Day 406: Patched Up

rainforest pool

Last summer, my boys wanted to blow up our little kiddie pool in the backyard, but Big Daddy was gone and I didn’t know how to work the air compressor, so I decided that I would just have to go old school on that pool. Well, sorta old school. I used a bicycle foot pump.

And it took for.ev.er.

But I did it. I struggled through. Switched out which foot I used several times. Sweated. Huffed and puffed. Used my hands to work the foot pump a few times cause my legs were giving out. But I kept going and finished it. Even had to blow up the little extra decorative parts using air from my lungs.

And then, I realized… one of the little extra blowup parts that made the pool look like a rainforest… had a hole. It wasn’t the WHOLE pool that had a hole, but still, If I didn’t keep that part aired up it would fall over into the pool. I mean, the pool would still be usable, but not as fun.

My faith has been so much like that pool the last few months. It has needed constant work to keep it aired up. And it just hasn’t been as much… “fun”. But, it’s worked. When my sweet grandmother went to Jesus in November, my faith was there… it led me immediately to Jesus. He was my comfort, my hope, my refuge. Then my faith went back to “keeping it aired up” status. Not splashing around. Not resting in the cool comfort. Just working at keeping it going.

But lately, there is this tiny… okay, maybe not tiny, but very small… almost imperceptible change happening in my heart.

Where I find myself softly choosing Jesus instead of my own desires.
Where I find myself longing for His Word.
Where I find myself speaking words of adoration and thanks to Him.
Where I find myself slowly, slowly finding calmness, contentment, perspective.

Honestly… I can’t say that there is anything that I did, or didn’t do, that led to this change. Maybe I’m reading my bible again more. Maybe I’m praying more and with a little more faith. Maybe my Sunday School teacher is the bizomb and is ripping apart everything that I have believed and making sure I believe it for real. Maybe just picking up the Beth Moore book every couple of days is transforming me. Maybe it’s my life calming down a bit. Maybe it’s the Easter season upon me.

Or maybe it’s just God’s plan. God’s timing. God’s change.

Cause I learned a lot about myself, my faith, my God, my gluttony, my hurts, my hopes during that time of keeping my faith “aired up”. And I was reminded of how important it is to stay the course, stay steady. It doesn’t have to be a Beth Moore study every night, or a Jim Cymbala prayer, or a Billy Graham conversion.

A verse a day. A prayer a day. A worship a day.
In the car. On the potty. In my bed. At the dinner table.
Quick and hurried. Tearful and begging. Flustered and worried.

The key… is going back to Him. Keeping that faith aired up. Cause He’ll patch that hole. You keep it aired up and He’ll patch that hole when the time is right. When you’ve learned a little something. When you’ve realized how much easier it is to just let Him patch that hole instead of keeping it aired up.

And then, for a bit, you can sit back, grab a glass of iced tea (peach flavored, if you’re really living it up), and relax in the cool, refreshing water of His Spirit.

Day 178: You Complete Me

So, I’m having to backtrack a bit here since I have fallen behind quite a bit. Like I mentioned on day 171, summer is a bit of a routine killer for me, and I think most of my blogging was really routined during the school year.

Plus, yes, I have been sorta “meh” about the whole covenant in general lately.

Now, allow me to clarify what I mean by that.

I believe in God. I believe in His Power to change me. I believe that this covenant is a powerful agreement with God based on my love for Him and His Love for me. I believe that He knows my failings and my successes are going to come and go. I believe that He will love and adore me no matter what the outcome of today or tomorrow or the next day.

And there is the crux. I believe all of these things… I know them in my heart of hearts. But there are just some times when believing doesn’t… work. Remember this verse in James?

You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. James 2:19

Now, I don’t want to get into a theological discussion about this verse (as I know there could be a deep theological discussion about it) because that is for another time… another blog. But my point is that James is punking these guys out… listen to his sass: “Good for you!” Haha… love that! What he is telling us though is that sometimes our human-version of faith isn’t enough, we HAVE to have what we often call “works”… referred to in this verse as “actions”:

You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. James 2:22

And I have definitely seen that in action lately. I have had zeroooooooooooooooo personal motivation to eat fruit and veggies. All I have wanted was pantry junk… stuff that is “on” the covenant but is not necessarily beneficial. And I have had quite a bit of that pantry junk over the past two weeks (see day 170). I have had bread again, which I said I wouldn’t have. I have even been sneaky about foods and allowed my old-self to resurface a few times and could hear a battle inside of me about eating something when I was not hungry but just wanted the taste… or the escape… or the experience.

But time and time again, even though I was heinously close to breaking the covenant, I have held the line. I have remembered that covenant and forced myself to act according to that covenant.

My actions have made my faith complete.

They have not made my faith easy.

But complete.

And so as I work through this time of difficulty and lack of motivation and struggle… I will do my best to make my actions fall in line and follow the covenant that I have made with the Almighty God.

