Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lent

Tomorrow begins the season of Lent--the 40 days (except for Sundays) preceding Easter Sunday. As we speak, Mark is at the church, finishing up on his preparations for the Lent service he has planned for tomorrow morning at 7am and then to be repeated at 12 noon. I'm looking forward to attending the service at noon. I'd love to be there at 7am--what better way to start the day--but to get me AND the kids ready to be gone by about 6:45 am would more than likely result in two, if not three, tired, grumpy folks. Not a good way to start the day.

I've spent some time giving some thought and prayer to my Lent season. Wikidpedia describes Lent as the "forty-day-long liturgical season of fasting and prayer before Easter. The forty days represent the time Jesus spent in the desert, where according to the Bible he endured temptation by Satan. The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer...for...Easter."

My plan for fasting and prayer includes this:

  • to support Mark's efforts of no sweets or cokes by abiding by the same fast;

  • to fast from any extraneous email and internet time, which means if it doesn't involve work or paying bills, it's off limits (except for 5 minutes of personal email time I'm going to allow myself each day--I don't want to completely cut off communication with those friends or family with whom email is the only way we communicate)

  • to spend that extra time that I'm not wasting (checking my email for the 57th time a day or surfing the 'net) prayerfully reading the book "Freedom of Simplicity" by Richard J. Foster. It's subtitle is "Finding Harmony in a Complex World." Sounds appealing, does it not? This book has been on my table for several months, and it's just never made it to the top of my reading stack. If I finish this one before the 40 days is over, I'll carry on with his book entitled "Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home."

The summary on the back of "Freedom of Simplicity says this:

"Simplicity is not merely a matter of having less stress and more leisure. It is rather an essential spiritual discipline that we must practice for the health of the soul."

I'm looking forward to this time of Lent. I know God is in the midst of these commitments and fastings, and I anxiously await all He has to show me during this time. I'll be back at Easter to share with you how things went.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

This 'N That

I have several thoughts floating around in my head right now, so I'm just going to do a random post about all of them!

Last week, I was able to surprise my sweet husband with an overnight get-away for a combined birthday/Valentine's Day gift. We rarely get an overnight trip by ourselves, so this was such a treat!

We attended a Valentine's/Marriage Retreat in Grapevine at the Embassy Suites, and it was such a blessing. The hosts for the retreat are some of my very favorite people in the whole wide world, so just seeing them would have been worth the trip. But there were some great presenters that reminded us of all the important things we need to be reminded of periodically in order to keep our marriages fine tuned (more on that later).

Part of the retreat was a Valentine Banquet Friday night, and it was so great. We got to dress up, which was really fun. That sounds crazy, but to dress up made it feel more special than "just" a date. And special it was. Everything was decorated so romantically, the meal was fabulous, and they sent us up to our rooms once everything was finished with cheesecake for dessert that was absolutely to die for!

Our room was so nice with fun, romantic touches here and there--rose petals sprinkled all over our bed along with a couple's devotional; a bottle of sparkling apple juice and two glasses; fun Valentine's confetti sprinkled on the table. It was just sweet.

Everything about it was fun, romantic, and simply a blessing. And being there with my best friend in the whole wide world...it was just the best.

The speaker we heard after our dinner Friday night reminded us that the most important witness we have after our personal relationship with Christ is our marriage relationship. People do not listen to the words we say; they watch what we do--how we treat our spouses, how we treat our children. That was such a good reminder and oh so true. I've always felt that, being the pastor and his wife, that was especially true, but I think it's applicable for everyone. If we call ourselves Christians, but are always bad-mouthing our spouses to others or snipping at and undermining each other everytime we turn around, we are contradicting ourselves and our witness is greatly devalued.

If you haven't invested any time in your marriage lately, I would encourage you to do so. Mark and I have a great marriage, but there's always room for improvement, and we want to be very intentional about planning more times together for just the two of us. And is there a better gift to give to your children than for you and your husband to have a happy, healthy, secure marriage? I don't think so.


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I've had some really sweet moments with my kids lately. I've been reminded that they are growing up so fast, which makes me sad on one hand. But on the other, it's such a blessing to watch them grow up into "real" little people!

A couple of different times lately, Benjamin has done something or said something that was very protective of me. It was just so sweet to me and made my heart almost burst to think of my little boy wanting to protect his Mommy!



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This morning, the weather was just beautiful outside, so I decided we needed to put up the kids' Pooh tent and have school outside. While the kids were playing in the front yard, I set everything all up in the backyard--the tent, a "special" snack for the kids, and then all our books. Then I went to the front yard and told them it was time for school. When I led them to the backyard (instead of to the table, as usual) and showed them where we were doing school, Hannah said, "Mommy! You're incredible!" I'll be able to go a couple of weeks on that sweet compliment!