Sharp Paynes

Never a dull moment…

Archive for the tag “mother life”

When Summer Freezes

There are carefree days of childhood left to enjoy.  Trees to climb and knees to scrape, bikes and bubbles and building forts.  There’s still time to enjoy sticky cotton candy and salt water taffy, and it’s ok if you want to color, too.

There’s no rush here, no need to hurry up and be all mature.
In fact, can we just freeze these moments and really soak them in?
Time hiccups and I revel in the moment, you all happy and carefree, all giggly and silly and laughing at my jokes.  We can color together or splash in the pool or paint our nails wild.  We can stay up till 1 a.m. watching the opening of the Olympics, and in the morning we’ll eat more junk food for breakfast.
Show me your paper boats and lego kingdoms, tell me the coolest thing you saw on pinterest, and build your train tracks right on through the living room.

I think if it weren’t for children I’d have to be all mature, too.

Change comes inevitably down the time-line, with no mercy.  “Time waits for no man” they say and we can’t really get any more of it than God has allotted.
We have only to be good stewards of it.
So if I rush you, I’m sorry.
When I don’t make time for a picnic with all of us freezing the moment together, I’m sorry.
If I put burdens on you that don’t belong in childhood and if I forget that this is the only guaranteed moment, I’m sorry.

Time is flying and only grace gives the wings fit for enjoying it.

So we’ll all give grace and live in grace and together we’ll enjoy this childhood, the one that comes in 24 hour increments.
The one too good to rush.

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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:

321.  Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Truffles and…

322.  The sweet friend who brought them

323. excited little people

324.  squeaky voices and morning breath

325. our new volleyball net : )

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

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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

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.

Five Minute Friday: Good-Bye

Friday already, and I link-up with Lisa-Jo and write breathless for 5 straight minutes.  I love this prompt every week and the places it opens up…care to join the fun?

We have made it past the diaper stage and the feed-me-now stage and the sleepless nights.  We have officially said “good-bye” to pull-ups and wet beds.  Everyone can buckle themselves, brush their own teeth and hair, make themselves toast, and at least attempt to make the bed.

So we’ve said good-bye to the Age of Dependence.  Right?

Not so much.

As much as I wanted to be done with that age, the next one is not any less difficult.  That’s what they all told me, back when I was sleep-deprived and vomit-covered.  The ones who’d gone before tried to tell me to enjoy all that, to tell me that it only gets harder as they grow.

I laughed inside, thinking they had just simply forgotten.

But now I’m that one, and I reminisce on the days gone by and they don’t come back around.  Each day is spent and so am I.  Exhausted more emotionally than physically, and clinging to grace like never before.

They still are so needy, we are needy.  The sleepless nights are replaced with late nights, feed-me-now has become don’t-stop-feeding-me-I’m-starving, and now that they can all buckle-up, one of them wants to drive!  Lord, help me.

Wouldn’t trade it for the world.  I only want to revel in it, to soak it up, do it well and gracefully, and say good-bye to regret and selfish longing.

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What do you miss most from your kids’ younger days?  I miss toddler footsteps and fingers curling hair, sloppy kisses, freshly washed baby smells, and nap time.  Definitely miss nap time.

 

 

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.

Get a Job

Ethan put a sticker on Bailey the other day that said, “Good Job!”.   He slapped it on her hand and proclaimed, “Here you go, Bailey.  Get a job!”

He is a new reader who sometimes gets in too much of a hurry.  The work of decoding words and sounding out phonograms is bothersome for a little boy who has places to go and things to do.

Get a job.

Was that encouragement?  The sticker was supposed to be for commending a job well done, for congratulating someone on their accomplishment.  Wouldn’t it look nice at the top of your paper?

Of course he didn’t mean it to be offensive.  He wasn’t telling his sister that she was lazy and unproductive.  I don’t know what he was thinking, really.  Why would “Get a job!” be a nice thing to put on a kid’s sticker?

She covered it with grace and laughed when she shared the story with me.

But you know how sometimes we hear the wrong thing?  Someone intends to ‘help’ us but their words, they just sting?  In some twisted audio-conversion, a compliment can even turn into criticism.

Dinner was delicious tonight mysteriously becomes It’s about time we had a decent meal.

I like your hair  is translated I’ve been waiting for you to do something with yourself.

I really like so-and-so’s mom  is rendered  I wish you were more fun,  like her.

We are having some communication breakdowns in our home today, and I wonder how many of them have been birthed from misunderstandings and bad hearing?  Relationships are most important, but I wonder if the stress of the day has left us with too little time to decode words and search out hearts?

As people called to relationship, brothers and sisters called to live together in harmony, maybe we aren’t giving enough time for  encouragement.

Maybe our meaning gets lost in translation, or past offenses stop up our ears.

You’ve probably heard of the ‘sandwich criticism’, giving your criticism sandwiched between two compliments?  Wouldn’t it be better to just naturally be so encouraging that you didn’t have to plan out soft landings for your criticisms?

How would my kids respond if encouragement was plenty and nagging was rare?

Someone, everyone, needs encouraging words today.  A tired  traveller can go a long way on one or two encouraging words, and aren’t we all trying to get somewhere?

I’m trying to get to a place where my correction is received because my children know that I see good in them, that Christ is not done with any of us and just because you make a mistake, doesn’t make you  a mistake.  It’s so easy to see what’s undone, but I don’t want to be the one undoing with my words.  I want to be a builder.

The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands. – Pro 14:1 NKJV

And I also want to get to the place where I receive criticism without  offense (praying, “Lord, show me the truth in this.”), and where I hear compliments as just that, not as veiled criticism.

{How about you?  Do you struggle to receive correction?  Do you hear compliments as veiled criticism?  How does this affect your walk with the Lord?}

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Our family’s thanks continues, #225-232

 So many offers of help with our move that we’ve lost count

Derek coming to help finish the flooring with Dad

Coffee

Christ is risen!

Music

Fellowship

Sunrise service on the  mountaintop

Chocolate and coffee

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.

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