Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Different Kind of Margin

I have not been in a “bloggy” mood lately, which is weird for me. I love this blog. I love opening up my laptop and watching my scrambled thoughts morph into something that makes sense. At least to me.

Most of the time, I have three or four blog posts ready to go, but for the past couple of months, I’ve felt dry. Uninspired.


Which is why I decided to take an unscheduled blog break.

For two weeks, I haven’t attempted to blog at all. I’ve journaled some during my quiet time (with a pen if you can imagine it!), and I’ve spent several hours on my fiction work-in-progress (the opening scene is my absolute favorite thing I’ve ever written, which probably means I’ll have to delete it, but for the moment, I’m quite pleased), but I’ve avoided anything that could look like a blog post.

I’ve been busy living my life instead.

  • I’ve planned and more or less succeeded in pulling off a double birthday party for my ten-year-old daughter and two-year old son.
  • I’ve taken my children for a long overdue trip to the Children’s Museum (we now have annual passes—that place is awesome)!
  • I’ve done a lot of normal things like laundry and meal planning.
  • I've played all sorts of random games with my kids. 
  • I’ve enjoyed an oh-so-peaceful afternoon sitting in our “library” with my husband while snow fell in fancy flakes and piled up on the ground until we couldn’t stand it anymore and he retrieved all three kids from grandma’s house so we could build a snowman together.
  • I’ve started training for a 5K (that’s going to be interesting).
  • I’ve gotten a new haircut. I love it and have almost figured out how to fix it on my own.
  • I’ve been reading Leviticus, which everyone agrees can be a bit of a slog-fest, and have been stunned to discover how much great stuff is in there. Sure, there’s a fair amount of repetition with regards to long lobes of the liver and fat and entrails. And there’s no question that it’s a bloody book. Despite that, over and over again I find myself in awe, because unless we get just how onerous the Law was, how can we ever hope to appreciate the beauty and generosity of Grace?

After a few weeks of giving myself the margin to do a lot of ordinary things and a few things out of the ordinary, my heart is full and my thoughts are scrambled. I’m itching to start making sense of them again. I hope you’ll join me in the weeks ahead.

Grace and peace,

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Pinterest Perplexity

It can’t just be me.
Please say it isn’t just me.

I love Pinterest! I see the those little rectangles filled with beautifully staged food, artfully arranged mantles, adorably posed children, and I think…

How hard could it be?

Well, I have some homemade hand soap that feels like snot, a goofy looking Valentine’s Day door wreath, and some apples with a caramel filling that refused to stick to prove that just because something looks easy, it doesn’t mean it is.

My most recent Pinterest disaster fiasco experience?

A workout.

Now, I don’t claim to be fit, but I regularly make it through an hour-long Body Combat class and am able to walk to my car unassisted. So when I saw an at-home workout, I thought it might be a great thing to add to my repertoire for the days I can’t make it to the gym.

This particular workout had nine elements. It said to repeat it three times and it should take approximately 25 minutes.

Um. I don’t think so.

I thoroughly intended to do the whole thing three times. About 15 jumping jacks in, it occurred to me that this might be harder than I’d imagined.

When I finished the final element—a 60 second plank (which took me 2 minutes)—I collapsed on the mat with the sure knowledge that there was no way I would be repeating it once, much less twice.

Nothing is ever as easy as it looks.

You know that friend of yours who has it all together? The co-worker who is sailing through life? The Size 4 neighbor with the perfect children?

Don’t believe it.

Nothing is ever as easy as it looks.

I’m not sure why we look at the Pinterest version of the lives around us and assume the snapshots we are allowed to see tell the whole story.

Think about your own life. The hard stuff no one knows about. The health scare. The marriage that’s struggling. The kids that are wandering. The finances that are tighter than anyone suspects. The depression that’s closing in on your mind.

Why do we assume no one else is laboring under a heavy load?

