"...I feel His pleasure"

I'm blogging at 5 Minutes for Faith today.

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My six year old was born to run. Since he was a toddler, I've loved to see him break into a sprint (which is nearly any time there's a distance to cover of more than 10 feet). In his mind, he's usually imagining himself as a train of some sort, but I see a future track star.

Please check out 5 Minutes for Faith for the rest of this post.

Help yourself

"I want my mommy!"

Not an uncommon refrain during VBS, but this time it came from a young friend of ours who was visiting our program. "There's too many people here that I don't know! I want to go home!"

Little H, fresh from kindergarten didn't realize that two thirds of the other kids didn't know anyone when they'd arrived either. She and Bug (the only other child she knew in her class) had gotten separated at some point and she didn't want to get to know anyone new, she just wanted her mom to come get her.

I tried to call her mom, but didn't reach her. The newly-minted first graders were having snack (which is where I've been serving during VBS), so I let her stay with me at the snack station while waited for her mom to call.

After a few minutes she asked if she could help me pour the lemonade for the next group of kids. She quit worrying about the call as she busied herself making sure she filled each cup just enough, but not too much.

By the time snack was done, she had composed herself and I convinced her to join her class for craft time.

I realized that H had hit on something that many of us--years older--don't always realize. Instead of sitting and fretting over her situation, she got busy doing something. Her act of helping me made her feel useful and less lonely.

It got me thinking that the same thing that worked with H might work for grownups when we're lonely or sad and 'want to go home.'

  • If we're lonely, we can be a friend to someone.
  • If we feel unimportant, we can make someone else feel special.
  • If we feel out of place, we can find a way to serve.
  • If we're sad, we can cheer someone up.

When we take our eyes off our own situation, we often lose sight of what was troubling us in the first place.

A change of scenery...

I have to apologize for not being very good at updating the blog lately. Yeah, things have been busy, but more than anything, my brain hasn't been running on the inspired side.

Sometimes all it takes to clear the cobwebs though is a change of scenery. We took a little trip to the coast to celebrate Father's Day and my dad's birthday. I didn't take many pictures as the batteries on my "good" camera were dead; but here's a little of what I saw. There was something for everyone in the family:

Tracks for the train lover

A high-end bike shop for Hubs (in a completely unexpected location).

A dirt bike that was just the right size for Boo (and that's as far as he's going on one for a looooong time!)

And sun, sand and sea creatures for me!

But even better, in a really short timespan, God gave me several thoughts that I'm excited to share with you in the coming days. (And next time I'm feeling stuck, I'm going to head west to the salt air and seagulls and see what He brings to mind.)
Where do you go when you need inspiration/to be refreshed?

No more goodbyes

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I hate goodbyes. You'd think I'd be better at it at this point in my life–I've had lots of practice. It started when I was little. We moved enough that I never attended the same school for more than 2 years until I reached college...

Stop by 5 Minutes for Faith to read the rest of the story.

Kick up your heels...

This used to be a cow town. That's not an insult, it's a fact. But the cattle ranches have been largely replaced by vineyards. And someday the high school mascot will be "The Vintners" or "Sommelier." But, once a year they go all out to remember the cowboy roots and celebrate the start of summer.

The young...

the youthful...

Even the horses dance here.

Real cowboys...
there's a clown in every crowd...

Take some time to kick up your heels this summer!

Where there's a will...

My playground philosophy has always been "if you're capable of it, you can do it. If you're not, then you don't need to be doing it anyway." There's a tad of selfishness to it--I don't want to have to follow them around the park, boosting them up onto equipment that they can't get back down from.

Boo, especially, can get creative when he wants to do something. He likes to imagine himself as a firefighter. At the park near our house there are 3 play structures. One of them is aimed at older kids, but it's also the one that has a 2-story "firefighter pole." The problem is that the bottom 'step' that leads up the structure to that pole is about 3 feet off the ground. When you're not even 4 feet tall, that's a formidable distance.

But, never one to sit idly by as other kids to something he wants to do, he's figured out that if he sticks his fingers into the holes on that step--as far back as he can reach--he can actually pull himself far enough up to get a leg up and then climb the whole 20 ft high structure.

