Faith · Fitness · Perspective

Psalm 19 with a Sprinkle of Science

Do you ever feel like you are just missing the point? Like with the current excitement over fanny packs and high-waisted jeans (which I experienced the first time a few decades ago), some things just leave me clueless.

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Yep, that’s me! The last few weeks have been a quest to “get it.” Once you realize you are missing something, you want to find it.

With my husband gone for a trip and then the transition time back into normal rhythm, I slipped out of my habits. I stopped running because where was the time? I stopped doing my devotional in the morning because I wasn’t getting more than a few hours of sleep. My stress level was thru the roof. My kids were fighting constantly. Sugar and bread cravings were all I could think about at meal times.

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Appreciate what’s around me? Struggling to…

Pay attention to the people and places I went? Just enough to keep us all alive…

In the words of Nemo, I was trying to “just keep swimming.”

That is not what this life is about! Sometimes, well… most of the time, God puts something in front of me like that rumble strip on the sides of the highway. The one that signals “CAUTION” and to make a correction. (side note- it is also good at distracting screaming babies on long car trips – not sure how we would have ever made it to Austin, TX with a very angry 5 month old without that rumble strip)

The first day of May, I set a goal of 90 miles of running this month (max 10/90 on bike). I’ve run basically every day. Running is part of my worship. It is impossible to not appreciate nature and all of Creation when running outdoors. It is extremely hard to demean yourself on the treadmill if you are aware how all the intricate cells in your body are working together to make that happen.

Monday, I picked my devotion time back up as well. Psalm 18. Psalm 19 Tuesday. Talk about a swift swoop into my world!

Psalm 19 (NIV).

1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 
2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. 
3 They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. 
4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. 
5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. 
6 It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth. 

7 The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. 
8The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. 
9 The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the LORD are firm, and all of them are righteous. 
10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. 
11 By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. 
12 But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. 
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. 

14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Verses 1-6 refer to the beauty of creation, created by God in intricate interwoven detail. “Verse 3 – they have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.” It doesn’t have to be! Beauty and majesty speaks for itself. There are no words in any human language that does it justice. “Yet their voice goes out to all the earth, their words to the ends of the world…”

How sad that I was so wrapped up in man-made chaos, that I completely missed all the miraculous things going on around me!

As a lover of science, I understand the desire to know all the inner workings. I want to know too! But much like Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, I have to pick which part I’m sure of to make calculations. I choose God and will leave the other part to be less certain. In doing so, I’m able to enjoy and appreciate life around me with both my faith and my questioning, scientific mind.

In doing the study commentary on verses 7-13 this morning, I realized that I had completely misunderstood much of the intent of the Bible!

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In my naivety, I’ve thought that many of the teachings were extremely limiting and harsh. What about my self-expression? my self-interests? my hopes, wishes and dreams?

Notice a trend here? Consider MY ears opened this morning.

Back to basic science – Newton – Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Life doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Why do I think MY actions, hopes, dreams, expressions, and interests won’t have a ripple effect on others? #selfish

The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The harder I push against God’s guidance, the harder or more awry life goes for me and those around me. Our world is doing its darndest to muddle things up. Again *raises hand*, guilty… Those guiding principles are not there to punish us, but to walk us towards a deeper joy, the kind only possible when you’ve made humble peace in your soul. Consider this me working towards being wise.

Verses 11 to 13. Who hasn’t told a child “Don’t touch that! It’ll burn your hand!” Then the seeking fingers touch it, burn, and tears ensue. *raises hand* Who has been that child thinking that he/she knew what was best? *raises hand*

These lines illustrate how God is trying, so so hard, to guide us away from troubles. It is frequently MY choice which path I choose – walking away without blemish or needing a salve and a bandage.

Hidden faults. We all have them. A very difficult step in maturing is recognizing those faults and rectifying them. I’m feeling fairly confident that I’ll never master all of mine. Thank goodness for the grace, forgiveness, and mercy of my husband, family, friends, and the One who made it all possible with His sacrifice!

