Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The 'Stache (part 3)

The 'Stache (part 2)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The 'Stache (part 1)

What a pack of 99 cent mustache stickers can do to my children...

Friday, July 25, 2014

A Week's Worth

Things to note in the last week:

We had 5 additional people in our home for almost a week

Thought the kids had strep but instead they had foot and mouth virus. Fevers and sores in their mouths. Very sore throats. Thankfully it didn't last too long.

Peter got burned at Starbucks by kids hot chocolate. Lid came off and burned his chest, legs, mouth and chin. temperature was way too hot. Thankfully got cool water on him quickly and instead of a 2nd degree burn it was only a first.

We were given a used fridge! Now I have two fridges. Amazing. This was also filled with groceries by our generous guests.

Given an organizing re-do... some very helpful creative organizing done in the kitchen. Such a huge lift.

Started chiropractic care for our whole family. Excited at the healthy changes we've started and will be continuing!

Mike preaches this Sunday "How the Gospel Applies to Life's Everyday Disappointments"

Michael has "surgery" scheduled this week. He will have extensive dental work on every single tooth. Requiring significant repair and potential removal of teeth. Due to cleft palate/g-tube feed for over 5 years/propensity to store food in his cheeks/reflux/ hand sucking he's experienced a lot of acid which has made his teeth rot. Time to repair. Mike will be out of town for some much needed work hours.

Whew... intense but God is at work. So thankful for God's faithfulness again and again!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Failing, Food, and Why God is not a Genie...

One of the ultimate tests I've been confronted with in the past several months is whether or not I could love God even if I never lost a pound.

 I remember my heart racing as I washed dishes and feeling God gently bring this up... "So Jennifer, would you love me? Would you accept me and trust me? Would you believe I am still good.... that I still have a plan for your life.... even if you never lost another pound?!"

Oh ouch, God. I mean, don't you want me to be healthy?


Don't you want me to exercise?


Don't you want me to turn to you for comfort and in moments of distress?


Then how can you ask me that????

"Is your love for me conditional? Is your love for me based on what I'm willing to do or not do in your life?"

Oh... Lord. Have I turned you into my own personal genie? Have I made you small that I think that you should answer all my wishes... and be at my beck and call... 

And so this surrender. Surrender of my weight. Surrender of my image. Surrender of my desire to be accepted by others. For other people to see me as an attractive person. I have become so caught up in myself that I have missed the point. I have limited my love, my willingness to obey and surrender to the Lord, on whether or not I can get "thinner".

Here's the truth. I can't change apart from Him. I can't be different on my own. I can do Weight Watchers or Atkins or Slim Fast or Low Carb or No Carb or South Beach Diet. I can eat raw. I can juice. I can join the Y. I can learn to run. I can ride my bike. I can drink water and take vitamins and get chiropractic adjustments. I can live holistically. Eat organic. Weed out all the fast food and processed food and junk out of my life. Give up soda and Starbucks. I can eat gluten-free. I can try metabolism diets. I can try and do all these things... and UTTERLY FAIL APART FROM THE LORD.

I need Him. Not just in some crutch sort of way but in the way that I can flat-out-not-do-this-apart from the Lord.

I'm on a journey... the same journey I've been on for many, many years now. Of living healthier, eating better, growing in good habits. I'm not there yet. Not even close. I'm eating more salads. Making more smoothies. Trying to eat more fruits and veggies. Trying to cook more and not lean on take-out or drive-thrus. Trying to ride my bike and just plain move more.

And I know in the midst I have to trust God. Surrender my life to Him. Surrender my daily choices.

 And when I fail, I can rest in the fact that God has done it for me. He has lived a perfect life in Jesus Christ. He never sinned. And His perfect righteousness is applied to me. It as though I've never overeaten. Never been gluttonous. Never turned to food for comfort. Isn't that amazing???! 

In Christ, I have never disobeyed when it comes to food. I have lived well and rightly. And so I rest in Christ's perfect work and not my own. And I am free to enjoy the great foods He has given us. And free to love and not hate my body. To be grateful for this tool God has given me. I want to use it wisely. I want to use it for His glory. I want to be a blessing to my family and friends. And so I ask for HELP from Him. And draw on Him for strength. 

So Jesus, help me. Help me love and want you more than any earthly thing. And help me to use what gifts you have given me for your glory, for your purposes and for the furtherance of your Kingdom. Thank you for your faithfulness and that you aren't done with me yet! My hope is in you!

* Have lost 10 pounds on my journey thus far. Thank you Lord!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Letting it Go...A Diamond in the Rough, A Baby Moose in the Buff

Sometimes you go to a friends house and end up with only 1 pull-up... because your son pooped in the other one...And then when you get there he proceeds to go down a slide that ends in a baby pull full of water and gets completely soaked. And then the pull-up he was wearing is ruined. So you let him run around naked the rest of the time. Because you know when you leave you only have one pull up to put him in and no clothes (because they're wet)... and your friend is kind and gracious and lets you keep your kid naked because she knows if I put the pull-up on then and there he will ruin it by going down the slide AGAIN.

So thanks Jess. Thanks for putting up with my child's nakedness and the chaos that descends when my fabulous 5 descend upon your Terrific Trio.

And the beauty of being with a good friend is you can get naked. Not literally. All my clothes stayed on. But I could bare my heart and soul. I could be vulnerable about  my inabilities and failings and my turmoil and grief. And I can be accepted despite my sinfulness, my flaws, my mistakes. And I can be  loved even when it's not pretty.k

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Mothering Moments

The laundry is rumbling in the background. Washing. Drying. I just finished vacuuming, sorting blocks from legos and magformers from shapes. I throw away trash. Put away dirty dishes. Gather dirty clothes. I straighten the bathroom again, the toilet paper roll left bare now replaced with a fresh roll. The excess toothpaste in the sink. Wipe it up.

I'm interrupted by a cry of "I've got blood," which means another bloody nose.

(Artwork by Three Little Monkey Studios)
Dishes sit in the sink, the scuzz of leftover smoothies too strong to be removed without a decent soaking in hot water and soap. The kids are playing outside. Running on the porch. Riding bikes. Yelling demands. Shrieking with delight. Barefoot at the moment because they're "only on the porch."

There's much more to be done. Load after load of laundry to be done. Clean sheets to be put on stripped beds. Sweeping throughout the house. The bathroom floor cleaned. Trash taken out. Zucchinni bread to be baked. Kids to be kissed. Counters to be wiped. empty wrappers from now eaten fruit snacks need to be thrown away.

I sit here having just finished reading Meditations for Mothers: Moments with God Amidst A Busy Nest by Elisa Morgan. I was struck by the passage I read today...

                 "Romans 12:1- 'Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in veiw of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices holy and pleasing to God-This is your spiritual act of worship.'

             Put Yourself Into Your Mothering...

      Are there days, Mom, when your mothering becomes complete 'othering'? There are seasons when we seem to be required to invest even our bodies in the vocation of mothering. Pregnancy. Nursing. Middle-of-the-night feedings. Muddled brains from processing math we once understood. Missing meals to care for someone sick. Tired knees from praying for a gone-astray child.
      Radio speaker, author, and mother Mary Whelchel is enchanted with eagles and with the spiritual lessons we can see in their nest-building practices. Listening to her describe the finishing touches on an eagle's nest, I was pierced by the mother eagle's investment in her home. It seems that once she builds the eight-foot by ten-foot monstrous nest (which has been said to look like a bonfire waiting for a match), she then softens the nest by plucking down from her own chest. Adding a fluffy bit here and there, like pillows accenting a color scheme in a living room, the mother eagle completes her nest with an offering of her own body.
    But does putting ourselves into our mothering requires only self-denial and pain? Is that what God desires of us? I don't think so. In the passages above, Paul is discussing the overall care for our bodies in this life and that offering our bodies means nurturing ourselves as much as sacrificing ourselves. In order to be able to invest daily in the lives of our loved ones, we must also nurture our bodies with rest-- and our souls with time with God--so that we will have something to offer.
    There will be days to pluck the feathers from our chests to soften the nest where we raise our young. And then there will be days when we, too, must cuddle up in the down to rest, caring for our own bodies and souls. "

         So when am I to sacrifice and when I am to rest? I think this comes from praying and asking the Holy Spirit to lead us through our days so we know what to do with each moment. Moments for work and moments for rest. Moments to clean and moments to read. Moments to sit and hold our children and moments to teach, train and instruct.

           In addition God gives us His Word. We are able to learn and grow in understanding, knowledge and wisdom and be guided in our daily living by the Bible.

Today is a day I just want to not do anything. I'm hot and sweaty and feel bleah. But instead of giving into how I feel and allowing that to dictate my day I'm choosing instead to ask God, "What does today look like? How can I honor you today? How can I bless my husband and family today? What does loving you look like today Lord?" and He is wonderfully faithful. He will guide and lead all my steps despite my failings.

And so I surrender the day to Him. All the joys and frustrations and irritations and sweet mercies.

Thank you Jesus for ministering to me as I mother today!

Monday, July 07, 2014

A visit to Nashville last week...

Outside the Pharmacy Burger parlor in Nashville
Libby and Aileen