Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Art of Being Present

Day 31! - The Art of Being Present

we will make art

 Reading Emily Freeman's A Million Little Ways has been such an inspiring and encouraging time for me.  I have never thought of myself as an artist. My drawing skills are not that great, I stopped playing the clarinet when I graduated high school, and, while my Play-Doh cats are recognizable, they will never appear in a gallery.

But Emily is helping me see that my art doesn't have to be painted on a canvas or played on a piano. My art can be words or photographs or loving my girls.

Today I practiced the art of being present. I comforted a daughter who was feeling discouraged, even when it meant skipping my workout. I enjoyed  Chick Fil-A ice cream with the girls, even though it meant getting out in the rain. I helped us make the best of our church's Trunk R Treat being rained out by eating pizza and watching Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix with my girls. 

And as we were beginning the movie, when we noticed an amazing sunset, I took time to go outside and see God's splendor on display and take a picture to help myself and others remember that God does display His beauty after the rain. 

Of Photographs and Perspective

Day 30 - Of Photographs and Perspective

Some days God gives me a glimpse of grace before I even realize I need it. Today was one such day. While sitting in the doctor's office waiting for the doctor to perform my check-up, I was able to catch up on some social media blog reading. And, while I did not enjoy the hour-long wait in a paper gown, I am so thankful I had the time to read Angie Smith's beautiful blog post today. She wrote things I've thought but never put into words. Things I needed to hear today.

This evening my girls were looking through old pictures of themselves when they were younger. Pictures in boxes rather than albums, because I never made time to do it. We don't look at these old pictures as often as we should probably because looking at them makes me feel regret for all the things I think I should have done but didn't.

 But when my girls were looking at the pictures, they didn't comment about things I dropped the ball on while they were younger. They just enjoyed reminiscing.  They don't look at those snapshots of life and see all the things Mom could have done but did not. (OK, my oldest does ask why I let her wear ponytails all the time when she was in elementary school. One day she will see that I was giving her freedom by not being a mom who nagged her about her appearance!)

I'm so thankful for Angie's reminder that I am my girls' mom, not their God. It is not up to me to provide everything they need. It is not up to me to know everything they need. And when take off my lenses of guilt and regret, I am free to enjoy the present and free to enjoy our memories. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Quiet Grace

Day 29 - A Quiet Grace

 Right now I'm enjoying the grace of some time alone. I've spent so many years believing that wanting quiet time to read, to think, to just breathe was somehow selfish and un-Chritian. But over the past year I've come to realize that God created me to function best when I can have some "down time." 

And since my last few days have been filled more than normal, I am thankful for this time when all I can hear is the running of the dishwasher and everyone else in my house is asleep. I can step back from being on-call to answer questions and find things. I can relax with a blog or with a book. 

For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15 (ESV)

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Day 28 - Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Yesterday was a busy day, so I didn't get to post until this morning.

One of the graces I experienced yesterday was seeing a beautiful rainbow on the way to the girls' ballet class. My younger two noticed it first, and it took me a while to see it, but when I did, it was lovely. We were able to see about two-thirds of the bright rainbow.  And as we continued to look at it, we saw another partial rainbow above the first one.

I tried to get a picture of it (which I could do since Hannah was driving), but power lines or the car antenna got in the way. 

It would have been easy to be annoyed by the dark clouds and unexpected rain, but instead we chose to focus on the beauty of the rainbow. In the same way, when I choose to focus on the beautiful even in the midst of less-than-ideal circumstances, I will be blessed. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pumpkin Carving

Day 27 - Pumpkin Carving



Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Grace of Celebrations

Day 26 - The Grace of Celebrations

Today I had the grace of being able to celebrate Paul's birthday with our girls. His actual birthday falls on a busy weekday, so we chose to celebrate it today.  Last year he bought me a doberge cake from a terrific bakery and has wanted us to make one at home. So I did. The recipe looked a little intimidating and rather time-consuming, but it wasn't hard. And, since I cooked the different parts over two days, I didn't have to spend all day in the kitchen. 

