Where does summer go?

First, let me get a protest out of the way.  Summer homework is for the birds.  ’nuf said!

My protest leads me into the ever-quickening pace of our summers.

As a child they seemed to last indefinitely.  I don’t remember summer projects assigned by teachers.  I remember making hammocks out of mom’s sheets, lemonade stands, the pool, learning to drive the riding lawn mower and catching fire flies.

There are no fire flies in Jacksonville!  There are, however, summer projects along with a host of other wonderful blessing like tons of frogs (which I love catching).

It seems summer barely begins and then we’re in the heat of midsummer.  I turn around, maybe twice, and school is upon us again.

When the bible talks about this life being fleeting in the face of eternity it’s truth is never more evident as an adult with children.  One moment you hold your newborn and the next you are learning how to let go and allow them to be mini-adults.

It’s sad for this mommy.  It’s also rewarding, frustrating, glorious and crazy – all wrapped up in one!

When they were little I kept them safe from climbing steps, falling on the cement and my husband and I kissed boo-boos and passed onto them out love of campfires.

Babysitters helped them make visors that were actually proud to wear!  And while my photography skills have increased my babies are growing up……

Taking care of the “bare necessities” of life were quite uncomplicated compared to our new found role as parents to teens, tweens and an almost tween.  Hoping they live their lives for God, make good choices, choose their friends wisely, don’t speed, be respectful……and all that jazz!

All of that is much harder than wrapping them in warm jackets and finding their favorite shoes.

Sometimes I wish we could flash freeze moments as to return and look at them with eyes full of wisdom from the future.  A multi-dimensional stop in time to appreciate all that was in that moment.  The baby voice, the tiny shoes, the cries of protest, the trusting child, the Barney songs, the little hand in ours and even the smelly diapers that are just too quickly gone.

I think we need more summers.  Not the break from school summer, but the “let’s go have fun and leave our worries behind” summers.  God knew how badly I needed a husband who has a summer outlook on life.  He pulls me out of me seriousness and says, “Let’s go have fun.”  He tries new food, catapults from airplanes and dares to live life on the edge as I sit with my feet firmly planted on the ground.   “For it is safe here young padawan!”

I need more summer.  More of an ability to trust the Father and swing high from the branches of His tree.  To squeal like a little girl and to run with wild abandon.  To rest.  To listen.  To be quiet.

Homeschooling, although crazy as it got at times, allowed more summer into our lives.  With all the children in school there is less summer.  As they grow into their responsibilities as young adults days spent riding big wheels in the drive way and picnics in the gazebo come less often.  Schedules fill up.  Time to “just be” falls away.

I believe my goal for the coming academic year (non summer) is to schedule one day of summer into each month.  A day or a night where the whole family does something…..anything just to pause, have fun and enjoy the sunshine, the lemonade and the homemade hammock.

And I have just the man to do it with!  Hold me accountable baby!!!

 


Glory and Grace

“Lord, there are times when our eyes turn towards you in a way they haven’t before. In light of the shooting in Colorado I pray that the things of this earth will grow strangely dim in the light of your glory and grace. Surround these people with your love, your light, and your grace, Lord. May you be glorified through the churches and the Believers in that state as they love on the families who are grieving. Let us all know what we can do for the families in that state. May we pray for them, grieve with them, and lift their lives up to you to find peace and glory and grace!!”


Summer

I remember as a child that summers lasted forever.  As an adult it’s quite a different story.  This summer has whizzed by like a rocket ship bound for other planets!!

Sometimes I’d love to grab hold of time and make it stand still for just a day, like those stop motion camera shots you see on TV.

I’d like to sit and exam my life.  Step outside of it and stand there with God and say, “What do I need to change?”  ”Where am I wasting time?”  ”What needs my attention?”

Are you happy with your life?  Do the days whiz by in a blur?  Some days I feel like the day controls me instead of me controlling my day.

I say to my soul, “Peace.  Be still.”

And I wish my brain and body would follow.  To bask in the stillness of who God is…..to soak up His love and mercies, to KNOW that He alone is God, to cast all my cares upon Him who loves me so, to leave all that I am in His hands to shape and to mold.”

Share with me.  What do you do to stop the pace of life.  Where is your peaceful place?  How do you find rest in the midst of life.

I’m looking for some answers here!


My Main Squeeze

It’s been a long time since I’ve sat and talked about my walk with the Lord over the past two years.

