love

i was driving yesterday listening to the radio. i was listening to east to west by casting crowns. remembering the lenten season we are still in i was thinking about how much the savior..the god of the universe loves me! and how much he loves us all.

doesn’t matter who we are. what we’ve done. he loves us.

and, this god of the universe..this savior, loved us enough to die an awful death. to be beaten. to be wounded. all in my place. it could have been me. it should have been me. but, god made a way..and that way happened to be his son. jesus, the baby born in a barn yet, he was a king who was crucified!

you now i love my family. i love my husband more than words can can express! i love my layla and seamus to the moon and back a trillion billion times! i feel the love my family for me and it is the best thing ever!

but…there is a god who loves me even more than that! it is hard for my human mind to fathom. my heart and soul feel it.

someone bigger than me. someone mightier than me loves me and has my life in his hands.

he loves me as far as the east is from the west which, is never-ending!

he loves me from one scared hand to the other and back again..and again..and again. for all eternity.

hands that were stretched out on a tree and took the nails for me!

we’ve been singing this powerful song at iMMERGENT which i love! it can be rather difficult to sing. so much emotion fills my heart and soul. you must take a listen. the bridge leaves me speechless. (it starts around 1:53)

now matter  who you are, where you are, or what you think you may have done… you are loved! god doesn’t need perfection. he hears. he sees. and boy does he LOVE! it is like ‘nothing in life that i’ve never known!’

i’m amazed because of it..

i’m humbled by it..

i’m overjoyed with it..

i’m unworthy..that i am..

but, i am so LOVED!

and so are you! relish in that fact today.

“how great is the love the father has LAVISHED on us…that we should be called the children of god! and that…and that is what we are!” (1 jn 3:1)

 

 

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giving up something

i’ve decided to give up something.

we were talking at immergent saturday night about the rituals/practices of different religions. we talked a lot about how we look at the rituals the catholics and jews have that are so valuable. being a christian/protestant i feel like we don’t have many. i mean we do practice baptism by immersion and communion (in our church) once a month. many ‘big’ churches practice communion much, much less. we do believe strongly in spreading the gospel…’go ye into all the world and preach the gospel’ and train and send out missionaries but what do we do on a regular basis? we go to church on the weekend and if we don’t do anything but attend then we give up 1-2 hours of our day to get to and attend a service. pretty easy. yes, we are suppose to pray and read our bible and seek god and maybe we attend a weekly bible study…again taking a few hours or day to get to and attend the bible study. we try and read our bible and pray most days.

we been learning more and more about the life of jews as we have found ourselves getting to know some of them. they give up the entire sabbath (saturday), sun-up to sun-down to worshipping their god. they make a special meal, they say specific prayers together, they spend the entire day together as a family! (i don’t claim to know all they do but this is what i am learning.) when is the last time you have up your entire saturday or sunday to god. i know we are always trying to fit in other things before we get ready to go church on saturday evenings. what would happen if once in awhile we gave up the entire day?

and lent…this really got me thinking. the lent season starts tomorrow and go through easter. 40 days or so i think. most of us probably know that those who observe lent give up things. they make sacrifices in their daily life. they focus on the coming of easter and all that means. the god of all sent his ONLY son…to DIE on a cross…and he did that for ME! and for you too! at the most i think us protestants tend to start celebrating this easter on black friday, we think about that day and how jesus was nailed to cross where he died. we thank god for sending his son and try to think about what the day must have been like. saturday is probably busy with planning for the easter weekend. we might have family coming into town oh, and did we get a ham big enough? do we have enough food for easter sunday dinner? should i peel the potatoes before we leave for church in the morning? we don’t want to be waiting on mashed potatoes…everyone’s favorite! we get up sunday morning and maybe…we attend a sunrise service? maybe we eat easter breakfast at church? we attend one of the many easter sunday services at our church where we sing about the RESURRECTION of our lord! followed by this service that hopefully stirred more in our hearts for all the happened on easter morning 2,000+ years ago, off we go to eat a big fat easter sunday meal! we lounge around in the living room visiting the rest of the day with family and friends. we got to bed stuff and probably tired and then… its monday and we are off to work and school and back to life and all its demands, distractions, possibly?