And He will complete me.

Day 171: Honor God Tomorrow

First of all, a note: Sorry for dropping off the planet for a while there. I think I’m about a week behind on my posts, and if you’re new… this happens every once in a while to me. I lose all motivation to share, discuss, write, etc. Annnnnnd that was this past week. Like I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been struggling with the covenant as a whole the past week (I’ll write about my getting past it on day 174). So, anyway… I’m going to try to catch up over the next few days, but we’ll see how that goes!

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I know that I keep on talking about how going to sleep is a huge thing for me, and so… well, I’m going to talk about it again! Summer time is the most difficult time for me to go to bed on time because my ironclad routine that I have during the school year just goes out the window. I mean… I keep some of the same schedule like lunch time and nap times are almost always the same, but pretty much the rest of the stuff goes out the window. Soooo, the boys might wake up at 7:30 (instead of 7:00 that it is during the 180 days of school), and if we go to the mall or something to play then nap time might be around12:30 or 1:00 instead of 12:00, and the worst… if we are outside playing in the sprinkler late in the evening, then I might be too content to let a bed time interrupt us and the boys will stay up until 8:30 or even 9:00 if I’m being really risky.

And so when one of those late bedtimes gets factored into the equation or if I just did a bad job of keeping up with my chores during the day hours (and yes… I call them chores still because cleaning house, doing laundry, cooking, etc… all of that is a chore to me) then I go to bed later. Necessary for me to go to bed later? No, of course not. It’s just that when the boys are both down by 8:00 or 8:15 then I get a good two hours of “me” time before hitting the sack at 10:00. If they go to bed closer to 9:00 then that means I only have one hour left, but my mind and heart and soul still want a full two hours, sooooo I stay up until 11:00. And of course those nights that I stay up until 11:00 are guaranteed to have one of the boys either teething or having growing pains, or one of them will decide that a 6:00 or 6:30 wake up time is more in order throwing off my entire morning “me” time.

Yes. I’m rambling.

But a few nights ago I was really into reading this book for my book club (One Amazing Thing) and I just did not want to put it down. And then I had the good ol spiritual battle conversation:

I should really go to bed.

Nahhhhhhhh… no reason. It’s just sleep. You can get some more tomorrow night, or take a nap tomorrow.

But that never works. And I need to go to bed early enough so that I can honor God.

You can honor God tomorrow… this is “YOU” time!

But that’s it… if I go to bed on time and get enough rest then I will be able to honor God… tomorrow. If I don’t go to sleep now, then I will be too exhausted to properly honor God tomorrow. I’ll be cranky and I’ll want to eat everything.

So, in not-so-typical January form, I put the book down and went to bed at 10:00.

And ya know what? I woke up well rested (despite having to wake up twice in the night for my teething toddler who is still getting in his vampire teeth). I wasn’t cranky. I wasn’t hungry. I actually only needed one cup of coffee (that is a big deal for your non-coffee addicts). It was a good day.

And it was easy to honor God.

Because I chose the night before to honor Him.

And look… we even get a promise about going to bed!

When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Proverbs 3:24

But we have to take action first… we have to lie down (and I don’t think this means lie down in your bed with your iPhone on…).

And although this is “all about” going to bed in order to honor God (because you’ll be less hungry if you do), there are a gillion ways for us to think of how to honor God tomorrow: if it’s food related then get out your covenant-friendly breakfast tonight so that it is ready for you tomorrow. if it’s bible related then get your bible and journal out tonight (and if you’re like me, prep the coffee pot… or even better… program it) so that you can sit down right to reading the Word and sippin on a cup of joe. if it’s child related, then get their clothes out and ready or their breakfasts or plan out the days activities.

But figure out how you’ll honor Him tomorrow and then do it tonight (if you need motivation… my husband taught me this… picture yourself tomorrow going through the steps of easily honoring God… picture yourself walking out of your room into the kitchen and seeing that banana and some granola in a bowl ready for you. picture walking over to the coffee pot and switching it on and then sitting down at your pre-prepared bible spot. picture yourself busting out a June Cleaver moment walking into your children’s bedrooms and effortlessly switching out their PJs for their day clothes.

But try to honor Him tonight for tomorrow (if that makes any sense). Just try it for one time. Maybe just once a week try to honor Him this way. And maybe, just maybe, when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

Day 164: Growing Up Covenant

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My husband, who is an English teacher during the school year, is home for the summer. And, I try as much as I can to give him some moments of peace and quiet at home during the first couple of weeks (plus, in the summer he works a lot on his songwriting method called ChordDice and although squeals of laughter are fun to hear, they can also be kind of distracting)! So, one day I took my boys to a McDonald’s close by to adventure in the play area… my toddler has just gotten to the point where he can navigate the entirety of the slides and mazes without my help so it’s kind of relaxing for me!

