Friday, March 4, 2011

Simple Lovelies

When sickness invades,
or cloudy skies stay over;
when life seems hopeless,
thankful hearts ought not leave us.

When circumstances,
are far from bright and joyful;
simple lovelies can
still be found hiding near.

A choice: make and see
ten blessings around you now;
comforting, real, warm;
though blessed with them everyday.


1. Good ol' blue jeans.

2. Schooling together.
Here we are doing our Color the Classics activity. We listen to music written by the particular Hymn composer we are studying at the moment as we color a picture that coincides with the history reading about that particular person. Right now, we are learning about Martin Luther.

3. Family Photo Walls
They just make me smile every time I walk past.

4. Happy healthy baby mornings

5. Popcorn
My life diet saver for the past 3 weeks!

6. Spring's green peeking up through the remnants of last fall.

7. Organic green tea

8. Gift's from the hearts of little ones.

9. and 10. Google and The Yeast Diet.
After 21 days on the yeast diet, I am wrapping it up today! WOOHOO!!! While I celebrate, I am reminded that this isn't quite the end of a restricted diet, in fact it's just the beginning. For years before this diet, along with many more symptoms, I was bogged down, energy deprived and often covered in hives and at my wits end about what I could be allergic to. After cleansing my body, I am feeling 100% better and have my suspicions that gluten and/or dairy could be the culprits.  As I add foods back into my diet over the next few weeks, I am going to have to pay CLOSE attention to how my body reacts to them and hope to get tested for those particular allergies as well.
I am SO THANKFUL for the Lord's guidance and sustenance in this area of my life!!

What are YOU thankful for today? (:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

By David Orr

"In the beginning was the word . . ."

"Promiscuity of expression, loss of sensitivity to words, has nearly destroyed the fortress of the spirit. And the fortress of the spirit is the dabar, the word. Words have become slums. What we need is a renewal of words."

Abraham Heschel (1996)

OCTOBER 25, 2000--He entered my office for advice as a freshman advisee sporting nearly perfect SAT scores and an impeccable academic record—by all accounts a young man of considerable promise. During a 20-minute conversation about his academic future, however, he displayed a vocabulary that consisted mostly of two words: "cool" and "really." Almost 800 SAT points hitched to each word. To be fair, he could use them interchangeably as "really cool" or "cool . . . really!" He could also use them singly. When he was a student in a subsequent class, I later confirmed that my first impression of the young scholar was largely accurate and that his vocabulary, and presumably his mind, consisted predominantly of words and images derived from overexposure to television and the new jargon of computer-speak.

Clare Bloomfield
He is no aberration, but an example of a larger problem, not of illiteracy but of diminished literacy in a culture that often sees little reason to use words carefully, however abundantly. Increasingly, student papers from otherwise very good students have whole paragraphs that sound like advertising copy. Whether students are talking or writing, a growing number have a tenuous grasp on a declining vocabulary. Excise "uh . . .like . . .uh" from most teenage conversations, and the effect is like sticking a pin into a balloon.

In the past 50 years, by one reckoning, the working vocabulary of the average 14 year-old has declined from some 25,000 words to 10,000 words. This is not merely a decline in numbers of words but in the capacity to think. It also signifies that there has been a steep decline in the number of things that an adolescent needs to know and to name in order to get by in an increasingly homogenized and urbanized consumer society. This is a national tragedy virtually unnoticed in the media. It is no mere coincidence that in roughly the same half century the average person has come to recognize over 1000 corporate logos, but can now recognize fewer than 10 plants and animals native to his or her locality.

That fact says a great deal about why the decline in working vocabulary has gone unnoticed—few are paying attention. The decline is surely not consistent across the full range of language but concentrates in those areas having to do with large issues such as philosophy, religion, public policy, and nature. On the other hand, vocabulary has probably increased in areas having to do with sex, violence, recreation, and consumption. As a result we are losing the capacity to say what we really mean and ultimately to think about what we mean. We are losing the capacity for articulate intelligence about the things that matter most.