The cake was a big hit! I was impressed by how good it is. And my husband is worth the effort.

I also make the Pioneer Woman's Pork Roast with Apples and Onions and creamy homemade mashed potatoes. And I had Paul pick up a baguette from Panera.

We ate on my grandmother's china and used the beautiful serving ware that is part of the set. After dinner we gave him this knife, which he is excited to use.  (While I was preparing dinner, I was tempted to use it and put it back in the box!) 

We finished our celebration by playing a family game and eating our yummy cake. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Purrfect Service Project

Day 25 - A Purrfect Service Project

Over the summer my younger girls were excited to learn that our local cat shelter needs volunteers to pet and play with the kitties. Today we made our first trip to volunteer as cat petters. The girls and the cats loved it! 

If Patches hadn't made it abundantly clear that she wants to be an Only Cat, I would have been tempted to bring one home. The skinny little calico with the big purr was my favorite, and the girls also liked the black lap kitty. 

In addition to petting the cats, I also enjoyed watching my girls love on some of God's creatures that were hungry for affection. I am thankful for their sweet, loving, and tender hearts.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Graceful Pondering

Day 24 - Graceful Pondering

Some days my grace isn't in an event or a person but in a thought or an idea. The past few days I've had some thoughts circling in my head, and last night I had a great thought about how to tie them together. I want to get it right, so that may not happen for a few days, but I will share the basic idea of what I've been thinking.

As women we so often compare ourselves unfavorably with other women. And not only that, I take my friends' best qualities and combine them to form one totally unachievable ideal of a perfect woman, wife, and mother. Of course, no one can live up to this ideal, but somehow, I feel guilty if I do not. 

I want to get to the place where I am so secure in who God has created me to be that I gladly recognize and celebrate others' strengths and accomplishments without feeling like I need to live up to them. I want my standard not to be some imaginary super woman, but the only standard that matter, the standard of Jesus Christ. 

I know that I can never live up to His standard, but I don't have to! Jesus did it for me. And when I let Him live out His life in me, I will be exactly the woman God wants me to be.

Wednesday Graces

Day 23 - Wednesday Graces

* A daughter loading the dishwasher just to be helpful

* Watching one of my twins excel in the skit she was in for the youth worship service

* Good books

* Girls who love to read

* Renewing library books on-line

* Date night at Panera

* A purring cat 

* Answered prayer for a friend

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Fabulous Compliment

Day 22 - A Fabulous Compliment

 This afternoon as I was leaving Target, a woman in the parking lot told me she thought my sunglasses were fabulous. And it really was a moment of grace. I had been feeling bad for most of the day, and I had to bring the girls to ballet and run some errands even though I would have rather stayed home. In the midst of this, someone said a kind word, and that gave me a little extra energy to carry on.

Sometimes I'm reluctant to be bold like she was. But after today, I want to tell others when I notice something fabulous about them. Because it might be a much-needed grace spot in a rough day.

Quality Time

Day 21 - Quality Time

One of the things I enjoy about Mondays is getting to spend some time one on one with my middle daughter. The other girls all have ballet class, and Paul often works late, so she and I will eat our supper on the couch and watch an episode of Merlin together. I'm thankful that all my girls like to spend time with me.

And this Monday was also special because I started reading A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman with the Bloom Book Club. I've already highlighted so many good things in the first chapter, and I'm looking forward to the things God will teach me through this book. 

A couple of my favorite thoughts:

* "Have we exalted the will of God and the plans of God above God himself?" ~ A Million Little Ways page 17

*From the same page: "God doesn't give us a list. He invites us into the story."

