Friday, August 31, 2012

No, Actually I Am Superman


Actual quote.

Also, his new favorite phrase is, "[Distracted Parent], I have a question."  "Yes?"  "I do not understand why the [light is red...the floor is takes a long time to be my birthday...]"  Oh, almost four, I giggle at you.

Also, he wants to be big but it is killing him.  He wants the thrill of being able to do new things, but he is terrified of leaving babyhood.  The little guy still uses his plugger at night time (go ahead and judge our parenting...I dare you) and I am pretty sure he is worried that growing up will end that.  BUT, he is begging to read and write.  My plan was to hold him off until he turned five or six to introduce any visuals besides picture books, but we kinda live in a world full of words and he is noticing.  So, Mama's plan is being deferred to honor Laine's natural rhythm.

So, you ask, did you set up the class room?  Is everything ready?  No.  I tried.  The kids were patient.  I am close, but I couldn't finish.

In true homeschooler fashion we will be using the kitchen table.  Isn't that where all the action is anyway?  I am nervous about really saying it out loud, but we are doing this.  Homeschooling.  Please pray for us.

And what about the soul searching?  I am here.  Searching away.  And God is such a gentle God.  My prayer is that God will prepare my heart this week, and each day I feel myself healing from all these incessant moves.  A gentle God.

Except I keep getting glimpses.  Exciting.  Heavy.  Heartbreaking.  Joyful.

And Jesus only expects perfection, so no worries.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Salt and Light

We are starting preschool next week.  Yes we are.  And we are so excited.  

This is requiring that I move the junk in the basement.

Turns out we have lots and lots of...things.  Tools, fabric, yarn, toys, frames (why do I have so many frames...I don't buy frames), shovels, flashlights, scrap wood and about 200 canning jars.  So, I am sorting and trashing and giving and realizing that there has to be a time for this.  Before I can focus on preschool, I HAVE to order our space.  

I have always been puzzled by the story of Mary and Martha.  Why is Jesus so hard on Martha?  I mean, didn't he want dinner?  Wouldn't it have been nice if Mary had helped with the dishes so they could both go visit?  Sometimes I want Jesus to just walk in with a couple of bullet points listing which behavior will be the right flavor of the day.  Is this a sit at your feet day or a find some loaves and fishes day?  Is this a harvest grain on the Sabbath day or a "consider the lilies" day?

Truth is I don't know the answer, but along with the sermon we read today, Jesus also told a story about ten virgins with lamps.  Five took the time to fill their lamps when they got low, and five didn't.  

So, Jesus tells us that we have to be salt and light.  


With energy.

So sometimes we just have to jerk a knot in ordinary time and plop down at Jesus's feet and get refilled.  Pull over and check our directions if you will.  

Because at the end of today's reading Jesus puts on his mommy voice and tells us he is really serious about us being obedient.  He didn't let his followers off easy.  He came to fulfill the law.  

Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and mind and soul and love you neighbor as yourself.  

Jesus came to make that real.  

So, snuggle in at the feel of Jesus.  Soak it up.  Fill up those lamps.  

PS Anyone need a screwdriver?  I have about 97.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Your Mom I Am

Actual words out of my mouth today.  Truly.  I am not even a Star Wars fan.  Don't gasp...I don't DISLIKE Star Wars, I just don't pop out quotes...ever.  To be honest, I just verbally tripped.

Today is my parents' 35th wedding anniversary!  (Cheering)  I realized something about being married 35 years today.  I am pretty sure you have to be kinda old.

Way to go guys!

So in their honor, I thought I would give you my top 10 favorite things about being married:

  1. Feeling attractive to at least one person.
  2. Watching silly television shows then analyzing them more than they deserve.
  3. Having someone to help me find my phone/keys/purse/shoes/kids (haha)
  4. Having someone who loves adventure push me out of my box.
  5. Knowing that there will always be someone who thinks I am clever.
  6. Having back up.
  7. Making really crazy plans and then trying them.
  8. Back rubs (*wink*).
  9. Knowing someone is watching my blind spots.
  10. Always being guaranteed to have the car packed like a submarine!

Sunday, August 26, 2012


They say you can never go home.  I don't agree.  You can never reclaim childhood, but you can return to the arms of your family.  Sometimes you NEED to go back home and reconnect.  

We went back to the church where my oldest kids were baptized today.  The children's sermon was about following Jesus.  Laine, in the simple, laser insight of children, told me that it was hard to follow Jesus and he would probably have to wait until he was bigger.  While ushering him out of the sanctuary into the nursery I acknowledged that it was hard to follow Jesus but that's why we do it together.  Then I stopped and thought about what I had just said.  That IS why we bother with all this stuff.  We meet together in so many ways because following Jesus is hard and being together makes it easier.

So, how was this week.  Every moment was transcendental and meaningful, right?  The scriptures opened up and you were filled with holy purpose, right?  Your spirit found refreshment and encouragement through the collective prayers, right?  Well...I do hope that last one is true.  I was praying for you and I hope you were praying for me.  I struggled to keep up.  I struggled to keep from dashing ahead and guessing at what the end of this journey will bring, but we are here--week 2.  

