Thursday, April 29, 2010

Parablelooza and What Little We Can Do...

A couple months ago, it was easy for him to be brave. As try-outs began, Benjamin boldly marched into the room and did his bit. As a boy who's personality scarcely squeezes into his 11 year old body, the fit seemed right.

One audition became two and two became three. The whole of it was new to him, having previously been content to sing in the choir and enjoy the experience. This year, that felt different. This year, he wanted to try something more.

For the second year in a row, Benjamin's big brother has blazed the trail. Now, I know Kevin Leman believes that a second born will usually try to find a different path. But, in our family, Benjamin works it through by finding a way to follow Noah, though maybe in a slightly different way. So, for the past couple years, Benjamin has seen Noah take roles in plays at school and love every second of it all. Noah is shy and Benjamin is... well, not at all shy! So, memorizing lines and acting out parts seemed pretty accessible to him.

Imagine his excitement when he was finally given a part! For weeks, he has gone into rehearsals and practiced his lines and approached this new activity with the kind of enthusiasm that is such a part of who Benjamin really is. My sweet second born loves a new challenge, has a quick and engaging smile and can make you giggle from across a room. He loves to have fun, lives life passionately and seeks to find perfection in whatever he does.

So, once given a part, he worked on his lines, talked constantly about the musical and could not wait to do it for real.

Til yesterday.

Yesterday, a matinee performance of the musical was planned and Benjamin was overcome with fear. He woke up in the morning, moved slowly through the house and mumbled under his breath.

"I am going to forget my lines...."

"I am going to make a complete fool of myself...."

The excitement and thrill of the musical upcoming evaporated quickly leaving my boy left in the wake of what was. Adrift in insecurity, he was easily more unsure of his part in the play than anything else he had ever done.

And it broke my heart.

I was reminded again how limited I am. I was reminded again at how little I can do to help my kids. I was reminded again that even when I am fully intertwined in their little lives, their lives are actually theirs.

Before he left for school, I wrapped my arms around Benjamin and spoke words of blessing and encouragement to him. I told him that he would do well... that I knew he would remember his lines and he would end up enjoying the ride. And, that it was okay to be nervous, too. I told him I was proud of him for working so hard and that no matter what happens in the performance, I would love him still.

As I whispered all this to my sweet boy, he just melted into my arms.

And then, we went to school and I let him go. I let him go. Because, what am I to do? Even when the whole of my being wants to grab on and not let go, I know it is not best... and I know it's not my job. My job is help him feel ready. My job is love him through. And, my job is to open my arms and welcome him home when the show is done... whether he did fabulously well, or not.

Sometimes I really wonder who is learning more, each and every day? Them or me? They teach me a lot, these kids. Not only about who I am... but also about who they are becoming. And my Benjamin? He is becoming a boy who faces his fears, who trusts his work, who will smile and laugh and be strong and good even when he is scared to death.

It's a beautiful sight to see...

Blessings on your day.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hunting for Tupperware and Eating Dirt--Earth Day 2010

I woke up this morning, came downstairs, and found two of my kids waist-deep in our Tupperware cabinet. Lids and containers were being shoved sideways onto the floor and sighs of exasperation flew.

"What are you doing?" I asked, pulling their feet to free them from their task.

"Can't throw anything away today," Benjamin began. "It's Earth Day."

The school my children attend asked them to be mindful today... of what they bring to school, how it is packed and what might be thrown away. Garbage pails have been removed from all classrooms and attention is to be paid to how we are treating the earth.

Since my house itself consumes Tupperware products, intent on separating forever lids from bases, this made for a busy morning. We scraped rock bottom for snack packing, resorting to packing fruits snacks for Elizabeth in a Tupperware Popsicle maker.

As we climbed into the van, I glanced around at my crew and found that each of them had located a green shirt to wear and were ready for the day ahead. Several of my kids will be planting flowers at school, hands in dirt, sun on faces, wind in hair.

All in all, I am glad it is being marked. Glad that my children, who really never consider the plastic bags they use every day, are thinking about what will come of it all... that baggie, that wrapper, that water bottle tossed. Glad that they are paying attention to the details of conservation and their part to play. Glad that they will see that it is not only about trash but about tending the earth, as well.