I want to live my life fully in God's story, seeking Him, and not just a plan. And I want to teach my girls to do the same.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Another Post in Which I Find Deep Spritual Truths Via Yard Work

Day 20 - Another Post in Which I Find Deep Spiritual Truths Via Yard Work


When we bought our house over ten years ago, the previous owners had invested a lot of time and money on the landscaping. Which would have been great if we had had the time and knowledge to keep it up. But since my gardening skills are limited, and since I had a one year old and a three year old to care for, the landscaping went wild.

The past two weekends Paul pulled out more of the bushes that came with the house. (We gotten rid of the hated holly bushes years ago!) From the original plantes, we now only have an azalea (which I like) and another bush/tree that looks decent. He pulled out scraggly overgrown bushes and a perfectly healthy sago palm that I had never really liked. We planted a few annuals and bought some camellias which we will plant this week. Then we'll order some small rose plants. We're even putting in an arch.

What struck me today as we worked on making our house beautiful was how we had lived with plants we didn't like for over ten years! We saw those plants as we drove into the driveway every day and didn't like them. But we just kept them there, hoping the Gardening Fairy (sister to the elusive Cleaning Fairy) would come and make our yard beautiful. I never pushed for changer because Paul already works so hard and because I didn't know what else we could do in that space.

Since we've cleared out those plants, our house already looks better! We have worked hard these past two weekends, but we are liking the results. When we finish I will have a home exterior that I love, not one I just tolerate. 

As I realized how much better I like my house now, I couldn't help but wonder which attitudes, thoughts, and behaviors I've been putting up with in my life. Things I don't even like, but seem too big to deal with. Things that I don't know how to change or remove. Sometimes I think that, like our landscaping, I just need to start the thing. Because when I look at my life I want to see the things that I WANT to be there, things that are beautiful and that complement who God has made me to be,  not just some out-of-control characteristics that I've put up with for too long because I was scared to tackle them.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Why I Can Trust God When Things Look Scary

Day 19 - Why I Can Trust God When Things Look Scary

I enjoy preparing for teaching our middle school Sunday School class because as I read and study the Scriptures, I learn so many things. 

This week we are studying Caleb, who, along with Joshua, kept his faith in God even in circumstances that looked scary. One of the points my commentary made was that God had already shown His faithfulness to Israel by essentially defeating the most powerful nation in the Middle East (and probably the most powerful nation on earth at the time). But even with the memory of that amazing display of God's love and power, the people doubted that God would enable them to defeat an assortment of cities and city/states. 

On this side of the Cross, it is easy for me to not trust God to do something that looks big or hard to me. But He has already done the biggest and hardest thing ever when Jesus died and rose again! I can have confidence that, like the Israelites, if God leads me somewhere, He will empower me to do it.

He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things. ~ Rom. 8:32

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Strength for the Weary

Day 18 - Strength for the Weary

After a very full week this is grace.

28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is an eternal God,
the Creator of the whole earth.
He does not get tired or weary;
there is no limit to his wisdom.
29 He gives strength to those who are tired;
to the ones who lack power, he gives renewed energy.
30 Even youths get tired and weary;
even strong young men clumsily stumble.
31 But those who wait for the Lord’s help find renewed strength;
they rise up as if they had eagles’ wings,
they run without growing weary,
they walk without getting tired.

Isaiah 40: 28-31 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Linky Graces

Day 17 - Linky Graces

Often I find grace in what others have to say. Here are some things that spoke grace to me today:

This powerful post by Jen Hatmaker. Yes! I want to get rid of "They" in my thinking.

This beautiful reminder of how to honor others by Emily Freeman. I loved the Mr. Rogers video!

And this, because there is grace in humor.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Cat's Meow

Day 16 - The Cat's Meow



Today I'm grateful for Patches, The World's Best Cat. My sister messaged today that her cat of 17 years is not doing well. Even though I like to joke that God is going to keep Patches alive until Jesus comes back, I know that if He tarries we will one day have to say good-bye to our sweet kitty. 

