Thursday, March 31, 2011

They really do grow up very quickly

Everyone that has children talks about how quickly they grow up, and people who know children notice it too. I don't know that I ever really KNEW how quickly until I had some of my own. Abbie & Arenne will be TWELVE next week and I'm feeling like somebody hit fast-forward and forgot to let me know. A couple weeks ago they went to a middle school dance, Arenne is above in the yellow, Abbie in the blue. They take my breath away with not only how pretty they are, but with how grown up they are becoming. It feels like we were just in the throes of baby and toddlerhood, then the grade school days, and now middle school has begun and 6th grade is practically over. What happened to the two of them tromping around in plastic dress up heels dragging the skirts of my old prom dresses behind them? Now they're in middle school in their own dresses and going to dances and in the band and into their own music and trying out for cheerleading.

Time FLIES when you are raising children, more so than you ever think you can fathom when you are having them. One minute you're pregnant and the next you're talking about puberty with them. The challenge is enjoying just where they are and not babying them while not letting them go out and take the car to the store. (HOLY COW the permit age is creeping up WAY TOO QUICKLY!)

I was recently asked if the girls are very different, a question parents of twins field quite often. And usually the answer will be yes. They are very different, just like all siblings and it seems as they grow older they really want to emphasize their individuality. It can't help to look just like each other. For a lot of years their interests were pretty similar, at least as far as sports and extra activities, but as they grow up I see them choosing their own paths (as all kids are wont to do.) A small part of the protective mom in me wants to reach out and hold them close, for so long I've had a sort of safety in numbers comfort as they've been together in most situations. But the bigger part of me is so excited to see them grow and be who they are; to watch them becoming themselves more and more. It's pretty cool to watch people grow up, to get to see them explore who they are and make their own decisions. I just hope I can allow them to do and be without holding them back, to be supportive and encouraging. This becomes especially challenging with hormones involved-my own included!-and I can honestly say I never knew how patient I could be until I had girls hit puberty. May the Lord be with us all as we keep growing, and keep me reminded to enjoy it as it happens and rejoice as these times become memories and more are made.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My devotion from today

March 30, 2011

The LORD will work out his plans for my life— for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.

Psalm 138:8, NLT Every person dreams and makes plans for the future. Then they work hard to see those dreams and plans come true. But to make the most of life, we must include God’s plan in our plans. He alone knows what is best for us; he alone can fulfill his purpose for us. As you make plans and dream dreams, talk with God about them.

(from the Life Application Daily Devotion email)

I always love these moments where I definitely see God speaking to me through His word. Or maybe I should say those moments where I hear and recognize God speaking to me through His word! This devotion is one of those. God has brought some big changes our family's way over the past few months and as we adjust and try to chart our course I need to keep reminding myself to seek God and His will for our lives. I may not know where He is leading us, but I do know He is taking care of us every step of the way.

Last night we had some big discussion about what our plans are in adjusting to my no longer working and seeking help from Mayo, as well as other pretty big things going on in our lives and I love that I can openly talk with my kids about how we all need to pray as we face uncertainties and fears and that before I can even finish the verse we said Jeremiah 29:11 together:For God has plans to prosper and not to harm you!

I'm blessed to have my family and so blessed to have my faith in God. Praise to you Oh Christ!!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Alright, so I goofed up

and maybe its my lack of brain function? My niece's birthday was actually March 19th. I KNOW this. I do, really. But somehow I decided on the 17th it was on the 17th. I have no excuse. Forgive me Jozie bird! Aunt Lisa really does know when you're birthday is, I promise! Jozie is now officially two and I may be biased, but she's just a fantastically lovely and hilarious little person. I love how she is so just herself all the time in all the moments. I think that may be why I love being with little kids so much, they really are themselves without all these filters and walls and boundaries and rules we throw up as we get older. We need some of those, but let's be honest in that we could really do without quite a lot of the parameters we put on ourselves as "grown-ups."

In that spirit, I'll keep on blogging and throwing out there the stuff others may try to hide or hold back. I have a quote on my wall in my office that says, "People don't expect you to be perfect-they already know you aren't. What they want you to be is honest! So let them see your struggles, not just your successes. We usually grow as much from others' weaknesses as we do from their strengths." I read that in a devotion (possibly Purpose Driven Life) and immediately typed it up and put it on my wall. We sometimes try to hide all those things about ourselves but I've been much too open in my life to let that hold me back. Thankfully I married someone who has helped me to learn when I should hold back, unfortunately I don't always listen to him.

I've really been dealing so much with the ups and downs of my physicality and health and although I know I've grown so much in relying on God rather than myself, I still struggle with it. I can say honestly that I have never trusted God as fully as I do at this point in my life, everything really is in his hands. I know from the Bible that it all definitely is in his hands, but I know I have most certainly deluded myself for a lot of years into thinking I have some sort of control over things. BUT I DON'T and I am now in a place where I know that absolutely. I don't even know from day to day how my brain will be functioning, much less trying to micromanage everything around me.

