Maybe More Tears than Therapy

My family may begin to think I’m crazy as I sit at my computer typing today…it’s sure to result in tears…maybe even the ugly cry.  But I need a little written therapy.

A little background:

I’ve moved a LOT in my life thus far.  I never spent more than 3 years at a single school while growing up.  I’ve made lots of friends in my 36 years.  I won’t say I’ve lost them all, but a good many I haven’t spoken to since the day we moved.  That’s how it usually goes, right?  You have those rare experiences when you’ll do your very best to keep in touch, but it just fades as life goes on.  I can honestly say that I’ve not been able to keep that super-close friend relationship beyond a move.  You know, the one where a single week doesn’t go by without one of the two purposing to get in touch…even if just to say the word “hi”. (Or in this day and age, a simple smiley text…or crazy-stupid selfie that only friends appreciate…and promise never to share.)  It’s not for lack of trying on either person’s part, life just goes on.

Here lies my fear.

Over the last few days, I’ve had tears building up…some sneaking out…over this fear.

When we started seminary 5 years ago, I remember hearing alumni tell of the friends they made while in seminary & how the friendships have lasted over years of ministry.  My excitement was off the charts.  I could NOT wait to meet this lady or ladies.  And I did make many friends during our time there, but still none of these were the “no matter what” type.  You know…those kind of friendships where you are truly family.  Invites aren’t needed, they are assumed.  Doors are always open.  The ones who can read right through your vague “things are great” facebook posts and know that things are really not great and immediately pick up the phone.

My hubby and I had many friendships built around our kids, and we honestly treasure each one of those.  Prayer warriors indeed.  But no matter how much we prayed and searched, that friendship eluded us.  We joked about our friendship curse.  It seemed that every time we would build a relationship with a couple & invited them over for fellowship…they would move.  (And most of the time that happened…seriously.) :)  Not that we took it personally, that was just the life at seminary.  Ministry calls. :)

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It was during our last year there that we finally met that family.  Our kids had played together for a while, but we’d only casually talked.  It was a slow growing friendship, but it has become a great one.  It has become the one that I was told about during my first days at seminary.

When we were called to ministry a year and a half ago, I thought that move was tough.  In my experience, 2 hours away has been just far enough for friendships to fizzle away.  But this time was different.

Good friendships (and ANY relationship) are a two way street.  If both parties are willing to work at it, they endure.  What a concept!?  ;)

It has been a great year and a half, continuing to grow this friendship!  I thank God every day for it!

(Little note…my family have all left the room…and this is probably divine intervention at this point.)  **read as “tears are flowing”**

In just a few weeks, our friends are moving,  short 14 hour drive away.

And here returns my fears from years and years of good-byes.  My heart & head knows this friendship is different from every other, but it still doesn’t make it easier.

I anticipate many days of tears between now and then…and after, if I’m honest with myself.  I find myself pouring over my calendar to see just how many days we possibly get together before then.  There aren’t many.

I’m am so excited for them.  Really!  I can’t wait to hear what God is doing through this wonderful little family!

My heart is just selfish. ;)

So with that, I’ll say:  Thanks guys!  You are truly God-sent friends.  We can make 14 hours work, I know it.   I can’t promise I’ll be able to hold back the tears when we come to help you pack. Love ya!

-De

Why I’m Not a Reader

It’s mommy confession time my friends.  I’m married to an author, yet I’m not an avid reader.  People don’t get this about me.

Well let me tell you why I don’t read very often…

I LOVE READING!!!

There.  Is that a good enough reason for you?  Are you laughing at my insanity?  (It’s okay.  I’m laughing a bit myself.)

Let me ‘splain. No there is too much, let me sum up.

When I read, as I’m sure many of you do, I enter into a little bubble world where I am engulfed in the setting of the book.  The characters are real people. Friends. Enemies. I am an onlooker, with a personal window into these beautiful worlds.  I get lost there.  I allow the windows of my imagination to open and distant worlds flood my brain.

And then…just as soon as all is well and established in this world…and usually in a moment of intensity…

“Mommy!” interrupted

*World dissolves.  Friends disappear.*

It never fails.

