Archive for the Gathering My Thoughts Category

This Holiday Season Will be Different!

Posted in Gathering My Thoughts on November 14, 2011 by charleecat

Every year, as we have approached Thanksgiving and Christmas, I get excited and full of anticipation.  The air changes, the leaves change, everything for me feels crisp and ripe and ready for something new.  Christmas, cold weather, hot drinks, fireplaces stoked with hot logs, festive music; the whole season speaks of the excitement and contentment that Jesus’ birthday brings to my heart.  Oh the possibilities!

And then the stress.  The commitments.  The day to day demands that don’t change, but now have to be attended while also happily being available and willing for the extra things that seem to be attached to this time of year.  And by the time the New Year is ready to explode on the horizon, I’ve already fizzled out and crawl into the next year tired, overwhelmed, emotionally spent and dragging.  But my heart still yearns for the newness, and the change.  I still have some hope that I can work harder, and attain that vision I began early in the Fall.

This year, Mike and I have been really trying to adjust our commitments and life so that we can be more a part of our own family of 6 and just…be.  As Fall has set in with it’s usual excitement, I was caught off guard with the amount of “things” we have the potential of being a part of.  And suddenly I felt myself going into the mode of just getting through with a happy face.  But then, through a conversation I had with Mike, my husband rescued me and I am now determined that this beautiful Holiday season will be approached differently.  Just because we are asked, doesn’t mean we will.  Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.  Just because it’s desirable, doesn’t mean it’s good.

Each of our days is too important to waste!  If something tragic happened, I wouldn’t want to look back and say, well, we were able to keep the house clean to a certain level, attend the parties we were asked to, and volunteered every spare hour we could, but in the meantime, hardly could stand our children or each other, and don’t really have any special memories of us to take with us from this season.  NO!

We will be intentional with our time.  Intentional with our home.  Intentional with our children.  Intentional with each other.  And this season will be blessed because we allowed God to direct it.

Celebrating Jesus in Budapest

Posted in Gathering My Thoughts on June 2, 2010 by charleecat

I received the link for this YouTube video showing 1300 people – young and old – dancing in the street in Budapest celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus.  It was so exciting and stirring to me, that I found it through the VieraCast on our TV and watched it again on the big screen.  I could have cried, I could have whooped for joy!  I love to see Jesus worshiped!  I can’t WAIT for heaven!  To have all people from all time dancing and worshiping together… oh the ecstasy!

oh… and I’m absolutely positive there will be drums in heaven. 🙂

Watch it here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5dSIL358NM

7 – But not perfect

Posted in Gathering My Thoughts on May 8, 2010 by charleecat

Today, my first baby turned 7.  What a big number!  At least, for me.  As I’ve considered for the past 4 months the fact that my eldest would be turning seven, I’ve realized that I’m not a mom of babies anymore.  Of course, I still have my babies, but a 7 year old is NOT a baby.  Nope.  My little Frog will never be a baby again.  He has assured me countless times, however, (when I’ve threatened to keep him small by putting a brick on his head – as my mother always threatened me… or when Mike and I said we decided to not let him have a birthday this year so he can’t get older) that no matter how big he gets, he will always be my baby.  “Not a real baby, but your baby.”  Sigh.  Still, it’s not quite the same.  He can’t understand that.  I didn’t when I promised my mom I’d always cuddle with her – which, I may add, I have stayed true to!

I’m excited for him to grow up.  Just as he’s excited to get bigger, older, and become more of a man.  I’m excited to relate to him in new ways that I couldn’t before because he was too young.  I’m excited to see him become everything God has destined for him to be.  But a part of me mourns that baby he’ll never be again.  His wide open-mouthed baby kisses (that earned him the name “Froggie-Baby”).  His baby giggles.  His baby logic that was so ridiculous, and yet made enough sense to create a lot of laughter and give us lots of stories.  His baby cheeks that squished up into his big blue baby eyes.  His skinny baby legs.

