Wait, It’s Friday Already?

Where did the week go? I know there were volleyball games and cross country practices and chiropractor appointments. Laundry and grocery shopping and all manner of stuff.

Yesterday was orientation for the girls. There are lots of things I really love about our school. One of which is that we do a half day orientation the last Thursday of the month and then enjoy a nice long Labor Day weekend before starting school on Tuesday. It’s just a nice way to ease into the school year.

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Wednesday night as were sending the girls off to bed Rob mentions to Claire, “Hey, next year you will be in high school.”  I punched him in the arm. I mean, why would you bring that up? I am going to focus on my junior and 8th grader. I don’t need to be thinking about next year’s senior and freshman!

What else? Oh, I am looking forward to church Sunday! We are installing new deacons, adding some new members, and baptizing at least one, but quite possibly two, new babies. Such a fun day of worship and celebration! Normally we are sharing meals in each other’s homes on the first Sunday but this week we are going to stay at the church. I’m thinking I need to put some extra thought into what I would like to bring. Truly make it a feast.

Going back to school always starts me thinking about upcoming holidays and such. We celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas and it takes some planning. You will probably see a repost soon about how we do Christmas because I have actually had a few people start asking about it. Just a public service announcement along those lines…all the discounted school supplies can make for great stocking stuffers. My girls loooove all the colored Sharpies, gel pens, and fun post it notes.

My little sister is in town with a friend and that means I get to spend some time with my Mother and all three sisters…gotta love that!

There is a second post of those lovely curcuma flowers over at Just A Glimpse you should go check out. One of my favorite ways to shoot flowers is very up close and abstract-ish.

And lastly, for a Friday favorite I wanted to show you my one of my favorite vases. I think I got it at World Market maybe? It’s just such a fun little piece and when I had to get rid of a dying bouquet this week I realized we could still enjoy the daisies.

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Have a wonderful weekend, y’all!

Hobo Living

2202372341_92071dc1d1_o.jpgHave you ever found yourself taking a ride on a particular train of thought that you know you have no business being on? Only you aren’t quite ready or willing to abandon that track?

Maybe that doesn’t ever happen to you but it is exactly where I found myself the other day. I had hopped on board a particular train of thought that was less than edifying. Since I am laying it all out there and being honest, it was downright sinful. The fact that I knew what I needed to do and knowing I didn’t want to do what I ought to do was making me a bit grumpy.

My husband did something that wasn’t necessarily as big a deal as I decided to make it and suddenly I added a new car to the train. Mind you, if I had been on the right train on the right tracks in the first place the little incident would have been nothing more than one of those things that just needed to be covered in love. Instead, I was fussy with myself because I knew I needed to abandon my hobo thought life and get on board with what was true. What was honorable, just, pure and lovely.

And I stayed cranky even while I tried to redirect my thoughts. If I had to wrestle my flesh shouldn’t he? And that thinking added another car to the disaster train. Because I did need to wrestle with my sin and by golly so did everyone around me and why should I forgive or be patient or understanding with them if I couldn’t be with myself? And if they couldn’t see their sin then maybe I needed to put on a conductor hat and drive their train too? Only my kids didn’t see it that way. It just looked like mamma was on a tear.

ThankfullyGod is indeed merciful and reminded me of lessons learned in the past and allowed me to pull the lever and switch tracks.  I got off those rickety rail lines of bad attitude and sinful thoughts and was spared a major derailment. The day proceeded much better after I circled back to Rob and confessed my irritability and tossed aside my conductor hat with the kids.

Take home lesson? When we find ourselves track jumping like some kind of derelict hobo we have to remember that we aren’t meant for that particular ride and resist the temptation to stay onboard.

That train doesn’t stop at a station worth visiting.

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Sharing with Counting My Blessings  and

What Would You Do?

I once blogged about the lazy state of affairs we are living in when butter comes wrapped in half stick chunks. I vividly remember thinking how utterly ridiculous that seemed to me. That we would actually pay extra to have the same amount of butter cut and wrapped in smaller pieces so that we wouldn’t have to take the time and make the effort to actually cut a stick of butter in half.

