Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ladies In Black

Lib and I dressed up for my Grandmother's 90th birthday lunch. We were the ladies in black.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Lib's eye

My poor girl. Slipped in the wetness outside and fell banging her eye into her handle bars on her scooter. We simply must take a picture tomorrow because it will probably look really gnarly. In the meantime we had to take pictures together to bolster our spirits. Thankful the cut wasn't serious. Thankful we didn't lose an eye or even need stitches. Silliness helps the pain go away...

Treasuring Christ: The joy and The Freedom it Brings

So last Sunday evening  was women's ministry.... and it was awesome. I mean, I don't know if I could have come away more encouraged. I was the winner of the lovely flowers at my table... and also a book that seems to be written just for me, Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms by Gloria Furman.

I keep stopping and reading and then stopping and re-reading it. It's powerful. Convicting. And so refreshing, encouraging, inspiring. Reminders of truth hit me like wave after wave of grace. Rolling over me. Grounding me in truth... not my feelings. Although I do feel happy reading it. But that reminder that whether or not my experiences or emotions line up with truth, the truth still remains, unchanged, fixed, assuring.

I'm learning firsthand how turning to the world for comfort and strength just leaves me dissatisfied and weak. God has used our family's physical circumstances to point me to the one great permanent circumstance in my life-The Gospel of Jesus Christ.
When your eyes are fixed on the horizon of eternity, it affects your vision for motherhood. We need to have eyes to see a view of God that is so big and so glorious that it transforms our perspective of motherhood. In the context of eternity, where Christ is doing his work of regning over the cosmos, we need to see our mundane moments for what they really are-- worship.
The ministry of the Holy Spirit includes bringing our subjective insecurities as mothers in line with the objective reality of our eternal security in Christ. AS mothers we need to train ourselves to focus on the things that are unseen and eternal. AS we struggle to maintain the perspective and even as we fail to struggle, relenting to the the temptation toward apathy, we must look to God's Word and believe it, even if we can't feel it.
A mother's work is holy unto the Lord. As mothers we look to Jesus not only as our example; we also see that He is our power to love God and our chidlren. Because Christ has done for us what we could never do for ourselves, with this power we can ask forgiveness of our children when we sin against them, because God in Christ has forgiven us (Matt. 6:12-15; Mark 11:25; Col. 3:13). With his power we can humble ourselves in our work as mothers, because no one ever displayed more humility than our Redeemer as he abandoned his right to stay in heaven and died the death we deserve (Phil. 2:3-8). With his power we can pursue our family with sacrificial love, because the Son gladly submitted to the Father's will (John 4:20, 23; 14:30-31). And even when we fail ot love as he loves, he is our righteousness.

And these sections I've quoted are just from the Introduction!!! I can't wait to dig in more.

In addition to this book the message that Tambra gave us was exceptional. It gave me such a renewed and encouraging understanding of the Gospel. I felt bathed in God's love. His tender kindness and mercy has become so large in my mind that it has overshadowed the circumstances in my life that often tempt me to despair.

Something deep in me has clicked. Something has set me free. It's not that anything has changed in my circumstances... but being reminded of the truths of the Gospel has brought such freedom and joy. A reminder of the blessing that comes in knowing Christ... and being set free to love Him and serve Him with abandon... but not driven by guilt or condemnation but by Freedom. I am free to Love Him!!!!

So thankful.

And even when the high of the emotions fade. And even when I catch myself sinning.Even when I'm harsh with my kids or unloving.... these things are true. God remains unchanging in His thoughts, feelings, and purposes for me! So grateful.

Dancing in my heart this morning. Hope you will be too...

Saturday, April 26, 2014

A Walk with the boys in Our Neighborhood...








What to Do when someone is Grieving...

Recently while stumbling through Facebook, after intending only to respond to a couple messages, I came across a friend of a friend's blog. And of course became soon lost and absorbed in this mother's story. I must say that her expression of hope and grief  touched my heart deeply.

