Monday, June 23, 2014

Multitude Monday: Lists

I am a list-lover.
I'm not always good at following them, but I like them.
Organization eludes me, best intentions aside.
As our uber-busy summer flies by, I'm trying a different kind of list, a short and sweet one written daily in large letters on the chalkboard. 
Amazing the satisfaction one can derive from a chalk line drawn through a completed task!

List makers vary by style.  I manage my list with micro-tasks.  Fold one load of laundry.  Paint a door. Dust the living room.
Big Red's lists are global, sweeping vision statements to guide his long-range plan.  Clean the basement!  Landscape the yard!  Paint the whole house!

Today's gratitude list resembles Big Red's method more than mine.  They're the mammoth, underlying blessings that make the small ones possible; they dig deep roots that tether my wandering heart to my Rock. 

507.  The Lord calls me to believe Him, and He can be trusted.
508. He speaks to me, and He'll speak to me again.
509. The Old Testament undergirds the New.
510. God gives God.
511. The Word nourishes me.
512. The Word is sweet to me; I know it is feeding me even if the message is bitter.
513. Living Water leaps up in me and flows to others,
514. Jesus is beautiful to me.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Grass is Green

Yesterday I attended Day 1 of a two-day college orientation for DD#1.
(Dad is taking his turn today.  Bahaha!!)
Somewhere in between the " Don't helicopter over your college student" (got it; I teach middle school and am well-acquainted with helicopter parenting) and " You will need a second job to pay for this, " I cleaned 519 emails off my account.
True story.
And don't even get me started on FERPA. 
Me no see grades, you no see cash.  Very simple.  
Yesterday evening, this tired mama and the sweet daddy who had swooped in (helicoptered??) to rescue shared a pizza and talked finances, dorm dilemmas, assorted worries about our child.

This morning I was reading about the feeding of the 5000 in John 6.
5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”  6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.  7 Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages[a] to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”   8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up,   9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”    10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
There was plenty of grass in that place. 
Jesus is getting ready to show His disciples yet again that He's sufficient for every need.  He commands them to have the people sit down, and they sat on the grass.
Another gospel tells us it was "green grass". 
Not dirt.  Not sand spurs.  Not gravel. 
Green grass.
I love that detail.  I big-puffy-heart it.  It brought tears to my eyes today, because it is the picture of the God Who overlooks nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He meets my need and then some ( a point that He makes again and again in this story.)

Not gonna lie--sending my kid--and in particular, this kid--to college is a big, huge, fat, hairy deal.  It is not small. In fact, between this and work, this fall is loaded up with not small.  
In her book, Rhinestone Jesus,  Kristen Welch shares an email she received during a difficult season:
"'You are not going to lose this battle because it is already WON on the Cross.  I don't believe in losing or getting the victories because Jesus has already done it.  The question is, how far will you do to declare the victory in this battle?  Would two more rescued girls make you know it?  Or two thousand more?  How far will you go to proclaim that the victory was DONE for you?'"
How much will it take for me to know Christ is sufficient for all things?  How many more signs do I need?
He fed 5000 men with five loaves and two fish, and everyone ate as much as they wanted.  There were leftovers.
There was green grass. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Public Service Announcement

Two posts in a week!  It's summer; can you tell?

Some of the best "duh" moments I've had originated in Blogland or on Pinterest.  While my pin boards and favorites tabs have their share of clutter, I've picked up quite a few tips and tricks that have helped our lives run more smoothly in some area or another.
So, in the spirit of the practical post, I'm sharing a long-time favorite with you.

I used to be a daily exerciser.  I am not athletic at all, and the 5:00 a.m.  two-mile walk represented enormous self-discipline on my part.
This past year, life got bumpy in the way that it does, and my habit bit the dust.
I'm trying to restart it, but this last back episode has made this a slow process.  In the midst of injury drama, however, I have a faithful exercise buddy.

Leslie Sansone.
For the record, she doesn't know me from Adam's house cat, and this isn't a sponsored post.  I just like her Walk-at-Home program at lot, and she's become my go-to exercise solution in health or injury.

Walk at Home is just what you think it is.  You walk at home in your living room or wherever you have space to spread out a little.  Pop in the DVD and follow along.  There are no fancy steps, a bonus for people like me who still don't know their left from their right.  Any equipment is either optional or included with the DVD.  Even though I rarely go the whole distance (hello, who has time?), I prefer the longer-mile options (4-5 miles) because the pace tends to be faster, but if you're new to exercise, beginner, shorter versions are available.  

