Saturday, October 26, 2013

week 43 in pictures

not entirely how all of this will go in the book, but I’ll figure it out.

sunday: micah’s latest tinkertoy creation: a bow and arrows, plus a target (behind him on the stairs). in his hand is the bow, and in his “quiver” are all the arrows.249

monday: dave took the day off of work and had an extensive dentist appointment. we met afterward for some coffee before micah had to be picked up from school. I got a good laugh over his novacain lips.251

my car was parked under this totally gorgeous tree.253

since dave was off, we took advantage and took care of getting the oil changed in the van. this meant that we had to pick ALL the kids up from school in the toyota… they didn’t quite fit. 254

since we had to go into town, with everyone crammed in the car, we bribed them to not argue or incessantly quote geico commercials (“guess what day it is?” “c-o-w…e-i-e-i-o”) with the promise of tcby when we got the car back (it happens to be right next to the firestone). yum!255

tuesday: a rare occurrence anymore, that layla allows me to do anything to her hair. for whatever reason, this morning she asked for 2 french braids. after I’d done one, she wanted to see what it looked like so I snapped a quick picture to show her.003

wednesday: my kitchen sink got a badly needed scouring. ahhh… I love a clean, shiny sink.004

thursday: I found this to be hilarious.005

also thursday: brothers shooting aliens together.007

friday: the long-awaited monster mash at school. layla and her friend, dancing to ‘hello’ on the kinect.017

micah, taking an excruciatingly long time to select his prize for winning bingo.020

I tried to get a pic of the two of them together, but micah was already upset because he got in trouble for leaving the gym to chase a friend after he’d been told not to. so layla posed and he pouted.021

and then daddy got in on it… 027

saturday: shane’s team was playing at LW, my high school! it was very weird to go there and sit in the visitor’s bleachers. we won, 32-0!031

Monday, October 21, 2013

week 42 in pictures

sunday: happy birthday to my mom!137

monday: micah FINALLY got homework!!!!141

also monday: totally gorgeous fall trees.149

wednesday: micah’s last day to be 5.163

thursday: happy 6th birthday to micah!!228

friday: after school, layla wanted to show me how she could do the rings.236

saturday: crazy fog for shane’s football game.239

there will probably be at least one insert of pics from micah’s birthday.

Monday, October 14, 2013

week 41 in pictures

monday: nothing quite so awesome as construction outside the window at the library.015

tuesday: a friendly cat came to visit me while waiting at layla’s soccer practice.018

wednesday: layla’s clay walrus.022

thursday: apparently this is a doggy diner.123

friday: because micah had no school, he had to come with me to do my library duties for layla’s class. he got to read books and play games while I shelved books and checked kids out.126

saturday: ready to get totally spanked by juanita. it was a brutal game.129

also saturday: check out the totally HUGE mushrooms growing in the woods by my parents’ house.132

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

one more weird, religiously-themed post for today…

so, pretty much most of my 30’s has been defined by personal and/or religious crises. like really. one after the other. considering that dave and I got married when I was 28, I can only assume he is wondering what on earth happened to the girl he married and, after this much time, has all but given up hope that she will ever return.

sorry, babe. that you stick with me though all of this and even remotely attempt to follow it/care, is amazing to me.

at any rate. mostly my struggle has been with HOW to express my faith in daily life. being a 1 hour a week pew-warmer has never sat well with me. one of the biggest criticisms from unbelievers is that christians are a bunch of hypocrites. they dress up nice and paste a smile on their faces for an hour every sunday, and the rest of the week they’re no different than everybody else. that kind of christianity (if you can even call it christianity) is a waste of my time and I want no part of it. I want to be known as ‘devout’. as someone devoted to my faith, to my God. I want to be someone who actually lives her life, makes her decisions, based on that which she claims to believe. christianity is not a sunday-only hobby. yet people seem to have this idea that religion and the bible and anything related to it is something that is okay to get out on sundays (like taking out the fancy china only on holidays), and you’re really kind of a freak if you ‘use’ it at any other time. and the fact that people would use what is written in a book that was written thousands of years ago as something that could actually influence your daily life is apparently, not only bizarre, but downright WRONG. in case I have been unclear, I disagree with that kind of religion. what is the point of your religion if it does not define you? if it is not transforming, then why bother?

this is how I think.