According to my hubby, this moment is almost as bad as waking me from a deep sleep.  You never know what may happen.  You never know what may be said. :)

talktomeSo, this is why.  As much as I love reading, I just can’t escape into that world very often…at this point in life.  I want to appreciate all of the beautiful artwork (also known as scribbles on used paper) that my children are proud of and I must see at any particular moment.  I want them to tell me all the brilliant ideas they’ve come up with.  Without accidentally snapping at them for interrupting my world.  Most of all, I want them to read…and I feel that me getting grumpy while reading will hinder that.

I’m working on it.  I recently started re-reading my hubby’s book in the evenings, rather than watching meaningless tv to fill the time between dinner and bedtime.  Modelling reading as important & not being snippy when disturbed.  (It helps that I’ve read the book before.)

Be blessed!

-De

Revelations on a Sick Day

So, I’ve found myself bundled on the couch today, drinking plenty fluids, getting rest to fight off this cold, and watching a good bit of TV. This is not normal behavior for me, but even reading a book seems an exhausting concept for how I’ve felt.
Today I’ve had a revelation. We’ll, maybe not a true revelation because I’ve seen this for a while, but today I was overwhelmed with it. Anyway, back to this revelation. I can sum up many of the problems in our society with one word: MORE.

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When did consumerism take over? When did it really become necessary to have the newest & best?
I hate when I catch myself getting caught up in it. We all do it. Example…I’m currently drooling over the thought of purchasing a Silhouette. I’ve tried justifying it in many ways…but truth be told, it is far from a need.

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We honestly think that joy & happiness come in these things. But they don’t.

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty & hunger, abundance & need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13

Paul learned this. We can too.
Not that it’s easy. Not that we will always succeed. But let’s try, together. Let’s break the chains of this commercialism driven consumer culture!

-De

A Super Busy Week

We started VBS this past Sunday night!  I always LOVE VBS week.  After all, VBS was one of the major influences on me in the beginning of my walk with Christ.  I mean, who doesn’t love to have fun & learn about Jesus at the same time!!

I’ll admit, the past several years, I’ve been less than thrilled with the standard Lifeway VBS content, but this year is AMAZING!  Mixing basic apologetics with VBS.  Teaching kids to have courage because they have the knowledge needed to share their faith with others!!!  Lifeway, can we do this EVERY year?  ;)

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Yes, I do tend to go overboard with costuming. But, come on, wouldn’t you want to be a Special Agent, too?? (And yes, I did fashion my costume with a little Chuck/Nerd Herd twist.)

This morning, I find myself quite sore (I may actually be getting too old to jump around on stage), feeling a little exhausted, and lacking motivation to do anything.  But then I think about those little faces.  Excited little faces.  Having fun while learning about Jesus.  Then I think of myself at that age and how awesome it was to see those same grown-ups who were at church every week…maybe not always looking so excited…having fun with me.  Sharing a little bit of child-like excitement with me.  That is what helps me get through the super busy week that is VBS week.

I want to share last night’s song with you.  It is a pretty awesome one. :)

Be blessed & show some kids in your life your excitement for Christ today!

-De

“But honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” 1 Peter 3:15

A little nerdy-ness

Anyone who knows our family, knows that we are a quirky, nerdy little bunch.  And we love this about ourselves.

We embrace our fandoms (maybe not as enthusiastically as some) and consider you a close friend if you understand them.

Now to the point…

The hubby and I have a tradition of collecting coffee mugs.  Every 5 years for our anniversary, we commemorate with a mug.  (Of course, we also mark vacations with the purchase of mugs also…if we find one that suits the occasion.)  With the purchase of our anniversary mugs, we try to sum up the past 5 years of marriage.

Year 5 we spent at Disney, so we, of course, purchased our favorite Disney Character Mugs.  Marking 5 years of fun together.

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Year 10 we went more traditional with some mugs from our local Christian bookstore.  These marked growth & maturity in our marriage over the past 5 years.

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This year we celebrated 15 years.  As we looked back over the past 5 years, it was easy to see what we needed to look for in our mugs.  The past 5 years included a total surrender to God & a move of faith to attend seminary.  It included making new friends. As introverts, we both struggle in this area…but God is great & provided there as well.  It also is when we discovered the fun found in fandoms.  And there are many we love, so finding the perfect mug has been difficult to say the least.  Yes they exist, but the perfect marker has eluded us.  Well, that is until I stumbled upon an image I LOVED during a google search.  It was FANTASTIC! (Please read that in your best Nine voice…and if you don’t know what that means…I’m so, so sorry.)   Only, it wasn’t for sale.  So I started reading the blog a little & discovered that Amy at Milk and Cookies would probably be fast friends if we actually knew each other.  So I took a shot in the dark and emailed her asking if she’d be interested in making a mug for me to purchase.  Long story short, we had great conversation and I ended up with vinyl cut outs that she sent so I could create this.

