Monday, October 12, 2009

Psalm 119 20 Day Challenge - Day #3

Here is my devotional for Day #3.

Passage for the day:

Psalm 119:25-32

I'm feeling terrible--I
couldn't feel worse!
Get me on my feet again. You
promised, remember?
When I told you my story,
you responded; train me well
in your deep wisdom.
Help me understand these
things inside and out.
so I can ponder your
My sad life's dilapidated, a
falling-down barn; build
me up again by your Word.
Barricade the road that goes
Nowhere; grace me with your
clear revelation.
I choose the true road to
Somewhere, I post your road
signs at every curve and
I grasp and cling to whatever
you tell me; God, don't let
me down!
I'll run the course you lay
out for me if you'll just
show me how.

What I got out of it:

The course you lay out for me

My Prayer:

Dear Lord, help me find my way, my "course", that you have lain out for me. I know that you have a plan for me but I fail to see the big picture and I get bogged down in the everyday things and tend to dwell there. Help me, remind me, prod me to follow "the course you lay out for me". Amen.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Family Affair

I normally don't blog during the weekend, but The Ankle Biters are sleeping in this morning. Late sleeping is not something that normally happens when Hubby is home, but he is sleeping too. Why am I awake when there is no one else awake? Because I am cursed with Internal Weekend Alarm Clock. Monday through Friday I have to drag myself out of bed, sometimes at 8:00 AM even, to face the day and the only reason I can do that is because I know that if I persist in stumbling I will stumble into the coffee pot. Truly, the idea of coffee is the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning. Sad. However, on the weekends, for no explainable reason, my eyes spring open at daybreak. Depending on the time of year this could be as early as 6 AM! This happens on vacation too. It truly is one of the most frustrating things. But, I digress. The reason all my men are sawing logs like lumber jacks this fine October morning is because we had us a night on the town last night! WooHoo!
We had been planning this since last week, but money was too tight last weekend to allow it so we aimed for this weekend. Our aim was true, or more importantly, the check cleared the bank, so we decided to take the boys out on the town. The best part about this story is that we didn't tell them anything. I spent the whole day secretly texting Hubby and looking up movie times when there weren't busy-body boys looking over my shoulder. Finally, we settled on a plan and Hubby came home half an hour early to start the fun. We told The Ankle Biters to change clothes because we were going to town. They were somewhat incredulous about that one. The Mouth, my 10 year old son, decidedly announced that we must be doing something great because they were being made to dress up. To this I answered that being made to wear CLEAN clothes is not the same as dressing up. I do have to add that when he said "dress up" he means that I handed him a polo shirt and a pair of jeans, but he was however still wearing his sandals. Go figure. We got them all loaded up, after we shoo'd away a new FEMALE friend that came to visit my oldest (14 year old) son, who I will name The Sweet One. This female visitor is monumental in our house and I'm going to devote a whole post to her later. Trust me, Mom has things to say. So, we finally get them all in the Grocery-Getter and we head out. There is much speculation in the back seat about what our destination is. I hear all kinds of chatter going on but no one guesses correctly. We drive to the next town over and pull into the Walmart. Groaning happens in the back seat. The Mouth spouts off, "You made me wear a shirt with a collar to come to Walmart??". Hubby suppresses a snort, which he has to do a lot when The Mouth speaks. I tell him again that clean clothes are not the same as dress clothes and we head inside. Hubby's plan is to get them all new baseball gloves. He and The Sweet One are playing softball with the Church League and The Sweet One's glove fell apart at practice Thursday night. The Mouth isn't playing ball yet, but has shown a considerably amount if skill and will probably start playing city league ball in the Spring. My chest swells with pride! My 7 year old, Mr. Funny, isn't big enough to play, but we don't want to leave him out so he gets one too. We spend a little time looking and trying on gloves before we finally decide which ones to buy. Mr. Funny ends up with a new ball as well because he is cute and we are suckers. Any other excuse I give you would be a lie. So, we look around a little more and Mom decides on a new bread knife. (The back story on this is that there was only one. I complained about having to buy a cheap knife that probably wasn't sharp enough to slice bread, came home to try it out and promptly sliced my finger open. Lesson learned.) We FINALLY check out and Mr. Funny announces that he likes restaurants. This is his way of asking if we can go out to eat. Again suppressing a snort, Hubby tells him we'll think about it. By the time we make it to the van, Hubby tells the boys that we can eat out tonight, making it sound like a last minute decision when in fact we had planned for it. We drive to Wendy's, eat our food and load back up, to go home the boys think, but we had more in store for them. When we drove around the corner to the Theatre the back seat got VERY quiet. I think they were all holding their breath. Afraid that if anyone breathed it might blow away any chance they had of seeing a movie that night. Because we have just bought the house and had to save for a year prior to that to be able to afford the house, we have not been able to see many movies lately and further more the boys know not to ask. So absolutely no one asked to see a movie at all. Trying not to smile, I told the boys to come up with me to see what was playing. The smiles on those faces...that is what I was waiting for. To see pure joy on the faces of my Ankle Biters...that is worth the effort and saving that went into planning our night out. So, we spend the next 3 hrs watching movies we have each seen more than 100 times, but with the added bonus of 3D. Because we had seen them so much, the best part about the whole experience was saying the lines along with the characters and noticing things and sounds you only notice on the big screen with megawatt surround sound. It truly was one of the best theatre experiences of my life and I got to share it with my most favorite men on the planet. Watching them watch those movies, the smiles and laughter (like they'd never seen it before), the dancing and twitching, these are the reasons we save and plan and spend and stay out until midnight. These are the people that make my life worth living...they are my reason.

