How cute can a picture really be? A participant submitted this photo, and was looking to add a little more life and dimension to it. I don't usually do this, but this picture said heart all over it. I was so hoping someone else would take that ball and run with it, but no one did. So I had to dust off my Photoshop (after some initial color, light and crop adjustments in iPhoto) and use the shape tool to do it myself.
This photo is begging for the perfect caption. Who is saying what to whom???
We are so blessed to have a kids' choir at our church! The kids did their spring musical last weekend, and they were amazing. All the songs, movements, speaking parts and transitions were such a huge undertaking for them and their leaders. But the message and the laughter, and the pride in a job well done were so worth it. Thank you God for our kids and leaders!
It's sport season. This year Ben is playing traveling baseball. Which involves no suitcases, buses, or plane tickets, but mainly a few neighboring communities and a lot more games. This year Bethany decided to switch from softball back to soccer. And of course, Ben has games scheduled on almost all of the nights Bethany does, and then some. So now, we are THAT family. Eating on the run and heading in different directions. Figuring out which commitments NOT to keep because they overlap each other. But hey. That's the season we're in. Not just the season of the year, but the season of life. FULL of life.
It's a time of testing. Testing priorities. Testing passion. Testing patience. Can we take a schedule that normally gets worship and church activities filled in first, and instead build it around the sports schedule, without abandoning our first love? Can our kids learn to live within the rules of the game, and under the authority of officials who may or may not make the right call? Can their parents find the right words at the right moments to encourage them to be strong when emotions are high?
We will soon find out.
One thing truly encourages me. God gave us some very strong and determined kids. He made them purposefully this way. I can't imagine any better place for a determined somebody to learn to bring it under control than in a sport they love which requires it. Watching them play their hearts out is a truly beautiful thing.
Parental patience? Not sure yet. Parental prayer? Absolutely.
Up the hill from our state capitol (for bonus points to anyone who has never lived here, what is the capital of Minnesota???), resides a beautiful cathedral. It holds a more prominent position than the capitol building, and you can't miss it as you drive through the city. It is a favorite place to take people who visit from out of town. I love the way the carvings of Jesus and the disciples (along with a couple of guardian angels) welcome people through its doors.
One year when the kids were probably 2 and 4, we took Lee's parents to see the cathedral. It just so happened that it was about 6:50 on Saturday evening. When we drove up and heard the bells chiming, we realized it was soon to be time for mass. We knew we had enough time to go in and see the inside before the service began, so we hurried in. I picked up Ben and said, "The bells are ringing, letting everyone know it's time to worship." When we went in, the music of the organ overwhelmed me. Ben was wide-eyed. I told him, "The music is so loud and beautiful that it reminds us of how huge and great God is." Our own church is on the small side, so by contrast, the cathedral's ornate ceiling seemed to tower above us. As Ben looked up, I said, "It seems to go so high that it stretches almost to heaven." I loved that all around the inside of the dome were inscriptions reminiscent of Psalm 150:
Praise ye the Lord in His sanctuary.
Praise Him for His mighty deeds.
Praise Him with a loud chorus.
Praise Him with strings and organ.
Let everything that breathes praise the Lord.
I have always treasured the memory of that unexpected moment of worship, shared with a captivated little boy. A few months ago, I was thinking about it, and decided when the weather got nice I would go over there and take pictures. Yesterday was such a day, and my friend Debra not only went with me, but she also showed me around the adjoining neighborhood where there were some very fun places I knew nothing about. Now I will have to go back with the rest of my family. What a great day!
(Note: To view the slideshow without going to the photo album in Picasa, click on the black frame at the bottom of the photo and click the play arrow that comes up there.)
I'm pretty sure this guy is saying all the things I wrote in my last two posts, completely free of words. (Maybe he was watching me. I mean, he could have been. He obviously has too much time on his hands.) Hilarious!
Today the clouds parted, revealing that the sunshine and blue sky never actually went away. I just couldn't see them. It's been a long time since I've been this happy to see the sun!
Your responses to my Thursday post were all so supportive, and I am grateful that you "get" me. You know that I'm fine, that I was just having a moment. You know how seriously I take the truth that of whom much is given, much is required. The responsibility can be rather weighty. That post has been waiting for a long time to be captured in words. The words were a great relief to me yesterday, even if they were delivered in an envelope of tears.
