Hope for the Future

Overheard in my car today:

Hope: "I hope the antichrist comes soon."
Me: "Why?'
Hope: "So Jesus will come back sooner."

I have never met anyone, let alone a child who longs for Jesus' return as much as she does. I know I don't. But I want to!

Of course, she may have been anxious for the return of Jesus on this particular day so she wouldn't have to ride in the car to take her sister to dance class.

Olympic Fever!

I am obsessed with really like the Olympics. I like rooting for America. I like seeing the stories of the athlete's dedication and perseverance. I really like it when the Americans win! I even like the sappy profiles on NBC. I watch sports during the Olympics that I don't normally watch. Speed skating, skiing, snowboarding, the biathlon, hockey, curling- you televise it, and I'll watch it! (Especially if the US might win a medal!)

The downside of the Olympics is that the television coverage lasts into the wee hours of the night. I have to make myself stop watching around midnight. (OK, it's been 12:30 a few nights.) And I wake up late and I'm tireder and less patient the next day. So the past couple of weeks I've been tireder and a little less patient, and our home is certainly messier.

Now that the Olympics are over for two more years, I'm really going to try to get to bed ON TIME! I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

One thing that I've really noticed this year is the athlete's reaction to winning silver or bronze. I loved watching Elisabeth Goergl of Austria ascend the podium for her bronze medal. She was so excited she was jumping up and down. For a bronze. Watching her made me happy. And Joannie Rochette's bronze was so touching. Even Apolo was humble and gracious when another's mistake may have cost him the gold or silver.

And then there's Evgeni Plushenko. Who appeared extremely disappointed about his silver during the medal ceremony. And who then declared that he deserved the gold in a subsequent interview. And who had a platinum medal (now removed) from the Vancouver Olympics on his website. A gracious loser he was not.

But then again, all too often, neither am I. I have never been in the running for Olympic gold. I would be thrilled just to compete in the Olympics! (I would even be thrilled just to watch an event live!) But when I get upset because my neighbor has a better car or my friend is building a beautiful new house or another blogger can afford clothes that are out of my price range, I think the rest of the world would view me like the embittered Russian skater. Most people in the world don't have a car at all. Most of them live in a home a fraction of the size of ours (many with no electricity or running water!). I spend more on clothes than many people make in a year.

I want to live a life of contentment and joy. Contentment when I have little or when I have much. Joy in what God has given me, even He has given someone else more. I want these two qualities to point others to God. And when contentment and joy overcome disappointment, people will notice. I noticed Elisabeth Goergl's joy in winning the bronze and rejoiced with her. May my joy even when I see someone come out ahead be even more contagious. Because my joy isn't in winning a medal or competing well in an athletic competition. My joy is in the Lord!

Lent Me Your Ears

I grew up going to a church where we had to participate in Lent. I didn't like it, but I did it because I had to. My saving grace was that we could add something good to our lives instead of giving something up. I usually chose to do something like make my bed every day. One year my sister gave up candy. I thought she was crazy! When I was in junior high, we joined a church that didn't celebrate the Lenten season. And I was glad.

In the many years since that church change, I've continued going to churches that don't celebrate Lent, including the church we now attend. But this year God had led me to fast from something during the season of Lent. I wasn't seeking it, He just impressed it on me. And I'm actually excited about it!

I've played a couple of harmless games on Facebook. Nothing bad. I don't even spend that much time on them. But I feel like I could use even those few minutes a day doing something good, be it putting a load of clothes in the washer, reading my Bible some more, making a grocery list, or even reading a magazine to learn new recipes or decorating help. Today I hid those applications on FB, so I wouldn't be tempted by some cool change in the game.

I began thinking about this "fast" a couple of weeks ago, and I now think that what I first thought would be a temporary change may be permanent. Either way, I'm excited about following God this Lenten season not out of obligation like I did as a child, but out of love!

Father, use my small fast this season for Your glory. May I use the time I would otherwise spend in FB games to worship You and serve my family.

