Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My Grocery List

My grocery list is a work in progress. It lives on my counter and is updated often. I used the last scoop of coffee. Write it down. We're out of bread. Put it on the list. Mom, I need some batteries. Can you bring me the grocery list? I need... I want... I can't find any... Do we have some more... Just. Write. It. Down.

But when I get to the store, this list acts more as a guideline than a rule book. While my husband can walk into Wal Mart and buy ONLY the things that have made it to the list, I am incapable of such discipline. I need a bleach pen. But there's no bleach pen on your list. So? I need a bleach pen.

Maybe this is why Prince Charming is convinced that there is a $100 entry fee for me to even enter the door of our grocery store. But I digress.

I think that God would approve of my "off the list" shopping. I came to this conclusion because when I allow Him to develop the things on His list in my life, I get so much more! As He is teaching me love, I'm also learning graciousness. With joy, I'm also learning to appreciate the little things. Peace? I'm finding a calm home is a bonus. Patience (when it happens) also brings a greater understanding of His plan. And the rewards with kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control are all good stuff. Really good stuff.

So today I'm thanking the Father for his "off the list" blessings in my life. And I'm treating a stain with my shiny new bleach pen.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

So Much More Than Folding Laundry

Do you remember your first year of marriage? I mean...really remember it? It was such bliss being able to spend as much time as I wanted to with Mr. Wonderful. And taking trips. And sleeping late. And discovering so many things about my man that I didn't know before we said "I do."

But that first year was also a time of BIG adjustment. We each came into our marriage with preconceived ideas about how our household would work. And it is these ideas that have had me thinking lately. Remember??

We had to work out: How are we going to divide housework? Where will our holidays be celebrated? Who buys groceries? What about the checkbook? Arrrrgh, the checkbook. And dishes. And laundry. And toilets. And floors. Who goes to the dry cleaner? Who washes the car? Who mows the lawn? Or do we even care if the lawn gets mowed? Where will we worship? How will we fight? And make up?!?

And where did we even come up with our opinions on all of those things anyway?!?

Ahhh, our history. Dishes should be washed - and dried - in this way because that's how my mom did it. Our finances should be handled in a certain way because that's how my spouse's parents did it. From the division of chores to the way we raise our boys, my husband and I each drew from our experiences to determine how we should proceed. Our experiences. Our stories. Our history determined how our household would operate.

So here's my point - if my boys see our home as "the norm", then I want it to be the best it can be! I'm not just folding laundry, I'm raising boys! I'm not just balancing the checkbook, I'm making (their) history! I'm not just loving their daddy, I'm writing the story of their family!

And one day, when my boys are creating households of their own, I hope that the work that I'm doing now will contribute to their "happily ever after."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

When You Can't See the Tree for the Forest

So there's this giant tree in my parent's backyard. In years gone by, its strong limbs held a swing where my boys and their cousins spent hours playing. It towers above the yard and has been there for who-knows-how-long.

But my Dad told me something about it recently that surprised me. "It's dead." "What? Really?" "Yep. See? It doesn't have any leaves at all. In fact, don't let the kids play under it. The limbs have started falling off. It could be dangerous."

I had looked at it many, many times throughout the winter and never noticed anything wrong. All of the trees were barren at that time of year. It blended right in. But now that the trees behind it are in full bloom, it sticks out like a sore thumb. Its lack of life is painfully apparent. It can't hide. I wonder if its uncomfortable. It makes me uncomfortable.

I'm pondering this tree-predicament because we are searching for a new church home. After moving recently, we are ready to find a fellowship of believers of like faith and share our lives with them. But the search is a little tiring.

It would be easy for us to choose one of the hundreds of churches in our new location and become back row pew sitters, showing up for service and going home. We could get dressed up, put our boys in their respective classes, smile, and check the box beside "attended church" for the week.

But my spirit rages against that type of existence! I don't want to become a dead tree, perfectly at home in a winter forest. I desire for my life to be vibrant, alive in Christ, and surrounded by believers who challenge and encourage me.

And I don't want my little "sprouts" to grow up thinking that Christianity is lifeless. So our search continues. That old, dead tree reminds me once again that "the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up for me." And I've never felt more alive.