Willful sins? I think by this, my study means vices and things we do on purpose. What is your vice? Put simply, I like my pants to fit, so fitness is probably one of mine. Pride seeps into fitness like sweat into a t-shirt after a good workout.

About a month ago, I ran a little over 10K for a team half marathon event that benefitted local scholarships. I struggled physically and thus was not happy with my time. I completely missed a chance to be thankful that my body will move how I want it to. With MS, this is not something to overlook! Alas, my pride got in the way. To exercise with the desire to only be proud of myself or for the attention of others is willful.

After this eye and heart-opening study, I can honestly say I’ve hit the rumble strip. This is my modern day application of Psalm 19. I appreciate the wake up.

Family · Parenting · Perspective

Mother’s Day – What is the perfect day?

Cheers to the Mothers out there! We are coming up on a Hallmark-induced holiday. Research shows that it was started with a noble meaning, and I guess, it still sort ANNA JARVISof rings – or maybe at least twinkles – with that sentiment.

I don’t mean to come off as bitter or brisk, but seriously… Let’s get real here people! Let’s look at the realities of what a Mother’s Day when you are ‘in the weeds’ is actually like with small children. Then, we’ll talk.

(This does not relate to how I shower my own mother with love on Mother’s Day. She’s already survived these years. Bless her.)

The advertisers say:

**”Treat your mother to a spa day!” — ummm….. does that come child-free? Does wanting a Mother’s Day gift that doesn’t involve the child that made me a mother make me a selfish monster? Hmmm…

**”Surprise her with a beautiful bouquet of flowers!” — Flowers are a nice sentiment. They look bright and zingy while my children are screeching at each other about a ball or iPad time.

**”Chocolate.” — While I am always 100% game for chocolate (non-dairy, so fake chocolate), this does not a smooth day make. If my child gives it to me as a special item, I’ll treasure the thoughtfulness behind it for a few moments. But me secretly eating mini-chips by the handful out of the bag in my freezer, not quite so meaningful.

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**Lunch or dinner out – so my young kids can groan about food in public instead of at home. It is a joy of the highest order to ask the waiter for something hot-dog based at a nice restaurant because the nicer, garnished, plated version of the similar foods we eat family-style at home are now unpalatable. This too shall pass…

You know, I’m just not good at gifts. This all sounds snarky and unappreciative. It isn’t that I don’t appreciate gifts or love being with my crew, it is just that I feel so ‘in the weeds’ ‘UNDER the weeds’ tunneling through life that if I was able to choose, I’d never CHOOSE any of these things!

As I sit here listening to a podcast about how to be a good parent, typing about Mother’s Day, and frankly, taking a break from the accounting project on my desk, I think my ideal Mother’s Day would look like this:

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Jammies.

Normal morning – 6ish wake time. Quick couple of miles on the run. When I get home, my sleepy people either aren’t awake or are just waking up. I LOVE to stroke their hair and face and wake them up slowly. I LOVE to see them run the house in their jammies. I LOVE to be greeted by their morning hugs. Breakfast is low-key. I could either make waffles or we go with the solid stand-by of cereal or granola bars. No fights, whines, or on the floor tantrums about anything up to this point.

 

Church is on Sunday – Mother’s Day. Everybody gets dressed without tears about clothing or shoes. I swear the shoe situation is just all-around cursed. Why? Whyyyyyyy?  Just put two shoes on without contemplating which dinosaur had the longest toes or which baby we should name “Vivian Laila S” for ten minutes! We get through the whole service without any dirty looks (from my son to me- when did 7 become the new 13?) or fights about who is sitting on Grandpa’s lap.

Lunch – We could eat out somewhere simple, where the hot dog that will inevitably get ordered is standard fare. Or we could have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, grapes, and chips at home. I’m good with that.

Afternoon – everybody rests or reads books quietly in their rooms. After rest time, we do something as a family preferably outdoors. If the weather doesn’t permit it, everybody

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A portrait by my 7yr old of himself and mom. He’s not really an alien and I do actually have feet…

plays a game or a puzzle. Then as the day goes on, people chime in to be helpful with anything that catches their eye. I honestly mean ANYTHING. That towel that he/she picks up off the bathroom floor is better than a 1,000,000 fragrant bouquets.