I really like how Patches spends time with all of my girls in each of their rooms. Just now she was meowing at my eldest daughter's door to be let in. But by morning, she will probably be sleeping in one of the other girls' beds. She tolerates the extra loving and cuddling the girls sometimes bestow with only some mild cat muttering. And she purrs often. She is a safe confidant for my introvert, and she makes us laugh. I'm so thankful God led me to pick this kitty!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Reading Is Fundamental

Day 15- Reading Is Fundamental

I love reading. I have as far back as I can remember. I was the kid who won the award for most books read in fifth grade and the one who got in trouble at school for reading a book while the teacher was talking. (In my defense, I already knew the information she was covering.)

I am so thankful my girls have inherited my love of reading. We make many trips to the library, and the online hold system has been a great help. Not to mention the ability to renew books on-line or through our library's app, which has saved us many donations fines.

I love hearing my girls discuss the books they are reading. The characters become real friends, and the plots weave their way into their own histories. My older two are now also noticing the writing. My eldest daughter stopped reading a book because she didn't like the tense it was written in and because she felt the sentences were too choppy. My middle girl surprised herself by enjoying the beginning chapters of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring even though they were more descriptive than action-packed. 

I am thankful today for the grace of reading and watching my girls love to read as well.



Monday, October 14, 2013

You Never Give Up on Me

Day 14 - You Never Give Up on Me

I am much more of a thinker and a talker and a reader than a doer. Getting things done does not come easily for me. I'd much rather ponder, plan, and play than produce. Which absolutely explains the state of my house. I'm not opposed to having an orderly home, I just don't want to do the hard work of creating order out of the chaos that currently exists.

To make matters worse, I am far better at starting tasks than I am at finishing them. I can start the work of getting my kitchen counters all cleared off, but I so often don't get to that one counter that so easily becomes a clutter magnet. 

We began our yard overhaul this weekend, but I can easily see my enthusiasm waning quickly if I'm not careful. (I'm sure the neighbors would not like that!)

As I thought about the difficult tasks of doing the work and carrying through with what I start, I was so thankful that God never leaves His job of transforming me into the image of Christ unfinished. Even when it may look like He's given up, I can know He will never give up! 

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. ~ Phil 1:6

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Grace in the Garden

Day 13 - Grace in the Garden

I like the idea of gardening much more than I like the work of gardening. That is how our front flower bed had gotten in the state it was in. So we designated yesterday as spruce up the yard day. Paul and some friends pulled up bushes I've never liked and trimmed some ornamental trees.  I weeded around my roses. I like my roses because they have thrived despite my poor gardening skills.

For some reason, gardening reminds me of spiritual things. Maybe it's John 15. I noticed several things while weeding. First, some of the weeds weren't weeds at all. I had grass and small trees (Yes, that is my poor level of garden maintenance!) growing near or among my roses. Those things are great in their proper place, but they had moved in to take the place of something else. I think I struggle more with letting something good in its place choke out something better more than I struggle with having "big bad sins" invade my life.

Some of the unwanted plants looked intimidating. I was sure that I would have a hard time pulling them out. But when I started the pulling, they came up easily. I had looked at those weeds for a while and not done anything partly because I was daunted by the seeming size of the task. (The other parts were 90 some-odd degree heat and super-high humidity all summer.) I can look at other things in my life and feel paralyzed because of the seeming size of the task, but sometimes when I actually do it, I find that the dread was worse than the actual work.

The trees were funny. They blended in so well with the roses that I didn't even know they were there until I looked closely. One even had leaves that looked enough like rose leaves that it fooled other people, too. Sometimes unwanted characteristics hide themselves in my life and look like something desirable. Pride can mimic high standards. Laziness can mimic God-designed rest. I need to look closely to see them for what they are, and I need to give others permission and access to look closely as well.

