Sharp Paynes

Never a dull moment…

Archive for the tag “home”

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.

Advertisements

Making Time

She sacrificed time yesterday.

Her house was in piles, the leftovers of a busy and fruitful weekend spilling over into midweek.  She had intended to tackle those mountains and get a fresh start on the remainder of the week, but I interrupted her.

I had questions and thoughts to sort out, and you know how sometimes you just need someone to hear?  Not to come up with answers or methodically cheer you on, but just listen.

And she would tell me if I was crazy.

She said the house would wait and that I was more important.

She bought me coffee and she listened.

I stammered and spoke in broken sentences and grasped to get thoughts out into coherent phrases.  Why is it that thoughts perfectly formed get all disfigured when they are spoken?

I twiddled fingers and I think I managed to get everything out, managed to convince at least myself that what I was thinking was right.

When I asked what she thought, she replied with her own question.  What does your husband think?

She sacrificed her opinion, really.

She gave wise counsel and different perspective, as always, but she was careful not to overstep the bounds of friendship and sisterhood.  Because so what if she thinks I should or shouldn’t do x, y or z?  I value her opinion but what if it’s the opposite of my husband’s? What does he think?  She knew how to be a sounding board for my anxious thoughts and how to allow room for God to shape things.

And she did encourage me, said we serve a big God and she called me by name.  Why does it mean so much when someone calls me by name?  Catches me and lifts me and she could have just spoken generic words, but she chose words for me, for Tresta.

I came away more confident, certain that she was praying and if I was crazy and she was too nice to tell me, she would pray that I’d hear it from Him.  Or my husband.

What a dear friend.

Today I took her example, left grammar and math and laundry behind for something more important. For someone who needed the sacrifice of my time.  I rush by my own children on the way to the next task, day in and day out, and though I hear it a thousand times, I stopped short and remembered again today.

The laundry will always be there, the house will always need cleaning, the phone will ring and emails will pile up.  “The tyranny of the urgent” my friend had called it yesterday, and I throw off the tyrant again and again.

I throw it off and call someone precious by name, try to listen well, pray hard, correct gently.

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

Tsh at simplemom.net has a book called Simply Organized.  You need to understand that ‘simple’ is one of my favorite words in the whole world, so seeing the title alone is enough to give me chills.  Reading it was exhilarating, freeing, simply amazing.

I’ll stop gushing, but let me just say it’s simply awesome and you should read it.

For the month of March she is encouraging us and holding us accountable to tackle some hotspots in our homes, one each week.

After months of having our house for sale, my pendulum has swung from obsessively, meticulously, don’t-leave-till-it’s-spotless, to more of an “ah, who cares…we’re moving soon” attitude.

It’s embarrassing, but I need some accountability and I’m excited to get it in gear again.  Each Saturday I’ll post some before-and-afters, and life will be much…simpler.

This week was busy, so today I just tackled the boys’ dressers.  They were pathetic and we will be doing some re-training this week.

Jake tells me that Mrs. Walton (from The Waltons) always put her kids’ clothes away for them.

I tell Jake that Mrs. Walton did a lot of things mommy doesn’t do, and vice versa, but she got paid to be perfect and I just work for kisses and the satisfaction of a job well done.  Nuff said.

The befores…

Why do we have two whole drawers for non-clothing items?

This room still drives me a little batty, but it is much better now and after some ‘gentle prodding and instruction’ from mom, the boys should have a better handle on the situation.

The afters…

One more wonderful thing about moving: as I purge the house of the Unnecessaries,  I’m determined not to bring anything into the new house that we don’t need.  I prefer the bare minimum.  It’s much simpler!

Five Minute Friday: Empty

It’s Saturday, I know.  Yesterday was busy and today I have 5 minutes (okay, more like 15!) to write.

So I’m a little behind…story of my life!  But here’s my 5-ish minutes on

Empty

Image

Image

Yes, he really is this cute!

Image

and this goofy!

Yesterday was the 6th anniversary of Ethan’s homecoming.  I still remember the day we saw him, curled up in a ball, sleeping in a crib in a room full of crawlers in that orphanage.

He was bigger than we’d pictured.  He looked as though he’d been fattened up, but he certainly was not healthy.  Snot oozed from his little nose and his chest was wheezy.

