Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Women of Joy, Concluded

So - I've been practicing a bit of what I preach. That's always a good thing, I figure. And yesterday, in the midst of my praise time, I was brought to tears of repentance. That's also a good thing.

I dug deep into the past (well, deep for me - think late '70's...) and dragged out one of those hokey scripture praise songs typically accompanied by the pentecostal two-step. I said hokey and I mean hokey. But guess what folks - it's hard to lose with the Word, no matter what the music may be! So I let it rip:

O, blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel,
O, blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel,
Who only doeth wondrous things,
Who only doeth wondrous things,
O, blessed be His glorious name forever.

Again and again I sang out the Psalmist's words: Who only doeth wondrous things.

I stopped to ponder my declaration. (Also a good thing to do. Never hurts to be aware of what you are saying - I think you will find that tidbit of wisdom in the scripture as well.) And so I pondered: He does wondrous things. He alone - only He - He only - does wondrous things.

I sang the words again and again. Soon my heart was smitten. Why? Because so often I had failed to recognize this simple truth and be thankful for His ways and His doings. Instead of gratitude and praise, I had responded with great disappointment and even dislike of the very things He had done. The truth of the matter is this - He does wondrous things. My failure to praise Him had dishonored Him, my wonderful Father, my Redeemer, my King. And He does wondrous things.

wondrous: remarkable, extraordinary, wonderful

I couldn't help but think of a young child's tendency to freely express disappointment. You take them out for lunch and they grumble because they cannot order three different entrees. Or they open that Christmas gift that you went out of your way to find, only to discover that it is the wrong color, and they go out of their way to let you know. We are pretty good at being disappointed and even better at expressing it.

In those situations, the lunch out and the Christmas gift were intended to bless. Wrong color or not, the heart was to please. Now it is true that we, in our brokeness and limitation, may have made a wrong choice. We may indeed have failed to do wondrously. But He never does. He does - absolutely does - wondrous things.

And so I experienced His presence; His light was shining in my life, bringing revelation. A simple turning of the heart, a determination to declare aloud His glorious praise, helped me to see something clearly once again. Repentance and sincere thanksgiving abounded in my heart and joy flooded my soul.

Thought for the day:
Take a Psalm. Sing it. Sing it with a familiar tune, with a new tune, with no tune at all - it is all a joyful sound in His ears; it is a sweet fragrance, rejoicing His heart. He will be blessed! And you just might find yourself blessed, too.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Women of Joy, Pt. 5

Years ago I was reminded of my need to practice praise more regularly. Nancy Campbell, a respected Christian teacher, suggested a very practical approach to instilling a habit of praise in our hearts and homes. She recommended use of a kitchen timer.

Now don't check out on me. I know it sounds gimmicky and trite. But if you are not able to develop the habit of praise in any other way, try this. Set the timer for every hour or two. When it goes off, simply stop what you are doing and have a "praise the Lord" break. Enter into thanksgiving, song, and declaration of His goodness for an allotted amount of time (5 minutes is what I did.) Then reset the clock for another hour or two. You will be amazed to find that this can train your soul to focus on Him more readily. Soon, even without the bell ringing, you will discover that your thoughts are more filled with praise, that He has become magnified in your life.

Let me tell you of a particular experience which occurred during a week when Mom and the kids were involved in this practice. With bi-hourly regularity, we set the timer and had our praise sessions. Wherever we were when the buzzer went off, we stopped what we were doing, yelled from room to room (which is usually not allowed), "The timer went off! It's time!" And we would offer thanksgiving and praise to Him.

Life during this particular season had been very busy for several weeks. I had been getting farther and farther behind in my duties around the house. With many young children and a nursing infant, I was not seeing a way to catch up. Stress had become the order of the day, resulting in a less than patient mother. Perhaps some of you can relate.

The smallest of things were getting the best of me. For example: in the girls' bedroom a window shade, notorious for lack of cooperation, had finally found a resting place in a heap beneath the window, having been pulled completely from the wooden dowel. One of my daughters had fought with it and it had won. For days now it had laid there, smugly toying with me, taunting me to find time to repair it.

