Sunday, June 5, 2011

Life with a Four Year Old

The following are real conversations I have had with my four year old within the last week. Living with a child is lots of fun and I am so glad that the Lord has been working on me to enjoy each phase of the journey rather than try to hurry up and get to the next thing. I make a conscious effort to really enjoy each stage my children are going through, but four is becoming my favorite stage very quickly.

Background for conversation one, FF needs glasses, so we purchased her first pair. We debated at length whether or not to get the insurance, but THANKFULLY made the decision to purchase at the last moment possible *smiles.* The glasses were picked up on Thursday and were worn for a total of 1 minute 25 seconds over the next week and a day. On Friday a week later...they "broke" during nap time. This is the conversation regarding the "accidental breaking" of the glasses:

Me: "FF what happened to your glasses?
FF: "I don't know, I was just trying them on all my animals to see if they could fit them, but they couldn't cause their ears were too small, but then my big animal was just too big."

Well, that explains everything!

Conversation 2
FF was standing on the furniture and her daddy asked her to get down. She was not being obedient so he told her standing on the furniture was not appropriate, asked her again to get down and then asked her to "repeat everything I just said" for which she replied, "repeat everything I just said." Pablo thinks we have our hand full and I tend to agree!

Conversation 3
We let the girls listen to music as they are drifting off to sleep. Last night FF came rushing into our room about an hour after we put her to bed, "Daddy come quick the music shut off. I think it is buffering." I'm guessing we watch a few too many cartoons online...

I love having a four year old! Their perspective is so innocent and they don't yet know not to say everything they think. It is a precious age and I am cherishing every minute of it!

"Behold, children are a heritage of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward."
Ps 127:3 (NKJV)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Divine Appointments and Missed Opportunities

The Lord has been working on my heart lately regarding stopping short. I think of King Jehoash in 2 Kings 13:18-19 who was told to beat his arrows on the ground but stopped short and true victory was never reached. I look back over the times in my life that I have stopped short, accomplishing the task, but not taking it to the level of excellence that could have been...a missed opportunity.

Yesterday I had a divine appointment to share the gospel with a total stranger at the gas station. I argued with the Lord for a few minutes while I pumped my gas (I actually argued from the time I drove into the gas station, saw the man I should talk to and felt in my spirit I should talk to him.) I struck up a conversation as I pumped my gas (being partially obedient) and found out that he was traveling back to Miami. As I got back into my car I felt that I was not done and needed to finish. I looked at his car and saw the fish on the back. My first thought was, well he already knows the Lord, but I knew in my heart I needed to continue with the mission. I got out of my car and mentioned that I saw his fish and asked if he knew the Lord. His answer was that he did and he didn't. I told him that answer was strange to which he answered he went to church, but that was it. I asked do you know Him? He said he had been too busy. I said it didn't take much to know Him. He made some more excuses to which I said again that it didn't take much to know Him. He said he could tell I was a real nice lady. We got into our cars and drove away. As I left the parking lot I realized I had missed an opportunity. I felt that I needed to ask him if he WANTED to know Him. I did not...I was too scared! As I drove off the gravity of the situation hit me...what if I was the last messenger sent before he met the God of the Universe. What if he was scheduled to die on the road back to Miami and I was his last chance to meet Jesus before he MET Jesus, and I never asked the question. In reality I know that God is bigger than my failures and shortcomings, but at the same time it was a lesson I'll not soon forget. I asked that the Lord would first forgive me and then that He would water the seeds planted. I pray that the man will indeed come to know Him and that I will see him again someday. I also pray for another opportunity to step out in faith a little further.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

When God Interupts

Life is full of stress! For me, some stress is good. I actually thrive on deadlines and keeping a list to check off. Lately, though, my list is too long, my deadlines are too close and the stakes are too high if I fail. “I am so stressed out,” I whined to my husband. To which he lovingly answered, “Why? The calendar isn’t even full.” *smiles* Aren’t husbands the greatest! They put things into perspective and “sharpen” us even when we really don’t want to be “sharpened.” So I get my day on, grumbling about what needs to be done and how I will get it all accomplished, my chest tightening with fear and anxiety as each new thought runs through my mind.

That is when God interrupts.

As I fixed my coffee He reminded me, gently, softly, kindly, “the work is not yours, but Mine. I am doing this for MY glory, not yours, AND, I not only own the cattle on 1,000 hills…I own the hills. My grace is sufficient, I am enough! Rest and let My joy be your strength.”

I just love it when He does that!

As I move on with my day, that old song runs through my head:
The joy of the Lord is my strength
the joy of the Lord is my strength
the joy of the Lord is my strength
oh the joy of the Lord is my strength

If you want joy you must ask for it
If you want joy you must sing for it
If you want joy you must dance for it
If you want joy you must SHOUT for it

Seeking the JOY of the Lord today!