Psalm 119 - 20 Day Challenge - Day #2

Good Morning! I meant to post all 5 first days at one time, but my day was so busy that the inevitable happened...I procrastinated. Here is Day #2.

Psalm 119:17-24

Be generous with me and I'll live a full life;
Not for a minute will I take my eyes off your road.
Open my eyes so I can see
what you show me of your
miracle wonders.
I'm a stranger in these parts;
give me clear directions.
My soul is starved and hungry,
ravenous! - insatiable
for your nourishing
And those who think they know
so much, ignoring everything
you tell them - let them
have it!
Don't let them mock and
humiliate me;
I've been careful to do just
what you said.
While bad neighbors
maliciously gossip about me,
I'm absorbed in pondering
your wise counsel.
Yes, your sayings on life are
what give me delight;
I listen to them as to
good neighbors!

What I got out of it:
• Absorbed (in your wise

My Prayer:

Lord, the word "absorbed" jumps out at me today. In a way, similar to "single-minded" brings up the idea of not being distracted. Again you bring me to confess my distraction when praying to you and reading your Word. Forgive me Father for not giving you my full attention and using my time with you as a way to check a box off of my mental To-Do list.
Please forgive me again for not seeking yoy with my heart, but only with my mind.
Thank you, God, for bringing these words to my attention. I do want to know you intimately and I welcome correction and reminders to help me achieve that intimacy with you Lord. I do love you so much. Thank you for loving me too!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Psalm 119 - 20 Day Challenge - Day #1

Welcome to my journey through the Psalm 119 - 20 Day Challenge!
Because the first and last stanzas of this chapter were read aloud in church, the challenge starts with verses 9-16. Also, even though there is some argument about which version of the Bible is "correct", I prefer to use "The Message" when I am searching more for understanding than inspiration. For me personally, it feels more like my heart-language, more like God is sitting with me and we are talking like friends. The assignment is merely to read the passage and then ask God what word or phrase is yours for the day. Here I have copied the text and then outlined what I've gleaned from it and then write down my prayer for the day. Remember that this is my personal devotion though, so it should go without saying that I will be sharing intensely personal thoughts. I do not know why God is pressing me to publish this in my blog, but I trust that there must be some reason.

Psalm 119:9-16

How can a young person live a clean life?
By carefully reading the map of your Word.
I'm single-minded in pursuit of you; don't let me miss the road signs you've posted.
I've banked your promises in the vault of my heart
so I won't sin myself bankrupt.
Be blessed, God;
train me in your ways of. wise living.
I'll transfer to my lips
all the counsel that comes. from your mouth;
I delight far more in what you tell me about living
than in gathering a pile of riches.
I ponder every morsel of
wisdom from you,
I attentively watch how you've done it.
I relish everything you've told me of life,
I won't forget a word of it.

