"…And she smiles at the future." ~Proverbs 31:25

Posts tagged ‘lessons’

What I learned when she sang my praises

We were in the car, heading off to her weekly swimming lesson, when my five-year-old daughter broke out in this joyous, made-up-on-the-spot song:

I love my mommy!

I love her so much.

She takes care of me.

She feeds me yummy food.

She takes me places I need to go.

She doesn’t leave me alone.

Remi's flower

She plays with me.

She teaches me.

She makes school so fun.

She is the best mom ever…

On and on and on she went, and I’ll admit it: With each line, my heart swelled a little more. Oh, I know I’m not “all that”…but in HER eyes, I am! And it was really nice to hear her singing my praises.

  • It reminded me how much she truly loves me.
  • It made me feel appreciated.
  • It thrilled me that she was so sincere in her thoughts that she just couldn’t help but sing them out.

And then it hit me.

How must our God feel when we sing praises to Him?

          When we can’t help but shout about all the great things He’s done for us?

          When we list off all the people and things we’re thankful for?

          When we tell Him everything we love about Him?

          When we acknowledge that He is the BEST?

In God’s case, He actually deserves all the praise we can give Him, and it must warm His heart to hear His thankful children giving glory and honor to His name.

So…when was the last time you just couldn’t stop telling your Father in heaven what you love about Him? How long has it been since the list of what you are thankful for was so long, that it far outweighed all the things you asked Him for? I know I need to do better about that, and this experience motivates me to try.

Let’s make it a point today–and every day–to let our hearts and mouths overflow with praises for the One who does everything right.

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth;

Break forth and sing for joy and sing praises.

(Psalm 98:4)

Thanks for stopping by!


Out with the old

2013 is done and gone. And frankly, I’m glad to see it go. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, this past year has been one of the worst years of my life. But in addition to making one miserable, having a rotten year can also be an excellent and effective teacher. Here are three lessons I’ve learned:

First, I’ve learned to love the Psalms. They say misery loves company, and there is something very comforting about having someone else pour out his heart in words I can’t seem to find in mine. Just listen to a few of the many verses of the Psalms I’ve relied on this past year:

 When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Your consolations delight my soul. (94:19)

The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him,
And rescues them. (34:7)

But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling,
My steps had almost slipped.
Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.
With Your counsel You will guide me,
And afterward receive me to glory.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (73:2, 23-24, 26)

Psalm 37:24

Psalm 37:24

I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness,
Because You have seen my affliction;
You have known the troubles of my soul,
But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord,
I say, “You are my God.”
How great is Your goodness,
Which You have stored up for those who fear You,
Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You,
Before the sons of men!
Be strong and let your heart take courage,
All you who hope in the Lord. (31:7, 14, 19, 24)

The Psalms have reminded me that this is not my burden to bear. God will fight for me if I allow Him to, rather than trying to control everything myself. I can’t do it; but He can!

When I am afraid,
I will put my trust in You. (56:3)

Psalm 68:19

Psalm 68:19

And I can’t leave out an old favorite from Psalm 55:22,

Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

Second, I’ve learned the necessity of daily focusing on the positive. I’ve been blessed so abundantly, yet it’s easy to look past all the great people and things I’ve been gifted with if I’m focused on the rotten parts.  Spending time every day expressing sincere thanksgiving goes a long way toward helping keep the focus on what’s great about this life.

Four of my many, many blessings

Four of my many, many blessings

Third, I’ve learned to long for heaven. Yes, I’ll admit it: Sometimes my world is SO good, SO easy, SO comfortable, that I lose sight of the fact that we who are Christians are just passing through this world on our way to heaven.

But this year I have looked forward to Christ’s return like never before, and it has kept me going forward. In the words of Psalm 27:13,

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

So, maybe it wasn’t such a rotten year after all, since I learned some much-needed lessons.

What about you? I hope 2013 was FANTASTIC for each of you reading this post. But I suspect I’m not the only one who’s had it hard this year. If it’s been a difficult one for you, too, why not take a moment right now to leave me a comment and let me know what YOU are truly thankful for? You may be surprised at how quickly it will put a smile on your face, just acknowledging one of the many ways God has blessed you recently. In fact, even if you’ve just had your best year ever, I still encourage you to share what you’re thankful for here. Maybe, just maybe, it will be the perfect reminder the rest of us need.

Thanks for stopping by!