True, most of that he grew out of long ago.  But I could still see it when I looked at him.  He’s starting to develop so much into a young man that it’s getting hard to see my little baby there anymore.  Instead, I see someone who can understand that other people have feelings, too.  Someone who is learning to sacrifice his own time to care for someone else, and help them feel better.  I am now seeing a boy who yearns to flex some muscle in independence because to him those muscles feel strong enough now to be able to be used.  He is a boy who has an amazing smile, but frequently chooses to hide it.  A boy who loves to have fun, but seems intent to put on a melancholy attitude.  A boy who can be so sensitive to what I’m going through, and then later can’t seem to hear my voice anymore.  He is becoming someone I can count on more and more to be helpful.  And he loves/accepts the responsiblities of his age.  He is my son.  My sweet, baby boy that I used to cuddle with as an infant.  Now my big boy that I can look at and have understanding simply from the meeting of our eyes.  He isn’t perfect, but he’s wonderful.

Today, I had to discipline him again for lying.  He cried and said, “I”m not 7… I’m still 6.”  He thought that by turning one year older, he would somehow reach that age of perfection and no longer make any mistakes.  Poor baby!  What a let-down!  As I explained to him that no one reaches that perfection while on earth, I thought of how I can tend to put similar expectations on myself.  And my husband.  And my kids.  I don’t expect perfection-perfection.  But I guess I expect some measure of it, because I don’t seem to have the patience to let things work out at the pace they do.  Faster.  Quicker.  Now!  Hopefully, I conveyed something that made sense to his newly-turned-7-year-old brain that let him know he will always be a work-in-progress; and that I love him and respect him continually through that process.  He deserves that knowledge.  Not because I’m a biased mom (though I am that).  Definitely not because he’s reached perfection.  But because God has set him apart to be loved and respected.  And that’s more than enough.  His identity is already defined by his Father.  He’s not perfect at 7.  Would you expect him to be?  Do you love him, enjoy him, or respect him less because of his imperfection?  Hardly.  That must be how God sees me, too.  I’m not perfect at 31, either.

Happy Birthday, my little Frog!

Treasure in the Mail

Posted in Gathering My Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags on April 13, 2010 by charleecat

I was so excited that I actually checked the mail!  Two days earlier, I received word from Christa (designer and seamstress of Amazing Gracie) that she had finished my Dove’s new designer outfit and it was in the mail!  I had a feeling it would arrive that day, and no sooner had the mailman stopped at our box, I was out there with 3 of my kids trailing me and Voila!  the beautiful outfit had arrived!

Excitedly, I unwrapped the parcel and was initially in love – well, admittedly I had fallen in love on the website.  (Yes, I was so entranced, I had to take pictures of each stage of the process.  Bear with me, as I take you with  me reliving the fun!)

First, I donned the underdress on my baby girl.   Next, she modeled the adorable checkered pants.


I realized that this precious outfit is reminiscent of the dresses of old that seem so modestly becoming.  Yet, Amazing Gracie takes the antique and Naartjie-fies it!  So sweet!  Not all of Amazing Gracie’s outfits have the old-fashioned apron, but I have a weakness for such things.

And the finished product:

Yes, “cute” hardly does justice to my little Dove!

The size I requested was 18-24 months, which is right where my Dove is: 18 months.  The pants seemed a tad snug in the rear with her diaper, and the bodice was snug as well.  My hope, is that with the elastic fittings, the snugness won’t become too tight for her to wear all summer and into fall.

(The beautiful “pretties” in her hair are by Violets in Bloom!)

I also love the fact that there are different variations I can use with this outfit (though I didn’t put her through all the changes for pictures – she was more in the mood to play!).  I can remove the underdress for a sleeveless, tank-top type version, or keep the underdress and rid the pants for a cool summer dress look.  If I had other AG apron tops, I could vary those over the underdress (but I might be able to use current stuff for that, as well… maybe a sweet sweater for the spring).  And if I have a dress or shirt that is cute enough, I could match it with the pants.  Versatility!  Right up my alley.

Having a girl is…addicting.

Holding America Lightly

Posted in Gathering My Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2009 by charleecat

In the past 9 years, I have been learning the concept of holding things lightly.  Rather than gripping something tightly because I don’t want or feel I should have to let it go, I hold things with an open palm enjoying it for as long as God has brought it into my life, and ready to relinquish it should the time come that God chooses to take it away.  It can be hard to do… especially with some of the things that matter most.

I saw an image of the American flag today on a video that was portraying a message of freedom, of rights, and I thought to myself how much we American Christians associate that flag with our Christian rights.  Probably because the country of the U.S.A was founded (though not in a perfect spirit) in order to give Christians a sanctuary to live out their lives according to their beliefs and not have their faith encroached on or dictated by a government.  Sadly, we have been slowly giving away our personal rights and freedoms to do exactly that – give our government the right to dictate how we can live regardless of our relgious beliefs.

