1388 of 22066

School has been good.  Yesterday we followed the rest of the world and worked in Starbuck’s.  The girls were rather productive with their peppermint hot chocolates in hand.  They not only got their work done, but they had fun looking like “professionals”- as Ava put it.

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And Judah was content eating his little Gerber snacks. 🙂

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Reading time went well too, with no fits.  It’s something about the sound of coffee grinding, milk frothing…just makes you want to snuggle up and read.  We will do it again for sure.  

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Work here at my desk tonight has not been so fruitful…

We purchased a new computer for Family Rehab about a month ago and just today I noticed that while I thought I had my email account adequately set up, I noticed a discrepancy today between the emails my phone alerted me of and the emails on the computer.  On my phone, for instance, I have a rather important email that I would love to respond to.  But, when I look on the computer to type a response, (because I’m not that great with my thumbs), I can’t find it.  Well, after some clicking of setting buttons, that don’t mean a thing to me, I think I finally connected whatever satellite up there in space is holding all my emails with the computer on my desk.  (Today’s technology is over my head.)  The problem is that now, even though I saw for a split second my important email after I randomly came across the magic “connection” button, I still can’t seem to find it.  It seems as though my email account is stuck downloading the over 20,000 emails that have been backlogging over 6+ years.  Ugh.

I have a little square in the upper right hand corner of my screen that is alerting me every time an email “arrives”, regardless if I read it 97 months ago, or skipped it 1079 days ago.  It’s been crazy seeing the alert: new email, followed by a name and the re: line.  It’s like going through some strange time warp!  I have been reminded of things and people I haven’t considered in ages, while anxiously awaiting the alert I really care about: my important email.  Apparently the little box in the lower left hand corner of my screen tells me I’ve only downloaded 1388 of the 22066 emails in all.  I think it will be awhile till I get to respond to that email.  If you are reading this and you happen to be awaiting an email from me…don’t hold your breath. 

Seeing all the names and topics, events and groups fly by in that little ‘You’ve got Mail’ box has brought to the surface all kinds of emotions which are rather distracting me from my frustration at not getting to my current mail.  I’ve got responses coming in to a 4-year-old birthday invite for my now almost 10 year old daughter.  I’ve seen names of old college friends I haven’t touched base with in apparently 5-6 years.  I’ve been reminded about friends who were in the hospital, asking for prayers, and friends who were in the hospital bringing babies into this world.  I am getting notifications that pay stubs have been sent for money that was spent along time ago.  Quite a bit has happened over 22, 066 emails.  There is joy, grief, anxiousness, and relief all contained in those emails, and even some indifference.

(update: 3778)

When thinking about all those different people and events, it’s overwhelming to remember all the ways that God has shown his mighty hand in my life.  Even in the very difficult, not so fun times, now in hindsight, I see that God was working good for me.  This particular email that I really want to respond to possibly opens the door to a new and exciting adventure.  It’s something I never even imagined for myself, but something that it seems, as of late, God has in store for me.  I’ve been following Him in this direction and not seeking things on my own, for years in fact.  I’ve been intentionally walking down a path He has seemed to lay out for me at a snail’s pace, just to ensure it was Him at work and not anything of my own.  And even though leading up to this moment I have had an almost forgetful attitude at times,  with no expectations, now…I cannot wait one more downloading minute for my email.  

update: 5565… looks like my siblings and I are trying to settle on a theme for the 2009 white elephant Christmas exchange… (I know how it turns out, and it was good.)

Our memory verse for this week seems to have wonderful timing yet again. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” I have got to trust Him with whatever lies ahead, even if it means I have to wait days before responding to that email.  If I do indeed have to wait that long, I can trust that His timing and providence is still at work.  I can use this time of remembering the past 6 years of life through email alerts as a way of acknowledging Him and all the ways He has cared for me and loved me, especially through the really rough stuff.  

It reminds me of the sermon this past Sunday that asked the question:  What is the purpose of life?  This email I am anxious to respond to seems to give me a new “purpose” in life.  But really, as my hubby so nicely summed it up on Sunday, my purpose is to glorify God.  I can do that by acknowledging what He has done in my life in the past, what He is doing today by delaying my response to that email, and what He will do through me in any and every new opportunity set before me.  He is the orchestrator of life:  all those new babies, and all those funerals.  He has granted every provision:  every birthday and every pay check.  He has and will continue to inspire and give purpose to even the moments of indifference.  There is nothing I can do without Him, for it is Him at work within me. 

update: 7756… and counting.

