Faith Day 20: Epic FAIL

So this has become a new thing…laughing at our failures.

There are complete sites out there dedicated to posting pictures of people’s failed attempts at recreating ideas they found on Pinterest.  These things seriously go viral.  For example:

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Source

Or people post on Facebook about their #epicfail mom moments.  This is meant to be funny, you know a laugh-so-you-won’t-cry type of thing.

Like when you take your kid to the top of a mountain in Crocs and shorts, where there will inevitably be snow.

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OR like when I had my boys in the shopping cart at Walmart (Tanner in the front, Jace in the big part) and I was trying to take these giant tupperware containers from the top shelf.  They started to fall so I yelled, “Jace…CATCH”  as I threw one his direction in an attempt to free up a hand to stop the Rubbermaid avalanche…and I pretty much frisbee’d a 1.5 gallon rectangle at Tanner’s face.  After about three seconds of pure shock, he started to wail.

Awesome.  Just awesome.   Because we all know it’s more fun to fail with an audience, right?

#epicfail

I know that this “epic fail” phenomenon is meant to bring some humor into our shortcomings, but the truth is…FAILURE SUCKS.

Nobody likes to fail.  Failure brings out all sorts of feelings of insecurities and inadequacy.  It makes you question your abilities, your intelligence, your decisions.  I mean, it’s one thing to fail at a recipe or DIY craft, but what about something that you put your heart and soul into?  When you invest your time and emotions into something, whether it be a new job, a relationship or simply taking a risk at something new, it does not feel good when the end result is failure.

With this new career change in the works for Carter, I’ve thought a lot about failure.  What if we aren’t good at raising money?  What if this whole thing blows up in our face?

What if we fail at this?

It is, after all, something completely new for us.  Whenever action requires faith, there is temptation to just dip your toe in the water instead of jumping right in.  Let me just test this out, never fully committing.  But you aren’t really giving the opportunity a fair shot unless you do jump in.  That’s why it’s called a LEAP of faith…not a hop or side step.  Just jump off the dang cliff already!

Ok so I’m preaching to myself a little.  Carter and I have been so hesitant about approaching people to help support us.  We have our list ready but need a push to just make the first move.

I need to remind myself that while failure isn’t always a laughing matter, it’s also not a death sentence.  Deep down I don’t believe that failure is how this will all end, because if God has lead us to this point I know He will not abandon us now.  HOWEVER…if for some reason or another it did end in an epic fail type of scenario, God will be there to pick us up and lead us on.  I think failure is so scary because it messes with our identity.  Who we are at the core.  It threatens our value if we let it.  But if we believe, in faith, that we are valuable because God says it to be so, no failure can take that away.  Epic or not.

 

Faith Day 18: Baby I’m Amazed By You

Anyone else singing Lonestar now??  You’re welcome.

So I have a question:  What amazes you?

When I thought about the things that amaze me, here are a few that came to mind:

Pregnancy.

I mean seriously, what is weirder than having another human being growing inside you?  I remember watching both boys contort my belly into crazy shapes as they turned and moved inside me.  Every time I was amazed by it.  Last night, after finding out that some friends were on their way to the hospital to have their first baby, I was showing Jace photos of when I was pregnant with both him and Tanner.

Who is in your belly there, me or Tanner?  Well who’s in your belly there?  (multiply this question by 36)

Now show me the pictures where you’re in MY belly.

pregnant belly

I’m afraid that’s not how it works Jace…

Nature

It doesn’t take more than a beautiful sunset to have me standing in amazement.  I love going to beautiful places and basking in the creativity of the architecture and landscape.  Living in Colorado has provided plenty of those moments, especially when we venture closer to the mountains.

mountain drive

Even the beauty of the seasons right out my front door is breathtaking when captured at the golden hour right before the sun sets.

