Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Food for Thought

Caught up in the mundane. Busy with the essentials. Blessed beyond measure. Yep. That about sums up my life. Yours too?

Know this: I am not writing this post with a spirit of complaining. I look around and very quickly realize just how blessed I am. I am just busy keeping my plates spinning. Trying not to worry about which one will fall. Crossing my fingers that none of them really will.

Such is the life of a Mom, right?!

As I write this, I'm listening to a great talk by Andrew Kern (listen to it here). He is talking about the culture that we live in. He says that we are a culture full of anxiety. Yes. When I get caught up in the spinning plates, that's what I'm feeling. Anxiety.

One of the things he challenges us to do (and which I want to make my personal "summer homework") is to take Philippians 4:8 and write each adjective onto an index card. Then, we are to take only 1 minute a day to write about what comes to mind when we think about living our lives according to those descriptive words: true, noble, right, pure, lovely, etc. Read the verse below to remind yourself of what we're commanded to think on:
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
 Just imagine how much dwelling on these words will impact us! Picture how our actions will reflect that change of thought! Powerful stuff!

I guess I'll keep it short this time. Just know that as we're all finishing out the normal school routine and moving into summer's schedule, we're all in this thing together! (Motherhood, that is.) Let's challenge each other to keep thinking on the things of Philippians 4:8. I'd love to hear some of your thoughts on how dwelling on those words has inspired you!

If you think of me over the next three weeks, could you say a short prayer for my writing preparations? I'm heading to the Speak Up! Conference at the end of June and will be doing the Writer's Track. All writers will be given the opportunity for a 15 minute face-to-face with a publisher. Although I currently only have ideas in my head (and nothing on paper), I feel like I should try really hard to take advantage of this opportunity. We plan to finish the bulk of our schoolwork tomorrow, so after that I'm kicking into writing mode. I covet any prayers you can send my way from now until June 21st!

Until next time...remember Philippians 4:8.

Blessings Friends!



Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Non-Negotiables

I do believe summer is around the corner! These warmer temps are making me get excited for the reality of a much slower schedule this summer. Summers are normally always slower for us (that is, compared to the school year), but this summer - we're working even harder than normal to keep lots of white space on the calendar. This Momma is burned out! Well, I'm feeling much better now that the roar of basketball season & CC are behind us. Even though Little League is also a busy time of year, having the more relaxed pace of school during the day makes them not feel so rushed. Plus, it's only 6 weeks of busy-ness instead of 6 months. Although, as I type this, Luke is having his guitar lesson and I've got fajita stuff simmering on the stove so we can have a quick bite to eat before we head out for Mikayla's game and Luke's team pictures. But, just the fact that I have brain cells left to blog means that things must be slower.

As we finish out the school year (think lots of math, read-alouds from the library, journaling, and quiet reading time), I am strategizing ways to make this summer fun (yet carefree) and next school year even better than this last one. Plus, I want to make time to prepare for the Speak Up! Conference in June. Oh, and fit in some extra Shaklee time this summer. It will be about a different kind of schedule...with plenty of pool time for sure.

It feels good to be on this side of the crazy. Besides reflecting on this last school year, I've also been thinking a lot about our family's non-negotiables. You know: the things that no matter what's going on in our lives, these things define who we are as a family. It's easy to lose sight of our personal non-negotiables and grab onto what's all around us. But, I don't want to do that. Life flies by too quickly to get our focus in the wrong place. So, here are some that I've been pondering :
  • #1: Our faith and each of our personal relationships with Christ need to positively affect every aspect of our day. Our faith doesn't have an off switch. That means, through school, through our relationships, and even through our daily choices...whether or not something is glorifying to God has to be one of the top questions we ask ourselves. Of course, we're human. We regularly screw up and disappoint God. But...we try to have a God-filter always in place. It's my biggest prayer for my kids. It's also a constant stumbling block for me personally. Oh to have others see Jesus when they see us. I pray that is becoming more and more true each and every day.
  • #2: Time with family is more important than our social lives. What do I mean by that? We could each have thriving social lives that kept our social calendar jam-packed every single day. But...sometimes we just need to stay home and enjoy each other's company. We need to be each other's best friend and supporter. We want our kids to be encouraging to one another, not putting each other down. Society sends the opposite message to siblings & the parent/child relationship. One rule at our house is "No Disney Channel shows on Netflix." They just don't send the right message...on SO many things, but especially on the attitude of kids towards their siblings and parents. A wise homeschooling friend told how they raised their children to be each other's best friends. It doesn't mean our kids don't have (and need) outside friendships. But it does mean that there is zero tolerance for disrespect of any single person in this household. Just not an option.
  • #3: All children will contribute to household chores on an ongoing basis and will do so with a good attitude. This is a hard one sometimes, but they are getting better. I've learned that I have to have a relatively clean & organized house or I just can't function. I mean truly. My brain shuts down and I just don't think clearly when there isn't some semblance of cleanliness. Mind you, my house is never spotless...nor do I even want it to be. It's lived in, but not embarrassing. Well, at least most of the time. I am trying to train the kids to have eyes that see clean the way I see clean (not the way their Dad sees clean...LOL). They are all getting very good at doing things to meet Mom's inspection.  That definitely makes for a smooth and efficient cleaning day!
This isn't a complete list, by any means, but it certainly helps to set the framework for everything we do each day. Life is full of choices. Time flies. We have to determine our own family's non-negotiables and strive to live life within those parameters.

Whew! On that note...time to feed the troops and head to the ball fields. Talk to you soon!