I thought about that a while today and have come up with a couple things I think we will try next week. Earth Day is great and all... but what does it really mean if it is only for a day? Here is what I came up with:

1. We go through a ridiculous number of towels each week. Why? Because they wear the towel out of the bathroom and leave it in a heap on their floor. Then, when it is time for another bath, there is no towel in the room and they go to the closet for another. Next week, I think I will lock the door to the linen closet and give each child ONE towel to use. Towels are used when they are clean after all! Maybe they will be more motivated to locate it or hang it to dry. I would guess that this will cut 5 loads of laundry off my list next week... saving water, detergent, electricity, gas. Seems like it's worth a try!

2. Along the same lines, we wash WAY too many clothes each week. Why? I have no idea but I swear I am washing some of these clothes twice. Next week, we will lay out 7 pairs of socks, 7 pairs of underwear and 7 potential outfits each for the week. We will re-wear (gasp!) jeans and make a pile of what is actually dirty to be washed. I cannot even guess how much this would save us since I do laundry daily and am never caught up!

3. With 4 kids on 5 teams and Noah running track as well, it is time to look at our water bottles. I know we have reusable bottles... and I only need four to get us back on track. What a great way to keep junk out of the landfill and keep us hydrated, too!

Three easy ideas. Three ways to be mindful. Knowing we are making a difference can go an awfully long way. The day will come when my children are grown and begin to look at the earth as their own. They will make more decisions for its future then and if I want those choices to be sound, we need to pay attention today.

When we look at this task as a chore, I think it's easy to lose our way. What if we incorporate a bit of wonder, a bit of beauty, a bit of fun, as well? What if we help our children notice the glory of nature... the song of the birds, the flowers blooming, the restoration of spring? What if we help them to see God's hand in all of that and lead them to know Him in a deeper way by noticing His work? Then, Earth Day has a deeper purpose... a higher call... and becomes a way of life that ties tightly to, not only our habits, but our faith.

And, well, just for fun, I think I will make this for dessert:

"Dirt" Pudding


2 cups cold milk
1 package chocolate pudding mix
1 carton (8 ounces) reduced-fat whipped topping
1 package (16 ounces) Oreo chocolate cream-filled sandwich cookies, crushed
Gummy worms, optional


In a bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Fold in whipped topping. Divide a third of the cookie crumbs and half of the pudding mixture and put into a large, clean, plastic flower pot; repeat layers. Top with remaining crumbs, to look like dirt. Garnish with gummy worms if desired. Add plastic flowers for a realistic effect. Serve with a new, plastic trowel. (See the picture at the top of the blog!)

Now, how fun is that?? What a perfect way to celebrate Earth Day together!

Blessings on your day!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook--April 20, 2010

If you blog, you can do this, too. C'mon, you can do it! Join in the fun!

Outside my window... its cloudy today and the dog is outside barking at the deer.

I am thinking... about my speaking engagement this weekend in Michigan... looking forward to being with them and to visiting with friends afterward.

I am thankful for... that injured children heal. After a difficult weekend on the baseball field, my two hurt boys are doing better and we are moving on.

From the kitchen... dreaming about Pioneer Woman's apple dumplings. Thinking I will be making them again soon... Oh, so good!

I am wearing... jammies, but not for long. Going to get my work out clothes and head to the gym after I drop the kids off at school.

I am creating... a power point presentation to accompany my talk for Saturday. It has needed to be done for a long while and now it will be! : ) Excited about having video snippets to support my talk.

I am going... go out with friends on Thursday and to Michigan on Friday afternoon. I am looking forward to both!

I am reading... The Marriage Project. You will hear more about it here soon.

I am hoping... have a slower day today than yesterday. Really need a more restful afternoon... this makes for a happier momma at night.

I am hearing... my children in the kitchen getting ready for their day. I will be there with them in just a minute.

Around the house... is a mess. How will I ever get caught up on laundry?? I am feeling overwhelmed.

One of my favorite things... cheering for my kids at their games. I love that they are outside, that they are running and laughing and breathing fresh air! I love that we are there together as a family, cheering one another on. : )

A few plans for the rest of the week... Keep good track of the sports schedule for the kids, be cheerful in driving from place to place, find ways to use my crock pot well to be sure we can eat healthy food this week, use my freezer more than my grocery store... and find ways to feel a bit more balanced than last week, for sure.

Blessings on your day!

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tricky Twist on a Sunny Saturday: Choosing to do or be...

It started out sunny and clear. Mark and I both packed a vehicle with kids and equipment and headed off to ball fields on opposite sides of town.

