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Showing posts from 2015

Moving On

I've been blogging off and on for over 9 years.

I've been blogging here since 2009. Not always consistently, but I've posted here for almost 7 years.

I started out as The Happy Homemaker. And then switched to Wisdoms Pupil and for the past 5 years or so, I've been Stepping Out of My Boat.

I've grown a lot in the years I've been blogging. I'm really thankful to be able to look back on what I've written and know without a doubt that I have grown.

Something that I've discovered about myself is that I need purpose. I struggle to keep up with household chores that I just have to do over and over again. I forget to do them. I know that sounds silly but I am very Absent-Minded-Professorish. I would rather be working out a Biblical concept in my head or communing with God among the trees than folding clothes. I've grown in this area but I still struggle a lot.

This blog has given me purpose. It's given me a place to share things that I'm learnin…

Personal/Family Update

God is working in our family. Isn't it amazing when it's obvious?! It is to me.

It just blows my mind that God would work in my life at all. That He would allow me to glorify Him. Not because He's not good, but because I am who I am. I have character defects and things I fall completely short in. And yet, He is working in me and in my family. 
Mind. Blown.
The kids are enjoying public school. They have awesome teachers and they are all getting to discover gifts and talents and interests. It's so interesting to see them grow. Some of them are doing course work 2 grades above their own. Some are struggling to do their grade level work. All are working hard, using whatever their level of academic talent is to the best of their ability. 
I've always wanted my kids to do better than I did academically. Don't get me wrong, I was smart. But I was lazy. Really, I want them to be responsible and do their best. 
Well, I just want to say upfront that I take absolutely zer…

Beautiful words written by someone else...

"Christmas art depicts Jesus' family as icons stamped in gold foil, with a calm Mary receiving the tidings of the Annunciation as a kind of benediction. But that is not at all how Luke tells the story. Mary was "greatly troubled" and "afraid" at the angel's appearance, and when the angel pronounced the sublime words about the Son of the Most High whose kingdom will never end, Mary had something far more mundane on her mind: But I'm a virgin!
       Once, a young unmarried lawyer named Cynthia bravely stood before my church in Chicago and told of a sin we already knew about: we had seen her hyperactive son running up and down the aisles every Sunday. Cynthia had taken the lonely road of bearing an illegitimate child and caring for him after his father decided to skip town. Cyntiha's sin was no worse than many others, and yet, as she told us, it had such conspicuous consequences. She could not hide the result of that single act of passion, sticki…

Imperfect

John the Baptists birth was a miracle. His mother was an old woman and barren when she was told she would have a child. His father became mute until his birth. He leaped in his mothers womb when Mary, pregnant with Jesus, walked into the room. John ate locusts...that's commitment right there. He baptized Jesus and saw the Holy Spirit descend on Him and heard God's voice declare that Jesus is His beloved Son. He declared the truth to Herod, despite the obvious danger in doing so.

His entire purpose in life was to prepare the way of The Lord. His whole life is wrapped up in Jesus.

And yet, at one point he sends his disciples to Jesus to ask if He is The One.

That is mind blowing to me.

He was human. He had moments of uncertainty.

Sometimes I think of people like John the Baptist as super human. If God chose them they must have been a lot better than me. And I'm sure he was/is...but I think it's kind of important to remember that the people that God chose were human.

Mose…

On Being a Flaky Chick and What I've Been Reading

I've always found personality tests to be interesting, but I've never taken them very seriously. But I've changed my mind.

About a year ago, I started meeting with an elder at our church to work on spiritual formation. As a part of that I took a personality test which told me I am an INFJ or a Renewer.

The apostle John is my biblical counterpart, according to Your Personality and the Spiritual Life.

I think deeply, creatively and intuitively. I look for deeper meaning in situations and tasks. I need that deeper meaning to really commit myself. I live my present always mindful of the future.

The down side is that I experience a lot of loneliness and restlessness is often my companion. I am always looking for fresh challenges and opportunities. I become absorbed in my thoughts that I am not good at living in the present. I also have a tendency toward indulgence and overextension (um...I had 5 babies in 4 years...ya think?!)

