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when the kids come home…

18 Jun

Busy with preparations, the music plays.

My heart soars in anticipation.

Randomly, I hear the cars approaching the drive.

Piled into the kitchen, like sardines in a can, we crowd …

Chopping veggies, bumping elbows, weaving through the maze of family to find the salt.

The music changes with each person’s taste.

My heart again full, as one more – unexpected, arrives. His plans have changed.

Behind the voices the music continues.

Sounds of laughter in the yard sing through the window.

The smell of the smoker lingers in the air enticing the men, tall and small, to monitor the meat.

Finally, we gather.

Hand in hand, thanking God for His provision.

The music replaced by the steady hum of voices and the clinking of dishes.

Pockets of conversations filter through the air.

Caring words of concern,

Thoughts of passion and zeal,

Surface chatter of insignificant things.

The sun begins to set.

Reluctantly the day comes to a close.

Silently, we rest.

But the music is still heard as a memory…

she looked up at me, stunned

8 Jun

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Sitting next to my eighth grade lab partner, we attempted to conquer the day’s assignment. The frog was placed before us.  Our job was to dissect the unlucky creature. How we had ended up as partners, I don’t remember. What I do know is that I was glad she got along with me. I had seen how she treated her enemies, and it wasn’t pretty.

During the course of our science experiment, we chatted together about our classes, people, likes and dislikes… I have no remembrance of what I may have said, but at one point she looked up at me stunned. “Becky, I have never heard you speak poorly of someone else before!”

At this point, I was stunned.

First of all, I was amazed that she would have even noticed or cared. After I processed her comment, I was ashamed that I had been guilty of the accusation!

This fellow student, who was known for treating others harshly, left a lasting impression in my mind.

The words we speak are powerful, possible of tearing down or building up. As a family, our goal is to always speak well of each other. Even when criticism is necessary, it should be given in love, never spoken of behind another’s back.

A family is a great place to begin the process of learning to treat each other with respect. What a delight to hear a wife carrying on about her wonderful husband or a brother speaking highly of his sister. It takes making a deliberate effort to change our habits – to relearn, but it is worth the effort as harsh words should never be allowed!

Since that day in the science lab, I wish I could say I have never made the same mistake again. Unfortunately I have, but I am thankful my “friend” took notice and confronted me. Because of her, I guard my words more closely.

almost locked in the dungeon

7 Jun

Thinking of my conversation with the nice plumber man a couple of days ago,  I still find myself hoping he will not delay too long.  Might he come today?  If not, I sure hope he comes tomorrow! When I brought him into the cellar to get a good look at the pipes, I was a bit ashamed!  Cleaning the basement was on my to do list, but still undone.  So, today was the day.  By the time I had finished hanging the laundry, the kids had the space completely emptied!

Overhearing the children’s conversations from the clothes line, it became evident that things were not running smoothly.  My little five year old princess was crying in search of someone who would sympathize with her.  Apparently she was under threat of being locked into the inner dark pit of the dungeon by a particular older (but still young) brother.

It didn’t take us much time to bring the  small space back to order.  Half of the things that had piled up over the last year just needed to be thrown out, the other – reorganized.     It was the landscape area right outside the door that really took some tough work.  As we began to prune back the abundant growth, we found evidence of a garden that had once been.  The vines had become so thick, nothing else was visible.  The voracious root system was dense throughout the soil, overpowering any other plants that may have thrived. It’s not that the vines are bad, in fact I love how abundant they are, but they sure are prone to take over everything they have access to.

While digging and pulling out roots from the vines, I thought about all of the things that creep in and can easily overtake our lives.  Many of the worst culprits can truly be good or look beautiful as do my vines, yet they become too strong and begin to strangle what is most important.

I thought about my little young man, so ready to exert his authority and be treated as one of the “older” kids.  At this point in his life, the authority is usually exercised on his younger siblings and not always in appropriate ways.  Gently, prayerfully, and deliberately my job (our job as parents) is to mold his growing independence – helping him to gain a wisdom that is from a pure heart; becoming considerate, submissive, full of mercy, productive, and sincere.  As he grows in these traits, he will be well on his way to becoming a well respected man wisely using his authority.

