I have so many thoughts running around in my brain that I've got writers block! I'll have something brilliant, witty, and thought provoking for you soon. ;) In the mean time, check out my little nerds!
Rusty took me to The Pit, here in Raleigh! It's a lot nicer than it sounds, it's fancy pants bbq and we really had a great time. Here are some photos to document the loveliness... and one really scary one that I can't believe I'm sharing.
Okay here's the frightening one!! All of a sudden I see the lens zoom something fierce so I asked Rusty how close this thing was going to be and he said, "Chin up!" This is me asking, "Chin up?!?!" Having no idea if this was a posing suggestion or an actual dimension. He calls this shot, "Incredulous". Isn't he so lucky to have me???
For Valentine's Day I cooked a nice heart healthy meal! Mmm.
Judah regained an interest in sharing this time with Andrew...
...and succeeded! When they chose matching tattoos I asked if I could have a matching one and they said "nooooo only boys have baseballs!" So my little sexists chose a star for me... oh well.
Snuggle time with Daddy.
We spent the majority of the beautiful spring day outside and my allergy meds failed me. When I laid my head down after dinner Judah said, "Mommy, come over here!" Then he snuggled me and played with my hair. Overwhelmed with love.
I like to look up what the traditional gift ideas are for anniversaries, so here we go. For the seventh anniversary the traditional gift suggestion is wool/copper. The modern suggestion is a desk set! What on earth?? I love this stuff. It makes no sense whatsoever. I'm just holding out for the tenth where the suggestions are Tin/Aluminum and diamonds, I expect a crushed Coke can and a big fat diamond key-chain so we look aloof and spoiled. But this year I suppose a handful of pennies and a paperweight can bring an equal amount of joy and nostalgia. Happy Seven years, Babe!
***If you've never heard the seemingly fictional tale of how we met, dated, were engaged, married, and married again... Click Here!! ***
Two steps back? No, I've set my mind to not move backward. I've been knocked down in my progress towards forgiveness but I am bound and determined to not let it set me back. I'm going to look at it as a halt in progress, not a reversal of progress. What's the difference? Who knows really, but a decision about attitude can make all the difference in the world to an emotional being.
Romans 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
How I've been reading this verse: If possible, so far as it depends on you,be at peace with all men.
Even though I have come to the conclusion that I could successfully forgive my offenders with or without their participation, something inside of me was uneasy because I am very much not at peace with all men. I felt that even though I had decided in my heart to forgive and love these people, that because they were still out there gossiping about me, and hating me with their words and actions, that there was still something more for me to do. When my efforts towards peace were once again denied, I felt defeated. I maybe even let my attitude slip and believed that I was moving in reverse. I reached out to my friends and one wise friend sent me this verse from Romans. Only she was reading it like this:
If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
*GASP* My world was rocked. How is it that changing the emphasis from the end to the beginning can make all the difference in the way I hear the message of this verse? The first clause allows for the idea that peace with all men may not be possible. It allows me to inspect my heart, and if I find that I have done all that is possible to be at peace, then I am freed from the responsibility to make peace happen. How light my burdens became.
But now what? I've allowed myself to stop pursuing peace. I've decided to forgive. But the hurt and the anger is still tangible in my mind. After talking to the elder who keeps giving me homework assignments, (that I adore as long as it's a writing assignment) and being told that it's time for me to surrender that anger and the hurt to the one who judges righteously, I felt almost nervous. I actually WANT to be hurt, and mad. I want to be the one in charge of dealing out the consequences, even if only in my mind. But all the hours that my mind is tied up with the anger and sadness of my injuries are hours that are not spent loving my God, my children, my husband, my family, my friends, or my church. Every one of those people has a right to my time. I am being unfaithful to dozens of people I love, in exchange for dwelling on people I can't change, and who don't want my time or my thoughts. Yikes!
Proverbs 9:7-10 He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself, and he who reproves a wicked man gets insults for himself, Do not reprove a scoffer; or he will hate you, reprove a wise man and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser, Teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
I so very much want to be the wise man. I am praying that I would be the kind of person who can accept correction. I also want to be more careful about recognizing who wants reproof from me. I would be untrue to instruction to continue offering correction or advice where it isn't heeded or desired.
