Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thoughts From a 3am Feeding

Hi baby. Stop crying. Good..eat. I need to buy marshmallows. Add it to the list. How the heck do I make a turkey? Like a whole chicken? Mmmm...lemon & herb turkey. Buy lemons. Cut rosemary. Do I have a pan big enough to roast the turkey? How big is it? 15lbs. Buy roaster. Marshmallows, lemons, roaster. Keep eating baby. I should pray for my baby. *praying* I should pray for ALL my kids! *praying* DON'T FORGET THE LIST! Marshmallows, lemons, roaster. *more praying* WAKE UP! I'll get the list at Walmart. Then I can pick up ribbon. Add ribbon to list. What time should I go to Walmart? Oldest has Thanksgiving feast tomorrow. Need to send in cookies and spoons. Put cookies in tupperware so they don't smoosh. Add spoons to list. Marshmallows, lemons, roaster. Gotta prep Thanksgiving dinner. What will fit in fridge? Green bean casserole. How do I make that?! Hope I got the right soup. Creamed corn. Marshmallows, lemons, roaster. Do I have a pan big enough for creamed corn? I'll have to make sweet potatoes on the stove. Not enough room in oven. Marshmallows for sure. Marshmallows, lemons, roaster. Add pan for creamed corn...nah. I'll make it work. Hi baby. Hurry up and eat. I'm tired. I love this kid. Mmmm socks. It's cold. I'm warm tho. Glad I wore socks to bed. Should I pee? I'm thirsty. Can I make it until the next feeding if I don't pee? I can pee and get a drink. One trip to the bathroom. Efficient. Marshmallows, lemons, roaster. I should write this all down. *typing on phone* What the heck am I doing?! It's 3:30am. I'll put it on my blog. Some mom out there will relate...

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Operation Simplicity: Why Would I Give Up the Good Things?

Not long ago, I posted this comment to Facebook:
I'm learning that some things seem like they will be more work, but in truth keep me grounded and relaxed, and therefore simplify my life. Examples: gardening, chickens, homeschooling, and drying our laundry on a clothesline. These acts help me appreciate how God has blessed our family.

A friend commented saying this:
YES. If I mention I'm stressed people are always saying I should just give up homeschooling, or don't have any more children, get rid of the chickens. They don't get it. Why would I feel better if I got rid of the good things in my life??

Yes! Exactly! Amen!

I spend 20 minutes hanging the clothes on the line. That's 20 minutes I spend thanking Jesus for the clothes on our backs. For the ways He's provided that day.  For the birds and the sunshine and the breeze. Then I get that time again when I remove the clothes from the line.  I wouldn't spend that time in prayer and communion with God if I was throwing the wash into the dryer.

I spend hours each week in my garden. Every single spring I am reminded of how creative God is that He came up with the entire process of growing things...from seed to fruit-bearing plant.  Late summer and fall are the times when I praise Jesus because He provides in plenty! Then, we get the opportunity to share our abundance with others!

Each day I spend time with God. I immerse myself in His Word and His truth so that I can fill my heart with it.

These things take time, energy, & effort. They require me to be intentional. They encourage me to be patient and appreciate delayed gratification. They calm me down, and draw me closer to Jesus.

Better yet, my kids are learning to enjoy these simpler things. They enjoy handing me clothes pins. They show pride in the plants they planted.  They are more adventurous eaters because they had a hand in growing their food. They pull weeds. They ask to help. We spend time, get this -as a family! because many of these "chores" are made lighter with more hands to help.

Now, I recognize that the things that interest me may not appeal to others. Chickens aren't for everyone. Clotheslines aren't practical everywhere, and pollen can be an issue in places. Not everyone has a green thumb for gardening. Homeschooling isn't the best option for every family. Cloth diapers gross some people out (that was me not long ago!). I get that. I do.

What I would like to encourage is that you find what does make you happy.
What calms your soul?
What gives you energy?
What promotes peace in your home?
What encourages a deeper communion with Christ?
What makes your life more simple?

It could be art.
Coffee with a friend.
Some sort of serving others.
Learning something new.

O, the possibilities are endless...because we are all different!

Thanks Casey!
I have a friend who is empowered by her job as a Fitness Coach. She is an inspiration to me. She found something she loves and does it every day. Her joy is contagious! She posted this to Instagram a few days ago, and I have been pondering it ever since...

O my word! What if we all did this?! I'm not suggesting you disregard your responsibilities, but for crying out loud...do something you enjoy every single day!