Photo Jun 14, 3 52 13 PMSo perfect!  A little Harry Potter. A little Doctor Who. A LOT of AWESOME!

(Thanks again, Amy!  I truly adore it!)

Now, we’re still looking for one for the hubby, but he’s got an idea.

Be blessed!

-De

Ponderings from a Wife

Several months back I started an experiment in “The Art of Dating In” in which my hubby and I attempted to plan evenings (dates) at home after the kiddos were in bed.

In my opinion, epic fail.

And here are my reasons why.

One thing my husband and I try to do is plan out time together each day to just “be” together.  That is already usually after the kids are tucked in bed.  We snuggle up in our room and watch some of our favorite tv shows & even a movie now and then.  It’s great down time.  Just hanging out with my best friend in a very similar fashion to  when we were dating.  But this, my friends, is not a date.

This too, is how our dating in experiment became.  Basically the same routine, only snuggled on the sofa with fresh baked cookies.  And this is why I feel it failed.  You see, the kids were still there.  If they decided to “need” something, they were completely able to get up, interrupt our date, and then whine for a while about not having a cookie too.  We were not removed from the distractions of home.  When I would return our empty saucer to the kitchen, I found myself reminded of the undone dishes.  No matter how hard I would try, that took away all relaxation and lessened enjoyment of the evening.  It just was not a “date.”

Don’t get me wrong…I understand (believe me, I really understand) that funds don’t always allow for a dinner & a movie, plus the cost of a sitter, etc.  We’ve lived that for a LONG time, and being in ministry, we continue to live it every day.  Our actual “away from home” dates are fairly spread out, compared to the recommended at least bi-monthly marriage advice you might get.  We just can’t afford it.  What we can do is seek out friends who are in the same place.  LONGING for a night out, but honestly can’t afford a sitter.  Date swap my friends.  And still on a small budget…it’s doable.  Sometimes we have an inexpensive meal…sometimes we share a meal depending on the restaurant.  We walk & window shop.  We TALK!  We DREAM!  We enjoy each others company.  That’s the point.  Enjoying each other.

But I find, my sanity is better kept when we can be away from the normal surroundings.  Even if only for 30 minutes.

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I also have this same mindset with vacationing.  Lately the popularity of a “stay-cation” has been growing.  I can’t wrap my mind around how anyone can find this relaxing?  We don’t vacation yearly (although I wish we could).  We simply can’t afford it…yet. (Getting back to our Dave Ramsey training & getting started building our savings…woohoo!)  Anyway, I would go insane with the idea of stay-cationing as my “refresh our family time”.  Especially, again, in a ministry role.  My husband definitely wouldn’t be “away” from work.  The everyday parts of being at home would still be part of that daily routine.  Sorry, but no “vacation” in that. There is something to be said about not having to clean the bathrooms or put away laundry or wash those dishes when on vacation.  Yes, I know it all has to be done when you get home…but if you are at home the temptation is staring you in the face everyday.  And you know as well as I do that you WILL do it.  (And please don’t think I mean we’re slobs on vacation…I do have to keep an amount of tidiness to keep sanity.) I also find it a LOT easier to “not answer the phone” and “unplug” when I’m away on a vacation that has been paid for and will NOT be cancelled mid trip.  We’ve promised each other that vacations (which don’t happen often) are for family bonding time & work WILL wait.  That’s hard to do when you’re home and work can knock on the door…seriously, would you pretend they aren’t there…no.

Anyway, those are my ponderings for today.

If you have mastered either of these two methods of dating/vacationing, PLEASE share.  :)

Be blessed!

-De

Do I Live Sacrificially?

Today I posted this question to ponder on my facebook wall:

Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for you. What have you sacrificed for Him lately?

Have you ever seriously pondered this?  It was a challenge to myself, and I hope you’ll allow it to challenge you.

Are you living sacrificially? 

