making a family

I’ve been wrestling a bunch with what I am longing for our family to look like. I’m surrounded by SO many different kinds of families and while that’s such a great thing and such a blessing, in some ways it’s so confusing. Then I get online and read blogs and “meet” other families and I get even more jumbled up. I can so easily take what I read, see and experience and think we need to figure out how to recreate that. But the truth is, we need to be creating (not RE-creating) what God wants for our family.

I’ve been pressed lately into just praying for a closer family unit. I feel like we are all going in so many different directions and even when we are in the same house, we aren’t really together. My husband and I have spent a lot of time in the past year working through our individual issues (which is very, very good and needed) but now I’m feeling this tug that we need to start coming together as a family. When we decided to homeschool last Fall, I know there was a huge part of me that thought: this is it! This is the thing that is going to draw us together as a family. Boy, was I wrong. The Lord truly called us to homeschool last Fall (and then stop this past Spring) but it wasn’t for the reason I had thought or even hoped for.

I’m longing (and realizing that longing should be urging me to be on my knees more) for us to figure out how to unwind as a family. Not just unwind individually, but how to experience the joy of being together as a family. I know that so much of our confusion stems from us not coming from families that were truly together. We have no model from our own experiences of what this should look like. Which in so many ways should free us. Should bring us to a place where we can open up and say, Lord make this family what You long for it to be. Not what we think it should be, nor what we had growing up, but what You want.

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If there is one thing I appreciate most about our current church, it is their teaching and following of the church calendar. Growing up, I didn’t think much of Epiphany, Lent or any of the other “lesser known” church days; it was kind of Christmas and then Easter and that was it. I honestly think that Lent and the forty days leading up to Easter are my most favorite part of the church calendar.

This year for lent I am cleaning out my google reader. I have condensed what was filled with nearly 30 blogs to less than 10. I’ve found lately that I’ve been spending too much time making a list of tutorials or recipes and not enough time actually creating myself. I’ve found myself spending too much effort on reading about others lives and being frustrated because of their talents or mothering or experiences. Today the word “distraction” came clearly into my head. All these things I read aren’t bad, but they serve as a distraction from the talents that God has given me. So in the next forty days, I am committing myself to distracting myself with creating. Creating through sewing, journaling, writing, blogging, website developing…all these things that I’ve been wanting and needing to do but just let slide because it was so much easier to just sit and look at what everyone else was doing.

I also am working through what I would like Lent to look like for our family. We do have some traditions, which we’ll do again this year. And I’m reading through some new ones. Listed below are a few links that I’ve stumbled upon and would love to share.

A Lenten Reading guide put out by our church
The Piper’s (as in John Piper and his wife) and their Easter traditions
A Lenten devotional written by the Piper’s and a book by John Piper
A great post by one of my favorite bloggers with links to some other books
And an article that hit home by a friend of ours

I’ll leave you this Ash Wednesday with a quote from our church:

Welcome to Lent, the church’s springtime, when we grow up by growing down, down into reflection, repentance, and humble prayer. Ash Wednesday begins the season, as last year’s palm branches become this year’s ashes. Ashes stand as a common denominator for us all, symbolizing human frailty, spiritual brokenness and the need for repentance and healing. As we turn to him, May the Lord do as he has promised: May he raise the poor up from the dust and lift the needy from our pile of ashes. (I Samuel 2:8) And as we are filled with his mercy, may we become generous like our God, who is rich in mercy!

Happy Spring friends!

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I’ve been wrestling a lot with the word “ambition” lately.
I spend way more time than I should on the internet and in doing that I think it alters what my ambition should be.
when you spend minutes looking at others lives
others houses
read about the way others parent
or school
or run their homes
it easily begins to crowd out what the Lord leads me to be and do.

Beth Moore says so perfectly:
“God desires to purify all other motives of ambition in us except the ambition that God would use us and draw attention to Himself and His great name.”

The Lord is slowly, oh so painfully at times, destroying my ambitions and replacing them with nothing but an open Spirit for God to move in me.
My ambitions to control
speed along
puff up myself (oh those darn blog stats and facebook notifications)
and surrender those to Him.
Redeeming my failures,
my sin
as assets for him.

So as this season of lent begins this week, I find myself needing to give up something and I think it’s going to be blog reading. Closing down my reader
closing down looking at others lives
what others have
what I think I need to have to make my life better or make me a better parent
and focus on this house and those in it.

And I will cry like the Psalmist:

Test me O Lord and try me (with the confidence that I will see the goodness of the Lord…Ps 27:13)
examine my heart and my mind
for your love is ever before me
and I walk continually in your truth
(the truth that you want me to prosper, to have no harm and your truth is hope and a future…Jer 29:11)
(from Ps 26)

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like a winter snow

the refrain comes gently at first, like the beginning of a winter snow

be anxious about nothing

but like a snow can start softly and turn mighty, the refrain becomes louder

but in everything

everything I ask? what about all the stuff that I can handle?

by prayer and petition

but I do pray. or do I demand?

and as the snow begins to build and build upon itself and create a landscape of purity

with thanksgiving

I begin to see my heart change. thanksgiving. the answer to my anxiousness. the place I need to focus. not on the minute by minute fears I have, but on the places that He has rescued me and blessed me

set your mind on things above, not on earthly things

words that I’ve heard repeated over and again, but never truly sat with.

so, like the first footprints on a clean landscape of snow, I set forth onto this journey. a journey of focusing on gratitude, instead of fear. focusing on his faithfulness to me, instead of those things that cause anxiety.

taking every thought captive

to begin this journey, I am undertaking this. a chance to focus on scripture. to daily hide it in my heart and meditate on it. to embrace a small part, instead of doing and moving on and never sitting with it.

want to join me?

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2011 goals

I know I said I wasn’t going to set any kind of goals for this year, alas I am a creature of habit though and I don’t think I could let January pass without putting something down in print.

goals for my HOUSEHOLD

~ create a house of JOY (laughter, laughter, laughter needs to happen more and more in these parts)
~ create a house of MUSIC (if I spend money on 2 things this year, one will be on music)
~ create a house of ORDER (we have a couple things in the works to help hold us all accountable to our behavior and our helpfulness around the house)
~ create a house of BEAUTY (this would be the 2nd thing I would spend money on this year…look out goodwill here I come)

goals for HEALTH

~ While I am a “food inc crazy” wanna-be (you know, must be all organic, homemade, no dyes, no chemicals, heavens to betsy no HFCS, local grown, lacto-femented, etc, etc, etc) I am not. (gosh it’s hard to admit that!).
I am, although, attempting to reduce three things this year when it comes to the kitchen
1. the amount of plastic we use
2. the amount of money we spend on bread (I’m trying to be on top of baking more)
3. the amount of money we spend on breakfast and lunch (currently I’m working on the breakfast thing, with hopes of freezing up/making up a bunch of lunch stuff for us all)
~ run a 5k (this is actually a pretty laughable goal)
~ do yoga at least 2 times a week (this I love)

goals for MY SOUL
~ my husband and I are going to try to do this Colossians memorization thing
~ we want our children to memorize: the Lord’s prayer, the Apostle’s Creed and the 10 commandments
~ our church put out a Scripture reading plan and so far I’ve done three days (yeah for me!)
~ create, create, create
~ be with my children more and just honestly, be in life more

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