What God pointed out to me:
•Single-Minded Pursuit

My Prayer:
Thank you God that you have drawn my attention to this phrase. I confess my sin is "multi-tasking" while seeking you. I ask forgiveness for not clearing my mind and not giving you my full attention. Please strengthen my resolve that I might seek you more earnestly and "single-mindedly". This phrase brings to mind a feeling like someone wooing a lover-that you want my pursuit of you to be like that of an intimate love instead of the unequal love of a Father/Daughter relationship. Lord, am I ready to move away from you as authority and move into intimate love and relationship with you? Why does that scare me so God? Please calm my heart Lord, as I fear that I am placing my father's identity on you. I wish to seek you single-mindedly, without holding back out of fear. Strengthen me Lord. I love you.

Commentary from the Weary and the Restless

I never meant for this blog to be specifically spiritual, but there have been some things, some emotional fireworks, in my spiritual life lately. There has been a pull (from God?) for several days now to blog something that I'm not real sure I wanted to blog. I have resisted up til now, but no more. This blog is my place. Its my refuge from the world. The place where I lay my emotions down. This is where I'm going to work out my spiritual distress, not in my head, because that's not how I'm hard wired. I'm a think-out-loud, write-it-down kinda gal.
For the last week I have been taking part in a 20 day challenge. This past Sunday my friend Dave gave the message at church, an awesome message I might add, about the history of the Bible and the importance of "actually" reading the Bible. It seems that the majority of Christians don't actually sit down and read the Bible. Shocking it wasn't because I am one of those Christians. I might read the Bible if the mood struck me, or if I am taking a class or study that required it, or more commonly I would pick it up when I was wrestling with something and felt the need for comfort or guidance, but just not as an everyday ritual. I am not in the habit of reading my Bible. Its deeply shameful for me to admit that. So Dave challenged us. He gave us the assignment to take part in a 20 day reading plan on Psalm 119. He even went through the trouble of making up little reading plan work sheets, like school children get for making book reports, which I love because it let's me know that I'm not the only Christian who needs a course of "Bible Reading for Dummies". I decided to take the challenge. Since I have embarked on the "challenge" I have absolutely had the hardest time spiritually. Attack? Maybe. But, maybe its just that this way of thinking (with an ear towards what God wants instead of what I want) is so radically different that I almost don't even know how to function under it. My last post is Prima Facia evidence. Yesterday was the worst day I've experienced so far in the challenge. Yesterday I was so bowed up with despair that I couldn't even stand myself. I labored to even breathe, the despair was so thick. The air in the house was so tainted with it, my poor children tiptoed around me like I was terminally ill. Today, I didn't want to relive that feeling so I approached my reading with a different fervor, a different angle than before. I approached this assignment like a writer. I asked myself, "What am I getting from this that I can share? Can this help someone else? What if this is not all about me?" Shocking idea isn't it? That life is not just about me? I know ... revolutionary. So, this is what I've decided to do. I'm going to blog my personal thoughts and prayers for the next several days. I'm already five days into it, but since I journaled those days on paper I will just post them all at once and from then on I will continue one day at a time. Take this journey with me. We'll both be changed people from it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Depressing Questions from an Invisible Woman