Monday, March 7, 2011

She Speaks

As women, we all have voices...She Speaks Conference shows us how to use them effectively. From what I understand, this conference takes women who want to write, speak or lead other women to the next level of commitment. It encourages, teaches, and empowers them to use the voices God gave them to His glory.

The Lord has been tugging on my heart for almost 10 years to write a book (2 actually). At the time the nudging began, the first story was only half written...

I was in the pit for 8 years and He brought me out. He gave me hope and a future with promises of what He had in store. As time went on, pieces fell into place and the promises He made were kept. I was blessed with an amazing husband and beautiful children. He brought me a job in ministry that allows me to work from home; doing all the things I love to do, while serving Him with my special talents. Meanwhile His whispers to my heart to write a book continued...

I first heard about She Speaks about 3 years ago. At the time, I knew I would attend some day. I don't know if this is the year, but I DO know I am waiting on the Lord's timing. If this is the year I am to go, I know He will provide a way. If anyone reading this is interested in a She Speaks scholarship, click here for more information. In the meantime, I wait and I pray for His leading, knowing He will direct my path and in the process His name will be glorified.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Bubbles, a BIG yellow Dora Tent, and the meaning of Life

FF turned 3 the end of March. There is something amazing about a 3 year old! Her command of the English language is getting to where she can be understood, most of the time. She make up words when her vocabulary is lacking, unlike my toddler under 2 who just falls out in frustration when she cannot articulate what she wants. Play has become much more fun and imaginative. Her use of pretend is amazing, because it emulates the things I do all day. She fixes pretend food for fabulous picnics, talks on the phone and whenever I ask her to do something she doesn’t want to do she informs me that she cannot because she has to do her work! Lord, the things you show me through my 3 year old. You are teaching me patience (which I blow it most of the time), prioritizing (sometimes we just have to put our work aside to go swing or “hold-hold” when they want to, because a day will come when they are no longer interested), how to play (this is a hard one, because I am so driven – have to check off that list and get things done), and good money management (50 cent bubbles from the dollar store make her happier than the most expensive “gotta have it” toy out there).
Bubbles…nothing makes my children happier than for momma to blow bubbles for them in the kitchen. On a special day we will go outside and use the mega bubble wand which blows ginormous bubbles. The delight on their faces is pure joy!
FF was given a BIG yellow Dora the Explorer tent for her birthday. I guess the word “Mega” in the title of the toy should have tipped me off…it did not. I wanted to get her the cutesy lady bug tent with a tunnel. Her daddy wanted the Mega tent where all her friends could fit inside…seriously! I read that the dimensions were 5 ft by 5 ft and thought “well that’s almost as big as me,” but even with that thought the concept that it would take up my ENTIRE DEN FLOOR SPACE eluded me, until it arrived and we put that bad boy together. The biggest thing the Lord is teaching me through my precious family is sacrifice. Because I love my husband and my precious girls I will willingly sacrifice my House Beautiful den so they can play and be comfortable in their own home. I will die to self and sacrifice the Pottery Barn “too cute to be functional” ladybug tent for the Big Yellow Dora MEGA tent so that my husband is honored and respected and the gift he desires to give to our daughter is given. The reward? Seeing this precious 6’2” hunk of a man crawl into the tent to play tea party with his 3 year old…because it is 5’ x 5’ and he can fit inside! So what do all these things have in common? They are the meaning IN my life. They are the joys and pleasures created for me by a loving God and Savior who delights in making me more like Him in creative ways. Who knew that by moving me to the country, giving me 2 children 15 months apart, sending my organized/professional perfectly ordered world spinning completely out of control He would be working all things to my good because He Loves Me! Even better…He has given me wisdom to see it for what it is and to take the time to enjoy tea parties in the Mega Tent and ginormous bubbles outside. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to grant you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11. Thank you Lord for taking me from where I was and bringing me to this life filled with abundant joy. Thank you for bringing meaning to my life!
Happy Monday!

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Week of Ups and Downs

Some weeks are just too filled with the ups and downs of life! This was one of those weeks. The time changed and there was a full moon (which explains the insanity of my 2 toddlers...4:45 am? Seriously you want to get up at 4:45 am!). Sometimes when your week is filled with highs and lows it is hard to see how anything good can be worked, even for those who Love HIM.
Monday - the girls were scrappy and couldn't get along with me or each other. I was on deadline to catch up with work after our HUGE (can you say 280 baby bottles distributed to 189 businesses?) Business Baby Bottle Boomerang launch. The Lord's hand was on that idea and He sent an amazing "partner in crime" to help. As an aside, isn't that just like the Lord to send a helper to get His will accomplished! Mary Blocker YOU ROCK! How faithful our Lord and Savior is and how He cares for the unborn! Anyway, it was just not a good day! I was frustrated and short with the children and grumpy with Pablo and to top it all off Pablo hit another deer (4 deer in 3 years).
Tuesday - my day to work in the office. We said goodbye to a precious sister in Christ as the Lord moves her on to a different season. Dena has been an amazing blessing to work with! She has a subtle sense of humor and is one of those quiet people, who once you get to know blow you away with their wisdom and personality. She has been someone I could bounce ideas off of, knowing that I would receive Godly wisdom and advice. Dena, I have a hard time saying goodbye, so I just don't. I will miss you!
Wednesday - We laid to rest the 22-week old pre-born baby of my precious friends. Alice was loved from the moment we knew she was. I grieve with her family as they face this loss. Words just are not enough, but the Great Comforter knows their needs and will provide what is needed when it is needed.