The hardest unwanted plant to deal with was the grass that grew all around a rose bush we have that isn't separated from the rest of our lawn by a sidewalk. It was deeply rooted and had grown all in the rose bush. Paul even wondered if we might not have to just get rid of that rose bush. I had to work very hard to pull it out! Now that the grass is gone, we will add some new soil and some mulch and, most important, a physical barrier to keep the grass where it belongs. I need to make sure I have effective boundaries in my life as well.  I need to guard against those things that would take up more space in my life than they should,

Today's gardening endeavors left me with some sore muscles, a better-looking garden, and some spiritual food for thought. Now comes the hard part, maintaining the progress I've made.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Learning Thankfulness


Day 12 - Learning Thankfulness


One of my moments of grace came yesterday as I was reading Ann Voskamp's beautiful blogSo often when I read Ann's peaceful and lovely words, I believe that she must have a life naturally peaceful and lovely. She must have gentle, obedient, helpful children. She must naturally have the energy and the motivation to lovingly teach her children and keep her home in order. She would not fuss at her children or rush through bedtime or burn carrots because she was tired and not checking them often enough. It can be easy to think Ann is able to be so thankful because she has more to be thankful for than I do.

But when I read her post, I see a woman who doesn't have a life absent of conflict. Her children are not perfect. Her home is not always in order. Her feelings lie to her just like mine do to me. Her thankfulness isn't a result of having a better life. It's not the result of having some special connection with God that I can't have. She is thankful because she has learned to see God's hand in everything. She doesn't have more to be thankful for; she looks for reasons to be thankful in everything. 

So today I pray that I would learn to stop and see God at work in my life - in the normal, in the mundane, in the unpleasant. Because He is in all these things.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Some First World Graces

Day 11 - Some First World Graces


* A good day of math for my girl who doesn't like math.

* French bread from our new Panera to go with our supper.

* Dr Pepper

* Parenthood

* Realizing our homeschool co-op is not until next week.

* Sleeping in a little.

* Chocolate.

* Staying up late reading.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I No Longer Have an ALIAS


Day 10 -  I No Longer Have an ALIAS


Yesterday we watched the series finale of Alias with our two oldest daughters. And I'm already missing the characters. We all became so attached to them over over months-long relationship. This is my second time watching the show, and I enjoyed it just as much. In some ways, I enjoyed it more because I was sharing something with my daughters. 

One of the things that make this show so good for me is Sydney's character. Even after facing some horrible situations, she doesn't become hardened or cynical. She still loves, still cares, and still holds out hope for even those people who seem beyond hope. I want to be like that. I want my daughters to be like that. I want to be loving, loyal, just, and hope-filled even when the world around me says those qualities don't make sense.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Grace of Pace



Day 9 -The Grace of Pace

Today I am thankful for the grace and the pace of homeschooling. Today was one of our super-busy days, and the girls and I are all tired and some of us have been a bit emotional. When I think about what our days would be like if the girls attended school, I know that rather than the exception, the pace of our day today would be the rule. (Actually, it would probably be a "normal" day rather than a busy one.)

God hasn't given any of the females in our family an excess of endurance. We all need lots of sleep at night and periods of down time during the day. I am so thankful that God has led us to a schooling lifestyle that fits us so well. 



Day 8 - Unstuck

Today as I walked my dog on the first evening cool enough to need a jacket, I pondered my day. And as I did so I saw how three unrelated events converged today to form a theme: unstuck. 

Lately we have been having plumbing problems. Two of our three toilets have not been flushing well, when they've been flushing at all. We even had a plumber come to look at them, but that day they behaved, so he couldn't' see that anything was wrong. Today the problem worsened. After my shower I realized that my toilet had leaked onto the bathroom floor. And none of the toilets worked. The problem turned out to be a broken pump on our mechanical sewer. The water we were sending into our sewer had no place to go. It was stuck. And so it backed up in a smelly mess on my bathroom floor. Thanks to a hard-working plumber, the pump has been replaced and our drains are free to flow out once again.