When we immerse ourselves in the things that bring us joy, we are more likely to live lives of gratitude. We are so much more likely to appreciate all we have been given when we take time to see what God has given us.

God wants us to live in His joy. He has given us desires to do, be, & create things that make us happy because he wants us to be happy. The joy of the Lord is indeed our strength to get through the tough stuff in life so we can enjoy the good. We are meant to live life to the fullest.  My fullest and yours look differently, but that difference is so beautiful!

So, go, friends! Paint a picture. Read a book. Drink a coffee. Dance. Sing. Be joyful! And, then thank God...the Giver of all good things!

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Armor of God

Remember that song?  It was a Sunday school fave growing up. We got to stomp around the room and act like little soldiers. Little did I know that God would remind me of that song over 20 years later...

Turns out, my heart is the battleground.  A legit, battle is going on for my heart daily.  There are very sneaky attacks -by an Enemy that isn't above low-blows!- that happen daily in a concentrated effort to thwart my growing & deepening relationship with Jesus Christ.  When I counterattack by reading my Bible and praying, it makes me a bigger threat to the Enemy.  He strikes harder...and even farther below the belt.

The battle is waging, friends.

It's time to put on my game face and fight hard.

But, what about when I'm too broken to fight? I cannot admit defeat. I will not.

"Jesus, fight for me." ...this is my plea!

Ephesians 6:10-18 says this:
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God,so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvationand the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (NIV, complements of Biblegateway.com)

I was reminded of these verses this morning when another woman confided that she felt like she was doing battle with the enemy.  She confessed that she was tired and felt vulnerable.  Recently, I too have felt beaten down and vulnerable...attacked by an enemy who seeks to destroy me.
"Fight for me, Jesus." My soul cried out to the Lord that He would take up the battle for me.  That He would stand in front of me and protect me.  That He would shield me from the attacks of the Enemy and do battle for me. O, how faithful is my God!  And thank goodness too...I wasn't going to last much longer!

Now that I am feeling refreshed and ready to prepare for the fight, I want to go into battle more prepared. Ephesians 6:10-18 seems like a good place to launch from, huh?

So, I did a little research.  I found a great article about the Armor of God.  I love how the author broke down each piece of armor and helped me to understand their purpose.  Paul (the author of the verses in Ephesians) had an up close and personal view of the Roman's armor for quite some time while he was imprisoned. I, however, am not armor savvy.

Let me start with the Belt of Truth.  I didn't know that a soldier's belt helped to hold up all of his armor...makes sense now that I'm typing it, but in my Sunday school brain, it was a flashy belt that looked cool.  The belt wraps all the way around the soldier.  As such, we should be wrapping ourselves in Christ.  After all, He is "the Way, the Truth and the Life" (John 14:6, I added the emphasis). In the absence of truth, lies cultivate. We must surround ourselves with truth and The Truth to be sure that we are acting with wisdom and discernment.

Then there's the Breastplate of Righteousness.  On a soldier, the breastplate protects the heart. I figured that. What I failed to consider is that the breastplate does not protect a soldier's back. This is because it was assumed that a soldier would not retreat in battle. Woah.  A soldier does not retreat. Neither should I.  I think it's ok to allow God to shield me; to hide in the shadow of His wings. But, phew...I'm still chewing on this one.  How often have I retreated in the past...yikes!

Let's move on to the Shield of Faith.  A shield is the soldier's first obvious defense against the enemy's attacks. This one was pretty self-explanatory to me. I mean, come on, if you're getting fired at, protect yourself with a shield...duh!  I was reminded though, that a soldier doesn't hold his shield loosely. The shield is held tightly and close to the body.  As such, my faith needs to be rock solid!

The Helmet of Salvation was a little tricky for me.  I think by the time I get to this part in the verse, I'm all armored out.  The helmet, however, is vital.  It keeps the crap out!  The Helmet of Salvation helps us guard our minds against the Devil's lies and our cultures...well...crap!  "From the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks," right? (Check the Gospels, it's there!) Well, my mouth is on my head (protected by the helmet). My eyes and ears -the most likely ways things get into my head- are also on my head...you get the point?  The Helmet of Salvation protects our minds and our hearts from garbage. Therefore, it indirectly protects us from spewing garbage also.