"That sucks," for example, is a common way for budding young scholars to announce their displeasure about any number of things that range across the spectrum of human experience. But it can also be used to indicate a general displeasure with the entire cosmos. Whatever the target, it is the linguistic equivalent of duct tape, useful for holding disparate thoughts in rough and temporary proximity to some vague emotion of dislike.

The problem is not confined to teen-agers or young adults. It is part of a national epidemic of incoherence evident in our public discourse, street talk, movies, television, and music. "We are all engaged," Abraham Heschel once wrote, "in the process of liquidating the English language." We have all heard popular-music lyrics that consisted mostly of pre-Neanderthal grunts. We have witnessed "conversation" on TV talk shows that would have embarrassed intelligent four-year-olds. We have listened to politicians of national reputation proudly mangle logic and language in less than a paragraph, although they can do it on a larger scale as well.

However manifested, it is aided and abetted by academics, including whole departments specializing in various forms of postmodernism and the deconstruction of one thing or another. They have propounded the ideas that everything is relative, hence largely inconsequential, and that the use of language is primarily an exercise in power, hence to be devalued. They have taught, in other words, a pseudointellectual contempt for clarity, careful argument, and felicitous expression. They also write without much clarity, argument, and felicity. Remove the arcane constructions from any number of academic papers written in the past 10 years, and the argument—such as it was—evaporates. But the situation is not much better elsewhere in the academy, where thought is often fenced in by disciplinary jargon. The fact is that educators have all too often been indifferent trustees of language. This explains, I think, why the academy has been a lame critic of what ails the world—from the preoccupation with self to technology run amuck. We have been unable to speak out against the barbarism engulfing the larger culture because we are part of the process of barbarization that begins with the devaluation of language.

The decline of language, noted by commentators such as H. L. Mencken, George Orwell, William Safire, and Edwin R. Neuman, is nothing new. Language is always coming undone. Why? For one thing it is always under assault by those who intend to control others by first subverting the words and metaphors that people would otherwise use to describe their world. The goal is to give partisan aims the appearance of inevitability by diminishing the sense of larger possibilities. In our time, language is under assault by those whose purpose it is to sell one kind of quackery or another: economic, political, religious, or technological. It is under attack because the clarity and felicity of language—as distinct from its quantity—is devalued in an industrial-technological society.

The clear and artful use of language is, in fact, threatening to that society. As a result we have highly distorted and atrophied conversations about ultimate meanings, ethics, public purposes, or the means by which we live. Since we cannot expect to cope with problems that we cannot name, one result of our misuse of language is a growing agenda of unsolved problems that cannot be adequately described in words and metaphors derived from our own creations such as machines and computers. The words and metaphors derived from our own creations, in other words, are inadequate to describe the major flaws in these same creations.

Second, language is in decline because it is being Balkanized around the specialized vocabularies characteristic of an increasingly specialized society. The highly technical language of the expert is, of course, both bane and blessing. It is useful for describing fragments of the world, but not for describing how these fit into a coherent whole. But things work as whole systems whether we can say it or not, whether we perceive it or not. And more than anything else, it is coherence our culture lacks, not specialized knowledge.

Genetic engineering, for example, can be described as a technical thing in the language of molecular biology. But saying what the act of rearranging the genetic fabric of Earth means requires an altogether different language and a mindset that seeks to discover larger patterns. Similarly, the specialized language of economics does not begin to describe the state of our wellbeing, whatever it reveals about how much stuff we may buy. Over and over again the simplistic and seductive language of the specialist displaces that of the generalist—the specialist in whole things. A result is that the capacity to think carefully about ends, as distinct from means, has all but disappeared from our public and private conversations.

 Third, language reflects the range and depth of our experience. But our experience of the world is being impoverished to the extent that it is rendered artificial and prepackaged. Most of us no longer have the experience of skilled physical work on farms or in forests. Consequently, as our reality becomes increasingly artificial, words and metaphors based on intimate knowledge of soils, plants, trees, animals, landscapes, rivers, and oceans have declined. "Cut off from this source," Wendell Berry writes, "language becomes a paltry work of conscious purpose, at the service and the mercy of expedient aims." Our nonparticipatory experience within the confines of a uniform and ugly artificial environment is engineered and shrink-wrapped by the recreation and software industries and pedaled back to us as "fun" or "information." We’ve become a nation of television watchers and Internet browsers, and it shows in the way we talk and what we talk about. More and more we speak as if we are voyeurs furtively peeking at life, not active participants, moral agents, or engaged citizens.

