Saturday, January 31, 2009

Random Picture Challenge 4.0

So, maybe my journaling blog is going to become a photo posting blog instead since it seems that's the majority of what you see here so far. It takes a lot less time to post a picture than to organize my thoughts into readable form! But, as fun as it is to sift back through some of these photos, it isn't feeding the part of my soul that I need it to, so more boring and excessively wordy reflective posts will be coming.

Remember how in my first Random Picture Challenge post I commented that I'd had to face up to my pride over what type of picture I'd land on in this "random" thing? Well, I'm thinking maybe I'm not the the only one. 4 Little Men, who hosts these challenges, explained that some people were wondering what the "challenge" was. Her answer is, "The challenging part is being honest... not skipping over a picture because it's not perfect, or embarrassing. The funnier the better right! This is real life... let's see it!"

So here you have it, September 2007, 44th picture (The challenge actually is for November 2007, but I must have had a dry spell in photo taking while I was pregnant with Tori because I was spending every possible moment napping. My folders jump from September to December that year, so I went with September as to avoid what would like be a Christmas photo in December.):

Ah, yes, the Barnum and Bailey $11 souvenir cotton-candy-in-a-cheap-hat hat! After this photo, Caleb and I traded; I wore the hat and he took the picture. Let's just say I'm extremely thankful the random photo was #44 and not #45! This was the night we realized how sensitive Ethan is to our conversations about money because he repeatedly offered to not get a souvenir if we couldn't afford it. Yikes... better watch what we talk about in front of that boy!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My love-hate relationship with Beth Moore

I'm doing Beth Moore's Daniel study right now, and she always makes me face up to some of my "junk." It's a love-hate relationship because on a good day it's encouraging and motivating, but some days, when self-condemnation and hopelessness want to creep in, it's a little discouraging to see how far I still have to go. I love that she passionately teaches the truth in a way that makes me want to seek after Jesus more wholeheartedly. I hate that her teaching always reveals something more in me that needs weeding out!

In the most recent video session I watched, she pointed out that we are "image builders" (or to put it in plain language--FAKES!) if we're any different in the dark of night or privacy of our own home than we seem to other people.

Ouch. Who isn't? Is there anyone who is always as kind to their family as they are to others? Is there someone out there who consistently looks to the good of others before thinking about themselves? Yes, I know that with Christ's help many people are truly authentic and transformed, and I am deeply changed in many ways, as well, but it's still a struggle for me. Why do I continue to think one thing but say another to avoid conflict? Feel self-righteous about the way I do this or that? Spill critical words about someone else to a friend or even just think them in my own mind? Yuck. Doesn't sound very likable.

Mostly it's frustrating because I know who I long to be, and I don't live up to that, ever. But partly it's convicting when I recognize that I often allow myself to dwell in those ugly thoughts rather than taking them captive and combating them with truth (more about the dry spell I've been in that contributes to that in a yet unfinished post). And partly, it's tiring because it is a lifelong journey to become more Christ-like, and I would really like to be perfectly like Christ NOW! Anybody with me?

Another truth Beth Moore pointed out in this session is that the one way to avoid being "burned" by life's trials is to "bathe" in God's presence. So today will be a day for reflection and prayer. I really need Jesus to speak into my heart about what the root of these sin struggles is, because the one thing I know is that I don't want to remain unchanged. I don't want to waste any opportunity He gives me, through the promptings of Beth Moore or otherwise, to be more fully made like Him. Really, I just feel like a good hug from Jesus would make it all better. I think I'll go take a "bath."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Random Picture Challenge 3.0

So far I'm finding that I don't have nearly as much time to sit down and write out my deep thoughts as I hoped. I really hoped a blog would be a journal of sorts for me to document what I'm thinking, feeling, and learning, and ultimately about what God is working out in me and in my life. Since I haven't figured out how to drive and type at the same time, the posts I composed in my mind during an hour-long drive this week haven't made it to the screen!