A while back, I got this book out again because the…

The Only Time I Will Ever Give Mothering Advice

You know what I NEVER think about? I mean, never.

You know what I NEVER get asked about on forms I have to fill out? 
You know what NEVER gets talked about at anyone's funeral?
Nobody EVER says, "Mrs. So-and-so was a good woman, she had all of her children potty trained at...(insert whatever age you want)".
Nobody says that because nobody cares. 
And you know what?! I NEVER think about how old I was when I was potty trained. Never.
Young moms get so much pressure. From books, magazines, PINTEREST, other moms, grandmas, random people at the grocery store and from themselves. It's ridiculous. 
Everyone has an opinion. But the thing is, God isn't going to mention how long it took my kids to stop having accidents or stop sucking their thumb or walk or sit up on Judgment day. You aren't a delinquent mom if your kid isn't potty trained until they're 4. Because, guess what?! God knows your heart. He knows you love that kid. 
I had one super easy kid to potty…

VIM

I deleted my personal Facebook account a while back. I ended up reactivating it because my Spotify account is linked to it and I love Spotify. So it's there but I don't check it.

I made the decision after getting some advice from an older woman.

I had recently asked for advice about something in a status update and I received a lot of really good responses but she suggested that instead of posing the question to, mostly, my peers, that I should seek out older women to ask.

I had actually been contemplating it anyway because Facebook triggers a lot of my character defects. Mostly, my insane inclination to compare myself to others. And so, after that conversation I made the decision to stop getting on my personal Facebook page but to keep my writing one.

The thing is, God has done so much for me. He has taught me, changed me. I honestly never thought that I could really change as a mom. But I have. In tangible ways.

The more I learn, the more I realize that I am deeply flawed an…

Being Vulnerable...and Transparent

When I was growing up in the Central Valley of California we lived on a half an acre or something. We had a huge garden, a swimming pool, ducks, rabbits, chickens, several dogs, cats and a separate building that my dad (who is a preacher) used as an office.

He had so many books and didn't want to take up all the wall space with bookshelves so he created a maze of books in one corner. It was like a square enclosed in a larger square with books on all sides. The room also sported a large white board for my dad to work out sermons on.

I would lie in wait until I knew my dad was either gone or busy elsewhere and I would sneak out there to put together my own sermons and then preach them to my imaginary audience.

I don't remember any of my sermons but I remember that it was one of my favorite things.

I've always felt a little weird about being a girl. Really only in a spiritual context because I have been drawn to things I was taught are wrong. Like teaching the Bible in any fo…

How I Know God Is Good

We're back.

Souls fed, hearts full, skin brown.

We stopped to play in the Gulf of Mexico before heading to our boat. This is life with five wild indians. Beautiful. But messy too.

Our first day on the boat. It was just starting to get dark. Can you tell how excited we were to be there? We counted down 214 days. For a while it felt like it would never get here. But it did.
We got to eat lunch with this view! God is an amazing artist!  Michael took advantage of the water slide. I think he enjoyed it more than the kids did!
One of our favorite things was the "Dive In Movie". There was a big screen above the pools and you could sit in a deck chair or in a hot tube or the pool and watch the movie. We got to see Avengers 2, Inside Out and Cinderella! All movies we had been wanting to see! Soooo much fun! This picture does not do the beauty of it in person justice. It took my breath away. God is awesome!
They were so excited to be able to say that they had been to another countr…

Vacation

Our family is taking our first real vacation. We are super excited!!!

I am taking a complete vacation from my blog and all social media starting today through next Saturday, September 26. I am not going to fulfill my 2 publishes for next week. I will continue to write but I'm going to focus on my family and taking a soul retreat.

I hope you all have an amazing week!!

Comfort as an Obstacle

I've always considered myself to be blessed to be born in the United States. I've sat and pondered why I would be allowed to live here when so many others aren't.

