Sunday, May 20, 2012

Joy Dare
May 14 - 20
#375  Quick healing from hand, foot, and mouth disease
#376  My older son not catching it!
#377  Learning to understand my emotions better--a long journey but so thankful for the small growths God gives
#378  Being able to return to Mothers' Prayer Group this week
#379  Isaiah enjoying a nice walk to work with Daddy
#380  Physical protection for me and the kids when someone hit our car!
#381  My son's sweet and innocent heart that caused him to say he wanted to invite the person who hit us to his birthday party
#382  Shaved ice at the park
#383  Date night!  :)
#384  John taking the boys out Saturday morning to spend time with them and give me some extra rest--double blessing!
#385  Beautiful yellow Gerbera daisies brought home to me from my 3 guys
#386  Good time at t-ball for John and Isaiah
#387  A safe flight for John to visit some of his family
#388  Super thoughtful and generous arrangements made my John to help me out while he's gone!
#389  Isaiah being able to get to the root of his emotions, even through much muddiness and hard process
#390  Thankful we have a husband and father that the boys and I miss when he's gone!
#391  Parents who are a rare and treasured source of support and prayer and encouragement in my life
#392  Help from a friend arranged by John to allow me to get a little extra sleep to make up for the early wake-ups!
#393  Juicy, sweet, delicious strawberries from the Farmer's Market
#394  Sweet friends having the boys and me over for dinner

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Joy Dare

Monday, May 7
#348  my son seeming thankful and secure in grace after a very upsetting accident
#349  rest for my boys
#350  letting go and just picking up fast food after a rough morning--grace! :)

Tuesday, May 8
#351  starting the morning with worship songs with my boys, and my son gleefully dancing around
#352  park time to play outside
#353  snuggly story time before nap
#354  parents who listen and pray and love sacrificially, no matter how old I am or how far apart we live

Wednesday, May 9
So, as I'm sitting here at the computer, struggling through knowing how to help the baby with a sick and horribly interrupted night of sleep, I see the prompt for today's Joy Dare in my facebook feed:  Three Gifts Found in the Dark.  And I'm struggling.  I don't feel thankful.  I feel weak and helpless and frustrated and angry and a whole mess of emotions.  Thankfulness feels out of my reach at the moment.
But, I guess that's the point of it being a Joy "Dare," right?  Thankfulness isn't a feeling.  It's a choice, a heart posture.  Being joyful IN all things, not necessarily FOR all things.  It isn't just a matter of putting on rose colored glasses and imagining life to be clean and pretty and shiny or pretending that it is.  Sometimes it isn't.  But, I need to train my eyes to see the Light that shines even when the darkness seems to block it completely.  Gratitude helps me refocus my eyes so that I can SEE God's goodness, His presence there with in the midst of the dark, giving me courage and strength and grace.  So, humble my heart, Lord.  Open the eyes of my heart to see You in the midst of the dark night.
#355  choosing to be grateful and the grace for the times I so easily lose perspective and have an ungrateful heart
#356  an email from a trusted mentor filled with wisdom and counsel, discovered in the dark of the night
#357  an email from a sweet young friend offering help, also discovered in that darkness

Thursday, May 10
#358  lunch delivered from our friend
#359  my son facing fears and struggles and coming through on the other side with confidence
#360  dinner with a couple who are pastors and mentors and have been a HUGE blessing through the many phases of our journey since being here in this city and having them yet again come alongside and speak into the next phase of our journey ahead

Friday, May 11
#361  bending the naptime rules and having chips and guacamole and giggles with my son on the couch
#362  my husband graciously picking up dinner at the end of a draining week
#363  skyping with my mom
#364  a beautiful gift of vision and excitement for life ahead
#365  jumping back into our "Fort Friday" tradition and reading nap time stories in the fort

Saturday, May 12
#365  making a spontaneous "nest" for my son for nap time, just because he wanted to, and his excitement to rest in his "nest"
#366  seeing the brave explorer come out in my son
#367  my husband going grocery shopping for me
#368  my mom and a small attempt to wrap my words around the endless number of gifts God has given me through her

Sunday, May 13
#369  the single hardest but most deeply beautiful job/calling I could have ever imagined--motherhood!
#370  the beautiful lives that God has entrusted to me to help shape
#371  a slow start to the morning
#372  flowers given to the girl we see every week at the farmer's market stand where we buy tempha--stretching Isaiah to learn to give and not just to expect to get and blessing her socks off!
#373  an extra little rest before dinner
#374  delicious artichokes and a portabello grilled by my husband for dinner

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Cost of Being Mom

1000 Moms Project
You are a mom, my mom.  So much of who I am and what I've been able to do and this riched, blessed life I have is because of you.  And I know it has cost you.  Quite dearly.  I have known, but I know and I see in a new way in this phase of life as I feel the joy and the cost of mothering my own now.