I still hope my original intentions for this blog will come to pass. But in the meantime, thanks to the prompting of brittany, take a look at this random picture from August 2007, 30th photo in my folder:

My sweet Anna-girl at her desk on her very first day of kindergarten. She insisted on riding the bus with her big brothers, so I had to drive to school and meet her in her classroom to take pictures of her. She always has shown an independent spirit!

She's already grown up so much since then (although the independent spirit thing hasn't changed!). I can't figure out why she has been so disobedient, because we have told her time and time again that she has to stop growing up so fast! Oh, well. We love her tons, anyway.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Good Cry

Why is it that whenever I'm in an emotional place that makes me prone to crying, I feel the need to give a disclaimer to others, warning them that I will probably cry if we talk about anything of any depth. Why do I have to explain how I didn't get enough sleep the night before and point out that I'm still dealing with postpartum hormones?

And why is it that when those tears do rise to the surface, I try to shut them off and pretend like it's not taking everything in me to keep from bawling my head off? Why do I try so hard to avoid crying in front of other people?

I know this isn't just me; I've watched many other people do the same thing. You can see the tears well up and watch them swallow hard as if trying to swallow the emotion that's producing the tears.

Didn't God create us with the ability to cry for a reason? Don't you usually feel so much better after you've had a good cry?

What is it about us that makes us want to hide our tears? What are we afraid of?

I don't know. I'm just wondering. I guess I need good cry.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Random Picture Challenge

I came across a blog called 4 little men and girly twins that introduced a "Random Picture Challenge." She picks a month and a number, and you pull up that photo from your files and describe it. (I know veteran bloggers know all about this kind of stuff, but I'm new, so humor me as I learn!) Sounds like a fun way to make sure I transfer pictures from my camera and even edit one now and then ('cuz remember, I don't take time to make them look professional.)

Not sure how this girl finds the time to do this regularly with 6 kids, but it could have something to do with the fact that she appears to be a professional photographer, and with 6 young kids, I'm sure there's no shortage of pictures to choose from! Plus, I guess we all choose how to spend our time; I choose to look at her photos instead of editing mine!

Anyway, here's January 2009, 8th picture in the folder:

I'm thinking that I may just have revealed a little of my own pride, because I was so glad when I discovered that the random photo was actually a pretty good one. I think I might have deleted some photos out of the folder if it had been a photo of the back of her head or something like that. Perhaps a true photographer would embrace the beauty of the candid shot if it captured real life, but personally, I'd kind of like to show off my cute Babe!

Anyway, I took this photo to document Tori's first bath in the big bath tub, even though she's 8 months old and she'd had dozens of them by the time I snapped this; I just never remembered to bring the camera upstairs with me and couldn't exactly leave her in the tub alone to go get it! It also serves as a reminder of the fun bath toy Grandpa and Grandma N gave her for Christmas.

Isn't she sweet?

And here are a few more sweet faces I love from January 2008, 8th photo:

We had tons of snow and countless snow days last year, so this was taken on a Tuesday when the kids entertained themselves outdoors. They built a whole snow family, but I think this is "Big Mama." They posed with her in my honor (go visit Big Mama to see why this isn't an insult!)

Some things you may want to know

I know how it is when you come across a new blog.... You're wondering who this is, what their story might be, whether it's even worth your time to start reading. So I'm thinking you may want to know a few basic things about this blog before you go any further:

