Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rejected or Chosen?...Both

"Wait to go Chubs!" 

"Your turn, Chubs." 

"Can't you do anything Chubs?"

The summer before third grade my family moved across the country. I was in a new state at a camp before school started...my chance to make friends. And a boy I didn't know started calling me "Chubs". It caught on.

Before I made a single friend. Before school even started. I was marked. It was a mark that would not wash off. A mark that would linger into adulthood.

I have never been skinny. Or thin. And I certainly wasn't that summer, but I didn't want to be known for my belly. Or my little girl thunder thighs. I just wanted to be known, but by the end of that camp I wished I was invisible. Unknown.

It was a cycle I would repeat most of my life. 

Confident. Ready to be someone or something. And then in a flash it would disappear. Someone's painful words would derail my plans. Someone's insensitivity would prick my low self esteem and I would bleed and gush emotion.

How I would like to whisper back in time to her little ears! "You were not made to be labeled by them. You do not wear their mark. You wear His! He calls you daughter. He calls you worthy. He calls you beautiful."

I don't know what it would have changed in my life. And I'm not one that often goes down the "what if" or the "if only" trail. But, I can tell you this much...it has changed my life as an adult. God's love has whispered into the darkest moments of life, the most painful memories, and the dusty neglected corners of my soul. 

I'm still not thin or skinny. And while I am on the first leg of a long journey toward getting healthy I am highly aware of who I am, what I look like, what the world would say and what the One who ransomed my soul says.

I am short and fat. By the world's standards I nothing remarkable, in fact am not worthy of a second glance. Any commercial, magazine cover, movie trailer or website drives that home. And there have been days, weeks, months and more that I have lamented that. Pained that I don't measure up.

The truth is I'm not measured by the world's yardstick.

In 1 Peter we find a verse about the yardsticks used to measure Jesus. The living Stone - rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him. (2:4) 

By man's yardstick, Jesus didn't measure up. He was rejected. 

But! (aren't God's conjunctions beautiful...they deliver God's grace to an unmerciful world) 

He was chosen by God and precious to Him!! (need I say more??)

In the very next sentence of 1 Peter it says "you also, like living stones." Do you see that? Jesus was the living Stone; we are like living stones. We are like Jesus. We are chosen by God and we will be rejected by humans.

At some point (or maybe lots of points) in our lives we all have face rejection - job loss, breakups, gossip, name calling, getting picked last for kick ball. Whatever it is, whatever form it takes, rejection is painful. It leaves a mark...some of those marks we carry with us. We wear like badges of courage and anger. We justify our hurts, our bad behaviors, our anger, our lifestyle.

As we get comfortable in our labels we let the world's yardstick become our yardstick of justification. And that can change our lives. That changed the life of a third grader who bought into the mean words and lies strangers pinned to her.

I can't whisper to her. I can't change the course of my days or deflect that hurts the world would hurl at me. But I can take the woman she grew into and measure her with a yardstick that says Jesus calls her worthy of His life, His blood, His love.

Heavenly Father, it is you who made me and you determines my worth. Please whisper that to my heart whenever I listen to the world's harsh and judging voice. Help me to be the healthiest me I can be, at peace with what the scale says and able to look to You for how I measure up -- not the push-up bra clad, half-starved models on tv. Thank you for making me unique. Thank you for my curves and my body that you have made to birth my children, snuggle with my husband and hug my friends. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Can We Pray For You?

Monday morning my email inbox was full. Super full.

While that fact is neither new or terribly remarkable it was the content of many of the emails that moves me to write this morning.

As I moved from email to email I was floored by amount of prayer requests I had received. So many are desperate and hurting. I need of their family (real or virtual) to step in the gap and hold them in prayer and in love.

And it made me think of all of you...how can we pray for you? Is there something we can walk through with you in prayer?

Leave comment. Join me in prayer for others and share your prayer concerns.

My request: as I walk through the pages of Made to Crave I have been strongly convicted about my food issues and the problems I have. Yesterday, I made bad choices, all the way around when it comes to food. Today, will be a better day! But I ask for prayer as I teach my body food is for maintenance (although enjoyable maintenance at that) and I am made to be filled with Jesus!

