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12 point bucks and white pants after Labor Day

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Well, it’s official. Summer is over. On Monday we gave summer a final kiss goodbye. But in exchange, she gave us a sun-kissed peck on the cheeks of all of my babies. She also gave us parents the gift of an early bedtime… Thank you Holy Ghost… Apparently Miss Ellie was NOT participating in Tuesday… No…
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Another F word…

Sometimes I wake up with a song already in my head.  Sometimes it’s Selena Gomez and her singing about wearing a dress because she wants to look good for her fella.  Other times, it’s a praise and worship song.  Here lately I’ve had this song as an earworm.  We’ve been singing it a lot at church and it’s so simple.  Would you take 5 minutes and listen to it?

This has been such a good summer.
We haven’t done anything monumental.
Nothing really to write home about.
But maybe the simplicity of it has made it just good.
It hasn’t been without frustration though.
Even with frustration though I have felt like the theme of this summer has been how good God is.
Shown through His grace and forgiveness.
He is good.
Humans can be difficult.  They can be super quick to demand grace and forgiveness but very slow to extend it.
How can that be?!
When we have been so freely forgiven?!
The line in this song that says “The Father’s arms are open wide.”
They aren’t open wide to only the people who have perfect children who never make mistakes.
They aren’t open wide to only the people who are smaller than 130 pounds.
They aren’t open wide to only the people who drive a certain car.
They are open to everyone.
I can ask for forgiveness from people.
But it’s not guaranteed.
What they do with my apology is on them.
But my apology to Christ is guaranteed.
It’s backed by the blood of Christ and the promise that He will never leave or forsake me.
He will NEVER put conditions on His love for you.
So what about you?
Do you need to ask for forgiveness?
Do you need to extend forgiveness to someone?
Or do you need to extend it to yourself?
Because God’s arms are open and waiting.

 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.–Ephesians 2:4-5

“Leave behind your regrets and mistakes

Come today there’s no reason to wait
Jesus is calling
Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy
From the ashes a new life is born
Jesus is calling”

Elevation Worship
Oh Come to the Altar

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It’s summer! Mom guilt in 3…2…1..

School is officially over and we are so excited.  I still have a couple of extended days left to work, but we are in full summer mode.  We had ice cream for breakfast yesterday and I came home to a living room full of forts this afternoon.  It’s great to use, “It’s summer vacation” as an excuse for everything.
I got my favorite family magazine in the mail last week and I started to immediately feel anxiety rise up in me.  Here’s some of the articles I read:
“Creativity Challenges”–this summer create a zoo or pyramid out of sheet cake, make a video about Greece, create a custom pair of shoes from fabric paint based on a picture of a tiger.”
Whaaa?
Challenge yourself to learn a new language and raise money for refugees!
Collaborate with other parents in the neighborhood to build an obstacle course for kids to travel through like stations!
How about these…
Go to the pool and have no one come home with a 3rd degree burn!
Visit an amusement park or travel with the family and no one get left behind!
So many summers start with good intentions of summer reading programs, tutoring, play dates, visiting museums and educational opportunities.
Not any more.
I’ve set a new goal for our family this year:
Survival of the Funnest.
The first person to survive this summer is me.
Yep.
Instead of being dead last on the list, I’m taking up for numero uno.
I’m going on dates with my husband.
I’m going to make sure I continue my Bible study time in the morning.
I’m going to take a new exercise class this summer and actually complete a project I want to do!

What’s that darling?
You’re not getting to do something you want?  You sweet faced little terrorist?
Awww…I don’t care.  Go outside and play.
What’s that?  You’re out of Vitamin Water?
That’s terrible!  Go drink out of the hose.
Oh my goodness!  The WiFi is down?!
Read.  A.  Book.  I’m the Librarian for cryin out loud!

I will no longer wear myself ragged to the point of tears worried about whether or not my darling children are entertained.  In summers past I’ve sketched out  schedules and calendars of activities.  Ways to make the summer most memorable:
We will start with Sewing Sunday (pick a sewing project) Music Monday (write a song and play it on homemade musical instruments) Wacky Wednesday (do wacky science experiments) Friend Friday (everyone has a friend over).  It’s usually somewhere between trying to make paint out of corn syrup and losing the tokens for the Summer Reading Program that I lose my marbles and say “screw it.”  Here’s to another summer where I set an unbelievable standard for myself and ruin it all with my bad attitude.
Now before you call CPS on me, I have signed them up for stuff.  Stuff I know they’ll enjoy.  Everyone has plenty of activities: golf lessons, art camp, sports camps, church camp…

It’s going to be great.
I know it’s going to be great because I’m setting myself free to enjoy it, guilt free.  Which sets my kids up to actually enjoy me.
I’m not setting myself and my kids up to a standard or expectation based on what you are posting on social media.  I’m probably going to block some people on Facebook this summer…nothing personal.  They’re just too good for me. 🙂
We are going to stay up late and eat crap whenever we want and not take baths all week because of swimming and we will watch TV all day if we want.
We’re getting free folks.
And I’m pretty freakin excited about it.

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Called to the Crazy

I heard a friend of mine say this last week.  That she felt God had called her and her husband  “to the craziness” that surrounds adopting 2 young boys from Uganda.  As soon as those words left her mouth and graced my ears, I knew they were mine.  I am called to the crazy of this life.  It’s fun.  It’s not for everyone.  But I believe it’s for me.  How can it not be?  I am knee deep in it.  And so many nights I fall into bed and it’s then I realize how tired I am, that I reflect on the day, pressing through my sheer exhaustion and thank the Mighty Lord of Lords.  Thank Him and say, “We did it Lord.  Without you I would surely be a drunk, or highly and illegally medicated…No one died today, we didn’t have to call Poison Control or visit the ER.  I didn’t commit homicide.  I didn’t get charged with child abandonment or end up on the local 5:00 news.  You chose ME for this life I have and we did it.  And it was good.”  Summers are hard since I have all four home with me, and being a teacher I get the tremendous blessing of being with him.  I say that with a hint of sarcasm… I was on maternity leave with E from February 26- May 1 and sometimes I had to pray not to punch the next person in the face when they say, “Oh, but you only have a couple more weeks of school left and then you’ll be off all summer with the kids.  That’s so awesome!”  Really?  I’m not feelin it.  I really had to pray about the anxiety I felt about being with all 4 all summer all day long.  That’s a lot of “alls”!  Not only would I need to keep them alive, but feed them, entertain them, make their events meaningful, making lasting memories so they’ll be well balanced and not require counseling when they’re adults that I’d be guilted into paying for!  No pressure!  All while keeping the house clean, my husband satisfied, up on my scrapbooking and Pinterest boards, reading new children’s lit for our Library, waking up early to exercise, getting my Bible time in the early morning, teaching myself to sew…what the balls?!  No!  I was not looking forward to summer!  But I am really grateful.  It’s hard being with the children all day and then all night by myself since Daddy J has our business to run in the evening.  But looking back at the past month or so, God has met me with such grace and peace.  It truly has passed ALL understanding…there’s an “all” I’ll take!  So while some days I do feel like I’m white-knuckling it through until sweet, sweet bedtime; I’m still thankful because apparently God has a lot of faith in me.  That He felt I was up for the challenge to be called to the crazy.