Sunday, January 30, 2011

Refined by Fire

Many times I've had people comment at something I've said.  "I appreciate your transparency." 

I've always been a wear-my-emotions-on-my-sleeve kinda girl.  In my younger years, I was probably considered sassy, as I said what I was thinking.  Not that being sassy was always a good thing.

The point is that I have always let people know how I'm feeling.  And, as an adult, people appreciate that.  I feel like I have nothing to hide.  I want people to know me for who I am, not who I'm trying to be.  And so, the transparency.

Until recently.

Recently I have felt like I am unable to really tell people how I am feeling.  I feel like crackle glass.   You know, the glass that has a shape and appears perfect on the outside, but has cracks and crackles all through it.

Photo:  Google Images

I felt like I was barely holding it together after MotorMan's incident.  I thought I had dealt with it and that I was "fine."  But the realization was that I wasn't fine.  I wasn't holding it together.  I was cracking inside.  

In being transparent, I have always found solace in talking out my problems with someone else.  However, with this incident, I was unable to do that.  This wasn't like a car crash that I could talk to a friend about.  This was a plane crash.  A military plane crash.  And because it's the military, there are routine investigations going on.  And so, my lips have been sealed.  Which has been so hard.  I felt like I needed to rehash everything I knew.  All the places that my terror and disbelief and upset lurked.  

But I was unable to do that.

And so, while others' lives continued on, I was silently cracking inside.  
Trying to figure my way back to "fine" when I wasn't.  
And, feeling guilty when I realized that I still had "stuff" that the incident brought up that needed to be dealt with.
BIG, SCARY stuff.   

And then, finally, I cracked.  A big crying, snotty, sobbing, babbling, crying, crying, and some more crying type of crack.   Yes, I broke out The Ugly Cry.  I realized, that for me, it was ONCE AGAIN about surrender.  This time it was about surrendering my husband to the Lord.  His well-being, his care -- surrendering all of my husband to God.  And I had to wonder:  "Why is surrendering so hard for me?"  And there are many, many explainations for that.  
But the biggest one I realized?  
I realize that I feel weak when I surrender.
(Hello, transparency!)
And I don't like to feel weak.
Not. One. Bit.

But then, I realized:  God is STRONG when we are WEAK.  
And that He has us right where He wants us.
Let me say that again, because that was a biggie for me.

As I worked through the disbelief and anger and terror and the need to ONCE AGAIN surrender, I realized I needed more. 

And so I went for a walk on the beach.  By myself.
But not alone.
With God.

I cried out to Him just as Samuel did, "Speak to me Lord.  Your servant is listening."   (1 Samuel 3:9)
And what I heard was silence.  
So I walked some more.
And slowly, as my fear ebbed along with the waves, and my heart opened, I heard Him.
He said, "You are being refined by fire."
Whoa!  Refined.  By fire.  
Not forsaken.  Not forgotten.  Not alone.
Being refined.  Meaning:  He's working on me. 

"These trials will show that your faith is genuine. 
It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—
though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. 
So when your faith remains strong through many trials, 
it will bring you much praise and glory and honor 
on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world."  
1 Peter 1:7

And so I have come to realize and accept several things:

1.  God's not finished with me yet.  I am, and always will be, a work in progress. 
2.  Sometimes there is so much ME in the way, that I'm tripping over myself.
3.  When I lose myself, I find that He is all I need.
4.  Sometimes I need to remember to just get out of God's way.
5.  He is God and I am not.
6.  I will get worn out on self effort. 
7.  He is all I need.
8.  He is all I need.
9.  He is all I need.
10.  He is all I want.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."  Matthew 11:28

And a peace that passes all understanding has been my constant comfort since the day of that walk.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."  John 14:27

Can you guess?

It will be a hard one.

But I know you can do it.

Can you guess where we've been lately?

Yep.  We've found our local zoo.
And I'd have many more pictures to show you of the lions, tigers, and bears but my camera battery died.
Oh my!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sibling Revelry

The kids are into funky faces when I try to take their photo.  It's been happening for quite a while now.

Actually, they are constantly jumping into the photo and making funny faces.  At least I think they're making their faces look like this.  They're so funny, maybe this is how they always look!

When they were littler, I would get exasperated because I would try to take a nice photo and all either of them could do would be to give me a huge, cheesy grin. 

I thought that would change as they grew older.

I guess I thought wrong.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cool Trick

If you've followed this blog for any amount of time, you know that within the last year, I've indulged my passion for photographing God's amazing world.

Most of what I shoot never makes it to the blog as I don't deem it good enough.  (Unless it's pics of the kiddos -- those are all good.  I mean, come on, the subject matter is so precious!!!)

But sometimes I get a good one.  Or two.  
And I'd like to share with you how I do it.
"Like to" being the operative words.
But I'm not really sure how I do it.
Honestly, a lot of what I get is luck.  

Like this one...

Silly luck -- I shot it out of the front window of the car -- while driving.  
See the amazing blue band across the top that makes the photo look so great? 
Yep.  Purely by accident.  
I love it when that happens!
That's the silly blue band at the top of the car's windshield!  
Pure accident, but it works with the shot.  
In my humble opinion, that is!