For all those who have continued to ask me what to say and not to say to someone grieving... especially in a tragic, sudden death, I think this woman's beautiful response sums it up:
(Her blog grieving with hope is here. The specific post called enter into the pain is here.)
_______________________________________________________________________________


I had a precious friend write me this morning, and ask me this, “I am going to a funeral in the morning of a friend that has lost her son. Is there something that a friend said to you that took a little bit of the hurt away? “
And as I responded to her, I thought I would repost it here.  So many people have asked me what to say, what not to say, in this situation.  All of us want to help someone that is hurting so deeply, and yet we just do not know what to do or say.  What follows is my response to her…
Friend, you are so precious to want to take her pain away. Absolutely precious. But you can’t…there is absolutely nothing you can say or do that will put her shattered heart back together. Condolences are beautiful and well meaning, but they can seem trite when someone is in agonizing pain, as she is. I would just hold her, cry with her, tell her how sorry you are, and tell her you cannot even imagine how much pain she’s in.
And then check in…like you have done with me. Check in often, but check in, in a way that does not require a response. Text her that you’re thinking about her. Write her a card that relives a precious memory that you have of her son…with all of the details. She will weep, but it will mean so much to her. Text her months from now and tell her, that her child is not forgotten…that you will never forget.  And don’t forget him.  Check in occasionally reminding her that he is not forgotten, she is not forgotten. 
So rather than focusing on trying to take her pain away, be willing to enter into the pain with her, walk beside her, cry with her, laugh with her, remember with her. And in doing so, you will be taking away some of the pain.
As I was writing this, I was so aware of how many of you have done that for me…countless touch-ins that have enable me to breathe for another day, soothed my soul, pulled me out of darkness, caused me to weep healing tears, helped to glue pieces of my broken heart back into place.  Your touch-ins have been life giving, and your willingness to enter into my pain and sit beside me for however long it takes has enabled soul survival.
You all know who you are, and I will never be able to express my gratefulness or how much it has meant to me.  But know this…and know it is as true as the gospel itself…I could not do this without you.  Thank you for entering into my pain, and in doing so, helping to bear the parts I am not strong enough to bear alone.                (emphasis mine)
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Thank you Alisa for your raw honesty and vulnerability. I can relate to those blessings of "touch-ins" as you so perfectly described it. Praying that the Lord comforts you as you draw closer to your one year anniversary and that you would continue to feel His nearness through all the days and years to come. Your Sister in Christ, Jennifer



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Celebrating 90 years.

My mom, my daughter, Libby, Aunt Jo, Cousin Anne and her daughter, Lauren helped us celebrate my Grandmother, their Aunt Bette's, 90th birthday! We had a fabulous lunch at the Swan Terrace at the Founder's Inn.







Sunday, April 20, 2014

I love you River Anne.

One of the best things in the world is getting to be an Aunt. I love getting to play and hug and snuggle and cuddle and spoil my nieces. It's really one of my favorite things. I love how responsive River is getting. And Wow, she's 8 months old! What a darling pumpkin!



CELEBRATING RESURRECTION

Somebody stopped me recently inviting me to a Celebration of the Death of Jesus. It caught me off guard. What? Celebrating the death?

It became clear to me that they didn't mean they were happy that Jesus died... but they left out the crucial part.... They were celebrating the death... not what happened 3 days later.

It was that he rose from the dead.
He didn't stay dead.
We don't rejoice in his death but in the fact that he conquered death and was resurrected from the dead. That's what amazing. That's what sets our God apart from other gods. He didn't stay dead.

He's ALIVE!

Today I'm celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ! What an amazing Savior I have!

From Natalie Grant's song Alive:

"Alive, Alive
Look what Mercy's overcome
Death has lost and Love has won!

Alive, Alive
Hallelujah, Risen Lord
the only one i fall before

I am His
because He is
Alive."

Friday, April 18, 2014

90

Today is my Grandmother's 90th birthday. I love her so much and am so thankful for her. She is so passionate about Jesus and I hope that I have the elegance and grace she has when I'm 90!
My beautiful Grandmother, Bette (age 90)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Guess who is 6 today???!