Bees and ants.

Bees.

Bees and ants.

It seems as though they are invading our house, both inside and out.  The ants have made their way through into the downstairs bathroom and somehow up the wall to Helen’s room and into her bed.  The poor girl woke up with 3 bites in between the same two fingers.

And the bees, well, they invaded our cups of lemonade during recess today.  There were at least 3-4 caught in each child’s portion of lemonade.  Thank goodness no one tried to take a gulp and swallowed the little suckers.

Bees and ants.

I think the road work and new houses going in adjacent to our house could be the culprit.  Perhaps those little guys are losing their homes because we are building more for the invading humans.  Maybe we are the bad guys!

But the attack of their little bodies on our huge established house has become more than an annoyance.  They hurt Helen in her sleep and they were a source of danger today as we played.

And it got me thinking…

There are ants and bees attacking our thoughts and our hearts everyday.  They are usually seemingly small and insignificant thoughts or feelings that invade our peace of mind and rob us of joy.  They start out as just one or two feelings of doubt or a lack of self-worth and can grow to be an invasion of an all-consuming FUNK.  Anyone who breaths air knows what I’m referring to.  It happens to all of us regardless of how successful, how happy, how “established.”  Have you seen an ant carry a lifesaver on his lone back?  That little stinker is pretty powerful.  And the ants that pick up our joy and peace with intentions of carrying them far off can do more harm than we realize.

Today I saw the insects not only get our drinks, but also the best of our hearts.  One daughter, (who shall remain nameless to protect her identity), was attacked my an ant of discouragement.  It seems that a certain math concept had gotten the best of her.  Then she was stung by a bee of disappointment in one of her poem assignments.  The sting caused her whole “body” to  swell up and be infected.  This mental “bite” was taking ahold of her entire heart, mind, and soul.  She was talking and trying to explain through tears and ill temperament, but the words were not making sense.  It was if her tongue was swollen and her throat was cutting off her airway.

The same happens to me when I allow those little ants or bees attack my identity, value, and worth.  It can be a small reminder of sin or hurt.  It can be a lack of sleep.  Hunger… that’s more like the size of a beaver. (I know, not very intimidating, but that’s the only animal I could think of!)

Much like we need an exterminator to come and rid us of our infestation in our house, we also need help for our hearts.  Raid-X works by killing bugs DEAD, right?  We need something that kills our mental and emotional bugs DEAD.  We need to be fumigated by a lethal dose of another kind.  Each and everyday, we should seek for the Holy Spirit to fill our spiritual houses, letting him seep into every crack and crevice of our hearts, where those awful bees and ants work to take root.  Through the Holy Spirit and his healing work, we can be reminded of forgiveness and restoration, when that bee of sin and hurt takes flight.  The Holy Spirit reveals the promise of our salvation to renew our joy, when the ant of sadness or gloom starts crawling in our bed.  The Holy Spirit pours grace and mercy on us, adorning us with a crown of adoption as God’s children and coheirs with Christ, when the beavers come to chop down our trees of value, worth and identity.

Asking the Spirit to fumigate and take control of those little critters is a daily need and has to be part of the routine.  They are sneaky and conniving, devious and sly.  Just when we think we can relax and sit down for a nice glass of lemonade, they are out to get us.

Thank goodness that the power of the Holy Spirit, the wonderful gift that he is, is the same power that conquered death.  Thank goodness that we have a Savior who has won the victory over the Deceiver and claims us as His own.  How much more can Jesus and his Spirit that lives in us kill a few ants!

Our memory verse for this week is Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.

Sometimes, I think my ant and bee invasion starts with trusting my own thoughts and feelings above and beyond what the Lord says about me or my situation.  Relying on my own interpretation of events, circumstances, or conversations can be a breeding ground for those biting and stinging creatures.  In all of my ways, from how I feel about my newly dyed hair to how I feel about my decision to “family rehab”, if I acknowledge him and what his word tells me about all of it, I am much better off.  And he gives me a straight path, (one might even say- a bee line-), to safer ground away from those nagging bugs.