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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Frustrations and Lessons in Priority KEEPING

YUP! It's that time again!

Time to break out "Elf"!

We are nearing the most wonderful time of the year!

...Here in Alaska anyways ;)

Here is yesterday morning's snow flurry:


The aftermath sits on the mountains next to our house:


Good time for indoor sports.
Like soccer!
Elyse and I are getting to watch daddy tear up the field-- it's a lot of fun!


It's official: yesterday was the most frustrating day of my life [that I can recall] ... And honestly, one of the most ungodly days in a long time.

That's probably the biggest reason I have had the frustrating day of my life.

I never felt like I needed a run so badly!!!

And It doesn't help that our family is outgrowing our vehicles at a rapid pace....

However, Andrew is very much improving in his role playing as he imitates Buddy the elf in this picture. He did such a good job that, for a couple of seconds there, I felt like I was actually in the movie!

Oh.. oh no, wait...

I was sitting in the mustang.

{Sigh}


...Yes, his head IS resting on the roof of the vehicle and his knees ARE resting on the dashboard...


I yi yia.....{another sigh}

After talking with my husband (who made me amazing pumpkin waffles for dinner because I just couldn't get to it) , it seems my priority KEEPING is far more difficult than my priority making. I have considered it good that I have kept many of my goals and project up to speed, but I have not done such a good job at keeping the main things the main thing...

I was reading a post from John Piper's blog yesterday (while at my most frustrating point of the day: nursing in the mustang and attempting to change a diaper that Elyse had blown out of-- o boy) who was reviewing the new release of Steve Job's book. The writer said Jobs was on to something when he told an interviewer it was no longer about going out and seeing the world/doing all sorts of things before he died, it became about the main things-- which for him, it was the iPhone and iPad. It's funny how death brings a new perspective on how to live life and how to do it well. The blog writer goes on to quote scripture for why this is significant, according to scripture: ' "It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting” (Ecclesiastes 7:2). So much wisdom is to be had there. “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). This is what the house of mourning is for: Lessons in mortality and the learning of wisdom.'

The biggest take away from Steve Jobs is this: do a couple of things and do them well. You don't have time for much. And a lot of things aren't lasting.... So that is where priorities come in. And FOCUSING on really striving to prioritize the top things.

So my challenge to you is the same I am giving myself today: prioritize the main things and carry them out well.

“Therefore, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58)

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord” (Colossians 3:23).
“Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
“Whatever you do, do everything in the name of the Lord” (Colossians 3:17).

 'By faith in Jesus, every act becomes this one thing—the work of the Lord'-- John Piper

So I suppose it's time to start the day with the main things as my day's priorities :)

Pray for me.



Have a blessed Thursday!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

1 Month, 1 Week... 3 days!

Did I mention my very tried and true belief in Murphy’s Law when it comes to parenting/mommy-hood?
Yes, it’s a totally true concept that never seems to fail.
This is why I am posting Elyse’s 1 month, 1 week and 2 days picture—which, I might also add is wrong since today is days 3… {sigh}. O well! AT LEAST I AM GETTING SOMEWHERE WITH THIS!




Though I am not going to post a whole lot this evening (I will leave you with pictures of our trip to the pumpkin patch), I will post more next week about what’s going on in our lives :). But I will also leave you with a little encouraging message I read from Carolyn Mahaney, who writes on the Girl Talk Blog. I hope it encourages you to keep doing what you do, no matter how mundane, for the glory of God and knowing you really are making an eternal impact on your family in your very unglamorous job:
“I got out of bed each morning so that I could do everything I did the day before.
I washed the dishes so they could be dirtied again.
I ironed the clothes so they could be worn and wrinkled again
I wiped noses so they could run again.
I picked up toys so they could be played with again.
I mopped the floor so mud could be tracked on it again.
I cooked meals so that I could go to the grocery store again.
I made beds so they could be slept in again.”

Some days I wondered: if I do all I do, only to have it undone, am I really
doing anything?

Today, as I pack up my home in June of 2008, I can see the answer more
clearly than I did in February 1986. Each of my daughters is married to a
wonderful, godly man, Chad will be a sophomore in high school this fall,
and we’ll welcome our seventh grandchild at the end of August.

I realize that all of the mundane, repetitive days were actually full of
significant, enduring work. A home was being built. A family was being
knit together. Four souls were being shaped for eternity.