This was destined to happen, however.  Anytime you give someone the authority to make rules for the purpose of your protection, those rules will eventually overtake your life.  God never wanted that for us.  He wanted us to live our lives in submission to Him.  To allow Him to be the sole authority in each of our personal lives.  To not judge each other and try to play God in each other’s lives, but each person to live out their intimate relationship with Him daily.  Seek fresh manna, as it were, for every day and every situation in our lives.  But people didn’t want to do that.  They wanted to live as they pleased, and let someone else seek God for them.  They said they were willing to obey the human authority who would supposedly be living in submission to God.  God warned His people: It wouldn’t work.  It can’t work in this fallen state of mankind.  Giving one person, or even a group of people, the power to make decisions for a whole group of people is more responsibility than we were designed to handle.  We were each built with a unique design to be able to govern ourselves with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  But we didn’t want it.  It was easier to relinquish our right to self-govern, and instead to let someone else make the rules and enforce them.  And so, God’s people begged for a King.  He gave them the dirty details of what it would result in.  But they wouldn’t listen.  Perhaps they didn’t believe God.  Or perhaps (and I believe almost worse) they did believe Him but hoped that it wouldn’t happen in their lifetime!

Fast-forward to today.  Another country that was founded on godly principles.  An attempt to not allow one man absolute control so that the power did not take control of his life and result in the downfall of society, they spread the power over several systems of government answerable to the other.  It forestalled the inevitable, and therefore gave Americans the expectation that it would actually work forever.  But it’s not.  Like the Emerald Ash Borer that came over from Asia in 1992, unnoticed until 2002, and now affecting several states and killing a massive amount of Ash Trees, the choices we have made and the rights we have handed over to our government were small and slow in coming.  Sometimes the choices seemed reasonable given the dilemma we were faced with.  But once again, rather than going to God to have Him lead us in the best decisions, we went to the government and asked them to solve the problems.  Therefore, slowly but surely, we allowed government more and more control.

And now it may be too late.  The American Flag, our cherished symbol of freedom and liberty, will not always signify the greatness of what our country once was.  It will eventually embody a symbol of absolute rule by a government that doesn’t care to listen to the needs of it’s people.  It will be an absolute power, loving only itself, preening itself for the sake of itself.

How will we see the flag then?  Will we continue to hold onto it tightly, trying to make it be as it once was.  Or will we eventually let go of it, and finally turn ourselves over to God?  Perhaps we will stop trying to save the country, and instead try to save the people in it.  It would have been better to be able to repair the Titanic so that it would not sink, thereby making it a safe vessel for all aboard to arrive safely at their destination.  Better yet, had it not been steered into an area where icebergs had the opportunity to damage the great ship.  At least, if life boats had been installed properly to save all the people aboard so that should the unthinkable happen, there was still a way out.  But choices had been made that put the Titanic in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Repairs were too little, too late.  There were not enough life boats; though sad, it was  fact that could not be rectified at the time.  The ship was too far away from anyone else in order for help to come through outside assistance.  And therefore, at some point, the people had to decide: would they hold onto the image of the greatness of the ship?  Would they maintain that it was built for greatness, and therefore the greatness of the boat had to be restored?  Or would they turn their eyes from the ship and do the best they could to save lives?

At some point, we will have to stop trying to repair the ship.  The Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 which tells us to go into all the world preaching the gospel under the authority of Jesus, is the only thing that will save.  Fallen mankind cannot endure the overwhelming responsibility of being an authority over nations, nor of the world.   We were warned.  We tried anyway.  It is sad to be facing the demise of a country that was so beloved.  Sad doesn’t even fully describe the feeling of loss and mourning.  Yet, there is a greater hope that is not of this world.  And our concern should, perhaps, be more focused on gathering as many as are willing to have life in the New Kingdom!

Brimming

Posted in Gathering My Thoughts with tags , , on May 28, 2009 by charleecat

So much has been on my heart in the past months.  I find myself blogging in my mind when I’m in the shower.  But until now, I have never had a real blog.  I’ve never taken the time to write down all the thoughts I have.  Most of those thoughts never have the time to be refined because I am usually distracted by the next round of duties before I get the chance to develop them.  This blog is my attempt to capture some of those thoughts.