i realize these scenarios aren’t the same for every person but, i bet most of them could be for the majority.

and do you know about the stations for the cross? the catholics recreate the way…the road that led to the cross. we set transformed our church sanctuary one year at this time into the stations of the cross. it is a wonderful experience to walk through them…to try and get a glimpse of all the savior went through and endured for us. the catholics do this every year!

geoffrey and i talked a lot about how great and valuable these practices of other religions could be all of us protestants to practice. do we have time in our life for them?

as soon as we started talking about lent coming up at immergent, i realized i needed to give something up. i quickly knew what that should be. i am always wanting to read more and i have two book sitting around that i really want to read but i just can’t find enough time to get good reading in! so, i’ve decided for the lent season, i am going to up TV. i don’t think i watch it a lot. there are a few shows that i  plan my afternoon/evening around so when they start i can sit down, relax and watch them. we don’t have cable or a dvr but, i still think by giving it up for the next 40 days i can use that time to read! the house is quiet then so its a great time to pull things out to read. i am looking forward to it. i can also use that time to focus more the the upcoming easter season rather than putting all my focus into good friday through easter sunday only.

i’m not saying its bad to enjoy a nice easter sunday meal or go buy a delicious ham…i’m just saying that we should stop and ponder a bit. i know i need to. we should try to find ways to enjoy and celebrate this season more. we’ve got 40 days coming up…how will you use that time? no one else in history gave up the only son he had to die on cross…and to die for ALL MANKIND! “…how great is the love the father has LAVISHED on us, that we should be called, children of god! and that we are! 1 john 3:1 read that again slowly…its such a great verse!

just thoughts in my heart and head i wanted to share…

belonging

last night at immergent (church) we were talking about the kingdom of god. we were looking at romans 12 and encouraged to be different. to live like we belong to the kingdom of god. to serve, love, care, encourage, teach…to do that which we are good at. to do our part in belonging to the community that is the kingdom of god. (that’s what i got out of it.)

i was thinking about how i like ‘belonging’. i like belonging to my husband, children and family and friends! i think most of us like to belong. when we are welcomed, accepted, loved – we feel special. we feel different. we feel wanted and needed. there are many benefits to belonging to your family (and friends). there is trust. there is intimacy. there is safety. there is security.

i was also thinking about the other ways i belong outside of family. i am a member of the houston zoo and we love it! it comes with perks. the flexibility to go anytime we want and if we don’t stay long its ok…we can go back anytime. this is a great benefit especially with young kids! pay the yearly fee, go as often as you want. it also has other perks like ‘members first’ events. for instance, we got to see the new african forest before it was open to the public! we get discounted prices of different events they hold at the zoo because we are members.

i was liking my membership rewards through dunn bros coffee shop that i belong too. but, they are stopping the program and i will longer get a voucher for a free 1/2 pound of coffee like i’ve been enjoying so long! i spend so much money and it issues me a voucher, it was pretty sweet! the coffee is roasted daily and its so delicious. not the coffee you get at the grocery store that has been sitting in warehouses for weeks or months. this is the freshest you can get, baby! the program being cancelled didn’t make me very happy and i was disappointed at the news. will i still buy coffee there? yes. i will becuase i like it. because its fresh. because its local. i’ll get over the hurt i feel now that i’m not a member and don’t reap any rewards. i think…

belonging to the kingdom of god is never disappointing! there is always love, grace, redemption, forgiveness and security there! despite the fact that i may fail and not do my part as a ‘member’ – i still reap the benefits. i feel disconnected of the sorts but when i finally smarten up and get back on course..it’s like i never left! so undeserving i am. so unworthy but yet he loves me! there is truly no one like the god that i serve! so, i’m working on getting back on track to doing my part as being a member of the kingdom of god.