I've also always considered myself blessed to be born in the time I was born. Thinking about some of the things that women have had to endure over the centuries...and some still do...is horrifying. But I live in a place and time when women are relatively free. I can wear whatever I want whether it's a burka or a bikini. I can divorce my husband if I want to for any reason I see fit to. I can drive through the drive thru for dinner. I can choose a career. I can be whatever I want to be...including a man. 
Women have never been free-er. 
But I'm starting to wonder if all of this freedom and the state of American society is really the blessing I've always considered it to be. 
I think that because my life has been pretty comfortable, it's easy to be lukewarm and/or spiritually lethargic. It's…

Thinking About My Thinking

The deadline for fall submissions to (in)courage closed this morning. I didn't submit anything. It just wasn't even on the radar of things I've been thinking about.

I'm not afraid of repeated rejection. I just don't think that's what God has for me right now, and I'm not going to force it. If God gives me something to say, I'll write it and submit, but for now He hasn't.
That's a recent commitment I've made...if God opens a door I will thankfully and faithfully walk through it, but I'm not going to build my own. Unless all the materials for the door show up on my doorstep and it becomes clear that He intends me to. 
I've been struggling to remain faithful in my writing. I've been wondering if this really is God's plan for me. Because I do this basically for myself. People tell me it encourages them sometimes, but I do this completely on my own. Nobody asked me to. 
My husband gets asked to use his talents. I'm not jealous…

Raw and Uncut

I'm feeling kind of frustrated.

I'm frustrated because sometimes I totally think I'm surrendering to God and am in deep fellowship with Him and then I realize that I'm not really. If I were alive to God, I would be dead to sin and I wouldn't still be overeating. I mean, I know that as long as I'm alive I'll be growing and God will be changing me into the likeness of His Son. But I shouldn't still be a slave to food.

I'm actually really at a loss about this. I feel raw and frustrated. I mean, I think I've been growing in my relationship with God...some areas are kind of obvious....like the kind of mother I am. I'm not perfect but my mothering skills have seriously improved...like...exponentially. But other areas (mainly my food issues) I feel kind of baffled about.

It's not that I don't have the knowledge to eat healthy foods in healthy portions. It's the drive to actually do what I know, and not throw it all out the window when I…

Teaching my Kids to Get their Security from Jesus

I put my kids in public school this year. After a lot of prayer and thought we decided it was best. And so far it seems like a good thing.

This means I'm giving up a lot of my kids day to another adult. And a part of public school is reward/penalty based discipline.
At our "big kids" school there is something called the "Jeans List". Kids are awarded for good behavior by being given a reprieve from the normal uniform required.
None of our kids have made it so far. They have been disappointed every time.
Uriah, on the other hand, has been awarded Athlete, musician and artist of the week. 
I'll tell you what though, neither one of these things phases me, because I know who my kids are. I don't need them to receive awards or compliments for me to know who they are. Uriah was a good kid way before he was acknowledged by his teachers for being one. My other kids are good kids (who have their problems but are generally, usually fairly well behaved) even thoug…

Trusting God at 9:02 a.m.

Remember Magnum P.I.? Shorty shorts, hawaiian shirts and . . . that mustache.

Thomas Magnum, of Magnum P.I., kept his head above water.

A power boat had passed by and knocked him into the water and separated him from his surfski.

Stranded. In open ocean.

Tired. Small hope.

He kicks his legs and waves his arms the way his father had taught him. Past the point of pain and exhaustion.

Not by agonizing . . .

over every kick and wave. Or how long rescue might take. Or how much his legs and arms hurt. Or how thirsty he is.

He made a decision each moment to keep kicking for THAT moment. Not ten minutes from then or even ten seconds. He made the decision to believe in the current moment and to keep kicking his legs and waving his arms. Regardless of how it felt.

And sometimes that's what life requires of us. Whether it's a bad health diagnosis, a struggling marriage or an addiction that I'm trying to break. Sometimes I just have to make the decision that at 8:42 am I am going to t…

Listening More Than I Talk

I get frustrated with politics. For a long time I've basically ignored the news on the basis that after mothering 5 kiddos I didn't have the energy to worry about what was happening outside of our never ending mountain of laundry. But I've regained my interest in the world of politics and where our country and our world is headed.

As a young person I was very interested in politics but per my upbringing, I believed that any career having anything to do with politics was not something a Christian could do. I have since changed my mind. Maybe God put my interest in history, government and politics inside me for a reason, I don't know. Maybe it's just a silly passion that I will soon realize is just a manifestation of a worldly frame of mind. I don't know. I'm totally open to being wrong on most subjects, I would rather feel the sting of rebuke than remain staunchly in the wrong.