I woke up one morning determined that today was the day. I would find 20 minutes to tack that silly shade back in place and get it functioning once again. I settled the baby, occupied the toddlers in play, and assigned duties to the older crew. Finally, my opportunity had come. Armed with gumption and a trusty stapler, I tackled my job and soon stood back, viewing my finished project with great satisfaction. "Well, at least I can check one thing off my list..." I muttered to myself.

Back to the laundry I went. Later that afternoon I popped into their bedroom to put some folded clothes away. A quick glance over to the window sent me instantly into a tirade. There was the shade, defiantly laying in a heap once again. Another battle had been fought and won - already. "What!! Who pulled this shade so hard?!! Don't you know I just got this fixed!!" Right about then I was wishing I was a woman who used expletives. As I felt my temperature rising and took a breath for the next outpouring, a buzzer was heard from the distant kitchen. "The timer went off. Time to praise the Lord!" was the cry I heard from below.

Sigh. Sitting on the edge of the bed, I pulled my thoughts together. I focused on Him, feeling a bit foolish. Suddenly a shade getting the best of me seemed more than just a little ridiculous. In fact, suddenly it didn't seem to matter at all. Another sigh was followed by spoken repentance. Then came worship and praise to a God who was graciously showing me how to live above all of this "stuff and nonsense". Genuine thanksgiving poured forth from deep within this young mother's heart. "What a good God I have."

You could say I was "saved by the bell." Maybe. But I do know this: that day I got the point. Now when I am ready to lose it, I pause, take a deep breath and remember Him. "How does this look in view of eternity? Does this thing actually deserve my emotional energy, or does He? What should be magnified right now, my emotional response to some negative thing, or Him, my Lord and Savior?" I think we all know the answer.

If you are having a hard time practicing His presence throughout the day, maybe you should consider trying this simple scheme. It doesn't seem so different from others I have observed in varying cultures and histories. I ponder Daniel's dedication to set times of prayer. And the Psalmist who wrote that he would remember Him in prayer seven times a day. Perhaps a disciplined approach to focusing on Him is not so new. Maybe those people who have nailed down such simple practices know their fickleness of heart and recognize their need to be reminded. And it just might be that we should try it ourselves.

Thought for the day:
People who have joy have learned to praise Him.
I want joy, I want the strength that comes with joy, I want His presence - therefore I figure that whatever it takes, it's worth it.


Women of Joy, Pt.4

We need to be joyful people. God wants us to shine in this world - shine with righteousness, peace and joy. His people should be earmarked by such good things. Today let's begin to consider how to make our lives filled with joy.

In the last post we concluded that there was a vital cycle we need to tap into. It goes like this:
worship and praise > His presence and light > revelation and joy > real strength

Within this cycle we observe both the "how to's" and the by-products.

"How to": praise and worship.

Just open your mouth and declare the truth of your salvation. Open your mouth and give Him thanks. Open your mouth and sing of His great faithfulness. Fill your mouth with the testimony of His goodness and send the words forth - out loud, for all to hear. I don't know why, but there is power in declaration. Consider:

Psalm 34.1,2 "I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice." New International Version

Read that same passage from The Message: "I bless God every chance I get; my lungs expand with His praise. I live and breathe God; if things aren't going well, hear this and be happy."

Let's get real here for a minute. Where will his praise be? On my lips. When will it be there? At all times; every chance I get. What makes me think it should be outloud? Let the afflicted hear. Hear this and be happy. My lungs expand with His praise. Now why would our lungs expand with the praise if breath wasn't being used? Why would breath be used if I were just thinking praise thoughts to myself? And who would hear such thoughts?

Don't praise thoughts count? Aren't they good as well? Yes. "...singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord." We are instructed to do that, too. But as I said before, there is a power in declaration that we may never completely understand. We enter into it by faith. We do it simply because His word instructs us to do so.

