Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hey you.... {and your feelings}

click on image for a link to where saw it...
bummer that I can't figure out the original site.

(Please note, by "you" I very much mean me.)

Embarrassingly enough, I've been learning a little thing that I'm sure I should have learned decades ago.  At least I wish I did.  It's come as a bit of a surprise to me recently that I don't have to sign on the line every time my emotions make a sales pitch at me.  I'm a big girl now, and I've known this before, and I've hoped to persuade my kids of various versions of it, but I'm really just beginning to get it a little bit deeper and real-er myself.  

The shocking and glorious thing is this:  sometimes I can feel really (really) strongly about something, and I can still be wrong.  

Imagine that.  

(If you're already finding my stunning revelation ridiculous, you really should stop reading now.)  

For me, there's a lot of freedom in that... realizing that the measure of my feelings is not necessarily connected to the reality or accuracy of my view on an issue.  Humility, Jill.  How beautiful would that be?  

Then I saw this page (above) on Pintrest and it got me thinking how I really need some "Hey You" on my fridge, on my heart first thing in the day, under my nose while I'm at the kitchen sink, and generally carved deep into my soul.  I need something like this:



Hey You:  

Too much listening to 
(and way too much believing!)
your feelings.

Not enough taking thoughts captive 


Time for trusting your Father's sovereignty
choosing truth 
         choosing JOY
                   giving thanks


I could dive headlong into a deep dark mood (and probably take the whole house down with me) because I feel so strongly that I must be right .... or... I could choose truth and reject the slavemaster who lies and tempts me through my heart.  How many times have I called my feelings "wisdom" or even counted them as spiritual gifts (!) when I was really only stoking my own selfish ends, my pride, my plans?

Hey You is right.  And so is the kind friend who mentioned, just in passing, that maybe it would be good if I paid attention to what times of the month are the hardest for me?  And when I see that my hormones are probably talking louder than wisdom is inside my head.... what a help to dismiss the fears and accusations swiftly and bolt the door behind.  I don't need condemnation or judgment for me or anyone else swirling lies in my head and heart.... not any time of the month.  No.  I belong to the Truth, to walk with Him in the freedom he has eternally secured for me.... with His own blood.    

And of course, not all of my feelings are lies.  Not at all.  But that doesn't mean the opposite extreme is valid either.... that they're all true and I must blow wherever they take me.   I don't have to be a slave to whatever it is I'm feeling just because I'm feeling it.  I've been there long enough.  No more, by God's grace... no more.  Give me a Truth-rooted mind and sensitive, real emotions that are held and hemmed in by Truth.

So for the days when I feel guilty (of maybe nothing in particular, just looming, lurking, horrible guilt for surely something terrible) and then of course, when I'm feeling defensive, to follow that up, I can deal with my own heart on the matter.  I can capture that untruth instead of letting it fling me around on it's leash.  I can stop trying to blame everyone else for something else when none of us know what the deal is.   Oh to be ruled by what is true, to speak truth and deal truly with others.  

When he's telling me he'd like to go ahead with his plan even though we're not agreed on it right now....  Well then?  What freedom and grace for me to let it be.  I may feel strongly, but that doesn't mean I'm right and I'm a much happier wife to lay things down and trust my love and my Lord and hopefully break free of more of this self-intoxication.  

When I'm sure I've got the whole whatever-it-is figured out just right and people should be paying me for my opinions on the matter, Bring me to the Truth!  And for petty bothers, like when I feel like pulling my hair out because Proverbs 25:17 has been broken yet again, and I Cannot Take It Anymore?   I can remember, He Will Give me Strength for This.  He is with me even now....Peace, Peace.

When I don't know what to do, how to handle it, how to proceed....  He has promised me wisdom and that He is with me.  And that doesn't mean there won't be soul trembling over important matters, but there should be still remembering:  I'm Anchored to Love.  I'm not a slave to fear.  He won't let me go.    

And for the very real days when it's the truth on the ground that is most painful to dwell on (no lies needed for despair to feel justified) Oh God! help me to set my mind on things above and the joy that is promised still ahead.  