  Fourth, we are no longer held together, as we once were, by the reading of a common literature or by listening to great stories, and so cannot draw on a common set of metaphors and images as we once did. Allusions to the Bible and other great books no longer resonate because they are simply unfamiliar to a growing number of people. This is so in part because the consensus about what is worth reading has come undone. But the debate about a worthy canon is hardly the whole story. The ability to read serious things in a serious way is diminished by overstimulation by television and computers with their rapidly changing images that mock concentration. The desire to read is jeopardized by the same forces that would make us a violent, shallow, hedonistic, and materialistic people. As a nation we risk coming undone because our language is coming undone and our language is coming undone because one by one we are being undone.

The problem of language, however, is a global problem. Of the roughly 6500 languages now spoken on Earth, half are on the brink of extinction and only 150 or so are expected to survive to the year 2100. Language everywhere is being whittled down to conform to the limited objectives of the global economy and homogenized to accord with the shallow imperatives of the "information age." The languages being lost, in Vine Deloria’s words, often "convey deeper and more precise meanings than does English." This represents a huge loss of cultural information and a blurring of our capacity to understand the world and our place in it. And it represents a losing bet that a few people armed with the words, metaphors, and mindset characteristic of a transient, failing industry and technology can manage the Earth, a vaster, infinitely more complex, and longer-lived thing altogether.

Since we cannot think clearly about what we cannot say clearly, the first casualty of linguistic incoherence is our ability to think well about many things. This is a reciprocal process. Language, George Orwell once wrote, "becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts." In our time the words and metaphors of the consumer economy are often a product of foolish thoughts as well as evidence of bad language. Under the onslaught of commercialization and technology we are losing the sense of wholeness and time that is essential to a decent civilization. We are losing, in short, the capacity to articulate what ought to be most important to us. And the new class of corporate chiefs, global managers, genetic engineers, and money speculators has no words with which to describe the fullness and beauty of life or to announce their role in the larger moral ecology. They have no way to say how we fit together in the community of life, indeed no idea beyond that of self-interest about why we ought to protect it. They have, in short, no language that will help humankind, including themselves, navigate through the most dangerous epoch in its history. On the contrary, they will do all in their power to reduce language to the level of mere utility, management, narrow self-interest, and the short term. Evil begins, not only with words used with malice; it can begin with words that merely diminish people, land, and life to some fragment that is less than whole and less than Holy. The prospects for evil, I believe, will grow as those for language decline.

We have an affinity for language, and that capacity makes us human. When language is devalued, misused, or corrupted so too are those who speak it and those who hear it. On the other hand, we are never better than when we use words clearly, eloquently, and civilly. Language can elevate thought and ennoble our behavior. Abraham Lincoln’s words at Gettysburg in 1863, for example, gave meaning to the terrible sacrifices of the Civil War. Similarly, Winston Churchill’s words moved an entire nation to do its duty in the dark hours of 1940. If we intend to protect and enhance our humanity, we must first decide to protect and enhance language and fight everything that undermines and cheapens it.

What does this mean in practical terms? How do we design the right use of language back into the culture? My first suggestion is to restore the habit of talking directly to each other—whatever the loss in economic efficiency. To that end I propose that we begin by smashing every automated answering machine. Messages like "Your call is important to us . . . " or "For more options, please press five," or "if you would like to talk to a real person please stay on the line" are the death rattle of a coherent culture.

The proper use of language is a slow art that is easily corrupted by technological contrivances that increase the volume and velocity of communication. Whatever the gains in speed and convenience from the Internet, I seldom receive any e-mail message that could pass a sixth-grade composition exam. Worse, many people are simply overwhelmed by the volume of e-mail. We cannot disinvent the Internet, but--my second suggestion--for our sanity we can and should limit the use we make of it.

