Saturday, March 15, 2014

Laughing at the days to come

She can LAUGH at the days to come. She isn't afraid of growing old. She is confident of the future, because she knows who holds the future! She isn't trying to relive her youth, she doesn't long to be a teen. 
I'm in my early 30's, an age that I remember thinking was OLD when I was a kid! Of course that thought makes me laugh now! It's funny to me how often I hear my friends or strangers say that they hate getting older and pine after the days of being in their youth. It makes me sad for them that they dread each birthday. 
I think maybe I have always been a bit older at heart. I wanted to LIVE! To have a family, to be a mom. 
When my sisters and I were in our teen years I remember hearing people ask my mom how on earth she could live with a house full of teenagers. Her response always spoke to my heart, she would smile and explain the joys. I will do this, at every stage of my children's lives. They are young now (7,6,4 and 2) and I choose to love and speak lovingly of each stage as it comes.
I don't remember ever hearing my mom speak poorly of aging. She didn't buy expensive wrinkle creams, she didn't talk of plastic surgery- what a gift to four daughters!
So, as the world obsesses over wrinkles and lines, let's laugh together. Let's enjoy each stage that we are at, there is such freedom in that.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Snap Shots of what being a man looks like to me.

Because sometimes you just want to take a minute to appreciate the blessings of marrying such an amazing man....

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Building a fortress around her.

Raising a little girl is an incredible job. From the moment her precious eyes can view the world, she is bombarded by images and ideas of who she should be. She will wish to be taller, she will wish to be thinner. She may dream of having curly hair, unless her hair is curly, in which case she will see beauty in straight locks. Maybe she will hear a song about a beautiful brown eyed girl and begin to dislike her own sparkly blue eyes. Chances are, she will see a movie at some point in her very young life that makes her believe that if only she were the most beautiful girl in the world, she would be sought after by the perfect prince. She will no doubt come across an advertisement that awakens a deep desire to be seen as sexy (even if she doesn't really know what that means) and she will know somewhere in her heart that she will never achieve that level of perfection. It's just the way it is... or is it? Is it possible that she can find freedom from all those thoughts, feelings and pressures? I truly believe she can.

She can be told that she is precious. That she is whole. That she IS royalty, she is the daughter of the very creator of all that exists and she is overwhelmingly beautiful.

3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4 Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. 

1 Peter 3:3-5

My husband and I have one daughter. I must confess that after having two sons, I was certain that I was meant to raise all boys! Until I held her. I touched her sweet face. I will never forget the look on my husbands face as he held her. There was an instant, unspoken agreement- we would not be letting the world define her beauty. We can't keep her in a bubble or lock her in a tower, but we can build a fortress of truth around her. One that will not be destroyed by the continuous flood of lies. 

Our girl is like many girls, she loves all things pink. She loves ballerinas, princesses and would live happily in a tutu all the days of her life. She leaps and twirls and sweetly brushes the hair out of her eyes and will ask, "Daddy, am I fancy? Am I beautiful?" He will oooh and aaah! He will spin her around and then I will hear him quietly tell her what I've heard him say time and time again, "You are so precious. You are beautiful. But it's not your fancy clothes, it's not your sparkly shoes, it's not your hair. It's YOU. God made you." I happened to snap a picture of one of those very moments...

And another brick is placed onto the fortress of truth. 

I am not naive. I know that she will experience moments of feeling inadequate in her lifetime, but I believe that her heart will seek refuge in her fortress of truth, the place where she goes to be reminded.

I got ready for a date with my husband recently and my little girl reached for my face to whisper to me (as she often does), and she said, "mommy, you look beautiful. But it's not your fancy hair, it's not your lip gloss- it's you."

So dear reader and friend, if no one has told you- if no one has whispered to you... You are so very precious. You are worthy. You are adored. You are beautiful. BUT it's not your hair, it's not your fancy clothes, it's not the makeup upon your face. It's YOU. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Quick to listen, slow to speak

James 1:19
New International Version
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

It's one of those verses that constantly runs through my head. It's one I repeat to myself and my children. I am especially thankful for this verse and the incredible importance of being obedient to it last week. I am constantly stopped at grocery stores by people, some well meaning and some just rude. They comment on the fact that I have four children, usually they say, "Whoa! You have your hands full!" And I reply happily, "the best kind of hands full that a person can have!" Sometimes we go on to chat a bit and sometimes that answer seems to surprise them and they just keep walking. A man at Dillons smiled sweetly at me, but then said, "Are these all yours? You must be crazy!" I smiled at him and introduced each of my children. My oldest shook his hand and then we went on to finish our shopping. In the car my two biggest kids asked me why people always say things like that. I explained that many people have not had the amazing pleasure of being surrounded by super cool kiddos, like themselves. People seem to forget that these little human beings have ears that hear and feelings that can get hurt. I was feeling especially sensitive to these types of experiences so when the cashier at Target last week said, "Are they all yours?" I was sure that I was going to want to knock her out, but I answered, yes. She went on, "whoa. Four, huh? You gonna have any more?" I heard James 1:19 run through my head faster than the snarky comments I wanted to make. I said, "I had to have a hysterectomy so no, we will not have any more biologically at least." She looked at one of my kids and back at me and I truly thought that her next words were going to ugly and that the mama bear in me was going to attack, but instead she said, "Well, honey, that is a shame. You sure do make some beautiful children."
I instantly felt tears. Tears because she was genuine and kind. Tears because I still mourn sometimes over being done having biological children. I told her thank you and to have a great day and we left. We got in our van (or swagger wagon as we prefer) and told my Heavenly Father thank you for teaching me to be slow to speak in that moment. Seems like such a small experience, but it nearly knocked me to my knees.
May I think the best of people. May I hear them. May I love them regardless of what they say.

A first for me!

Recently I had the super cool experience of being on a launch team for a new book called, Pulling Back the Shades. It is a book after my own heart! I had never even heard of a book launch team! As most of you know, Fifty Shades of Grey is an incredibly popular book (that's an understatement). From the moment I heard about Fifty Shades I felt unsettled. I began to see it everywhere and it seemed that someone was always talking about it. Some of my friends said things like, "you've got to read these", "these books are addictive" and most often I heard something along the lines of, "It'll spice up your marriage!"Intriguing for sure, but as I began to hear what the book was about I became more and more disturbed. I came across this blog and was thrilled to see my feelings written by another...
I posted this blog on my facebook wall and was surprised by the reaction from some of my friends. I had really irritated some of them- not at all my intention. The blog above already explains my reasons for not reading the books. I was incredibly blessed to dive further into why with this launch team. Some of the women have read the books, many had not. It was incredibly cool to hear their perspectives and opinions without anyone feeling judged. I can not tell you how much I love having conversations with people who have differing opinions and perspectives while actually hearing each other. It's a beautiful thing.
The book dives into what erotica is, why people are drawn to it and the impact it has. It's worth your time.
Sex is a difficult topic and in my experience in the church, it is rarely discussed. On the other hand, purity has always been a popular subject. Obviously the two should go hand in hand, but it didn't seem to come across that way. Purity? YES. Sex? let's talk about that some other time. So, where does one turn when they're curious, confused? Some end up finding things like fifty shades of grey and that is incredibly unfortunate. A sweet friend of mine said, "I wouldn't want everyone to read those books, but I see no problem with it if you're married." I get what she's saying, it's entertainment- fiction even. What's the harm? Please read Pulling Back the Shades by Dr. Juli Slattery and Dannah K. Gresh.