Monday, September 28, 2009

A Visionary Learning to Rest...

I am what you call a visionary. Nothing fancy just someone who is always looking at the big picture and tends to forget the details of things here and there because my sights are always set for the horizon. I am also a very passionate person driven by my beliefs and convictions. In life this isn't bad but it needs to be tempered with some good doses of the here and now and restfulness. I guess that's why God put me with my Knight. He is an excellent daily source of the here and now and rest. He completes me. :)

In this season though the Lord is teaching me to rest. When your leader skills primarily come from vision you can tend to get ansy when things aren't going as you planned or "envisioned" them. Especially in regards to your walk with the Lord. I tend to get words from the Lord or hear Him speak to me about my life and then I wait patiently for Him to move. NOT!

Actually I hear or receive things from the Lord and then expect immediate results. I get easily frustrated when what the Lord spoke or promised doesn't come to pass quickly. Because of my vision type leadership I then feel I need to "do" something. I also second guess myself. "Did I hear right? Am I not doing the right things? Was that really the Lord or just that late night sub?"

This then gets me in trouble. I am now coming to grips with the reality that I need to rest. Vision is great but if you cannot trust in what the Lord has said then what's the point of listening. I will just keep giving up and moving on to something else and miss the blessing. Right now I am learning to walk this out. Let me tell you it isn't easy for me. I want to run and do and work but God keeps bringing me back to rest. He asks me "Do you trust me? Do you believe I am who I say I am? Then don't worry and rest." OK God, easier said then done but I will submit to this season.

So now I wait on Him as we wait on some promises. Some of the promises are for myself, my family, my husband and some are even larger in scope like for our State and Nation. In the midst of the waiting I must keep reminding myself of God's promises. I must rest in the assurance of who He says He is. This is a very difficult lesson for me to be learning but I keep telling God to help me so I don't have to come around this mountain again. I see the importance of those who lead out of Rest and those who lead out of Vision but I am really seeing the critical need to land some where in the middle of that spectrum. Jesus is our perfect example, he was not too far one way or the other. He knew who He was, what the Father wanted Him to do and He was great at just resting in that and not striving to make things work.

If you see me around and I am acting a little odder than normal you can just know that I am in the midst of learning a tough but needed lesson. I never thought resting could be such a difficult and tiring thing to do. :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


We had the joy of Kibble-sitting this past weekend. Classic, Not-so-classic, Scarlet & Bubba went away this past weekend and we watched their little guinea pig named Kibble. He is so darn cute!

For the first day he was with us he wouldn't come out of his pig-loo (the little pink house). He literally picked it up and walked around his cage in it. I believe he is part turtle. Even at feeding time he picked up his pig-loo and walked right over to his feeding dish. He would dart his little head out, pick up a morsel and shoot back inside. It was hilarious.

Finally he warmed up to us here at the Livin' household and we got to pet him and love him a couple times. He went home last night with Not-so-classic. I know the boys are sad to see him leave. I don't know...maybe we will have to acquire a Kibble too. For now we will look forward to watching him anytime they are away.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sukkot - Feast of Booths "Time of our joy"

Sukkot is the Jewish holiday called the Feast of Booths. It is a time of celebration by remembering God rescuing the people of Israel from Egypt and sustaining them in the wilderness. It is called the Feast of Booths because the Lord commanded the people of Israel to dwell in booths (Leviticus, 23:42) for seven days to remind them of how God took care of them in the desert. Also it is a time the Jewish people remember as God tabernacled with them in the wilderness. That's why it is sometimes referred to as the Feast of Tabernacles. On the Jewish calender it follows after the High Holiday of Yom Kipur, the Day of Atonement.

Yom Kipur is the Holiest day of the Jewish year because it is the day the Jewish people feel we are closest to God. It is a day of solemness where we search our hearts for sin and God makes atonement for it. "For on this day He will forgive you, purify you, that you be cleansed from all your sins before God" (Leviticus 16:30). Feast of Booths then brings a time of great celebration and joy. It celebrates Israel's salvation and is a time to give thanks to God for all He has provided for this past year and ask for a blessing of the New Year.

This year the Lord laid it on our hearts to participate in celebrating Sukkot. Scott and I are not sure exactly why but we feel it is one of those situations where the Lord has asked for obedience without the full understanding at this point. So we joined with our church's School Of Ministry and will be observing Sukkot Oct. 2nd through the 9th.

