This is the first summer that I have been home with the boys all summer. I've probably mentioned that before, if I have, I apologize for repeating myself but it is a change when you're used to dropping them off with a daycare/school/sitter. Being with them all day long has it's challenges but it also has it's rewards. It reminds me of when they were babies and they would have a crying fit. I really wouldn't want to be around them in that moment because there was no pleasing them, but when they finally went to sleep I just wanted to continue cuddling them because I loved them so much.
Today, I took the boys to the park and walked the trail. It's a mile (maybe). Before we even started, they began complaining about how they did not want to walk the trail. They wanted to go straight to the playground.
They had their plan, I had mine. Insert difficult moment.
As we walked, because I'm the parent and the can learn to accept the hierarchy of things like I had to, they complained about not going the way they wanted to go. After that they complained about it being too hot, too sunny, too long.
They told me how unfair it was that I was making them walk. They stopped walking a few times until they realized I wasn't going to stop walking and I wasn't going to give in to their complaining. (Just saying, parents, it wasn't easy, in fact it was REALLY REALLY hard not to simply drop to their level and say, 'Fine, you and your whining win')
Typically, they are good about walking and hiking but, you know, we all have our moments.
As we came to the last hill, leading up to the playground, my six-year-old had a meltdown. He's kind of a scrawny guy and certainly not as active as his five-year-old brother. He was crying that it was just too far and his legs couldn't do it.
It would have been easy to pick him up in that moment. It would have stopped the whining and made that last stretch a bit more enjoyable. Plus, it would have eliminated the few odd looks that came our direction. (Nothing to see here people, life lesson in session.)
I began explaining to him how walking more would build his muscles. It would make him stronger and the walk wouldn't be so hard. I went on to say maybe we should do it once every day just to build our muscles up. (They all thought that was a terrible idea, of course.)
However, this whole experience made me think of God. There must be times when he is so over my whining. Times when I am so excited for the end result (the fun playground) but so annoyed with the route he decides to get me there (the walk). I mean, come on, God, I can see the playground to the left, it's so obtainable. Why in the world do we have to take a right, go down a hill, up a hill, back down another hill, and then climb a ginormous mountain just to get there. None of that makes any sense.
To which I'm sure he'd reply, "If we take your route, you won't build any muscles along the way."
God, thank you for loving me no matter how much I complain along the way. Holy Spirit, give me strength to walk better without complaining so much. Help me to recognize that you haven’t forgotten me, you’re simply helping me build up my muscles. Amen
Yesterday, we got to babysit my youngest nephew. He'll be a year old in October (you can figure out the months). It's been about four years since one of our boys was this little. Our boys are in the mostly self-sufficient stage of their life. They know how to get a snack after they ask. They know when they need to use the bathroom. One of them even knows how to do his own laundry-beautiful moment in life.
Having one this little in the house again made me think about all the things we haven't had to think about for a long time.
-Is that too small for him to play with?
-Is he wet?
-Is he hungry?
-Is it safe for him to crawl over there?
Then of course, uncle Jacob started patting his back and they put each other to sleep. Rough life.
All of this made me think about baby Christians. Sometimes we forget what it was like when we first decided to live for Christ. I mean, it's not like things ever get easy but when this is a brand new way of living sometimes a little extra help is needed and appreciated.
And in reality, it works both ways. New Christians need mature Christians, ones that have been living for God for a while. Ones that they can go to, without judgement, and ask stupid questions without feeling stupid. And mature Christians need new Christians with their fresh fire and passion for God. Reminding them of the same passion they had when they first turned to God.
"Continue to have faith and do what you know is right. Some people have rejected this, and their faith has been shipwrecked." 1 Timothy 1:19
The Apostle Paul spoke these words to Timothy, someone new to the faith. He wanted him to be successful in his faith. He wanted him to stay true to his faith. We need to ensure that we are doing the same. If God is nudging you to help mentor someone else don't wait until you're qualified, instead pray continually for God to give you the right words and the right times.
God, help us in our walk to mature and grow. Then God, as we mature and grow, guide us to those younger in the faith that we can help mentor. When they do something 'not very Christian' give us patience. Help us to remember how patient you have been with us when we do things that 'aren't very Christian'. Lord, allow us to recognize that they cannot run before they crawl. There are things that we may have already learned that they are still learning. Help us not to rush them but to guide them as we would small children. Remind us always that we are one body and we need to work together for your glory. Amen
Would you say that it is important to know where you are stepping when you are walking down the street or through the woods? Of course it is, it is important to know that you're not about to step off a curb into on-coming traffic or sidestep off a bluff. The same can be true in our spiritual walk.
"If we don't stand for something, we'll fall for anything." - original speaker unknown
There have been many 'good' things that I have heard on many subjects. Things that made me question why I believed the way that I believed. Some of these things brought me closer to God because they required me to dig in deeper to my relationship with him. Some of these things made me stray from God because I didn't have mature mentors that I took these questions to. (Winging it is not the best option.)
As a Christian, there have been moments when I have been accused of being narrow-minded. And in truth, there were moments that I was. I was afraid to let someone express their opinion that differed from mine but I wasn't sure why.