I often say that the most important things I learned in college were 1) Give 'em what they want. The secret to succeeding in classes was understanding what the professor was after and giving it to them, and 2) "Don't take 'no' for an answer. From before I got accepted until after completing my senior project, I had to remind the school of their own rules and not let their attempts to operate otherwise prevent me from accomplishing my goals.

Both of those lessons have served me well as I went on to work and just 'be' in this world. What about you? Do you give up when an obstacle gets in your way? Do you let an unjust 'no' stop you from proceeding with what you know you're supposed to accomplish? Maybe it's time to take a step back, take another look at the situation and find another way to your goal.

God is in Control

Sometimes someone else's words have already said it better than my own would. I need this reminder today; maybe you do too.

Watch more Yahoo! Music videos on AOL Video

"I've been watching you,"

said the junior high camp speaker as he approached me after the evening meeting.

My heart sank and my face flushed. I'd heard similar words all week and wondered what he'd seen.

Had he seen my cabin of girls take the honey container from lunch? Another counselor did and turned them in for "stealing" and suspicion of vandalism-in-the-making a la "The Parent Trap. (The girls actually took it to use on the leftover cornbread at an afternoon 'picnic' they planned.)

Had he seen us all laughing and having fun during our trash pick-up 'punishment?'

Had he overheard some of the other campers claiming that my girls must be cheating because they won the themed 'cabin clean-up' every day (as well as most of the team games)?

Those were some of the complaints I'd heard from other counselors and staff that week. Our kids were having a fabulous time, but it seemed we were accused or criticized at every turn. I was beginning to feel like a failure as a counselor. And having the camp speaker single me out didn't help the feeling.

He continued, "I've been watching you and I've seen you giving 110% to your kids all week. And that's why you're seeing the results you are." Between Sunday night and Thursday night, nearly every one of my eight girls had prayed to make a life-changing commitment.

It was especially significant to me because these girls didn't come from church families. They came to camp with us and attended various events throughout the year, but this wasn't 'just another' church experience for them.

I've counseled at camp many other times, but that year will always stand out. Partly because of the awesome time I had with a precious group of girls. And partly because one person took the time to see past the obvious to the important and made the effort to let me know that the time and energy I invested into those girls was having a bigger impact than simply chaperoning their activities.

Sometimes motherhood feels like a "Groundhog Day" version of that week at camp. No matter how hard I try, or how much time I invest, it's a perpetual battle to keep the kids out of trouble--even when they don't mean to be causing any. And it so often seems that the days are filled with tending, feeding, correcting, separating, refereeing and so forth that we don't get around to the things I really want to be imparting to them.

But I do see the payoffs at times like when Bug has the chance to "shop" for things at the Sunday School store and he chooses something he knows his little brother will like. Or when my little one (3) asks from the back seat "why did Jesus take all our bad stuff on him and then die?"

It's so easy to feel criticized for spending too much time with the kids, choosing activities they'll like over ones we'd prefer, or trying to stick to bedtimes and such for their benefit. And yes, there's a balance needed in everything, but I can say that the lesson I learned as a camp counselor all those years ago serves me well as a mom. Giving 110% to your kids will pay off.

There's a long summer ahead of us. And there will be days when we're sure that we've done it all wrong. But Someone else is watching you, and He's seen your efforts and will bless them in ways you can't imagine. Be encouraged.

Check out my debut!

Mom Blogs
I'm so excited to be joining the ranks of the regular contributors at 5 Minutes for Moms' devotional site, 5 Minutes for Faith.

I've been following their site for a little over a year; I've found many of my favorite bloggers (and some sweet writer friends) there. It's a privilege to be part of the team.

So, on alternate Tuesdays, you'll find me blogging there. I hope you'll stop by.

Here's a look at my first devotion for them...

"Watch your fingers," I warned my 3 year old just before I closed the back of the minivan. He pulled them away from where they were resting above the taillight.

I gave the hatch a shove and quick as a flash, he stuck his hand right back in!

Follow this link to the full story...


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