Can I make a suggestion? This Valentine’s week, take some time to pray for the women who mean the most to you. Pray for their relationships, their health, their jobs, their families. Pray for discernment and pay attention to any prompts from the Holy Spirit.

Our real lives are not Pinterest boards.

Let’s quit acting like they are.

Friday, February 8, 2013

A New Home for Lily

A few months ago, I introduced you to my friend Emily when she reviewed Life with Lily by Suzanne Woods Fisher and Mary Ann Kinsinger. Emily is a fantastic writer and a great lover of books and I was thrilled when she agreed to come back and review the second book in The Adventures of Lily Lapp series for us.

Here's a little info about A New Home for Lily:

Lily Lapp is moving with her family to Pennsylvania to join
a new Amish community. In this small town where changes –
and newcomers – are greeted with suspicion, Lily must adjust
to a new school, new friends and Aaron Yoder, an annoying
boy who teases her relentlessly. Still, there are exciting new
developments, including an attic full of adventure and a new
baby brother. But why, Lily wonders, can't God bring her just
one sister?

Now, once again, please welcome Emily.

A New Home for Lily was very fun to read. Lily is getting used to a new Amish community and new friends. The books starts where the last one ended (I really like when books do that). Lily has to wear new clothes in the new community and I like how she had to wait for them. 

The thing that I did not like in this book were the children Aaron and Effie. They were very mean to Lily and her family.

The great thing about The Adventures of Lily Lapp series is the chapters are not too long. I can always squeeze in a chapter before bed or after my work is complete at school. I enjoyed this book and cannot wait to read number three.

I would recommend this book to any girl who wants to read something kind and good.

Lynn here: Thanks, Emily! Great job!

Emily is 10 years old and in the 5th grade. She plays the piano and loves to read. She enjoys spending time with friends and singing in the choir at church. She plays basketball, makes crafts, and loves to bake. Emily loves science and math. She also loves anything the outdoors has to offer—hiking, swimming, catching bugs, riding bikes or just running.

A New Home for Lily  - Available February 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
The super fine print: I received a free copy of this book (which I promptly delivered to Emily) in exchange for my honest feedback. All opinions are, in this case, Emily's!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Enough of Me

There is not enough of me today.
Today begins in the deep dark
When muscles lay heavy and frozen in the middle of a dream
Driven away by the call of “Mommy” and unrecoverable,
Even after the little one sleeps again in dry pajamas.

The day looms long as I lay back on my bed and pray
Until daylight filters under the door and the little one returns to cuddle.
The phone rings too early and the princess sleeps too long and I already know that
There is not enough of me today.

Laundry covers the room like confetti shot from a cannon.
Bills wait to be paid, messages to be returned, floors to be swept.
I’ll never finish today and the list in my mind swirls
While the little ones and I pretend to be dogs searching for imaginary bones.

The princess wakes miserable and the pretend puppies have to wait to play tag.
They don’t like waiting and everyone tries to snuggle in one chair
Spilling over the sides and bumping heads and noses.
There is not enough of me today.

I grab a shower and the only clean clothes available are gym clothes.
There is way too much of me and the irony is thick as
I leave my room to find the little ones tag-teaming an entire box of cookies.
They sit with chocolate rimmed mouths watching too much TV.

No one wants lunch so I grab bites of leftovers while I unload the dishwasher.
Diet experts say to sit down with each meal and focus on each bite.
I’m sure they are right but it’s not an option because
There is not enough of me today.

The baby spills water and pours out chips.
The little one whines and complains about cartoons.
The princess alternates between lethargy and activity.
The day wears on and I lean harder into grace.

In the middle of my mess, in the middle of my tears
His strength never fades, His compassion never runs dry.
When I falter there’s no condemnation, only His whisper,
“There is always enough of Me today.”

2 Corinthians 12:9 ~ But he said to me, "My grace is sufficent for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (ESV)

These songs have been on repeat in my head today...