cavities, consequences & grace

I took my kids to the dentist today for the lovely Summer check-up.  Let me say up front, that I like our current dentist for my kids even though the last one was shady, but that’s a different story.  So today’s report from their check up wasn’t very whippy.  One of my kids (who will remain nameless) has more than 3 cavities – which gives evidence to them tuning out my daily reminders to brush their teeth  (maybe God has some similar thoughts when I blow Him off).
When the hygienist called me in to give me the report, I felt like I was being scolded for my kid’s negligence, just compounding my frustration level.   Grrrrrrr

So here are my take-aways from today’s dentist adventure:

  • even though I’m their mom, if they don’t cooperate with my instructions they will increase the probability of negative consequences, despite my best efforts
  • the point of grace isn’t to get away with something but rather to change our behaviors
  • even though I may be frustrated with my kids, this doesn’t give me license to be mean or insensitive to everyone around me
  • obedience is better than cavities ,)
All of this is on the heels of me leaving for Asia, to watch God work His wonders for @savingmoses in Cambodia – please don’t fight the urge to send up some prayers for us!  I’ll keep you posted with blogs, etc about what’s happening 🙂

some easy lovin’

 I really enjoy telling my kids that I love them.  I like to tell them in lots of different ways with lots of different adjectives.  When they were little, my favorite book I liked to read them was “Guess How Much I Love You”.  I like to think of creative ways to let them know that I love them, but I’m not always as creative as I want to be.

I also feel like God is challenging me to love people better.  When I think about loving people, sometimes it spins me out because it seems like such a massive impossibility.  In truth, without God’s help, it is impossible.  But even with God’s help, how do I love people better?  Here are some easy ideas that we can all use on a daily basis:

  • smile:  giving a person a smile is an inexpensive way to brighten someone’s day
  • be patient:  hold off on honking the horn when you’re driving, let a person being trained in their job make a mistake without magnifying the error
  • give the benefit of the doubt – don’t assume that someone in intentionally being malicious, cruel or has harmful motives
  • listen – time for many people is the same as love
  • drop the sarcasm
  • be gracious
  • check in with God for His help:  there are alot of times when I don’t know how to love a person & I’ll make a quick, silent prayer asking for help & wisdom on how God would have me love that person
What are some suggestions you could add???  Please help me!

the missing wallet

 Do you ever get on a mission about something?  Recently, I lost my wallet so I was on a mission to find it – I checked the car, my backpack, purse, couch cushions, kitchen counter, . . . asked Reece, asked my kids, . . . . you get the picture.  As I was searching, I was shooting up some quick prayers, asking for some divine help & sure enough, I lifted up a towel in the laundry room & voila, the lost was found.  Needless to say, I was really relieved – but my point is that I was on a mission to find my wallet.

This summer, my husband & I are on 2 missions:  he’s going to Haiti & I’m going to Cambodia for @savingmoses.  Truthfully, we’re a big missions family – its important to us for lots of different reasons.  As such, we adjust our time, energies & moneys to reflect our commitment to missions.  Over the next 2 weeks, I’m planning to blog during my travels & hopefully, give you some really cool insights, perspectives, etc related to being on a mission.  So keep your eyes peeled & if you’re inclined, please don’t fight the urge to subscribe to my blog, using the RSS feeder to the right – much easier than coming back to look for updates 🙂

my gracious family

  No seriously, you’ve gotta read this one 🙂  I recently had a cooking fiasco & I want to brag on my family.  Lately, I’ve been trying to get more fish into our diet as a means for low fat protein consumption.  The honest truth is that I can’t cook fish to save my life, but that doesn’t stop me from trying – hence the fiasco.  So here’s how it went down:  I went to the fish part of the store & was looking for the cheapest & freshest fish they had, which was flounder.  Flounder is a really weird looking fish – it’s skinny and flat with the eyes on the top of its body.  Because it’s so skinny, its hard for a fish monger to de-bone (which I discovered after their kind attempt to honor my de-boned request).  So I bring home these thin strips of fish & try to cook them – it was AWFUL!!!!  But here’s the beauty of this disaster, my family ate the fish with absolutely NO COMPLAINING!  No one said a word – we all suffered in silence 🙂  I will not be cooking flounder again, unless Jesus visits our home personally & has a nice chat with all of our family on this topic.