My third suggestion is to restore the habit of public reading. One of my very distinctive childhood memories was attending a public reading of Shakespeare by the British actor Charles Laughton. With no prop other than a book, he read with energy and passion for two hours and kept a large audience enthralled, including at least one 8-year-old boy. No movie has ever been as memorable to me. Further, I propose that adults turn off the television, disconnect the cable, undo the computer, and once again read good books aloud to their children. I know of no better or more pleasurable way to stimulate thinking, encourage a love of language, and facilitate the child’s ability to form images.

Those who corrupt language ought to be held accountable for what they do—beginning with the advertising industry. In 1997 they spent an estimated $187 billion to sell us an unconscionable amount of stuff, much of it useless, environmentally destructive, and deleterious to our health. They fuel the fires of consumerism that are consuming the Earth and our children’s future often using only seductive imagery. They regard the public with utter contempt—as little more than sheep to be manipulated to buy whatever at the highest possible cost and at any consequence. Dante would have consigned them to the lowest level of Hell, only because there was no worse place to put them. We should too. If we lack the gumption to do that, we ought to require by law—fourth suggestion—full disclosure of the damage their products do to other people, to the environment, and to the buyer.

Language, I believe, grows from the outside in, from the periphery to center. It is renewed in the vernacular by the everyday acts of living, doing, and speaking. It is renewed in the streets, shops, farms, and rural places where human life is most authentic. It is, by the same logic, corrupted by contrivance, pretense, and fakery. The center, where power and wealth work by contrivance, pretense, and fakery does not create language so much as exploit it. In order to facilitate control, the powerful would make our language as uniform and dull as the interstate highway system. Given its way we would have only one newspaper, a super USA Today. Our thoughts and words would mirror those popular in Washington, New York, Boston, or Los Angeles. From the perspective of the center, the merger of ABC and Disney is OK because it can see no difference between entertainment and news. In order to preserve the vernacular places where language grows we must—suggestion five—protect the independence of local newspapers and local radio stations by forbidding outside ownership. We need to support regional publishing houses and small independent bookstores. We need to protect local culture and local dialects from highbrow ridicule. We need to teach the young to honor difference in speech and dialect. And we must protect those parts of our culture where memory, tradition, and devotion to place still exist because it is there that language is often most vibrant.

Finally, since language is the only currency wherever men and women pursue truth, there should be no higher priority for schools, colleges, and universities than to defend the integrity and clarity of language in every way possible. We must instill in our students an appreciation for language, literature, and words well crafted and used to good ends. As teachers we should insist on good writing. We should assign books and readings that are well written. We should restore rhetoric—the ability to speak clearly and well—to the liberal arts curriculum. Our own speaking and writing ought to demonstrate clarity and truthfulness. And we, too, should be held accountable for what we say.


In terms of the sheer volume of words and data of all kinds, this is surely an information age. But in terms of understanding, wisdom, spiritual clarity, and civility we have entered a darker time. We are drowning in a sea of words with nary a drop to drink. We are in the process of committing what C. S. Lewis once called "verbicide." The volume of words in our time is inversely related to our capacity to use them well and to think clearly about what they mean. It is no wonder that in a century of gulags, genocide, global wars, and horrible weapons our use of language has been increasingly dominated by propaganda and advertising, and controlled by language technicians. "We have a sense of evil," Susan Sontag has said, but we no longer have "the religious or philosophical language to talk intelligently about evil." If that is so for the 20th century, what will be said at the end of the 21st century, when the stark realities of climatic change and biotic impoverishment will become fully manifest? Can we summon the clarity of mind to speak the words necessary to cause us to do what ought to have been obvious all along?

Random Thoughts Thursday

Well, amoxicillin, benadryl and prednisone, those are the drugs of choice needed these days. It all started with my second in command coming down with strep. We took her in, got her tested and medicated, only to then have to take four more in for testing and drugging.  That left two of us. About 5 days later, my baby came down with strep. We took her in and got her drugs. A day later, my son wakes up absolutely COVERED and swollen with hives.  I didn't know for sure what it was at first.  Many things were running through my head-hives? Scarlatina? Measles? Chicken Pox?  It was discouraging to say the least after a week of doctors, colds, coughs, pharmacists and sickness.  I took him BACK in to the doctor to find out he had an allergic reaction to the amoxicillin and got yet another prescription for prednisone and orders to give him benadryl along with it... nice. Now today, my oldest daughter is also showing signs of hives so, ceasing antibiotics and switching to benadryl is now in order.  This scenario totally reminds me of those commercials. You know, the ones that quickly state the miraculous nature of their drug and it's super-natural power to completely eradicate  your problems... only to then take the remaining 3/4 of the commercial to "quickly" and "discreetly" name off all of the side effects of taking their pill.  Yeah, not so sure death is better than having to go to the bathroom every 30 minutes... hmmmm...
Doesn't this picture just make you hurt for him?

