Vulnerability and Trust

A got called into work on his day off last week. The planner in me wanted to throw a fit — Monday nights are one of two nights a week we get to spend together. How unfair! But the tradeoff? He’d have Saturday off.

That I could go for.

So he did. He shortened his weekend and worked Monday in order to have 3 days off this past weekend. I asked him to choose what to do, since it’s such a rarity. He said he’d like to spend the night with our “second family” — something we’d talked about for a while, but it hadn’t worked out with his schedule. So I encouraged him to make the plans.

Long story short, some major miscommunication took place. From the outsider’s perspective, it was not an ideal weekend. I don’t deal with conflict well, and unspoken tension in the room drives me batty. But we stayed.

And we learned a lot. I got to see “mom” peel away a bit of the mask of holding everything together. She opened up a corner of her heart I had yet to see. If the weekend had been ideal, I probably wouldn’t have witnessed that. Where trust has been planted, vulnerability is like water to the trust seedling… Trust can’t deepen its roots, grow its stalk, without some level of vulnerability. While vulnerability is hard, it has some tremendous dividends.

The truth is none of us “have it all together.” {Did you see my New Every Morning post last week?} When we’re willing to let others in on the fact that we don’t, we can give and receive the love of Christ in a real way… Who wants “pretend” love anyway?

Come join our New Every Morning link-up recounting God's mercies (Lam. 3:22-24)!Wanna join us? It’s simple. Grab a journal and start writing. What are you thankful for in this moment? What have you overlooked that He has graciously given you? Then, each Thursday, join us as we revel in His mercies! If you have a blog, we’d love for you to leave your link. If you don’t, feel free to leave your list in the comments!**

Mercies to date: 418. Take a look at this week’s list:
395. Ae’s mostly easy-going temperament
397. encouragement to purge clutter and minimize “stuff”
399. deep, vulnerable conversation with “Mom”
401. H & S’s excitement about learning how to do a fish-tail braid
404. Chinese food — because it’s A and N’s favorite
406. Ae’s enthusiasm for “‘WANA!”
407. an inflatable slide at church — and pure joy on Ae’s face as he raced down it head first
409. progress… even when it’s barely documentable
411. jellybeans
415. a well-insulated apartment when the temperature outside dropped from 70 to 40 overnight
417. resources available on the Internet

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Dynamic Duos: How Large Networks of Friends Muddle Our Effectiveness

I am not an expert. I am a woman who has endured the loss of many deep friendships. I hope my learning process helps you see friendships in a new light.

How Large Networks of Friends Muddle Our EffectivenessWe all run in circles. Yes, in the chaos of life, but that’s not exactly what I’m referring to. We have groups of people who are “like” us, people we enjoy being around or have something in common with. Sunday school, La Leche League, homeschool groups, hobbyists, and the list goes on. It’s inevitable that when we identify with some cause, idea, or label, someone else does, too.

C.S. Lewis said it well when he said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”

But are you close friends with every woman in your Bible study? Likely not. We tend to gravitate towards those we find more similarities, or more intriguing.

I suggest that this is by God’s design. His Word recounts friends in pairs: David and Jonathan; Ecc. 4:9-10; and Paul and Barnabas. There were a few “larger” circles of four, such as Job and his three “friends;” Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; the lame man and his friends; and Mary, Martha, Lazarus, and Jesus, but even these groups are small compared to the networks we connect ourselves with these days.

My Facebook profile may show that I have a large group of friends, but how many do I really know? How many have I sat down and had at least two lengthy discussions with? Not including family, less than half of my “friends” fit those criteria. Throw in “invited me to their house” and the number drops even lower. Less than 30.

The danger inherent in such large groups of “friends” is a loss of personal contact. We can like pictures and comment on statuses without truly knowing the person. People do so with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all the time.

With the loss of personal contact goes my effectiveness in that person’s life. If I don’t fully understand their cryptic message, will my words truly encourage? If I am unaware of the hurt they are enduring or have endured, will my comment be accepted as intended or received as a trite attempt?

We’ve got to figure out a way to regain some of this loss of personal contact. Next week, I’ll give you some ideas for how to make quality time happen and be more intentional about personal contact. Stay tuned — next week, same time, same place!

Challenge: Evaluate the circles you run in. Who is your closest friend in that circle? Send them an email (or better yet, a snail mail note!) of appreciation for their friendship.

{image by Mattox}

Listing

I wanted to write you a grandiose post this week. But I didn’t.

I wanted to tell you about something specific I’m thankful for this week. But I’m not going to.

Truth is… I dropped the ball and didn’t realize what day it was until the day was nearly upon me. So, this week… This week, you have a list to read. Enjoy, and please leave a list of what you’re thankful for in the comments!

