Friday, September 20, 2013

SHE (on her 9th birthday)

Today is my daughter's birthday, 
so I was excited to see 
had chosen the word "She"! 
Linking up...

--------------------------------- GO ---------------------------------

She was prayed for as she developed in my womb,
for health became an issue for me
and grief was my companion for a sister lost.

She was 5 pounds and 8 ounces small,
and 17 days early, 
and we were unprepared.

She was lovely.

She's a doting big sister,
a caring friend, 
a sensitive extrovert.

She is turning 9 today.
Growing in loveliness
and creativity
and confidence.

She reads...a lot.
She is curious
and a leader.

We still pray for her
as she develops not in the womb of my body
but the incubator of our home.

She will continue to be a joy in our life, 
not matter what comes.
But we pray 
she will love Jesus passionately, 
trust Him implicitly, 
share Him lovingly.

She will always be our daughter, 

Happy Birthday, Eliana!
We love you....for always!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Sabbath Mercy

Linking up with Five Minute Friday...

It's been whole week.
A week of 7 full days.

I've made a from-scratch two layer chocolate cake to feed 16 people.
I've celebrated a father-in-law's birthday 
with homemade brunch and slow cooked beef
and mashed potatoes made from the fruit of our garden.

My family has survived a 12 hour travel day - 
in the van,
2 adults, 3 kids
not enough DVDs.

I've listened and hurt and prayed with a friend 
going through difficult days.

My online graduate work has slowly gotten done - 
70 pages of reading
a quiz on the Old Testament Canon
3 forum posts.

I've been grocery shopping -
the massive kind done after being away for a week.

I've worked with my husband to plan a surprise birthday celebration for our daughter.

I've sorted and spotted laundry and it's waiting to be washed.

I've started packing for my week away on campus for my graduate work. And secured childcare so my husband can actually go to work when I'm gone.

I've done lesson planning for our upcoming year of home education.
Lessons that will help stretch and teach a 3rd grader, a 1st grader, and a preschooler.

And now it's Friday again.
Our family's sabbath day 
(because in ministry, Sunday doesn't cut it as a sabbath.)
Our day of rest.
A gift from Abba to be and not do.
A day to still my whirling mind from the tasks that have consumed it for the last 144 hours.
A time set aside to remind myself I can let go - 
because my list will still be there tomorrow,
and the world really will keep rotating if my list doesn't get done.
Moments spaced for me to revel 
in the fact it's not about me and my work.
No, Sabbath is a day to remember it's about God 
and the work He did through His son, Jesus.

So, this Sabbath, in particular, 
after this frenzied week
and much accomplished
but more still to do,

this Sabbath...
it's a mercy.
A great big, sloppy-wet-kiss kind of mercy.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Jillian Michaels and Seminary

In Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred DVD,
in the middle of infuriating squats and strength exercises,
she says this profound statement:

Stress brings change.

I literally stopped in the middle of the workout.
I was dumbfounded.
(And perhaps my thighs were screaming for a short respite).
Still, I was immediately struck.

Stress brings change.

It's true for our physical bodies.
It's true for our emotional selves too.
And for our mental growth.
And for our spiritual journeys.

Stress brings change.

It's not guaranteed change for the better.
But the fact is, when stress shows up on the scene, 
stress will not leave us the same.

I've begun work on an online master's degree.
Seminary work to be exact.
And classes started this week.

In five days, I...

read 94 pages in 4 different books
wrote 7 forum posts (substantive responses only, please)
listened to 1 lecture
took 1 quiz
sent 2 (slightly panicky) e-mails to professors

I can't tell you how many times I wanted a paper sack.
Hyperventilate is not just a word for Martha Speaks.
Stress, he's been a constant companion of mine.
(If stress were personified I don't really know what gender it'd be, 
but after this week, I'm not in the mood to say stress is female.)

Yet in all this, I remember Jillian Michaels, and her words.

Stress brings change.

After all this work, I will be changed.
I pray it is for the better.
I pray this stress of further study is not wasted, 
brings improvement, 
draws me closer to God, 
deepens my understanding of faith, 
connects me with others who enrich my journey.

Stress brings change.

So, I'll load up on paper sacks.
and I will welcome stress,
especially if he brings desired change.