Sometimes I feel completely invisible. I couldn't put my finger on it precisely until just now, after a conversation with my sister. I can't really call it feeling useless or feeling unecessary because I DO see my purpose and I DO feel like I provide useful and necessary things to my family's lives. I have to call it feeling invisible because I don't think that THEY see my purpose or usefulness in their lives. Maybe I put too much pressure on myself, and I probably do, but I have an idea about what my job is and what my role in this family entails. They probably don't expect of me what I think they do, but at the very least I want to live up to my OWN expectations of what a wife and mother should do and provide for her family. No one asked me to homeschool, I do it because I believe its the best for my children. No one asked me to cook my heart out, creating wholesome and nutritious meals from scratch every night not to mention homemade bread, but I want that for my family, I want my children to have memories of family dinners and wonderful smells. So, if no one asks these things of me in the first place, why do I feel so put out and dejected when no one notices? Why feel so deflated when dinner is eaten quickly, with not one word spoken about its quality or of the effort and love put into it? Why the need to feel "visible" and praised? Am I really doing it because I want to? Am I really "selflessly" serving my family? What is it about women that makes us want to feel noticed and important? I have heard the phrase before that "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." (Simon De Beauvoir), well I am here to attest that it ain't just the men. I watched the movie "Revolutionary Road" recently and I am saddened to say that I can relate to the quiet desperation felt by Kate Winslet's character. Why am I saddened by that? Well, quite simply, I have this belief that I should be content to do the job of motherhood and wife-hood without the need for recognition. Why? I have no idea. Maybe because I know so many women who feel fulfilled with their lives and they are doing what I am doing. Where is my fulfillment? Why isn't it enough for me? Again, it isn't so much what I am doing that brings discontent as much as the lack of feeling visible, the lack of "warm and fuzzies" being sent my way. I love my husband and I love my children and I will continue to do what I have been doing even if I don't ever feel visible because I know its the right thing (even if they don't know it), but I fear that I will always feel invisible. That's a large fear for me. That I might always feel like no one sees me, no one notices the things I bring to the table. That I will spend my days cooking and cleaning and teaching my children and spend my every waking moment thinking of how I can best serve my family and that no one will care, no one will appreciate and that one will spend their time thinking about the things that I do or wondering how they can let me know that they care. *sigh* Well, I know these thoughts are depressing and I worry that they are not godly, but I also wonder how many women feel this way. Am I alone, a weird one, a self-centered person who only does things for others recognition? I will spend some time in prayer about this. I pray that either God brings me peace about it or directs me in a more appropriate direction for contentment.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ups & Downs - A Carnival Ride Called Life

So much has been happening so fast that I haven't had time to blog. That makes me sad. I started this blog so that I could write something everyday. Most days I don't feel like I have anything to write. Its not like others that I have read, who have reader intimidation, I have only a few readers, if that. I do have a couple of things rattling around in my brain that probably could be vented here. I have a close friend whose marriage is falling apart, whose husband has decided that his happiness trumps the happiness of her and their children and who is barely keeping herself contained while she has to work 60 hrs a week and pretend that she doesn't want to curl up and die. I suffer with her, albeit in silence. My estranged grandmother has decided to pop back into my life after several tense years apart, including the three since my mother's death. She, my mother's mother, has apparently decided that she should tell me NOW that she loves me. A letter arrived in the mail 2 weeks ago. I did write a return letter and effectively skirted by the issues in our past to fill her in on the present in the politest way possible. This week I received another letter to which the first sentence said,"I didn't really think you'd write back." What? What does that mean Grandma? Does that mean that you are happy to hear from me? Or does that mean that you didn't want to actually hear from me but wanted to make yourself feel better by throwing the ball into my court and point back to this moment when someone asks about me? I haven't decided what to write back to her. My sister, who I have had a treacherous relationship with in the past also, has been appearing on my doorstep several times a week since we moved into the new house. Things have been good, sister-like even, because she has started homeschooling her oldest son due to his Cerebral Palsy. I'm glad I can be so helpful to her but I can't help my suspicious nature from wondering when it will go back to treacherous. I pray, seriously, that this is the beginning of a shift for the good for her. A major step was that she actually got her husband - who doesn't get along with my husband at ALL - to come to our church 2 Sundays ago. I'm still praying. I'm struggling with homeschooling this year because of the need to work 2 days a week. I feel like I am effectively failing to be a good teacher or employee by not having my feet planted firmly on one side or the other. Oh, and 3 ex-boyfriends have looked me up in the last 60 days. What is that about?? The first one stirred up trouble by sending his phone number and a not so subtle hint at traveling to our area on business. The second one (who wasn't serious in the first place) seems to be far...and the third one was serious enough that I told him straight away not to contact me again. What is going on anyway? Hubby thinks I am being tested. Really? I don't think so, I think it probably more like Murphy's Law. On the brighter side of life (Yes, there is a brighter side) I have been able to keep to my meal plan with only $100 more dollars spent, which means I spent a total of $250 for groceries this month! May not seem like a big deal for anyone else, but its a big deal for me because I am a starter, not so much a finisher. This maybe the first idea I've had that I actually followed through on. I've also gotten the hang of bread making and haven't bought bread for almost 3 weeks! Also a big deal because I have been experimenting with bread for over a year. Minor victories. I feel like I may have just broken even emotionally this month. I continue to pray for God's unfailing grace. It turns out that I need that more than a meal plan, a restored relationship or a clean house.

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