I’m not saying any of this is bad. not in the least. I read a quote recently (I think it may have been attributed to aristotle) that read “an unexamined life is not worth living” or something along those lines. I’m not a big one for quotes or inspirational sayings, but that one stuck with me. I guess because I relate to it. I probably spend too much time in examination and not enough time in actually living.

lately, my struggle has come from a different source.

the great commission. matthew 28:18-20

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

I realize that’s all kind of weird, and an odd thing to be the source of some major personal reflection, but stick with me here.

one major thing I have never been good at is sharing my faith. maybe it’s a lutheran thing, maybe it’s just a personality thing, I don’t know. I was really lousy, the one time I attempted a job in direct sales. if someone approached me to discuss the product I sold, I could go on and on about it, but I could never figure out how to bring it up. and that’s just selling something. something I really liked and used on a regular basis. but still, just a thing.

an evangelist, I am not. it’s only amplified by the fact that I KNOW how much people who are not religious don’t want to be pestered by overly enthusiastic bible bashers, no matter how well-intentioned.

but here’s the thing. that’s a lame excuse. Jesus said to do it. Not because he’s a slave-driver or just likes to give commands, but so that everyone can benefit from the grace and love that comes only from having a relationship with your creator! as the church, the members are charged with discipling others. planting seeds which will lead them to Jesus.

and I just don’t know how to do that.

and so I’ve spent a lot of time contemplating that. what is it that I would share. how would I share it. how would a person respond. how would I answer the questions that would naturally arise.

and as I heard the questions in my head, I realized I didn’t have good answers for them. not even for myself.

so that sent me into a whirlwind of doubt. am I even really a christian? am I “saved”? those are some big questions, and it has created a BIG panic.

how can I begin to even think about evangelizing my own children, let alone, anyone else, if I can’t answer these vital questions for myself.

I want desperately to understand and be able to explain why I need a savior. the idea of bondage to sin and redemption is so foreign to our culture that, even though I know all the words and lines, and even passages to point to, I do not really understand it in a personal way. and definitely not in a way that would enable me to tell someone else about this in any way that would make sense, or be remotely intriguing. I want to be able to navigate the idea that yes, you are forgiven by God, but that doesn’t eliminate the consequences of your actions here on earth. how a murderer can ask for forgiveness and have the assurance that God will give it, yet that doesn’t change the fact that someone has lost a loved one due to that person’s action. Some people say that their biggest breakthrough in accepting Christ as their savior is realizing that nothing is too bad for God to forgive, or so bad that God can’t still love you beside it. Some people can’t get over the fact that they don’t have to do anything to EARN forgiveness and salvation. I’ve never really taken issue with those things. There are things that I’ve done in the past that I continue to feel guilt over, but I know that it’s me having trouble forgiving myself, not God being unable to forgive me. and the earning forgiveness thing, well, I guess I’m a good lutheran because that idea has never even really occurred to me. weird. I’m actually having trouble defining what my big hangup is. frustrating, nonetheless.

so this is my latest religious crisis. it’s a good one, I think. probably the most valuable I’ve had, to date. (yes, I think it’s slightly odd that I can rank the importance of my long list of religious crises.) This gets at the heart of everything I’ve been contemplating all along. I don’t know when I will come through this, or how. I get the feeling that this may be one of those trials that refines your faith. or maybe this is nothing and I’m a stubborn enough individual that I’m going to require a lot more ‘refining’. I suppose I will have to wait and see.

I’m not a very patient person. the very nature of this crisis makes me feel that I URGENTLY need answers. I guess God’s schedule is not the same as mine. go figure.

