The Necessity Of Being Still

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

"Be still, or your piggie-tails will be crooked!"
"I can't!  I just can't be still!"

This is an argument that Ladybug and I have at least once a week, if not more.  She loves to wear her hair in pig-tails, but just as much hates having to be still for the process.  I can't even imagine what we would have to endure if I could actually braid hair.  Ladybug is an active four-and-a-half-year-old, and some part of her body is moving from the time she truly wakes up in the morning, until some point after we've tucked her in bed for the night.  She lives by this constant motion, and I believe she thinks she thrives by it.  To be still means to be missing out on something or not doing something that she is certain that she needs to do, even if it's just waving her arms as she sings a song she's making up in her head as she goes.

Isn't that us?  Isn't that our lives as adults in this fast-paced world, but with God telling us,
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!” - Psalms 46:10
Like Ladybug tells me that she just can't be still, we tell God that, don't we?  "I just can't stop and take the time to spend in prayer and reading your Word today, God.  I've got to get the kid to school, pick up the dry-cleaning, get groceries, pick the kid back up from school, take her to after school activities." I know I caught myself doing just in the last week.  I just kept getting distracted and never sat still long enough really dive into my Bible as I know that I need and crave to do.

The second part of that conversation that Ladybug and I have is this, "Actually you CAN be still, you just don't want to.  Telling me that you can't is a lie.  You can make yourself be still.  I'm not asking you to stay still forever, just for a little while."

It's a lie when we tell ourselves, anyone else, and especially God that we don't have time for Him.  We don't have time to read our Bibles.  We don't have time to pray.  We must MAKE the time.  I mean, how can we not make the time to spend with the God who gifted us with the very breath in our lungs each and every single day?

I happened (not a coincidence, I'm sure) to be reading that passage of Psalms at the same time I was reading in The Gospel of Mark where Jesus calmed the storm (Mark 4:35-41), and it occurred to me that when Jesus yelled, "Peace! Be still!" he wasn't just commanding the wind and the sea.  He was also commanding the disciples, who were scared that they were going to die in the storm.  I can only imagine the chaos going on in that boat, while Jesus was trying to get a little rest.  Surely they should have known that everyone drowning in the sea was not a part of God's overall plan, and that they would be safe, but they didn't.  They were consumed with their own personal needs at that moment, just as we are often consumed by our busyness.

This thought leads me to think of another argument Ladybug and I have been having lately when we tell her to do something, and she gives us the excuse of, "I didn't hear you," when we admonish her for not doing as she was told.  Again, I'll tell her, "If you would be still and quiet, you would be able to listen and hear what I'm telling you to do."

How are we ever to know what God wants us to do if we never be still, if we're never quiet.  After all, like we taught our kids in Sunday school this past week,
"At that moment, the Lord passed by. A great and mighty wind was tearing at the mountains and was shattering cliffs before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper." - 1 Kings 19:11-12
You can't hear a whisper if you won't be still and quiet.  All of the chaos of like will consume you.  I can't hear a whisper if I'm not still and paying attention, I know for a fact.  When Ladybug was little, she spoke so softly and quietly (she's gotten over that now) that we couldn't hear what she had to say unless we deliberately stopped what we were doing and listened to her.  If we didn't, we missed what she was telling us, and she would get upset.  We got even better results when we would take the time to get on her level to hear her.

We're always going to be like the disciples on the boat, sinking in the sea, just barely above water if we don't take the time to be still, stop all the chatter, be quiet, and reach to God in His word and through prayer.  We CAN be still, and we CAN be quiet.  He WILL speak, and we WILL hear Him if we seek Him with eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to understand.  Perhaps, I'll remember these things myself.

Whacking Bunnies

Thursday, June 23, 2016

We are now fully in Summer Vacation Mode.  By that, I mean that at first Ladybug was terribly upset, because she felt it was the end of everything.  To her, it sort of was.  Her social life went from being very active to almost nonexistent.  One night at supper she lamented, "No more choir, no more Bible study, and now no more school!"  Her last day of school I tried to tell her how proud I was that she finished her first year of preschool, and she informed me that it was horrible.  She loved school, her friends, and her teacher and would miss them all terribly.

The first couple of weeks, we kept a busy schedule of playdates and such.  Now...  well with vacations and needing to get ahead at home before VBS next week, that has ground to a halt.   We're still getting out some and doing fun things like going to baseball games and church, but not every day.  Ladybug has taken it all quite well.  She goes to bed around 9:30 each night and sleeps until around 9 each morning.  I politely told her to get dressed this morning, and she announced, "I don't want to wear clothes today!"  I made her get dressed, though I do think her Star Wars short pjs are pretty awesome.

Almost each night after supper, we've decided it's best she change into a swimsuit, because one way or another, she's going to get wet.  She's always either playing in the pool, running through the sprinkler, or just having one of us spray her with a hose.  I'm very glad she starts swim lessons in a couple of weeks, because I think she's becoming a little fish.

Personally, I went through a very horrible, yet funny to other people, experience the other day.  Lucy and Dory are always on the lookout for the elusive Mr. Squirrel in our back yard.  They usually cry until I let them out to chase him.  They never catch him, he can jump up on fences and trees.  So when they made a big deal the other morning, I expected more of the same.  Lo and behold, I looked out the window to find them running laps around my entire back yard, chasing a poor bunny rabbit that couldn't escape.  They caught it.  They never kill anything on purpose.  They just play with them.  Sadly poor Mr. Bunny was horribly injured, but not enough to die.  He just suffered.  I dragged the girls in the house, texted Bart, then proceeded to try and put the poor thing out of its misery.

