, she gripped the edge of the pool with her toes. With hardly a splash, she entered the water and surfaced with a smile, inviting me to follow her lead. That summer I mastered the cannon ball and belly flop, but I never learned how to do a proper dive. It just wasn’t in me.

Sometimes I’m the same way about my life. I watch from the shallow end where I sit with my legs dangling in the water. Close enough to feel the splash from those who dared to go deeper, but not part of the pool party.

But some days I’m different. Maybe now that I’m in my forties I’m finally becoming more comfortable with who I am. Maybe I’m not as afraid of mistakes or messiness or even failure as I was when life seemed more like a perfect piece of white paper I was afraid I would mess up with my childish scribblings.

Lately I’ve been bolder. I used to wait until someone gave me permission or at least invited me to try something new. But on a few occasions, I’ve been the one to offer my services. I am starting to trust myself to know what might be in me better than others.  Life’s too short not to try the things that scare me. I don’t want to wonder what might have happened if I knocked on few doors rather than wait for someone to open them all for me. I’m learning to trust  I have more of God inside of me than I’ve allowed the world to see.

For this season, I live in a house that has a pool in the backyard. Maybe 2013 will be the year I finally learn how to do a proper dive.IMG_1079

Today I’m participating in Five Minute Friday with THE GYPSY MAMA.  On Fridays, Lisa-Jo offers a prompt and participants write for five minutes without editing or worrying that every word is perfect and every sentence grammatically correct. Take a look at what she and other bloggers did with today’s prompt.

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