Come join our New Every Morning link-up recounting God's mercies (Lam. 3:22-24)!Wanna join us? It’s simple. Grab a journal and start writing. What are you thankful for in this moment? What have you overlooked that He has graciously given you? Then, each Thursday, join us as we revel in His mercies! If you have a blog, we’d love for you to leave your link. If you don’t, feel free to leave your list in the comments!**

Mercies to date: 394. Take a look at this week’s list:
371. baked peanut butter oatmeal
373. thunderstorms

374. a good report at the first midwife appointment!
376. Ae’s improvement with listening and understanding we do things in a certain order
378. audiobooks
381. a new book on genealogy from the library
382. Ae’s anticipation of bath time (Saturday) and worship (Sunday)
383. sunlight through the window…and delaying turning on the lights

385. A gets Saturday off because he worked Monday instead!

387. 3 loaves of successful sourdough bread!
390. Easter basket from A’s parents via USPS :D
391. Ae’s 2 1/2 hour nap and time for me to read
393. A got to fly!
394. Ae’s request to “‘Ug Beebee Womb!”…multiple times a day. :)

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We Honor God When We…

If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a parent, it’s that the wisest words I come up with on my own don’t hold a candle to words that come out of my mouth with no forethought. Oh, I don’t mean the slip-ups. Yeah, I’ve had plenty of words come out of my mouth that shouldn’t have…and I’ve had to apologize for them. But I mean the truths that are far more profound than anything I could conjure up.

Have you had any of those? Insights that you speak and then think to yourself, “Where did that come from??” Moments that it’s clear the Holy Spirit had something very specific to impart to your child… and you, if you’re listening.

One such incident happened several weeks ago. I was putting a resistant Ae to sleep, trying to use persuasion with a not-yet-2 year old. Yeah… That worked well… Anyway, as I was talking, these words spilled out of my mouth:

Buddy, we have to sleep. God created our bodies to rest. In fact, we honor God when we choose to rest.

Boom. A ton of bricks fell on me. This came in the midst of a string of evenings where time “got away from me,” and I ended up staying awake much later than I’d planned. I’d then grumble about how little sleep I was going to get and drag myself out of bed the next morning when I heard Ae in the other room.

So, even though I was managing to get “enough” sleep, I wasn’t honoring God. I wasn’t choosing to rest. Somewhere along the way, I still clung to the college student myth that I get more done if I stay up later. And to me, getting stuff done definitely trumped choosing to rest.

Over the next few evenings, I reminded Ae of this truth. And with each reminder, the bell tolled in my brain. I have to make this a priority.

So tonight… tonight I’m going to bed at 8:30. Yeah, 8:30. Not 10:15. Not 11:45. 8:30. But I’m also going to be intentional about getting “stuff” accomplished instead of wasting mindless minutes on Facebook. I think this is a season where God is teaching me to rest:)

Your turn: Are you a “honor God; choose to rest” or a “I’ll get enough sleep when I’m dead” personality? Somewhere in between?

Recap: Appointment #1

After a bit of a quandary with some uncertain dates and whatnot, an ultrasound to verify, and a reschedule, I finally went to my first appointment with the midwife yesterday! I have been anxiously awaiting it. Since I’ve been through this before, I knew a lot more about how to take care of my body during the majority of the first trimester. That helped yesterday’s results be extremely positive. :)

  • My water levels were good. Really good. Major improvement from the first time around.
  • The hemoglobin test showed my iron levels to be much lower than last time. Borderline anemic. I will probably have to supplement for most of the pregnancy this time, rather than just at the end like I did last time.
  • Low blood pressure: confirmed. It’s not dangerously low, but it’s consistently low. I can’t recall the exact numbers this time. 102/62? Somewhere around there.
  • I’m 12 weeks, 6 days along… and measuring 14 cm! “Carrying high,” to quote my midwife.
  • With Ae, I absolutely cherished seeing the look on A’s face when we heard Baby’s heartbeat for the first time. This time, Ae’s eager anticipation was equally priceless. We’ve been talking about where the Baby is (“Ma Womb” is his reply… Mom’s womb), and we explained ahead of time that we would get to hear the Baby’s heartbeat. He was curious and fascinated by the whoosh-whoosh from the doppler.

Our next appointment is April 29. It’s very hard for me to believe that I will already be into the 2nd trimester by then. Actually, I’m just days away from trimester #2! Crazy.

For now, I leave you with a picture. Baby’s growing!

week11

Calling a Blessing a Curse

Money. Finances. Budget. These words don’t ring lightly in many people’s ears. There have been several times lately that I look at the budget and just wish this season of constantly saving up for the next flight class was over. And then God reminds me…

It almost is.

Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t a reason to give up; it’s a reason to persevere. It’s not a reason to throw in the towel or finish half-heartedly; if anything, it’s a reason to celebrate by finishing strong.

A tells me of one coworker in particular who, when he asked her if she had a budget, she gave him a blank stare… followed by a quizzical, “What’s that??” I suppose a budget has been so engrained in our relationship since (nearly) the beginning, I can’t imagine not having one, let alone not knowing what it is!

Yet God reminds me that with boundaries come freedom. We could spend our way into oblivion, clueless about how much debt we had or how we would pay it off. We could overspend A’s paycheck and walk into a payday cash advance store because we saw no other way out. We could get down to the end of the month and wonder how we were going to pay the bills with only a few dollars in our bank account.

