Monday, October 29, 2012

Lessons from the Tortoise

I know in scripture God has used a donkey to get a message through to His people...well in my case He used our baby redfoot tortoise named Strawberry.

I've been pondering lately - the notion of not being too busy, but I'm realizing it's something we have to actively fight against.  We seem to wear it as a badge of honor...regularly, conversations start, "How are you?", and the standard reply, "Oh, we're busy!"

On my way home from church yesterday morning, I was mulling over all the things I needed to do to be ready for the week - straighten the house from Saturday's bridal shower, get ready for a lunch meeting on Monday, finish a project I committed to, get school stuff prepared for the week...oh yes, and there was moms know where I'm coming from!

Because the weather had been SOO hot, and is now finally "play outside" weather, the girls eagerly asked if they can go ride their bikes.  Well of course I allowed off they went!

When I got in the house, I realized our baby tortoise needed her daily dose of sunshine, but I didn't want to make the girls stop their bike ride, so I decided to take her outside to toodle in the yard. 

I grabbed a beach towel, put her in the grass and just sat there - cross legged with the sunshine & gentle breeze hitting my face.  I even left my phone inside.  I just sat there.  And just sat there.  And just sat there. 

I watched the trees sway in the wind, I noticed a bird circle the area, I even saw a peculiar fuzzy looking bug land on the grass - and I just watched it.  No music, no book, no to-do list, just sat there.

We got a hydroponic garden that works as a waterfall and I even told my husband how excited I was about just sitting on the patio and listening to the waterfall...that was over a month ago, yet I've not taken the time to just sit there.
In that moment - sitting with little Strawberry, I was reminded that God speaks in the stillness.  God fills our tanks in the stillness.  God blows healing into our beings in the stillness.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Our job is NOT just to "Train up..."

I know well, and LOVE the scripture...

Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6 

Now I don't want to get myself in trouble here - so bear with me.

God created us to not just be “moms” but also Disciples. I hear over and over moms say when they just isolate themselves to the job of chief cook & nose blower, that there is something missing. 
That "restlessness" is God asking us to be more than the caretakers of our square-footage & it's inhabitants.

I’ve struggled with those feelings of guilt for not being perfectly happy putting my 100% time and energy into my house & daughters – now don’t get me wrong, I love them more than can be described, but I’m not just a mom, but also a Disciple of Christ. 

“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”  John 13:34-35

May I "sheepishly" point out - it didn't say only to love our children...
I need for both the Kingdom's sake, my sake, AND the sake of being an example to my daughters that doing other things is very healthy.  I love my kitchen, BELIEVE ME...just to prove it, here's one of my latest creations (email me if you want the recipe YUMMM!)...

But, we also need to put on our "check list" being Christ to people around us.  The beautiful thing is you can INVOLVE your children as well.

I have a check-list of my "dailies" that I need to get done both for kids & house, and I always add "To be a blessing to" and pray for The Lord to drop an idea my way...I  will confess I don't always accomplish everything on it - but I give it an honest effort!

Challenge yourself weekly (or start monthly) to be a blessing, here are some small starter ideas...
  • Write and send care packages to your church's missionaries.
  • Phone or send card in the mail to encourage someone.
  • Serve at a local food pantry or soup kitchen.
  • Find someone in need and serve them.
  • Encourage your leaders (pastors, staff, boss).
  • Find someone in your church you don't know and offer to pray for them that week.
  • Visit a local care home and spend time with it's residents.
Of course everyone's life is different - so you may have more creative things on your list of ways to be Christ's disciple.

The point is, be the best mom, by being an example of love to people.  You don't have to be a pastor (or pastor's wife) to minister to needy in or out of your church.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Listening 101

Like most moms, I get about 3,872 requests from EACH child PER day.  I have found myself recently just saying "no" often because I feel like my brain is already full of things I'm trouble-shooting.

A couple weeks ago, my youngest found a turtle in our yard.  She was SOOOO excited, brought it in the house, and PLEADED to keep it (in her bargaining she even offered to sell her sister off...HAHA).  In the midst of trying to do the "normal" things, now I was trying to figure out this turtle thing...can we keep it?  What kind of work would that produce?  How much would that cost? My instant reaction was NO WAY!

When I took a deep breath from the chaos I was feeling, I sat her down to "talk" and had every intention to do ALL the talking, but as we started, I decided instead, to take a moment and listen.  My daughter respectfully shared that the ONE thing she's wanted was to have a pet of her own - since pretty much FOREVER.  She would bring in the house lizards,  lady bugs...and now this little turtle.  I really had to take a moment and receive what she was telling me.  My baby is growing up!!!

After talking with the hubbs about this idea - we investigated and found that little wild turtle was NOT a good idea - but took to heart what she shared.  We were both so inspired by her heart, respect, and maturity - I was feeling a bit sad that I didn't see this deep this desire was in her heart.

Once we made the decision & researched the best pet for her - we crossed many off the list for various reasons...

Turtle = too much work, dirty, not interactive, and carry salmonella
Rodent = if it got out, would provide our Jack Russel a fun chase, and eventually snack
Snakes or other creepy crawly = UMMM...NOT A CHANCE IN THIS WORLD!
Cat = again back to the dog wanting to torment it

So, land tortoise it was.  Since making this decision to get one, I've seen such a respect from her, maturity, and responsibility.  These are attributes we expect from our girls, but lately our daughter has been going through a "testing of the boundaries" time...and it's been a bit challenging - so the LAST thing we felt we should do was reward her this big. But when we listened and acknowledged her heart, her attitude and countenance lifted almost instantly.  I realized a lot of it has come from us having a simple listening ear towards her heart, and believing in her as a growing young lady.

So without further adu,
introducing...Lady Strawberry
Micah's baby Red Footed Tortoise. 

Micah and her daddy painting Strawberry's habitat
I share MY desk with Strawberry 

Eating dinner - Strawberries, her favorite