It was Noah's first baseball scrimmage and Mark delivered him to the field just in time to jump in. Benjamin rode along and stayed near Mark to watch his brother's game. Josiah and Elizabeth had a baseball practice in a small park near our home. We had been out of the van less than a minute when we realized that sunny and clear does not mean warm. Playing on the side of a small lake, the wind whipped across the water and cut quickly through our clothes. I grabbed a blanket from the back of the van and took a seat on the opposing team's bench.

They started in the field. If you have a young child on a ball team, you know the drill. Baseballs flying through the air and often hitting the ground before a glove. Lots of happy, little children running aimlessly from place to place... glove out front, eyes on the dandelion two feet away. Giggles and game-faces. Learning a bit at a time to play a game that is as much a part of Americana as apple pie.

We weren't there long before it was time to bat. EB went first. A swing and a miss. Another. Her gaze firmly on the pitcher, regardless of the location of the ball. I yelled out to watch the ball hit the bat and then she connected. Her face lit up as she headed to first base and then Josiah took his stance.

Josiah was born with a right arm that didn't work. He was big and round and beautiful but his birth was complicated and cumbersome and rough. After 24 hours of induced labor, he came out blue and struggling with his right hand curled tightly at the end of a limp arm. Over time and with help, he was able to learn to use it. First, his hand opened up and ten tiny fingers found a wonderful world to explore. Then, he began to move that arm. It wasn't strong but it was working and we were grateful as could be. Because of this trouble, he has leaned on his left hand to do everything he needs to do. We say he is a lefty but all his teachers agree that his handedness has more to do with circumstance than wiring. Because of this, Josiah bats lefty... and righty. Saturday, he faced right.

Normally, he hits the first or second pitch but as balls started sailing past him, he was getting flustered just a bit. He was facing the lake and the wind was strong and we were cold and hitting was just hard. Finally, he connected... hitting a fair ball toward third but stayed in the box for another shot. The pitch was released and quick as a flash, the bat hit home and my boy doubled over. The ball had hit his thumb.

He tried to shake it off but honestly, he is seven. The coach came over and sent him to me on the bench. By then, I was wrapped head to toe in that blanket and I opened it up to embrace my son. He was crying hard and had the hurt hand on his chest, between the two of us. To be honest, I was afraid to look.... but, I knew I had no choice.

"Let me see, bubby." I whispered. "Just let me take a look..."

"Don't touch it, momma!" he cried. "Oh momma, it hurts!"

He carefully pulled his hand from between us and showed me his right hand thumb. The nail, the whole, entire nail, was the color of a grape. As I tried to think about what to do, he saw it, too. This made the whole thing worse. He buried his face in my blanketed shoulder and cried out loud.

EB was on third by now and could see us well from where she stood. A look of worry washed over her face and her feet may have been on field but her heart was here with us.

Honestly, I had no idea what to do. I am not now, nor was I ever, an athlete. These sports injuries may be common but to me it is all brand new. Bits and pieces of worthless information flowed through my head but I was left lost. My boy, my sweet little 7 year old boy, was in pain.

"I will send daddy a text," I began, "to see what we can do to..."

Holding tightly to my son, I used the other hand to type a simple word to Mark.


He responded with, "oh no! who?"

Within a few minutes, I had sent the story to my husband in un-capitalized, crudely typed phrases, all the while comforting Josiah. Finally, I knew was had to come out of the wind and I wrapped him in my blanket and we started for the van.

Mark texted back that he was on his way to meet us and I tucked Josiah in the front seat and tried not to look at his hand.

I hate not knowing what to do. I hate when my kids are in pain. I hate that feeling that nudges at the edges of the insecurities we all harbor as moms. I sat there looking at my sweet boy and there was nothing at all I could do. I gave him a fruit snack, turned on his favorite music and prayed a bit in my head while waiting for Mark to arrive.

Except he didn't.

My phone signaled another text from him and I read it and shook my head.

"noah hit with pitch on wrist"

"waiting to see if okay before leaving to meet you there"

It was the first Saturday of baseball and two of my kids were down. I sat in the van and watched EB run while running my fingers through Josiah's hair. I whispered encouragement to his fearful self and watched the road for any sign of Mark's truck. I prayed for Noah to be okay... for 'Siah to be okay... for all of us to just be okay.

Yep, it started clear and sunny but our Saturday took a tricky twist.