By-products: the afflicted hear, and, we enter into the vital cycle resulting in newfound strength and joy-filled living.

There is an obvious blessing cited for the afflicted who hear us give Him praise. We are giving credit to whom credit is due, right before their troubled eyes. The same hope they see in us can be theirs. Remember? That's great good news!

Sometimes we are a bit gun-shy of this out loud praise business. "That's phony. That's fruity. Those Jesus freaks from the past generation got themselves and all of us a bad reputation with all their 'Praise the Lord' comments. Doing that seems dumb - just plain stupid."

Well, too bad for us. That doesn't change the Word one iota. My Bible still tells me to praise, sing, tell, declare, and give thanks. Check this out for numerous verses which may help persuade you. (If the link doesn't work, just do a word study of praise. If you are still not convinced, well... start over again. It is really quite obvious. This is no deep revelation.)

God knows that when we remember His greatness, we are empowered. When we function in joy, we have strength. The regular practice of praise allows us to remember and to function in just that manner. Once again, this is not rocket science. Believe me, if it was, you would not see me writing about it!

Thought for the day (actually it's a "do this" for the day type thing):
Ready, set, go! Fill your lungs with air and your mouth with praise. Yup. Right now. This is your opportunity to respond to the call to worship - step one in the vital cycle of joy-filled living. Praise the Lord!

Next time I will share a practical approach and a personal testimony.

Women of Joy, Pt. 3

Joy-filled living sounds great!

But what about seasons of sorrow and darkness? Won't we have pain and difficulty just like everyone else?

Absolutely. We know from experience and from the Word itself that His people will know tribulation and trials. There will be difficult times. So what do we do when we are afflicted? How do His people who know Him and understand His heart respond?

David is a wonderful example to us in this very thing. He was a man who knew multiplied sorrows. Psalm after Psalm is a recitation of difficulty, plague, or trial. His soul was often found in sorrow. Time and again, when in danger or despair, we find David pouring out his complaint before the Lord. He hid nothing from Him - indeed, is there any possible way to hide anything from Him? But he never stopped with simple complaint; he always finished his outpouring with an acknowledgment of His faithfulness and enduring love. He knew the truth and clung tenaciously to it in the face of great trials, in the midst of overwhelming sorrows, even when plunged into the deepest darkness. His conclusion was always this: "I will praise You and Your greatness, for You are Lord. You are my Lord." Consider the following:

Psalm 69.29-31

"But I am in pain and despair; lift me up, O God, and save me.
I will praise God with a song; I will proclaim his greatness by giving him thanks. This will please the Lord more than offering him cattle, more than sacrificing a full-grown bull..." Good News Translation

We may know affliction, but more importantly, we know our God. Our final declaration will always be His faithfulness and greatness. Our lives are His, and He will keep them until that final day when we shall see Him at last.

Read this portion of scripture written by Peter to believers who had suffered persecution and were now scattered throughout the provinces, far from home and each other, living as refugees.

"...we look forward to possessing the rich blessings that God keeps for his people. He keeps them for you in heaven, where they cannot decay or spoil or fade away...Be glad about this, even though it may now be necessary for you to be sad for a while because of the many kinds of trials you suffer...You love him although you have not seen him, and you believe in him, although you do not now see him. So you rejoice with a great and glorious joy which words cannot express, because you are receiving the salvation of your souls..." taken from 1 Peter 1.1-9

Peter acknowledged their sadness of circumstance and then declared their joy unspeakable. The world would tell us that these statements are contradictory, unable to exist simultaneously, but the Word would tell us differently. Our sorrow is for a night, because we know that joy comes in the morning. We will walk in the joy of our salvation, regardless of our situation and circumstance. We know that when the clouds cover the sky, the sun is still in its place. So with our God. He is immovable, never changing.

Psalm 30.5 "His anger lasts for a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may go on all night, but joy comes with the morning." New Living Translation

Our sad times might last for the whole night, but we know there will be joy in the morning! We will turn our hearts to Him and praise Him! We will see clearly once again to find that abiding joy is ours. Nothing, NO THING, can take it from us.