You've got to have good footing in a fight. Truer words, my friends. What better way to ensure good footing, than with good shoes. I'll put my faith in Gospel Shoes any day! These are active shoes. They bring the Good News to everyone. The Bible also says that the feet inside these shoes are beautiful (Isaiah 52:7).

Up until now, all the pieces of armor have been defensive. They protect against the blows of the Enemy.  They keep his advances at bay.  The final piece of armor is offensive. The Sword of the Spirit is the primary offensive weapon in the armor. The Spirit of God fights for us, and with us.  Swords back in Paul's day were not stainless steal.  They needed maintenance and use to be in good working order.  To keep it from rusting, the sword had to be used...and often. We can sharpen our swords on the Rock of Ages.  We can also sharpen our swords on other swords...Proverbs 27:17 says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." (NIV) Our words and actions have the power to sharpen our fellow soldiers in Christ. The Sword of the Spirit gives me confidence to fight the good fight.

I love that verse 18 reminds us to be aware of attack. As I said before, Satan doesn't fight fair.  We must be prayerful, watchful, & mindful of the Devil's schemes against us.  We can also fight with hope. Know, dear friends, that the victory belongs to the Lord! Isaiah 42:13 says,
"The Lord will march out like a champion, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies."
Victory belongs to Jesus. Victory in the battle for your heart. Be encouraged that God thought you were worthy to be created, and He thinks you are worthy of fighting for. He has done battle for us.  For you. For me. And He continues to.

The battle certainly belongs to the Lord! Put on your armor, and fight!

Monday, April 27, 2015

I Just Need to be Seen

At our weekly gathering of moms, recently, a fellow mom said to me (and our group), "Pregnant women often want to be seen.  They want someone to say, "I see you. I see your baby.""

My initial thought was, "Phew, how could anyone miss me and this big ol' baby bump!?"

But, I had missed it.  Thankfully, God knew I missed it...He seared those words into my brain for the following days, and they made their way into my heart for more contemplation.

In the mean time, I had been obediently reading my Bible; studying it.  Praying, being thankful. Growing closer to Jesus.

Satan was pissed.

Often, when I am getting close to Jesus, Satan attacks under the guise of depression.  I begin to slip into a low place and get out of my patterns of obedience.  "You're not good enough," Satan whispers.  "No one sees you," he says.  "Doing the bare minimum is more than acceptable," he seduces.

But, Sheryl's words of truth drew me to Christ.  She was right. I want to be seen.  Not visually.  But as a person of value.  I want someone to say, "I see you. Your work is hard, and you're doing a good job. I see your baby. I see you being the vessel of a miracle. I see you."

As moms we have made the transition from single woman -all about us, to wife -putting our husband first, to mom -putting our husband and children first. We slowly creep down the list of importance in our own lives and we draw recognition towards others.  We fall to the background.  And that's ok.  Most of the time, there's no place we'd rather be.

However, there are times when I want someone to see me.  To recognize my work.  To acknowledge me as a human.  As a woman. As a wife. As a mother. Nothing elaborate or fancy, just a simple, "Hey, I see you."

But, people don't always see others.  This is not really anyone's fault.  It's not their job to see me.  It's not their job to make me feel worthy or loved.  And even if they wanted to, their value and love would not be enough.  It never is.

Enter Jesus.

The Creator of the universe sees me.  The Author of salvation sees me.  The King of Kings sees me.

Jesus sees me.

Not only does He see me, He values me.  He loves me.

I know I am worthy and loved when I look at the magnificent man he's given to me as a husband.
I know I am worthy and loved when I look at the precious children he's entrusted to me.
I know I am worthy and loved when I look at the small piece of earth he's placed us on to take care of.
I know I am worthy and loved when scripture pops into my head at just the moment I need it.

I know I am worthy and loved because I am a child of God.

I know I am worthy and loved.

I am worthy and loved.

Jesus sees me.

There is no greater confidence I have on Earth.  Nothing compares to the peace it brings when Satan attacks my head.  The strength it conjures when the laundry is on the line and it starts raining.  The patience it summons when I'm stepping into the shower and both little boys need to poop. The calm that washes over me as I listen to the chickens while I'm pulling weeds.

Jesus reminds me that I am worthy.  I am loved.

And in that moment, He sees me.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Operation: Simplicity: EOs in Daily Life

In my last post, I wrote about using Essential Oils safely, and how I do that.  This post is dedicated to more specific ways I use EOs in every day life.  I'm going to post a few "recipes" that we use every single day in our home.