Since moving to Florida we’ve been on an amazing journey.  My darkest times were during our first year here.  We were renting a house, homeschooling in a far smaller space than we had done before and living in a gated community for the first time.  Yikes.  We’d moved from rural SC where peeing in the back yard was a sport in and of itself.  Now, we received nasty grams about the very way I’d potty trained three boys.  I cried.  I longed for our former home.  The kids missed their friends.  I missed my friends.  I wanted our yard, our woods, our life for the last 10 years.

I longed for the lifechanging Bible Study I attended.  I think I took one year off in my 6 years of having 4 children.  Those women there were my lifeline.  I grew, I cried, I loved and I was loved. Some of my best friends are still in my life because of our vulnerability shared during Bible Study.

There were nights of sitting on the porch crying with a friend from home because I’d had a child diagnosed with ADHD but had no answers, one wasn’t reading and I didn’t know how to help and one was dying to get out of the house and go to school.  My life was falling apart.  I felt like a failure as a mom.

The first year was dark, yet I knew Florida was where God wanted us.  Why?  He was certainly the only one who knew!!

As the first year morphed into the second light began to shine.  We discovered LearningRx through a friend in our homeschool group.  It was there I began to find answers to help my kids.  The folks there were kind and seemed truly interested in my children.  They offered hope.

Fast forward to today as I sit reading The Purpose Directed Business by Ken Gibson.

For those of you who’ve read The Purpose Driven Life you know what an impact that book can have on your life.

“It’s now about you.”

And it isn’t.  Those words offer so much freedom.  Freedom to be messed up, sad, happy, uncontrolled, hopeless, hopeful and most of all totally dependent.

Today, I sit and read feeling excited.  I’m excited that the man who founded the company God has used in my life is a Christian.  I’m excited to be a partnering parent with LearningRx.  I’m excited that none of this is really about me or about cognitive thinking skills (although high on my list), it’s about God.  It’s about what He wants to do through me, in me and for me.

He’s my Main Squeeze.  And I say that with the upmost respect.

To the one who knows me like no other…..“Thank you dad!  Thank you for stirring in me a desire that comes through you to reach other moms and children for your glory!  Open the eyes of my heart to see and love those you put in my path.  Expand my territory.  Be huge.  Be God!!”



Rest……..

When do we, as moms, rest?

What does it look like?

This morning I dropped one off at school and am sitting on the back porch with two of my other kids.  It’s 76 in Florida.  The wind is blowing.  I hear the neighbor’s wind chimes.  It’s peaceful.  But I have a million things running through my heart, soul and brain that I “have to do”.  Why can’t I stop and soak in the morning?  When did I forget to rest in the moment…the one where Jesus lives….the now, the I AM??

My third-born lost two teeth last night.  So we’re sitting here looking up what teeth are made of.  We’re talking about enamel and dentine.  We’re homeschooling the way  I want to homeschool……checking out the things we are interested in.  Today it is teeth.  Tomorrow it may be poop, who knows!!!!

After talking with my good friend “The Scooper” I chose to rest in the day.  Math can wait.  Language can wait.  Teeth are the topic of the moment.

Now we talked about “belonging to” instead of just “believing in” God.

And now we’re off to brush teeth, eat breakfast and begin our day.

But this morning’s breeze is balm to my soul.  The Holy Spirit’s breath on my exhausted soul and body.  Love from the Father.  Birds chirping remind me that He is the Creator of all things, the author and perfecter, the finisher.  My striving means nothing…….  for it is in repentance and rest my salvation is found and it is in quietness and trust I find my strength.   (Isaiah 30:15)

Rest today sisters.  Rest today dear husband.  Rest today dear Scooper.  REST.


Imagine yourself on a journey…

…school is hard, you remain frustrated which causes you to break things or get super angry.  Then you begin a journey that begins to gradually, step by step alleviate some of your frustration.  School begins to be easier but you are not sure why.  Life begins to settle in a bit for you where at one time nothing seemed to make sense.  Your confidence is growing, your thoughtfulness towards others is also changing.  What’s up?

Imagine yourself way down there at the “x”.  That is what life felt like 30 weeks ago.  But over the course of the last 30 weeks or so life has begun to come into focus.  Slowly as you have played games, strengthened your brain (without knowing you were doing so), and had tons of fun!!!  You’re at the “e” now.  Life makes more sense.  Your ability to deal with frustration has grown.  Your school work becomes easier.  The “L” is in sight…..only a few more weeks to go.

And it’s all because of the wonderful people who have helped you strengthen your brain at LearningRx.  Joy.  Joy.

