But it seems right now all I manage are my insta friday recaps of the week.
Before I get to them, I want to touch on just a few things, just a few thoughts
that have been mulling in my mind and really deserve a post of their own.
I've been very contemplative about pain lately, and the lessons we learn through
the pain. I have a friend struggling right now and I just want so badly to
reach her with a life raft, to help her feel the hope that comes on the other side.
I had several years in the not so distant past where there seemed to be
one trial after another. Really big, heavy trials. Not the little everyday things,
but the big, break your heart, flip your life upside down kind.
And I've learned through them that God is still God. God is still good.
And that He builds us back up again, only better. I'm better for the trials.
And I know so assuredly that God strengthened me through them and
because of them and my faith is stronger for it. And my heart swells with
love and gratitude.
I've been thinking a lot about how things that used to scare me,
send my mind reeling, the lack of control, the unknown, the worry
over the future. They just don't touch me the same anymore.
Because I feel His presence and I know it's going to be ok.
We pray, we seek His wisdom, we make the best decision
we can with the options given and then we put our next
foot forward and do the next thing He is asking us to do.
And I don't stew so much anymore. I just know it'll be
ok. Even if it turns out that my decision wasn't the best
or I made a mistake. God knows my heart and knows I was
trying to do my best. If there's no condemnation from Him,
then I better not get stuck condemning myself.
Because I've walked through what I thought could
destroy me and God held me through it, I know that He will
see me through anything. I don't like thinking of future trials.
I know they're coming, because He said that they would.
And as I think of trials I pray against some of my fears, and I think
of poor Saeed Abedini being beaten and persecuted in an Iranian jail,
being asked to renounce his faith. And I think his is one of the worst
trials I could imagine. I feel badly that I'm in my comfortable home,
with my family while he suffers so and his wife and children live each
day not knowing when they'll see him or how bad off he is.
But I have these reference points to know He is always right there with me,
He is always working things for good for those who love him.
"If God is for us, who can be against us?"
No power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand.
That line in "In Christ Alone" gets me every time. It's like our battle cry.
The enemy doesn't win. With that knowledge, here in the power of Christ I'll stand.
I pray you feel this strength too.
I've also been thinking, and please bear with me because this is going to sound
sort of silly, sort of juvenile I think. Sort of like, duh, of course. But let me just
say that it has taken me years and years to really get that I'm a child a God.
I used to think I needed to prove myself, be something, make a name for
myself in order to be ok. I most certainly remember feeling that way in college
and out of college as I was pursuing my career. I think there's a lot behind why
my mind thought that way that is too much to go into here. But it was ingrained
pretty deep. And having gone on to work as a television reporter it fed that
Becoming a mom changes us all in a myriad of ways. It most certainly
did me. And I'm absolutely grateful for it. The transition was not easy. That's
a whole other post for another day. But I've been thinking about some of the
situations I've been in lately with meetings amongst political and social activists
where I felt like I didn't even know some of the pundits they were making jokes
about or discussing.
I felt a bit like a mom whose head is slightly in the sand.
But that sand is deep into dyslexia and curriculums, and therapies,
and science experiments, and organic gardening, and chicken feed,
and puppy training, and navigating life with a tween, and how
the heck do I meal plan so that we're not always throwing things
together or having to stop somewhere at the last minute.
Right now, to keep my sanity, I prefer to spend
my free time creating rather than watching Fox News and CNN.
I probably could use being a little more political. I find so much of it so frustrating
and it gets me worked up and I feel a bit powerless. I let my husband watch the
shows and summarize for me. And I know that's kind of pathetic.
But my bigger point is that in this dinner meeting where I was not once asked
what I did or really anything about myself I had this interesting epiphany. The old
me would have felt really insignificant. It would have bothered me. But I sat there
and literally told myself, (in my head of course) "You are a child of God Jackie and you will
sit here and smile, but you will not let this touch you." And do you know it worked.
This may sound small, but it was a big thing for me. To be able to feel that sense of
confidence that being a child of God is really all that matters. Because I matter to Him.
On my freelance jobs where people cater to those who are 'somebody' I see the insecurity
on the young girl's faces. The short skirts and high heels. The attempt to win
approval with those assets rather than their minds. And maybe this is part of being
in my fourth decade of life and knowing I'm really not in that realm anymore.
I know the 20 year old me would have felt like she also needed to compete, to keep up,
to get ahead. And it's just so freeing knowing that God is the one who defines me.
And this gives me such a passion for helping my kids know this truth, really know it
in their hearts and heads from a much earlier age than me.
And not just my children, but anyone who'll hear. It's part of why I write here,
why I feel the need to make sure I get these thoughts out of my head. We're all
to use our pain, our trials, the lessons we've learned, and the way God has healed to
comfort others, to keep the truth of Jesus' love, God's provision, the gospel story alive.
To share with our children, our neighbors, strangers, all nations, the freedom that comes from
giving it all away to follow after Jesus.
Oh how I love this scripture. It sums it up best.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort that we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
So that was a bit more than a little bit on the thoughts swirling around in this noggin.
Now..back to the previously scheduled INSTA Friday!
Have I told you that my son has Siri call me "I'm addicted to instagram."
I kind of am. I love playing with the filters. I don't have it public, but if
you're a friend from here feel free to look me up under willowofwonder.