Honestly, we will never be able to give Christ everything He deserves from us while we tread in this life.  But we should at least give it a go, right?

So, how might that look?  Believe me, I’m no expert, but I’m willing to dig in and learn…care to join me?

Let’s look to Romans 12

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We have to make a conscious choice to not be influenced by the world around us.  We have to dig into His Word and renew our minds…daily.  It’s so simple to let the world sneak into our minds.

The world tells us,

  • “It’s been a long and tiring week, I don’t need to go to church today.”
  • “Yeah, I know I missed last Sunday, but I really need to catch up on housework.”
  • “Oh, the budget is so tight this month, the church won’t notice if I don’t tithe just this once.”
  • “I’ve served my time in the church, I deserve to observe rather than serve.”
  • “I know I’m not the only Christian who sees that homeless man on the corner everyday, surely someone else is helping him out.”
  • “The style of clothing I wear to church shouldn’t matter. They should know to control their thoughts anyway.” (Referring to modesty here…not dressy or casual)
  • “Reading the Bible doesn’t have to be at the top of my priority list.  I’m sure I’ll find time to fit it into my day.”
  • “There are too many hypocrites in churches today.”
  • “Why should I pray when God already knows what I need?”

I could go on, but you get the picture.

I have struggled with many of these nagging voices trying to convince me to, in all honesty, be a lazy and uncaring Christian.

Can we address these lies of the Enemy with the Word of God?  Let’s see…

  • “Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 (The Message)
  • “Sitting across from the offering box, he was observing how the crowd tossed money in for the collection. Many of the rich were making large contributions. One poor widow came up and put in two small coins—a measly two cents. Jesus called his disciples over and said, “The truth is that this poor widow gave more to the collection than all the others put together. All the others gave what they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford—she gave her all.” Mark 12:41-44 (The Message)
  • “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  Matthew 6:31-33 (ESV)
  • “As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5 (ESV)
  •  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (ESV)
  • “…Women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.” 1 Timothy 2:9-10 (ESV)  Here’s a good blog that speaks more in depth to modesty.
  • “Attention, Israel!  God, our God! God the one and only!  Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got!  Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (The Message)
  • “Don’t suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish the Scriptures—either God’s Law or the Prophets. I’m not here to demolish but to complete. I am going to put it all together, pull it all together in a vast panorama. God’s Law is more real and lasting than the stars in the sky and the ground at your feet. Long after stars burn out and earth wears out, God’s Law will be alive and working.” Matthew 5:17-18 (The Message)
  • We’re All in the Same Sinking Boat (Romans 3:9-20)

9-20 So where does that put us? Do we Jews get a better break than the others? Not really. Basically, all of us, whether insiders or outsiders, start out in identical conditions, which is to say that we all start out as sinners. Scripture leaves no doubt about it:
There’s nobody living right, not even one,
    nobody who knows the score, nobody alert for God.
They’ve all taken the wrong turn;
    they’ve all wandered down blind alleys.
No one’s living right;
    I can’t find a single one.
Their throats are gaping graves,
    their tongues slick as mudslides.
Every word they speak is tinged with poison.
    They open their mouths and pollute the air.
They race for the honor of sinner-of-the-year,
    litter the land with heartbreak and ruin,
Don’t know the first thing about living with others.
    They never give God the time of day.
This makes it clear, doesn’t it, that whatever is written in these Scriptures is not what God says about others but to us to whom these Scriptures were addressed in the first place! And it’s clear enough, isn’t it, that we’re sinners, every one of us, in the same sinking boat with everybody else? Our involvement with God’s revelation doesn’t put us right with God. What it does is force us to face our complicity in everyone else’s sin.   (Sorry I know that was long, but, Wow, it preaches!)

  • 13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.[a] 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.” James 5:13-18 (ESV)
  • 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” 1 John 5:14-15

And there are so many more Scriptural rebuttals that we can glean from God’s Word.

So, let’s challenge each other (because, yes, I need it too) that next time we find ourselves tempted to give in to the lies of the world, to seek after the TRUTH of God’s Word.  Seek living a life of sacrifice…that is going against everything our human selves desire. Sacrificing it.  And seeking to fulfill the desires of God for our lives!  IT’S NOT GOING TO BE EASY!!  Oh, but can you imagine how WONDERFUL it will be!!!

-De