I don't consider myself a Republican or a Democrat. Both parties embrace vari…

God Loves and Knows My Kids More Than I Do...I Can Trust Him with Them

I haven't written all week.

Sure, I've been busy, my kids started public school and I've been busy working in my home. And our computer is broken so I either have to peck on my phone or wait until my husband gets home with his laptop.  But since I've been really trying to be totally available and engaged with my kids when they get home from school...that option doesn't work.

So I am probably not going to reach my two post quota this week.

God is working in my life but it's not really things that I can put into words yet.

He's been showing me that I can trust Him with my kids. Which I already knew but for the first three days of school I kind of forgot.

I wanted them to go to school and effortlessly fit in and everything just be be hunky-dorey. But it wasn't. There were challenges. And I could have stepped in, but I think God didn't want me to. I think He wanted me to know and remember that He loves these babies a million times more than I do. And if…

The Flip Side to Broken Marriage--Things You Should Know

Now that we know the ways we are broken and the source of our brokeness, it can be addressed. We've stepped out of denial and into our desperate need for our Savior. Our broken lives and broken marriage have given us a knowledge for our need of our Great Physician more than ever.

A really neat perk of where our marriage is right now? I don't love him because he's a good husband. I don't love him because he's a good provider. I don't love him because of all the things we have in common. I love him. And that's all. He doesn't have to do anything to earn my love. I love him because we've spent the last 14 years as partners in the trenches.

Things that used to get on my nerves don't anymore. Because I love him. And that has absolutely nothing to do with his actions so I am free to just accept him exactly like he is. I've come to realize that my love for him is deep...deeper than anything he can do to annoy me.

Does that mean I don't want him…

Broken Marriage

Writing things down helps me process them.

I've written a lot about my marriage and the struggles we've had. I've tried really hard to not pretend, to not convey that things are better than they are.

Our marriage is broken. Because we are, and have been, broken.

It's like a horribly cracked foundation of a house. We can fix the cracks in the walls and replace the flooring all we want to but if the foundation isn't fixed it's just going to re-crack. There's no point in doing all of that patchwork if the foundation is broken.

For a long time we just ignored the cracks in the walls and floors of our marriage. I read books and blogs and tried to make the most of the house of our marriage.

Now, and for a while, we've been trying to get to the bottom of the damage. And just as I think we've gotten to the bottom of it all, we make a new discovery. It's like when you go to change the spark plugs on your car and realize you need a new engine. (I don'…

I Love Peter!

Peter is one of my favorite disciples.

I was just reading the Gospel of John. Jesus has just finished telling the disciples to love each other as He loved them.

And then Peter speaks up to ask Jesus where He is going. Jesus tells Peter that he can't follow Him now, but will later. Peter says
"Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you."  Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times." We all know what happened. Peter denied Him. Three times. Just like Jesus said he would.

This time Jesus' reply really struck me. I imagine that Peter recalled Jesus' question when the rooster crowed. "Will you lay down your life for me?" I wonder how many times he thought of that moment throughout his life. I imagine it crossed his mind when he was being nailed to his own cross. But that time he replied with a resounding YES! Not with his tongue a…

More Questions than Answers

I wonder if Leah ever felt loved? I wonder if she regretted tricking Jacob into marrying her?

Laban probably thought he was doing the right thing. Maybe Leah did too. Or maybe Leah just did what her father told her to. 
Jacob was a decent guy. He honored the commitment he made. He cared for her needs. He gave her her fair share of bed sharing. But I wonder if she ever regretted what she had done? 
I wonder what went on in her head? Did she long to be loved? Did she long to be chosen? How on Earth did she live a happy life always knowing Rachel was the chosen one? Rachel's children were even preferred over hers. 
Honestly, until the last few years, Leah was probably my least favorite too. But I have grown curious about her.
Maybe she was a much better woman than I am. Maybe she coped well and was content with her life and husband. 
Ultimately God used it all for good. And I doubt that she cares about being loved by Jacob now. But I wonder what she would say if I could have her over…

Serving by Being Served

I'm not a super gifted person, but a few years ago as a result of a spiritual conviction and a true desire to serve, I thought long and hard of what I could do. Finally I decided that I could serve pregnant mothers with older children by cleaning their homes so they could rest.