Evening – we like to grill. I’d be happy to throw something on. The hubs and T will have baseball practice. Maybe I don’t go because M and I are doing something special, just us girls.

Any way around it, there has been no tattling to this point. No throw downs or intentionally, slyly sticking his foot out. No hair pulling just to get her attention. She hasn’t screamed at him. Family time without the feuding.

Night- bedtime. Baths. Snuggles. Sleep.

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One of my reasons for Mother’s Day

That would be my perfect day to celebrate being a mother. I don’t want a gift or some token. Upon reflection, it seems that I don’t want to spend my day away from my loves to relax. I want to be with them the entire time. I want to smile and laugh with them. I just want a break from the work as referee.

To the other moms who are tunneling through the weeds with your littles, my heart goes out to you. Don’t let Hallmark’s projected view of the foofy, lalalala, rainbow riding unicorn, glitter and confetti, relaxing Mother’s Day get you down. We know that stuff isn’t always real. The LOVE is what’s real.

As cliche as it sounds, I think we have to soak in these moments. Here in the weeds these small people think the world revolves around us. That’s pretty amazing. They want to walk, talk, and BE just like us when they get older. They only focus on our shiny side.

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Throwback a few years. 

Good and bad alike, this too shall pass. Someday we’ll be sitting at home hoping for that text, phone call or Hallmark card that acknowledges that we are still important to them. We will hope that they still see only our shiny side.

Right now, we are their whole world. Moms, we have to try not to wish it away.

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Faith · Family · Fitness · Parenting · Perspective

Fresh Air and Sun

What a glorious weekend! My crew spent the whole weekend outdoors. Fresh air is the best remedy for little people with bad attitudes! Or I guess, at least mom and dad having the patience to deal with them. 🙂

I ran in the limited windows of time I was given (child-free) with only one skunk generated detour in my weekend miles. I’ve got 22+ miles in so far for the month of May! #90milemay

Our yard needed a major overhaul and my little hedge clipper didn’t make a big enough dent. giphy2

So…. my husband brought out the chainsaw and a skid steer loader with a grapple and tree shear. He “trimmed” cedar trees while I took down the 5 wire fence around our old garden with a pair of pliers.

Because my MS doesn’t care much for the heat, I took frequent breaks to cool down in the shade with large glasses of water. I don’t like it when things like my whole arm or half my face, etc. go numb, so I’m learning to be more cognizant about my body temperature.

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4+ hours into the yard project and we called it an evening. Our son came home from his activity. I grilled while the kids played in the water table. Showers and bed couldn’t come fast enough after dinner – for everyone.

Sunday my crew was exhausted, short-fused, and desperately in need of a solid nap. And that was by 9am. We worshipped, enjoyed a fellowship lunch with our neighbors and community at church, and then came home for what amounted to non-existent siestas. I gave up on quiet-time after 30 minutes and rounded up my crew to help plant the garden.

We are getting a late start due to some wet, cool weather in the month of April. After about 20 minutes of my kids nit-picking each other and arguing (should have had that nap), we managed to get the yellow and white onions in.

– insert drink and snack break –

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Because everyone was being so whiny and cantankerous helpful, the hubs and I decided we’d hurry up and put the peppers in before baseball practice. After some surprisingly successful teamwork where no one cried (gardening with a 4yr old who needs a nap!!!), I also planted the peas. We’ll call it a start…

On to the first baseball practice of the season. I love this time of year! Thgiphy4e boys were so excited to start practice. Everybody was pumped up and ready to go. By the end, all the boys were hot and tired. “Wolverines!” in a huddle and headed home until next week.

And so was our weekend. We were happy to spend it with family and friends. Always, regardless of the grumps, we love our crew. Fresh air makes it hard to take anybody’s groans too seriously!

 

Family · Parenting · Perspective

Countdown to Summer

The sun is finally shining! We experienced a late-spring dreary week of weather last week. The tally is at 5-6 inches of rain in the last 3 weeks. Whew!