My prayer: Father, how humbled I was this morning the pain, hurting and need that met me in my inbox this morning. My heart broke for all the friends and family who are in need. And so often I feel helpless to help them, but I know Father those hurts where never mine to fix. They are yours. Their hurts are yours. Their hearts are yours. Their days are yours. Father, we ask for your peace. That we would feel your hand upon our lives, that You would deliver your wisdom and grace in the moment when it is most needed. Thank you Father, that you allow us to come to You. Thank you for Jesus and His presence in our lives. Amen.

Will you join me in prayer today?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Eplanner Winners!!

Thanks to everyone who visited and commented yesterday. Seems like so many of us are searching for the "right" system to get organized. For today's winners I hope that ListPlanIt's Home Education Planner is that system.

So here are our winners (drawn out of a knight's helmet by my kiddos)....
 ~ Katrina
~ Julie C
~ Valerie
~ Brenda
~ Anna

Ladies, I need your full name and addresses to give to ListPlanIt so you may receive the prizes!! :) {if you don't want to leave it on the comments you can email it to me, my email is listed at the bottom of the page}


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Organization is my Peanut Butter

Have you ever eaten a peanut butter sandwich with really crumbly bread. Somewhere toward the end of the sandwich the peanut butter is really the only thing holding it all together.  It isn't pretty, but you get through it and enjoy it for what it is. A sticky, crumbly mess of yumminess.

Well, yesterday was totally a crumbly peanut butter sandwich homeschool day for our family. It seemed like everything we tried just didn't come off quite as planned. You know - grumpy kiddo, not "fun" subjects, interruptions, allergies...all sorts of things were off.  And yet, we held it together. Actually, what held my day together was the fact that I was organized. In the midst of chaos I could keep my eyes on where we were and what was next. Organization was my peanut butter. (okay, yeah, I know...but you get the picture)

So today, let's talk about it. Organization. Keeping your homeschooling pointed in the right direction, hitting your goals and keeping on top of the details. I want to hear from you...your pointers, your ideas, your troubles. I'll share mine, and, of course....

...we have a GIVEWAY today. Actually not just a giveaway - 5!! I'll pick five winners randomly from the comments and you'll win ListPlanIt's Home Education eplanner.

{total side note here -- go visit ListPlanIt.com. It is an amazing resource. It has lists for projects, trips, events and more. Not to mention great advice from professional organizers. You know, I love lists. I love lists of lists so this is totally my kinda place, but really if you are a person who is struggling in this area and are looking for resources, check it out, they've got ya covered!!}

Now, this eplanner is full of useful pages...

~ record sheets for attendance and grades
~ goal setting sheets (by subject and student)
~ a daily planner
~ monthly unit planner
~ a hourly schedule for each day
~ resources list
~ book report pages
~ books read
~ inventory
~ field trip log
~ portfolio contents
~ and so much more

I have been privileged this week to review and use the planner myself. The curriculum I use (Sonlight) comes with a great plan, however I find that often need to write (or try to make) supplemental pages for added subjects (ie. math). The eplanner totally solved it for me. I just added the "home education plan" page to my notebook. Filled in all the added stuff for the week right there. One page. Nice.

 I love that I can open it up on the computer and just fill out the pages right there in Acrobat. I do think some of the boxes might be kind of small if someone was to print them and try to handwrite it, but that might just be my big crazy handwriting.

It also got me thinking about inventorying what we have in the classroom. I never know what I have, although I think I might have an idea. One page...or two...and I'll be able to track what we have. Then I can keep my eyes open for sales and opportunities to restock!! Love it.

Seriously I could go on and on, but I want to hear from you too!

Want one? I hope so! It is great. Easy to use, customizable, and ready to go. How great is that??

So, now it is your turn. Tell me about how you are organized.

Do you have a planner? Does your curriculum/teacher's guide lay it out for you?

Do you set goals for your year? How do you record them and keep track of progress?

For those of you who are homeschooling multiple children how do you keep organized (btw, the eplanner has a page for that, too!!)?

This is my first official homeschool post and discussion starter. I'm so excited. I can't wait to hear from you and glean your knowledge.

I pray that God blesses your efforts richly and that you find ways to have peanut butter on your crumbly bread kinda days!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Giveaways Tomorrow!!

Okay, so I love planning...anything. But I especially enjoy planning our homeschooling. Day. Month. Week. Year!

Well, tomorrow I am so excited to be able to offer the Home Education eplanner (from ListPlanIt).