packin’

well, haven’t been so good with the blogging. i’ve been rather busy. we are leaving wednesday am for VT! (the state next to NY) my whole family is there. we haven’t seen them in 15 months – well, and that is just TOO long! we are SO looking forward to going. the kids and i will be there for 3 weeks and geoffrey for 2. i’ve never packed to be gone so long. let’s see…there will be a wedding, a road trip to western NY (to see more family), hikes up the mountian, visits to the pond, lots of playing outside for the kids, swimming…did i mention i’m also packing not only for myself & my husband but also for our two kids (4 and soon to be 6)! oh, and a birthday party for our baby girl while we are there!

whew!

geoffrey has had a rather rough schedule the past few months and is finishing up his harris county master gardener class tomorrow! its kept him rather busy but he is so thrilled to have the opportunity to take the class. he has learned so much. so…we are ALL looking forward to being away and together for 2 weeks. no work. no classes. just nice fresh vermont mountain air.

today i baked some spinach enchiladas & cheese/bean enchiladas that are in the freezer so geoffrey has yummy food to eat until the kids and i return.

we had a rather busy weekend. geoffrey was off saturday and sunday which was wonderful. lay and i ran some errands and necessary shopping for our trip. i cleaned. geoffrey and seamus ran to home depot and took care of a few things around the house. around 3 or so we headed to grammy and tata’s for a bit of an early birthday celebration before immergent. the kids stayed with grammy while geoffrey, his dad i went to immergent and shared a great time with friends. on the way back to get the kids it was raining SO hard. we hung around for a bit until the storm passed then headed home.

sunday geoffrey did more things around the house. i cleaned and packed some. around 1 pm geoffrey and i headed out to meet up with his parents for the screening of FRESH. did you ever seen food. inc.? if you haven’t seen either i would highly reccomend both. ‘food, inc.‘ has been airing on pbs now and then. (you can also rent food inc from amazon). after we went out for supper with geoffrey’s parents and then headed home.

today has been laundry, packing, baking and now watching a movie with the kids. i luv them so much! they are very excited about our trip and have been helping me pack a bit.

the mother of all weekends!

man alive! as you can probably tell from the lack of blogging, we have been busy ’round here!

friday was last swimming lesson day. yay! seamus was so proud of his ‘reward’ (certificate). the kids did great. layla swims so well and really wants to dive! seamus did a great job but still have some things to learn before he can swim on his own.

right after swimming lessons the kids and i headed to conroe, tx to moorhead blueberry farm to pick blueberries. not the best time to pick blueberries in the texas summer but they are $1.50 a pound and they had never used pesticides! i wasn’t about to pass up the chance to get my hand on some. so, we headed off with our lunch, sunblock, hats and plenty of water! we weren’t picking very long when i realized i was not going to leave with as many blueberries as i had hoped! the kids did good all in all. took may breaks and seamus found a big tree that of course offered shade that he played under for a while. the heat index was over 100. we (i) picked for over 2 hours and left with 9 pounds of delicious blueberries. moorhead blueberry farm is such a great place. i was so impressed by their operation and how they weren’t taking advantage of the droves of people who come to pick. i mean there is no where around here that i know of where you can pick blueberries for $1.50 a pound and have them be pesticide free! so awesome. as i was paying i noticed a cooler full of bottle water and canned sodas. the soda was 50 cents and the water was 75 cents!! we are going back. i put most of the blueberries in the freezer, we ate a bunch and i saved out enough to bake one pie – which was so scrumptious!! we picked strawberries at king orchard for $3.30 a pound where you have to pay for the cartons they require you to pick in. (moorhead provides buckets for picking and put them in bags for you to take home…all free of charge.) i won’t ever be going back to king’s i don’t think. was no impressed with them at all.

enough about berries…

on saturday i had a cake order. i made a BIG 3 layer chocolate cake for a friend’s birthday! chocolate cake, chocolate frosting, shaved chocolate on top along with broken hershey’s chocolate bar! he asked for a chocolate/chocolate cake and he got one! (i hope it tasted as good as it smelled!)  my kitchen smelled like chocolate. we left at noon to deliver the cake and visit a bit before heading off to geoffrey’s parents then on to immergent (church).we had great time playing some blues improv. it was sweet! when we got home that night geoffrey finished painting our bathroom and i started preparing for the beach the next day.