Our little rural area was far better off than those west of us. Our temperature stayed above freezing, so just 40mph blowing rain for 3 days. Did you see anything on the news about the blizzard in eastern Colorado and western Kansas? Photo credit to the story linked here at the Washington Post.

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From the snow in the west to the beautiful sunshine that FINALLY peeked through… here comes

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Project #1. Tetherball. I pulled this information from Simply Kierste Design. We have plenty of room in our yard for tetherball. I’m sure there will be tears when someone gets jacked in the face! That’s part of childhood. Learning to roll with it and making evasive maneuvers.
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Project #2. Can you tell yet that we prefer to spend our summer outside? I bought this swing last summer and never hung it up due to the number of thunderstorms we experienced.  You can find the Swinging Monkey on Amazon. I had to purchase extra equipment to hang it. Again… still sitting in a box in the shed just waiting for the right tree branch and sunshine…

swingActivity #1. Swimming and swimming lessons. I’m a firm believer that either you know how to swim to save your life OR you keep your toes out of the water. Both kids have taken at least one session of lessons. We will continue this summer! I took lessons and completed everything except lifeguard training by middle school. My husband is well aware that he sinks like a rock. He failed swimming lessons.

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Have you bought a pool pass lately? Yikes. We don’t live in a city, suburb, or “neighborhood” that has a pool. We drive 15 miles into town to the real pool or play in the little 18″ deep inflatable pool in the yard. Not much for swimming, but it will keep you cool when the temps cross 90*F.

I’d like to get the kids to the pool at least once a week. My summer work schedule is modified so I can take advantage of an extra couple of days a week with my kids. This means occasionally working from home extra hours in the evening. #worthit #workingmama

Activity #2. Both kids are doing ball this summer. Scheduled for Monday evenings in June, this will be M’s first year of t-ball (softball). Not even a remote idea if she will be able to manage the bat at her current size, but though she is small – she is mighty in spirit!

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T has moved up to coach-pitch. He’s excited! Although fairly wicked hitting off the tee, his success rate hitting off our pitches is also solid. And truly – is there anything more enjoyable than a night at the ball field??? Good clean fun!

My husband is coaching again. In the past he’s been assisting. This year, the manager of the baseball organization asked if he’d be willing to lead a team. After expressing reluctance, I reassured him that this isn’t the majors. Above all else, the boys need someone calm, informative, and encouraging as they continue to learn and develop their skills.

As a family, we opted not to join any traveling teams. I have “lots of feels” about this subject pertaining to 6-7-8 year old children and the scheduling it requires. I honestly hope for the best for each unique family in their individual choices! It just isn’t the right time for our family to put our time into that.  #thebestyes

There are many other places, people, and activities on our list for the summer. I’ve posted a few highlights! We’ll likely head to the mountains for an extended weekend and load up the kids to add a little fun to a few work trips. Wheat harvest (barring anymore sub-freezing weather) will be in June. Planting, baling, and other farm work are always a must. #rurallife

Countdown –> School is out in 22 days. I’m not sure who’s more excited? My kids or me?

 

 

Creativity

Poems, Rhymes, Acronyms and Acrostics

I swear. I’ll be a 75 year old woman saying “30 days has September, April, June, and November… All the rest have 31 (except February)!”

Does anyone else do this??? I just did. I didn’t want to get the calendar out or even click the calendar button on my desktop, but I needed to know the last date of the month to figure state sales tax on my sales report.

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Never Eat Sour Wheat – the four directions. North. East. South. West. An acrostic.

8 times 8 fell on the floor. Pick it up with 64. – multiplication. Rhyme.

I sound like a crazy lady mumbling all these things to myself. It seems to be how I learn and remember.  For as long as I can remember, I’ve been memorizing existing rhymes or making up ways to jog my mind.

M.A.G. – the order of the states of Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia from Left to Right. This is an acronym.

SOHCAHTOA – Sine (Opp/Hyp). Cosine (Adj/Hyp). Tangent (Opp/Adj). – Trigonometry. Another acronym.