On a bigger scale, though I can't help but grieve over the women who on this day chose to end the lives of the babies they were carrying. I realize that the "choice" facing them was like that of a wild animal who chews off it's own leg to escape a trap. Their self-preservation was all they could see. I am saddened none the less and pray that the Lord will show them His forgiveness and ultimately they will be healed.

Thursday Morning-God gave me a divine appointment to speak light and life into two of our local co-eds. As they head up a Baby Bottle Boomerang project on our local campus, I pray the Lord will bless their efforts and encourage them in their faith. I appreciate their hearts and was overwhelmed that the Lord gave me such a special opportunity to build my faith in the process.

Thursday Night - We honored Pablo's precious father, Dr. Jose Campa, as he was inducted into the Valdosta High Football Hall of Fame. Football is BIG business here in South Georgia and none more so than Valdosta Wildcat Football. The honor was bittersweet as a glowing tribute was given to Dr. Campa by a member of the Touchdown Club. We were all teary as we remembered a man who dedicated almost 30 years to making sure the athletes of Valdosta were cared for both on and off the field. Dr. Campa, I am sorry I never knew you to call you my father-in-law, but the son you raised is a testimony to your gentle spirit and character. Thank you for raising my precious husband to be just like you in so many ways. Martin, you did an absolutely amazing job of receiving the award on behalf of your dad. You spoke with eloquence and left no dry eyes in the house! We are so proud of you!

So here it is Friday morning and I am back to 2 scrappy toddlers who just won't get happy, (though I saw part of the problem this morning as I peered into ACE's mouth...two little rice grains are beginning to poke their little heads out of her gums), I am behind in my work (and need to put in 8 hours to get caught up), and MY HOUSE IS A DISASTER (can we say NO clean clothes in the house!), and we are having family over for dinner tonight.

As I reflect on this week filled with ups and downs, laughter and sadness I am blessed that it has been a week filled with LIFE. Life is messy (to borrow from Lysa), but until the Lord calls me home I wouldn't trade it for anything. Thank you Lord for a week filled with life. I give you the glory and in the situations were we do not see how you are working all of this to our good, I still praise your name and wait with hope and expectation.

Habakkuk 3
17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Breakfast in a Shoe

The morning was miserable. It seemed FF was being disciplined from the time her little feet hit the floor. She was tormenting her little sister, dumping her toys out on the floor, falling out in temper tantrums and the last straw - touched the lampshade she knows better than to touch. Finally I was fed up! I put her into time out, handed her breakfast to her and let her know that she was not coming out of time out until I had finished my shower (which was taken VERY hurriedly). After showering, I walked back into the den and thought my sweet adorable child had returned. She smiled sweetly at me, handed me her shoe filled with her breakfast and said, "Look mommy, breakfast in a shoe!" Now here in South GA we have a restaurant called Macadoo's which has an awesome concept called Breakfast in a Cup. It consists of grits, eggs, sausage and cheese all mixed together in a cup. Add a little butter and a packet of salt and OH MY you have a treat! The girls at my work suggest I market the idea of Breakfast in a Shoe to some of our local shoe stores...

In the insanity of the morning I failed to see the Father's hand at work. I allowed my circumstances to get the best of me and I blew it by becoming frustrated. Once I repented, cleaned the breakfast OUT of the shoe, re-dressed my child and loaded up the car, we went to work. I was late going in and frustrated that my day just continued to fall off it's track. I failed to see God's hand at work orchestrating my day. I failed to take joy in the little things He had sprinkled all over my path. When I got to work (late) my co-workers were as usual smiling and joyful. One asked if I enjoyed breakfast in a cup, to which I answered, "I LOVE breakfast in a cup." "What about breakfast in a shoe," she asked? That is when I saw the precious size 4 shoes with a Nutri-grain breakfast bar in them. We ALL had a good laugh! The Lord has blessed me with a job that I love where everyone loves Him and each other as sisters in Christ. They blessed me in seeing the humor I had missed.

"The JOY of the Lord is my strength." Neh 8:10 (NIV) Joy is not the quick fleeting happiness that is temporarily felt when all things go right. As Americans we pursue happiness, but as Christians we should pursue the joy of the Lord. JOY is a deeper heart condition that rises above the circumstances and says, "regardless of the day I will praise your name Jesus and rest in YOU. I will allow You to order my day and Your joy to be my strength!" Through Him we can face anything (even breakfast in a shoe!)

Blessings this day and may the joy of the Lord be YOUR strength!