3 comments | published by Linda | April 27, 2010
So when I notice my pants are leaving marks on my thighs, I realize there might be a problem. Maybe they were just tightened up in the laundry, right? I strive to find a reason, an excuse, some shred of reasoning that would help me escape from the inevitable. Days go by, and I begin to pray. Is He capable of helping me to loose a few extra pounds I've managed to pack on? Sure He is. He has in the past, and I'm sure that He wouldn't want me to be brought down, feel less healthy, and more insecure. He loves me, right?

We have a choice. We can sit back, acknowledge our Lord's power, and wait for Him to bring on results and blessings, or, we can get to work as we acknowledge His power and know He is God.

We are to be walking, moving, and working in faith. Sitting around and wondering if things will change, can lead to a damaging end, not to mention packing on a few more!

I play piano. I've played my whole life. I remember practicing these little exercises, over and over again, feeling as though I would never be able to make music. After hard, daily work, it was as if my Lord came up behind me, reached around me and turned my fumbling into a song. He made music, and I know that my effort and hard work had pleased Him.

Tight jeans are a simple problem, there are much greater issues in life than my weight. What am I to do with each? Do my duties. Get to work. Move in faith, and know He is God. Faith in God is not an emotion to sit and think about. Faith moves. Moving to the music He has made in my life is right, and who knows, I just might find I need the laundry to tighten up my pants.

Posted in Powder Room    |   Tags: Tight Jeans
2 comments | published by Linda | April 20, 2010
It makes no sense. She likes it. For days on end she wants to wear her Snoopy t-shirt. It doesn't seem to bother her that it is three sizes too small, and continuously leaves her belly uncovered. It's what she's used to, grown comfortable with, and the only choice she sees as an option. With five days of collected dirt, chocolate milk, food smudges and crayon marks, I have clearly let this go too far.

I remember as a little girl, dragging my blanket with me wherever I went. It was security for me. The thought of washing it would sacrifice more time away from it than I was willing to give. Must have looked terrible, but to me, it felt great.

Watching her run around the house in her shirt of collected dirt and wear, I am reminded of those thoughts that I have refused to change. Bitterness digs in, and becomes a repetitious forum in which we relive how we have been hurt in the past. No one makes us put it on when we get up in the morning, it's just habit. It's what we're used to, and grown comfortable with.

When we become truly bitter, we live in the thoughts of how we've been harmed, going over it detail by detail. We are actually just continuing the harm to ourselves that our offender started. Likewise, we have no interest in getting it cleaned up. The thought of washing it would sacrifice more time away from it than we are willing to give.

We need to clean it up, let it go, and accept responsibility for it as though we were the only ones at fault. Only then will we find ourselves dressed in new clothes that our Lord has waiting and ready for us. 

Bitterness makes no sense, yet we like it. We must remember that it's not our only choice. Those food smudges and crayon marks show us that we've clearly let this go too far. 


Posted in Living Room, Play Room    |   Tags: Smudges and Marks
3 comments | published by Linda | April 17, 2010
With a tight grip on the bright engine, she pushed her train across the hardwood floor. Being plastic, it was built to last. Up and over furniture, whipping around corners, she was taking this train for quite the ride. Never as concerned about the cars following behind, she was just assuming they were following without a problem.

Making too close of a turn around the corner, she lost her grip, and the train tumbled down the stairs. The engine might have been the first to land at the bottom, but the loyal cars were close behind, and followed at a fast pace. Running down to the rescue, she quickly and carefully reassembled her train, and was back on another adventure. 

I am the engine. Through each day I lead this train of six children. Whipping around corners, and climbing over furniture is an understatement for where our tracks lead us. I focus on where I'm going. My thoughts are often wrapped up in what's ahead, and what I'm dealing with.

If I'm not careful, I might forget that these cars are connected behind me. When I tumble, it's inevitable that I will be followed. It might not be immediate, but they will most definitely feel the turns, and the drops that I experience. We are connected. I am the engine.

Watching as my daughter cuts a corner too tight, I am reminded of the responsibilities that follow me. I can't pretend they aren't there, and won't feel the consequences of where I lead. Each of my children will feel any pain I experience, and each in their own way. As I look ahead, and behind me, I'm set for another adventure. My train was built to last. I count on that. 
Posted in Play Room    |   Tags: Built to Last
3 comments | published by Linda | April 15, 2010
Proverbs 16:9
"The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps."