Peace and monkeys

Not long ago, Curious George made an appearance at our local Chick-Fil-A. Our girls had just seen what our toddler refers to as “The Monkey Movie” and said toddler had become quite fond of “that monkey.”  The boys were away at camp so I decided to take the girls to see George. But I ended up seeing something much more impressive…

Yes, I got some fun pictures that evening. You might think my favorite would be this one…

…or this one….

…or maybe this…

…but, you’d be wrong.

Yes, I like the pictures I got of them dancing together…

…especially when they started doing the chicken dance!

But neither of those was my favorite, either. The best picture I got that night may well be the worst picture I took. And I love it more than I can say:

What you might see: The girls with their backs to the camera, with the only face showing being  that of some stranger, and who knows what they’re doing because, well, their backs are to the camera!

What I see: A nine-year-old girl who had waited patiently in line for a VERY long time to get her face painted, but who, when her little sister (who wants to do everything she does) ran up to her just as it was about to be her turn, didn’t think twice about lifting her up into her lap and letting her go first. (No one was behind her.) It was automatic. I almost cried, but instead I grabbed my camera and got this less-than-stellar shot, which is definitely my favorite of the night.

I love the lessons we learn from little children. I love that they can be both innocent and mature at the same time. I love that I got that picture, and that I’ll always remember what’s behind it.

I thought the symbol she chose was only appropriate! (Her sister’s didn’t surprise me, either.)

I hope you’re having a great week. Thanks for stopping by!

Gotta love this day

I love Mother’s Day! And it’s not just because I woke up to all these, although they did make me laugh out loud…

And it isn’t just that when I moved the giant cards, I found these beauties…

and these, too….

4 kids=4packages of white chocolate=I am in big trouble

It’s not even because of all the sweet drawings and messages inside those cards, although they do melt my heart each time I read them…

It’s not the hugs and words of encouragement received after church, or the e-mail messages and facebook posts from friends and family around the world, although they do make my day happier and brighter.

No, there are two other BIG reasons I love this day.

One is that I am reminded to let my own amazing mom know how much I love and value her. She is my role model…still. My favorite thing about her is that she never has anything negative to say about anyone. Ever. She always finds something good in others….something to compliment…something to love. She amazes me. I want to be like her, because she is so much like Christ.

I think of her every time I read Titus 1:15. “To the pure, all things are pure…” I think that because she is so GOOD, she automatically sees good in other people. As for me? Well, I’m still working on that, but I’m sure thankful for my sweet mentor.

The other reason I love this day? It reminds me to be really, really thankful for these people:

I’m always aware that motherhood is a privilege, but it’s nice to have a special day to focus on the ones who made me a mom in the first place. (I’d say God, my husband, and my kiddos all made contributions there!)

Thanks to all of you who taught me lessons in motherhood. Thanks to all of you who honor your own moms, who make sacrifices to be great parents, and who are godly role models for our children. You are greatly appreciated!

Thanks for stopping by.

One-egg wonder

Two Easter egg hunts over the weekend yielded candy for the kids and plenty of lessons for me.

En route to the first hunt, we tried to coach our toddler on the proper way to hunt eggs: Find an egg. Pick it up. Put it gently into your basket. Look for another one. Seems simple enough, right? Well, we arrived and found that she had her own method: Find one egg. Pick it up. Look at it. Shake it. Hold it up for Mommy to see. Repeat the looking and shaking steps. Say, “I wonder what’s in here?”

In the meantime, of course, the rest of the eggs were all being whisked away into the baskets of other children. But Remington really, truly didn’t care. She had an egg, and she was sure there was something in it.  And that was enough for her.

As for me, I learned a few things that day on the egg-strewn field–things I hope will stay with me for a very long time.

1. Be happy with what you have. Because really, it’s enough! By not worrying about acquiring more, we can truly enjoy what we’ve been given.

2. Be in the moment. Kids excel at this. Adults, not so much.  And me? Let’s just say I needed the reminder.

3. Anticipate with joy what’s in store for you. Remi had no idea what was inside that egg, but she knew that whatever it was, it would be great. She’d already decided to love it!  How fun would life be if we woke up each morning looking forward to whatever was ahead because we knew without a doubt it would be great?


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Insanity lives here

Just when I think my kids can’t get any kookier, they go and prove me wrong.  Take Connor, for example. How often do YOU walk into the kitchen to find your teenager eating cereal from a doll potty? When I asked him, “Why? Why?” he looked at me and said, matter-of-factly, “No clean bowls.” Okay….