This home has spawned three more homes where the same tedious yet
momentous work goes on day in and day out. And God willing, many more
homes will one day be built, day by day, so “that in everything they may
adorn the doctrine of God our Savior” (Titus 2:9).”—Carolyn
Praise God there is a hope for our repetitiveness :)

And now, the pumpkin patch!


Starting with my 'moose'd loved friend, Lindsey ;)

SHE'S A MOOSE!!!!

Just love our Matt and Lindsey!


Cutie pie was the life of the party:



Our new friend (And neighbor) Kristin came along as well!



O Lindsey... we love you anyways ;)


It's so true:

...it was gross....

Check out these antlers!


My baby ;)



It's a moose!!


The patch (all the pumpkins are from WA though....)



The reindeer at the pumpkin patch:



We took a 'hay ride' as well.
Alaska has a bunch of funny definitions that isnt what it seems...
HA!



That's all folks!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Growing, changing and SNOWING... o boy...



We made it through two nights in a row night!! And actually, it went very well—a little too well. Elyse slept almost 7-8 hours last night and the night before—I was scared she would forget she was hungry... Silly me. Not this baby—shes packing on the pounds daily :)



And loving her daddy...


..and being an absolute doll baby! 


(She is cute even when she gets angry! Ha!)


In other news, we are now officially on our own! Wow… that is almost scary to think about. I have been a little anxious about this since we brought her home, but because we have had so much live-in help, it wasn’t terrifying… until now. Haha (And actually, Andrew left for a trip the night before so it was really a reality shock when I found it was just Lysey and I—and it all depended on me!EK!). Goodness...


Sleepy head loves to fight her tiredness!


Just look at these two! No denying that this is his daughter ;)


She is finally enjoying her bouncer too!
(Don't worry Tara, you will indeed get this back.. in time, haha!)


But nevertheless, our life is a bit chaotic right now...


Ok, terrifying might be a little exaggerated since she is really a pretty easy baby—and really, I am not doing this in my own strength at all, or I’d never make it (and as you could observe from the top paragraph, we were MORE than ok- thanks for the prayers everyone!). However, it is going to be hard to put her down when I need to get something done and let her learn how to cry it out. Seems she has been held ever since we have brought her home from the hospital… now, life is about to kick in and that will not always be an option. Pray I have the strength to listen to her sad little whimpers as I try to endure this season—and the tears!! OH heartbreaking! :(

These last couple of weeks, I have given a lot of updates on our little growing girl. She has been such a precious delight to our everyday life. And as of this last Wednesday, she is a WHOLE month old! I think I will do an every Wednesday picture just to watch how much she grows through each week (a lady at the cashier suggested this to me—good idea! Too bad I have gotten such a late start on it… she has grown so much already!!)

Here are some pictures from the last couple of days of Grandma Didi's visit:


Traveling to see the animals at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center!




Loving the last of our fall colors...


Looking at a glacier in the far distance:



Wearing shoes already!!!



Driving home....


A walk through Kincaid Park:



We enjoyed the crystal clear day...


...the ocean...



..and the warmth from the sun.


Lysey enjoyed the peace and quiet in her stroller.


She has also been sitting on her own! Wow!


We introduced her to her lamaze owl... she spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to do with it!



LOOK AT THESE GOOF BALLS!.. o man, I love my family :)


Someone hungry?


... more owl time..


After all that time, she decided she liked the orange one best!


Loves her Grandma Didi!




Its official: She has both her father's eyes AND crazy expressions:



She does love her daddy though:


Haha, ok ok! Thanks for bearing with me as I DUMP Elyse pictures all over you!!!
Moving on...

Just recently, I had a spiritual meltdown as I was told something very hurtful from a loved one's confession and found my whole world shook. I realized it shook me so because I have not standing on a solid foundation, because I have not been trusting in the Savior. Unknowingly to myself, I have been building a shaky foundation on worldly ideology and false fa├žades for a while now… and it really showed when I crumbled at a trial.

On one of my many drives to the airport to pick up my mom-in-law (she had some trouble getting on the standby planes), I cried out to God in my desperation to be renewed and restored in truth, spiritual strength and the power of the gospel. I listened to a podcast I stumbled upon by Joshua Harris, and man, did it hit home.

Joshua spoke about how we should see the gospel as God wants us to see it: not a forceful bunch of rules that we are required to follow, but a willing desire to see the son of God’s work as precious and WANT to obey his every command. I want to be so in love with Christ that I push everything aside and run after him with joy.