Oh Father God, give me your peace, joy, and freedom in the blazing, beautiful power of your Truth.  




Saturday, August 24, 2013

six years of May


We celebrated well....  and she is well worth celebrating.
Thanks be to God for the gift of Marian Lynn.  

Marian's plan was for a puppet show.  We pulled out all the puppets and spread out some sheets and spare fabric over some PVC roped up to a bench we use at the piano.   



I flung them at this with more freedom than they knew what to do with... When each kid introducing their puppet took 44 seconds total, we moved on to a puppet lip sync (Toby Mac, I don't want to gain the whole world and loose my soul) and then... 

Part Two of the performance was a surprise for all the girls.  Isaiah spotted these fantastic masks in an art store we checked out for school supplies.  I remember well that this is the stuff of little girl dreams.... and I think they enjoyed it just as much as I hoped they would.  yippee. 

(Silly side note:  When we came to China, the US dollar was worth about 20% more than it is now towards the Chinese RMB and everything seemed pretty cheap to us.   Seven years in, deflation of the dollar and inflation of the yuan, not much feels cheap at all anymore.... except for vegetables and these sweet masks.  They were $1-2 each.  Once again, grateful!)  

I'm not even sure exactly who took these pics... but I'm so grateful! What a special treat for me to get fun shots with my precious girls!

all the lovely ladies in attendance
Part Three of performance time...  a surprise puppet show from Daddy and "Uncle" Jon.   

And then we ate... Delicious Food... that our summer roommate prepared for allll of us.  So grateful for her help today!   Polo and cold veggies.  

Then we played soccer (see that net goal behind the cute green-shirt goalie?).  Who knew that the eldest daughter of The Baseball Coach would love soccer more than anything?  We had no idea.  But this was her choice and she stuck to it... even though she did NOT stick to playing the game herself.  (We'll work on that!  I think we really will have to move towards being a soccer and baseball family....  and I think it makes all of us glad!  Thanks May!)



Precious Marian Lynn, May Love my darling, I love you and I am so happy I get to be your mama.  I have seen the Lord grow you up in Him so beautifully this year... you learning so many ways to bless others in our home.   What a blessing you are to know, to share a home with, to love.  Your daddy and I love every little bit of you.  May the Lord grow you in His grace, wisdom, and faith in this new year all the more....  we are for you, and together with you in pursuit of His heart and His kingdom.  
Mom and Dad.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Real Question is...

I love Jesus' words to his disciples about being the salt of the earth.  The idea usually swirls in my mind about our role to make the world thristy for Christ.   But oh to be changed by these words that John Stott wrote about it too...

"The notion is not that the world is tasteless and that Christians can make it less insipid, ('The thought of making the world palatable to God is quite impossible.') but that it is putrefying.  It cannot stop itself from going bad.  Only salt introduced from outside can do this." (p 59)  (He wrote earlier of "biltong" meat in South Africa, that if cured with salt properly would keep indefinetely.)

"Christian salt has no business to remain snugly in elegant little ecclesiastical salt cellars; our place is to be rubbed into the secular community, as salt is rubbed into meat, to stop it going bad.  And when society does go bad, we Christians tend to throw up our hands in pious horror and reproach the non-Christian world; but should we not rather reproach ourselves?  One can hardly blame unsalted meat for going bad.  It cannot do anything else.  The real question to ask is:  Where is the salt?"  (p 65)

From the exquisite commentary "The Message of the Sermon on the Mount:  Christian Counter Culture."

Some good news:   Here's some salt.   A man who has saved 1,000 babies.  I'm sure there's lots of salt out there, but for now, just this one beautiful link to a preserver of life.




Tuesday, August 20, 2013

first...

first day....  second grade, first grade, "moon class," and "star class"
 
I couldn't be more grateful I don't think.... these gifts are such a joy to love and serve and watch grow.  We've finished two days of homeschooling with the big two now and I. Am. Loving. It.  Isaiah's first writing was to finish the sentence "I like second grade because...my mom is my teacher."  I feel spoiled by getting to enjoy these kids so.



games and random pieces...