You gave us good food.  The smell filled our home--baked coffee cakes or cinnamon rolls, roast and potatoes on Sundays, homemade goodies for us and for many a friend we would bring through our home who never experienced the loving efforts of such treats.  Meals required extra planning and effort.  Meals were made special for our favorites and in seasons to fit my crazy ideas of what would make me run faster at the track meet or fit my social conscious.  You honored our desires but stood firm in providing for our health and our needs--I was never allowed to walk out the door in the morning without breakfast or to sink into self-destructive patterns to match up with popular ideals of appearance.

You made our house a home.  You cared more about us enjoying our home together than impressing those around you with their ideas of housekeeping.  We had "shut the world out" days to regroup and be quiet and be refreshed.  We sat snuggled and cozy on the couch, even when the pleather cracked and stuck to our legs, reading countless stories.  Anyone was welcome in our home, and you embraced those who entered and shared a sense of home with them.  You sacrificed any plans for matching decor to proudly display our masterpieces and creations. 

You were present.  I know you have struggled to receive grace and have had your heart broken many times over responding to impossible circumstances to be all the places and meet all the needs you felt you should meet.  Things were hard, and we muddied through at times, but we were always in it together.  I was supported and encouraged in my endless pursuits of activities and interests.  

You gave of your time and talents and knowledge to teach and train me.  Multitudes of patience extended as seams had to be ripped out and tried again to finish sewing projects.  Clothes were made to fit my needs and desires.  I have never been intimidated in the kitchen because I grew up watching you pull together meals time after time as if there was just an internal, limitless cookbook to pull together a meal out of nearly anything.  I got to high school realizing that not everyone had been taught already how to research and write a paper. 

You sacrificed so much for us.  Endless nights of sleep, rarely having new or nice things you desired, running countless times to pick me up or drop me off or bring me stuff that I forgot...I can't even count all of the ways that you so often set aside yourself to give to us, to me.

You have walked with and led me closer to Jesus.  More importantly than all other things, I have know that I have been prayed for tirelessly my whole life and know that to still be true and now knowing that expanded to include my boys.  I have seen you never stop growing and learning and pressing in to know God more deeply, more fully, and be more like Him every day.  You taught me about Him, but you also led me to KNOW Him and love Him and to embrace His heart for others.  No matter what circumstances or surrounding culture we lived in, you have given me eyes and vision to see a big God and His heart for a big world!  You are a beautiful woman who reflects His love and His glory.

I love you so much, Mom, and words could never express all that you have given and all that you are to me!
I am so thankful for the heritage of women that I come from--your mom, your grandma, you.  I am so richly blessed and humbled to have been given so much and hope, by God's grace, to extend that to my children.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Joy Dare
Lost track of days a bit last week, but some gifts from the week...
#337  seeing my husband light up with excitement as opportunities stir dormant passions
#338  laying down on the couch and looking out my big window at trees filled with green leaves
#339  exploring outdoors with my boys
#340  getting the bathroom cleaned well
#341  returning to sleep routines pretty quickly after an interruption for random illness
#342  HEALING for my baby from breathing struggles!
#343  sharing a Cinnabon and a mini train ride at the mall with my boys, for no particular reason
#344  total excitement from both boys over our baking soda and vinegar volcanoes
#345  watching my baby's face light up and his "oh" expression as he takes notice of more and more things int he world around him
#346  my baby's ability to walk and his delight with his skill
#347  a party to meet many of our neighbors

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Joy Dare
Monday, April 23
#312  renewed hope
#313  growth in sleep patterns for the baby
#314  getting back (slowly) into the mode of doing activities and projects with my boys that I so enjoy

Tuesday, April 24
#315  being reminded of the rare and amazing gift I have been given in a loving and healthy family who loves the Lord
#316  time with a friend on the brink of bringing her new little boy into this world
#317  shopping disaster redeemed with my son
#318  pressing through the ugly parenting moments and seeing a beauty unfold in a child's heart and our relationship
#319  sharing frozen yogurt with my boys and seeing my son initiate sharing with his brother

Wednesday, April 25
#320  a dear friend's testimony
#321  a friend's new baby was born in the early morning, healthy baby and smooth delivery
#322  quiet evening time with my husband

Thursday, April 26
#323  a simple, only slightly messy project that completely delighted both of my boys
#324  time to connect with a dear friend and mentor and soak in the benefits of the path she's walked before me and openly shares
#325  a conversation with my husband that fed my soul

Friday, April 27
#326  my baby's love of music
#327  reminders of God's love for me being unconditional and being stretched to live that out for my family
#328  enjoying the milestone of first haircut for my baby

Saturday, April 28
#329  a "Daddy date" that my son loved
#330  time with young friends and lots of laughter
#331  running and playing with my son at the park

Sunday, April 29
#332  my son enjoying children's church
#333  holding my baby while I sing worship to God and seeing him soak it in

#334  engaging in thoughtful processes with wise and beautiful women to bless children and minister to them
#335  the chance to see friends who have moved away
#336  the delight on my son's face to burst out dancing as worship music began