So the question is: Where have I strayed from this and how many times have I tried to come back from my slacking?? I feel that in Columbus, MS it was much easier to come back to him whole heartedly and be restored… but now, as I lack my spiritual core group up here, it is much harder. And that is where I desperately need it to be different: I can’t do my walk with Christ by myself. I need others around me to help spur me on and to run beside me for the same goal. I need someone beside me to remind me of everybody in the world who are without hope and truth and need to hear the gospel’s saving message. I need the body of Christ and I need to walk with Christ on a daily basis in order to get anywhere with it.

Thus, I am going back to the basics…

I guess I will start by evaluating my current priorities vs my ideal priorities, reviewing spiritual core basics, and praying for a fighting faith.

My priorities lately have been to entertain guests, get things done around the house (and around town), working on doing things for Andrew, being busy with something, shopping, and focusing on the superficial. While some of these things are not bad in themselves, these things are not lined up with the priorities I desire to pursue and made during my 31 days to clean series.

The first one is my desire to walk with God again. Yes, I am a Christian and a follower of Christ, but I have not really interacted with God for a while now which makes knowing what HE wants (instead of what I want) really hard to decipher. We had coffee with some friends just recently (which was SO refreshing and encouraging!) and we all talked about how much we had fallen off the bandwagon in our prayer life, reading to KNOW God instead of just checking a box and memorizing/meditating on His word. This is definitely why I have not seen His mighty power in my everyday life and my relationship with others.

My second priority is to my husband then our family. Praise God we both came to realize just how much this area has been neglected together because it makes pursuing this goal in our marriage and our relationship in Christ much easier to do when both parties are on the same page. We decided to start a weekly date night and a possible family night where we can encourage each other while enjoying some quality time… more to come on how all of this plays out in the life of a sporadic pilot and his wife ;)

Next is my home: having a baby and living in the crazy state of Alaska (where we get snow in flipping October…. 

--picture taken yesterday--

yea, it’s insane) has me realizing that I will be spending a lot more time in our dwelling place than I did previous to baby... but for the first time ever, I am ok with that. But that means I need to create new possibilities in my new playing field. Thus, I want to use the gift of creativity God gave me to reveal him in our home, making others feel welcomed and comfortable. Beautiful decor on a budget is also something I have a passion for (along for my love of practical crafts and creative pieces) and I want to continue to refine these skills in honor of my hubby hard earned income... Along the lines of housekeeping and warming, an area I really need to improve on is my cooking (yikes): I have been spoiled the last couple of weeks by family members who have cooked for us (thank you thank you THANK YOU!), meals out, and sweet friends and ladies from the squadron who have contributed meals for our family. And really, the only cooking I have contributed to the kitchen has been wholly unhealthy (…sigh, go figure). I definitely need to refine this area (for my family’s health’s sake!) so that the things I offer my loved ones and guests encourages them as they come and go from our home. First step: use items we already have (I hate waste so much) and only grocery shop for healthy choices.



And in order to be more involved in my relationships, I actually need to be the one to initiate the inviting and relating instead of waiting for it just to happen. This means I need to start praying for the people God has put into my life (making those who are priority in my life a PRIORITY!) and spend needed time with them. Plus, I just miss all of their sweet presence in my life. I am so blessed!

Following that is using the gifts and talents I have been given towards advancing the kingdom. How he wants me to do that, I am not sure (besides adding to the dwelling place and beyond). Before it was child care and support, but now that Elyse has entered our lives, that may have to shift for a time… I suppose I will keep praying about that one.

As far as personal goals (which, in my opinion keeps me focused on the larger priorities), I want to get back into running long distance again (and run at least one marathon next year), continue blogging, work on Elyse’s baby book (which I don’t want to slack off on) and keep up with completing my long line of good books to read.

Well, I suppose that’s it for now….in my very long stream of thoughts. I will keep watch for what God will be doing throughout this week, and the next… and the next ;)

I will leave you some really cute pictures that she will probably hate me for when she gets older and turns into that hardcore tomboy, like her mama-- until then, I get to decide that she loves to be a ballerina!


...Angel face.

Already giving me the "Mommmmm" look.. ;)

My brother-in-law Matt described this photo well as he stated she looked like a ninja about to pounce on her opponent-- hiiiiya!


But to mommy, you are still a beautiful little ballerina! Haha!


Until this Wednesday….. :)

Blessings!