So here’s a thought for your consideration & application:  my family was EXTREMELY gracious with me, I think mostly because they love me.  Perhaps a really effective way to express love is to refrain from complaining or pointing out failures and weakspots when they are so glaringly obvious.  Being gracious is a really inexpensive way to be loving 🙂

incompetent and happy

I was talking with a friend the other day & she was explaining that there was a long season in her life of tremendous insecurity because she felt inadequate & incompetent.  When we were talking, my ears perked up because there are alot of times when I feel incompetent & inadequate.  I get these feelings when I’m around people who are really good at various things – be that computer stuff, athletic stuff, makeup & hair stuff, Bible stuff, details & scheduling, yada, yada, yada – when I get in the inadequate mindset, the list becomes interminable & insecurity becomes entrenched in my worldview.  From this point, everything just goes downhill & that’s why my ears really perked up when my friend & I were discussing this topic.

When I asked her how she dealt with this struggle, she gave me this absolutely fantastic verse in 2 Cor 3:5 – Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but (A)our adequacy is from God.  She explained that she has come to the reality that she is incompetent & inadequate.  Furthermore, despite all of her hard work & best efforts, she has concluded that its never enough.  She said that when she realized this, there was tremendous liberty because she could lean back & rest in God’s ability & adequacy – that God works through us His ability & results for impossible situations.  Truly, we are incompetent and this is the starting point in our lives for God to work into our daily living.  With this in mind, I can celebrate my inability & weakness because these shortcomings provide the space for God to be Himself to me 🙂

the power of influence

On Mon, my son, Benji, came home from VBS & announced that he wanted a mohawk haircut.  Now Benji is a fairly expressive little man so I don’t have to guess what’s on his mind too often.  When he came home, he was quite ademant that he wanted a really obvious mohawk, complete with the sides of his head shaved bald.  His exact quote to me was, “Mom, shave the sides bald!”  Generally, I’m a pretty laid back mom & so I whipped out the clippers & did my best to shave the sides bald & give him a really good mohawk.  I soon found out that his reason for wanting this uber slick mohawk was because his group leader in VBS, Josiah, was sporting a mohawk.  Furthermore, Benji is assigned to be Josiah’s asst leader – so he wanted to be sure to look as much like his leader as possible.  Hence, the power of influence.

This has got me to thinking about the different influences that we allow in our lives.  Influences come in all shapes & sizes:  people, web, TV, conversations, family, magazines, books, etc.  With this in mind, perhaps we should consider evaluating what we allow ourselves to be influenced by & if such influences are healthy.  As adults, in large part, we have the power to decide what we allow to influence us.  Even moreso, we have the power to decide how we will respond to such influences.  As such, let’s be super mindful of what we put into our minds, of our conversations and of the influences that we allow in our lives 🙂

Garbage in makes for Garbage out.  Genuine love in helps make for genuine love out 🙂

don’t ask for patience ,)

My dad always has this saying, “Sarah, don’t ask a question that you don’t really want to know the answer.”  When I was younger & he would tell me this, I was always perplexed by why he would occasionally discourage me from asking questions – then I got some answers to various questions that were just TMI (too much info)!!!

Sometimes, I think this is also true with the idea of patience.  When I was younger, I used to ask God to help me to be more patient.  Then when He started to help me with the patience thing, I didn’t necessarily liked how He was helping me, so I stopped asking for His help with patience 🙂

I think I’m kind of starting to come full circle.  I can’t say that I’m just chasing God down on the patience topic, but I am most certainly appreciating the importance of developing patience.  Here are some things that I’m finding helpful for me with the development of patience (although I’m not even close to arriving at being patient):

  • remove the microwave mentality:  I’ve noticed that when I marinate meat for a long time (even a few days in the refrigerator), it just gets continually better the longer I marinate the meat.  In contrast, if I throw some ground beef in the microwave & nuke it for 2min, the flavor is lame at best (nothing compared to the marinated meat).  Immediate and microwave results aren’t always better than cultivated & marinated efforts
  • perhaps my kids are impatient with getting an answer from me because I’ve modeled impatience to them when I want them to clean their rooms, brush their teeth, empty the dishwasher, sweep the floor, etc in less than 4min.  I often hear the Holy Spirit whispering to me as it relates to my kids, “Slow down”
  • the journey versus destination perspective:  maybe I’m impatient because I don’t feel like “I’ve arrived” rather than considering that each day is an adventure to explore God’s love to me & through me
  • running late makes me impatient & I frequently run late – perhaps I should stop scheduling things to be so close together & give more “breathing” space between appointments rather than seeing that space as wasted time
  • something that really helps me is when I consider that God is in charge of my life – I’ve surrendered my life to God & because of this, He directs my steps, organizes my time & the demands on me.  I always find it to be so interesting that when I find myself backed against the wall with a deadline & worried that I won’t make it, He almost always comes up with some creative solution, either through eliminating a task / expectation or through making my efforts supernaturally efficient.
Being patient grows over time ,)