As I went to Target to check if a shelf I want was on sale (It wasn't.), I noticed the entrance was backed up. Initially I assumed that a large and slow group of people were going in at the same time, but, as I neared the entrance, I realized that people had slowed down or stopped to try helping a bird that was stuck in the entry area. The bird was scared and wouldn't fly back out, and it eventually flew into a window and dazed itself. After this it sat just inside the store, not moving. I tried pushing a cart in front of it, hoping it would turn around and go back out, but it still did not move. Another shopper had a great idea to trap it in a shopping basket. We used two of the baskets to make a cage and released the bird outside, where it flew away.

Our weather has been stuck on hot and humid since May, but the first real cool front of fall came over the weekend. The air was pleasantly cool(er) and dry, perfect for an evening walk. I know we'll probably get more hot and humid before October is over, but this taste of fall is a beautiful reminder that we won't be stuck with hot and humid forever.

As I pondered this theme of unstuck, I thought about how these situations apply to my life.

Like our plumbing, sometimes I let some icky stuff get stuck in my life. My emotions can't move freely, and I sometimes spill my stuck emotions out where they don't belong, making a stinking mess. To fix things I have to let God deal with the root issue and replace any faulty thinking I've allowed. I must allow Him to get rid of things like resentment, unforgiveness, self-righteousness, and pride and replace them with love and grace. Then my stuck emotions can begin to freely flow again.

Like the bird at Target, sometimes I make a bad decision and end up in a situation I can't manage to find my way out of. And the more I struggle, the more disoriented I become. If I will finally rest and trust, God can help me find my way to where I belong. Sometimes that may seem restrictive, like our shopping basket cage, but it will bring eventual freedom.

And sometimes when I get stuck the only thing I can do is wait. God does give us seasons where we may feel stuck. I'm sure Joseph felt that way in prison. Moses must have felt like that in Midian. This isn't a stuck in sin but a stuck in waiting mode. And if I do wait on the Lord, He will bring change in His timing. And when He does, it will be refreshing, like a cool(ish) walk under beautiful stars and a brilliant crescent moon.  

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Grace Unplugged


Day 7 - Grace Unplugged


Today I had a great mom/daughter date with my eldest daughter. After church we changed into casual clothes and tried out the new Panera Bread. The really great thing about having church at 9 and Sunday School at 10 is that we are out by 11ish and can eat out without having to wait in line. I had heard good things about their mac & cheese, and I was not disappointed. The bread it came with was tasty as well, and my daughter enjoyed her sandwich.

Our movie theater is connected to our mall, so we did a little shopping before going to a movie. So far, I'm not impressed with the fall clothing offerings. Neither was my daughter. I'm hoping the stores we didn't yet go to have something that's more my style.

We then saw Grace Unplugged. We both enjoyed the movie and thought it was well-done. As a parent of a daughter who is not much younger than Grace in the movie, I was thankful for the reminder to be gradually relinquishing my daughter to God.

 I also was struck by how much grief and pain the characters could have saved themselves had they truly sought to listen to and understand each other rather than just trying to convince each other that they were right. I want to be a mom, a wife, a friend that doesn't let my own fears and insecurities keep me from really hearing the hearts and hopes and dreams of those closest to me. And I want to encourage them and help them achieve their God-given dreams, even when I don't share those dreams. Even if I wish God would give them different dreams. Because I know that God doesn't give me the power to choose their dreams, but He has given me the ability to either crush or nurture those dreams. May I always be a nurturer and not a naysayer!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Saturday Graces


 Day 6 - Saturday Graces

A list of Saturday moments of grace:

* Attending Paul's nephew's wedding, which Paul officiated

* Shopping with my eldest daughter

* Watching Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers as a family while eating Chick-Fil-A

* Having a new insight about a familiar passage I was studying 

* Another Baylor victory

* Watching Alias with my older girls

Grace That Is Greater Than All My Feelings


Day 5 - Grace That Is Greater Than All My Feelings

Today is one of those days where my grace is just getting through the day. I don't know why today was as difficult as it has been. Nothing bad happened. In fact, several good things happened. My body and my feelings are just a little off today. 

