Sharp Paynes

Never a dull moment…

Archive for the tag “home”

For Those Days {You Know the Ones}

Some days are just like that.
Some days you don’t listen to your child-feeling-ill and you clean lunch off the bathroom floor instead.
Some days you try to do something nice for someone and it turns out all catastrophic, with smoke and charcoal and flaming chicken.
Some days you stand over the blender and get a mini-smoothie-facial, and it makes your kids laugh hysterical.

And sometimes it happens all in the same glorious, blessed day.

All those days, the ones that don’t go as planned and the ones that seem to crash in the middle, they all string together to make up this life.  You look back and remember that you let your kids laugh at you, that you gave grace to the sick child, and someone tired and poured-out was blessed by your meal anyway.

And families stick together through those imperfect moments because moments make memories, and these are some of the best.

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Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!

Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:

Who forgives all your iniquities,

Who heals all your diseases,

Who redeems your life from destruction,

Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,

Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

{Psa 103:1-5 NKJV}

Blessing the Lord for all this:

326.  the Gospel, preach all weekend to 130+ kids

327.  the 26 who are new creations!

328.  creek baptisms

329.  friends who make themselves at home in our house

330.  coffee, half n half, and fresh morning air

331.  podcasts to divert my mind from my burning lungs on my run

{Linking up with A Holy ExperienceThe Better MomTitus 2sdaysScribing the Journey, Growing Home}

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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.}

For the Ones Who Can’t Hear “Beautiful”

You shun it as though it were a four-letter word.  When it comes you refuse to hear, refuse to let it attach to you because, surely, you ought to resist that flattery.
Be humble and all that.
Sincere.
You secretly hope that the words are sincere, and inside you desire to wear them gracefully, to be them and believe them.
But your enemy tells you otherwise and you listen to him instead.  To the father of lies?
You have to choose what you wear.

Let Us make man in our image, according to our likeness ~ Gen. 1:26

Your Father has said beautiful since you were born.  He’s made beauty in the world, wonder that you capture with camera or imagination or just sheer enjoyment.
Yet you,
created in His image,
won’t listen.
You have eyes to see it all around, but you wonder if it’s ok to see it in you.  As if vanity came from simple appreciation.

Is it ok to think that I look nice?

You ask me one Sunday before church, and I’m remembering the time of no jeans and no mirrors because I was so weak and so consumed.

Imago Dei.  All of us, the image of God.

Yes.  It is good.

Take a little  time in that mirror and gaze at the image of God.  Be blessed by His beauty and comfortable with your skin, your hair, the color of your eyes and the marks of distinction on your face.
Praise Him for infinite imagination, thank Him for hairspray and mascara and jeans if you must.
And then move on from that mirror and see beautiful  all around you, in others.  Go tell someone they’re beautiful and tell them why.  If you don’t see beauty then tell them why Jesus is Beautiful.  Talk about Him.

Attach yourself to Beautiful when you can’t believe He’s attached to you.

When you hear beautiful, wear it.  Be it.

Put it on with your cross and remember the ugly beautiful, the One Story so dangerously beautiful that it saved you from being forever ugly.

Someday, when your husband tells you you are beautiful, believe him.  Believe him because refusing to hear beautiful is calling him a liar.
There will be unlovely days and sweat-pant days and days of acne and bloating and extra pounds.  There will be days when no one says beautiful to you, but won’t you still hear it?
Won’t you listen to the One Who is inside, who created you imago dei and ever lives to display Himself through all His creation?  Through you?

Believe Him because refusing to hear beautiful is calling Him a liar.

Because, really, beauty-full is what you are.  Don’t cover that up.

{And by the way, beautiful is for boys, too.}

The Staged Life

I don’t always give my best.

Sometimes ‘my best’ is too much work and I settle for doing ‘just enough’ or even ‘maybe later’.  I’ll go to bed with that sink-full of dishes and toppling pile of laundry, with no idea what’s for breakfast and with a lovely, crumb-crusted floor.

Once or twice, I’ve even fallen into bed fully clothed and with un-brushed teeth.  Sorry, honey.

I just thought a little confession would be good.

