Sharp Paynes

Never a dull moment…

Archive for the category “Home Life”

It’s Time…

It’s the first day of August.

Monday I was ready to freeze summer and just soak in the days, the fleeting moments.  But today is August and that means I have to get in gear for school and order those books and make those schedules and shouldn’t the kids start going to bed earlier?

Funny, the difference a day makes.  How one day it’s July and you want to slow down and the next day it’s August, time for discipline.

We’ve moved to a new home this summer and the freedom of this dead end road has breathed life into our kids.  The dirty-feet, playing-in-the-creek, aw-do-we-have-to-come-in-now kind of life.  They are always scattering and I am continually trying to gather them up for meals or chores or trips to town.

It’s been awesome.

I can just picture the look on their faces if I suddenly woke them up early one morning and called them downstairs for school.  Like cold water in the face or a slap on your sunburned back.  Shock.  Horror. Confusion.

We should probably transition gradually.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but summer is ending soon.

I think we’ll hold on to some carefree days, interspersed with a gradual tightening up of the schedule.

{How do you transition your kids back to the routines of fall?  My kids would appreciate it if you gave their mom some grace-filled ideas.}

Forgetting Grace

It’s been one of those days and I’m scrambling for a solution.  Isn’t there a book I can read with a formula I can use to fix this?
I steam inside.
How did we become this?  What did I do/not do/forget to do that allowed all this to be?
I always seem to think that more information will solve the problems.
But life is not lived out in formulas and equations, and in real life there are more recipes that fail because I am always trying to fix heart issues with ‘just the right ingredients’.
Add a little of this, use less of that, try this new miracle formula…and voila!
Same problems, different flavor.
There is nothing on the internet today that will fix the problems in my heart.
There is no earthly book, no potion, no method or manipulation that will solve this lack of grace.
I just need Jesus.
And what more do they  need?  More law, because that really worked for me?
Not so much.
They need a mom who’s been washed, washed, and washed again and once and for all, because sin is a daily battle and grace covers it.
The one encouragement that we can always give our children (and one another) is that God is more powerful than our sin, and He’s strong enough to make us want to do the right thing.”
Elyse Fitzpatrick, Give Them Grace
We are all people with problems, living with people with problems.  There is so much room for grace here, so much gospel to be lived out.
But when we forget grace and use methods instead, we sleep with elephants on our chest because we fail, I fail.
I have this Hero and He won me with grace.  He’ll win their hearts, too.

Creating Time and Art

We’re all making art here.

Horatius at the Bridge

Imagination puts blocks together into story, and there we are with brave Horatius.

We have free time to find.

Squeezed between the must-be-done and the screaming-urgent, we can all find time for a little creativity.

Dirt-movers create landscape and potential, a place to plant dreams.

And a little mud for boys-on-bikes.  *enjoy*

The left-handers choose girly pink paint and oil pastels to make their art, and it all comes out beauty.

And here, on the corner of the house that has stood empty for 5-ish years, the house-in-progress that has sheltered more birds than people, God put art.  Right there by the gutter drain full of slime.

And all I have to do is choose to see it.  To grab my camera and go find it today, because tomorrow I might forget.


“Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty, find opportunity.” ~ Albert Einstein

Proof

Last week I told you all here how I was freaking out in the camp trailer.  Now that I am ‘stable’ again, I can laugh at it all.

Isn’t that sad?  That the perspective I need comes only in hindsight?  Such is the way of the forgetful.

But as I was clicking through pictures last night I found this proof of my freaky-ness and had to laugh at myself.  And then scold my daughter for capitalizing on my insanity with her camera.

Here is the posed picture:

See how sweet and serene I look, all happy and excited about packing up my household?  Don’t I look so organized and together, neatly placing household items in the box?

And then the real me let loose:

Crazy lady, swallowing her tongue.

If you can’t laugh at yourself today, then at least you might laugh at me.  It’s ok.

A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones. – {Pro 17:22 NKJV}

 

The Things I Miss

{This post was written a few weeks ago but left unpublished.  I didn’t figure anyone needed or wanted to read my selfish complaints and poor-me-isms.  It’s kinda gross, the stuff that comes out when your little world gets shaken, and I didn’t really want to share all that ugly.

But I read it this morning and realized that I needed this reminder, because we are moving towards order now and while that’s good, so good, I want to remember that there is only one Constant.  Life will get out-of-order again, and what will I do with Jesus in the chaos?}

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They are the two things I miss the most when life is upside down and busy.  When waking up is hard because sleep was fleeting, and there are kids on your kitchen table and living room couch.  Showering happens in line of 7 others and where in the world are my clothes, anyway?

We are in a time of transition, and I don’t mean to complain but I’m kinda freaking out.