After finding the perfect area of dirt by the trailer, my creation was about to begin. On my knees, I reached out across the dirt. With the side of my hand, I carefully scraped the roads. My rusty cars and trucks sat beside me waiting for their turn. I continued with my design and work until my imaginary world was complete.

My Dad loved to camp. Even more, he loved to drive. Never knowing what was ahead, I knew he held the wheel, so it didn't matter.

Spending hours playing with my cars in the dirt, I pretended. Until my Dad packed up our things, and was ready to move on, I was setting up, and enjoying camp where I was. 

We make plans, and build our lives where we are. Time passes, seasons change, and God moves us according to His plan. He directs our steps. Aren't we glad?

Making the most of every season He blesses us with, we don't know what's ahead, but we do know that He is holding the wheel, so it doesn't matter. 
Posted in Attic    |   Tags: Setting up Camp
4 comments | published by Linda | April 13, 2010
Ephesians 5:20
"Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

While wiping down the kitchen counters, I noticed a sticker on the floor. Bending down and scraping it off, my two year old came running in the kitchen shouting, "Holdju!" As she climbed on my back, my twelve year old walked in continuing a conversation we had been in an hour ago. Discussing who she should invite to the mall, my two year old was hanging from my neck. Walking slowly, but curiously through the kitchen, my six year old walked passed me as though he was definitely up to something.

After solving my twelve year olds dilemma, my seventeen year old hopped up the stairs announcing his hunger. Again, my six year old passed by me, but this time with only his pants on. My two year old, still clinging to my back like a monkey was now laughing hysterically. My nine year old asked a question about his report on Texas from around the corner as I finally had success with that sticker.

My fourteen year old daughter came and dropped a pile of books on the kitchen sink, and sat at the barstool. She began to explain the tales of her day. Off to the side, I noticed my six year old walking even slower through the kitchen, but this time, only in underwear with a mischievous smile across his face. I was noticing a pattern, one that would need to be stopped.

This wasn't an instance in my life, it is a picture of my life. Multitasking and multi-tracking are not options, they are survival techniques.

How should my heart be? Thankful. I've found that thankfulness is filling, just like how my kids fill my home, and my day. When I'm looking around, smiling, and thanking the Lord for all that surrounds and invades my space, there's simply no room for complaining or whining. 

My children don't leave much room for me to even have a thought of my own. Thankfulness is the same. It doesn't share space.

Standing in the middle of dreams, with a giggling monkey on my back, God is definitely up to something, and it is good.
Posted in Kitchen & Dining, Play Room    |   Tags: Monkey on my Back
3 comments | published by Linda | April 11, 2010
It's not easy being twelve. The tales she brings home of the school day drama between her girlfriends is enough to fill a full length movie. Wondering why her friend said this or that, and being bothered that a call has not been returned, frustration overwhelms.

As I help her untangle the emotional confusion, I must admit to myself that I fall into the same temptation with my friends. It's easy to assume hurtful intentions on another. We even write full stories about our friends as if we know. How could we?

Like the old saying of having to wear someone's moccasins before we cast judgment, we just don't know.

God's grace can be used like a heavy quilt that can be tossed over our friendships.
Being covered in such warmth we don't need to be overwhelmed by any coldness.
Likewise, we can offer our friends a blanket of understanding as we stop searching for reasons.

His grace covers us, and we must offer the same love, regardless of our imaginations and insecurities. We simply don't know our friend's story, or their troubles.

It's hard to be twelve. Face it, it's hard to be a woman. As our Lord untangles our
emotional confusion, we can let Him cover us with His grace as we learn to do the
Posted in Living Room, Play Room    |   Tags: It's Not Easy
5 comments | published by Linda | April 09, 2010
She would pull out all the dishes, even the fancy ones. Stacks of cups, napkins, forks and spoons were spread across the sink. I knew when the tall coffee pot was pulled onto the sink, that a crowd would soon be arriving. The salad was always billowing from the bowl, and there were more dinner rolls than could ever be necessary stacked and ready to go.

They would love to come, and lingered so long because they didn't want to go. With mugs of hot coffee in their hands at the end of the evening, it was difficult to let it end. 

My mom knew how to throw a party. With tables everywhere, we were all made comfortable. Her laughter and good cheer  set the emotional thermostat and created an environment of joy.

I remember in my first year of marriage, I would look around our little one bedroom apartment and thought it could never be. Our table with only a few chairs could not possibly be enough. These concerns were matched by my insecurities of what was inside my refrigerator. Would anyone want to come over for a hot dog, or macaroni and cheese? I figured I had years to wait in order to qualify as a hostess.