By God’s grace, that is not us. Oh how often I take this simple grace for granted! How often in my thoughts do I call this blessing a curse! And then, by His grace, He reminds me again that…

“he who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much;
and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much” (Luke 16:10)

We do have financial goals, and we will reach most of them. But it won’t be tomorrow. We may not even reach the next major one by the end of the year. That’s ok. It’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon. We’re gonna have fun as we go, though; we don’t do life any other way. :)

353. our budget and financial goals

Come join our New Every Morning link-up recounting God's mercies (Lam. 3:22-24)!Wanna join us? It’s simple. Grab a journal and start writing. What are you thankful for in this moment? What have you overlooked that He has graciously given you? Then, each Thursday, join us as we revel in His mercies! If you have a blog, we’d love for you to leave your link. If you don’t, feel free to leave your list in the comments!**

Mercies to date: 370. Take a look at this week’s list:
341. Ae’s silliness in trying to give my “light” a “bushel” (No!) :)
342. homemade lemonade, sweetened with stevia

344. grilled cheese & refried bean sandwich
345. a care package from Mom
346. the smell of rain
348. a house cleaning plan of attack for April
350. rearranging the living room in less than 2 hours
352. Ae calling hot dogs “ham” because he has no concept of hot dogs

356. learning how to make sandwich bread — hands on, from my mentor!

358. watching A lead AWANA
360. playing at the park… Ae’s exhilaration down the “tunnel” slides
361. Ae’s courage to try the “big kid” ladder and stairs
363. eating a picnic breakfast outside
365. Ae helping me pull last year’s leaves off the tulips
367. Ae’s frequent chatter about “Bod Wood” (God’s Word)
368. snuggle hugs as Ae learns to be gentle with Momma and Baby
370. a day warm enough for water play

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Goals for 2014: 1st Quarter Update

It’s almost comical that I wrote about possibly having 2-4 “life seasons” this year…back in JANUARY! But quarterly goals was definitely helpful. Less stressful. And I am kinda glad I get to tweak them for the next 3 month interval. Ok, a lot glad.

So, what did I want to accomplish in January, February, and March of 2014?

  • Work on genealogy weekly. It wasn’t weekly. But I did work on genealogy much more in the past 3 months than I did last year! I even found some missing puzzle pieces related to A’s paternal grandfather. It feels like a never-ending saga as some pieces to the puzzle help and some mean I have to scrap what I’ve already found.
  • Complete two crafts. I worked on a cross-stitch I started in high school. Yes, a cross-stitch. I didn’t realize I’d miscounted and everything was off when I picked it up, but I spent quite a bit of time pulling old stitches out and redoing them. And just as I thought I was nearing the finish line, I found another error. More pulling out and redoing  before I can complete this. Believe me — I’m ready to scrap the thing! But I only have two colors left…
  • Read. I’ve read 11 books so far this year… and I’m in the middle of 6 right now. Yeah, I may have gone a little overboard with starting that many.
  • Write like crazy. Journaling (traditional and New Every Morning), writing letters, blogging… While I wasn’t the best about blogging — and I delayed a bit on writing letters — I did manage to do each of these things fairly regularly! Score!!
  • Teach Ae his memory verse with signs. His main memory verse is 1 Chronicles 29:11-13. He has 1 Chron. 29:11 down! We’re starting to work on verse 12.
  • Deep clean the house. Didn’t happen… But I don’t have much choice in the next quarter. It has to happen.
  • Meal plan in 2-3 week stretches. Two weeks seems intimidating to me on a regular basis. I’ve done it; I know it’s possible… but I actually didn’t do any meal plan when I thought I needed to sit down for 30 minutes to do the meal plan. Now I spend about 8-10 minutes and write up the week’s meals. And we eat almost the same meals every week…with just a little variety. :)

It wasn’t as wonderfully productive as I’d hoped; the craft thing is still a bit disappointing to me. BUToverall — I accomplished a lot. Now, for April, May, and June’s goals:

  • Continue to work on genealogy. It won’t always be weekly, but I want to be intentional about it. It’s a valid way to spend my evening.
  • Finish the cross-stitch. I’m not setting my goal here high. This project is downright frustrating at times! But once it’s done, it’s done. Oh what a wonderful day that will be.
  • Read. I need to have 20 books total read by the end of June. So I should probably finish those 6 I’m working on; that would get me to 17! :) I also need to utilize audiobooks more regularly.
  • Keep writing like crazy. I’m working on something behind the scenes here at Renown and Crowned. No, it’s not another eBook… But I would like to have the project done by the end of June at the latest! Plus writing letters and journaling.
  • Teach Ae the rest of his memory verse with signs. 1 Chron. 29:12-13 on the docket!
  • Deep clean the house. I’ve got the list made! It’s supposed to happen in the month of April, since graduation will be in May. And graduation means lots of visitors!

Your turn: Tell me, tell me! What are your goals for 2014? How are they going?