Thought for the day:

People who know Him and understand His heart hear the call to worship. They respond with praise which leads to the light of His presence which releases joy wherein lies our strength.

worship and praise > His presence and light > revelation and joy > real strength

It is a cycle, a never failing cycle. Our only part is to respond.

We'll discuss that next time!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Women of Joy, Pt. 2

Psalm 89.15-17 "How happy are the people who worship you with songs, who live in the light of your kindness!

Because of you they rejoice all day long and they praise you for your goodness. You give us great victories; in your love you make us triumphant." Good New Translation

There are some very important lessons in these verses. Let's consider a few.

First, we see here that there are, in this world, some happy people. Who are they and why are they happy? They are those who "worship you with songs". The New Living Translation says it this way: "Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship..." New International Version puts a slightly different emphasis and understanding upon this thought: "Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim your name..."

Happiness - blessedness - is attained by those who hear the call to worship, by those who have learned to acclaim His name. Happiness is theirs because of a response, a learned and chosen response. They have heard the call and worshiped accordingly.

We find, too, that these happy people are living "in the light of your kindness." Another translation says that "they walk in the light of your Presence, Lord."

Light reveals. These happy people are experiencing continuous revelation. When we are walking, dwelling, living in the light we are seeing clearly. What we see revealed is His eternal promise, His eternal life, and His perspective regarding all we are experiencing here on earth.

These happy people have learned the key to living in the light of His Presence: praise and worhip.

Through praise God is magnified, placing Him on His rightful throne. In worship we begin to understand His great power, love, and faithfulness. Suddenly things look different. We see how small our trouble is; we understand our lives in the context of eternity; we believe in His ability to "work all things together for good." His Presence brings light, and light brings clarity and perspective. Our smallness is revealed; His greatness is glimpsed. His salvation is all that really matters. Living for His kingdom, trusting in His will is what really counts. Understanding is gained and joy is ours once more.

Happy are the people who worship you with songs! Because of You they rejoice all the day long - and they praise you for your goodness.

They see clearly, understanding what is true, what is everlasting. Having learned to respond to the call to praise God alone, they are now the happy people, the blessed people!

Thought for the day:

They are blessed and happy indeed. And my portion is to be counted amongst those happy people!

Women of Joy, Pt. 1

The next few posts will focus on the importance of joy: what it is, who it is for, what it does and where it comes from. Maybe not in that order. We shall see. But this I know and hope to share - joy is important.

Isaiah 61.10 "I will sing for joy in God, explode in praise from deep in my soul! He dressed me up in a suit of salvation, he outfitted me in a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom who puts on a tuxedo and a bride a jeweled tiara." The Message

Our joy is NOT related to this world. Nothing - NO THING - in this world is the source of true joy. Jobs, health, marriage, children, ministry, riches, diplomas, gadgets, hobbies: not one of these things brings true, unfading joy.

Joy is not dependent upon any facet of living in this world apart from the moment in time when the eternal truth of salvation through Christ intercepts our finite humanity, restoring us to God's image, preparing us once again for eternal life with Him. He makes us perfect, Holy, clean and pure, free from sin and tarnish, healed and made whole. We are robed in light and beauty. That alone is the source of true, everlasting joy. We will spend eternity in His presence, beginning now, with our salvation.

Let me say it again: joy does not depend upon life's circumstance. In the midst of sorrow, joy can be experienced. Our great salvation in Him can be acknowledged and proclaimed in every situation. It can never be stolen away. We may fail to practice joy; that is our choice. But His glorious salvation is ours, always, and the joy that it brings can be our portion.

1 Peter 1.3-5 "Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Because of his great mercy he gave us new life by raising Jesus Christ from death. This fills us with a living hope, and so we look forward to possessing the rich blessings that God keeps for his people. He keeps them for you in heaven, where they cannot decay or spoil or fade away. They are for you, who through faith are kept safe by God's power for the salvation which is ready to be revealed at the end of time." The Good News Translation

Thought for the day:

Joy is mine because I have eternal life with Him. No one can take that away from me. I will rejoice daily in the knowledge of such great and wonderful promise!