1. Cleaning Wipes
       In a quart sized canning jar, shake together a squirt of Castile Soap, and 1-2 "fingers" of water (put your fingers up to the bottom of the jar, horizontally, as a measurement...think "2 fingers of Scotch"!). Add 10-20 drops of EOs.  I use Plant Therapy's Germ Destroyer because my boys use the wipes.  Shake up the mixture.  Cut up an old, but clean, white t-shirt into squares.  Put the shirt squares into the jar, screw on the lid and flip the jar over until the fabric is damp with the soap/water/EO solution.
     These wipes kill germs and bacteria off surfaces.  My boys use them every morning to clean their potty and sink!  Then, when you throw them into the wash, they give your laundry a boost! ;)

2. Facial Cleansing Oil
     Recently, I started using the "oil cleansing" method to wash my face.  If you haven't heard of it, google it!  Seriously, it makes sense.  I won't go into the details of how to oil cleanse, but here's the recipe I use:
     Mix together:
          ~2Tbsp Castor Oil
          ~2Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
          ~2Tbsp Grapeseed Oil
          ~2-3 drops of Carrot Seed Oil (SPF)
          ~5 drops of Lavender EO (skin calming)
          ~5 drops of Tea Tree EO (anti-bacterial)
     I'm looking forward to ordering Meadowfoam Oil to use instead of the Grapeseed Oil!

3. Foaming Hand Soap
     Rinse out a Foaming Hand Soap dispenser.  Mix together a squirt a Castile Soap and about 10 drops of EOs.  I use any of the following:
     ~Germ Destroyer (kids bathroom)
     ~Germ Fighter (kitchen sink)
Add water until the dispenser is 3/4 full. Put the cap on and give it a shake.

These are super simple recipes that I use every day in my own home.  Enjoy, and let me know what you think!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Operation: Get Healthy: Essential Oils

Sometimes people ask me about essential oils.  Do I use them? How do I use them? What brand do I use? What oils do I use for ...insert ailment here...?

In an attempt to streamline my thoughts and research I'm answering all those questions here.

*Disclaimer: I am not an Aromatherapist or a Doctor.  Just a regular gal who wants to keep her family healthy.

Do I use oils?

How do I use them?
I diffuse and use topically (safely and conservatively...keep reading!).

What brand do I use?
I primarily use Plant Therapy. I like their approach to EO use.  I trust their practices...they tend to be conservative about EO usage.  I appreciate their business integrity.  HOWEVER, there are other brands of EOs that are very high quality.  I always recommend finding the oil company that you are most comfortable using.  Seriously...do your research!

I mentioned above that I use EOs safely and conservatively.  Let me explain.  In my research I have found the following things repeated over and over by Aromatherapists...you know, the people who go to SCHOOL to learn to use EOs safely and correctly...

...You know what, before I make this list I would like to remind everyone reading to do your own research.  Some of these points will contradict what others may say about EOs.  The articles are from Plant Therapy's site & blog because they sum up my research very well, and their info is very accessible.  Again, this is my research, and I use oils conservatively.

Here we go...

1. I don't use oils on children under age 2.  Their little livers are not developed enough to process the EOs. An alternative for children under age 2 is to use hydrosols.  Hydrosols are the water remaining after steam distilling the plants used to make  EOs.  You can read more about them here.

2.  I use a select few oils on children ages 2-10.  Some EOs are not safe for young children.  For more  on that, I trust this info.  I use the chart below for my kids, and when others ask for recommendations about what to use on their own children.  I have this chart printed and taped inside a cabinet in my kitchen for easy access.
*Plant Therapy sells a KidSafe line of EO synergies that I HIGHLY recommend checking out! You can check it out here. And, no I don't get paid by Plant Therapy...I just really like their products and the integrity of their company!
by: Plant Therapy

3. I always use a carrier oil when using EOs topically.  Essential Oils are not actually oily.  They are highly volatile & concentrated oils distilled from plants (ok, that's a super short description!).  High quality EOs should evaporate quickly.  Carrier oils are vegetable oils derived from the fatty portion of a plant (again, super basic description!), and they have their own therapeutic properties.  Carrier oils help carry EOs into your skin.  EOs can actually burn your skin and also can cause negative reactions.  Carrier oils dilute EOs to safely carry them into your skin and blood stream.  You can read more here.

