Thursday, February 28, 2013

Winter White and Sparkly Green

Because it looks like this at my house

And this

And this

I thought it would be fun to have a giveaway to chase our winter time 
we've just had more snow in 5 days than we did in two years
blues away.

So, I'm giving away this

My copy of Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle
more affectionately known as "Big Momma".

Melanie's book is a sweet and oh so funny look at motherhood.

I've been reading Melanie's blog for several years now and she has such a great way telling
the truth about motherhood without scaring you half to death.

All you have to do to win is comment on this post.
You can also enter by 'liking' Lessons From Aisle 12 on Facebook 
and yet another entry by following me on Twitter. 

Three ways to enter to win this -did I mention #27 on the NY Times best sellers list??
How cool is that?

I'll randomly  draw for a winner on Saturday.
(Must live in the USA)

Blessings from the frozen tundra,

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Women of Pinterest

As with most social media, I have fallen in love Pinterest.

In fact J said one night after dinner "Pinterest has changed our lives!"

I've really enjoyed making new recipes and trying them out on the family. And for the most part, they REALLY enjoy eating them!

There have also been some great ideas for organizing, crafts with the kids and cute outfit ideas and home decor I've picked up along the way.

But, I have noticed a phenomena, which isn't exclusive to Pinterest; it can also been seen on Facebook, Twitter, any number of blogs and various female authors.

This idea that your identity or success as a wife/mother is wrapped up in how organized and clean your house is, what organically grown made from scratch dinner you served your family and of course you did all these things while training for your half marathon, wearing skinny jeans and a fabulous scarf you grew the wool for and knitted yourself.

That somehow being a "Biblical Woman" or a "Proverbs 31 Woman" is wrapped up in how much we do, not how much we love.

I'm not saying those things are  wrong, but I am saying if that's where you're finding your worth and value as a woman and more importantly, Child of God, then you my Dear Sister are caught in a trap.

Somehow, Satan has realized that while he  can't convince many of us down more obvious traps like addictions of substances, instead he can get us in the trap of the addiction of perfectionism, business and approval.

While I'm sure every generation of women have had this struggle in some form or another, we're the first with access to comparison 24/7 in countless forms.

I've heard it said that, "Comparison is the thief of joy". . and boy oh boy do we have a lot of sneaky thieves running around!

There are some reading right now, who've shut me off because they think I'm telling them it's ok to be lazy and that I'm saying it's OK to not take care of your families.

Please hear me when I say that could not be farther from what I am saying.

What I AM saying is, if you get on Pinterest and all you can see is what you're NOT doing correctly then perhaps it's time for a break.

If you're on Twitter and you see all the post from authors defining what it means to be a 'successful  mother' and instead of building you it's piling the guilt on, perhaps it's time for a break.

If Facebook has you feeling like you haven't done enough for your kids/family because they aren't the star athlete, class president , perhaps it's time for a break.

Or better yet, perhaps it's time for us to reassess what it means to be a godly wife and mother.

Instead of what Johnny does on the football field, or how organized our pantry is, or what craft project we did -whether the people we love cared about those things or not; we defined our success by how we loved- when it wasn't easy, how much we gave -when it hurt, how we shined the light of Jesus in the darkness around us, what if we counted that as success?

Join me in resisting the lie that if we do  more we'll be worth more.

Your value was set long ago when you were formed in your mother's womb by the Creator of the Universe. When he chose to send His son as a sacrifice for you when you'd done absolutely nothing to deserve it.

Instead of seeing us busy with the 'stuff' of life, perhaps if our families saw us busy following Jesus and finding our TRUE worth in Him, THAT would make the biggest impact in their lives. . .


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How Do You Do That?

That's what  the concierge at the resort we stayed at this weekend asked my husband  when J told him

we were celebrating our Twenty First anniversary.

"How do you do that? Stay married that long!"

My Dear J's response was sweet if untrue, "My wife makes it easy".

(Seriously so sweet and really not true)

I'm a wee bit emotionally high maintenance.

As we spent time enjoying each others company and the ability to finish our sentences with the interruption of our three beautiful miracles (thank you Mimi and Poppie) we reflected on where we've been and were we'd like to go.

Let me be first to say, we don't have some idealistic marriage.

We have three kids with health issues and a beagle.
We have an extended family probably much like yours.
We have bills and jobs that overwhelm us.
And personalities that are as different as night and day.

But, if you like the concierge are thinking the same thing-How do you stay married that long??

Here a few things we came up with this weekend.

1)Don't take yourselves to seriously. Try and find something to laugh about everyday.

2)Allow each other to change and grow. The fact is you're different at 40 than you were at 20 (at least I'd certainly hope so!) Don't freak out about that -it's a natural thing. Enjoy the beauty of watching each other change.

3)The best gift I ever gave J was when I stopped trying to be his Holy Spirit.
Seriously, Girls, stop it.  You're only hurting the both of you.

4) Forgiveness.
Learn it. Ask for it. Give it.

5) Grace.
Learn it. Ask for it. Give it.

6) Stop waiting for him/her to 'complete you'.  That's some stupid movie line that while sounds so lovely to our ears will make you miserable in the long run.  Another person can't and probably shouldn't 'complete' you.
You were created with that inner longing, but Christ is our completion.
Let your spouse off the hook for not doing a job they were never meant to have.

7) A good kiss goes a long way.