It is a lot of fun and we plan on celebrating it to it's fullest. We did have to build our own Sukkah which is a temporary dwelling place or booth. It is to remind you of how the Lord took care of the Israelite's in the desert. It is also to remind us that our security and protection only comes from God not in homes, bank accounts, jobs or anything that man can do. I especially like that, I need that reminder quite often.

So here are the beginnings of our Booth.
Sukkah Requirements:
It has to be built in an open area where no buildings or trees are covering it. It needs at least two complete walls and a small part of a third. Some Jewish people with build a fully enclosed structure but we did not feel that would work for us. The walls can be made of any material as long as it can withstand a normal wind. The roof however, needs to be made of natural materials (branches, leaves, vines). You may use some some rough wood if necessary but they must not exceed 15 inches in width. The roof must be sufficiently covered so it gives more shade then light but you must be able to see the sky also. I believe one of the sites I refernced too in finding this information explained that the branches or roofing material must cover at least 40% of the top. ***Theses requirements are laid out in the Talmud and not specifically found in the Old Testament. Requirements also very from various Jewish groups.

As you can see we used a part of a canopy for some of the frame.
Then we had to build the back of the frame with 2x4's. I joked with Scott that it's a "real" man's Sukkah because we used duck tape to hold the poles to the wooden frame. He assured me that if God provided heavenly manna in the desert then He probably provided duck tape too. In our house duck tape is a sacred element.

There you have it!

We will hang the walls the first day of the celebration on the 2nd of Oct and also put on the roof at that time. I thought over all it turned out pretty cool. I will post pictures of our finished Sukkah and the week long celebration. I am offering to anyone who would like to experience the Feast of Booths if you and your family want to come over one night between the 2nd & the 9th to email me. We would be glad to open our home up to you. The only thing you would need to bring is some lawn chairs and a harvest food dish to share.

More to come...finding Jesus in the midst of Sukkot.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Ups & Downs Of Parenting

There are days when I feel as though I am on a roller coaster with my kids. As a parent you don't always know which way is up and when the track will take another immediate turn. Lately we have been on a new ride with Shaggy. He seems a bit more unpredictable with his emotions and testing his boundaries lately. Don't get me wrong, he's not in total rebellion or anything but it is a difficult stage. One moment things are great and we seem to be all happy and with a blink of an eye he is now mad or upset and refusing to obey. With that of course comes discipline but it still doesn't feel like we are getting any where with this at the moment. We seem to circle the same mountain a couple times in our day.

I have become very good lately at reading the atmosphere of the room before I walk in. Is it time to start up intense prayer or are we in a good state of mind right now? Shaggy is going to be turning 11 in Oct. and so I have been hotly pursuing the feet of Jesus asking what to do. Am I the issue here Lord, is Scott the issue or are we not meeting a need in Shagy's life? What is it? The answer I have been receiving over and over again has surprised me. I guess it shouldn't but it has.

The Lord keeps reminding me of our butterfly's. He shows me this picture of Shaggy tightly bound in a cocoon. He is struggling to get out. Then I heard the Lord say this to me..."You and Scott have raised your sons to become men. You have set your standard high. Shaggy is now wrestling with Me and his identity as a man of Christ. Many young boys struggle with becoming a man but start later in life closer to their late teens. This becomes a problem because they are no longer in a safe environment. Their wrestling now becomes entangled with society and the pressures of life. They have less boundaries and therefor push further than they can at 11 or 12. Shaggy has begun the process, let him struggle. A butterfly who is not allowed to push it's way out of the cocoon will prematurely die. The process of pain in a butterfly's life produces it's beauty."

We have always respected various cultures that have a "coming of age" ceremony for boys. You can pin point a distinct time in their culture when the young man is no longer recognized as a boy and has now transformed into a man. The Jewish culture in particular marks the age 13. At that age the young man goes through his Bar-mitzvah and is recognized into manhood. Scott and I have really felt that 13 will be the age for our boys too. We have told them that on their 13th birthday they will have a special party to celebrate their manhood.

This is why I feel we are going through this with Shaggy. In his spirit he knows the time is coming and he is beginning the process of transformation now.

I know you might be asking what about girls & their "coming of age" issues but I have to defer that point to someone else because we don't have any girls. I can say this, that I just witnessed our neighbors big "Sweet 16" party for their oldest daughter. I remember having my "Sweet 16" party too. We also embrace young women when they get their first period. It can be a joyous occasion for many families. But what do we do for our young me?. At 18 we can send them off to fight for our country but many don't even know if they are a "man" yet.