I want to know God.

for most people who know me, that statement probably comes as a bit of a surprise. most people know that I’m a christian. I am a church-going type. stuff like that. I guess the assumption would be (at least among those that are also believers) that if I didn’t ‘know’ God, then I probably wouldn’t consider myself a christian OR waste my time by going to church. those who are not believers probably don’t understand what there is to ‘know’.

but here’s the deal. in all honesty, I don’t really get it. I feel like I should, though. I’m like the poster child for christianity, at least the lutheran version.

I was born (well, adopted) into a christian home. my parents, my grandparents (on both sides), and in most cases, further generations than that, were christians. I’ve gone to church since birth. I was baptized, I went to sunday school, I went to a parochial school, I went through confirmation class and was confirmed, I attended (and even brought friends to) youth group in high school, I went to christian concerts…

and then I went to college and I kind of put it all on the shelf for awhile because I felt the need to rebel against my parents’ expectations and standards.

eventually, I came around again. I sort of unintentionally found myself at a bible school, wound up married to youth director. I taught preschoolers bible stories as my job. we had kids, took them to church, became the next generation of church-going christians in both of our families.

see? poster child.

I was concerned about my own college rebellion, and wanted to try to prevent that sort of thing in my own kids (since I have a lot of regrets about how I lived my life, not to mention, lasting consequences, from that time). so I read books, and blogs, and articles on how to raise godly children. I gleaned a lot of useful information, most of which was foreign to me, and I attempted to implement it and in my family. not only that, I spent good amounts of time reading my bible and contemplating what God intended for me to be as the wife, as the mother, as the daughter, as the friend, etc. I tried to incorporate that into my own life, sometimes with much vigor. maybe I felt like I was trying to somehow make up for the way I had previously lived and guilt I still hung onto over that.

the problem was that my family didn’t respond to it like was described in the books. they were not obedient. they were not asking me to pray with them. they were not sitting in corners, quietly reading their bibles on their own. they were not avoiding the temptations of the world, resisting material desires, wanting to spend their time bonding as a family, or shunning the worldly things which I felt to be detrimental. they were still groaning and fidgeting when we would try to implement family bible time.

it was a battle.

a battle I was fighting… alone.

I would try to get my husband on board, attempting to share with him this or that idea from one of a thousand books that I had read and he hadn’t. sometimes I tried to get him to read the books. that did not work.

and so, I would give up.

and then I would freak out at the impending demise of my children’s morality and start all over again, only with them fighting harder this time, because they knew I gave up last time.

time and time again, I would fail.

my children became less religious, not more so.

now don’t go thinking that the only reason I want my children to embrace christianity for themselves is so they can stay out of trouble. sure, that would be awesome. but the fact is, I want to see them in heaven and I want to know that they will raise my grandchildren as christians. staying out of trouble would be a bonus, not only for their own lives, but for this mommy’s heart. I know that they will encounter plenty of trouble in their lives and relationships. avoiding that which is brought on by living contrary to God’s design just adds more.

I totally sound like I know what I’m talking about, huh?

in some regard, I do. I’m well-versed, as far as the christian life goes.

but here is the thing, and what I realize now, is the reason all of my attempts at “christianizing” my family failed:

I, myself, am lacking the foundation.

I am trying to use the instructions for building the building, without having a foundation. obviously, that building is doomed to fall, no matter how closely I follow the instructions.

while I do, in fact, claim Jesus as my savior, I am not now, nor have I ever been, overtaken by his love and grace.

I want that. I just don’t know how to ‘get it’.

I know, I know… I can hear everyone screaming, “you don’t have to DO anything!!!” “Jesus has done it all!”

etc. etc. etc.

I get that. in theory. in reality, I don’t know how to make that make sense to me.

major personality flaw there… I have a major inability to accept ANYTHING which does not make sense.

seriously. there are books I have refused to read or movies I have refused to watch or songs that drive me batty, because their TITLES don’t make sense to me.

and so I am lacking.

my faith sucks.

my family may or may not grow up to be the next generation of christians… warming a pew once a week is no longer enough to ensure that. maybe it never was, but our culture is no longer a culture that supports or even tolerates christian values.

all because it doesn’t make sense to me.

I try to wrap my head around it.