4. I never...EVER...ingest.  This is not purity issue; it is a safety issue.  I am not a doctor.  I don't pretend to be.  I don't know enough about the individual constituents of each EO to know about how it will react in my body.  Side note: The FDA does not regulate EOs. This is a great article on ingesting that quotes a very reputable Aromatherapist.  

5. I use specific EOs only for pregnancy and nursing.  This wasn't an issue until about 20 weeks ago. :) This is the chart I use to know what EOs are safe for me and Baby M:
by: Plant Therapy

I know I sound like a rep from Plant Therapy. (I'm not!)  I know I said "do your research" then only gave you articles and posts from Plant Therapy.  Here's the reason: I trust them.  These articles and posts are from Aromatherapists who want people to use EOs safely.  I have read other articles and books and such on the topic of essential oils and safe usage.  The ones I trust say the same thing as the links I have posted.

Hopefully, this post is helpful to someone.  These are my opinions; although based on research. I won't pretend to be a Doctor or Aromatherapist.  I don''t know nearly as much as I would like to about EOs.  I am just one person who did some research to come to her own conclusions about EOs.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Operation: Intentionality: Rhythms & Routines

At church Wednesday nights, our Family Ministries Director has been focusing on the "Rhythms & Routines" of our families. The focus has not been to add anything more to our family life, but instead to figure out how to invite Jesus into our already existing rhythms and routines.

This past week, she asked us to focus on what interrupts our rhythms & routines, and she focused on three main areas: fear, distraction, & busyness.  We were asked to choose the one that is the biggest problem for our particular family.  I, being the rebel that I am, decided that none of these interrupted our rhythms and routines quite as much as laziness.  Sure, at times we are distracted by the TV. And, yes, fear is occasionally the reason we don't start new things.  Occasionally, we are even a little busy.  However, laziness is more often than not the culprit.  You see, we don't have a great routine.  We have a rhythm, I guess.  But every day seems to be different than the last.  The reason for our lack of routine is absolutely my own fault.  I SUCK at routines and schedules.  I just don't like them.

But, I digress.

You see, we choose -yes, we are intentional about this- to be not busy.  We choose to leave room for relationships and spontaneity.  We don't have a ton of activities.  We aren't on a bunch of boards, or councils.  We don't schedule too much ahead of time.  That seems to stress us out.

But, when does all of this cross the line into laziness?
When I choose to turn the tv on instead of playing with the kids.
When I choose to plan so much time away from my house (playdates and such) that I ignore the housework that needs to get done.
When I neglect things that need to be done (homeschooling).

Worst of all, it's laziness when I don't make the effort to invite Jesus into our every day lives.
It's laziness when I don't even recognize that God is opening doors for our family.

Has my laziness deprived my family of some of God's sweet blessings? Have I been too lazy to look to God first in every situation, and how has my family unknowingly suffered for that?

There's something to be said for regular rhythms and routines in the life of our families.  They can provide stability and a help little ones cope better with transitions.  They give me an excuse to say, "O my gosh! We do this Every. Single. Day!" and really mean it!

But, rhythms and routines are nothing without Jesus at the center of them.  He is the reason we do everything.  EVERYTHING!  He's the reason we get together with friends.  He's the reason we brush our teeth.  He's the reason we take care of our homes.  He's the reason we learn and teach.  He has given us bodies and brains and friends and homes...we do everything in His Name in order to be good stewards of the things and relationships HE has given us.

But, inviting Jesus into our rhythms and routines is exactly that.  It's an invitation.  An invitation is inherently intentional!  We make the choice to give up our lives, and hand them over to God.  We make the choice to give Him the space and freedom to move. To grow us. To stretch us. To enhance our lives. To bless us!  Gosh! I don't want to miss that!  I don't want to miss out on what God wants to do in my life -and in the life of my family- because I am too lazy to invite Him!

In conclusion (have you noticed that I also suck at ending my blog posts?!), I want to be intentional.  In my relationship with Jesus. In my family. In my home.

This is my prayer...
 ...because praying with intention that my heart will be clean and my spirit in the right place, will align me in His perfect peace, and will keep me walking with Him in every aspect of my life. :)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Operation: Simplicity, Part 2: Peace

If I had to choose one verse from the entire Bible to be my "life verse", it would be this one.  I have struggled with depression for years now, and have always been comforted by the truth that my Jesus guards my heart and my mind.  He gives me true peace; a peace that passes all understanding.