There is an unpredictable nature to this work, don't you think? Right when we think we have a handle on it all, an errant baseball comes flying our way. Sometimes that baseball is literal and sometimes it comes in the form of a letter from school, a confusing doctor report, a bit of bad news or a bloody knee. It's never part of the plan but it must be dealt with nonetheless. And usually, there is to be found a bit of wonder, a hidden blessing, a need newly met that we would have otherwise missed.

This weekend, I spent a lot of time with two of my sweet boys. I stared at their wounds and wrapped them tightly in my arms. I faced down the fears that follow us mommas and set aside the "what-ifs" that wandered in my head. I sat on the couch and snuggled in tight and poured out ibuprofen and found ice packs and all in all, loved the extra minutes spent sitting with those boys. We knew the weekend would be busy and there would be time spent driving from place to place. Yet, what we planned and what we found were two very different things. Instead of cab driver for my four babies, I was nurse and nurturer to two. And stressful as it was, I was grateful for the time.

And with all that time to think, I realized again, that I have something to give my kids, something important and active and real. Sometimes I believe that I am here to provide a ride, a meal, a laundry service, a loud voice to cheer them on. Turns out, that might be part of the job but it far from the biggest piece. What I remembered on Saturday morning is that what they need is me. I remembered that when my boys tears slow as soon as I touch their arm. I remembered that when they ran to me for help and comfort and safety. I remembered that as I spoke words of truth and peace into their difficult days and the shade of fear and pain slid slowly out of view. Yes, there is an awful lot to do most days but I cannot forget that it is far more important to be.

It's Monday now and we are moving on. We have new stories to include in our family lore. The boys will be fine with a little time (at least that's what the ER doc says!). And I have a reminder that helps me know what I need to do today. As I plan this week and lay it all out, there must be place and energy to focus on those things that matter most. So, if my laundry is undone and the kitchen is a mess, I may need to let that go. I have four kids who need me... not only for what I do but really for who I am. The same is true for you.

Blessings on your day.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

She Speaks Scholarship Opportunity

It's time again! Is it time for you?

There is another She Speaks scholarship available and I am going to try... I hope you will think about it, as well!

Click here to find out more!

And even if this scholarship is not for you, have you considered coming along? I so intend to be there and would love to see you, too. Wondering what it's all about? Check it out!

Blessings on your day!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook--April 13, 2010

If you blog, you can do this, too. C'mon, you can do it! Join in the fun!

Outside my window... birds are singing and the sun is shining. Looks like spring! I even have a few tulips opening up. Beautiful.

I am thinking... that I am tired. It is kind of a weary week here... and it's only Tuesday! Maybe today I can find a way to regroup.

I am thankful for... open windows. I love the fresh air and feel like the house is breathing a sigh of relief.

From the kitchen... Parmesan chicken and noodles for dinner tonight... Might try to find some energy to bake some goodies for my little ones.

I am wearing... dark grey capris, a black, short-sleeved shirt and flip flops.

I am creating... a new support material for my playing outside speaking topic. I am excited to get it done and cannot wait to offer it when I speak. Hoping it proves to be as helpful as I hope it will.

I am going... to speak this Friday in the Chicago suburbs and next weekend in Michigan.

I am reading... The Marriage Project. You will hear more about it here soon.

I am hoping... to plan a fun and educational summer for my children. Camping, here we come! I am really just so excited!

I am hearing... our dog Lexie eating in the kitchen, a commercial on TV, birds outside, a far away lawn mower.

Around the house... is a mess. How will I ever get caught up on laundry??

One of my favorite things... coffee. Totally. Just had a cup with a friend... split a muffin, too. I just love it. Love the smell, the taste... Maybe I should go make a pot.

A few plans for the rest of the week... LOTS of baseball and soccer. Honestly, I am just trying to keep up with crock pot meals for our busy nights and focusing on enjoying the ride. I know we are really, really busy right now but I don't want to wish it away. Our days might be full but we are still spending time together. Plus, I love watching my kids do the things they love. Oh! One more thing! I am trying for yet another She Speaks scholarship. Pray with me?

A picture I would like to share... Here is Lexie, our golden doodle... who is currently chomping away in the kitchen. : )

Blessings on your day!

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Monday, April 12, 2010


I got up late.
I slept too little.
I am tired and I am worn and I need a break.

Today, all of it feels like discipline. Getting up. Being a good mom. Making breakfast, driving to school, giving kisses, offering patience. I want to put on a happy face but this morning, I am not feeling it at all.

