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If Any of You Lacks Wisdom

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I found myself lying face down on the bed crying out to God again. My heart was heavy. “Lord, please give me wisdom,” I pleaded dangerously close to tears.  It was another time where I felt like I couldn’t do this again.

It was one of those times where I had asked God for wisdom for the same thing over and over again, feeling like it was to no avail. I was slipping further into sins I had begged for freedom from in a situation I longed to be drastically changed. My lips were crying out to God but my heart was looking for an exit. Why wasn’t He changing anything? Why were things not only the same but seemingly getting worse? Why when God says we should ask for wisdom so that He can give it freely and abundantly were things not changing?!

My husband has often reminded me of this old adage that is so simple but so true: if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. In this moment of desperation, asking God for wisdom for the umpteenth time and feeling like there was still no change, He whispered into my heart like He always does; so gently and compassionately something I’m quick to forget: He always gives wisdom when we ask for it, we just have to be wise enough to listen.

See, here’s the moment of truth. So many times in any given day does God whisper into my wayward heart ,”My child, for your good and My glory, speak words of kindness, ” as I’m scolding the girls for simple, childish things. Throughout any given day He cautions me against speaking harshly to my husband.  Every day He petitions me to spend more time with Him and less time on media.  During times of distress, He offers me comfort while I seek it in friends and family instead. He offers wisdom every day and when I ask for it, He gives it graciously and abundantly as promised, but like a stubborn child, I refuse to listen.

Lately I have felt the need to cut things back or out of my life entirely. Still, I find comfort in gossip, complaining, chocolate and TV, none of which are beneficial or profitable. My Savior calls to me when I’m weary and offers me rest, and I wallow with Netflix and sugar instead. I have a terrible habit of rattling off any and every feeling I’m having to my poor husband especially and am run away by despair, and He whispers to me to come. Come and find rest and comfort. Come. And still, I ignore this wisdom and flee, causing discord in our home and unrest in my heart.

Like a doting Father, He instructs me in love, and like a spoiled child, I ask and get exactly what I ask for but it’s not enough. I want more and think I deserve more.  It’s not enough that He grants me wisdom but I think He should make all of my troubles disappear as well.  Even as a very human and sinful parent, I know my kids need hard things in their life to grow and learn and mature. He never promised that life would be easy and if that’s what I choose to believe, then I wasn’t listening because He says in this life we will have trials but they are for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28) and that our trials produce goods things like perseverance, character and hope  (Romans 5:3-4) and that we shouldn’t lose heart because Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33).  And in the meantime we can rest in Him because He cares for us.(Matthew 11:28 and 1 Peter 5:7).

God IS faithful and gives wisdom and grace freely, we just have to be wise enough to take them.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5

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Meaningful Questions to Ask at the Dinnertable

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I don’t know how things go in your family, but in ours between homework, ministries, meetings, guitar lessons, coffee dates, soccer games and just plain old everyday commitments, it can be stinkin’ hard to connect as a family. When Sam and I were first married we lived on his family farm which meant our lives and meal schedule revolved around the milking schedule. This meant that often times we weren’t eating dinner until nine o’clock and beyond. During this time we got into the nasty habit of eating in front of the TV before crawing into bed. This habit carried into the early years of raising our girls as well when it sounded so much nicer to eat and veg out once my two hooligans were tucked safely into bed and I could just relax. As they have gotten older, though, we realized we were missing valuable time to connect with our kids, sometimes the only time we actually got. We still some weeks only eat together as a family four or five nights out of seven, but that time is still vital for us to be connected in each other’s worlds. When we first started eating as a family I found myself often scolding the girls for fooling around or interrupting while their dad and I were trying to have a conversation, one that often excluded them and was above their comprehension. This was no good.

I searched Pinterest (ever the helpful resource) and find this idea of just adding each other questions during dinner.  I was skeptical, but decided to give it a try.  Two years ago I jotted down some questions and threw them in a jar. They ranged from “if you could be a dog for a day, what would you do?” To “if you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?” These questions are great because they help us to dream together and be imaginative. As they have gotten older, though, every once in awhile I will throw in a new one that is more meaningful. I’ve been amazed to hear the answers the girls can come up with. These questions help them think and grow, but they’ve also challenged me as well! So here are a few examples:

1.Who is someone you can encourage tomorrow and how can you do that?