It will be a homeschooling organization party!! Woohoo!! Great timing to winner one of five eplanners, as I know many of us have started to plan next year or begin to look for our supplies and curriculum. 

So, comeback tomorrow. Be ready to share your homeschool organization tips and enter to win!

Cya Wednesday!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Hard Thanks

Death came to call this week.

When it left grief and pain hung in the air, and life seemed scarred and hardened.

As I look for sense in madness, for love where it was rejected, for reasons where they are hidden unto eternity, I cry. From sobs to lone tears to that ugly cry that makes your face contort, your nose run and your eyes ache. Each tear a plea to Heaven.

With the sting of death (why do they say stings....it is more of a whap or wacking or slap or a stab...definitely not a sting) we turn to remember a life well lived, usually. To reach back into time passed for memories that will narrow the chasm of eternity. For memories that remind the heart of what love filled that now empty hole.

Instead as my family begins to process our new normal we have been met with moments of frustration, regret and rejection.

How painful the sting of death is when the bitterness of rejection is poured on the wound!

I continue to meander my why through the pages of "One Thousand Gifts", finding challenging honesty and incredible truth in the poetic language. 

Perhaps what amazes me more than the book is God's timing in the steps of my life and the pages in my hand. As I head into each chapter I find that week I will be practicing the concept. As if everyday becomes an application step of the words that I draw in like a deep breath the night before.

And as I read the words, "The hard eucharisteo." (the hard thanks or thanksgiving) I began to ponder what that looks like. In the times when life is hard, painful, dark, lost....what does giving thanks look like? What does being present in that moment with God look like? And could I do it?

Little did I know by the end of the week death would knock, rejection would stab and my world would tilt in a painful limp that changes perceptions and bleeds pain.

But it did. It has. And here I am.

My own list of 1000 gifts sits open on the kitchen counter. Waiting. The pen lays upon the page ready to record a my thanksgiving, a gift, a moment with God.

Faced with the raw truth of my anger and hurt I didn't know how to give thanks to God.

For what?

And while I was still pondering the 'for what' question I felt the urge. The tug. The Holy nudge in my soul. As if God himself whispered in my ear, "For what? Come on now."

For what...

81. a voice from my past
82. family
83. the promise of heaven
84. a hug and sweet words whispered
85. snuggly little boys
86. dancing, twirly little girls
87. homemade dresses
88. prayer of friends
89. a clean counter
90. little girl giggles
91. tiaras, feathers and princess moments
92. "I love you, mommy"
93. a whisper to my soul

Even as grief and pain linger in the air, I look for the joy. It might be little. It might be quiet. But it is here. And being fully in a moment with Jesus means taking in all the blessings...even the ones that hurt along the way, the ones we don't understand, the ones that leave us slackjawed and heart aching.

Father, I can't begin to understand all that has unfolded in our life and our family in the past few days, and You know that I am hurting. Thank you for the blessings that You continue to pour into my life. Please help my family in these days and weeks that start back to our new normal, help relationships to be restored and Love to shine out of this darkness. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Reminder to Laugh

On Facebook this morning there was a picture that reminded me of belly laughter. Of laughing so hard you cry. Of joy.

And today, I choose joy.

Even though the laundry is piled up.
Even though my children are arguing, again.
Even though this week is insanely busy.
Even though so many around us are broken and hurting.

Even though...

Isn't it easy to even though ourselves right out of love, life, and joy. We find so many things to focus on that our BUTS become larger than our lives.

But Christ did not come so that we could live in defeat. He does not bear His scars that we might mark our days with sadness. He did not beat death for me...for you...for us that we would trudge through the dailyness of life and not look for His love, His joy all around us.

let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. 
Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
Psalm 5:11

So, today...I choose joy.

I choose to belly laugh when I can. To smile instead of losing my cool over life's little messes. I'll turn on the music and dance my way through chores, school and   errands. 

Oh...and the picture that inspired my smiles this morning...

me, Susan, and Lee 
our mini-reunion at She Speaks 2 years ago.
Susan was trying to take a group pic with her new camera on a timer...many, many shots later non were perfect but this one was "perfect" to express the moment

Father, today I ask you for joy. Just as the spring rains come to refresh the land, bring the showers of Your love in fun and laughter to your daughters. Remind us to belly laugh and truly live the life that Christ came to secure for us. Amen

Have a belly laugh on me today....Read Dog Doo Dance (a page right out of my everyday life).