The weather keeps flip-flopping and my kids are squirrely and my house is loud and the laundry is undone and no matter how hard I try, I cannot keep up. The noise... oh, the noise. Some days listening to my precious little ones laugh and play out loud makes me smile inside and out. But some days, like THIS day, the constant nature of the talking and yelling and yes, even the laughing is like nails on a chalkboard and I am aching for some little bit of peace.

I hate days like this. I hate feeling sour and crabby. I hate when I fall short of my own expectations... to be a good wife, a loving mom, a woman of grace and truth. Knowing I am not being the person I want to be makes the whole thing a lot worse. It makes me sink down into this hole of mine and wallow in the muck within. Does this ever happen to you?

So today, once the kids were at school, I went to the gym and complained to Mark that I really didn't want to go. I got on the cross-trainer and set the level and started to work out a bit. I gave myself a little slack. One level less than yesterday felt a lot like a gift on a crabby day. I met my goal and headed to floor to stretch. Everything was so tight... so wound up... gently pulling and pushing released a bit and then off I went to the machines. I lifted and lowered and squeezed and squatted and left when I'd had enough. Listening to what I needed helped an awful lot. Leaving the gym, I felt a little bit better... I was working from the outside in.

Once home, I putzed at some business matters, returned email and spent a few minutes searching the Internet for supplements (vitamins) I might be lacking. Every supplement that I read about we had on hand and I went to the kitchen to take some vitamins and handle this awful emotion from the inside out.

I took a shower... and took my time... and found clothes that felt comfortable and used lotions I love. A little bit of pampering goes a very long way. And all the while I talked to God... asked Him to help me out.

"This isn't how I want to be..."

"My family deserves so much more..."

"I want to feel better and more grateful today..."

And slowly, it started to lift... the fog of day was wafting away and I started to feel more like me. Now, truly... the day was far from perfect and the fatigue stayed with me throughout. But, I found a little relief there... a little break from the crabby that had been weighing me down.

So, there you are. Do you feel crabby today? Are you left with less choices because your arms are still full or you have a little one still at your feet? Yes, my break from my children was a wonder today but it was not what helped me out.

When was the last time you asked yourself, "What do I need?" and then waited patiently for the answer to arise? Take a breath, my friend... and wonder a sec. What do you need? Our lives are full and we are busy but the fact remains that those things that we need are not born of selfishness. Our needs are born from our created selves. Because, the truth is we are here to offer ourselves up... and to allow ourselves to take in. It is not a matter of right and wrong... it is a matter of how we are made. So really... what is it? What do you need today?

When I had four little ones, all at home, I found myself weary a lot. Sure, I loved those days and the memories are warm, but goodness, I was all worn out! For me, it took very little to start to feel a bit better inside... a minute alone, a good cup of coffee or a treat from a drive-thru... all of it went a long way for me. I have even gone so far as to buy my favorite chocolates and hide them away in a cabinet so that when I needed a little treat, I knew it would be there to enjoy. During the crazy season, little things meant a lot and I tried to build them into our busy days.

There are so many things that throw us off. Expectations dashed. Undesired behavior. Crazy schedules. Hormonal shifts. All of it hits us and all of it matters and all of it can make us feel a little (or a lot) crabby sometimes. And that's okay. We have earned those days. But, I know for myself, that I don't want to sit there. I don't want to wallow away. And when it hits, we have to have a plan... an idea... about what might just help us to handle it all.

One more thing... cut yourself some slack. If you are having a day when it all seems dark, it might be okay to allow your kiddos to watch an extra program, play with some play dough or spend some time doing something you might otherwise limit a lot. Sometimes, you have to do what you have to do to get through the day. And that is really just fine. It's not everyday, my friend. It's just for now. To help you out. Because that is what you need.

So, let's take a deep breath together. Some days are hard and some are not. If you find yourself having one of those days, do what you need to do. Give yourself a break, have your hubby bring home take-out, stick your feet in your little one's bath. Tomorrow is another day... a better one, I bet. You and I hope for that together.

Blessings on your day...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Lent Review: How it worked for us...

Now that it is over and done, I wanted to spend a few minutes thinking about Lent with you. Ah now, don't wander off! Stick with me for a few and let's process it all. Knowing what worked this year may help us to know what to do next year.