With a timid heart but the courage of my convictions I made a list and approached each one.

All of them turned me down. They all seemed offended.

I was crushed. I felt rejected and frustrated.

I don't really know the psychology behind why THEY did this, but to be honest, I've done the same thing.

I was taught to not ask for things...to not "bother" people. And so my first instinct is to do things myself...even if I can't or I need help. Most of the time it doesn't even enter my mind that I CAN ask for help or that I should. I typically just tell myself that if I worked harder that I wouldn't need help. So I put my head down and barrel through.

But I'm learning to say 'y…

Future Plans and Goals

Throughout my adulthood I have struggled to find anything that I'm good at.

I finally admitted a few months ago that, thinking as honestly as I can, I think God gave me the talent of writing. I'm still open to realizing that I am wrong, and I'm not saying I'm Shakespeare or Emily Dickinson, but I think He gave me words. 
So back in March I decided to commit to writing regularly and posting to my blog 2 times a week. And I have kept that commitment. I'm offering my "not enough" to God. 
But even though I think God has compelled me to write, my talent and knowledge of how to do it properly are limited. And so, for His glory I have desired to improve my craft. 
I've spent the last month or so diligently studying writing and I have come to the conclusion that one of my biggest issues is with editing.
Basically, beyond checking for spelling and blatant grammatical errors, I don't do it. Every thing I've ever published on this blog has been a first,…

I'm Not Who I Thought I Was

Have you ever wondered which part you would play in the story of the Good Samaritan?

I have. And until recently I would have said that I would have been the Samaritan.

A few days ago an older (read:wiser) woman expressed some frustration at the lack of initiative and responsibility that people around my age, in the church, take for their "neighbors" who aren't already in their circle of friends.

As a result, I sort of came to the realization that I have played the Levite or priest role.

 I've seen people sitting off by themselves and passed them by. I've noticed that someone wasn't at church but didn't bother to check on them. I've assumed that since their wheel wasn't squeaky that it didn't need any grease. But I didn't bother to get to know them well enough to learn to recognize the sound of their squeak...so they may have been squeaking and I just didn't recognize the sound.

I've kept to myself when I should have reached out. I&…

I Quit

I'm out of breath. And sweating like a...pig. I don't know, do pigs really sweat?

Anyway, I have challenged myself to work out for 100 days in a row. I just completed my third day.

I started a work out tonight and about a third of the way through I wanted to quit. I actually turned the video off.

It was hard. It was the weight lifting portion and I really just wanted to throw my weights at the guy on the screen telling me we weren't done yet.

The thing is, I always regret giving up. Always. Every. Stinkin. Time.

I don't recall ever wishing I hadn't finished something.

The things I regret are the things I was too afraid to try or the things I was too lazy to finish.

So I asked myself the questions I've learned to ask when I feel like quitting.

1. What will it look like if I quit? How will I feel tomorrow when I think about this moment? What will it feel like to have to start over next time, knowing I quit this time?

2. What will it look like if I keep going? How…

How and Why I Stopped Yelling at My Kids

I used to be a yeller. Well, I'm mostly not a yeller now. Sometimes I catch myself yelling and I have to apologize, ask for forgiveness and start over.

I yelled because I was overwhelmed. And to be honest, yelling is what I knew. And sometimes (way more than just sometimes) I just felt desperate and in way over my head and wanted my kids to listen to me. I thought yelling was better than spanking because there was no chance I would spank them out of anger and cross the line.

Even though I wasn't physically harming my kids, I hated myself for doing what I was doing to them. I could tell the screaming and yelling bothered them. It scared them. (to be clear, I know that there might be an occasion where yelling is the right thing to do...like when they are about to run into the street, etc)

It was abusive.

Yelling at kids isn't an effective parenting technique. They might listen in the moment but it is damaging. Most, if not all, psychologists call it emotional abuse. And I k…