I have so much to be thankful for.  And I am.  It’s just that I thrive on order and routine and I haven’t found those yet in this camp trailer.

That’s what I miss.  Order.  Routine.

I purpose to not complain, but then someone asks and the things I dwell on in my heart come oozing out of my mouth.  {So, dear friends, better to not ask!}

I can’t find our book of Giving Thanks, can’t read over all the blessings we’ve numbered so far this year and can’t write down more.  And so I stop being thankful?  This dust that breathes and lives because of grace, refusing to thank the Giver because of missing routines and lack of order?

And what burns me the most is my fragility.  My husband has this saying, that worship isn’t fragile.  It’s not about our surroundings or the music or the lights or the time, because it’s only worship if it’s about Jesus.

But I am fragile about important things, and faithful in the un-importants.

Three weeks out of order and routine, and the coffee pot has girgled every single day.  Is that my one constant, then?  Coffee?

There were days with no Words.  Days where pray was short and simple thank-You-for-this-food-amen.  But there have been no coffee-less days so far.  No days without a steaming blend of arabica, water and half-n-half.

Just days without Real Life.

Truly, then, what I miss the most because it is the most vital (vita, meaning life) is the Real Life of fellowship with Jesus.  What I think I miss is really just a habit.  Those quiet mornings in the Word and prayer…with coffee.

Your god may be your little Christian habit— the habit of prayer or Bible reading at certain times of your day. Watch how your Father will upset your schedule if you begin to worship your habit instead of what the habit symbolizes. We say, “I can’t do that right now; this is my time alone with God.” No, this is your time alone with your habit. There is a quality that is still lacking in you. Identify your shortcoming and then look for opportunities to work into your life that missing quality. ~ Oswald Chambers

Pretty much having my schedule upset right now.

I feel foolish to complain.  I am a spoiled child who disdains the smallest inconveniences.  I feel silly taking up space with my whining, but I know what writing it out does.

It makes me accountable.

And thankful, that a loving Father turns me upside down to shake out all the trinkets and fetishes I’ve carried around as habits, caught up in thinking they were necessary.  I still look forward to a quiet morning, to reading the Word and praying before the busy day.  I know I’ll go back to those things, but for now He just reminds that now  is a good time to seek Him.

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Thankfulness.  Can I just say that out of all the in-laws in the world, mine are the best?  For five weeks we upset their order and routine, interrupted their schedules, and they just blessed us again and again.

And when we invited them over last night, to be the first dinner guests in our new home…they brought the dinner.

Tending Sheep

“When God speaks, many of us are like people in a fog, and we give no answer. Moses’ reply to God revealed that he knew where he was and that he was ready. Readiness means having a right relationship to God and having the knowledge of where we are. We are so busy telling God where we would like to go. Yet the man or woman who is ready for God and His work is the one who receives the prize when the summons comes. We wait with the idea that some great opportunity or something sensational will be coming our way, and when it does come we are quick to cry out, “Here I am.” Whenever we sense that Jesus Christ is rising up to take authority over some great task, we are there, but we are not ready for some obscure duty.” ~ Oswald Chambers

I get lost in the fog of small, obscure tasks.

Today I want to do them for His glory, with the awareness that He is in every detail.  To do them without  the anxious longing for the next thing, the big thing, the thing that surely pleases God more than this menial task.

I have laundry, meals, packing, and more packing to tackle today.  This threatens to fog me, but not if I do it with ears open.

Moses was just tending sheep in the desert and I don’t think it gets much more mundane than that.

So if he can hear over the bleating of sheep and mind-numbing solitude, surely I can hear over the hum of the washer and the sound of Babe the pig entertaining my ‘helpers’.

Are you doing the obscure and the mundane today?  Watch for the burning bush.

Small Things

Help me to do great things as though they were small, because I do them with Your power; and small things as though they were great, because I do them in Your name. ~ Blaise Pascal

Doing small things today and praying this prayer.

Five Minute Friday: Gift

I have five minutes to write about “Gift” with no editing or over-thinking, thanks to the prompt from Lisa-Jo.  My mind is racing like Scrat after the nut, but here goes…

My kids.  Four of them given to me all dependent and squalling.  How could I ever manage this responsibility?  Only by grace, you know.  And so much more of it for each day.

{this is where I insert the gorgeous pictures of my kids…instead, I’ll use this space to remind you all to back-up your computers because you never know when things will mysteriously go missing.  Seriously.}

I ask God why you couldn’t all just be cookie-cutter-kids.  All with the same needs and desires and personalities, instead of four people as different as could be.  Wouldn’t this parenting job be so much easier if we all played by the same rules?  If what ‘works’ with one child ‘worked’ with all?

I guess He doesn’t want a boring life for us.  Great adventure, this life with personalities.