Get out there and shoot.  The only way you'll get good shots is if you take the shot.
Or, in my case, take tons and tons of shots and hope for one or two good ones!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The promise

Though it has been cold here the last few days, I can see it.

The promise...

The promise of Spring...

For as the soil makes the sprout come up
   and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness
   and praise spring up before all nations. 
Isaiah 61:11

Friday, January 21, 2011

Perks of a Puppy

One of the major perks of having a puppy is all the extra exercise I'm getting.

I say "extra" as if I'm regularly training for a marathon or something.  
**Guffaw, guffaw!  Snort, snort!**

But I am getting regular exercise.

Sweeping our expansive tile and hardwood floors.

Every.  Single.  Day.

Thankyouverymuch, fur ball!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Help me help you!

While this is my blog, I do value the fact that you take time out of your day to come here.

My hope is that you are entertained and inspired.  That you may leave the blogosphere feeling enlightened, having had a small giggle, and/or knowing the love of our Father.  My hope is that you find something here that you like/love and share it with your friends and family.

I tend to post things that are relevant to me.  And things that I feel might be relevant to you.  Above all, I wish for God to direct what I post.  Or do not post.

Lately, I have felt as if I'm in a blog drought.  I think it's self imposed, but I do feel a bit short on material for the blog.  I have been psychoanalyzing myself (to the tune of $160 per hour) and think I have a slippery grip on why I've been feeling uninspired.  I don't have issues.  I have subscriptions. 
I jest.  I jest. 

Anyway, I'm asking for your help.

What are your favorite things to see on my blog?  Least favorite?  What would you like to see more of?  Less of?

Help me help you.  (Name that movie.)

Gimme some ideas here, people. 
I plead with you:  Help me help you!

Monday, January 17, 2011


There are moments that, as a mother, 

take my breath away.

And when that happens, I roll myself up into that moment.

Like a warm, cozy quilt.

Silently breathing,  "Amen!  Amen!"

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Breakfast with God

I don't know about you, but finding the "perfect" time for my quiet time with God has been a struggle.   I know having time alone with God each day is important.  And I crave it.  However, finding that time and making it fit in my schedule is hard.

I know, I know.  I shouldn't make God fit into my schedule.  I should work my schedule around God.  I agree completely.  However, when you have two little ones, that can be easier said than done.  They want to eat, they need to rest, they want... they need... 

And if I'm completely transparent, I was selfish with whatever "Mom-ME" time that I could carve out of my day.  "I deserve a shower/nap/exercise."  I might have felt that I deserved those things, but what I needed -- what I DO need is God.

I had great intentions each day, to sit down in a comfy chair, open my Bible and just be still with God.  I'm sad to say that there were many days when that didn't happen.  A few where it did, but many when it didn't.  And I began to feel guilty.  Very guilty.

I believe God is the beginning and end.  I believe that He is more important than anything else.  However, my life didn't show that.  I was not giving God the time, honor, or glory He deserves.  I felt guilty.

I was talking to God about it one day.  On one of the days I found a space for quiet time.
You know what I heard from Him? 
"Shame off you.  Stop feeling guilty.  Shame. Off.  You."
He wasn't condemning me. 
He was offering me grace.
As only He can do, He was offering me grace. 
And an idea.
Since having a regular, same-time-every-day quiet time wasn't working for me, He offered me something else.  "Meet me everyday.  Whenever you can. Just come to me everyday."
"Hmmmm," I thought.  "I can do that."

And so, this morning, I had breakfast with God.
And it was the most fulfilling, satisfying, and inspiring breakfast I've ever had.

Who knows when I'll have my quiet time with God tomorrow.
All I know is that I can't wait!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Baby, it's cold outside!

It's cold outside.

I mean C.O.L.D.
At least for Florida.
I'm sure that you could argue that compared to other parts of the country, our weather is downright warm.
However, for this Greyhaired Momma who has lived in the South for the last 12+ years, it's cold.  Southern cold.
I might pull out the Southern-isms and say, "It's not the cold, but the humidity that gets ya."  Or possibly, "It's a wet cold." 
As I previously referenced, cold isn't cold unless there's snow.
And we ain't got no snow.
We just got cold.

We've been reading a book called The Year of Miss Agnes.  It's set in 1948 and it's about people who lived in rural Alaska.  You wanna talk about cold?  Yeah, these people knew cold.

And while there haven't been any specific references to igloos in the book, I felt that the combination of our weather (minus snow) with our book made a perfect time for this craft:

Here's the cast of characters:

Yep, all you need are mallows, frosting, and two kooky kiddos.

We also used a paper plate as the base and a cup to stick the mallows to.  The kids frosted their cups and then stuck the mallows to the cup.

It was interesting to see how each kiddo had a different style of architecture.  I believe all CraftyGirl was thinking was, "The sooner I get these little suckers on here, the sooner I can eat them off."   

TheBoy, on the other hand, was very methodical.  He made sure that the only space was the "door."  And, once his igloo was completed, he didn't want to damage it by taste testing.  He just ate the remaining mallows out of the bowl.  

A craft requiring a few simple supplies?  Yep.
Tasty supplies at that?  Yep.
Two happy kids?  Yep.

A bit of education thrown in there?  Yep.
Totally sugared up kids who are relegated to the cold backyard for a while?  
You betcha!