Someone called and told how guilty she felt for going back to bed that morning.  She thought about all the things  I had probably already accomplished that day, and what a loser she was for snuggling back in.
Funny thing is, I often have the same thoughts about her.
So many times in my day I think she could have done this faster or better.  She probably always knows where things are, and how embarrassed I ‘d be if she opened this cupboard or looked in this shower.
And it’s not just one person, it’s every other woman out there.
I am forever comparing myself.  But I always seem to compare my worst  with their best.  
If only I could take the best of everyone and combine them into one, like some Suzy Homemaker on steroids.

As though someone really does have it all  together, all the time.

You know that those pictures are staged, right?
We take pictures because we want to remember that one time, we did make a beautiful meal for our family and everyone liked it.  Or we want to remember that we do sometimes have fun together and everyone laughs.
Someone said jokingly, “It’s not about having fun.  It’s about the pictures!”.

But having it all together in real life is more illusive, more of a special occasion.

There are those days where everything clicks along, every meal is planned, the house is clean and I even see the bottom of the laundry baskets.  School happens peacefully and the kids play a game together.  My husband walks in to the smell of his favorite dinner, sits down to eat it with his favorite people, and we all have a lovely discussion that is relevant and fruitful.

The trouble is that I expect  the days to always be that way.  And what do expectations get me?

More often, those events don’t all line up on the same day.  Monday I might have all our meals planned.  Tuesday school might go peacefully and the kids might play a game.  Wednesday may be a marathon laundry day, and Thursday we might have a really good discussion at dinner with no bathroom noises, no 5th grade humor, and no fighting over who-sits-where.

But rarely does it all happen in one day.  That would either be exhausting, or a waste of time, or The Cleavers.  Surely there are better things to do than live in a photo shoot.  Is a picture really worth a thousand words?
We live in the real world with real mess-ups and do-overs every morning, and I’m so thankful for that.
My heart’s desire is to honor God and my husband, and that needs to be the driving force behind all I do or don’t do in a day.  They both know my weaknesses and love me anyway.
… walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; – {Col 1:10 NKJV}

Are you stuck comparing yourself with others?  How do you guage your accomplishments – what makes you feel like you’ve done enough for the day?
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Counting all the gifts this week, some of them numbered here:
298. The full moon
299. The fog clearing away in the morning
300. Motivation!
301.  Bailey, thanking me for making her do hard things
302. Bible discussions
303. good friends at the river
304. 3 things that were broken or lost, that are now found or fixed

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

Choosing Rightly {Overwhelmed by Your Options?}

How do you  make choices in this world of infinite options?  And are some decisions just too small to fuss over, or do you think He cares about them all?  I’m curious.

Sometimes the problem is not that you don’t have enough options.

It’s not that you have a big decision to make and your choices are just too few, and you feel forced to choose between the lesser of two evils.

The problem  sometimes is that there are just so many good choices.

Whether it’s which charity to support, which cause to throw your voice behind, which restaurant to eat at, which outfit to wear, or what books to read.  Being in the Land of the Free can be such a huge burden.

A friend asks for homeschool advice, which curriculum to use, what do I love the most?  Do I open up the myriad of catalogs-websites-books-opinions out there and boggle her with the next 12 years of planning her child’s life?  Do I tell her all the pros and cons and finish with, “But whatever works for your family!”?

I need toothpaste.

Whitening, natural, sensitive, mint, cool mint, peppermint, or spearmint?

Bible?  KJV, NKJV, NIV, ESV, NASB…

And do I expose my kids to this smorgasbord?  Do I give them so many choices for breakfast that they feel entitled to always have it their way? 

It used to be nothing but oatmeal.  Why did I waffle?  What have I done to the simple life I wanted for us?

I like having choices, don’t get me wrong.  I like what I like and sometimes I like to change what I like.

But I get easily overwhelmed.  When it seems like the decisions are huge and there can only be one choice that’s right, I feel like that man at the fair, juggling knives.

You’d better get this right.

But there are a few things I’ve learned about making decisions, mostly from my husband.

1. God knows your heart.

This brings me peace in the swirling.  He’s not waiting to pounce if I choose A instead of B, not crossing His fingers hoping I make the right decision.  If my heart is right with the Lord and I am not purposely ignoring Him, I can trust His guiding.  I can rest in His grace.

He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you.  But to do justly, To love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? – {Mic 6:8 NKJV}

Doesn’t He make it simple for me?

Yes.  Because I need that.