Some exercise gurus are too perky (Denise Austin) or just plain mean (Jillian Michaels; I have to mute her.).  Leslie is neither. She's pleasant and funny and cues well.  I like the sessions when she has a group of walkers with her; the interaction is distracting in a good way, and it makes jumping around the living room by myself seem less weird, somehow. ;)  

Admittedly, my girls think she's exercise for old people--and since I can modify the workouts when I'm moving like an old person post-injury, that might be fair to some extent.  However, I discovered Leslie post-DD#2 when I was 15 years younger, too poor for gym fees and juggling an infant and toddler, so I was too frazzled for fancy workouts.  
And you can do sidesteps and refill Cheerios at the same time. 
I do supplement her workouts with Pilates, a necessity for middle age and weak backs.  Another day I'll share my favorite instructors for those sessions. 

This concludes today's Public Service Announcement.  Regularly scheduled (such as it is) will resume shortly.  Now I need to get up and um, exercise.  
Happy Wednesday!

Three Word Wednesday/ Works for Me Wednesday

Monday, June 16, 2014

Small Moment

I was up at 5:30 am.  It's not even a school day.
Today was super-busy, and the rest of the week doesn't promise to be any slower with a birthday, college orientation, Bible study, and ongoing physical therapy on the calendar.
It's a week that could disappear in a flash, so I am slowing down to count gifts.
We made an impromptu visit to Asheville to visit my mother. She attends a large church with dynamic worship music which we enjoy but is often, um, lost on my 88-year-old mom!  In yesterday's service, however, the praise team sang a hymn she loved.

Over the crowd of voices, I could hear Mama singing.  Her voice is thin, a reedy version of her previously robust soprano.  
It was the loveliest of sounds.
I stood quiet to listen, swallowing down the lump in my throat.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
Look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
in the light of His glory and grace.

Today, I reread my list of gifts so far, all 488 of them.  Apparently I appreciate food, appliances, and the view from my porch.  Those seem to be recurrent themes.
Woven around the scones and coffee are tiny sparkling gems that illuminate time and reflect the face of God.
Small moments, and I am thankful.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Good Season

It's summer break here at the 'House.
That means watermelon season is upon us.
I would've taken a picture, but I ate it all before that occurred to me.
I followed up my watermelon appetizer with a lunch of pimento cheese, one of the great foods missed by millions simply because they are Yankees and have never heard of it.
Sad, really.

Simple pleasures, fruit and cheese.  As I've counted gifts this year, I've wondered at how many of them are small things.  I am blessed by minutiae of everyday life.
Yet, in this list of little things, there is large.
The large things are hidden by the tiny piled atop them.

For instance, # 439--"Breakfast out with daughter".

Oh, the significance of that small entry.

My girls tease me when I write about them.  "Mama just writes about how hard it is to have teens!"'

Well, it is hard.
As a friend wrestles with a tragic situation concerning a teen family member, I'm reminded that Jesus is the Only Hope we parents have.
The anxiety is real, and the fights are real, and the regrets are real, and the dangers are real.
There's nothing easy about this gig.

Over the years of parenting, I've asked God for some things, things I've begged to see in my household before my children fly the nest.
One of them will launch all too soon, and these last few months together have been a good season.

Hard (yes), but very, very good.

So "breakfast out" really means "the unfailing love and faithfulness of the LORD".

We've got challenges coming in these months of transitions; of that I'm sure, but we can say that we have seen the goodness of the Lord

I'm not sure who, if anyone, reads this blog, but this is for the weary mamas, the struggling daughters, the ones who wonder if it will ever be better.  What I can say to you is this: I have been there.  There are buckets of tears with my name on them, and there are probably several more sitting on ready, but Jesus will not waste them.  He'll redeem them.  They will lead to my good and His glory, and whatever glorifies Him will have been worth it.  
His unfailing love and faithfulness, His grace and truth, turn breakfast into Bread and Wine.

For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
    and I walk in your faithfulness.

Psalm 26:3

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Pinky Promises

The never-ending school year is done--Hallelujah!--and we have six weeks of house projects, mini-vacations, gardening, college orientations, Bible study, and all the unexpected that will no doubt blow the plan to smithereens before July 30.
Six weeks will go by faster than a greased gnat, so I am making myself a goal list.
This summer I want to
1) get back into an exercise habit after a long-standing routine crashed and burned;
2) lose the creeping pounds (see #1)
3) paint interior doors, dining room chairs, DD#2's bedroom--heck, I might paint Big Red if he stands still long enough
4) NOT think about school at all for at least 5 weeks. (No, you cannot see my fingers crossed behind my back; it's your imagination, I promise.  Really.)(Pinning school things doesn't count.) (My list, my rules.)
and oh, yeah,
5) write a Bible study--at least the rough outline of one.

I need some order, some self-discipline, and a ton of prayer.