Oh, dear friends, how the mighty have fallen! Those words came back to haunt me…to taunt me really…the other day when I was getting the ingredients to make a dessert for a dinner with friends.

I, who mocked and derided those who would buy their precut sticks of butter, was faced with a conundrum that shamed me with it’s weightiness. The irony of my decision making was not lost on me in the Walmart candy aisle.

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Do you see my quandary? On the right a slightly larger bag with a handful more of that delicious caramelly goodness, wrapped.

On the left? A slightly smaller bag with just a few less pieces of that delicious caramelly goodness, unwrapped.

The ones on the left? A little bit more expensive for fewer pieces. But still more than enough for the dessert I was making.

I did it too. With an apology in my heart for my younger more judgmental self that mocked those half stick of butter lovers.

What would you do?

Click here to see the sweet treat I made with my unwrapped Rolos. Super easy made even more so by those unwrapped Rolos and super tasty.

That’s A Wrap

What. A. Week.

Seriously, y’all, Tuesday just about did me in.

We had breakfast for dinner on Monday night so I took my wedding rings off to make some buttermilk biscuits. I am happy to report that this batch turned out even better than my previous attempt last week. But the reason I mention Monday night in relation to my cray cray Tuesday is that I forgot to put my rings back on and when I realized it on Tuesday morning after I had left the house I felt like I had forgotten to get fully dressed.

I was heading to a photo shoot for the teachers and staff of our kids’ school and the weather was iffy and rainy off and on and I was praying that it wasn’t raining downtown where I was headed. A few minutes delay due to road construction and I was reminding myself to breathe and not get impatient. I wouldn’t be as early as I had wanted but I wasn’t going to be late.

And then the sky fell. Buckets and buckets of water were falling from the sky and even though I knew it was possible that it still wasn’t raining downtown I was getting skeptical of our chances. I passed not one, but two car accidents on my way.

I decided to make a call to one of the admin and see how things were looking weather wise.

No phone.

I had not only left my wedding rings at home I had also forgotten my phone as well. No choice but to keep going with fingers crossed that my people would be gathering under a nice overcast sky for pictures. We managed to get our pictures darting in and out of sprinkles right up to the very last five portraits. Thankfully we got them finished before the buckets upended again.

After the rain let up some I headed home passing yet a third accident.

Five minutes later I am sitting at a red light when the car behind me tried to stop and it’s brakes lock up. With more traffic to her right the other driver had no way to avoid hitting me so for the first time in my life I was in an accident.

Minus my phone. In this moment I learned a very important lesson. Write down and carry a list of people and their phone numbers because I basically know Rob’s by heart and when I couldn’t reach him at first it only added to the stress of the minute for me.

Thankfully it wasn’t very bad and I just woke up the next day stiff and sore…nothing that a few trips to the chiropractor isn’t taking care of. But man, Tuesday was just a dozy of a day.  It ended fine with Claire playing in her first volleyball game that afternoon and killing it with nine scoring serves in a row. Not bad for her first year.

Wednesday was fairly quiet and Thursday was okay as well if a little more hectic. This last week before school starts can keep a girl busy! Plus we tried our hand at homemade egg rolls to go with our fried rice for dinner. Also, some wontons that looked so very pitiful but actually tasted rather good.

Today will be full of this and that and running around. Another volleyball game this afternoon with a tailgate party and soccer game to finish off the evening. Super excited about our ladies brunch and book discussion on Saturday morning. I mentioned the Book You Who by Rachel Jankovic in yesterday’s post. I loved it and I am looking forward to some robust discussion about finding our identity in Christ and what that means.

Okay, one last thing to wrap up this week’s postings.

Curcuma.

This is the second year in a row that I have had them in our yard and man, I just love them. The colors vary and I think last year I had a creamy almost tan and brown one. This year I found this glorious fuchsia, almost purple one.