8) When you don't feel like you can stay and hold on one more day.  . .that's the time to hold on the strongest.
I find it hard to believe anyone who's been married for any length of time if they say that the thought of leaving has never even once entered their minds.
Life is hard and can wear you down and there is a real battle for our families, so those thoughts are real.
However, that's when you go back to numbers 4 and 5 and don't just talk about them but DO THEM.
Sometimes for a day, sometimes for a month.

9)When you need help, ask for it.
A good counselor can go a long way.

10) Pray
Pray for your spouse, with your spouse. Pray for your kids your family.
And after you pray, pray some more.

Listen we laugh, we cry, we fuss, we don't listen as much as we should, but we also make the choice everyday to stay, to love, to obey-when it's easy and when it's the hardest thing to do.

And that's not to say if your life took a turn you never saw coming that now God doesn't love you or can't use you.
Learn from you past, let God heal you and follow Him.

Now, Go kiss your Man and make his toes curl!


Saturday, February 16, 2013

TIme Flies . . .

Twenty One anniversary's come and gone.

Yes, it's true.
The husband and I celebrated 21 years together yesterday and today we'll head down to our favorite lake for some time away to be together just the two of us.

(Thank you Mimi and Poppie for being the best people we could ever leave our kids with !!)

A couple of people said to me yesterday that I didn't seem old enough to have been married for 21 years. . .and I agreed !  I certainly don't feel old enough.  And our babies don't seem old enough to have parents married that long.
But, it's true.  I was a blushing bride at the ripe old age of twenty.
My handsome Airman waiting at the end the aisle was all of twenty three-I thought he was so mature and charming.
And I still do!

Of course looking back I see what babies we really where!

On paper our story looks something like a Nicholas Spark movie.

I had gone to Germany to teach in a school for children who's parents were serving in the military.
Jerry had been stationed there not quite two years.  A lonely Texas boy striking out to make his mark on the world.
He'd just returned from serving in Desert Storm.

We met in a singles group at the church we were attending.

I was pretty sure he was the cutest thing I'd ever seen.

He called his grandma and told her he found the girl he was going to marry.

Two weeks later he asked, and I said yes. (Yes, you read that correctly)

Six months later we said 'I Do' and vowed to never walk away.
We had stars in our eyes and were pretty sure we were the two people who'd invented love.

Sounds dreamy doesn't it?

And it was.

It was also completely reckless and stupid.

Thankfully, I'm pretty sure God has a special place in his heart for the stupid.

It hasn't always been easy.

Two extremely different personalities who didn't know a blooming thing-what could possibly be easy in that ??

There have been times we've held on by the tips of our fingers. . .

Staying together out of sheer  obedience, knowing that while walking away would have felt good for the moment in the end it would have been wrong.

But, the good has always outweighed the bad.
The laughter filled up rooms more than the tears.

Blessed beyond measure by three  miracles who are a beautiful blend of two personalities of two broken people.

Grace has been so easy to see everyday.

Becoming best friends and a shelter to each other when the world seems so cold and harsh.

Thankful we held on when it would have seemed easier to walk away-because now we get to reap the blessing of some of those painful years.

Twenty one years.
My my how time does indeed fly.

Grace at every turn-given and received.
Space to grow into the people we were meant to be.
Laughter to drive the dark way.

And a kiss that can still curl my toes.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Snack Time

My little one has become fascinated with birds.

In the warm months she and her daddy sit outside and use an app that makes different bird calls, to see what birds they can get to call them back.
Such a treat to see her face light up when it works!

Because of this fascination, we've added a bird feeder this winter to our back patio.
It's proven to be some interesting watching.

I found myself alone at the kitchen window the other day and I paused what I was doing and just stood there at watched.

Two of the things I became most fascinated by

1) Birds are messy creatures! Can you see all the seed on the ground? That was originally all in the feeder and got tossed to the ground by some excited birds.

2) There are birds willing to only eat the food from the ground and never bother to fly up where the bowl is full.
See that little guy down there-he never once even tried to go where the abundance was. Instead pecked piece by piece what was left for him on the ground.

As I've mulled over this seen and see it  play out several more times this past week, I've been struck how as Christians, we're not that different really than those silly birds.

God has laid out everything we need to feed us.
Abundant, hearty, plentiful food in the form of His word.

But, sadly most of us settle for the stuff others knock out of the bowl and leave on the ground for us.

Perhaps you have no idea what I'm talking about at this point. . .

How about the stuff we re- post or retweet  on Facebook or Twitter-good stuff, a word fitly spoken,
a Bible verse even.
Or we listen to our Praise and Worship music for an hour and call it good.
And don't miss understand what I'm saying-I LOVE that!
Music speaks to our soul and we should fill ourselves with the beauty of music about our Savior.

But, reading a blog post or the latest book, retweeting a great quote, re posting a pretty picture with a lovely saying on Facebook, listening to the oldest or newest in Christian music will and can never take the place of sitting in God's word and being feed a full meal.

So, that's my challenge to you and to me too, let's not be satisfied eating the stuff others have knocked down on the ground for us.
Let's fly up, just a little and eat the banquet   prepared especially for us!

You can do it!
Don't know where to start?
Start with the Gospel of John in the New Testament.  You don't have sit for hours at a time.
But, you do have to sit.

Try it.

I promise it will be more satisfying then eating the crumbs, although they are tasty, others have left for you.

I don't know about you but I'm ready for a meal, not just a snack.