seamus was up this morning at 7am so i got up with him. we snuggled a bit, i watered the back yard then it was packing up for the beach. we got to the beach at about 11:30 where we met some of geoffrey’s family and our good friends, i mean great friends, the cherrys! it was great time at the beach. we stopped off at papa’s pizza before heading home. its always nice to drive along seawall blvd getting there.

we came home (after stopping twice for seamy to go potty), unpacked the truck, and washed off the sand and salt. kids watched a nature a show on pbs then were off to bed. talked to my dad in VT (vermont) for a bit and now sitting on the couch while my sunburnt husband is watching a show on pbs.

whew…

i hope the kids sleep in! would be nice if we all could but lay starts vbs tomorrow for the week so i’ve gotta be up and get us ready to leave and pack a lunch for geoffrey. it’s gonna busy week here with daddy working and attending his master gardener class. i hope the week goes by quick! his next full day of will be on our anniversary and we are spending the WHOLE day together..cannot wait!

oh…and one sad thing happened on this weekend. we lost a chicken. sad. the kids were sad and asked lots of questions but no tears. we are thinking it was the heat. it has been so H.O.T. here. we have had over 40 days of over 90 degree weather. last year this time we had about 30. sounds a hotter summer than last year here. the water was SO warm today. the breeze was kind of more refreshing than the water. warm waters in the gulf can be bad as far as hurricanes. and hurricanes this year are even more depressing to think about given the oil spill. i can’t believe how much the kids are talking about it, sharing their ideas about how to fix it, wondering if our beach will get oil… one day i bet we talked about it for 15 minutes! on saturday when we were driving home from immergent we noticed (which we often do) lots of birds/buzzards flying around the bp headquarters skyscrapers. we should have turned around a took a picture!

here’s to a busy week . i sure hope it goes quick.

off to bed.

obedience

i am so glad i learned the song ‘o.b.e.d.i.e.n.c.e’ in awana. every time i need to spell that word i just sing it! 🙂

home from immergent (church), kids tucked in bed and thinking about obedience. i was thinking tonight how obedience is something we struggle to learn as a kid and it seems to stay with us throughout life. i’ve also been thinking about diligence lately. man do i need more of that in my life! diligence and obedience kinda go together. when we are obedient it is easier to be diligent i think. i have been noticing that as i become less selfish, obedience is easier. and as a result, being more diligent comes more naturally for me. in my head this all makes sense to me. maybe i am just rambling on…

so thankful that i serve a god who loves me for who i am. he knows all my faults, struggles, but sees me as precious. loved. and he even desires me! why this god of the universe loves me and blesses me is more than i can fathom. relishing in this and feeling humbly blessed to be a child of god.

holiday weekend look back

whew…

sharing my iced latte with my boy! (4) he loves them and i have to drink them quick because he keeps asking for more! no problem for me though, any iced coffee beverage doesn’t last long in my hands!

yesterday was a great memorial day – a day spent on/by the water which is probably the best way to celebrate! we took a drive to lake conroe with geoffrey’s family. his mom had gotten a pontoon boat reserved from 4pm-8pm. we had planned on going to a park on the lake before but when we saw the LONG lines of cars waiting to get in we decided to just head the marina and have our picnic there. it was a great choice! we hung around the marina for a few hours eating, talking, fighting of fire ants, throwing a football, walking the marina then it was time to get on the boat! the kids were so excited and they LOVED it. their first boat ride. geoffrey, his dad, and brother all jumped in the lake when grammy stopped the boat the first time and the kids were right behind them. the kids had so much fun jumping in and i was so glad they weren’t whimps like me and were having fun in the lake. the lake was rater choppy and it made for hard swimming for the guys especially as the kids need their help too. they  were such troopers and i think we stopped the boat 3 times so they could swim. after hitting some choppy water a bunch of water splashed on the boat which the kids LOVED but we quickly realized the front of the boat was taking on more, and more water!! the quick thinking guys moved to the back of boat and all was right again! we decided 2 adults up front was just the right amount of weight! 🙂 whew… that was not fun! the guy at the boat rental did say that during the weekend the lake is rather choppy. i would have preferred a quieter lake! lake conroe is actually a manmade lake and i think it rather large. it is also houston’s water reserve. thanks grammy, tata, jojo and emi for a fun memorial day!