As you know, I write and sell devotional materials for families and in our home, we use them during Lent. In addition to my set, Josiah made a set of Resurrection Eggs at school and spent time every day teaching about the meaning of each item in the eggs. His sweet teacher had helped her first graders to write down some notes about the stories represented in the set and so Josiah had something to help him along. I loved hearing him talk about these very important truths.

This year, for the first time, every one of us decided to give up something for Lent. I have done it before but we have never done this as a family. Mark and I encouraged the children to think through something they would miss during those 40 days... but not choose something that would be "devastating" to them. Curious about what we released and why?

Mark: Gave up-reading Minnesota newspapers online (He is a Twins and Vikings fan.) and watching videos on YouTube. Reasoning? He spends a lot of time on these things and knew he would feel the loss. Especially during spring training for baseball.

Me: Gave up-Morning TV. Reasoning? We mindlessly turn the TV on and then, though this is never the plan, get sucked into watching and lose SO much time. I wanted to use the time for writing instead.

Noah: Gave up-sugar cookies. Reasoning? Every day, Noah eats a sugar cookie right after school. He LOVES them. He knew he would miss them and that there could be benefit to that.

Benjamin: Gave up-getting out of bed at night. Reasoning? It was a habit that he wanted to finally break. He has gotten out of bed after bedtime every night since he could walk! This was a big change for him.

Josiah: Gave up-playing with Lego Bionicles. Reasoning? It was something he knew he loved that would be difficult but not devastating. We asked him to only give it up on weekdays because he is so young.

Elizabeth: Gave up-playing with Kai-Lan stuff. Reasoning? It is one of her favorite things and she knew she would miss it. We gave her the same weekday deal as we offered Josiah.

Mark and I took the opportunity during those 40 important days to help our children understand that we would feel the loss of what we had released but that feeling this was an opportunity for us to learn a bigger lesson. We talked about how God loved us so much that He sacrificed His son to make a way for us to be with Him. Feeling a tiny bit of sacrifice was a way for us to remember this and connect to it. We made it simple for them and talked about it every now and then.

This weekend, we asked the kids how it went. We wanted to know if they learned anything at all. They all agreed that the first week and the last were the most difficult to handle. During both of those times, they really missed the item they had given up for Lent. (I did, too!)

Some of what they learned was really not spiritual at all... Benjamin realized that he didn't NEED to get up all the time and that when he stayed in bed, he had so much more time to read. He loved that. Josiah said that some days, he focused on it more than usual because he missed his Bionicles.

But some of the lessons were deeper than that. Elizabeth said that Jesus gave up His life for us and she really didn't think it would be fair if we never gave up anything for Him. :) I liked that answer from her and know that it took a long time for her to learn such a big lesson at such a young age.

Noah said, "It was hard to be tempted for 40 days but it would have been harder for Jesus because he was more separated from God than normal… so this is not even close to what He felt."

Important words from my teenage boy.

So, will we do it again? I think next year we will encourage our kids to choose again something to give up for Lent. I love that the season was set apart for us and that we chose to do this together. I also love that Easter Sunday held a sense of relief for us. Seems to fit that important day.

What about you? How did Lent go? Is there a part of those 40 days that you would like to do repeat? Knowing what we have learned helps us to choose what we will do again.

Blessings on your day!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Saturday Faith and She Speaks

Many of you have asked and today, I will answer. Thank you for your kind questions, friends... for you thoughts and prayers.

Last week, the winners of the She Speaks scholarship were released and my name was not among them. I will tell you, I was and am very disappointed. There were four scholarships offered and there were literally hundreds of applicants. I knew all along that the chance was slim but having it be done and over with is a bit sad for me. Except, well... I do not believe it is done and over with.

Sometimes we are called to do things and the calling is clear. For me, She Speaks feels just like this. I know I am to go. Not getting the scholarship makes that a bit confusing but the truth is that when we are faithful, we cannot always expect to have all the answers up front. There is a time and place to stand upon our faith and stare down the questions before us and believe, deeply believe, in what we know to be true.

We saw this in the Easter story last week, didn't we? On Friday, the disciples lost their Jesus. Can you imagine what Saturday was like for them? They were grief-stricken and confused. They had released their WHOLE lives to follow Him and then He was gone. The disciples had heard Him talk about rising from the dead. But truly, how do you believe something like that? What does it look like for us to have Saturday faith in our own lives? Saturday faith that demands that we buy it. Saturday faith that requires us to see the impossible. Saturday faith that allows room for hope in the face of so much struggle. Can we do that?