Balancing Family and Ministry

The weekend has taken a different twist than planned.

Hubby is speaking at a youth workers conference, sharing ideas on establishing priorities regarding family and ministry. Several daughters accompanied him. I was scheduled to go as well, and the weekend was to be finished off with a ladies meeting at a church in the area. It was for mothers and daughters, with an emphasis on worship and praise.

But my little man is sick. Ear aches, fever and all that jazz. And no one quite fits the bill for nurse maid like Mama. Friday I sent Rick and girls out the door, hoping to join them on Saturday. The next morning dawned after a restless night so plans were again altered. I would try to leave a bit later in the day, if he showed signs of improvement (big sister was on call to care for him.) But it was not to be so. His other ear began to hurt. So more nursing (garlic oil with cotton, plenty of fluids, etc. - you know the drill.) "Maybe tomorrow morning I can scoot out early enough to catch the lunch at Elim, then head to the ladies' meeting."

But it is now that tomorrow morning, and even though he is somewhat improved, there is enough discomfort still that he just wants Mama. So "here I be." The daughters will cover the meeting without Mom, sharing in music and word, ministering in prayer and prophecy. They are able.

And as one daughter laughingly pointed out, "Since Daddy's topic was balancing family and ministry, might as well show them a perfect example of what that looks like!"

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Ol' "Seven Random Things About Myself" Tag

My friend, Quinne (don't you love that name?!) tagged me to share seven random facts about myself. So, let's see...

1. The extra 15 pounds that keep hanging around these days making my tummy chubby are bugging me. But they do not seem to be going anywhere just the same...

2. "Amahl and the Night Visitors" by Gian Carlo Menotti gives me the warm fuzzies - as does most any Puccini or Verdi opera. I grew up hearing wonderful opera playing in the living room while I fell asleep most every night.

3. Cherry picking on Grandpa's farm was my means for earning a little extra cash each summer. Messy, sticky, hot, and fun - all at once!

4. I have a neice who just might make it in the theater world. She's really good!

5. Tap dancing is a blast! (Isn't most any kind of dancing?)

6. If I could go back to any place in time I would visit my mother's and father's childhood homes in 1942 or so (12 & 14 years old.)

7. I would like to cross the Atlantic in a replica of the Mayflower. I would love to know what that was like. And while I'm at it, let's try a covered wagon across the plains!

Here are the rules for the game:
*Link to the person that tagged you
*Post the rules on your blog.
*Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog.
*Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
*Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs.I am tagging... Keila, Katie, Sue, Sheri, Louissa, Laura, John

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Happening in the Neighborhood

What: A round table discussion with Jamie Sinclair on the how-to's of politics, American gov't., the upcoming elections and current issues

Who: Young men 12-18 years of age

Where: Tomfords' home, Lisbon NY  (714 - 2137 ; call if you have questions)

When: Wednesday evening, Jan. 16, 6:30pm (dessert provided - yum!)

If you have a son, he may be interested in joining his peers for an evening of learning and discussion.  Consider his participation. Who knows what might happen!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Let's Keep On Keepin' On

Have you considered the word endeavor recently? It means a strenuous attempt, an effort.

The Bible (King James translation) exhorts us clearly: "I...beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

Huh. Why would Paul write such things? Didn't he realize he was talking to the Church, the perfect place, the "safe from all conflict and hurt" place, the "ultimate refuge" kind of place? Didn't he know that people who belong to the church would never offend one another or let another brother or sister down, that there would be no such disappointment named among them? Why did he write such things? What could he have been thinking?