I've come to realize, that it is enough. The size of my home, my cooking abilities, and the number of chairs is not why friends and family would want to come. Opening up my home, and offering joy and friendship is what blesses those around me. Inviting people over to share a meal, and a place to relax and laugh is good. Pushing away insecurities and excuses leave me wide open for others to be blessed as I serve and love them.

I don't want to be a thermometer checking the temperature of the warmth of my house, but the thermostat, setting the atmosphere. Serving my friends with fancy dishes, or paper plates, I want them to hold mugs of hot coffee in their hands, and find it difficult to leave. 

Posted in Kitchen & Dining    |   Tags: Enough
5 comments | published by Linda | April 07, 2010
2 Samuel 7:12
"When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom."

When he came to visit, my father-in-law took over the kitchen. This was good. He would bring ingredients never seen before, set the towels, pots and pans where they needed to be, and he would begin. I remember watching him search through drawers and cupboards for trivial items. Never asking, always searching. 

As the afternoon moved on, the smells would creep out of the kitchen walls and slowly fill the house. Over the sounds of the spoons hitting the sides of the pots was his occasional humming, which would often turn to singing. I didn't know the song. It didn't matter. He was here, in my home, and it was good.

He delighted in the serving. We would all sit at the table eager to partake in his creation, and he was happy. I knew that these would be memories that we would all lean on in the future. I wanted each of my children to remember.

A little over a week before my youngest daughter was born, I received his call. We knew he only had hours left. This was one call that I wished could have never ended. Holding tightly to the phone, I didn't want to let go. I reminded him of the times we danced. He promised me we would dance again. He told me to keep cooking his meals for the kids, his grandkids were what mattered. What he left behind for them is what gave his life purpose. This is God's design. He wanted them to remember. I'll never let them forget.

As I now search through drawers and cupboards for trivial items, and the smells slowly creep out of the kitchen, I can still hear his humming, and it often turns into singing.  
Posted in Kitchen & Dining    |   Tags: Into Singing
3 comments | published by Linda | April 05, 2010
She came running into my bedroom when it was still dark outside. Jumping onto my bed she became frustrated that she couldn't see my face. After a short time, her eyes adjusted. She shouted with joy that once again my face could be seen. She gently rubbed my cheek and said, "Face."

When it's dark, we can feel lost. Nothing is clear. Through hard times we can even panic, feeling alone in the darkness. Sometimes we wonder if our God is still there, wondering why.

Like my daughter, we reach out into the darkness and our eyes adjust. We find that our Lord is right in front of us, smiling as He knows why. He cares for us, and writes our story in the brightest sun, and the darkest night.

We can shout for joy. He is there. Our eyes will adjust, and the darkness will subside as His smiling face breaks through.
Posted in Master Bedroom    |   Tags: Through the Darkness
4 comments | published by Linda | April 01, 2010
Ephesians 4:32
"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."

Picking up the trail of dropped toys, dirty laundry, and loose school papers is continuous. It amazes me how quickly the piles on the stairs build with shoes, backpacks, and lego pieces. I also wonder if any toothpaste ever actually hits the toothbrushes as every morning, there is much left on the sink and towel hook. Cleaning is continuous. In order to have a home that is a joy to live in, work is required. My house cannot be cleaned once a week, it's a part of each day.

If I were to leave the piles, the dirty dishes on the sink, the crumbs on the floor, this house would quickly turn to a place that would be uncomfortable, and a misery to live in. I can't even imagine how fast we would not have clean clothes to wear as we would have to climb over mountains of smelly laundry to get from one room to the other. 

What's the difference between a home kept up, and one that is neglected and messy? In one, things are continually picked up. The same is true with offenses and forgiveness. Living together in a family, forgiveness will always be necessary. We must continually clean the messes that are made between us.  

I've noticed that when you move a stack of stuff to another room, it's not really cleaned up. Likewise, using a dry rag to wipe crayon from the cupboard door doesn't have a good result. When we make a mess, it must be cleaned appropriately. If we hurt one another, we must label it for what it was, and seek forgiveness for the exact sin. The blessing of forgiveness that follows is overwhelming.  

Piles build if not broken down and put away. Bitterness is the same. If it's there, pick it up and put it away.

Life is a blessing that passes faster than we'd want to admit. We mustn't spend it with our family in the middle of a mess. 
Posted in Kitchen & Dining, Living Room    |   Tags: Clean It Up