Honesty is so important to me. Yesterday, it was appreciated by those who read and commented. YES, I do wrestle with finding balance for myself and for my family. You should know that I second guess myself frequently over whether I have it right. But I refuse to be consumed with self-doubt. I also refuse to beat myself up over choices poorly made. If I over-extend myself, I stop making new commitments, and do the best I can to pace myself at fulfilling those I've already made. It pretty much always works out. But what I miss is the joy of the process.
My frustration yesterday was over a large commitment I made where I need to coordinate with quite a few people, and the timeline is short. I was wanting to tie up a lot of loose ends, but the ends were defiantly laughing and waving at me. The awesome thing about this task is that it's a fun one, and there are a lot of volunteers helping who have never done it before. Someone wisely told me today, "That is a great gift you are giving them, the opportunity to do something that will bring such joy!" Let me tell you, yesterday, gift was the farthest word from my mind. I really need to be the one to generate that kind of enthusiasm, and I just wasn't feeling it. Several things have come together since then. I ended up just sort of giving myself the day off since there was nothing I could do, and gave God time to work. Which, of course, he did. He is so trustworthy.
Today my outlook is much improved. Thankfully, so is the weather forecast! I'm so grateful for encouraging friends, and for a sense that this is a safe place to come even on a bad day. I may be Pollyanna, but even I can't win at the "Glad Game" everyday. Obviously. It's not even a competiton.
I just got back from school, where I was scheduled to volunteer in Bethany's class (a slot I fill weekly). There was a schedule conflict that the teacher hadn't realized, so now I am back home. There were treats in the office for volunteer appreciation, so that was good. Two people told me to be sure to stop and get some as soon as I walked in the door. It is nice to be appreciated.
We will be back there tonight anyway, for the school picnic. Which I didn't volunteer for. I momentarily thought that maybe I should go see if they needed any help at the last minute. For the first time ever it's falling on a night when the kids don't have games or practices, so I could actually help. I decided not to.
It has been raining/cold/windy/cloudy in varying combinations for two weeks. I am feeling the pressure of commitments I have made that are not going as well as I would like because of circumstances beyond my control. Today my tears are blending in with the raindrops on the window panes.
I have the kind of problems most people would die for. SERIOUSLY. But tears are tears.
I wonder. Most of the time I wonder if I do enough. I have said no to many, many things. I hate it every time. But today I wonder if I have committed to doing too much. It has been eleven years since I have earned a paycheck. For the stress I am feeling, and the way that I know it limits what I have to offer my family, I wonder if I should at least be contributing to our finances if I can't be giving my energy to them. It gives me courage for the next round of "no"s at least. Which I will hate. Again.
Such is the life of a stay at home mom. My dream life. Oh, it truly is.
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. " 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Now it is 9:46, and I wonder which fire I should put out with my little bit of extra time. I think I will tackle the clothes that have been sitting in the dryer overnight. They are wrinkled, but they are not beyond my control.
I'm in a spring Bible study using the book Victoriously Frazzled by Cindi Wood. Each week it gives an assignment for a "Defrazzler", and one for "Relaxing in the Word".
Last week was great, because the "Defrazzler" was a personal mini-retreat, and the meditation chapter was Psalm 23. Cool, since exactly a year ago I was on a women's retreat centered around Psalm 23, and enjoyed it so much that I blogged about it so I could remember it. I was so glad to be prompted to go back and remind myself of what I learned.
This week's "Defrazzler" was to take the time to go do something you enjoyed as a child. It was to remind us that God delights in us and has a plan for us during every season of our lives. It was also to remind us to maintain a childlike quality even as we grow older. I loved nothing more than swimming as a child. Not even close. But swimming wasn't in the cards this week. So I used it as an excuse to make a treat that I've been meaning to make recently, one my mom made with me when I was little, and that I loved. I thought I would share it. It's the easiest ever.
Melt: 1 cup peanut butter and 1 12 oz. package butterscotch chips for 1 minute at a time in microwave, stirring each time.
Pour: melted mixture over 6 cups rice crispies and stir.
Drop by spoonfuls (or cookie scoopfuls) onto waxed paper. Chill to set. That's it! Yum!
Unless you're like me and you can't leave well enough alone. Then you might want to melt some chocolate chips and add some squiggles.
I just couldn't help myself.
I like to think it's my childlike nature coming out to play.
NOTE: I know, just a few posts ago I was treating myself to healthy eating. But hey, these things are made out of rice crispies. They are mostly air. And maybe just a little less satisfying than, say, a brownie.