Week 2: August 27-September 2

Prepare Our Hearts

Focus Verse

Psalm 51:10-12

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.

Scripture Readings:

Children's Activities


Lord, we are tired.  We try to love you and your people, but we find that our hearts are weary.  We are stretched and empty.  Prepare our hearts.  Soften them.  Give us the discipline to protect our hearts so that we are available to love.  Give us hope--make us hopeful.  Give us mercy--make us merciful.  Give us love--make us loving.


Friday, August 24, 2012

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Via Soule Mama

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ruth 2

A word from Chris Osteen (my mom):

Dearest Lord, You who knit us together know our coming and going and every hidden hurt in our human hearts. We are in the midst of our own personal chaos trying to minister to those supposedly more broken than we. You are the perfect place for all to come in our frailty and brokeness. You alone can make the rough places smooth. Strengthen us as we continue to minister. Help us to feed your lambs. Calm our swirling hearts and keep us from growing weary. Bless us oh Lord with Your presence and Your grace. It is our sufficiency. Amen

Thanks Mom!

Stiff Upper Lip

Ruth 1.  Everyone dies then they go home.  Story kinda stinks at this point.  BUT, Ruth is brilliantly played here.  She sneaks in and leaves you breathless.  She sinks her teeth into life and refuses to miss Act 2.  

Some days are just stinkers.  Some days you go to eat with the least of these because you desire to know them and they end up getting in fights and hurling profanity at each other.  Sometimes the sublime meets the real and life is gritty and stupid.  

Sometimes the kids whine and whine and whine!!!

Sometimes you end up sitting on the floor in the back of the church just waiting for everyone to get it together enough to sit in the dang pew.

Sometimes you gamble and lose.  And that is where we meet Ruth.  

And that is why we are opening this time with a prayer for strength.  Because it will take strength to keep going and to try and to lose.  

Luke says I shouldn't go into sales.

Love you all...praying!  

Don't forget to check out Blogging Mommy of Two for more fun!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Week 1

Here we are!  Tomorrow starts Day 1!

Here's how it works: I will post the week's stuff here on the night before it starts and also under the Refresh 2012 tab.  That way, if you don't feel like printing, you can easily find what you want.

Use these resources however you like.  Together we can do this...whatever this is.  Whatever it is, it will be different for each of us, so feel free to share what God is showing you.

I am praying for us!

Thoughts on Dirt

Week 1: August 22-26 
Give us Strength

Focus Verse (Memory Verse)

Ruth 1:16-17

But Ruth said, “Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you! Where you go, I will go; Where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die— there will I be buried. May the Lord do thus and so to me, and more as well, if even death parts me from you!”

Scripture Readings
Children's Activities


Dear God, Creator and Parent.  Meet us here in this time and give us strength.  Spirit, fill us as we ask for your blessing and direction.  Jesus the Christ, give us grace to be vessels of your perfect love.  Protect our minds and hearts as we open them to you.  Fill us with the courage to ask to see our neighbors and to be seen by them.  Give us the grace and strength to ask to see your face.  Teach us to love and to hope and to live fully and abundantly.  May your Kingdom come.  Amen

Monday, August 20, 2012

Refresh 2012

I am so excited!

A couple of weeks ago I found myself ruminating about trivial things like the meaning of life and such. BTW, Luke is so grateful that I have this forum to dump my brain into when it gets too frothy (saves his ears...apparently he gets tired of hearing me talk...weird, huh!?).  And I floated a "mid-lear Lent thingy" idea.  That was basically the hook.  And, amazingly, some of you lovely people thought it was a timely idea.  So, that only means one thing...

We are on the verge of a complete and total universal epiphany!

Or...God seems to be moving in the heart of God's church.  God's people are hearing the call to enter into the Kingdom--to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls, minds and spirits and to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Simple.  Straightforward.


Not complicated.

But, oh, so hard.

And the question for me (and maybe for you too) is, how do I hold my neighbor's hand when my arms are already full?  How do I love my children when I haven't slept through the night in years?  Does God have a special place in God's Kingdom for the helpers?  How can I love my neighbors when I am so overwhelmed I can't get through a single hour without wanting to scream?

Easy!  Just read these 46 scriptures, pray these seven prayers, memorize these verses and voila! Done.  Check.  Call discerned, Kingdom brought, love is all around!

Only, no, it doesn't work like that.  Not at all.  God is a God of wimps and losers after all, so more likely, this here "thingy" is going to do nothing but remind you that God's love is perfect, and that you are loved with that perfect, holy, wild, unnatural, magnificent love.  You.  And you.  And me.