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Art

My grandfather was an artist.  As a young girl, I remember spending time with him painting and watching in amazement at how effortless he seemed to move his brush against the paper.  I, on the other hand, would take every bit of effort I had to meticulously move my brush in an attempt to recreate one of his masterpieces.  I am amazed at artists whose talent seems to be as natural as breathing to them.  To this day, I have such an appreciation for artwork of all kinds.  I have one of my grandfather’s paintings hanging in the kitchen and it brings back fond memories from my childhood.

painting

And some less than noble things that amaze me

The truth is, I’m not that hard to amaze.  Plus, I’m nobody important really.  Still, if I’m over at your house for dinner and am amazed by your cooking skills, I’m sure you would take it as a compliment.  Even be a little flattered.  But imagine how much more impact that amazement would have if it was coming from someone who was a master at the subject.  Say, a world renowned chef?  Suddenly that amazement has a little more power.

When it comes to faith, the Bible says that Jesus (all GOD, all man) is the author and perfecter of it.  What kind of faith would it take to amaze the AUTHOR of faith himself?  The kind of faith we should stop and take note of.

Only once does the Bible say that Jesus was amazed, or marveled at the faith of a person. (Except when he was amazed by their lack of faith…that’s not good)  So I decided to read into the story of a Roman soldier, the centurion, whose faith made even the son of God take notice.

When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer[a] came and pleaded with him, “Lord, my young servant[b] lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.”

Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.”

But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.”

10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel! 11 And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. 12 But many Israelites—those for whom the Kingdom was prepared—will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

13 Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.”And the young servant was healed that same hour.  Matthew 8:5-13

Two things that stood out to me regarding this man’s faith:

  1. He got who Jesus was.

    He seemed to understand and fully believe in the power and authority of God, represented in Jesus.  For some of you, your Jesus is way too small. He’s just a helper, a counselor, a comforter, a friend. He’s not Christ. He’s not ruler, Lord, savior, God, king, and judge. This man, the centurion, the soldier, he understands who Jesus is. “I understand chain of command. You’re at the top. Creator, that’s who you are.” That’s who Jesus is.” (Mark Driscoll)  

  2. He didn’t need a “sign.”  

    Too often I find myself asking for some miraculous sign when seeking guidance, much like the people who Jesus rebuked for lack of faith.  I play it off like I just really need specific reassurance that I’m moving in the right direction, or making the right decision.  The truth is, deep down I usually know what I should do, I just lack the faith when there are so many unknown variables.  I’m really saying, “God, I want you to come down here, present yourself in human form, and straight up tell me what I should do.  A detailed text would also suffice.”  I’m seeking certainty, not faith.  Jesus told the centurion to go back home, and the man believed him with no proof other than his word.  The same word he believed to have authority over sickness and disease, even when not in close proximity to the person needing healing.  Sometimes I don’t take Jesus as his word.  I want just a little more proof, and a little less risk.

If you are like me and feel like your faith is lacking at times, I highly suggest checking out this FREE devotional on the YouVersion Bible app.  Its Called Steven Furtick: Sun Stand Still and is 5 days long (a short reading/scripture each day).  My favorite day is about audacious faith.  He says that “audacity isn’t the absence of uncertainty or ambiguity.  Audacity is believing that God’s promise is bigger than my perhaps.  He says that we can have two thoughts in our heads:  Nothing can hinder the Lord and perhaps the Lord will act.  I wonder if in the centurion’s mind there existed both belief and “perhaps.”  If he had doubts, but acted anyway.  Audacious faith does not eliminate doubt and fear.  It eclipses their power one decision at a time.” (Steven Furtick, Sun Stand Still)

I pray that I can have faith like this centurion, and believe Jesus is big enough and not need all of the answers in order to step out in faith.

 

Faith Day 8: Be Bold

Faith is bold.

BOLDadjective

(of a person, action, or idea) showing an ability to take risks; confident and courageous

Jace running beach

Taking risks is definitely not my forte, but I will say that I’ve gotten better at it in the last year.  You kind of have to when you are putting your faith in God on a daily basis.  Typically though, I tend to lean more toward fearful than risk-taker on the boldness spectrum.  What is so amazing is that even though I label myself as a certain type of person (fearful, not spontaneous, worrier), God’s power in me defies all of that.  Those same labels limit what God can do if I use them as a crutch, but when I give them up to God, I am giving Him the freedom to create in me the type of spirit that He originally intended.  One that is strong, bold, brave, not clouded with sin and insecurity.  It’s a beautiful thing, this freedom He offers.

One story in the Bible of great boldness, immediately followed by doubt, is that of Peter walking on water.  The disciples see Jesus walking out towards their boat…on the water.  Freaked them out.  They even thought he was a ghost, because I mean WHO walks on water??  Jesus reassures them that no, he is not a ghost.  Then Peter responds by saying,”Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”

That takes boldness.  No one else made that request.  Peter saw Jesus doing something supernatural, and he wanted a part in it.

You see, fear keeps up “in the boat” so to speak.  It might allow us to be spectators to the miraculous, but we will not be a participant in it.  How much more exciting would it be, albeit scary, to be a participant versus a bystander?  Definitely more risk involved, but more reward as well.

It turns out that right after Peter’s big BOLD moment, he saw the winds around him and began to fear.  In other words, his circumstances trumped his faith.  And he began to sink.  Jesus reached out at his call for help and immediately came to his rescue, asking, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:25-32)

Things to remember when it comes to being bold:

  • It starts with faith.  Faith in God (his power, his timing, his direction, his character) is what breeds confidence that leads to boldness.
  • Don’t lose the confidence.  Keep you eyes on Jesus (pray, read the Bible, listen).  It’s all too easy to lose focus because of what life is throwing at you.
  • Sometimes faith looks foolish.  The bible says that the wisdom of God is foolishness to the world, meaning that God’s ways and our ways don’t often line up.  So you can’t be afraid of looking foolish in the eyes of others.  Young ones naturally rock at this.  Jace looks a fool often, and it doesn’t bother him a bit.

bandaids

Maybe that’s why Jesus tells us to have faith like a child.  They are bold and courageous and confident…and a little cray cray.  But it’s amazing to watch that type of boldness.  We could all learn a little ( or a lot ) from children.

{On a side note, Jace walked out with his face decorated with bandaids and said, “Mom, I look like you!”  What the what??  I don’t even know what that means…but I’m slightly offended.}

What is something BOLD you have done lately?

 

 

Faith Day 6: The Big Bang Theory

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Faith embraces change.

I’m not usually a big fan of change, because it means deviating from what’s comfortable.  And I looooooove comfort.  I love routine.  I mean, I get anxiety about finding a new grocery store whenever I move.

I think I like the idea of change, the good kind that is.  However, with change you can never fully know if it is good until you experience it, because it is taking you somewhere new.   Unfamiliar territory, forcing you to get off autopilot and be more present.

So here’s the deal:  God, while remaining unchanging Himself, is all about changing us.  And just like an ice cube tray full of water can’t change form unless it’s put into the freezer, we sometimes need some type of external change (in routine, surroundings, jobs, relationships) to activate the change within us.  Whether these changes are forced upon us, or initiated by us, it takes faith to navigate through it and believe that something better is on the other side.

I decided to symbolize my newfound efforts to embrace change in a very practical way:  a haircut.

Not just any haircut.  BANGS.

People, I have not had bangs since I was about 6 years old.  Unless you count 5th grade, but those weren’t really bangs…they were more like their own life form.  My hairstyle hasn’t changed much in the last 10 years.  Long….straight….sometimes a few subtle highlights.  When getting a haircut, 2 inches off the bottom seemed way drastic and I might have to take a day (or 5) to get used to my “new” look.  Change, unless you count a slight variation, was not my friend.

But there I was, sitting in a salon, telling a stylist that I had NEVER MET (can we just pause for a moment and talk about what a feat of faith this was??) that I wanted to cut 4 inches off my hair and get (wait for it) BANGS.  I showed her a picture…okay maybe 4 pictures to fully illustrate the look I was going for…and sat back and watched.

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Look familiar?

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But better than this.

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The verdict??  Not bad.  I mean, I am constantly having to adjust to the feeling of stuff on my forehead and I have to relearn how to style my hair and long gone are the days where I can survive without bobby pins.  But hey!  Change isn’t so bad if you don’t fight it.

Now I realize that not all change initiated by us ends up being beneficial.  Let’s get real…these bangs could have been a straight up disaster.  (Have you seen Beyonce’s baby bangs in your Yahoo news feed??)  But when God is bringing about change in our lives, we don’t have to worry.  He is a lot more trustworthy than a stylist you found through google and just met.  He knows your past, present and future.  It’s all in His hands.

So just embrace it.  And remember – if you feel like the change is dreadful, chances are there is another change right around the corner. (aka bangs grow out)

To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.  Ecclesiastes 3:1

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Faith Day 2: I Will Fight


“This Christian life is not easy.
I have an Enemy that is real.
I face battles that feel overwhelming.
There are times when I’m tired and I want to give up.

I will fight.” – Steven Furtick

 

Sometimes I am a weenie.

Sometimes I don’t like to do hard things.

Sometimes I get discouraged and want to throw in the towel.

I’ve learned that when I try to live with faith and pursue the life that God has for me, there is always opposition.  I don’t like opposition.  In fact, I dislike it so much that sometimes it makes me question whether or not this “living by faith” thing is worth it.

But then I take a deep breath, and go back to the TRUTH.  God’s word says that in this life we will have trouble, but to TAKE HEART, for He has overcome the world.  The Bible also uses analogies such as “run this race (life) to win” and “put on the armor of God.”  It is clear that faith is work.  Faith is a fight.

Faith is not comparable to SPAM, having a questionably long shelf life.  Each day you must wake up and choose again to believe that God has a plan and is on your side.  Because the circumstances surrounding you when you first made your declaration of faith may not be the circumstances of tomorrow.  They may not even be the circumstances of the next hour.  The enemy is strategic and wants to steal our hope, kill our purpose, and destroy our faith.  Will you fight against the doubts?  Against the mockers?  Against the realities of the life you are living in?

I said before that I just don’t like the idea of being opposed or fought against.  Maybe because I am fearful of losing.  This is when I look not at the enemy/circumstances, but look back and see an even BIGGER God right by my side, ready to fight for me.

Don’t forget to check out the video at the top.  It’s narrated by Steven Furtick, an amazing pastor  of Elevation Church who I found through some friends.  I love listening to his sermons online, and this video just gets me pumped up.  Enjoy!

Family Bonding Day 20: Read Together

 

I love children’s books, and I love to share my favorites with my kids.  It’s a great way to bond as a family that forces you to slow down.

I also love catching my boys reading when I’m not around.  Even if they are just flipping through the pages, making up words.

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But ultimately, I love to read WITH my kids.  It’s so much fun…if I can get them to sit still long enough.

Reading with your kids has so many benefits.  Things such as:

  • helping them master the fundamentals of language
  • understand concepts of print (which direction to turn the pages…read top to bottom, left to right)
  • more logical thinking skills
  • help with new experiences by using a relatable book
  • enhanced concentration and skills

Check out more details here.  I know with my little ones, there were always so squirmy during reading time…I thought we would never make any progress!  I was amazed at how quickly they began to maintain focus with books and show interest.

There are SO many great books out there!  I have quite the collection, being a former elementary school teacher.  Here are some of my favorites, a “top ten” if you will.  These books get their fair share of use, which results in a lot of wear and tear.  But I suppose that’s a good thing, right?  We are still working with the little one about proper book care.

elmo

So here we go..my favorites!  Click the affiliate links to purchase from Book Depository…free shipping!

 

1.  Best Interactive Book

Do Not Open This Book! is great for ages 3-10.  In it, the main character/author has not finished writing this story, and “talks” to the readers throughout the book, trying to get them to go away so he can finish.

do not open

dnotb

Jace just laughs and laughs when we read this, and loves pretending to talk back to the book.

 

2.  Best Grandparent Book

Any recordable book!  Jace and Tanner love listening to these, and they are a great way to feel connected to relatives that live far away.

recording collage

 

3.  Best Book for Inspiring Creativity

Ish  by Peter H. Reynolds is a book about a little boy who keeps trying to draw a picture of a vase.  He feels so discouraged, as it is not the perfect rendering he is aspiring towards.  His little sister finds his pictures crumpled up in the trash, and is confused.  He explains that he was trying to draw a vase, but it didn’t look right.

She brilliantly replies, “Well…it’s vase-ISH.”  This unlocks the freedom for her brother to continue drawing and expressing himself, free from the idea of perfection.  A great lesson for our little ones.

ish collage

 

4.  Best Book for Separation Anxiety

Every had your little ones cry at the mere  THOUGHT of you leaving?  The Kissing Hand is a classic, sweet story of a little boy who doesn’t want to leave his mom when he goes to school.  She gives him a reminder on his hand of her love, and it helps his get through.  I like how you can actually apply this one by giving your kids a heart sticker to keep on their hands when you are apart.

kissinghand

 

5.  Best Silly Book

I LOVE Skippyjon Jones.  It was my all-time favorite book to read to my students when I taught first grade.  They loved the silly voices, and the adventures of a siamese cat with the mistaken identity of a chihuahua.  This is the original, but there are several additional Skippyjon books.

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“My ears are too beeg for my head.  My head ees too beeg for my body.”

Seriously…you can’t NOT laugh.

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6.  Best Bedtime Story

There are way too many books to vie for this category of the BEST bedtime story.  I have chosen this one purely out of sentimental value.  It was the first book that I read regularly to Jace when he was a tiny one.  Every night…we didn’t even have to look at the words, as we had it memorized.  When Tanner was around 6 months, I started reading it to him.  It’s short, which is great for little ones’ attention spans at bedtime, and has a great rhythm and rhyme to it.  As you can see, it’s gotten a lot of love.

bedtime kiss

bedtime kiss spine

 

7.  Best Classic

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.  A little more of a possibility living in Colorado, so I have to couple this reading with lessons about never actually approaching a bear.

Jace isn’t convinced.  We frequently pretend to go on a bear hunt when on walks, quoting parts of the story and acting them out.  This book has great repetitive language for young, emergent readers.

bear hunt

 

8.  Best Book for Momma’s Boys (or Girls)

I Love You Stinky Face is a cute story about a boy who asks his momma, “If I was a ________, would you still love me?”  He goes through a variety of animals, such as a smelly skunk, a swamp creature, and an alien from Mars.  The responses to his wonderings are clever and cute, reminding our little ones that their momma will love them NO MATTER WHAT.

stinky face

“But Momma, but Momma, what if I were a super smelly skunk, and I smelled so bad that everybody called me STINKY FACE??”

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9.  Best Holiday Book

Too soon?  I’m already in the Christmas spirit and we haven’t even plunged into Fall yet!  But get this one on your list to have in your house at Christmas time!  Snowmen at Christmas   is a funny book about snowmen in a town coming to life at night and doing all sorts of cold, snowman-y things while everybody snoozes.

snowmen

The best part?  THE ILLUSTRATIONS.  Seriously.  It transports me into a magical, Christmas-spirit-filled town where all things are merry and bright.  The way the artist captures to illusion of light is beautiful.

snowmen pic

 

10.  Best Lesson Behind the Story…aka Best Tear Jerker

Have you heard of You are Special, by Max Lucado??

special

Every day the Wemmicks stick either gold stars or gray dots on one another. The talented, pretty ones always get the stars, while the ones with chipped paint who can’t do much, get gray dots.  Punchinello, the main character, is one who is identified by his flaws…and he has the dots to prove it.

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One day he meets someone who has NO dots or stars.  She introduces him to his maker, and Punchinello discovers that he has value because he is loved by the one who made him.

A great message that no matter how the world evaluates us, God loves us and knows just how special we are.

(tear)

photo-101 copy

 

What are your favorite children’s books?

 

 


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