I even pray for the joy, the passion, the whatever it is that truly makes one a christian, claimed by the love of Jesus…

but concept of prayer makes even less sense to me, and so, even as I pray, I don’t have the faith that my prayer is real, because I know I pray in doubt.

so there you have it. poster child.

I’m not looking for advice here. I actually would prefer that you not comment. I’m putting it out there to admit that I don’t get it.

in church, we are not encouraged to admit that we don’t get it. we are not encouraged to ask the REALLY TOUGH questions. and therefore, we never get them answered.

so maybe I’m putting this out there, just so you won’t feel alone, or like a total heathen, if you, also, don’t get it. if you do, know that I envy you.

but I do. I want to know God. not just in a superficial way. not just in ‘how to be a good person’ way. not just in a ‘how to raise godly kids’ kind of way. not even just in a ‘I’m going to heaven’ way.

to really, really know God.

Matthew 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Monday, October 7, 2013

week 40 in pictures

sunday: micah, at a school friend’s birthday party.181

monday: just hanging out at grandma and grandpa’s, reading a book.187

tuesday: “these are my duck feet!”002

wednesday: reading ‘bad kitty’ books together on the way to school, and laughing hysterically.004

thursday: micah built this sentence, and then I had him read it. the word he didn’t have trouble with: jumped. the word he did have trouble with: the. he can read, but only if he doesn’t know he’s doing it. go figure.011

friday: layla and friends in the lunch room. love these girls. I hope they’ll always be friends.012

saturday: a totally beautiful morning for soccer.014

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

major slacker, reporting for duty.

okay, serious lack of posts lately.

I am currently uploading a MONTH’s worth of pictures. a whole month!!! I NEVER do that. the process of going through them all and editing, selecting, etc. is a bit daunting. HOWEVER, I have empty pages in my 2013 project life album that will NOT remain empty, so something must be done.

at any rate, the lack of posts is not due to lack of anything going on in our family. quite the contrary. far too much is going on. the ability to sit down at the computer and upload, type, THINK through my fingers is a rare opportunity now.

quite honestly, I hate it.

I love it, but I hate it.

of course, it’s all my own doing.

I never wanted to be one of these families. to be excessively busy. to sit down at the table for dinner, join hands, and realize we have NO IDEA who’s turn it is to pick the prayer because we don’t even remember the last time we all sat down together!

but I don’t know how to fix it.

strike that, I do. I just don’t like the solution, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be pretty unpopular, should I suggest it.

we collectively decided that waivering in to northshore schools was what we wanted to do. socially, academically, etc. the kids wanted to be there, I didn’t want them going to high school next door to the prison. so we do a lot of driving. it’s not bad. 15-20 minutes each way. not terrible, but it eats up a lot of my time. and gas.

the other thing is sports. my kids are not in a TON of activities. micah and layla play soccer. shane plays football. that’s it. no scouts, no gymnastics, no music lessons. (well, shane is in band, but mostly that is confined to school hours at this point). but 1 day a week for micah, 3 for layla, and 4 for shane adds up to a LOT of days of the week where our evenings are messed up. not to mention, dave is coaching both soccer teams, so he has to leave work early on those days, which leads to almost guaranteed longer hours on the other days.

I hate that. I hate squeezing dinner and homework and chores and stories and bedtime into a miniscule amount of time. I hate that they get to bed late EVERY night. I hate always feeling rushed. I hate that we never have time to just hang out together. I hate that by the time the kids are all in bed, WE should be going to bed, which leads to no time to hang out together, or if we do, it’s falling asleep downstairs while watching ‘friends’ reruns. don’t get me wrong, watching ‘friends’ reruns is one of our favorite things to do (I do realize how sad that sounds, but hey, it’s one of our things. don’t judge.), but it would be nice to not feel like we’re on the hamster wheel.

so what do I do? do I just say, no sports? that’s kind of mean. there will be a lot of upset kids (and dad) if I do that.

sigh.

I’m pretty sure this is the time of year that moving to the mountains and becoming amish starts to sound like a good idea.

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