So I turned around to where Addison was standing at the sink doing dishes, and singing while she works, like she ALWAYS does…only she doesn’t always look like this when she washes…

Over and over each day, Remington asks if she can put on “glick gloss.” Maybe once she learns to say “lip” clearly, she’ll actually be able to aim for it better???

How about that big glop under her nose? Eeewww...

And then there’s our first-born prankster. I went to the freezer to get some ice and was disturbed by its creepy color, until I turned around and saw Chandler grinning. I’ve got to hide that food coloring.

But he also reminds me that every once in a while, we just need to jump for joy. They all do. They’re great at thinking outside the box, trying new things (or old things in new ways) and making even the most mundane tasks fun. So again, today, I’ll try to learn something from each of them. And I’ll smile.

Thanks for stopping by!

The Kentucky weekend that changed my life

Have you ever noticed how certain memories tend to lock on and never let go, washing back over us at the strangest of times? Or that even years down the road, some memories still cause our emotions to swell as if the remembered events had just taken place? Or that the potential for really bad news tends to make good news that much sweeter?

Here I am more than five years ago during a visit to Kentucky to spend time with my dear friend, April. Notice that I am smiling as we scrapbook into the wee hours of the morning.

Oh, the smile was genuine, alright. But lurking nearby was something else. Not fear, really, but more of an acceptance that something really awful might be around the corner for my family and me. And if that sounds a bit melodramatic, so be it, but I look at this picture and can still taste the uncertainty I felt during that time.

I came to some important conclusions that weekend, and when I got home I scrapbooked them, too. Obviously this page was not about scrapbook style or design, but about the memories of that incredibly emotional time. (I typed out the journaling below so you don’t have to squint or buy glasses to read it.)

Laughter Therapy: The Kentucky Weekend That Changed My Life

Journaling reads:

The getaway had been planned a full ten months earlier, so how could I have known what God had in mind for me that weekend? I couldn’t have known that shortly before my trip I would find a problem…or that my doctor would find the same problem without my mentioning it…or that he would order the series of mammograms to determine what was wrong. I couldn’t have known I’d have to spend that weekend waiting…hoping that I could handle whatever the test results showed.

Ten months earlier, the trip had been planned as a way for both of us to get away from it all…to spend a long weekend in another state with only our scrapbook supplies and each other. No jobs, no home schooling, no cooking or cleaning. No husbands, no kids, no deadlines. Just precious, quiet time to relax, listen to music, eat junk, scrapbook, shop, and catch up on each others’ lives.

Although I hadn’t planned to spend that weekend waiting and wondering, the trip was just what I needed. Not only did it provide the blessing of diversion, it taught me some lessons I hope I never forget.

Here is what I learned in Kentucky:

1. Everything is going to be OK. And, even if it’s not, well…everything will be OK. Really.

2. The family I so much needed a break from is made up of the people most important to me. I began to truly look forward to whatever time I had left with them.

3. Friends and friendship deserve so much more time and effort than I tend to give them. Having a friend to pray with is an indescribable gift.

4. Laughter really is the best therapy. We laughed, and cried, and laughed until we cried. There is something so cleansing, so rejuvenating, about a long, deep, belly laugh.

I must admit…when we began this little photo shoot on the last day of our trip, I couldn’t help but wonder if these would be the last photographs we would ever take together. After all, as I was being reminded, who ever knows how much time they have left? I found myself being so thankful for the precious time we had spent together and the fun memories we had made. As we posed together, I felt sentimental and nostalgic and blessed.

Yet it didn’t take long for the serious poses to give way to fits of laughter. What started it? Absolutely no idea. How long did it go on? Not sure, but just look at how red my face and chest were!

I will never be able to look at this picture without smiling, or even laughing out loud. Thanks to a friend who was wise enough to keep shooting pictures even after we’d completely lost our composure, a moment was captured that I never want to forget. A moment where I knew that regardless of all the uncertainties of the future, I could still live in the moment…and laugh.

Here are just a few more pictures (all by Connie Vernon–THANK YOU, CONNIE!) from the gazillion we took that weekend.  Note the progression of our facial expressions and posture, from serious and contemplative to hysterical and out of control. Love. That. Memory.

“…and she smiles at the future.” ~Proverbs 31:25

Thanks for stopping by!

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