hot topic: being practical

As I write, my kids are doing an amazing job of cleaning the house.  We divided up the responsibilities onto various checklists (laundry checklist, kitchen checklist, living / family room checklist, etc) & consequently, no one is thoroughly overwhelmed by the tasks that need to be done.  Furthermore, each of my kids brings their unique personalities to their jobs so it’s fun to watch them jump in & invest some “sweat equity” to our quality of living 🙂

It’s my responsibility to oversee & quality check against the checklists they’re using to ensure that everything is done well & thoroughly.  In some ways, this all reminds me of how God puts us together to bring the Kingdom of God into our daily reality.  Some essentail ingredients include:

  • teamwork: the lone ranger paradigm doesn’t generally fit into kingdom thinking
  • focus:  when my kids are distracted, they’re less effective & everthing takes longer; staying focused on God helps us to be more productive
  • oversight & integration:  God never leaves us to our own devices & efforts to see God’s kingdom realized
  • mutually beneficial:  a clean kitchen, clothes, bathroom and living areas are in everyone’s best interest & God’s kingdom is no different 🙂

Have an awesome weekend!

sometimes my kids don’t like me

This Summer, I’m undertaken the adventure with my children of training their weekly domestic organization skills, translation:  house cleaning.  To make progress on this adventure, I’ve organized some checklists so that it will be clear to the responsible individual when they’ve adequately completed their assignments.  Needless to say, the checklists aren’t popular & sometimes, they don’t even like the domestic organization adventure, imagine that ,)

All of that is to say that I guess it’s not really that strange on occasion that we may not like some of the things that God does.  At bare minimum, Hebrews 12 tells us that God disciplines us because God loves us.  Discipline, correction and training aren’t always pleasant but most of the time, we like the outcomes, just not the process.  So let’s stay in love with Jesus, keeping walking with Him through various processes, training and development.  For me, staying in love with Jesus helps make everything better, even training my kids through the exciting domestic organization adventure 🙂

So Cute!

I really love getting to visit my kids school when they do awards assemblies because all the kids are so cute!! They’re all super unique, smiley, engaged, fun & awesome to watch. As I think about these kids, I can’t help but fast forward to think about how God our Father sees us as His children – super cute! I can totally see how there are times when adults can be sketchy & questionable (like humans no matter the age), but it always helps me to consider that each one of us makes God smile – God knows that you’re CUTE!!

Praise Report!!

Last month, my son randomly got a metal splinter in his finger & we’ve had some difficulties trying to get it out. After he tried & I tried, we prayed & gave the dr a chance & the only result was that his finger became infected 😦
During our 2nd visit to the dr, she did an xray & we discovered that he still had some of the splinter in his finger. After lots of medical advice, we decided that we had to get rid of the infection as our first priority.
Long story short, my son got the splinter out last night & here’s the picture we took of it!! Prayer works!!

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I can see clearly now, the rain is gone

I took my son to the eye doctor today to see what corrections he may need & guess what?!  His eyes have changed – ALOT!  Basically, his long distance vision is blurry at best & more often non-existent.  Thankfully, the eye doctor is extremely good & very patient, as my son can be kind of engergetic.  He’ll get some glasses in the next week or so and will probably be really amazed at the significant improvement that he’ll see.

I think that sometimes our walk with God can be a little bit like our natural vision: we can be near-sighted or sometimes far-sighted.  But no matter where we focus best, we can be totally certain that God is always with us regardless of what we see or where we focus 🙂

Pulling teeth :(

My son is getting some teeth removed this morning to make space for his adult teeth to come in better. My personal opinion on this is “no bueno”. Taking out teeth is a really good example of the opposite of how I feel when I’m with God during my morning prayer time. As passionately as I LOVE being with God in our quiet & still morning hours, I just as much LOATHE this tooth pulling stuff. Nevertheless, I get the opportunity to experience God in a variety of ways, if I’ll stop clenching my fists, take some deep breaths & be still. God is present in every moment, at peaceful, stressful, uncertain & neutral times. God is constant when life is not 🙂

Momma said there’d be days like this

Well dear friends, I woke up this morning at 1:30 to find one of my kids sleeping in the chair in our bedroom. An hour later, another one woke up & by 4:30, 3/5 of the Bowling family was completely alert thx to a healthy dose of jetlag.
Since I’m quite familiar w the adventures associated w jetlag, I’d give us until around 3-5pm before we hit the wall. So for this day, regardless of what it holds, I’m choosing to let the peace of Jesus guard my heart & mind. I’m not interested in having a day of anxiety, stress or struggle. There is enough grace for each moment in this day, no matter what transpires. Same goes for you 😀

scones & wisdom for breakfast ,)

 My ultra cool husband made scones for breakfast today & he makes a fantastic scone!  While we were eating, my kids & I had an interesting discussion about friendships with the importance of their various influences.  In my morning Bible time, I read Prov 13:20, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

Here’s a quick synopsis of our conversation, chose your friends wisely because they will have either a harmful or wise influence in your life – affecting your choices, preferences and values.  A companion of fools will suffer harm, but the person who walks with others who are wise, will himself be wise.  Let’s be sure to chose wisely who we allow to be close to us, with whom we share our heart & allow ourselves to be vulnerable 🙂

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 🙂

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 ,)