It’s a lovely tropical plant with gorgeous and dramatic blooms. I love them because they almost have a small iris growing out of their blooms. And interestingly enough, they are cousins to the ginger and turmeric plants although they are not safe to ingest.

I think I might try my hand at keeping the plant through winter because from what I read they will rebloom if they do not get too cold. Their season is about to come to an end so last week I spent some time photographing them. The little portrait session went so well that there is a post up on Just A Glimpse and I hope you take a moment and just bask in the beauty of one of God’s most interesting flowers.

And then go and have a wonderful weekend full of much joy and rest. See y’all next week!

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Change The World

Years ago our oldest daughter went through a hard situation. It was a difficult moment at the time but with the clarity of hindsight it has taken on it’s proper size. This quote from Elizabeth Elliot perfectly suits that period in her life,“God never withholds from His child that which His love and wisdom call good. God’s refusals are always merciful — “severe mercies” at times but mercies all the same. God never denies us our hearts desire except to give us something better.”

That deviation from the expected was the ground that God used to grow her into the woman she is now. In a world (she’s an emergency room nurse)  where it can be an every man for himself kind of place she is earning a reputation as a hard worker, willing to help and pitch in, with a pleasant attitude. She is faithful to the life God has given her and she lives it with joy and contentment.

Sometime last year, before her graduation and having her own place and all the adulting she is now doing, Rob and I ran into some people we hadn’t seen in a while and as is often the case we were catching up on children and life stuff. I remarked that I hoped Sarah would take a job locally and stay close. I was actually smacked on the arm and chastised for such a thing. Didn’t I know that God hadn’t given her to us to stay put? She needed to “go and make disciples”.

Rob, sensing my discomfort I think, chimed in that our prayer was that she would be faithful to make disciples and be a faithful servant right here. Without missing a beat we were told that our prayer was too small.

Too small.

TOO SMALL.

As if that kind of faithfulness and obedience is only good enough until the real opportunity to be faithful shows up and involves packing a suitcase.

As if what we’re really made for and made to do are out there in the future somewhere and is the only thing that counts and we are just tinkering around with these smaller lesser things until God finally gives us the BIG stuff, the stuff that really counts and makes us something more than than just the ordinary person in the church pew beside us.

I loved this paragraph from Rachel Jankovic’s book You Who,

“But contentment and gratitude, some of the very smallest seeds, grow some of the biggest trees. These are some of the wildest forces for change in this world. Contentment says to God, “Where You put me, I will honor You. Where You send me, I will go. Where You are, I will be glad.” Gratitude says to God that you accept what He has given you to do, and you will do it, not grudgingly, but with joy.”

Oh my goodness, I love that! Be content wherever you are. If He chooses to send you somewhere then with great joy pack your bags and go. But do not serve Him with any less joy if he keeps you right where you are.

It is no small thing to glorify God in the ordinary everyday. God can, and does, do marvelous things with the simple common things of our life.

Little things offered to God are used to do big things. Five loaves of bread and two little fish were transformed into a feast that literally feed thousands. What do you think God will do with your obedience in joyfully doing what He has given you to do right now, right where you are, no matter how ordinary it may seem?

That kind joyful obedience will literally change the world whether you are in the same town you have always been in or your feet are covered with the dust of some far away land.

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Sharing with Candidly Christian

Think On These Things

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.

For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.

Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.

For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

~2 Corinthians 4:7-18

 

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Bits and Pieces

I realized that I had forgotten to give an update on the camera lens situation from last week’s post. Remember I mentioned the camera was dropped and the lens broken? Well later that same week I was doing some serious cleaning and purging in my closet when I found a box with a brand new never been used unopened 50mm lens!