So, I will post the 46 scriptures that I will be reading starting Wednesday, August 22, and if you are inclined, join me.  I will post each week's readings on Sunday night along with a theme, prayer, memory verse and (this is so cool!) my friend Stacy will be posting complimentary kid's activities on her blog, Blogging Mommy of Two.  The activities will go right along with the readings and memory verses (so awesome...right?).  She has songs picked out and coloring printables (ooh...need to unpack my printer...and find a place to plug it in...and find the paper...) and all kinds of ways to help kids journey through this with us (told you it was AWESOME).  I stayed up way too late working on a printable thing for each week which looked a lot cooler in my head, but I hope to have something for you to print off.  Also, I hope to have 3-5 reflections each week based on the scriptures.  Hopefully I will have a few guest submissions along the way, so get excited about that!

AFAQ's (Anticipated FAQ's)

Do I have to sign up? No...I wouldn't even know how to do that.

Do I get a prize for finishing 100%?  Do I?  Yes.  A big one.  Do you?  No.

What is the point of this?  To help the helpers be still and remember that, not only is God God, but that God is good.

Can I reblog/repost/rewhatever this material?  Yes.  Please.  If you know someone who might benefit from a print out, send me an address and I will send it.

Can I give your kids a puppy?  No.

Well that about covers it.  I hope.  Leave comments with questions.  Remember, please don't make this a checklist or stressor.  I am simply, simply hoping that "in returning and rest [we] will find strength."

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I love this stuff

Church picnic today at Camp Tekoa.

There was splashing, paddling, ball playing and Laine wanted to do the zip line.

Actually he told me he wanted to have a leash.  I didn't get it at first, but he was persistent and found the language he was looking for.

As we were climbing to the top of the line, I was doing the mommy thing and trying to prepare him for being a little nervous.  He told me, "No, no, no Mama, I love this stuff!"  And he we did!  

This old girl still can swing!

Friday, August 17, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Via Soule Mama

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Can we name it?

So there are days when I think longingly about eight uninterrupted hours of...ANYTHING.


But, hey...they are cute interruptions.  Between being up for most of last night, FINALLY, after four weeks of intentions, installing the baby gate, trying to find a solution for the toys, trying to grocery shop WITHOUT a racing car cart (not a good thing folks...I don't care how they used to have to do it...I WANT MY RACING CART...ok...deep breath), and Oliver (my child with five teeth) biting through his tongue, I have been trying to come up with a good name for the mid-year Lent thingy.  Correct me if I am wrong, but things need names, right?!

It certainly makes them more expensive!

train $ Thomas $$
astronaut $ Buzz $$
car $ Lightening McQueen $$

But I digress...

This is what I came up with first: 

What Can I Do: serving the broken hearted when you're overwhelmed.

But then I realized that that is too determinate.  What if God tells me not to do anything?  What if God tells me to do less?  What if God calls me to be served?

So, how about this?


You know, what you need when you start getting the spinny-beach-ball face and your voice gets edgy when someone asks for a napkin and you find yourself taking the long way home so that you can sit in the car for three more minutes.

So, join me, if you want, for forty days of asking, resting and returning.  Because, who knows, we might just find good news worth sharing.

PS  If you are good at figuring out free "printables" and would like to make some for this project...let me know.

PPS  I made a button.  So grab it.  And do with it whatever it is you do with them.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Saving the Day

If you were a fly on my wall you might be amazed at the sheer number of super heroes who live in this one average size house.  If jeopardized lives could be salvaged by underpants and crazy hats, there would be a real surplus of dancing and singing in the streets of Asheville.  We often thrust random objects (vacuum cleaner parts, spoons, dollies, remote controls) high in the air and pledge to "save the day!"

So, if I sound heady and idealistic, I come by it honestly.

Do you remember this?

I am getting really excited.  I am getting that tingly feeling in my feelings that tells me that God is moving in the little hidden places.  I keep hearing murmuring about the Kingdom of God.  Questions being asked.  The normal stuff being evaluated (except for those two guys I heard sharing their deepest dreams at church yesterday...which turned out to be something about the  The gospel might just be good news.  News that might set you free to love and serve and hope.  A good news that doesn't fear or judge or separate.  A good news that pulls persons in and makes them people through the love of a real, gentle, loving King.

But I stay at home you say.  But I didn't even see the mail delivery person today you say (is that right?  I know mailman is wrong...).  But I didn't make it out of my sweat pants today you say.  Big deal.  God is asking us to ask.  Just forty days.  Just a few weeks.  I know you have STUFF to do and PEOPLE who NEEEEED you, but let's pinky promise to take ten minutes each day to huddle together.  Maybe God will not give the answer we expect.  Maybe God will ask us to change what we have been holding a little too dear.  Maybe God will give you a vision that only God can fulfill.  Who knows!

So, I will be posting some Bible readings and prayers for each day.  If you miss one...don't catch up, just jump in where we are.  My friend Stacy will be providing some kiddo activities.  Maybe some lovely persons out there would like to write a prayer or two.  I would love to have a few devotions to share...(Luke, Mom, Jenn...anyone!)  I can tell you this, I will be praying that God will lift up those who spend their lives caring for children and draw us together.  

So, let's get those crazy hats and underpants on...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Getting Away

After a couple of weeks of this...

We took a few days here...

Played with cousins...

Loved on each other...

Soaked up a little sun and water...

 And found these smiles!