Michael

Ian

Honestly, I don't remember why Ian is annoyed right here.
Can't believe it's been 6 years since I had the twins. My, oh my, does the time fly! So grateful for these two and the blessing they are to our family. So thankful that I have the privilege of being their Mom. I have learned so much from having these two. Ian and Michael I love you. Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Outside



One of the things that surprised me about our move is how much time we spend outside at our new house. Having such a large porch gives plenty of space not to mention all the trees nearby to climb. Libby and Samuel have loved being outdoors.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Zippity Zoo Da.

We've been making some quick trips to the zoo. Thursday we got an hour in and a half in. The week before we only had 30 minutes but the animals showed off. The family of monkeys were being adorable and precious and so fun to watch and the kids and I watched the tiger stalk back and forth in front of us for 10 minutes, literally a couple feet apart...with just glass between us.

This past trip we had the opportunity to closely look at the reptiles... Samuel's favorite. And here were some of our favorites from the reptiles, amphibians and nocturnal display...

Peter and the tomato frog

I love how this snake looks so much like the surrounding leaves.


Reticulated Python. Photo doesn't do justice. This guy is HUGE!

Porcupine. Check out that long tail!


Armadilloes are so fast! I had no idea.
All my pictures are a blur of this creature!

Libby looking at the globe

Tired Explorer

Peter, Libby and Samuel: School is fun!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Flashback: The Move

It all happened in such a blur. We found out we were accepted and moved in under 5 days.

The day of the move I saw this and had to bust out laughing.

Lucky Charms being eaten on a paper plate. Not a bowl. A literal plate.
















And this was how I found one of our minions.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Messy

There are some days you just have to go with the flow. And that means letting your 3 year old live it up and get uber messy. Peter is on display here. covered in yogurt. oatmeal. And of course chocolate brownie batter.




Friday, April 11, 2014

Normal... or not?

I like the idea of being normal. But I'm not. Nothing about my life has been "normal" for a long time. And what does normal even really mean? My husband teases me at times over this. I try desperately to fit in and be "normal". But our life has been anything but.

I was talking with a friend when I came to the realization of what I meant, when I was saying I wanted to be "normal", what I'm really saying is I want to be understood. I want people to "get" me. And I realize most people don't. Most people don't know what it is to have a "big family" or have kids with special needs (cancer and cerebral palsy). I find myself trying so hard have someone understand me and it just doesn't happen.

In fact, I sometimes find myself in pain because people misunderstand me or my children or our intentions, etc. I really have had to let go of being understood. And not just being understood but being accepted. And this is really difficult and very hard. I want people to care about what I'm saying. I want them to understand where I'm coming from, what I've walked through. But this truly can't happen most of the time.

The comforting thing is that God knows. He truly knows me. My situations. My circumstances. My motivations. My feelings. My difficulties and struggles and why they are what they are. I am known by Him. And I have to surrender myself to the truth that that is enough.

That said, I am also very thankful for the people that ask me how I truly am doing. It is a comfort to look someone in the eye and see that they care and are listening to my response not merely performing a polite customary ritual. I am grateful for people that want to hear the deeper things and understand beyond the surface. And I hope this is helping me grow in my capacity to listen, to care and to love others.

I can't imagine what it must have been like for Jesus. Don't you think He wished He could explain things to others. To have them understand His heart, intentions and motivations. Yet He was satisfied with the Father knowing. He allowed Himself to be treated unjustly, misunderstood, falsely accused, wrongly judged... on my behalf, so that I can know and be loved and accepted by God the Father.

Thank you Jesus for suffering in my place. Thank you that you know the pains and hurts in this life and that you bore the suffering I deserved. Thank you that by being united with you, I can also share in your inheritance.... in you I have perfect standing, perfect righteousness before God the Father. I love you Jesus. Thank you that you love me for all my normalities and abnormalities and for loving me anyway!