sunday was a busy, tiring day. the kids and i were up and out of the house by 8am to drive down to sienna family fellowship where i lead worship. we stopped off to see daddy at work after. we then headed downtown were we met tata so i could drop off the keyboard. a stop at the grocery store for things we needed for the picnic by the lake then we were home. the kids watched a movie and i joined them and caught a cat nap. i was so tired!

saturday we……what did we do? immergent (church) was in the afternoon. i think i just did laundry and stuff around the house before it was time to go.

geoffrey is off today and lay too. she skipped school. i tried waking her up this morning and she just wasn’t having any of it! so, i thought since everyone else was sleeping i would just go back to bed too. she is off right now with her daddy on a little date. geoffrey had promised her a donut date before school but, seeing she wasn’t waking up and he was up a lot with seamus in the night i just couldn’t drag the both of them out of bed! seamus was dealing with a stuffy/runny nose yesterday and it was getting worse while were driving home from the lake. it was interrupting his sleep so geoffrey and he slept on the sofa bed and had night of interrupted sleep and movies. poor boys! layla didn’t complain about missing school and didn’t mind their donut date was a late morning date. geoffrey also needed to go sign up for a master gardener class that he just found out is starting next week i think. he was hoping he could still get in and sent me a text a bit ago saying he was in! he is very excited and so am i that he can do this. it is put on by texas A&M university. in all in gardening research he has gotten lots of help from them. in the summer they do a more condensed master gardener class where they have classes every week, two days a week (8:30-2:30) for like 8 weeks. usually they have class once a week for like 12 or more weeks. he was so excited to get in! it will be so great for him and in turn our family!

another great weekend!

man…where have i been? i’m back now to tell you about another great weekend we had. geoffrey was off all weekend and that always makes it wonderful!

friday he wanted to take the glass to the recycling center so we did that. then he wanted to buchanan’s, his favorite place in all of houston! i have been wanting a nice variety of cactus so while we were there he wanted me to pick some out for an early mother’s day present. the kids love cactus! we haven’t found the right container for them yet so, they are outside by the front door and the kids keep asking to go look at them! we’ll see if i can keep cactus alive inside. we of course picked up some other plants while we were there. we got a few more pepper plants and some kentucky colonel mint and some grapefruit mint. yum! they had about 4 other varieties of mint there. when we got home geoffrey and seamy worked in the yard. then i was off to get layla. she and i made a quick stop to the grocery then back home so i could start supper. oh, wait – somewhere in our day we stopped at home depot to exchange grout for the bathroom. geoffrey also grouted the bathroom tile.

saturday we got up and all had breakfast together before heading out to the park! it was such a wonderful morning for the park. we came home got lunch, i made homemade ricotta and then we headed off to immergent (church).

sunday late morning we headed up to college station, tx (about 1 1/2 hrs from us) to celebrate cody’s birthday. (cody is geoffrey’ nephew) after lunch we went to doug & gwen’s and had a great visit. then it was home for supper and bed. for supper i whipped up  the recipe i recently saw (from thinkliz) which called for the homemade ricotta. i never knew it was so easy to make. i’ll be making it again. in the recipe i added a bunch of cremini mushrooms and subbed basil for the mint. basil from our garden…yum!

this morning was back to the school week. my morning started by realizing i never emptied out lay’s lunch box on friday so i had a mess to clean up! i pack her milk for lunch and she didn’t drink it all…need i say more? the back pack and lunch box have been washed twice, we’ll see if they survived and can carry her through 5 more weeks of school.

so far i’ve had a productive day. seamus and i are off to run a few errands before we got and pick up layla. i miss her.