He's a whistler these days...

I wish I could say what it was that caught his fancy... who knows!

I feel like this must be recorded... Chore chart for the "pupits" (puppets- it's what our kids call their stuffed animals)
Don't miss... there's chores for four days a week here, including help the pupits clean house, tell the puppets to clean the house, and remind the boys to help cook.   I'd like a chore list and some puppets like that :)
First day in first grade homeschool!
First day in "Star Class" at the best Christian, Chinese preschool we could ever dare to imagine for our kids.  We are so grateful for how our little ones are loved there and the running start they are getting at growing up bilingual.
Visa Pics... Getting the specs just right for the white background and spacing... Matt has an underlying goal of making the visa officers and customs officials laugh when they look at our kids' pics.  The straight-faced mug just won't do.


Friday, August 9, 2013

Honor {and two golden books on parenting}



A while ago I heard a friend mention "Good and Angry:  Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids" as a key book for their family.  I'm pretty sure I ordered it that very day and I am grateful.  I've loaned it to another friend now so I can't copy any of the best nuggets to share here... but it's gold to be sure.  I found it to be super helpful and practical and encouraging...  I love the authors' approaches to "taking a break" and the clear way to communicate instructions for kiddos.  I found it very nurturing for relationships in our home.

And then I saw that they had a funny-covered book about whining.  (Vivi looked at the cover and said "why he so grumpy?"  I don't really love the cover or the title either.... but don't judge it and miss it, folks!)   The need came up in a conversation with friends- whining is a hard one for us mamas!- and my dear friend and I agreed we'd both read it.  

Lucky me... I got it first.  Another goldmine.  I love how the book starts.....  "This is a book about honor."  The authors give a simpler definition of honor but I've taken what they wrote and expanded it to be another page of essentials for our fridge. (Their explanation of honor is this:  "Treating people as special, doing more than what's expected, and having a good attitude. p 13.)  I know,  I've probably made 43 of these that have each been through a cycle on the fridge....  maybe they've each been good for their season?  Here's my page, poorly designed but still worthy aims!

Oh for this to be the tone, the culture of our family, the agreed-upon aims for our lives together.  Oh for the Lord to be glorified, our only comfort and help, in this entire endeavor!



HONOR


Love, Serve, and Give to others sacrificially, above yourself 
Treat people as special


Do more than what’s expected 
All things with excellence and care


Choose Contentment & Joy 
Give Thanks


Trust the promises of God  
His word is for you and it is true


Worship and Delight in God  
Pray for Humility, Wisdom, Passion & Fruitfulness For your King's Glory and for your eternal gladness in Him


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Welcome Darling!

Alexia Maelee....  we are overwhelmed with thanks for you!!!  Thanks for your safe arrival and the care (from her husband, the hospital, and family) that the Lord gave your mama who really needed to get you out quickly!  We praise the Lord for such great care for you and your sweet mama!

We can't wait to get to snuggle you and we are missing so much that we won't get to kiss you in all your newborn glory ... you'll probably be toddling around and beginning a few words by the time we get to cuddle you!   But we'll be thrilled to get on FaceTime as soon as your parents can swing it!

Congratulations Andrew and Amy!  Welcome sweet baby Alexia!  We love you all so much and are so excited for this journey of LIFE for the three of you together!  Praying for you guys now as you begin this better (and harder) than ever new chapter... May you know and trust the Lord more dearly and nearly than ever, as you need more strength and wisdom and peace than ever.

Oh we love you dear family!!!!

AMB.... yea for shared initials with your mama!!
Thanks for the pic, Auntie Heather!  

