Sunday, February 26, 2012

Joy Dare
Monday, February 20
#113  time to rest
#114  parents who value time with me and my family, no matter what we're doing
#115  raspberries and giggles from my baby
#116  my boys' excitement to explore
#117  a gift at breakfast--Mom & Dad coming for the day and my boys' lighting up
#118  a gift at lunch--Isaiah's excitement to have lunch at Grandma and Grandpa's hotel; I love that they are excited and feel like it's such a special treat to do what seem like simple things
#119  a gift at dinner--FREE babysitting by grandparents, so John and I could have a date night at a fun new restaurant :)

Tuesday, February 21
Gifts that are white...
#120  a white shirt covered in sauce means my baby has plenty to eat and enjoys his food
#121  towels to wrap my boys in after bathtime
#122  waterproof mattress covers for this stage of life :)

#123  safe, fun parks to take the boys to so they can play outside

Wednesday, February 22
#124  Vineyard Mothers' Prayer Group--community of amazing women that I get to share life with
#125  parents who my kids know and are known by
#126  phone getting shut off for awhile making me release control of situations

Thursday, February 23
#127  my son's affinity for collecting things from outside--he finds every stick a treasure; it stretches me to slow down and enjoy, but it is challenges me to appreciate these simple treasures as well
#128  my son learning some patience for his baby brother and seeing him extend some grace to him
#129  freedom from the panic I used to experience with sickness for one of my boys and experiencing that freedom fresh when the old tension tries to creep in

Friday, February 24
#130  MY BEAUTIFUL BABY!  He is one year old today!  He stretches me in a lot of ways that I need, and he is an amazing treasure and gift!
#131  being able to take the morning slowly with extra help around with the boys
#132  my son enjoying "projects" to make things or do creative things
#133  grace for my attempts to carefully reconstruct the day's plans to try to keep things calmer and protect the boys and having it sort of flop and be messy
#134  opportunities to release control and embrace the wonderful help of people who love me

Saturday, February 25
#135  being able to put together a fun party for my baby boy
#136  having my "best laid plans" fall apart with naptime, feeling stress build, and then feeling the release and being able to just enjoy the party and embrace whatever would come
#137  quick recovery/healing for my boys so that our whole family could celebrate together today and enjoy the party
#138  loving and supportive friends who come around not only me but also my kids

Sunday, February 26
#139  hard goodbyes reflect the treasured times spent together
#140  my son engaging freely and enthusiastically in children's worship time at the Vineyard
#141  delight on my baby's face when he sees me
#142  being able to celebrate a coming baby with a very dear friend
#143  a hug from my husband after a rough parenting stretch

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Joy Dare

Monday, February 6
#79  music class with my son
#80  loads of smiles and giggles from my baby
#81  mother/son "date" to eat ice cream
#82  going to see a movie with John

Tuesday, February 7
gifts that are red
#83  red rain boots handed down through several families
#84  chili enjoyed by all for dinner
#85  red fleece pants keeping my little guy warm as he crawls all around the floor

#86  my son and I working together through trying to be flexible as park plans got shifted by rain
#87  2nd chances
#88  redeemed moments with my boys when I've blown it
#89  brothers giddy from bath splashing together
#90  my son's curiosity about how the world around him works

Wednesday, February 8
#91  my baby's face lighting up and exploding into giggles when he sees me!
#92  the broken lid on my crockpot--I love my crockpot and how it allows me to make dinner for my family while making timing flexible, and I'm so thankful the handle on my lid is hanging in there to make it last!
#93  my husband patiently fixes computer issues for me time after time after time...
#94  reading books to my son that my parents read to me when I was kid
#95  public library--enjoying the thrill of stacks of new books without needing to "own" them

Thursday, February 9
#96  both boys having a fun morning at the park
#97  my son rising to the "big boy" privilege of having a little reading time in bed
#98  my son's delight at the treat of walking to work with Daddy

Friday, February 10
#99  two days at parks this week, which my boys loved
#100  looking down to discover my baby climbing up block stairs at the park--my little adventurer!
#101  our new tradition of "Fort Fridays"
#102  discovering a book Ezekiel loves and made me read a dozen times and laughed every single time!

Saturday, February 11
#103  one on one time with each of my boys today
#104  night out with good food, lovely and quiet little restaurant, wonderful and trusted friends who can share the hard stuff of life, and ice cream!!!
#105  reconnecting with our former neighbor

Sunday, February 12
#106  a working fan
#107  encouragement and challenge from God's Word
#108  the heart, sensitivity, and gift of the worship leader
#109  the reminder of the most amazing gift of all in taking communion
#110  redemption; hard moments in parenting turning around
#111  my husband praying for us
#112  a few moments just to listen

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Joy Dare
This week has been a challenge for me with this!  Several things felt like progress last week in having energy and being able to do a few projects I had been wanting to do and with sleep for our little guy.  Then sickness came at the end of the week, and the weekend hit with really disrupted sleep again, and it was a huge weight of discouragement for me!  I have struggled this week and have often been unable to shake a heaviness and a discouragement and just feeling completely exhausted again.
Today I read a post by a high school student from my Dad's hometown.  Her dad was the pastor of one of the churches there where some of my extended family attended.  Yesterday, she and her parents were in a car accident, and neither of her parents survived.  She also has 3 siblings, and they and the community have experienced such a huge loss in such a tragic event!  I read this post she had written, and while she was honest about the pain and the loss and certainly not glib or naive, I was so struck by her heart to thank God for the support she was receiving and for all her parents had given to her life and, mostly, for God Himself for holding her and carrying her through, as she recognized He was the only way she was making it through this experience.  What wisdom beyond her years!
The thing with this Joy Dare is that I started it, not to just feel warm and fuzzy about how blessed my life is but to really breed in my heart and reshape my habits of mind around gratitude and praise for the One who is worthy beyond all circumstance!  Praise is the thing that lifts my eyes from the hard stuff to the One who is actually able to handle the hard stuff!  How quickly I am drawn back into trying to press through it myself when what I really need is to acknowledge that this is beyond my strength but I am loved and known by the Creator of the universe whose strength is made perfect in my weakness.
So, as much as I really struggle to embrace it, today, I am grateful for weakness.  And I will continue to remind my soul to be thankful for weakness until it breathes freely in just enjoying the moments that are gifted to me, no matter how messy they are or how messy I am or feel!  Until I really embrace the reality that I am loved and valued when there is nothing I have done or accomplished that makes that make sense and stop squirming and striving to prove my worth in my "doing."  Until I live receiving and extending true grace.
So, in one sense I have "failed" at the Joy Dare this week, and it was truly feeling like a big fat failure to me.  Yet, in another, this is what the point of it is for me anyway--this transforming of my soul, this softening of my heart, this lifting of my soul to really see my beautiful Lord loving and working in me and the life and moments He has given me.

Given that,
#75  Weakness
#76  Grace
#77  The words of a teenager in the midst of her pain
#78  Being loved unconditionally and being valued simply for being the daughter of the God of all creation