When I last left you we were busy working on our vegetable garden.
The next day this garden girl joined us digging her hands and
feet in the dirt.
And I've been on this mad craze for pallets,
cause this momma's on a mission.
More on that soon.
But these slightly obsessed driving detours have had my kids in stitches.
Picture me running around in high heel wedges loading
these mighty heavy (did you know how heavy some of them can be)
contraptions into my car.
I think we're done, but in the meantime I've created a whole
pinterest board on things you can do with pallets.
Because well, I've discovered they come in different weights
and sizes and I won't be able to use them all for my intended
project so I may as well recycle them in other ways.
My husband, he's not completely on board.
I think he'd rather they go to the dump.
Maybe we can find a compromise. :)
Monday we had this weird windy weather and ominous sky that
was rather beautiful to me.
And this little lady.
This is what she does each night. And when I
stop rubbing her tummy she flops her head dramatically
and gives a little whine. It's endearing and
clearly works. Cause I'm a sucker for that sweet face.
And this is what her mornings look like.
Pair this stance with the loudest guttural, frantic whine
bark noise while pacing back and forth.
You see there are these two little squirrels that
literally seem to enjoy taunting her.
See him right there eating his little acorn
while staring at her.
Our Tuesday consists of dropping their brother off at school, and then going to
our bible study homeschool room nearly two hours before it starts and doing school with them.
It's quiet and we get a lot done.
After bible study a group of the kids have lunch
and play while the moms get to chat too.
Then it's time to pick up big brother and take him
to his game. Now that he's in majors that games
can go 2 1/2 hours which means getting home around
7:00, which means a late dinner, bedtime routine
for everyone. Remember how I said I'm struggling
to plan ahead the way I should with dinner. This
is one of those nights. I MUST get better about
starting the crock pot in the morning.
I made mention on instagram and will here too.
It has been six straight years that every week, usually
multiple times a week these girls have played with
friends and on these bleachers for half of the year
and sometimes all year round. This is something
I did not grow up experiencing. I know it has
taught them lots of patience. So far not so much
of a love of sports. But they sure to love supporting
Wednesday they get to join these great friends for
homeschool gymnastics. I realize I'm really
lucky to have found such great programs for
homeschoolers here in our general area.
I would have never guessed they existed.
And this whole misnomer that homeschool kids don't
get socialization. It's just so misunderstood. Not
only do they have plenty of it, they have too many
opportunities that we have to turn down in order
to get school done.
I'm going to get on a little bit
of a soap box here. But I know both, I live
both at the same time currently. The homeschool world
and the regular school world.
And would you know, my son,
the one who is in school
gets less socialization than the girls do.
He gets to talk with his friends for 15 minutes at
the one recess they get and then there's a 45 minute
lunch in which they spend half the time eating and half
the time playing. Aside from that he does not get
to talk with or socialize with his friends..and if he does he gets in trouble.
That's a whole other post.
Because one thing I do think about traditional schools is that
the majority are not made for boys who squirm
and fidget and have an energy that needs more
breaks and more opportunities to socialize than they're given.
The majority just can't sit still and listen and pay attention to the degree expected.
And another thing is the socialization you have to UN-DO
from the school day. Any mom with a child in
school can tell you there are plenty of unkind or inappropriate socializations
that take place on the playground, in the hallways. Things the teachers don't
see or hear that aren't addressed when they happen.
I know that's life and some of you would say
they have to learn to handle it.
I am not a strict advocate for either way.
I think both have pros and cons.
I think everyone needs to do what's best for their
child, their family, and their circumstances.
But I do get frustrated by the judgment and misconception
about homeschooled kids.
Because thinking they lead these sad lonely little lives
where they don't interact with friends is so off base.
Life is never again going to be about segregating the majority of the
day with only people our age.
Life is visiting neighbors, talking with the postman,
working through conflicts together as a family and
as co-workers all from different walks of life.
And there is nothing wrong
with having a parent help guide a child in how to handle
conflict when they aren't ready to do it maturely on their own yet.
So, off my soap box now.
Here the girls are socializing with Piper (just kidding)
while they create sentences with magnetic letters.
And this little number line leap frog is one of my favorite tools
for my visual learner.
Oh and this lady Halle...she is the highlight of their week.
Both of them are progressing so quickly.
And my animal whisperer here is just smitten.
I love what these lessons are doing for her
confidence. She has no fear.
They began riding completely on their own today
and are beginning to learn how to jump.
And finally...I'm so super excited about this
stamp I had custom made from Stamp Out Online.
I wanted a sort of thank you stamp
for packaging and knew I wanted to include
Because I just love everything about it.
I could highlight and dissect and pick out
so many gems in this one scripture
that speak to me in such a huge way.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace
as you trust in him
so that you may overflow with hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit.
These little muslin bags will house something new
coming in the shop. I'm working on a whole
lot of new inventory for a special event. I'm going
to be a part of the Queen Bee Market in Oceanside
on May fourth. And that means, I've got a deadline.
I've mentioned here before, I work well with
deadlines. I can't wait to show you and then
to have these things in the shop too!
Whew..now that was a long post.
If you made it this far, thanks for sticking with me.
Here's the link for more fun with insta friday!