Saturday, December 31, 2016

Less Is More In 2017

We all know that the day dawning a new year isn't any different than the other 364 days of the year.  But there is just SOMEthing about this day.

We all feel it.
And nobody is exempt from what happens next.

We all say goodbye to the past year and anticipate what is just around the corner.
We are all hoping and praying that what comes ahead will be better than what lay behind.

Even if it was a great year, it's exciting to look forward to the possibilities wrapped up in a new one.

Some have had really difficult years and have been fighting for the finish line, grasping for the fresh air that is hopefully just around the corner.

We all dig deep trying to figure out how we can be better than before.

Over years past I have focused my year on healthy habits, both spiritually and physically. I have worked on building better, STRONGER relationships.  And just plain being a better mom, Christ follower, wife, sister, friend, daughter...

...but always praying that the Holy Spirit will help me keep my focus on the Heavenly Father.

Last year's focus was to be present.  My mantra was Jim Elliot's quote, "Wherever you are, be all there."

This year, though, all I can wrap my mind around is MORE.

More of Him.

That's it.

Because more of Him will mean less of me.
And Lord knows we all need less of my personal opinions and injustices, my tendency to make decisions based on my fickle emotions, and my predisposition for critical thinking.

More of Him will mean acting in His love and patience.
More of Him will mean more obedience from me, whether that is in daily conversations about His goodness and soul-saving grace, embracing His interruptions in my schedule, or walking in faith not fear.

No more overthinking, just overflow.
My identity placed solely in His hands.

Everything else I strive to be better at, or do harder, pales in comparison to Him and what He wants to do in and through me.

This New Year's Resolution:
"He must become greater, I must become less."
John 3:30

Thursday, December 29, 2016

My Prayer Closet

This place used to be a place of defeat.

For whatever reason Satan would wreak havoc as soon as I'd step foot in the shower.  Maybe because my mind didn't have to think much while I was getting clean, so why NOT bombard me with lies in an attempt to sabotage my day.

The lies that would swirl around in my head, the previous conversations that would play over and over until untruths became absolutes, and past hurts that would become present hurts all over again...

I remember, on numerous occasions, flying through my shower routine in order to get out of there as quickly as I could, to stop the voices that were echoing so loudly within those enclosed walls.  I would feel absolutely exhausted and sometimes near panic by the time I stepped back out onto the tiles of the cold bathroom floor.

Sunday mornings were the worst.  Waking up so early to get to band run-through meant that my brain, during my morning showers, was still waking up and foggy.  Truth seemed to still be sleeping while the lies poured on thick, making it nearly impossible to prepare spiritually for the job ahead.

But somewhere over the years this very scary place has transformed into a place of solitude.  And it's certainly not because I don't have kids in and out using the bathroom or brushing their teeth or asking to get a snack (this Colony NEVER ceases to be hungry!).

But now, when I step into the shower other people come to mind.

Those with struggling marriages, the one searching and searching for a job, the relational conflict of another, the ones fighting for contentment.  My squad girls whose lives run deep through my veins, my parents, in-laws and siblings, my own husband and kids.  Those people who I utter those precious words, "I'll be praying for you".

I may not have a ton of quiet in my life, but this space and the mundane activities that happen within (although I have been known to accidentally wash my hair with face wash a time or two), allow for some very sweet time where I don't have to do anything but fight for others God has placed in my life with the very real weapon of prayer.

Now when Satan thinks he can play with my mind when I jump in the shower I simply ask God to bring to mind those that I need to be praying for.

Your prayer closet doesn't have to be an elaborate haven.  I have friends who have told me they have been praying for me while mowing their grass (Which can take HOURS for some people.  Just ask my dad, ha!).  We have another family friend who traces alphabet letters with his GPS while jogging, praying for people whose names begin with that letter.  Another one of my friends uses the time at her kitchen sink to call out to the One who promises to hear his children.  Maybe it's the drivers seat in your car, or your teacher's desk between classes.

God doesn't care WHERE we pray, so get creative and find a place to do battle, even if the only place you can think of is in the shower.

13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, 
that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, 
and having done all, to stand firm. 
14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, 
and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 
15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness 
given by the gospel of peace. 
16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, 
with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, 
which is the word of God, 
18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. 
To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
Ephesians 6:13-18

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Words Worth Remembering

Jude:"Zeke, can you read me my quiet time again?"

Jude:"But WHYYYY do I have to go to bed right now?"
Me:"Because you are SO tired."
Jude:"I'm NOT tired. I'm GRUMPY!"


Cai:"Mom, you're passing the wall."
translation - You're crossing the line


Jude:"Hmmmm, I like the chicken that is in that tuna!"


Me:"Come on, let's do school outside today!"
Rainy:"No, not math. It is too pretty outside, but math deserves a dark place."


Jude:"It's called a comperstation. That's what talking is."


Zeke:"Mom, can I show you these?"
Me:"Sure, what is it?"
Zeke:"It's what I drew last night and wanted to show you but daddy said that you were a little cranky."


Jude:"Who said that? Not me. It was the other dimension Jude...Good joke huh!"


Cai:"Mom, who's in the car?"
Me:"Zeke, Rainy and Laithy."
Cai:"What did you say? What about money did you say?"
Me:"I didn't say ANYthing about money.  I said Zeke and Rainy and Alethia are in the car."
Jude:"What about cheese?"


Jude:"You wanna see my ball?  It's a Duke ball."
Poppie:"Is it a basketball?"
Jude:"No.  It's just a duke ball.  But it's called a basketball sometimes too."


Jude:"I just gotta get a little taller so I can get into third grade."


Cai:"Ooooh, Jude, what happened to your foot?!"
Jude:"It's OK, it's just eczemO."


Jude:"You know what I like most about today? Hugging you."


Josh:"The smell of a musty old books brings me to a happy place."


Jude:"Mom, can we get some parrots?"
translation - pears


Zeke:"Jude, you have to go take your shirt off cuz you're the drummer."


Cai:"I like how this lip chap tastes."
translation - chapstick


Jude:"Oh man, I'm so steaming cold out here!"

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Story In Pictures - 4th Annual CCGDCAWKSBBE

4nd annual
Girls vs. Boys
Colony (+ friends) (not this year) -Christmas-Gingerbread(house)man-Decorating-Create-A-Wonderland-Kick-Some-Butt-Bottom- EXTRAVAGANZA!

With well over 100 votes from friends and family like YOU


First place - ColonyMOM #2
Second Place - Rainy #5
Third - Cai #7
Next best - Colony DAD #1
Next best - Jude #6
Next best Ending Tie - Zeke #3 and Alethia #4

The competition is getting stronger each year and the the numbers were surprisingly close!
Thank you to everyone who participated this year!