Fall 2013-dark leaves

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Too Much

I've done it again.  We knew it was going to be a lot, but I was comfortable.  Life wasn't too much at the time.  So I said yes to too many good things.  It's not good for me, and it's not good for my family.  The house is a wreck and closing in on us.  The girls aren't getting enough teaching time from me.  And I'm so tired I can't help but fall asleep in the afternoons.

See, if I'd decided to do Seminary Chicks (which meets twice a month in the evenings), I couldn't have done the Barrs' Children's Lit class (which meets weekly) because they meet on the same night.  I'd also not be doing the weekly Apples of Gold because my "Bible study and relationship" needs would already be fulfilled by Sem Chicks.  Bottom line, instead of having a twice monthly meeting, I've committed this fall to being out every Monday and Tuesday night till 9:30pm.  With church activities flanking that on Sun and Wed, it makes for TOO MUCH.  In my defense, it's all in the name of "getting Mom out of the house and free for a bit."  I'm all for that!

I'm learning though.  I'm seeing that I'm NOT CAPABLE of doing "this much" well.  It hurts this pridefully independent and stubborn girl to admit that.  But I'm learning to acknowledge my weaknesses and that it's not giving in to them when I say I can't do something.  It's protecting my sanity and my family. 

Somebody recommmended the book Margins to me to help me think through the importance of having not every minute scheduled in the day, etc.  But I haven't had time to read it. lol.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sarah Frances's "Room"

This summer when we moved Sarah Frances out of the main bedroom upstairs and into the side of the playroom, she moved from a full to a twin size bed.  The only twin bedding we have is very, very boy-ish and would have been what we worked with had a grandmother not stepped in and offered to get her some new bedding.  This thrilled the soul of our oldest, a very funky yet girly girl, who has lately been craving and begging for her "own."  Own space.  Own 1:1 time with us.  Own stuff.

Her bed is tucked on the other side of a half wall, so the other grandmother offered to make her a funky half-wall of ribbons to give her more privacy yet also let the air flow through.  We hung it up today.  This is the completed "room."

Pretty cool, huh?  It's a one-of-a-kind!  And here's a shot of them all from the middle of the "playroom."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

To Tell or Not To Tell?

Let's talk confidentiality for a minute.  I have been a part of many Bible studies with women where sharing your heart is encouraged, so confidentiality among the group is usually brought up in the first meeting of the study.

I remember the first time there was a disagreement among the ladies present.  I was in my early/mid 20's and a newly-wed, although I'd been friends with and studied with all the women there for years before.  One day, after the class was over, a few of us were chatting with the leader, probalby in her mid 40's at the time.  The issue boiled down to: When I tell you something in confidence, is it assumed that you are permitted to share that with your husband unless I tell you not to?  Or do you not share with you husband unless I specifically give you permission to in that instance?

We younger girls--again, remember we're newly weds, give or take a couple years--were shocked that the leader assumed the latter while we felt free to share it all with our husbands.  We never ruled that day if, in our group, it would be only one way or the other, but we gained some insight into how things would be handled by different women.

OK, so what's the difference really?  What does it matter if I am free to tell my husband or not?

The difference is a group with a "safe" environment vs. a "vulnerable" environment.  Safety is good and important, but a fence is what provides safety.  It keeps things out as much as it holds things in.  It can develop into a club-like perspective/click where you're a member or you're not.  Vulnerability is often scary and intimidating.  We feel less in control when we don't see definite boundaries.

The difference is where we find our security.  While I certainly am learning the art of discression--keeping private things private--there is not much of anything I could share with one person that I wouldn't share with another.  There are friends who have definitely earned through time, experience, and a common faith a friendship with me where I can very freely share my whole heart with her.  And if it will help encourage another person--please feel free to share my struggles and responses.  Now, don't be a gossip about it!!  But I don't mind being a good or bad example.  I am a sinner saved by grace through faith in Jesus.  What can the world do to me?

Whew--that's an ideal perspective, and one I hold much less than all the time.  And I know I'm an extrovert, which makes vulnerable sharing easier.  But it's also a learned behavior.  I have learned the benefit of being open and vulnerable with others, as well as having others be open and vulnerable with me.  And it's worth to me getting over the fear to be able to share and carry each others' burdens.

The difference is keeping things mostly surfacy and feeling free to share my heart.  When I am in a vulnerable relationship, I know that person and they know me.  They can look at me and read me because they have learned how I work from the inside out; they know the good, the bad, and the ugly.  And it's mutual.  I've heard all their stories too.  We're both fully aware that we're each a big mess, and we love each other anyway.

I've been a part of both kinds of groups, and none are bad.  Hear me well (assuming you're still reading, lol)--SAFETY IS NOT BAD!  I am very, very thankful for those groups.  Sincerely thankful.

And I know I'm missing some thoughts here.  This is only my opinion, not entirely well-formed, and not the only one out there.  I'd love to hear yours.

Now here's the real question now--to publish the post or not? :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Going Back

Well, after a little feedback and some personal contemplation of the issue, I've decided to change the blog name back. 

Because, no matter how good it seems right now, even in the very best  of times, it is STILL not as good as it will be in heaven.  So let's not get distracted by the good here.  Appreciate it, yes!!  But keep looking forward to our eternal home.  It will be better than we can even imagine, let alone experience, while we're still here. :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Older man

Marne and John Halsey had a new seminary couple over for dinner the other weekend, the former youth director and his wife at Covenant Pres in Bham.  They were talking over dinner about people they knew in common, and the husband started telling a story about when he brought the Jr. High kids up to STL for a quick trip this past summer.  They spent the night at Covenant Pres here, and one morning they saw an "older man" they didn't know wandering around the church.  At first they were a little alarmed--they weren't expecting anyone and it sounds like most of the kids were still asleep?--but they thought it was probably someone who worked there since it looked like he knew where he was going.  But it was an older man he described.