2. Name three things you are thankful for.

3. Name something you love about the person on your left.

4. What is something God has been teaching you.

5. Who is someone we can be praying for?

6. Who is someone you can talk to about Jesus this week?

7. What is something you can rejoice in today?

Then, of course, there are the sillier ones like this:

1. If you could be a zookeeper for the day, what would that look like?

2. Tell us about an embarrassing moment.

3. If you could have anything to eat right now, what would it be?

4. If you could be a polar bear for the day, what would you do?

5. If you could be anything, what would you be and why? (Nora told us one time she’d like to be a unicorn in a uniform, my favorite answer ever!).

Those are just a few of ours. What about you? What questions would you ask? What do you do to connect as a family?? I’d love to know on the comments!:)

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DIY Felt Envelopes

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“Come on. Let’s practice,” I said to Ev one night as I was tucking her into bed.  Every night I go in to check on the girls before I turn in for the night and whisper that I loved them in their ears.  Evie always complains that she wishes she would wake up for this nighttime ritual. “Yell in my ear, Okay, Mom? Yell ‘Wake up!! I love you!!’ so I know that you are there.” So I told her we would practice as I pretended to sneak up on her while she pretended to sleep. I leaned over and whispered a “yell” in her ear that I loved her.  She giggled and then grabbed me around the neck before imploring, “Mom, when you come in can you leave me a note under my pillow?”

This was just a couple of weeks ago and since I have slipped notes under pillows while sugar plums danced in their heads.  But then I remembered this idea. I will admit it isn’t original to me. I have seen the idea of making children’s mailboxes or large envelopes for tucking sweet notes such as these to children eager to receive them.  It’s a small way I can connect with the girls and give them reminders when needed that they are loved. I have found these notes tucked away in their book bags they have taken with them to school.

Anyway, I didn’t follow a pattern because I figured the concept was pretty simple (at least the one in my head) and hopefully you can make sense of it, too! It only took ten minutes to make both of them and to make two only cost one dollar. Cha-ching!

First, I started with two sheets of felt (about 25cents each at Walmart) and I liked the idea of contrasting colors, so I chose two shades of pink.

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First, I started with a sheet and folded it about 3/4 of the way up against itself and sewed along the side edges as indicated here. I also sewed along the bottom just to have a neater bottom edge but it isn’t necessary:

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I then folded my other sheet of felt in half long ways and cut a curvy triangle (with two short flat sides as well, so I guess not entirely a triangle) for the enclosure. I then sewed that along the top of my envelope.I also chose to sew a little lace edging on for some girly detail, but again, not necessary at all.

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I also cut hearts out of the scrap for a “seal”. I told the girls if the seal was on their envelope, then they would know they had mail. Otherwise, I would keep it tucked into their envelope.

I completed this little project by gluing Velcro on the back of the hearts with tacky glue. I used the rougher edged Velcro because it sticks right to the felt without needing to sew it’s counterpart on.

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That’s pretty much it! Pretty simple, meaningful and definitely cheap! My kind of project!

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I just stuck them to the girls’ door with thumb tacks just under the flap.

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And who doesn’t love mail, right?

 

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Easy Art Project

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So I might as well come clean: I’m horribly disorganized. I teach Art at our small Christian school and every time I have class I’m scrambling for a new and brilliant project based on time of year, time to complete project, and who is in each class. When you are a bit scattered brained like yours truly, it can be a challenge coming up with something new and excited, doable and not horribly messy.

Today as I ran around trying to get my head and projects together, I threw open my cupboard doors and let my eyes roam over the array of mismatched supplies. Then I started digging, pulling items off the shelves and throwing them in baskets for each table. I proudly stood back and admired what I had gathered.

Don’t you love collage day? I think collages started with harebrained artists such as myself with a deadline and no idea what in the world they were going to create.

So I started this project with a blank faces and neck that I drew onto a white piece of paper, then ran off copies of it. I then gave each of my students the baskets of supplies which included scraps of tissue paper, googly eyes, stickers and things like that. I gave them a bottle of glue and told them to create me a masterpiece out of the supplies and they delivered. I was so proud of my budding artists. As an Art teacher, it’s easy for me to want to keep a very chaotic environment into some kind of order by giving them strict instructions on what I think their project should look like. With projects like this, when I give them free reign to be silly or creative or even a little crazy, I see the creative juices flow, even in ones who may struggle with art .

They used tissue paper for earrings and dog collars and mustaches. They used stickers for eyebrows and mouths and hairbows. They made clowns and moms and dogs. I even had a student who made a soldier complete with a medal of honor.

This is also a project that I plan to repeat over the summer on those “I’m bored” days. It was so easy and the kids had fun.

Aren’t they so cute?

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I must shamelessly admit I’m partial to the last one because it’s a portrait of me done by Nora. One proud teacher and one proud mama.