The first night in our Indian hotel with him was surreal.  I looked at this little guy, who’d never seen white skin before nor heard much english, and he just looked so…independent, I guess.  Unattached, but needy.  A little lost.

He had his first bath in a tub.  Screamed louder than anyone in that high dollar hotel wanted him to.  He was clueless what to do with the cheerios I had brought, having never put hand-to-food-to-mouth before at seventeen months old.

And back at our guest house in Delhi, he grew hotter and more ill than any child I’d ever held.  Would they even let us on the plane?

We adopted not because our hearts were empty, nor our house.  The love of God has been poured out in our hearts, and He’s blessed us with 5 children  now.  There are myriad reasons for adopting, and I believe God motivated us to fill the empty in Ethan Shashwat.

We had an empty seat at the table.  An extra place in the car. Arms that could hold more and laps that needed sitting.

God provided empty places for more of His love to pour into.

And to make that little crib in Pune, Maharashta, India, empty for another to be cared for and placed in permanence.

Image

Ten and One

You were late.

Two weeks and a day longer we waited, me miserable, everyone asking.  Each day I grew bigger and grew weary of the asking, the shocked expressions when I showed up at church still pregnant.

The buttons on my favorite shirt wouldn’t button.  I’d long-since lost sight of my feet.

I tried to will myself into labor, and I think they kept me there an hour before sending me home, empty hands and full belly.  It wasn’t like I didn’t know what being in labor felt like.  I wanted to tell that to the nurses, tell them that this was the third time in three years that I’d done this.

Maybe you just weren’t content to share your day with sister.  February 16 was a good day for Bailey, but it wasn’t to be your day.  You needed a day, a month, all to yourself.

So finally the time was right.  March 3, 2001, and you were stunning.  Like a beauty arriving ‘fashionably late’ to a grand party, all the world primed and ready for you.

You’ve been doing things your way ever since, and I love the way you do things, Shelby.

I love the way you serve.

You would exhaust yourself in serving others, I’m sure of it.  You seem to thrive on going the extra mile, and you do it without trumpets and announcements.

If I leave for 5 minutes, I know I’ll come back and catch you helping Ethan with a math problem instead of doing your own.  I love you for that.

If someone is tired and their chore is piling up in the kitchen, you quietly sneak in there and get busy.  Like tonight, with the groceries.

And if  there is hard work, dirty work, under-the-house-with-spiders work, you’re right there.  Smiling under the mask, I can see it in your eyes.

I love how you give.

If we give you a gift card for Christmas, you spend it on our birthdays.  Money comes right through your hands and blesses others, even some on the other side of the world.  You hold on to people, not things.  You teach me that.

I have notes and cards and pictures and treasures all over because you want to share.

I love how you share your time.  You know how special it is for little brother to get your attention, don’t you?  Do you know how I love to see you giving up your ‘free time’ to play legos or Chutes and Ladders?  How I love to see you serving guests and taking care of little ones?

You are unique and special, Shelby.  Full of fire.

I love how you tell stories.  Just like your daddy, with hands flailing and eyes bright and everybody take cover and move your drinks, Shelby’s talking!  Remember the parking lot story?  How when you were about four I couldn’t hold your hand in the parking lot because you were trying to tell me something, and you had to shake loose?

You make me smile.

Even though I had to wait, even though my hair went curly and my mind…just went, even though we all cried on the floor together when there were 3  little ones all diapered and dependent.  I love every minute with you.  Everything is excitement and energy with you.

You were so worth the wait.

Now the time goes too fast and you are eleven already?  There are still trees to climb, mud-pies to make, forts to build and fish to catch.  Let’s do more fun and less rushing, ok Shelly-bean?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Shelby Dawn.  Daddy wanted Emily, I wanted Emma.  So we chose Shelby and it’s you.  And in the middle, between you and the Payne –

The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. ~ Psalm 4:18

Happy Birthday and Five Minutes

I think I’ll be reading some Seuss today, in honor of his birthday.  Any excuse works for me, and my kids aren’t too old, nor am I.  There is much wisdom in his nonsense, and sometimes

I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities. ~ Dr. Seuss

No, I don’t agree with all of Seuss’ philosophy.  I just enjoy a little nonsense, set to rhyme…from time to time.