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If I Could Save Time in a Bottle

Yesterday was the Daddy/Daughter Valentine Party at church. The girls have always had so much fun at this event. This year was Joy and Grace's last year. Next year they will be over the age limit (which I wish were older than it is!) Paul got to read the story. The girls made fun crafts. And much sugar was consumed by all!

I started thinking last night about how much I'm enjoying this stage of our family's life. I really enjoy the age everyone is right now and would like to freeze time at least for a little while! We are at that beautiful season where the girls are independent enough to buckle up in the car, but still need to be tucked into bed at night. Independent enough to stay home with Faith while we go on a date, but still want us to say goodbye before we drop them off at dance or piano or church (often with a kiss!).

Faith is in that wonderful stage of early adolescence where she is still more child than adult. Although I see God maturing her so much spiritually and am so loving that, I also love that she can still be a little girl. I'm so thankful she isn't eager to grow up to fast and is enjoying this last taste of the freedom of childhood. I know these days are numbered, so I want to treasure them.

Hope is really growing up, too. She is much more willing to try new things, which has sometimes been a challenge in the past. I also see her taking more ownership of her things and some of her responsibilities. She's definitely still all child, but an older, more mature child.

Joy and Grace are at that wonderful, joy-filled stage of childhood. Life is just so much fun for them! (Which may be more a factor of their personalities than of their age.) They are so fun and so girly!

I know the coming years will be filled with changes. Driving will replace dolls. Wearing real make-up will replace the current sleepover make-overs. School will get harder. But I pray many things will remain the same. I pray they continue to want our input in their decisions. That they continue to be and have good friends. That they still WANT to spend time with our family. And that they retain their childlike faith while they grow deeper in love with Jesus!

Lord, Help me not to get so caught up in the busy-ness of life and school and schedules that I forget to savor and treasure these wonderful blessings You have given me!!

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Random February Thoughts

If it's going to be cold and wet, I wish the wet were snow (or even sleet!) instead of rain!

Too many cloudy days make me prone to sadness and lethargy.

Sometimes I'd like to take a break from school, but then I know we'd have to go longer in May, so we trudge though.

I hope the rain lets up before our many lessons this afternoon.

Lunch will be way easier when we replace our freezer.

Young Victoria was a really good movie. But it makes being a princess seem much less fun!

I hope when our new modern church service is up and running, Paul will have more time with us!

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Bruised, But Not Broken

It happened again. Someone said something that hurt and the pain lingered. It didn't matter whether it was inadvertent or if an apology was immediately forthcoming. I still hurt. And I wondered why I couldn't just shake it off, get over it. While I pondered this, an answer came to me: I had a soul bruise.

I define a soul bruise as lingering pain caused by another person's words or actions - words or actions that really hurt, whether they meant them to or not. And just like a physical bruise takes time to heal, so does a soul bruise. There are things that speed up healing, such as an apology and forgiveness, but , barring God's miraculous intervention, I will need time to get over the hurting.

This is not the same as nursing a wound or holding a grudge. It's just pain that is not resolved. I forgave the other person, yet I still hurt sometimes. Like a bruise on my body, when something puts pressure on my soul bruise, the pain is worse. (And often, once the initial impact has lessened, I only feel the pain when something puts pressure on what's hurting in me.)

The good news is that soul bruises do heal and fade. Some take longer than others, but they all do heal in time. And one day soon I will look back and realize that I no longer hurt, even when something has put pressure on where my wound once was. God will heal all of my hurts. I must trust Him and give Him time to work.

A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out. In faithfulness He will bring forth justice. ~ Isaiah 42:3

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Things I never thought I'd say: "Don't lick the cat!" (said to a child who shall remain nameless)

Things I never wanted to hear: "Mommy, your hair looks like a lion's mane!" (said to me by Joy after I had dried but not yet flat ironed my hair)

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Who am I?

I a Jesus follower who is trying to teach my four girls at home and be a wife to my minister husband. I prefer reading to cleaning and have a crazy Border Collie and the world's best cat!


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