I had a pretty rough day on Monday. I couldn't get out of my funk, I was just sad and defeated and IN A FUNK. I continued to get pulled down, more and more. I was down, tears fell, and I could feel myself infecting the rest of my family with my doldrums. I kept turning to things to try to distract myself, or somehow feel better and nothing seemed to be working. I finally sat down and picked up my Bible Study. And then one of my girls sat with me and picked up her Lenten devotions and read me a question from it, "What things in your life turned out easier than you expected?" First of all, I stopped short because I realized that the entire day I'd been searching in all the wrong places. I'd like to say that I turn to God first, but in reality I still turn to places I know won't help. But I am growing and can say that I turn to God a whole lot more now than in years past and I'm very thankful for that. The second thing that struck me when Abbie asked the question was how difficult I found it to actually answer the question. I could think of lots of things that were harder than I expected, those answers popped up right away; but thinking of things that were easier left me really searching.

It speaks to my focus and where I'm at. Some days its easy to answer that question, I can find tons of things that were easier than I thought they'd be and a great example would be my latest batch of testing. I'd expected to be there for much of the day and for things to take a long time and be a lot more difficult to get through. Instead, the nurses and doctor were fantastic and they had me in an out of there in just a few hours. It went much BETTER than I'd expected. Which again, speaks to where my focus is. I could argue that in expecting things to be tougher I am pleasantly surprised when they aren't, but in reality I know that if my focus is on the more negative aspects how can I expect myself to really be looking at my life through eyes of faith? Am I continually expecting to be disappointed by my circumstances, and in effect by God? Am I only positive on the good days? How can I be positive on the rough ones? Or at the very least have some better expectations?

Oh how I need to continue to cling to Jeremiah 29:11-14. BIG TIME. 11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” "

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Halfway through March...Really?

It's hard to believe we're halway through the month of March and celebrating St. Patrick's Day. We're also celebrating the birthday of my niece, Jozie (pictured above), who turns 2 today! I cannot believe how fast she is growing up, and I should be used to it seeing my four grow up so quickly. We'll be going to her birthday party tomorrow night, pretty excited for that. :)

Below is Laura in her finished hat, I am so pleased with how it turned out and Laura is pleased I have pictures in a more matching shirt. It's such a good feeling to make things for people you love.

Next we have Abbie in her track stitch beret, in a pretty blue. Unfortunately the band is a tad too snug, so I'll be making her another. It still astounds me when I use the same hook, yarn, and pattern for a project as one I've previously made and it turns out to be a different size. I'd thought my tension was pretty set, apparently not! I don't have anymore of this blue, will need to get some more for a slightly larger version.

I've been absent again, mainly because I haven't felt like writing (not that I do a whole lot of that anyhow). My family doctor has taken on getting me set up with Mayo, unfortunately they didn't get the process started a week and a half ago when I was in, but after some follow up calls the process is started!). I'm now waiting to hear from Mayo, after they look over my records and decide what to do with me. I've had some kind of respiratory illness that's kicking my behind, but am on antibiotics to hopefully clear it up. Things have been up and down for me as usual and I went through some sleep troubles, but am able to sleep more again, thankfully.

I've also been up and down in my relationship with God, I find myself getting down because of my lack of function and stuck in pain and have a harder time reading the Bible and connecting to God. Usually music helps during those times, but sometimes I'm even staying away from that. Last week, in spite of feeling pretty horrible, I made it to church to teach Confirmation and attend Ash Wednesday service. I asked God to keep me from infecting others with my growliness during my usual pre-Confirmation prayer (where I always ask for his guidance in teaching and talking with the kids.) As usual, God was with me and we had a good class. Worship was absolutely healing. We sang At the Foot of the Cross, one of my very favorite songs, and I found myself feeling so blessed and comforted. Ash Wednesday service is so meaninful to me now, where once it was just another service to attend. It was interesting to talk with the Confirmation kids about what Ash Wednesday is, and to remember how far I've come in my faith. I found myself struck by how little my own girls knew about it, and was reminded of how little I once knew about it.

I'm so thankful to have grown so much in my faith, to be so much more connected to God. Thankfully he is always there, I just need to remember to hold my own end of the relationship (something which I fail at regularly, not only with God, but with friends and family as well.) I love them all so much and still find it a struggle, which it really shouldn't be. I'm thankful that they all love me in spite of that.

Last week I had a rough day full of emotion and lots more crying-as much as I like getting the emotion out, I really dislike doing it. During that I said to my husband that I have nothing, aside from myself, to bring to the table. I have only myself and who I am and what I can do, which lately is not much in terms of job and activity, etc. Now, during my non-misery times I know that I bring a lot to the table in terms of who I am and how I love, but in those miserable times it doesn't always feel like much. Fast forward to last night's Lenten service where the theme was...Nothing. I shouldn't be surprised by these serendipitous moments, but I continually am and blessed to have them. During his sermon PT said "Jesus + Nothing=Everything" So very, very true.