Thankfully, today he is about 75% back to normal. Thank you, Lord!

Does anyone else have bad hair days bad enough to make you grab the shears and chop away at those stubborn waves?  Well, I sure do.  I had one of those days last Sunday. I flopped, curled, flattened, poofed, gooed and fluffled my hair... to no avail.  SO! I got out the scissors and chopped those unruly pests away.
This is the outcome.

So to have or not to have bangs-this is the question.
Any thoughts?

(My sweet cousin a.k.a. my hairdresser is going to scold me. I know it.)

picture from here
Kids love making decisions for themselves and hands on snacks.  I thought I would share some of our recent yummies!
One of our fave snacks to dress up is yogurt.  You can blend it into a shake with blueberries and strawberries or you can scoop some into a bowl and add crumbled up graham crackers for a treat that resembles cheesecake!  Greek yogurt is the best because of it's richness, but it does have more calories than regular.  Often times, I buy plain yogurt so I can add the sweetener myself!  All you need is a little honey or agave syrup, vanilla and cinnamon and you have yourself some semi-homemade scrumptious yogurt!
You can add berries, maple syrup, graham crackers, cookies, sprinkles, cereal, oats or toasted nuts to yogurt and your kids will never get tired of creating their very own snack.
Another favorite of ours is freezing chocolate milk to make some mean homemade chocolate bars!  The kids devour them!
 Another diverse snack are plain ol' brown rice cakes.  They are a bit plain on their own, but present your kids with a few bowls of toppings and spreads and they will think it is the best, most fun snack ever.  We love hummus, peanut butter, lunch meat and mustard, homemade sour cream chocolate frosting, nutella or melted cheese. Yum!
So make snack time simple, yet diverse, healthy, yet satisfying, quick yet loads fun and you will have happy, healthy children because of it.
I am beginning to feel the excitement of adventure welling up inside of me. New York!!!!  That is where my mom, sister and I will be headed come March 21st... there are still so many things I need to get planned, made and settled before we go... Hmmm, I will be working the two days before we go and the day after I get back...AGH!  Better stock the vitamins... Spending time with my mom(who is celebrating her 50th birthday!) and sister(who is 5 months pregnant!) will be so refreshing and some of the places, people and cultures we are going to encounter will make the struggle of leaving completely worth it.
My husband and I tried out Google video chat last night for the first time! Awesome!  Now I just need to get my sister-in-law Janna, my aunt Sheri and family and my husband's sister's and well, ALL distant family on it as well so we can catch up "in person".  My kids would absolutely LOVE to get to talk to their cousins online. I don't know why it has taken us this long to get into online video chatting... five kids would probably have something to do with that, though. The coolness, in style factor and having to keep up with the latest trends kind of gets put on hold when you have kids one right after another... so we're stuck in the 90's. Haha.
A lot of people might wonder why everything I do or say is laced with Jesus or my faith in God. (I sense eyerolls like Frodo's sword senses Orcs) I know that some see that as small minded or naive. Child-like faith- is it really so bad?  If we don't have some higher reason for living... why live at all?  If there is no eternity, why do anything remotely good for others, follow rules or love anyone or anything at all?  If God is not loving infinite Creator, and this life here on earth is all of the time I have to enjoy and experience, well first of all I'd be utterly depressed. Then I would decide to live what life I have solely for me and my purposes, not having a care in the world, subject to no one. I see SO many living that way, only to meet an abrupt end in life.