Looking back I can see that fear came from a place of uncertainty. The crazy part is that I never needed to be afraid of not knowing the answer, or not knowing how to respond, or even being right. The only thing that I should have been focusing on was the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
I remember talking with somebody once about God. This person was agnostic and I had no experience with evangelism. That gave our conversation a dangerous combination. I had no clue what I was doing, so, of course, I opened my mouth and inserted my foot very early in the conversation. (I offended the person, unintentionally.)
At that moment, I said "Holy Spirit, I really need your help." Little did I know that I was evoking the word of God.
"But if any of you needs wisdom, you should ask God for it. He is generous to everyone and will give you wisdom without criticizing you." James 1:5 NCV
An analogy crossed my mind and I quickly gave it to the person. It was a really good analogy, high five, Holy Spirit! By the end of the conversation, the person was not converted to Christianity but there was a recognizable change in their life. They even ended by saying they weren't sure what to call it but whatever I believed in was real.
Take your stand with God.
God, sometimes it is difficult to stand on your word. Let's be honest, people don't like to be told they're doing something wrong. They don't want to take time to think about the future because they are too busy living in the present and the past. (Been there.) Holy Spirit, guide us, prompt us, humble us. Provide opportunities to share God's love with others. Give us boldness to speak of the love and sacrifice that was provided that makes the lives we live different than the lives we use to live. Help us not to seek victory but to seek you. Amen
While reading it, I began thinking about my own prayer life. Most of the time, when I hear about the way someone prayers or the methods they use I wonder if I’m ‘doing it right’. But, reading Becky’s book didn’t give me that feeling. It made me want to tap into my personal relationship with God even more. To be me during our times of communication and to have my own unique time with God rather than trying what ‘works’ for someone else or someone else’s method of prayer.
If you want to read a book about all the steps you need to take to pray, don't read this book. But if you want to read a book about someone's personal relationship with God and how they communicate with Him just as they are and the wild things that happen through that communication- this is the book for you!
Does anything on this package make you laugh? For me, it made me realize you can move on from a job but the lessons you learn, or pains you endure, don't easily fade.
You probably didn't spot anything but for me it immediately made me laugh and cringe at the same time.
Am I supposed to preheat the oven to 350 or 325? 😂
What makes me cringe about this is knowing the amount of checks artwork for any brand goes through before it ever lands on the shelf in front of the consumer. Their are deadlines to meet and so many different eyes viewing, reviewing, and tweaking along the way. Then, after all that, a product hits the shelf with a mistake like this and suddenly it is the end of the world. That, my dear readers, we'll call Brand Management PTSD.
I feel bad for whomever received the wrath for this simple mistake. I can ensure you that the day the mistake was spotted on the shelf in the store was not a pleasant day. However, life goes on. Even when I was involved in packaging I was able to recognize that you own the mistake, correct it, and move on. It wasn't life or death. Eventually, no matter how beautiful or perfect it was, all packaging would eventually find its way to the trash.
While making breakfast this morning, I saw this and began to think of how tragic it was. Not that I could possibly burn my biscuits but that so much effort went into one tiny piece of artwork, that would one day become trash, and so little effort went into the lives of those that worked on the artwork.
"May your kingdom come and what you want be done, here on earth as it is in heaven." Matthew 6:10 NCV
There are so many things in life that we put a high value on. We get awards for things that are most excellent in their class. However, in heaven, I doubt that the artwork on biscuits holds much value. Let's take a moment to recognize the most valuable things here on earth are those around us- people.
Take a moment today to look in the mirror and say these words, “God created you, you are not here by mistake but for his glory. He loves you and adores you. Believe it.”
Then take a moment to look someone, anyone, in the eye and encourage them today. Encourage them like they are the last person you’ll ever get to encourage.
God, help us to perform our work with excellence, to own our mistakes, and correct them quickly. God, help us to recognize that making mistakes sucks. Let us be firm when mistakes need to be corrected but never belittle or 'make an example' of someone because of their mistakes. Let us recognize that they are a person and even more than that someone created in your image. Let us work alongside each other with love, integrity, respect, and honor. Lord, align our value system with yours, that we would place a high value on the lives of others. As your followers, let us bring forth your kingdom and they way you operate, here on earth as you do in heaven. Amen
Let's not even bother with the world as a whole, let's just zoom in to my tiny world and what's going on in it. God, why do you allow heartache and pain, sickness and suffering? Why do you allow healing only to bring allow sickness back in? Why do selfish people seem to prosper and people seeming to seek you struggle?God, why why why why why?
Do you have these questions for your tiny world as well? I mean the world at whole has a lot of issues. But, let's be real, you have your own tiny world, with your city, your state, your relatives. Maybe you have a friend in another country. It doesn't concern you much what is happening in that country but it does concern you what is happening to your friend.
We all have our own little worlds and we all have our GOD WHY? cries that we demand answers to. So what is God's reply? What is His answer? We can find that answer in the Bible when another man cries out 'WHY GOD?'.