It was Brian.  Yes, he still had his full beard, which does give him an aged look.  But "older?"  Really?

Marne and I just laughed and laughed.  Since I haven't met them, I asked how old they are?  Surely in their early 20's?  No...in their 20's but mid to late probably. 

I remember just before we left Bham having a conversation with a good friend about the new young ladies coming to the church, single and still in or just out of college.  We laughed that they look at us, still young but with a load of young kids, like we looked at Kelly and Pamela and others when we were their ages.  How funny! 

Who am I kidding?  I have 4 kids.  My oldest is EIGHT.  Years, that is; not months.  I AM older.  And graying very quickly to prove it!  I guess I just don't feel as old as I look.  I hope it's always that way!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Observant girls

Last night we saw a girl with a cute top that went over only one shoulder. After SF told her she liked it, she talked about how the girl stretched out the neck to wear it that way. Brian corrected her and said it was made that way because they ran out of material (ha!). Our ever-quick Catherine said, "Nuh-uh because they made 1000 of them that way."  Smart thinking!

Earlier that evening we passed some girls walking down the sidewalk.  I noticed that there were 2 of them and that they were interested in the dogs on the other side of the fence they were passing.  SF piped up about one of the girls' boots, how Madeline (our 11yo cousin) would like them because they were tall boots and black and how they'd probably fit her because they looked like they were a size 3 or 4.  She saw all that??  I was amazed and glad for the insight into how she thinks.  Then Brian surprised me with, "I knew she'd notice that!"  And now I know exactly where she gets it. :)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Gone, gone, gone

Our friends, the Halfords, have left CTS to move back to Memphis.  They have had some pretty complicated and severe physical challenges in the last few months, namely Spence's detached retina requiring several surgeries still in progress and now Lindy's diagnosis of crohn's last week.  It's our first "seminary casualty" among dear friends.  And I am so very sad.  They hope to come back next fall, or even this spring if possible.

I am asking for your prayers for them.  And for the rest of us here.  As believers we are all targeted by Satan, but there are some pretty severe struggles going on among the students and their families at CTS.  Ask God to keep Satan at bay and provide a bigger hedge around us.  And I'll pray the same for you.  If there is anything specific, please, please let me know.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Hard Day

Tears are fresh today.  Not sure exactly why today; it's not much different than yesterday.  I think I'm seeing and feeling brokenness very keenly.  I did change the title of the blog because I've been posting things that are GOOD and encouraging, but today I'm of the perspective that it's not supposed to be this way.

Death is ugly.  Need hurts.  Sin is abundant.  Fear lurks.  Struggle is hard.  But refinement is good.  Thank God this is not all in vain!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Book Review (not written by me)

Here's an excerpt from a review of the book I've mentioned, Learning Evangelism From Jesus by Jerram Barrs.  You can find the entire review at www.ransomfellowship.org/articledetail.asp?AID=568&B=Denis Haack&TID=5.

"Learning Evangelism from Jesus is for people who love Christ and want to be like him. It’s for people who are sick and tired of evangelism, or scared of it, or disgusted by it, or convinced that it can’t be done except by fundamentalists who mistake the proper rejection extended to rude, unkind, judgmental strangers as persecution."

As I type I'm looking at my copy, sitting within arm's reach on the desk, where I placed it as I sat down to check email "real quick."  It's an easy read but is rocking my simple-minded head.  I mean, I know what I know pretty well, but this is a twist on how I have always viewed evangelism, meaning I have to actually think.  Not so used to that these days.  You may just breeze through it though. 

Needless to say I don't have much to discuss yet because I'm still just taking it all in.  Please, please let me know if you decide to read it.  It would be a great study for a small group or maybe just in your household.  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Friday, September 3, 2010

Beautiful Day

There could not possibly be a more beautiful day than God gave us today.  The storms came through last night and cooled everything off.  The high was in the mid-70's and there has been a cool breeze all day long.

This morning I got to slip away for a good hour and a half alone.  I've been reading ahead in Anne of Green Gables (it's been our read-aloud book lately), and I'm all caught up in it.  I wanted to be outside on this perfect day and enjoy the sunshine and breezes but also wanted to be more comfortable than a park bench would allow.  So I drove to the park and sat in the car in the shade with the windows rolled down so I could see and hear it all still.  And read in silence, without interruption, to my heart's content!

Then all afternoon the windows have been open.  And Brian has been home with us.  And we CLEANED the whole house together as a family all at once.  And tomorrow is a real Auburn day!  And people are coming over for the game!

Oh, but today is Sarah Frances's actual birthday.  The girl has racked up--lots of gifts and phone calls!  The Gayles are coming over for dinner to help celebrate.  Perfect ending to a perfect day!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

CRAZY, I tell ya!

What is WRONG with me that each month I am secretly hopeful that I'm pregnant?  I mean, it would be the 1 in 2000 chance that B's snipping procedure failed.  So why, a day or 2 before it should be confirmed that I'm not, do I get a little excited at the idea that I am?

This is the longest in our entire marriage that we've gone without a new baby.  Lillian is 2 1/2 exactly.  Maybe that's just it.  It's just what we do.  Have babies.  But not anymore.  As it should be!

But I held a tiny 3 month old twice Tuesday and it felt soooo good.

And I always thought I wanted to be finished by 30. (and God was very gracious--missed it by 1 month).  But no one does that anymore!  My friends are still having babies, or just starting even!  Maybe that's part of it too.

Bottom line, I am just crazy.  CRAZY, I tell ya!