Thursday, February 20, 2014

Three Things Thursday

Thing one: Noodle!
This little Noodle turned 4 months last weekend! Oh how she melts me.

Thing the next: Downton quiz
You know those fabulously distracting buzzfeed quizzes that are all over Facebook? Well, during a late night nursing sesh I took the one for "Which Downton character are you?" and had I not been afraid of waking my sleeping child, I would have fist pumped with my results: Dowager Grantham (the snarky grandmother). Her character is hilarious and her one-liners enviable. Hopefully I'm not that snarky, but I'd like to think that I have a little of her sass. :) In case you need to find your Downton doppelgänger, here's the link.

Thing last: best toddler gift ever
photo credit
About a month ago, my in-laws visited and brought with them this polymer-sand mixture that is oh-so-amazing (and addicting). It sticks to itself, so isn't messy and can be molded or fall loose. You can find it at Brookstone, and I'm tempted to give it as birthday gifts to every little person I know. Phil and I have been known to play with it after Moo has gone to bed. :) Worth every penny and gets played with on a daily basis over here; right now, it's sitting in a cake pan with construction cars all over it. Doesn't get much better than that.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Heaven on Earth

Here's the bottom line: I want life without suffering. Of any kind. 
photo credit

If I'm honest, here's what I really, really want:
I want to grow old with my husband and kids.
I want my kids to be happy and healthy.
I want to have peace in my home.
I want my children to respect and love me.
I want good food to eat and time to eat it. And, if I'm being really honest, I probably want it now.
I want a clean, organized home.
I want others to respect and admire me.
I want to have time to myself regularly.
I want emotional stability.
I want financial security.
I want light bulbs to never go out and floors to never need vacuuming and dust bunnies to go away forever.
I want green lights everywhere I go.
I want to avoid car accidents, plane crashes, cancer, and tsunamis.
I want friendships that aren't messy.
I want my to-do list completely checked off.
I want to relax.
I want to be good at everything I do.
I want my work to feel rewarding and meaningful.

I want other, less selfish things, too, like:
I want to meet the needs of others.
I want to be an encouraging, praying, passionate wife/mother/daughter/friend.
I want peace on earth. Really, I do.
I want relief for those who are hungry and diseased in the world.
I want equal opportunity for everyone.
I want the dignity of life to be upheld.
I want to live more simply so I can give more generously.

And, of course, I want more spiritual things like:
I want Jesus to return.
I want the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and the lame to walk.
I want no more widows and orphans.
I want people everywhere to know the transforming love of Jesus.
I want the fruits of the Spirit to be more present my life.
I want to worry less and trust more.
I want to love Jesus more dearly each day.
I want the Word of God to be alive and active.

I want things to work out and be right and not have to work at it. Or, if I do work at it, I want things to turn out perfectly. But the Bible teaches the opposite about suffering: that I will experience it in this life and that it does have a purpose--so much so that Paul says he delights in his hardships and difficulties (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Here's the thing: I'm supposed to long for Heaven without trying to find Heaven here on Earth. Because when I believe I can have all those wants this side of Heaven, and even begin to think I deserve them, I become angry, disappointed, confused, short-sighted, impatient, victimized, perfectionistic, discontent, and discouraged. I become restless and entitled to one serving of no-suffering, please. That girl sounds terrible to be around, and that girl is who I am a lot of days. But that's not who I was made to be.

To be clear, those wants I have are really good things. I was made to want them because I'm an image-bearer of God and they're things He values. BUT. Since the fall, Eden has had weeds and will have them until Christ returns and makes all things new and right and perfect and peaceful again. Until then, it's okay to want those things and even to strive for them, but they can't be my hope. Because as much as my calling as a Christian is to reverse the curse by making this world more God-like, I also need to realize the limitations here, to know that full and complete reversal isn't something I do, but something God does and will do when He returns, and to accept and even delight in suffering this side of Heaven, if it means knowing Jesus better. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

What happens when you stay inside for lots and lots of days (besides going a little crazy)

My son is proving that buying our house was a phenomenal investment. Since the weather's been so cold and either he or Noodle is napping most of the day, we've spent a LOT of time inside this winter. The result? Mess and creativity.

Right now I'm typing on the couch--the one area of my living room not taken over by things like a sheet tent, a broom propping up a firetruck, and cars, cars, cars. No crevice has gone unexplored in this place. Drawers have been opened, furniture moved, cabinets emptied, closets ransacked, and beds unmade so the egg crate underneath can be a "bumpy road" for cars, cars, cars.

And as much as I hate having been quarantined to my home for so many days and weeks, here's what I love: creativity is squeezed to the surface. We're doing things we never would have done if we'd gone places. We're making our own windmills with paper and a pencil eraser. We're baking more. We're playing with every. single. toy. We're looking for new ways to use old things. We're pretending more. And it's really, really good.

That being said, I'm just a smidge excited that the forecast says we'll be in the mid-sixties this time next week. Hallelujah!