Crazy, right? The only thing we can figure is that it must have come in a package deal when I upgraded my camera and because I had one I tucked that one away and forgot about it. Which made for a really great surprise and some dry chicken for last night’s dinner because a new lens has such sharp clear focus that I got carried away taking pictures of some flowers. Actually, it was taking pictures of the radishes inside when I started cooking that caused me to forget about the chicken on the stove.  But just wait until you see the pictures…so pretty! Some of them will make there way to Just a Glimpse next week

In other news (and I just realized I am not going to come off well in this story either but that’s just me keeping it real) I made my bed at 5:40 in the afternoon the other day. But I had to do it. I try to make my bed every day but Sunday only Monday got away from me like a greased pig being chased by a bunch of kids at a county fair and on Tuesday I decided to wash my sheets. There is just something next level wonderful about sliding in between freshly laundered sheets, isn’t there? I was determined to have the full experience so I made my bed that late. Totally worth it.

71824FEE-A6EC-465D-B62C-192761826678Yesterday Sam and I made a trip to the library near our house. I told y’all there would probably be pictures. We actually only took a selfie when we reached the library. Wait, did I mention that we actually walked there because he needs a new tire for his bike? Yeah, and it is three miles not two. And that is important to know because with the heat index it was 106 degrees, people. To say I was a hot mess is an understatement. And I mean it like it really sounds and not like the skinny chick in yoga pants who took twenty minutes to make her messy bun look perfect means it. I didn’t ask Sam to leave most of me out of the picture but you can thank him because, seriously.

Things I heard on the walk there:

“I can’t believe I am saying this but I am dying” and “I need a bike. And for it to be autumn”.

I gave him the option to head back home after mile two but he wanted to push ahead so we did. He did go through a list of people we could call to have come pick us up, from his sister on through to one of the deacons in our church.

We passed by a large cotton field and I snapped a couple of pictures of the plants that are already flowering. Did you know that the flower blooms as a yellow/white color but after it self pollinates it turns pink and after a few days will turn a bright fuchsia. Fascinating, isn’t it? I was also surprised to learn that the cotton plant is actually a member of the hibiscus family. Who knew?

Anyway, we did end up calling Rob to come get us from the library but I promise it was only because I needed to get home and get to cooking for some sweet friends that have a newborn.

Which brings me to my last bit and piece…I made homemade buttermilk biscuits (leaving myself plenty of time to go buy a can of Pillsbury to pop open if need be). The last time I tried that I over worked the dough and they tasted dry as dirt and crumbled like a handful of dirt too. This batch won’t win any awards for presentation but they tasted light and yummy. I’m counting on the “made from the heart” vibe to trump the “how they look” vibe. I’m thinking I didn’t handle them enough this go round because the problem was they didn’t rise.

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Plans for the weekend? Why, yes we do. Lots of them actually. Rob and I are doing a nine and dine thing with friends tonight. What’s that you ask? You golf nine holes and then eat dinner. I think it will be fun. Or at least amusing to watch since my golf experience is limited to the putt putt goofy golf kind.

Saturday morning is a baby shower for a soon to be mama at church and in the evening it is nursing home singing and then fellowship time.  That’s always a tough one for me. I’m not super comfortable around old people but they love hearing us sing and they’re so delighted to see us each month, especially the children. I never regret going. I just have to talk myself into each time. (I am leaving this in although when proofing it I could see how dumb it sounds. It is a good thing to do, end of story. No talking myself into it and no complaining about doing it. It brings  some happy to some people who could surely use a little and I have the blessing of singing the Psalms of my God with some of my people.)

So what about you? Busy or relaxing weekend ahead? Whatever it is I hope you find reason to rejoice over the good within it.

Have a great one!

Part Of The Process

The other day Sam and I were driving down the road and I noticed him rubbing his eyes. I asked him if he had sleep in them to which he gave me a perplexed look. I explained that we sometimes call it sleep or sleepies when there is something in your eyes. He explained to me that that sounded far too childish and we should use a more grown up phrase like gunk. He had gunk in his eyes.

My son is big on adulting these days. And honest to goodness, we had just gotten pretty comfortable having an autistic child when suddenly we were faced with having an autistic adult child. Totally different ball game.