We have chosen to embrace man-hood here at the Livin' household and celebrate it at 13. I believe because of that decision we are going through some of these rough times now where others may experience later on. So I will continue to ride the ride. I will continue to pray fervently for me boys. Thankfully with an analogy of a roller coaster you know there is an end. You finally shoot through your last loop and wind around your last corner to reach the exit platform. It's not always fun but it's in God's hands. I just got to remember sometimes to sit back and enjoy the ride.

Friday, September 18, 2009

I heart Flash Mobs!!

Have you heard of them yet? They are happening all over the world. It's the new craze. Anything from frozen people to dance routines. Some can be as large as groups of 2,ooo people to as small as 50. This is my favorite Flash Mob scene. 200 dancers performed an impromptu dance to DO-Re-Mi. Impromptu in the sense that none of the on lookers knew a head of time this was going to happen. The dancers practiced weeks ahead of time and then stormed the train station. I wish there was a Flash Mob scene in Harrisburg. I would love to participate. Have fun and watch.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My First Publication

As an intern at Teaching The Word Ministries I was asked to write a devotional for this series called God Stories. It is a compilation of stories about God working in and through the people of Lancaster County and the surrounding counties of Central Pa. It's not phenomenal or amazing work on my part but it was fun to do. I wrote about Scott's accident and how the Lord worked through our children and myself during that morning. So if you are ever interested I will have a daily devotional published in God Stories 5 that is slated to come out in Nov. sometime. The other stories are so uplifting and encouraging. It is an awesome testimony of God's faithfulness throughout our region and interdenominationally.

I know nothing big but it was exciting for me to do. I felt good when they told me they didn't really have to edit my submission. :) CCC members also have a great writer who submitted work in the last two editions, Michelle A. Her stories blow you away. You should at least go check her devotionals out.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Starting A New Year Now!!

I know this might seem silly but celebrating our New Year in January has always bothered me. By January much of your planning has taken place, kids have already begun their school year and routines are usually firmly in place by then. Also January is smack dab right in the thick of winter. Days are shorter, colder and some what gloomier. How in the world am I supposed to start my New Year then? How am I to begin and celebrate the coming of a new season in the midst of the death of winter?

I like the fall. Let me say it this way, I Love The Fall!! I love the season and the weather. I love the changing of the leaves and all this time brings. The fall represents to me the end of growth and time for harvest. It is the time for reaping and preparing for the winter. To me it just seems more like the end of a year and the beginning of something new. So why can't I celebrate my New Year now? So much has changed and new things are already happening. My New Year is not starting in January it has already begun.

Let me share with you what I mean. This Sept. I began my internship with Teaching The Word Ministries. This will go for a year from now not beginning and ending in January. I was given the opportunity to get a Gym membership and so now I am beginning a new fitness routine. I know that if I tried to start something like this in January it would be a lot harder for me with the cold temps. and dark mornings. If I can get in the habit now when winter hits full force I will already had this routine established and just continue on. The boys have also started their school year and daily routines and habits for the year have taken root.

So I am celebrating my New Year now! I see the great things the Lord has for us as a family and the blessings He has already established for us in this New Year. Why wait? So here's to a New Year! Cheers and Happy New Year everyone.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I Still Get A Kiss & A Wave Goodbye

Now that I have a 5th grader, 4th grader & 1st grader I truly wondered how long I could hang on to my precious treasure every morning of a kiss and a wave from the boys. It's one of those things we have been doing at the bus stop since kindergarten with Shaggy and is a wonderful part of my morning. I thought perhaps Shaggy would soon be trying to sneak away without giving me the said affection so not to be embarrassed in front of the kids at school, but to my delight I still get a kiss & a wave.

It is now given more frequently at the car or when we walk he asks for a kiss before we turn the corner but he still asks. Rocker & DK still run up to me as the bus approaches for their kiss. All three of them will actually jump out of the bus line and grab a kiss if they forgot too earlier. Then as they scurry into their seats I see them peer through the windows waving. We have made a tradition of doing the "I Love You" hand sign. You know the one you do with one hand that looks similar to a surfers gnarly wave. I guess it still looks some what cool to give your mom a sort of "I Love You"/surfer wave goodbye.

Still I treasure each moment they do. It makes my heart leap and seems to wash away the events from the prior day setting us up for a hopeful, blessed day. I wonder how long I will be able to keep this up. I pray Shaggy and the other two will still love to kiss their mom even as they grow more and more. Maybe in Middle School we can say our goodbyes at home so as to not embarrass anyone but it still needs to be done. I am big about showing affection to my kids and helping them to realize the importance of that. So for now I enjoy our morning bus routine. I love, love, love that I still get a kiss and a wave goodbye!