Hebrews 4:16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Significant parts of this verse. 1. We are instructed to get close with confidence. I so struggle with my confidence in God's goodness, and his promises. I also can't imagine drawing physically near to God confidently, I can't even imagine approaching our local weather man with confidence, and I can't even think of his name right now. 2. WE CAN APPROACH THE THRONE! If this doesn't seem huge to you, than we need to talk. Oh. My. Goodness. God has made his throne approachable to little ol' me. I'm honored and humbled by that fact. 3. so that we MAY receive mercy. Not so that we can maybe-possibly-if he's feelin' like it-eh-we'll see how it's going today-hypothetically receive mercy. God keeps his word. Approach and receive mercy. 4. and find grace to help in time of need. Step one: receive mercy. Step two: find grace to help. The ordering may or may not be significant, but like being told what's going to happen when, and in what order. So this brings calm to my mind.
1 Peter 2:23 And while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.
I want to be very careful to not compare my struggles to those of Christ. I think that we can host a pretty spectacular pity party if we will put ourselves in that place. But, I do think that we can learn from the way that Christ handled His suffering and do our darnedest to handle it similarly.
Through this situation I have met people that have changed me for the better, heard sermons I never would have heard that have challenged and taught me, grown friendships with people who otherwise may have remained acquaintance, and searched my bible for answers with a hunger I haven't had in years. When you look at something that way it's hard to really be sad that it happened. If a few crappy circumstances have spiraled me off into a dozen really glorious ones, that seems pretty well worth it to me.
Yesterday we were getting together with a friend, and we wanted the boys to go to sleep early for the sitter. So, I kept them awake all day, no naps, not a wink. I knew that they'd be tired by the end of the day, but when we sat down for dinner at 6 Judah took two bites then FELL OUT! I mean literally. He was chewing his food and I noticed a couple tell-tale head bobs. Then sure enough his head just fell to the side. Rusty "caught" it with his arm, and he stayed that way for the rest of dinner. At some adorable point Judah opened his eyes, grabbed a chip, put it in his mouth, then laid his head back down while he chewed. Andrew said, with enthusiasm, "He wants to EAT and SLEEP at the SAME TIME!" Hilarious, that boy. Here is some evidence... The rest of us are faking, because Andrew thought it was the only appropriate way to respond to the sleeping brother.
Andrew's hair most often looks kinda crazy, to put it gently. On occasion we get it to lay somewhat flat before church, and I tried to catch a couple pictures where he didn't have major bed-head. In the meantime I caught some fun brother lovin' that made me chuckle.
Those beads are on a rubber band, and Judah did NOT get snapped in the face with it, even though it looks like that's about to happen.
Me and my boys! I am crazy about these two.
This is our surprised face! We have silly photo time so regularly that now Andrew is our caller. He'll say, "now let's do scared! now let's do fish-face! now let's do mad!" It's hilarious. So many hundreds of pictures of me and the boys looking insane...
I let Andrew play with my iPod Touch. He plays a memory game, he lands planes, and he plays a xylophone. At some point yesterday I can tell that he's landing planes because whenever they crash he makes a *CRASSSSSSH* sound effect. After a while I can tell that he's getting a little frustrated but was shocked when instead of "crasssssh" I hear, "DAMMIT!" Oops. That one's probably on me. I took away the iPod and told him, "Andrew, please don't say that, it's not a nice thing to say!" He responded with, "Only Mommy and Daddy can say dammit?" Ugh. That feels good.
Proverbs 12:16 A fool's anger is known at once, but a prudent man conceals dishonor.
My speech is t.e.r.r.i.b.l.e. It has been the bane of my existence (and my mother's) for as long as I can remember. The same quickness of speech that makes me funny and clever, makes me sharp and unkind in the blink of an eye. I want for my children to be better than me in this regard and there is nothing more humbling than realizing you pass your flaws along to your children as well as your strengths.