Sometimes I know I need to learn to accept the days when my emotions get all worked up over losing a power cord. (Yes, that did happen today.) God doesn't love me any less when I feel blah or feel bad or even those days where I feel nothing. His love for me is not tied to my emotions or even to my obedience. 

So, as I close out this day, I can do so with hope, knowing that His mercies are new every morning. Even if my emotions get in the way of seeing them. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Grace for the Dance


Day 3 -Grace for the Dance

 Today I finally finished sewing the ribbons and elastics on my twins' new pointe shoes! With my limited sewing ability, I consider this a victory. I remember being shocked when, after buying my eldest her first pair of pointe shoes, I realized that the ribbons and elastic are sold separately. And that the ballerina (or her mom!) has to sew them on herself! I thought that for as much money as I paid for those shoes, they should come fully assembled with no sewing required.

Of course, now I realize that not having the ribbons and elastics attached allows each dancer to get the right fit. But I still don't enjoy the hand sewing. I just can't seem to make a knot that actually stays. Every time I think I've got it worked out, I see that I don't.

I am thankful for the little sewing ability I do have to sew their shoes. And I really thankful my eldest daughter has learned to sew her own ribbons and elastics! 

I see how ballet and our particular ballet school is such a gift from God. Ballet classes teach my three ballerinas things I don't always emphasize at home: discipline, perseverance, hard work. My girls also have developed grace, poise, confidence, and a stronger ability to take constructive criticism. For my girls, ballet is grace upon grace.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Little Drama

Day 3 - A Little Drama

Today after I dropped off 2 daughters at church and another at ballet, as I was driving to Little Caesar's for our gourmet dinner,  I saw this through my windshield. (As a responsible driver, I waited for a red light to take the picture!) In the midst of a busy day of teaching my girls and getting them where they all needed to go, I was able to stop for a moment and thank God for some unexpected beauty. 

After a quick trip home, I went up to our church's youth gathering to watch one of my twins in her debut on the youth drama team. She did a great job!  She knew her lines, spoke confidently, and was funny.  So, the speaking-in-public gene seems to be 6 for 6 in our family. 

I am so blessed to watch my two youngest transition from children to youth so gracefully. Even though they are often the youngest students at some of the events, they are involved and enthusiastic. I'm also excited to see how they are both desiring to deepen their walks with the Lord. 

When my eldest entered youth, I was pretty nervous, but with these two, I'm really comfortable. Maybe it's because we've navigated these waters before, Maybe it's because we're in a different place with a smaller group of kids and a youth minister I know personally. But mostly, I think God grows me along with my girls. God prepares all of us for their growth into adulthood. 

Today I see God's grace in His dramatic rainbows, in my daughters' dramatic pursuits, and in the lack of drama we're experiencing in the transition to youth.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Grace of Memorizing God's Word

Day 2 -The Grace of Memorizing God's Word

Since today was the beginning of a new month, it was time to pick a verse for the Siesta Scripture Memory Team.  I find the accountability of having a set time frame for memorizing verses helps me to not put off learning more of God's Word.  (Although, for some reason, I have often had a crazy busy day on the actual dates and posted a day or three late!)

I searched for verses on grace, and this one really resonated with the theme of my 31 Days. I know I must have read these verses before, but they struck me anew today.  I love how John says God gives us grace upon grace through Jesus.  And it's all through His fulness not my own effort!

As I recount my daily grace upon graces, I count the encouragement of Beth Moore to memorize Scripture. And I am especially thankful that this year my eldest daughter is joining me in this journey! It's been great seeing her choose verses that address things she is dealing with and encouraging each other.