"Where were you when I created the earth? Tell me, since you know so much!" Job 38:4
I was praying today, asking God why he was letting this happen to this person, letting that happen to that person. I don't want to see my friends suffer. I don't want to see my family struggle. Then God reminded me of how I feel when I am correcting one of my boys and someone tries to tell me a better way. Not because it is a helpful better way, but because they think I am being too harsh in that moment.
We are all God's children. Take that into consideration for a moment. I have three very different boys with very different needs that I am raising. My husband and I have to acknowledge that what works for one does not always work for another. According to Google the current world population is 7.7 billion, and that's just the people they are able to account for, what about people off the grid or on remote islands? 7.7 unique children to care for, instruct, and strengthen. Um, about my demands, about my 'Why God?' let's just lay that to the side.
God, you are holy and righteous. You alone are God. You created the Earth and everyone in it. You know what is best for your children. Help me not to question you from the pains of my heart but to give you those pains and trust that you are working for good in my life. Though something may hurt today, it may give me the strength that I need in the future. Before my loved ones were ever mine, they were yours. You love them more than I can even imagine. Help me to see the world as you see it, break my heart for what breaks yours, give me faith to trust You daily. Amen
"The Last Arrow: Save Nothing For the Next Life" by Erwin Raphael McManus
"You cannot know every challenge you will face, but you can know who you are when you face that challenge!" -The Last Arrow by Erwin Raphael McManus
That statement alone is powerful. If that was the only thing I received from the book I'd call it good but this book was packed page after page with material that made me think and evaluate the life that I am living. Who am I living for? Who am I allow to alter my decisions? What are my plans in life? Am I giving this life all that I have and living it to the fullest?
As we were driving through Melbourne, I happened to notice this mural painted in an alley. We went back and found the alley. One side had these flying girls that reminded me of Spirited Away and the other had an island scene. Alleys are areas that don’t get a whole lot of traffic and typically go unnoticed but someone took the time to notice this alley.
Take time to notice things today.
Yesterday was the first day full day back from our Florida trip. My cousin's celebration went well and the book signing went well. Now I'm back in the thick of the real world. No more lazy days at the beach or no regard to what time it is. Now I have sinks filling up with dishes, baskets filling up with laundry, boys wanting to know what they can do because they're bored, and book projects waiting to be completed.
I thought about writing last night when Jacob got home. But instead, I went to bed.
Why do I do this? Do you ever have those moments? Moments when you know there are things that you can get done but you have no motivation to do them?
This morning, I woke up thinking about my boys. Do I challenge them? Do I encourage them to be everything that they can be? And even more so, am I modeling that for them with my own life? My answer is no. All too often, I am modeling excuses. How do I change this?
God, guide me. Show me the best way to manage my day and the most responsible way to use the time I have been given. Sometimes, ok, most of the times, it is hard to figure out when to do what. I could pour a ton of time into writing and forget to spend time with Jacob and the boys, or I could pour a ton of time into my family and forget to take time to write. Help me with this. Amen.
I never knew my great-grandpa, Harold Wolter. He died before I was born. But I imagine that there are many that still hold memories of the life he lived. It's strange to think that within just a few generations our lives, our stories, are forgotten.
This past week, my Grandpa, Dennis Wolter, got the chance to see his father once more as he went on to Heaven. All weekend I've been quite numb over the matter. A little bit torn between knowing that I'm going to miss him greatly and remembering how he'd say, "well, there's no sense in crying about it." He'd usually say this to my Grandma, his wife Karen, who'd cry every time we'd have to end our visit with them. He was a strong man but there were times that he too would 'get a little something in his eye'.
I remember staying with my grandparents one summer. I was expressing more and more interest in writing and my Grandpa said he wanted to show me something. He walked back to his bedroom and began digging through the top drawer of his dresser until he pulled out a folded piece of paper. It was a poem that he wrote for His dad, Harold, after he passed away.
At the time, I didn't quite understand why he wanted to share the poem with me. I hadn't known his dad and I really had no idea what loss was since I was blessed to still have all my grandparents in my life.
Today I realize that he was simply saying, "I understand what it's like to empty your heart on a piece of paper."
The thing I love most is that if you take his poem and change "nine children" to "eight children" it is suddenly about Dennis Wolter. I may have never known my great-grandpa but so much of his life was passed on to the next generation.
"Our greatest legacy is revealed, as the actions and words that we planted throughout our lives, grow and flourish long after we're gone." -Nicole Donoho
Here is the poem he shared that day...
Harold L Wolter
Dedicated to My Father
Written by: Dennis Wolter
Now the lord has taken him
I know he’ll grant his wish
Place him in the midst of game
And fill the streams with fish
Not saying he was perfect
Or never had a fault
But for him to get to heaven
I never had a doubt
His graces came at different times
Whenever the Lord seemed fit
At work or play or along the river bank
Where you often seen him sit
Fame and fortune he never knew
But this didn’t make him sad
For his riches came from his good wife
And nine children which he had
In all God’s creation
There will never be another
For the man I speak about
Is my beloved father
You take heaven and give them hell
A New Identity
What is this blog about? You mean, I'm supposed to have a purpose? Ok, if that's required then my purpose is life.
Better with age...
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