I can remember feeling this way when I was pregnant with my boys. I could see the promise of a new little one with the positive result of a pregnancy test... but the reality of it seemed so far away. I had to see the impossible and rest in the hope. You do that too. It can be both difficult and exhilarating... and always, always worth it.

Being faithful does not come with promises. Being faithful can be difficult for even the most stubborn among us. It is much more a choice than a feeling and today, I choose it. I choose to believe that my registration for She Speaks is not in vain. I choose to believe that I have opened an account with them in registering for that conference that will somehow hold the funds necessary for the conference. I choose to believe that God's call to attend is true and my need to go is real and that, even without my ability to see the end, it will happen nonetheless.

So, pray with me friends, that what needs to happen will. God does not need THAT scholarship to help me find a way. He is bigger than that. And bigger than whatever struggle you face today. Bigger than illness, bigger than disability, bigger than disease or disbelief. He is bigger and even today, I choose to trust Him fully. Even today, I will wrap my Saturday faith around my shoulders and believe what I know to be true. What about you?

Blessing on your day.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook--April 6, 2010

If you blog, you can do this, too. C'mon, you can do it! Join in the fun!

Outside my window... the birds are singing and I am just so grateful. Sounds like spring.

I am thinking... about summer... about camping... about being with my family. Yes, I am still thinking about She Speaks... but the scholarship did not happen for me. I am not giving up! There has to be a way!

I am thankful for... a bit of quiet after 11 days of spring break. I got to work out today, do a little shopping, putz at laundry... I love my kids but a bit of alone time sure feels good.

From the kitchen...I am making pizza casserole today from our supper swap. Thank, Junie! I think I will serve celery and carrots and rolls alongside.

I am wearing... A TCC troll shirt and black yoga pants. My hair is pulled up and I need to jump into the shower to be a little more presentable before picking up my kids from school! : )

I am creating... a healthier week for me. Spring break led to a lot of junkie eating... time to drink a lot more water, eat better foods and enjoy how it all feels.

I am going... to meet a friend for breakfast this week and then shop a bit at Ikea. I rarely buy much there... but I sure love to shop. :)

I am reading... The Marriage Project. You will hear more about it here soon.

I am hoping... to keep a good attitude during this exceptionally busy season for us. The kids are involved in a bunch of really great activities for the next couple of months but it is going to keep us hopping! I have to keep reminding myself... this is a season and I want to present in it.

I am hearing... birds singing, the dryer running, the dog walking around the house.

Around the house... things are coming back together. We got a little sloppy over break.

One of my favorite things...being with my kids. I love family. I love doing this life with Mark. I might get a little frustrated at times and life might be a little full but I really do enjoy it. Every single day, one my kids makes laugh out loud!

A few plans for the rest of the week... I am speaking at the end of the week and need to plan for that. I need to plan easy, fast meals that will work with our baseball schedule. I need to get back to taking care of myself and my body.

A picture I would like to share... taken on Easter Sunday during a photo shoot! : ) Hope it makes you smile.

Want to read what others are writing on this topic? Click here:

Blessings on your day!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring Break Thursday--Easter Ideas! Your Turn!

Finally, spring has sprung! All four of my children are outside, enjoying the sunshine and laughing out loud. I love that. I love to watch them. I love to listen to them. I love to stand in the house and breathe in the quiet, relishing a rare moment alone.

We have had a strange couple of days. The cold I caught is lingering and in the midst of that, Mark got sick. Hit with a strong stomach bug, he spent most of yesterday resting. I will now spend the rest of the week spraying down my house with Lysol and staring at my children. Who will get it next? Maybe the illness has been good, in a way. With Mark and I under the weather, our pace has slowed this week and my kids are outside playing for hours each day. The yard is a mess, covered with riding toys, soccer balls and baseball equipment. The driveway is covered with a rainbow of chalk drawings, bigger than my children themselves. They are falling into bed each night thoroughly tired and smelling like sunshine. And it is good.

Tomorrow we will begin our Easter weekend traditions and our pace will pick up a bit. I am excited about what is upcoming and looking forward to preparing for Sunday. What about you? What do you do to help your family celebrate Easter?

I love when you comment and share you ideas. Will you do so today? Take a second and let us all know what fun activities or traditions you do with your family for Easter. I can't wait to learn from you! :)

Blessings on your day!