As God has been leading me through lessons on simplicity, I have come to realize that simplicity is a state of being at peace.  It is the ability to live in the Lord's truths.  To not live life with a spirit of fear and timidity, but in the spirits of power, love and self-discipline (2nd Timothy 1:7).  Instead, to dwell on those things that are true, noble, right pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy!

I'm pregnant. This is #3, and anxiety has been unwelcome, but present this go around.  To combat the anxiety I have turned to Jesus and nesting.  Combine those with lessons on simplicity and no room in my house is safe.  The word that best describes it is "purging".  I have a deep..DEEP...desire for peace and calm, and to obtain that peace I find myself placing less value on my possessions.  You see, when I have a lot of "stuff", it occupies my mind.  It clutters my brain.  It strips me of the peace that I so desire by replacing Godly thoughts/time with stuff-ly thoughts/maintenance. It robs me of time I could be spending with Jesus, or my family, or my friends. so, I get rid of the things we don't need or use. Adios!

A while back, I came across this quote in a pin on Pinterest:

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." 
                            -William Morris.

As an overly-practical person, I can accept the first part of this quote with ease, but the latter half left me a little frustrated.  Beautiful?  Beautiful.  Here is my former definition of beautiful: girly. Pretty self-explanatory, and being the only female in the house led me to believe that anything girly, and therefore beautiful, was outlawed in our home. Beautiful isn't practical.

Enter: God's Truth.

True beauty is anything that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy!

(Here's where God's lesson on simplicity comes into play recently.)

Beautiful things draw my focus to my Creator.  He is the source of true beauty. He is also my source of peace.  If something draws my attention to Him it is worthy to be in my home!  If it draws my focus towards Jesus, then bring it on!

I will put a vase of flowers on the table (albeit, the discounted ones from the grocery store, because remember I'm overly-practical!).

I will surround myself with photos of my family. They are the truest beauties of my life!

I will plaster the walls with the words of truth God gave me.  To remind me of His beauty: those things that are true, noble,right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy!

I will surround myself, and my family, with things that are practical and things that are beautiful.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Operation: Simplicity

I just did a search for "Simplicity" in the Kindle Store n Amazon. 43 pages of books about simplicity.  43 pages, you guys.  That makes choosing simple, doesn't it? GAH!

God's been gently leading into a season of simplicity. Most of the time, I get pumped about it!  Woo hoo!  Less complicated life? Yes, please!

Sometimes, however, this is frustrating to me.  I don't think we live in extravagance.  We don't have 800 TV channels. We don't have a huge house. Our cars are used, older, and paid for. I donate clothing we don't wear regularly. When we're done with something, we pass it on.  This is all essential to simplicity, isn't it?


So, what place of simplicity is Jesus calling me into?

A place of abiding.

To abide.
To wait.
To remain stable with Him.
To be in a place with Him.
To just sit still and be with Jesus.
To simply enjoy His presence.

This is the conversation that then ensues with Jesus...at least this is how I imagine it in my head:

"O good Lord, you've got to be kidding!?  Sit still?  Wait patiently? For Heaven's sake, when do You want me to do this, Lord!?  When the laundry is piling up? When the kids are hungry?  When dinner is ready?"

"Nope. Not then."


"You could wake up early."


"You could put your phone down. Or get off the computer."

"I could."

"You could abide with me and your boys at the same time.  You could get on the floor and play cars with them."

"Mmmmm hmmm."

"How about turning the TV off and listening to worship music while you fold laundry or make lunch?"

"Good thinkin'."

"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me." (John 15:4)

"I seem to recall you mentioning that."

And we go on like this until I realize I have complicated my life. I have put things in my day that keep me from the simplicity Jesus is calling me to. I have filled my hours with Pinterest and Facebook instead of the Bible. My phone is my constant companion, not the children God has entrusted to me.

Well, crap!

Because here's the reality. Simplicity is simple. It's not complicated. It's about enjoying what you have. It's about enjoying who God gave you. It's about living in the moment and soaking it all in. It's about abiding.

Once I get to this point in my thinking about abiding and simplicity, I usually hit a brick wall. This is when I'm supposed to actually put my phone down (or in another room completely!). This is when I should stop typing and go play with my son.  This is when I should turn off the TV (that I'm not watching). But, so often I don't. Why? Beats the heck out of me!  Laziness? Probably. Gosh that hurts to admit!  But, I have to stop writing now.  Because I truly have no reason to keep typing. I have no advice except to start abiding.

So, here goes.