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Clear Path International

My dad sent me this link last week. I'm so happy for him to get to be involved in such a good work as this.... May the work of Clear Path International be blessed to accomplish all their aims of removing land-mines from Cambodia!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

a happy new look

I'm really excited for some new "stationary" for our online journal here.  I'm really grateful for Jenny at FrenchPressMornings and how she pours out her talent so generously to share beautiful designs of Scripture weekly.  And... she's done this for us!  A brand new header (and navigation bar, and verse for the side).  I'm really grateful too for such talent that she makes available in smaller sizes (you don't have to get an entire blog design... you can pick your pieces) and very reasonable prices.    Thank you, dear Jenny!  I feel so privileged...

And... while I'm introducing the new look I'll give a little explanation...




Why Wheat?

It reminds me of lots of precious things...

  • North Dakota... all the dearly loved Ks and precious friends there
  • the promise...  that He brings much fruit out of our being poured out and given up 
  • the (global) harvest is plentiful, the workers are few, therefore pray earnestly!
  • the (household) harvest I'm aiming for as a peacemaking mama, serving these treasured children
  • to pour our lives into eternal things... the things that will last and won't blow and burn away
  • the glass jar filled with wheat that reminds us of the eternal praise that our loved ones and all the saints who have gone on before us are a part of now...the fruit those lives are still bearing... where one day we will join in the forever unhindered celebration of God's grace.  My mama, Maelee Linn...


And.... WAY more than new stationary here....  we are thrilled with the arrival of our niece Alexia!  Just waiting for a few more pics to make a proper post for your welcome here, little love.  (just a little trying-to-be-patient hint).  We are so eager to meet you on FaceTime!!!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Bilingual Baseball... 2013


















































This has been a great summer for baseball... and there's still a few more weeks of it even though this was Coach Tim's last morning.  (We'll miss you Tim!)  What a blessing for our family to get to play and work and share with others this kind of fun Saturday morning.  Sweaty perseverance, diligence to do and redo and try, try again, good sportsmanship lessons....  We're all for sports together!

(the website isn't up and running yet... but it will be very soon!)

Girly Girls

 When Vivi saw Marian pull out the box of nail polishes, she squealed "toney- nails!!!!!" 
and almost jumped off the bed.

(Collages.... For Free!  With many thanks to a new favorite friend:  Picmonkey.com )

Friday, August 2, 2013

summer sun

Sunshine and summer cheer has sure turned up at the corners of our lips this week... not that we were gloomy before, but this week has been exceedingly fun.

Yesterday the kiddos slept an hour past their normal wake up (read- they were exhausted from summer play) but we had a busy day ahead so I finally had to wake them up.  I flung back the curtains and told them all the good news that this new day would hold:  More sunshine.  More play.  More friends.  More Joy.

As I snuggled in for some nibbly kisses on our little man's sweet neck, I heard a voice of wonder from the big guy on bunk above....

"I feel...  I feel like I could do anything."

How's that for sunshine and joy talking?  Makes this mama glad, glad, glad.

Oh to live in such confidence everyday, for him and for me and for all of us.... not that I can do everything, or anything at all on my own... but that in Christ- the eternal Son- We Can Do All Things, He is with us, and we have all we need for life and godliness, we have yes's for every promise, we have Hope laid up for us already, and an eternal home being prepared by Him for us....

What a blessed reality... whether felt or not!  And to feel that high from your nose to your toes, oh,  what a gift!  Such grace from the Giver of All.  Thank You, Lord.  

Here's some shots from our sunshiny week...
an outing at the park this morning...  Uncle Tim's last big outing with the Ks this summer.   南湖公园

  

the boy boat was Tim and his roommate, Isaiah and John
(I got a morning to rest quiet at home.... well needed and delighted in)

This girl's a bargain shopper!  She found matching T's for all our kids for about 25 cents each!
What summer would be complete without PLAY DOUGH!??
or balloons?!
or sweaty fun climbing on the exercisers?
And the biggest surprise of our summer.... this pool!!!  Across the street from the home of a dear friend of ours is this beautiful outdoor pool!  Such a great setup with a huge pool that's entirely 1.5 - 2  feet deep so even Vivi is confident to play on her own.  There's a deeper pool nearby too for our big kids.... And Isaiah needs it.  He's swimming like a fish now!!!  Such a Joy to see!