And I need to know that He sees me as His child, trying to please Him but getting sticky jam-fingers all over the kitchen.  Would He scold me for the jam and tell me that He wanted eggs, not toast?

2.  Once you make the decision, go with it.

I had to choose a sink recently.  I stressed over it, really.  Stainless, I knew for certain.  One-hole, definitely.  Deep enough for a big pot.  But in order to have a row of drawers to the left of the sink, I had to order one narrower than my current sink.

Would I like it?  Would it work for our family?  Should I choose a bigger sink instead of the drawers?

Because now  is the time to decide…this isn’t something we can just change later if it doesn’t work out.

I ordered the smaller one and decided  I would like it.  It would be perfect and I’d be happy and it all would be great.  And guess what?

It is.

That’s not to say that we need a ‘my way or the highway’ attitude.  Not to close ourselves off from other opinions or suggestions or, especially, clear direction from the Lord that we are wrong.

But just that convincing yourself is sometimes the biggest obstacle and once you’ve narrowed down the choices, prayed, sought counsel, and have peace, go for it.

And I know, it was just a sink.

But if you’re choosing something a little more life changing than a sink,  pray, read, ask, pray again, check your heart, and go for it.  Move forward until God tells you otherwise.

In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge. – {Pro 14:26 NKJV}

3. Deal with your mistakes.

You will choose the wrong thing sometimes.

Some mistakes only require a little paint to fix, or a phone call or a letter or some elbow-grease.

Some mistakes really can’t be fixed, but you can start doing things right from this point on.  You can own up to the mistake and endure patiently, you can trust God through the consequences, and you’ll have gained wisdom when it’s all said and done.

We’ll know more when it’s over,  my husbands says.

Maybe you chose the wrong job or the wrong neighborhood or the wrong way to spend your time.  Maybe it was the wrong ‘parenting technique’ and now you feel like it’s too late.

It’s not.  Start doing the right thing now.  

Maybe you feel like you chose the wrong spouse, in which case I would refer you to #2 above and pray that you pour yourself into  being the right spouse.

Whatever the mistake, there is grace sufficient for a repentant heart, and times of refreshing will come (Acts 3:19). That’s always the best choice.

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Choosing thanks….

250. starting over, again, because Mercy is new every morning

251. friends and family that stop by

252. my ‘new-to-me’ computer hutch, given by a friend

253. unprompted apologies

254. Jan : )

255. Academy for Character Education

256. odd jobs

257. two red-winged blackbirds out the window

258. sunshine and fresh air in the morning

259. 5 flat acres, a creek, good neighbors, and no oak trees  : )

260. crazy kids in the creek

261. 6 minuscule fish that become 22 whoppers in Ethan’s retelling of it

Five Minute Friday: Expectation

Five Minutes of uninterrupted, unedited words.

GO…

Expectation

I guess I’m kind of a fatalist?

I’d rather not hope in things that might disappoint.  If something exciting might happen, I’d rather just assume that it won’t  happen and then be so happy when/if it does.

I often wouldn’t tell the kids about something exciting that was maybe going to happen, like going to a friends house or a camping trip, until right before it was time to leave.

You know, so they’re not disappointed if the plans fall through.

Because hope deferred makes me sick and I guess sometimes I just distract myself with other things, certain things, immediate-result type things.

Like laundry.

But I want to live differently.  Because of course there are things I can expect with certainty.

Image

I expect, with certainty, that the sun will come up every day until Christ calls me to the Land of my Expectation.  That’s hope that doesn’t disappoint.  He is expecting me.  *smile*

And I expect that He will surprise me with His goodness, even today.

STOP!

{You can do it, too.  Write for five minutes and don’t pick apart the words…just write!  Click over here and join us, even if it’s not Friday.)

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.

Re-posting for the first time today, so we can focus on packing and cleaning and… trying to stay focused.

Sharp Paynes

…finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.  ~ Ephesians 5:10

Pretty much anything goes these days.  People can find a way or a personality to justify anything they might dream up to do or say or wear.  “Restricting” they say.  Following God is restricting to my personality, my freedom.

Amen.

Restricting, like the walls of my home.  Like the rail on the bunkbed and the rules of the road laid down by the law.  Confining and smothering like the skin I wear and the helmet Ethan wears and the seatbelt we all wear.

 Terribly protective, our God is.

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;  The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;  The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The…

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