"The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.  “But if a wicked person turns away from all the sins they have committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, that person will surely live; they will not die. None of the offenses they have committed will be remembered against them. Because of the righteous things they have done, they will live. Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?  “But if a righteous person turns from their righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked person does, will they live? None of the righteous things that person has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness they are guilty of and because of the sins they have committed, they will die. “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear, you Israelites: Is my way unjust? Is it not your ways that are unjust?  If a righteous person turns from their righteousness and commits sin, they will die for it; because of the sin they have committed they will die.  But if a wicked person turns away from the wickedness they have committed and does what is just and right, they will save their life.  Because they consider all the offenses they have committed and turn away from them, that person will surely live; they will not die.  Yet the Israelites say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Are my ways unjust, people of Israel? Is it not your ways that are unjust?  “Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall.  Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel?  For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!
Ezekiel 18:20-32

Seek the LORD while he may be found;

call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:6-9

Is it hopelessness, selfishness or rebellion that keeps us from pursuing and seeking out God? Or is it that most just haven't heard or seen the truth?  More than not we are all constantly being fed lies and pummeled with worldly "wisdom" and believing them, not even trying to search out the truth!
God is just. He is loving. He is real... I would hope that everyone comes to realize this before they walk through death's door. 
Instead, I hear theories like, "We are all gods. We have evolved slowly over billions of years. God is more of a feeling than a person... yadda yadda yadda. The diverse amazing earth and my infinitesimally complicated body's makeup that cannot be 100% explained by scientists just... came to be here one day? " Let's face it, it all sounds a bit like a farce. Let's lay down our pride people and our desire to understand and know all and accept that we are all a product of Intelligent Design. Because if Christians are wrong, yes all of our hopes and dreams and the reason we lived will be crushed once on the other side... but we will still end up in the same place as everyone else. If the rest world is wrong in believing they have no one with whom to give account to... they will be sentenced to Hell for eternity after standing before the Maker they rejected. What do you have to lose?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Three's a crowd...

...unless that third person object is my camera of course!

If you we're wondering what in the world yesterday's post was about well, really it's about nothing at all.  We love to be silly and not act our age at times-just having fun playing around with my beloved(no, I'm not referring to my camera *teeheehee).

My awesome husband and I went on a date about a week back and had a W-O-N-D-E-R-ful time! My main man has always been a hopeless romantic. Don't get me wrong, he's still a guy. He looks at things, situations and problems completely logically, can only see the next thing that needs to be conquered done, feels empowered and accomplished when leading and doesn't let emotions take over his decision making...and it drives his emotional control-freak wife crazy sometimes.  Guys and their practical level-headed one-track-mind... how DO they do it!?
Well, the day before our date, before I had any knowledge of it whatsoever, I went out and grabbed the mail from the mailbox. As I was sorting through I noticed a letter addressed to me, from my husband!  I tore into it to find a detailed invitation for a night out with my husband. So sweet, so organized, so debonair, so... romantic. ((contented sigh))
I was so very thankful because it has been a crazy past couple of weeks and I'm not going to lie, almost downright out of control at times.  So this little piece of joy sitting amongst more "to do's" in the mail pile was a breath of refreshing air!
We had a great evening out, taking a walk along the river and snapping photos of each other.  We also had dinner, saw a flick and stopped by the coffee shop.  We try to get out twice a month on our own, but it certainly isn't a rule. Ha!
I'm thankful for my husband today. For his compassion, love and positivity... I'm thankful for my main man, peanut butter, freedom, family, prednisone, green tea, God's working in my children, Memaws, Papas, sunsets, my new camera, new friends, gatherings of diverse people around the supper table, Agape love and scissors-ahh, what a great invention.
Here a few peeks from our "photo session".

