Friday, March 27, 2009

When "How DOES She Do That?" Bogs You Down

I've been hanging out at the school a lot today. Princess has a noon Easter picnic I'm here for and I decided to give myself a "day off" of sorts and enjoy the Internet in the computer lab for a while. I REALLY look forward to getting my computer back. I was just reading Money Saving Mom and thinking "ahhhh, I really need this resource!"
While there I found a great new blog I want to check out more when I DO get my computer again. It's called The Prudent Homemaker. I like that she tries to live off of what she has more and that her recipes are categorized as well by seasons of the year. I hope to do that more in the future.

However, skipping over to her blog just sent me off an emotional cliff of sorts from building thoughts the last few days.

I've been tired since coming back from the science camp with Princess. It was so fun but I was only away from the cabin of six girls for 45 minutes each day and the second day my 45 minutes were spent coloring the props for their little skit they all get to put on while there. So, I was quite tired.

I arrive home wanting so badly to pick up my projects for spring but having NO energy and somewhat of a head cold. I start feeling this mounting pressure in my mind of all the really great things I want to do. Here are some of mine:

Finish staining the fence

Hoe up the garden

Expand the garden by digging up more ground

Sand the play structure and stain it too

Sand the deck and stain it (replace the two bad boards)

Have the girls plant their personal gardens in the half barrels

Build the steps off the back of the deck

Move the stepping stones to where they now need to be

Put boarders on the grass

Dig up the yard the dog destroyed and re-seed it

Level out under the play structure and prepare it for pebbles or sand

Oh, I won't go on and bore you!

Those are just my outdoor things.

Before I left I spent a week doing outdoor things. The result? My yard looked better, my house looked worse. I was bad about dinner making and exhausted by eight.

Lately I have been feeling the days are shorter and shorter and shorter. How DO some people do so much and categorically document their doings as well? How DO some women cook from scratch, nurse a baby, plant a garden, school their children, sew their clothes and whatever else superhero mom stuff they decide to do? I love gleaning from their ideas but really, HOW?

The Lord speaks to my heart by this time and that is really what I wanted to share. I recall this little song I learned as a kid and I don't know what it is or where it's from but this is the part he brings to mind:

"we all have different talents,

we all have different gifts,

we all were fashioned out to fill

a special little niche" (at least that's how I remember it:)

I remember that the only solution to life is to let the Lord lead you from one thing to the other. It all comes back to simplicity. Asking what He wants of me today. There are so many great things I want to do, learn, accomplish, experience and so on, but there are very few things he has in the day for me to do. That is the reality of it.

I truly believe that this feeling is part of the curse of our stunted lifetimes. I believe we were given a drive born out of the creator himself to do, create, accomplish and experience an eternity of things. All of these involve his creation, ourselves and each other. We are SUPPOSED to want to do so much. Yet, the reality of it is that here on earth, we just won't be able to. Again, I look forward to that in eternity. This is why reaing Randy Alcorn's book changed my life. Somehow I grew up in a Christian home not really understanding what eternity and heaven would really be. When we remember that, we can let so much go and be more focused on God's mission for our alien journey here. I have long since wanted to put a cute sign on my home that says "This is a tent, it's not my home". We are only passing through and with limited resources of many kinds. Our brains cannot learn enough, our money cannot buy enough, our time cannot produce enough. The greatest gift is learning to be okay with that I think. The greatest joy is finding what God has in the midst of it that IS for us, each and every one. Because when it's something GOD has for us here on this earth, we WILL have the knowledge (from Him), we WILL have the strength (from Him), we will have the funds (from Him), and we will have all that we need according to HIS riches and HIS glory.

So, if you are feeling like I have been the last few days and you just feel like you don't have enough or do enough, remember with me to ask for your portion and know that's it's enough because it's from Him who gives fully and who holds more for you down the road.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

If Ever I Would Leave You, How Could It Be In Springtime?

I have lived in California for about 25 years now. I use to hate that it was so dry all the time. I swore when I grew up I would move somewhere where it was green. I met Rick and thought how wonderful it would be to move to Washington state where he is from. It never occurred to me growing up though that green came from lot's of rain. I like sunshine so that became a problem. Rick loves the sun more than me so he doesn't really want to move up there because of the clouds. We do love visiting though! Every time we come home we remember why we love the sunshine though. It puts joy in our hearts and spring in our step. Except when it reaches 112* or more in the summer. That's a good time for a trip to green places!
Still, when California is in it's spring, there is hardly anything more beautiful. When the rolling bare hills are a bright Irish green, and the lupines and poppies are in bloom, you feel as if you are walking in an opened live storybook.
I just got back from a 5th grade science camp with Princess over between San Luis and Morro Bay. It was gorgeous out there. The green hills with their igneous rock showing though and the small sections of oak forest were breathtaking. The sunshine hitting your face and bouncing off the spring grass made you want to live outside forever. Down at the ocean it was crisp and blue and the otters were playing in the seaweed beds. One had a baby on it's tummy as they lay in the sunshine together. Perfect weather the two second days. Very cold the first.
It really satisfied my craving to be outdoors that I've developed lately. I really have been feeling the spring fever this year like I don't remember ever doing. I think grief and sadness can make you numb for a while. This year I have wanted to plant flowers, fix up the outside, feel the breeze in my face, and sit out and enjoy the warm sunshine. The soil even smells good to me and it feels good to get my hands dirty.
I greatly appreciate that the public school worked so hard to get the kids out to this camp too. Many kids don't get to get out in nature and learn from it anymore. They did some fundraisers and the schooled paid what was left. I plan to write the Principal who is a great Christian man, and thank him. They watched birds and checked off in their field journals which ones they saw. They learned about looking at leaves to identify what kind of resources that plant did or did not have. They learned how the food chain makes a dependant web. How different types of rock were formed. I decided to pipe in on our rock formation discussion that Creation Science believes that these seven sisters of ours would have been created during the flood when the earth opened up and lava poured out. The naturalist leading that hike was very positive about my interjection and I plan to write the camp a thank you for her respectful attitude. "Absolutely", she said "there are different theories scientist have as to how these events occurred." I was not sure what her reaction would be since this was a public school group of kids. Of course Princess teacher herself is a Christian so she makes sure to point out that evolution is indeed a theory. Truth be told, that is exactly how the public school SHOULD be presenting science since the scientific method itself cannot be played out fully on either creation of evolution. Step three is to test and neither can be tested or witnessed personally. We can only observe and theorize. Beyond that both fall into the category of faith.
Spring break is coming up for the kids. They get two weeks starting next week. Rick has it off and we plan to do some hiking and beach combing. We hope to get out and enjoy our beloved state while the green is here! The sweet peas should be out soon too along the coastal roads. They are highly anticipated by me this year.

On a news note: Our Foster process is still ongoing and we appreciate any prayers. We are in the final licensing process that should be complete by early May.
Note also: many of my posts here will be doubled over at "Happy Homebody" unless they contain personal information such as this. So, if you read over there, the post on this end may have more details at times.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Is It Really "The Happiest Place On Earth"?

We still don't have a computer. After Dell sent ours back refusing to fix it (URG!) we got very busy with our requirements for Fostering and getting ready for a trip to Disneyland!!!

A couple in our church graciously blessed and astounded us with five four day passes for our family at Christmas time. We were so shocked.... I cried. We told the kids on Christmas Eve and I wondered at the time why they were not very excited, as I was. When we were getting ready to go though they were not able to sit still. Lilo was pacing the kitchen with her roller luggage and pillow in hand way before it was time to go out the door. Something occurred to me at that point. Children are such a picture of us all. I thought of their lack of excitement at Christmas and pondered again why they were not elated as they were when we were ready to leave. Are we not the same. God promises us heaven with a ticket bought and payed for by the blood of his precious Son. Yet, we not only do not show excitement, we even forget about it. After all, it's not now right? Now we see the pile of "presents under the tree" and they are the tangible, the here and now, the immediate gratification we so long for. It's the same reason the kids gave a quiet "yeah!" lacking the triumphant exclamations I had expected. They had their presents under the tree for the next morning and a supposed guaranteed trip to ..hello...DISNEYLAND was in the unknown future. We say the same thing to God..."um, I'll take my next cheap thrill here and now please!" Oh, how foolish we are. They also had no idea what to expect since they had never been. They had no maturity of foresight to glean from. If they only knew how that new little toy would pale in comparison to a day of non-stop fun. Yet, we are promised an eternity of absolute joy. We forget, and when we remember, we just can't see the value of the coming bliss, we only see the bling-bling of the present and we run to it because it gives that superficial high. Even Disneyland itself is a difficult thing to come down from. Returning to reality became a longing of mine by the third day. The value and peace of simplicity and every day hard work is factored into our making and actually gives us more joy than adrenaline kicked up thrills. We tire of it quickly and even the most amazing, and most entertaining thrill will need to be topped by something better. Even though I was moved to hear Julie Anderews words at the end of the fireworks show (which is so fun!) and felt my chest swell with a sob to think that my children were given this chance when we cold not have given it to them ourselves, I could not help but see the futility of a child thinking that this wonderful place would indeed make all their dreams come true and be "the happiest place on earth" for them. It is fun, and it is wonderful, and I am so thankful beyond words that God literally gave us this trip through many different gracious and generous hands, I feel the impact of the fact that it is also a "present under the tree" of this life and pales in comparison to the fullness of joy that awaits. So, I thank God for his parental patience with us as His children and his love to give us those gifts anyway at times, and holding back at others. To understand that we cannot possibly know what He holds for us and therefore we foolishly seek such temporal drop-in-the-bucket thrills. I hope my children learn that in their lives. I hope I learn it before the end too! All is enjoyed with open hand, to be taken at any moment without begrudging him the taking because all I have is goodness dropped in the lap of no doing of my own. Nothing is owed me and yet all fullness is promised me. I hope I learn to remember more than I forget. Even that would be seeing things ever so slightly more as they really are. After all, the world is a Fantacyland with wood and paint and special effects. An attempt to create the reality of joy our hearts long for. Over as quickly as it started, happiness fleeting as fast as it came, unpredictable and unsteady. Don't bank on it. It could disappear in a moment and without the Lord and His promises and fullness of joy, we will be left standing in the greatest emptiness we have ever known.

We did have a wonderful time. Lilo was sick the second day and even spiked a fever which frustrated me because we had three weeks of sickness before we left so I thought "oh, no, here we go again and we will have to go on home". She had had a cold, pink eye, and the puke flu before we left. Princess had a fever and cold. Superkid had the puke flu and I got it last right before we were about to go. In the midst of that, Rick and I were trying to get in our CPR and First Aid training, a preliminary walk through and TB test. We are pretty much done with our stuff except for a few toddler locks needed on the cabinets, and a print out of our DMV records. They have 90 days to get us licensed so that puts us being done near the end of the school year.
Oh, I forgot to say that we prayed for her and she was fine the next morning. I think she just got way over worn out. I layed there the night she had been sick and just prayed "Lord, give us wisdom if we need to go home we need to go home but you gave us this trip and if it's your will, let her enjoy the last two days." He did, and she had lot's more fun.
I was ever grateful I do not live in that area though...LA traffic is one of the worst things in the world.