Thank you, all my friends at Jacksonville LearningRx!!  You’ve given my child hope and a future….exactly what God promised him.  You have been His instrument for us.  You have been His tool.  And for that I pray blessings into your life and into your families’ lives.  May you touch others with the light of the Lord!!!

 

To read more LearningRx reviews and stories from other parents visit: http://www.learningrx-reviews.com/


Who wouldn’t believe?

Today I was taking my second born to school and I watched the sun rising over our section of Jacksonville, Florida.

The Christian radio was playing some song I can’t  even remember now and tears filled my eyes.  I thought to myself….”Why is it so hard to believe that He is real, alive and wants to love us?”

All the other philosophies just don’t  make any sense when compared to an awesome creator, a loving Father, and someone who wants nothing more than to have a relationship with you.  It’s not a religion.  It’s a relationship….no special Sunday clothes, no “I have to be good enough”.  Why can’t we let go and let Him have the chance to change us??  What is it about the human nature that wants to be in control of everything in life instead of trusting in a higher, loving Father?

I guess because I have let go and given my life to Him I know how sweet surrender can be.  I know that today is all I have.  Tomorrow has it’s own worries.  Most of all I know that I know that I know He has my very best interests at heart.  I don’t have to figure things out or worry about tomorrow.  I can trust Him in the good and in the bad.  I can cry out to him when I’m lonely and in pain.  I can praise  Him that my lot in life is just that….it’s mine.  He never gives me more than I can bear even though there are days I feel that way.  I can tell myself, “Remember Julie, He loves you.”

Who wouldn’t believe?  Why wouldn’t someone choose that relationship above all others?


Day 21 – Rest

Rest….

What does that mean to you?

For me it means SLEEP.  It also means resting in today and God’s provision for today.

It means taking time off of life to take care me.  In today’s society that is not an easy thing.  We are all so busy.  This year our school year has looked quite different.  I have one in school and three at home.  We make daily trips to LearningRx.  I gas up the car so much more than I did last year.  We go from here to there and the days of school at home seem long gone.  But it is our life this year.  It is what our days look like.  But among the busyness there is a peace because I know it’s God’s plan for us right now.

I waited, fretted, cried and sweated over what this year would look like.  I feel like I went around the mountain to find the path God had laid before us for this year.  And I think the journey is partly the reason for the peace.   It’s often the journey that reminds me what it feels like to be in the middle of God’s plan for our lives.

How people go through life without knowing there is someone else looking out for them is a mystery to me.  I remember the days when I had the illusion of control over my own life.  I determined my days, my weeks.  But in those times there was very little peace.  There was always a searching.  The God sized hole he puts in each of us can only be filled by him.

Then the journey of giving up daily control of our lives begins.  And when I arrive at the place that I realize HE is GOOD and HE has my best interests at heart I can rest in whatever is going on in my life.  I can remember “this too shall pass” or I can rejoice in the small things when the days look dark.  The days right now feel full of sunshine.  And I know there will be another mountain to climb but I am so thankful for the rest.

Life is definitely hard.  But God is definitely good!!!  Enjoy your day!   Rest.


Day 18 {wrinkles}

Day 18 and the reality is this is hard!

Each day I wait for some epiphany, something wonderful to tell you.  But the reality is that right now life is just nuts for us.  In the last year we have moved twice, once from our home of 10 years.  We have changed jobs.  One of my kids decided he wanted to go to school.  We are very actively involved in LearningRx, as you probably already know.  Life is busy.  My husband’s job is very demanding.  He tries so hard to balance home and work life.  Last night I kept telling him, “One day at a time baby.  It’s all we have.”

It is the only way I’ve learned contentment and thankfulness.

Tomorrow will truly have it’s own worries…….wrinkles and all.


31 Days of Openness – Day 8 – God’s Canvas

There is nothing that moves me more than the way God paints his canvas we call earth and sky.  There are times my camera can not capture the beauty and breathtaking display I see before me.  However, every once in a while I capture something that still moves me when I see it downloaded onto my computer’s hard drive.  The photo above is one of the pictures I took that takes my breath away.

The color…..the majesty….the brilliance of the skies God gives to us is just a glimpse into His greatness, His love for me and His ability to do more than my little brain could ever comprehend.

What moves you?  Is it the bird chirping in the tree?  The tiny frog hopping across the sidewalk?  Or is it something huge like the Grand Canyon?  I seem to captured by the little things, the things that sometimes go unnoticed.  I can even get caught up in the color of a bug or the creepy way God made one look.  Sometimes it is the wind across my face that feels like a hug from the Holy Spirit.

So……where does God capture your attention??


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