Yes.  I am 35 years old and I like Dr. Seuss.  I’m sorry if you are sharing deep things with me and I quote Seuss.  I’m sorry if I say things like, “We run for fun in the hot, hot sun” and you don’t get it.  I’m sorry if when I say, “I love to read”, you think I must mean Austen or Dickens or Twain.

You should read more Seuss : )

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Anyways.

It’s Five Minute Friday at thegypsymama.com

Ache…

They make me feel that.  It’s not their fault, it’s mine.  They can’t help the growing and changing and turning-into-young-adults, and it’s me that is supposed to make the transition slow, make the days last and the memories permanent.

But I’m losing my memory, really, and that makes me ache, too.  Thank God for pictures and journals and their memories that take me back.  I’ve prayed so many times that they would forget the word-wounds and the grumpy-mom, but now I pray that we’ll all remember the moments.  Frozen in time moments.

The cuddling and laughing and sharing.  The moments when the world stopped and the laundry stopped and the school stopped and we just stopped to enjoy each other.

I’ll purpose to make those moments today.  Will they still enjoy Dr. Seuss?  I think they will.  How they bless me, the Sharp Paynes, and how they make the dull ache in me for slowing down.

I’m thankful for the ache because it reminds me to stop.  Like running too fast makes me hurt – because I wasn’t meant to go fast but slow, turtle-slow.  And it’s ok.

Several Decembers ago...

Books as Teachers

Along with having a schedule in place for our family, reading books together has been fundamental.  From the time they were born I’ve read to my kids.  Partly for them, partly for me  – reading Dr. Seuss to the kids is much more fun than reading it to myself. Sharing a story together gives us common ground, something to refer to in our daily conversation, something to bring us back together when life scatters us.

A reason to snuggle, too.

The Wiggler

Sometimes it was more of a wrestling match than snuggling.  Forced-listening?  You-will-like-this and we-will-bond?  The boys always wanted to tear the books, eat the books, throw the books.  But we pressed on, and they came around.  Now it’s my son who slyly drops the book on the table next to my lunch plate.

I don’t get to read everything my kids are reading for school anymore, and I think I’m jealous.  My children are going on adventures without me.  Meeting new people, seeing new places.  They are more ‘well-read’ than I and have devoured bookshelves-full.  I taught them each to read, by the grace of God, and now there’s no stopping them.  Even the boys.  But with carefully chosen books as their teachers, there is no limit to their education.  Only a limit on my time, and I don’t have enough to catch up on all the great books.

Because I just can’t do it all.  And I have to be okay with that.

We have had family read-alouds in the evening with Dad.  We’ve read fiction and non-fiction, hero tales, fairy tales, missionary stories and silly poems.  We have forced our way through the Bible in a year of 6 a.m. wake-ups.  Just because we thought we should.

There are  many books that the youngest hasn’t been read.  There are hundreds more great books that none of us has read.  We have started several books that we never finished, and we have had long dry spells with no story.

It’s all okay.  We just start again where we left off.  Or find a new book.

In fact, we just recently picked up the habit again, in the mornings after breakfast.  Even though schedules are packed and life has changed and there are no toddlers anymore, we have to read together.  It is essential for us.  And you know what?  Nobody complained.  All made room in their schedules.

And I’ve learned (am learning) not to make Dad feel guilty about missing out.  Some seasons we can all read together.  Other seasons, life and work happen in abundance and I make time for read-alouds during the day, because I can.  Nobody needs more guilt heaped on their shoulders because of what they don’t do.  Some of the best stories we hear are the ones Dad tells at the dinner table!

Books take us beyond ourselves and our time, giving us fresh perspective, new inspiration, deeper thoughts.  We use books to teach our kids because some lessons are better read than preached.

We ebb and flow with life, but I hope we always come back to sharing stories together.

growing in thanksgiving, through the fog of sickness this week…

143. daddy’s surprises

144. goofy classmates

145. Pooja

146. The Wolfe’s

147. chocolate

148. kids

149. OMSI

15o. doggy kisses

151. Fourteen years with Bailey

152. books as teachers

153. popcorn and smoothies and time together

154. Awesome Uncle Troy!  Dropping by with unexpected thanks.

 

Post Navigation