Typically when we go play at a place like McDonald’s, I’m a mooch that doesn’t buy the kids food… we just play. Yeah, yeah… I’m THAT mom. Haha! But this time I had planned to get them some pancakes and leave it at that; although, having a toddler I have learned my lesson many-a-time that he will probably not eat whatever I plan on him eating when we go somewhere. So, I always bring backups.

This particular day, I brought grapes and strawberries and a banana in case he didn’t want pancakes, but I didn’t anticipate using it… I mean, what kid would choose grapes over pancakes?!!?

But sure enough, he didn’t eat a bite of pancake but he obliterated the fruit.

And I kind of realized… he is growing up in my covenant. I didn’t have good fruit and veggies and stuff when my youngest was a toddler… his “backup” food consisted of cheerios, pop tarts (not saying that I don’t still whip that one out every once in a while when I’m desperate), graham crackers, etc. I don’t think that I ever took fruit anywhere for him! And now I’m having to struggle a bit to get him living covenant with us. It’s working, but it’s a slow process of retraining his tastebuds too.

But, seeing my youngest so easily fit himself into the covenant, I am reminded of this verse… this promise:

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. Proverbs 22:6

Day 150: The Devil Wears Speedo

Ahhhhhhh, it’s pool season again.

Admittedly, over the years pool season has given me both trembles of excitement… and waves of nausea. Hanging out by the pool (which, in our case is a little kiddie pool) in the shade of a tree under the hot sun with a cool Texas breeze drifting over me… oh it’s just pure decadence to me. I love the heat and I love the water… not a big fan of hurricanes which is the only reason I don’t live on the beach. But with all of that comes… bathing suits. And bathing suits, I’m convinced, are of. the. devil. And I’d just love to tell you why I think that!!!

  1. If a girl is skinny or has a great figure or whatever, then starting at a very young age, she is pressured into wearing skimpy, skimpy bikinis… much to the chagrin of a mother trying to protect her innocence as well as the chagrin of all the mothers of boys who are trying to protect their already fragile innocence! (I have recently come to understand this more keenly working in the youth department at church…)
  2. If a girl is not so skinny or doesn’t fit into the “skinny girl norm” look then wearing a bathing suit is nothing short of humiliating. I mean, most of us spend hours shopping trying to find some kind of outfit that will cover our less-than-favorite areas, and then come pool season, we have to wear what is essentially underwear out in public… exposing our bodies for what they really look like underneath those well-planned outfits from the rest of the year.

See?

Proof that the devil does exist… bathing suits.

As an adult, I have teetered so long in between both of those categories above. I always wanted to wear a “cute” bathing suit, but hated to be revealing and… well… skanky, and even more, I hated having to reveal that I was far more overweight than my capris would allow anyone to see!

But… yes, there’s always a “but” isn’t there? (And when I’m in my bathing suit it’s a really big “butt”- hahaha! Ohhhhh, I’m so funny!)

The other day my four year old went to a swim party at a local natatorium with this awesome splashy play area inside and a lazy river type thing and a big pool area and a hot tub and a ginormous red water slide. It was awesome. We adults were to go and play with them, so I had my hubs stay at home while our toddler napped and my four year old and I went on a little mommy-son outing! And what must mommy-dearest wear to this pool party? Well, a bathing suit, of course!

Over the years, since my family loves to go to the lake on my dad’s boat, I have chosen to get competitive swim suits (like speedo or TYR) because they are very lake friendly (especially when my dad pulls us around behind the boat tubing… the man is a master at flipping my brother and I off the tube). And I figured that type of suit would be best for going to this play area with my son who does not yet know how to swim and would probably be all over me.

I tell you all of this to say that I was determined to not be stressed about my appearance there. I kept reminding myself that what I looked like in a bathing suit had nothing to do with… well, with anything! The bathing suit was merely to cover what it needed to cover and allow me to swim and have a blast with my son.

And you know what… I actually believed myself this time. I wasn’t self-conscious there. I didn’t even try to suck in my belly! I just… swam. and laughed. and splashed. and swam some more. and chased my son around. and then I swam some more with him. It was a great, great time!

It was really one of the first times that I have felt like I was living that verse that I have had to repeat to myself over and over and over again…

The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

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Moment Of Brilliance

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Okay so in no way does this have anything to do with my covenant diet, but it was just too brilliant not to share!!! (Especially since my moments of “Mommy Brilliance” tend to be few and far between- ha!)

My boys have been really wanting some pool play but you know how they slip and slide and fall on their rears in the little blow up pools? Welllll, we got some of these hand-me-down old patio cushions and put them under the pool!

The boys have been playing NON STOP!!! It takes out the element of being afraid to slip and fall so they are splashing around more, running and jumping in, etc.

Gonna try it tomorrow with the slip n slide!

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