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming with this report:
Offences within the Body of Christ happen innumerable times every day. Mature believers are seen refusing to carry those offences, encouraging younger converts to leave them behind as well. However, some of these more immature Christians are not heeding such counsel, choosing to pick up offenses. Some of these can even be seen falling behind the pack of racers, weighed down with hurts, envy, and unforgiveness. Some have even stumbled now and fallen down, some are now off the track altogether. Others pause, trying to help them up, once again exhorting them to lay down their excess baggage. Will they do so? Will they get back in the race, or continue lagging behind, struggling to carry unnecessary weight?
Stay tuned for complete coverage as we follow this fascinating race to the finish!

"What? How could this be?!" you ask. "This is not what I expected? I joined this church to find friendship, fellowship, and fun, not sin, sorrow, and suffering. I want my membership canceled and my money back!"

Hold on, hold on. Who ever promised you a rose garden? You were only promised a family of fellow believers here on earth, believers just like you. And last time I checked you weren't so perfect either (just take a look in the mirror in case you've forgotten.) Perfection is only to be found in your fellowship with Him. Remember?

I have a natural family. We are comprised of a father, mother, and nine children along with their spouses and children. Do we all automatically get along, or is there effort involved? Do we need to diligently tend to communication, taking care to eliminate misunderstandings, or can we read minds without bothering to express thoughts with care? How about sharing? Do my children need to learn to give freely, or have they been born with such knowledge already working in their hearts? Hopefully you get the point.

The Church, this new creation, was made up of people just like you and me. And it still is today. Of course Paul had to instruct them to have longsuffering, to bear with one another (to sustain without yielding or suffering injury; tolerate), to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

If I take an honest look at myself - my weakness, my needs, my failures - I will be a bit quicker to humbly extend grace to my brothers and sisters. All of them, even those in places of authority, stand in need of such grace. No one has been given authority because they have attained perfection - not one father or mother, not one pastor or elder, not one husband. I am afraid we would be without any authority at all if that were the case.

Christ is the sinless, spotless Lamb. Look to Him alone for perfection, and allow Him to give you grace for your fellow runners in this race. Don't stoop to pick up those weights and distractions, those offences which can cause us to stumble. Let them go, and run freely. Run with all your might. There is a race before us all. Let's finish together.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Your children have many needs, but a core longing and right is the desire to be known. It is a parent's privilege and great responsibility to know his child - inside, outside, and upside down. Know them. Know their characterisitics, know their strengths, know their weaknesses, know their talents and interests, know their secrets, know their heart's desires. Know them.

A beautiful marriage consists of many things, but a core value is the willingness of two individuals to allow their very beings to blend into one through an intimate knowledge of one another. It is a husband's duty to know his wife; it is her duty to make herself known, and vice versa - inside, outside, and upside down. Know them, know their inner workings, know their little habits, know how they would respond, know what they thought about yesterday. Know them.

Their are many wondrous facets in our relationship with Father God, but a core blessing is being known. He knows my thoughts, He knows my needs. He knows my heart, for good or for bad. It is a relief and joy to be known, especially since He loves me anyway.

We were created for open fellowship, deep and intimate, with Him and one another.

Have you discovered yet that this requires effort and investment? At times it demands creativity and perseverance as well. It will even require that we lay down our selfish desire to protect and hide our own hearts; we must learn to put aside laziness, insecurity, and pride. Costly and difficult at times, agreed. Even so, it is what we should do. Absolutely. No doubt about it. These are covenant relationships we are talking about. Nothing to take lightly. These are relationships that need super glue. Commitment is paramount, true. It gets us through the rough times. But knowing, really knowing, is akin to true love; it follows naturally. It is love's deepest desire - to know intimately the object of sincere affection, and to be known in return. It allows the high times to soar, the precious days to taste sweeter, and the difficult times to yield tender care.

It is His will. How can a husband love his wife and give himself for her if he is clueless as to what makes her tick? He must know her deepest longings. He must know her pain and sorrow, why she sheds that tear, what is the bittersweet she tastes. He must know.

How can a wife be the best helpmeet this side of Mars, if she doesn't know her husband's dreams, his weaknesses, his strengths? She needs to know what moves him, what makes him fearful, the failures he faces and the victories he wins. He needs to trust her enough to share the most intimate, hidden thoughts. She must know him.