But it does make for some interesting conversations as we try to help him navigate certain nuances of life. Like helping him understand that while yes, he is certainly legally an adult he is not the adult he will be five years from now. And that he isn’t ready for the kind of life that he will have five years from now. And it’s okay for him to not be ready now for the then that is to come. But he is supposed to be working toward that older more mature self.

Are you saying I am immature, Mom? He sounded so incredulous and offended at the thought. He, like the rest of us, has forgotten that immature does not have to be a bad thing.

This is a somewhat silly way to consider immaturity but effective I think.

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Grapes are not wine but we don’t get angry at the grapes for not being wine.  And if we took a bunch of grapes and tossed them into a glass and declared them wine we would recognize such foolishness for what it is. We recognize that in the process of becoming wine, grapes need to be grapes. But we don’t always see so clearly when it comes to each other.

The majority of the time the word immature is being used it is in a negative way. Usually someone is being labeled as childish and juvenile. But, we need to remember that the word also means unformed, undeveloped, at the beginning of something.

Maturity takes time…which means that immaturity is part of the process…which means that immaturity is not always a bad thing. A wise person, a mature person if you will, can see and sort the difference between the one who is immature in a silly infantile manner and the one who is just beginning to flourish and grow.

If we aren’t careful to note the difference between the two we can have unrealistic expectations for those around us. And, just like the fruit of the vine, expecting too much too soon can produce tart, somewhat bitter and less flavorful results.

For people on the autism spectrum dates can carry a lot of weight and Sam knows that at eighteen he became a legal adult. He wants independence and an adult life and it can be difficult for him to understand what he is ready and not yet ready for. A lot of the time he ends up feeling like we are still treating him as a child and boy, does that rub him the wrong way!

We are looking for ways that allow him to feel like he has more control and say in decision making. It’s hard for me to do this sometimes. Mamas all have a protective streak with our kiddos but with a child that has special needs (I typed that and I am not sure I really care for that phrase but I think that is something for me to ponder later) your protective instincts are heightened. I know Sam doesn’t fully process situations accurately sometimes and I know that he isn’t always completely understood by others. The desire to interpret and intervene can be strong and really interfere with his desire to adult. But we’re working on it. He likes going to Walmart with me but we don’t stay together. We basically part ways at the door and when I am finished I can usually find him at the Mario Cart station playing a game, sometimes alone or sometimes with another kid who has wandered up to play. We’ve done that enough times now that I feel comfortable with it.

He’s so funny. He has asked to be allowed to ride his bike to the beach, which is about 20 miles away, so that he can spend the day on the boardwalk and enjoy Bands on the Beach. We had to put the kibosh on that plan obviously but we did find a compromise. The public library is a little over two miles from our house and there are sidewalks available the whole way with a few main street crossings. We rode the route in the car, picking out landmarks and the goal is to let him ride his bike there on his own.

Working through this idea in a very concrete way with Sam has been a good reminder for me to carefully look at where people are and how they are responding and reacting to various situations in their lives. Their response might be less than mature and it may be that is appropriate for the part of the process they are in. I shouldn’t get angry with them for that.  The grape isn’t left untended on the vine to just one day magically become a glass full of wine though. It is nurtured and pruned and made ready for the process of becoming something other than it is in that moment. We are supposed to help each other in this process of growing up.

The moment is actually the same for the times when the response is immaturity in a way that is childish. The dressing of the wayward vine should be the same loving response that our heavenly Father gives us each time He gives us opportunity to grow and mature in our faith and in our walk. We are to help them move along, to grow up, and be who they ought to be in that moment.

The reminder that who we are today is who we are practicing to be for tomorrow is good one for all of us. The woman, the wife, the mother, the friend, the faithful follower of Christ that I will be a year from now or five years from now has a lot to do with who I am today. But it should not be the same. Because always who I am in this day should be striving to be more like Christ in the next.

Think On These Things

By insolence comes nothing but strife,

but with those who take advice is wisdom.

Wealth gained hastily will dwindle,

but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,

but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself,

but he who revers the commandment will be rewarded.

The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life,

that one may turn away f rom the snares of death.

 ~Proverbs 13: 10-14

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