  • This isn't going to be one of those blogs that follows the blog-friendly rules of short, witty posts. At least not very often. This blog is intended to contain my thoughts on any given day, and most days there are many. So those who already know me know that means "brief" will not be a descriptor, and I thought the rest of you might like to be informed, too.
  • This blog will not contain lots of artsy photographs taken with an expensive camera that allows me to take indoor photos with no flash and then edit them to look professional. I'm all about capturing memories with my point and shoot camera, but I don't think I could make them look professional if I tried... And I don't think I'll try because I definitely don't need one more thing to spend time on!
  • As an addendum to the above point, neither will this blog contain pictures of me or my family sitting in a booth with a plate of food every time we go out to eat. For one, we don't eat out very often anymore. And second, the food we eat at our very few local restaurants isn't photo-worthy; when you've seen one fast-food chicken sandwich, you've seen them all.
  • The look of the blog may be totally different each time you visit; don't be alarmed. Instead of spending my time editing photos to look professional, I choose to spend my time changing the background of the blog just because it's fun and easy.
  • As I've said, this blog is primarily a place for me to journal my thoughts in a way I don't take time for otherwise, so you are guaranteed to see the "real me," even some things about me that I'm just discovering for myself. I hold some convictions quite strongly, so be advised that those opinions may be quite evident and are not intended to offend or condemn. Feel free to disagree in as respectful a way as you are able.
  • That's not to say it won't also be a place to show off cute pictures of and stories about my kids or to just ramble about nothing deep at all. That's the beauty of a blog. I can talk about whatever I want because no one else is obligated to read one word of it!

Hmmm... what else would you like to know? More personal details about me and my family will come later. Right now I have to go back to my very normal life and do the dishes and start the laundry while the Babe is sleeping.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Oh, the drama....

Does anyone else out there have the drama that is a 7-year-old daughter? My, oh my. I was just telling my sister the story about the day this dramatic daughter of mine announced to me, "Basically every day is the worst day of my life because I live HERE!" This comment came, of course, after being denied a snack she wanted or something awful like that.

However, based on her comments today, it seems life actually can get even worse, believe it or not.

Just now, before stomping up to her room practically in tears, she declared, "You don't understand! You don't even know what it's like to be me. It's the WORST LIFE IN THE WORLD!" Again, this on the heels of being told "no" about trying a third snack after she just "didn't really like" the first two.


Blogging is to Time as Bargains are to Shopping

I was sitting at my computer this morning, waiting out the moments to see if the Babe crying in her bed would cooperate with nap time so I could take a shower (she did not, thanks to her rotten cold). As I waited, I was checking my Google Reader to see if Kelly, a blogger who doesn't know I exist, has had her baby yet. (When I started composing this post, she hadn't, by the way, but she was enjoying her epidural. At the rate I'm going, she may be having her 2nd or 3rd child before I get this posted!)

Anyway... At that moment, as I stared at the photo of a complete stranger lying in a hospital bed, I made a decision. I'm going to stop wasting spending countless hours just reading other people's blogs and start writing my own.

I should clarify that I don't consider all my blog-reading a waste of time. There are many blogs that have encouraged me, inspired me, challenged me, and caused me to question some things in my life and myself that really could stand to be addressed. Made me ask hard questions like, "What would I say about God if I were battling cancer? Grieving the loss of a child? Facing infertility?" And some blogs just keep me connected to people I care about but rarely see and give me the treat of seeing pictures of some real cutie pies that often make me laugh out loud.

But sometimes what I've read or seen or just plain imagined about other's lives based on their blogs really brings out the worst in me. Granted, sometimes my disagreements are valid, and I may even be the one in the right once in a while, but ugly things like envy, a critical spirit, legalism, comparison, and self-condemnation would rise up in me. Why would I want to feed that?

And then there are those blogs that I read just because....I have a strong aversion to cleaning they're there. They aren't even interesting. Hyperlinks are my downfall. And I mean, seriously, if I'm going to read about total strangers, it should at least be interesting. So I'm moving on to my own blog. Here we go!

Oh, and in case you're wondering about the title of this post... It is probably the first of many things I'll write that makes perfect sense to me but may or may not make sense to anyone else who may stumble across this blog. But I'll try to explain:

You know how sometimes you're shopping and you don't really need anything, but you run across a great bargain that you totally can justify buying, even though you don't really "need" it? As I mentioned before, blog reading has consumed quite a bit of my time over the past year or so, but if I can sit here keeping up my own blog, recording memories and exploring some of the thoughts I don't otherwise take time to enter, well then, that's a time bargain!

Make sense to you? No? Oh, well. Better get used to that!