What father and mother can guide their children, shape their character, discipline them properly, and invest time and energy wisely on their behalf apart from a working knowledge of who that young person is and is becoming? How can growing children trust freely someone who shows no yearning to know them, to plummet the depths of who they are? The very thing they were made for is relationship. It is meant to begin here, with Mom and Dad.

We will soon embark upon a short season of sabbatical here at the Sinclair household. Hubby will be taking three full months away from his job, resting and being home. As we pray about and consider what the coming weeks and months may hold, my deepest heart's cry is that we will grow to know one another more completely.

"Let it be, dear Lord, let it be."

Friday, January 04, 2008

See the Delights of the Day

Two nights and three days were spent at my daughter's home watching my three young grandchildren. My little guy was along for the ride as well. So there were four of them, 8, 4, 3, and almost 2.

Suddenly I remembered the beautiful simplicity of caring for a young family. The day's activities are self-prescribed. Routine offers the delight of constancy, the comfort of the familiar. A story brings a smile, a cookie is pure joy. Your whole world is contained within four walls. Manageable. Simple. Lovely.

I remembered, too, the tedium - the day in and day outness of it all and the feeling that it will never end. The knowledge that what I do now will only need to be done again within a certain cycle can be mind-boggling, leaving one almost paralyzed with discouragement. The demand never quite ceases until they all fall asleep with heads on pillows, snuggled beneath the blankets. Even then, it is not for sure. You are still on call. And tomorrow it all starts again. Challenging. Tiring. Overwhelming.

What a flood of memories - the hard times and the good. As I laid my own head on my pillow and snuggled beneath the blankets, I smiled. I loved this. I cherished afresh the days I once had when my children were all young, and I cherished the opportunity to be with these special little people as well.

Let me say to you right now - the season is short. Truly short. I say this with absolute surety. So don't waste the days longing for something else. Give yourself wholeheartedly to this, knowing that memories are being made and little personalities are being forged. One day, much sooner than you think, you will find they don't need you quite so much. Their lives will have enlarged, they will stretch their wings and try new things. This, too, is good, but different. A season has passed away.

So if you are in that place where little children play while footsteps run down the hallway, smiles are won by a simple hug or cookie, Johnny still wants a naptime story, and your lap is filled by someone needing comfort, take heart. Yours is a precious job, a timely calling. Look up and see the good work before you. Don't miss the delights of the season you are in. They are wonderful.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


Home, alone. Uninterrupted silence. Well, the little man is here, but as long as there are imaginary places and friends (and there are always those in abundance where he lives) I will continue in silence.

Early this morning I made lists of things to do and assigned them with care to differing members of the household. But as they arose one by one, they disappeared almost as quickly, off to different commitments which I had either forgotten or not heard about (I have been away for the past few days.) And so, I am here with my list but no workers.

Oddly enough, I am glad for that - today. Usually it would leave me a bit flustered and needing to pause while my thoughts reallign themselves with the reality before me. (It is the usual post-holiday New Year crunch. You know, regrouping, boxing up, reorganizing, etc.) But today, I need the break. Managing bodies and energy is demanding and I am weary and tired.

My little home needs much rearranging - so much that it is a bit daunting. Hence, my solitude has been spent so far in putzing, assessing, and mindless chipping away. As I walk from spot to spot, I just do what I see to do. Normally, this is far from a recommended approach to organization and cleaning. But today, it is all I can manage. Making a grand plan eludes me; finding the creative energy for big dreams is out of reach. So I putz.

And I really only putz well when alone. Otherwise I feel the weighty responsibility for oversight of others. Today, they are already directed elsewhere. And today that suits me fine. (In all honesty, I didn't think I was up for the big push. You know, the usual post-holiday New Year push.)

So I will sigh deeply and not look at the mountain before me; I will just take one step at a time. And soon I will get up from this chair and I will continue to chip away.

Guess it will be a putz kind of day.