A very laid back summer

I admit it. I have been a slacker. Since the second honeymoon/10 year anniversary trip with my hubby to Cancun I have been barely hanging on. We came back and I spoke the following weekend, kids got out of school the next week, the first week out of school there were no programs for the boys so we have been busy keeping two boys from killing themselves. Seriously.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the laid back schedule. My work, which is part-time anyway, slows down quite a bit in the summer. I have been sleeping in and getting lots of rest. I have to say it's pretty nice.

As it is with every summer, once the boys are home I have this overwhelming desire to implement structure. I can teach structure to other parents all day long, but if you come to my house you will see that it is definitely lacking. I have a kid with ADHD who would actually benefit from a more structured environment. I have a four year old who thinks he runs the world, and lets just say, he needs to be shown the benefit of discipline, whether he likes it or not. Mr. Four Year Old likes to think he is running the show, and all he has to do is flash those big blue eyes that have extra long lashes (that only boys who don't NEED long lashes seem to get) and he sticks out that bottom lip and he thinks he has you fooled. Mmmmhmmmm....

Anyway, back to structure. This time, I am determined to do it. I have everything bought (just like I did last year), I have the plan in my head, the clever charts, we even bought star stickers today. So, ask me in a week how that's going. No, seriously. Ask me.

I've done my ordering and I'm thinking through all my chore charts and household rules. How about you?? I love the freedom of summer, but there has to be balance.

And for me, that means I will forever be trying to implement more structure....even if it's only in my head!!! HA!!!!

Is God Good?

This is a post that goes along with my response to the Boston tragedy. Since then, we have seen horrific devastation and loss of life in Moore, OK. Because of this, it still bears questioning. Is God good? To read my post on Boston, click HERE

For me, when personal tragedies have happened in my life, it is during those times that I have wrestled with the goodness of God. What I have been through may not be anything like what you have been through, it doesn't mean we don't experience similar doubt. And the thing is I think doubt is good. I think it's normal. I think it is part of the process of growth. I believe He is good. If you question whether or not God is good, I believe it is a journey many of us have been on, will be on or have travelled through. And it's personal and unique to every individual.

If your heart cries out to know if God is good He will lead you to the "answers" you need. For me, this is often in creation, or reading about creation in the bible. Before we get all bent out of shape on theories of creation vs. evolution, all I am saying is, do you believe something bigger than you had something to do with this earth and why we are on it? You will never know all the answers, even with the best research, statistics, theories....sometimes you just have to go on faith. And what better way to go on faith than to look at the heavens and simply declare his majesty. It gets me. every. time.

 God can handle our questions. He knows when you are doubting him, angry at him and forsaking him. And he can handle it. He loves you. He sent his son to die for you. That is the ultimate peace for me. No matter what we experience here on earth, through my faith in Jesus Christ, I know that this world is temporary. And even though it is sometimes very, very scary and bad things happen, even loss of life, loss of those close to me, I cling to the hope that this life is temporary. And for that I am thankful. I was made for eternity. Not this life. My God is big enough, good enough and well, just plain ENOUGH. It means surrendering control, because we don't have control. It means realizing that life is a gift, it is short, and even my husband and children and any other family ARE NOT MINE. They are gifts from God.

Even with all the pain, doubt, fear, I go to His word and read about how BIG God is. And how he has always been and always will be. And then I rest. And I have peace. Because even if I don't understand everything (and that is part of surrendering to Who God Is) then I humble myself and thank God that I don't have to. And trust that He IS the Great I AM. And He's got it covered. Simple.

Yet we make it so difficult.

I don't say this flippantly. I am not saying I would not grieve or be hurt if something happened to my family. I would be devastated. I still don't understand why bad things happen to good people, but I know that God is good. And no matter what, I am glad that it is in His hands and not mine.  Eventually, even through great grief, I would hope and pray I could come through it trusting Him more by humbling myself and saying "I don't have all the answers, and even though I don't understand this, I am thankful I have someone SO BIG, Ever-present, and Perfect to cast on all my cares". I am never responsible for carrying that burden. Ever. And what would get me through it is that this life is simply a vapor. And some days, I will want my time on earth to literally be like a vapor. Other times, I will want it to last, be never ending, like a flame on a slow burning candle. But unless we have those days, seasons when that we wish we could escape, like a vapor, and vanish completely, we don't really learn to treasure the other seasons.The beautiful, warm, fun-filled, loved, and precious moments that God has allowed us to experience. A wedding, a birth, a love story. A success and even some failures. And let's not forget the miracles. We see so many miracles every day, but we seem to forget them when things aren't going our way.

My, how we would take them for granted. We would never get a taste of heaven. The more pain and loss that I have experienced has allowed me to see, touch and feel heaven so much more than if I had never experienced those things. And it is a hope. It is a peace. It is full of anticipation and the unknown.

He's God. He is good. He has always been. He will always be. He is never changing. And he chose me. Me. All of me, warts and all. And He would do it all over again, if He had to. That's why I keep coming back. Because no matter how long my journey away from God is, it is the simple truth and simple faith that keep me here and coming back for more.

He is forever faithful and I am forever thankful and humbled by that truth.

My Review of Bread and Wine

I am fortunate to be able to review books for booksneeze.com. Free books. What's not to love?

When I saw this book available on the booksneeze website I snatched it as quickly as I could. I had read on blog of someone else talking about it a few weeks ago. So, here we go.

Bread and Wine is written by Shauna Niequist. This is Shauna's third published work. I have not read any of her previous books but I am planning to as soon as I can get my hands on them.

There were so many things in this book that resonated with me. I think if you are a woman, and have gone through any kind of struggle (I mean, who hasn't?), it will resonate with you. It will especially resonate if you have body issues, food issues, and/or fertility issues....I have/had all three. So, I cried when I read the chapter entitled "Hunger", "Enough" and "Meeting Mac".

Along with the short chapters filled with meaningful vignettes that include emotional, painful, joyful and funny moments of Shauna's life,  we get recipes. Lovely, yummy recipes. Another thing I loved were the quotes added at the beginning of each chapter. After I finished reading this book, I wanted a crusty baguette, with some tasty, smooth cheese and a big glass of wine.

This book is full. Full of good food, warm words and meaning. This book makes you want to slow down and enjoy life with friends, with community. It will touch you and resonate with you on some level, even if you haven't gone through what Shauna has gone through. Her writing is easy, but it holds your attention.

I would recommend this book to anyone. I am already thinking about who I want to give copies to. It was great. You need to go out and get a copy.

Disclaimer:BookSneeze provided a complimentary copy of this book for review;opinions expressed are my own