I am thankful to my husband for his desire for me to be a stay at home mom.  As a result, I have the pleasure of tackling projects with our kids –

from cleaning the dungeon to molding the character of the young knights and princesses – together we work to keep those overpowering roots at bay.

btw: Dear plumber man, the basement is clean; come back soon!

mercy triumphs over judgement

1 Jun

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Listening to an audio version of a book while I scrubbed my bathroom, I was struck by these words, “mercy triumphs over judgement.” I played the section again… “mercy triumphs over judgment.”

The thought has lingered in my mind as I have gone through the day. How does that play out in our marriage? How about in our relationships with our children?

Judgement always drives a wedge between, killing intimacy – showing a lack of understanding, a lack of forgiveness, a desire to withdraw.

Mercy, unmerited favor, reveals an unconditional love – strengthening a transparent, secure relationship where honesty is encouraged.

May our household be filled with mercy!

mercy triumphs over judgement (James 2:13)

My second podcast with Shara: Respecting Your Husband

26 May

Sitting here in the waiting room of the dentist office (with my new ipad in hand – of course), I have the luxury of reading, thinking, writing, and reflecting. Part of the process of deliberately encouraging others in marriage and family life is how it causes me to reflect on my own life.

How did I do this morning in sending off my hubby with kind words? Did I take time to encourage him? Did I focus on his strengths or pick apart his weaknesses? Did I take time to draw him close or drive a wedge between us?

A month ago I had the privilege of doing another podcast with my friend, Shara. The last interview was on the adventure of going from 5 – 14 children. This time, as you might guess, it was on marriage. The focus is on my journey of learning to treat my husband with respect and how that continues to affect the rest of our family. Shara has some great insights as she also endeavors to continue building on the strong foundation she and her husband have laid for a healthy marriage and family.

As a result of a few technical difficulties, like my Internet speed for one, the sound is a little soft. Be prepared to have a quiet place to listen.

Please take a moment to visit Notes at Naptime … with Shara and be encouraged!

http://blogging-mama.com/family/respecting-your-husband-podcast-with-becky/</

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What if?

24 May

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Recently we had the pleasure of visiting home, where our roots have grown deep. It was a pleasure to visit with family and friends, but over the course of many conversations, we came away with heavy hearts. One after another, we heard of couples being divorced, families falling apart and giving up hope – the stresses overwhelming life.

So… if you have wondered what has motivated me to pick back up Not Without Aim – it is not a result of boredom with nothing to do, certainly not a love for writing, and not a love for blogs… It is a passion to encourage families to stick together, press hard, and endure the struggles, knowing it is worth the effort!

Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NASB)

What if we kept loving even when the loving was tough?

So, what does it really mean to serve each other?

22 May

In reference to one of my last posts, in an effort to change my husband, I mentioned “taking pleasure in serving.” As a result to a comment I received, I have been pondering the meaning of the word, serve. Could the word mean different things to different people? I checked out the dictionary and found several synonyms: help, assist, work, foster, nurture…

A conversation came to my mind I had recently had with a very dear couple who have now been married for one year. I asked them what kind of advice they would have for someone who was about to be married. The first thing they mentioned was the importance of taking time to be set apart as a couple without the distractions that can so easily encumber. That advice resonated with me as Mark and I spent the first year of our married life in another state, away from home, away from both of our families. We truly did learn to depend on each other.

The second issue this couple spoke of was the great joy they took in serving each other. It was wonderful to see the smile on their faces as they described the competitive morning race to be the first to bring the other their morning coffee. They absolutely love to do things for each other! May that love continue for a lifetime!

Obviously serving will look different in each household. Some people are naturals at serving, while others simply love to be served. My husband and I serve in completely different ways, but even though it looks different, we are both serving. Not only do we serve each other in our marriage, but the entire family continually finds ways to serve the other. That is what being a family is all about!

A special thank you to my sweet hubby for always making me my first cup of morning coffee! Half the enjoyment of drinking it is knowing that it was made with love from him, especially for me!

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