What are your go-to’s to help you remember?

 

 

Family · Parenting · Perspective

Post-It Notes

It is absolutely time for my husband to come home. I contemplated, quite seriously, climbing under my desk next to my floor heater and pretending I wasn’t here. Or maybe just staring at my feet with my head on the edge of my desk?

Work has been busy. In our current economic climate (regional – i.e. Agriculture), no room to be negative if we are busy! Kids are kids are kids – healthy, energetic, creative. All good things, right? Can’t complain. Won’t complain.

As I was sitting for a moment on the couch after work yesterday, trying to simply and quietly beat back the dull throb I’d been fighting all day, my son asked if we could make up our own scavenger hunt. It was raining. Headache. Non-stop stuff all day. Really?

I started to say “Let’s do it later…” but stopped and said “Sure. Go get some post-it notes and a pen.”

paper-notes-clipart-blank_sticky_note_clip_art_9428An indoor scavenger hunt wasn’t going to make my headache worse. He picked a small Hot Wheels truck to be the prize at the end and hid it under the napkin holder basket on the kitchen island.

We then proceeded to write clues for his sister to follow. He offered to read them because she is only 4.

  1. Look up and down. Which floor is it on? Which direction is the sky? — Up (Upstairs)
  2. I feel tired. Walk 20 steps in the direction where you go when you sleep. (Bedroom)
  3. It’s so cold in here! Go where you can keep warm! (Fireplace)
  4. This walking is making me hungry. Where can I get a snack? (Pantry)
  5. I made a mess. I’d better get the tool that sucks up crumbs. (Vacuum)
  6. Walk 4 steps forward to get closer to the end. (put her by the kitchen table)
  7. I’m thirsty! I’d better get a drink of milk. (Refrigerator)
  8. Walk 9 steps forward. It’s on the counter. The prize has wheels.

Of course, he didn’t let her keep his truck… but this was good for 10 minutes entertainment!

I love watching them work together. They will grow to be such a wonderful brother-sister team (crossing my fingers). I treasure these idyllic moments.

I won’t paint my family as perfect. Sheesh. Far from it. This morning, they got in a fight while brushing teeth that devolved into toe stomping, pushing, and eventually my daughter went “Cujo” on her brother. giphy4

We were running late to get to the sitter’s (no school today). I was on the phone with a customer because for some reason, I answered the business phone 30 minutes before we actually open for business. *Silly me. Lesson learned* As I was discussing the details of a potential sale, they could be heard screaming, sobbing, and pursuing “justice.”

**Sigh**

T- minus 24 hours… but who’s counting???

Much Love — Jen

Family · Parenting · Perspective

Finding the Bright Spot

This is one of those weeks my husband/ business partner/ other-half-for-all-things-in-life is gone. 8 whole days. Because we work together, it is actually rather lonely without him here in the office – if I had time to be lonely.

His job responsibilities don’t end, they “transfer” to my desk.

Carpool and kids don’t magically pause.

Where is my laundry fairy and dish diva???? Doesn’t she know I could use her wand to help keep up?

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Where did my breakfast buddy go? He usually gets the kids breakfast and feeds the cat while I finish getting ready – Hello cereal, lean pockets, and I’m not ashamed to admit… gummy worms for bribery for a smoother morning.

We FaceTimed with him this morning. He got to witness our daughter spill her bowl of cereal all over her brother’s arm. It was good. I think it made him smile to see life being normal here. Completely and chaotically normal.

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In addition to the bright spot that is FaceTime (#1), I also have a “ginormous” (in the words of my 4yr old) appreciation for my father-in-law. Bright spot #2: Twice this week he has prepped and brought me a sandwich for lunch. PB&J on toast on Monday and turkey with mayo/mustard today. Simple things mean so much!

Third bright spot: I am ridiculously productive around the house without anyone to hang out with in the evening. After the kids go down, I hit my to-do list hard! Better than being lonely in front of the TV.

When does he come home???? Although productive, enjoying FaceTime, and appreciating my father-in-law, I am counting down the days… He’s a keeper.