You all are my adventure.  Knowing you, loving you, teaching and learning with you.  I fail miserably and you see it and love me anyway.

So many times I pray you forget what I said and just remember there is grace for us all…

He reminds me what you, we, all of us need.  The law makes no one perfect, but grace.  Grace brings us to Jesus.

These kids and this grace work together on me.  Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father, and we have to embrace them all squalling and dependent.

STOP

Family Dinner

There are tears at dinner and someone wants to be excused.

What happened to family time and lively discussions?  To “how was your day” and “great soup, mom”?

The soup is cold and the stare, it goes right through.

All my warm-fuzzies disappear and I am frustrated.  Selfishness abounds in our jars of clay, and I really am no different.  I really could use a good dose of sound judgement.

So my husband and I, we are partners in this thing called parenting and we tag-team.  He talks, I pray.  I talk, he prays.

We choose carefully but probe the hearts, push over barriers, dig up roots.  Maybe we point out too much, things that the Holy Spirit can reveal better than  our words do.  We pray He uses our words and pray He shapes them before they enter our children’s hearts.

We are trying to do this right, to train without provocation.

And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. ~ Eph. 6:4

But there are bitternesses that build when parental eyes aren’t watching, and habits.  Always those  habits.

The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days; while she who lets their habits take care of themselves has a weary life of endless friction with the children. — Charlotte Mason

The mother who takes pains.

So many habits seem to form painlessly, and it’s the effort of training in good habits that wearies.  There are so many rules we could make and thou-shalts that we could throw down, but the heart is not trained by vaporous words, is it?

We pray for Life to breath into this mealtime.

No one is excused from the table of hard fellowship, because fellowship and family are not about warm-fuzzies and can’t- everyone-just-be-nice.  

This is the hard work of family.

I say it several times this week, to friends hurting and children wanting solitude.  Living with people is hard work and God grows us all up in that love-labor, where we do the confronting and the repenting and the working it all out because He worked it all out.  And sometimes it only works out in us, not them.

I try to live those words I say.

It’s the hard work that means the job is worthwhile, right?  This is all worth the pain and the yuck that we stir-up?  Because I prefer an easy life with smiling people.  I prefer to be the one excused from the table sometimes.

After dinner, there is repentance.  A long talk with the one who prefers silence, repentance from one who heard Life breathed through vaporous-words-redeemed.  Tonight we can sleep with the grace-covering.

The adults and children alike have learned something, all of us working out this walking together.  All of us made in His image.  All of us needing grace.  We learn (again) that words have power and wounds left to fester will eventually burst open, and we learn that running away from the table of hard fellowship doesn’t solve problems.

Two things I intend to train as habits, in myself and my children:

  1. Walk circumspectly – Eph. 5:15-16  (watch your time and how it’s spent)
  2. be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving – Eph. 4:32 (watch your words and how you use them)

Dinner sometimes becomes about more than eating, with more dirt than food  on the table.  Let’s pass the antacids, roll up our sleeves,  and work it out.

Project Simplify Week 3

Paper clutter weighs me down.

Throwing things away is one of my favorite hobbies, but alas, it gets me in trouble sometimes.  I am technically the secretary for my husband’s business, and more than once I’ve ‘lost’ something important.  The boss is pretty forgiving but I really need to work on my bad habit of tossing things I don’t want to deal with.

Last year my in-laws gave me a money gift for my birthday and I was ecstatic (really!) to buy this simple file for my kitchen.

It just makes me happy.  A place to put things, to clear them off the counter, to hide the paperwork I loathe and the bills that stack, the newsletters I really do want to read, just not now.  Pretty little file folders to go inside and cover the things I don’t want to deal with.

Can you see the problem here?  I’ll let you draw your own spiritual analogies, but go easy on me.

Remember peek-a-boo with babies?  If something is out-of-site for more than a few…seconds, it really is out-of-mind.  I’ve stashed several important things in this nifty box that really needed prompt attention, rather than hiding.

So today I semi-dealt with them, and I let go of a stack of things that were just never going to be read.

A little freedom!

This handy-dandy file sits on a not-so-lovely shelf in my kitchen.  It’s one of those things that you just look at differently one day, and smack your forehead and think, “That looks really hideous.  I’ve been living with that for how long?”.

We are moving in about 648  hours, so I was tempted to just dump everything in a packing box and show you a lovely-but-fake ‘after’ picture.  I resisted.  I reassigned and rearranged and came up with something not quite so disheveled.

I even labeled the boxes!  I guess this will do for a few more weeks.

Last but not least, the infamous drawer-of-homeless-items.

Before

After

 

All these little tasks just make me happy.  Pretty simple!

 

 

 

 

If the words ‘simple’ and ‘organized’ make you happy, click on the Project Simplify button on the right to check out some great stuff.

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