Just thought I'd share.
God has given us women quite the gift in a husband.
Someone to walk the path of life with, to keep us real, loved and protected... I couldn't have chosen anyone better suited for me than my main man.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


This season of life my family is walking through is so fast-paced, borderline out of control and downright CraZy... sickness, work, school, commitments... but yet I still have a hard time saying NO. The struggle at times is that I have a hard time choosing priorities or passions and sticking to them.  I find myself desiring to DO everything, to try something new, to venture out into the exciting unknown, to be good at everything. The problem I see in that indecisiveness and lack of dedication and unwavering focus is so much mediocrity.  Now don't get me wrong, mediocrity along with dabbling in diverse interests, isn't wrong or bad.  It's just... shouldn't we strive for excellence?  Becoming an excellent photographer for instance, takes dedication, perseverance and sacrifice. Dedication-the time, hard work, practice and study it takes to excel at the hobby. Sacrifice-not giving your energy or means to many other "things", saying NO to other alluring and even urgent projects or even relationships.  The thing about photography is it's just a thing. You can always eventually move on to the next fad and not have any baggage or lasting consequences of putting your investment up on the shelf to collect dust... except for maybe a few regrets.
On the other hand becoming a parent-the biggest endeavor one can take on-and not dedicating your life to the raising of upright children may leave one with a life-time of regrets and constant reminders of those failures to invest everything you had into your kids!
Our Christian walk. That is NOT something we can take lightly, off and on again or only pick it up when it's "fun" or convenient.
For a person such as myself and my type DD personality, if a captivating idea comes to me, I feel the means are readily available and the door opens, I dive head long into it. All or nothing with me. Expend every ounce of energy into learning, expanding my knowledge and bringing my new found passion to fruition. Only, I must have dedication A.D.D. because it doesn't usually last long.  Once the "honeymoon" stage of a new adventure wears off and the gruelling mundane work begins, I am often quickly caught up and swept away with a new ambition.  I make a great starter... just a lousy finisher. This is all well and good, and for the most part doesn't hurt anyone, but the sacrifice of wanting to be good at and try everything, is that I will never ever be excellent at anything. 
I believe the first and most important calling we have as Christians is to be excellent in Christ. Our walk with God should be our all-time, 1st in line passion. All of our energy, resources and time should begin with time spent in His Word, prayer, growing in the knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ and following His lead, dying to the flesh and living a life led instead by the spirit... but beyond that-what is our calling as Christians? 

Micah 6:8
He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

Colossians 3:16-17
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

God's grace is enough to cover any and ALL mistakes we make in life-those times when my dedication to spending time with Him wanes. I am so thankful for that truth! I can ask myself when presented with a decision, "Is this to fill an emotional need, to take the place of God? Am I calling it quits on this venture because I feel it's becoming too hard or because God is leading me in a new direction?" I believe whole-heartedly that the MOST important thing about what I might choose to fill up the days of my life is the reason behind WHY I am doing it. Am I doing it for God, alongside and through the strength and means He provides? Or am I looking to step a rung higher up the worldly ladder in my own strength-to appease my pride? If I know I am called to do something and I choose to go my own way instead, that would certainly not be beneficial... even if I thought it was for a "good" reason and helped someone else out, my heart wouldn't be in the right place and I am sure my conscience and circumstances would eventually tell me so! If it doesn't bring my Lord glory or if I am doing it for my own glory, or God just isn't plain behind it, what good is it going to profit anyone? My labor would be in vain because it bears no weight, it's foundation is weak, it's fruits will wither and die.

Proverbs 19:20-21
Listen to counsel and receive instruction,
That you may be wise in your latter days.
There are many plans in a man’s heart,
Nevertheless the LORD’s counsel—that will stand.

1 Corinthians 13
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

So, from what I gather, it's not as much about what I do, but why I do what I do that makes the difference. Am I fueled by God's love or love for myself? Do I have what it takes to be an excellent Child of God? I have faith that God will lead. He provides a plan, a way and the tools to excel in it.  I pray that my Christian walk would not resemble my tendency to move from one thing to another-pursuing many different passions and hobbies, dropping whole-hearted dedication the minute something new, exciting and better-looking knocks at the door-and scream lukewarm mediocrity.  It's easy peasy to do the wrong thing that in the end, brings death and destruction.  It's not so easy to choose God's will and "run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus..."  I long to have a heart and spirit that excels in reflecting Christ in everything that I do, whatever I do and every minute of every day I walk this earth.
Because anything worth the getting, takes time. Sacrifice. Dedication. And work... and Lord willing, will end solely glorifying my Savior, through excellence-a heart that desires God.

Psalm 86:10-12
For you are great and do marvelous deeds;
you alone are God.
Teach me your way, LORD,
that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.
I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever.