Today is the first day we have been home a full day this week and it's going to be great to not be doing school on the run or feeling like we have to rush through some areas to stay on track. We've stayed on track for the most part, but I don't like the feeling of speeding through and getting the work done....just to have it done. I much rather be following along at a leisurely pace that allows for detours, distractions, and the ability to enjoy the journey.
This week was extra busy and extra special because we had some visitors in town and Kevin and I also celebrated a milestone. Mom and Joe came through on their way to a wedding in Canada so we spent Tuesday night and the first half of Wednesday visiting with them. Tuesday night we went out to Olive Garden AFTER gymnastics was over at 8:00, so it made a late night but it was enjoyable. Kevin laughed when he remembered the LAST time we were together with extended family at Olive Garden. I was in labor with Adriana and thought that she was just giving me a hard time over my food choices or that I was just having more Braxtons. That night/early AM would have just been much simpler had we not gone all the way home and then had to scramble to head back to the hospital (over an hour each way!). Curvy, bumpy, and hilly country roads are not fun in the 2nd stage of labor while being strapped in a car with a seat belt when your belly is bigger than TWO watermelons!
Yesterday morning I enjoyed my 2.5 hours of kid free time. Unfortunately I had to spend it running errands, but it was INCREDIBLY nice to be able to do them efficiently and peacefully! After PMO, several of us homeschooling moms in our church met together and had a fantastic fellowship time while the kids played on our church indoor playground. I can not tell you just how much those times mean to me. It has very little to do with discussing academics or anything school related. It is about the connection that comes from this particular group of ladies that have similar hearts and desires that stretch FAR beyond our kids academic needs. I could have stayed MUCH longer, but I had to literally run out the door to get home in order for Adriana to be picked up for another babysitting job. She LOVES babysitting for this particular family with a 1 year old and 3 year old. She also sold 13 bracelets that morning and then late last night had someone come by and pick up 9 that were completed. I underestimated how God would use her in that project! I originally thought she would do good to sell 5 and that I was afraid she would be disappointed when she didn't have much proceeds to give Salt & Light (food pantry). Well, I should know better than to put limits on God. She's just about to hit the 60 sold mark! Between that and giving her "tithe" from babysitting to Salt & Light, she's EASILY going to pass her FULL goal of providing $100 before Thanksgiving (which becomes $1,000!).
Yesterday we also celebrated our 15th anniversary. We consider 15 a milestone. I had really dreamed of doing a vow renewal but there was just no way to financially do it even in it's simplest form. I guess that is something we will put on our "20th" calendar! What matters is that we were together and even had the unbelievable blessing of going out to a nice dinner WITHOUT kids. There have been MANY years that we weren't able to do ANYTHING. It was also very nice to reflect on the fact that we are happily married and growing together EVERY day! Several people have made the comments this week that we remind them of newlyweds. Good! That is how we feel, but on a MUCH deeper level. Newlyweds "live" on love and in many cases fantasy. They've not yet been hit with the hard times. When you feel the passion of newlywed love and have the desire to be inseparable AND then couple that with knowing you have weathered countless storms and have come out stronger.....oh my....that is when you hit the BEAUTIFULLY BLESSED stage of love!
In getting ready to have our date last night, I finally had the chance to take our week 2 challenge of "Waste Management" sermon series. This week we were encouraged to go shopping. YES...shopping! The purpose was to go out and buy a new shirt. I originally just "thought" about the challenge over the week and did pay attention to my "thoughts" on the topic. However, when I was actually able to make the purchase yesterday it REALLY soaked in. I went to a local consignment store and was able to find a nice top to wear out to our anniversary dinner. I'm all for buying quality brands 2nd hand and the one I chose actually ended up being on sale when I checked out based on the color of the tag! EXCELLENT find for my frugal side!
When I walked out of the store, I was excited. It's amazing how a new piece of clothing can excite you. It's even more amazing how it can CHANGE you and change how you feel. THAT was the purpose of the challenge and I TOTALLY experienced it.
Week 2's challenge was to purchase and wear that new garment. We talked about being "clothed with Christ" and how when we put on the newness of Christ WE ARE CHANGED. What we physically wear can leave us feeling comfortable or uncomfortable in a situation. Think about how you feel when you wear the wrong clothes for the season and you end up too hot or too cold. Think about how you feel when you walk in a room under dressed or overdressed for the situation. For women, though I think it also applies to men as well, think about how putting on something new changes your attitude. It's no secret that when we wear frumpy clothes, we tend to feel.....well....frumpy! Speaking for myself, when I take the time to put on something a little nicer or pay more attention to my appearance I CHANGE! Because I change, my husband might notice or a friend might point out the change. Just thinking about being able to wear something "new" last night for our anniversary dinner made it feel more special. I didn't have to wear one of the few SAME things in my closet. Putting on something new give me a little extra spunk and gave me a boost of confidence. IT wasn't a smaller size (unfortunately) and it didn't magically make 60 pounds disappear, but I felt temporarily transformed.
THOSE were the feelings that Jason was wanting us to experience and then correlate with the sermon. He used the visual example of an athlete putting on his/her letter jacket. He talked about how personalities change when an athlete earned that jacket and the pride that came from wearing it. I thought about Andy and the first time he "transformed" when we saw him in his air force uniform at his basic training graduation. I also thought about girls in their prom dresses or on their wedding days. Clothing changes us. Being clothed with Christ SHOULD change us. Key word: SHOULD! But does it?
Clothed with Christ means that we should be living a life that reflects Christ. Do our lives reflect HIM? Guilty of not always reflecting Him. Being clothed with Christ means we exhibit compassion, humility, patience, and gentleness. Do we act and live differently because of the gift we have in Christ? Do we run from sin or do we walk the fence and dabble in it? Guilty.
Three other points from the sermon have been running through my spirit this week.
- Once we are clothed in Christ, WE ARE ALL THE SAME. His grace is that big. Past doesn't matter. Previous life makes no difference. WE ARE THE SAME. One is no greater than the other. One is no worse than the other. It doesn't matter what you did or where you came from.
- We are loved with the same love as the "unlovable". Christ loves the outcasts, the broken, and the ones that have yet to surrender to him. He loves those of us that call him savior. He loves those that "move mountains" and those that have quiet faith. HE LOVES US. HE LOVES US WITH THE SAME LOVE.
- "Gentleness is not weakness, but bridled power!" I loved that statement when Jason made it. It made me think about my need to be gentle with my children and those around me. That is something that I've been actively working on and the way he worded that statement really helped encourage me to continuously seek that gentleness. IT doesn't make me weak, it makes me IN CONTROL! I also thought about the men in our lives. Gentleness isn't necessarily their strong points because they (and society) see it as weakness. I love my husband's gentle personality because it makes him an excellent husband and father. I know he often hides that side of him because he feels it is a weakness, but I'm so thrilled when she shows it. I wish all of our men could always see that gentleness is NOT a weakness....it instead creates bonds and build bridges!