Let me just say, the BB gun didn't work.  I had to get a shovel and whack it two or three times, all the while trying not to get sick.  Finally it died, and I disposed of it - all while in my pjs, because it was fairly early in the morning.  While this was going on, Ladybug finally woke up.  When I told her what I was doing, she took it quite well, and told me that the good news is that the bunny got to go to Heaven.

That whole morning was wasted, because I was a complete mess.  I have nothing against hunting, I just have never personally wanted to to it, and I wasn't raised in the country or on a farm.  Knowing what needs to be done and doing it are two different things.

I allowed myself to watch a lot of television that day.  I watched the Amazon Prime pilot "Z:  The Beginning Of Everything" about Zelda Fitzgerald.  It's actually pretty good, as is "The Last Tycoon." Bart and I finally started watching "The Man In The High Tower" together this week and are hooked. I have an obsession with alternative histories, so even thought it's very depressing, I'm enjoying it.

Yesterday I started switching the girls to a new dog food for a handful of reasons.  Lucy, always skeptical and thinking someone may try to poison her wisely waited and watched Dory eat her food first before trying it.  You know, in case we were trying to kill them or something.  No, no.  If I'm willing to clean up their accidental bunny massacres, I'm not going to poison them.  After all, we're family.  Gee, that sounds a little mafia-ish, doesn't it?

VBS is next week.  I've already got Ladybug's crew assignment and am waiting on mine.  It's going to be a tiring but fun week.  This is Ladybug's first year of real VBS and not just hanging out in childcare and doing a little of it.  We're both excited.  Or she will be if I can get her out of bed.

Butterflies, Praisers, Six Degrees of Stomach Bug, and Martin Crane

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The nice thing about taking a break from blogging is that eventually you want to to do it again. Then when you do blog again, you have A LOT to cover!  I can't even begin to tell you all the things we have done, because we stay pretty busy.  I will share some of the latest highlights.

The Joyful Noise Praiser
I mentioned last post about how much I'm going to miss our preschool choir, the Praisers, but I have only touched on Ladybug's enjoyment of it.  Let's just say that she's found something she truly loves. Some kids get on stage on freeze up, forgetting to sing.  Not my child, no way.  She sings, LOUDLY and PROUDLY.

Part of me wanted to tell her to tone it down, but I just couldn't, not yet at least.  She's making her joyful noise to the Lord.  As she gets older, I'll try to help her understand the difference between singing loudly and yelling.  I'm sure her friend will appreciate it.

Six Degrees of the Stomach Bug
The weekend of our choir program, it seemed EVERYONE was coming down with the stomach bug. We had had rehearsal Saturday morning, and at least two brothers came down with it AFTER they were at rehearsal.  The oldest of the brothers was next to the brother of one of L's best friends, and L is also friends with HIS little brother.  Saturday I started playing Six Degrees of the Stomach Bug.  It's kind of like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, but with vomiting.  I literally was thinking, "S played with C.  C is E's brother.  E is one of L's best friends, and they always hold hands and sing together."

We sang with diminished numbers on Sunday morning.  After the kids sang, they went to 2x2 at church, where Ladybug took a picture with The Big Guy, her best friend who is a boy (not her boyfriend).  They were, of course, hugging.  It is such a sweet friendship, and I cherish it so much.  That said, The Big Guy's mom texted me that afternoon to say that The Big Guy was throwing up.  I felt like I had the Sword of Damocles over my head, but instead of a sword, it was a barf bag.  Anyway, the kids performed at church that night with even smaller numbers.  With a lot of prayer, none of us caught the bug.  It serves to prove that prayer is more powerful than Kevin Bacon!

Raising Butterflies
The week before Easter I was SICK with a horrible sinus infection.  At some point while I was in and out of consciousness due to Benadryl use, Bart asked me if I thought it'd be okay for him to order a kit to raise butterflies with Ladybug.  So, a few days later when Fed Ex delivered a box that stated "LIVE INSECTS OPEN IMMEDIATELY!"  I didn't and just left it for Bart to open.

What we got were two jars, each with five caterpillars in it with some sort of food stuff for them to eat.  Over the next several days we watched the caterpillars get bigger and bigger, much like The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  We watched as they eventually made their way to the tops of the jars to become cocoons.  Once they were all cocoons, we moved them to a pop-up butterfly cage, hung it in the hall bathroom and waited.  After around another week, one by one, they emerged as butterflies.  Once they all emerged we let them loose in our front yard.  Ladybug and Bart enjoyed the process so much that they decided to look for different caterpillars during a walk this weekend.  When we got home, Bart looked up what they had and found out they were actually web worms.  They're going to keep looking for caterpillars though.

Dads, Donuts, Sooner Softball, Fishing, and Macaroons
Last week Bart went to Ladybug's school for Dad's and Donuts.  I can't even begin to explain to you how much Ladybug looked forward to this.  She's had me at school for all sorts of stuff, but Bart has 'only been there a couple of times.  He took off the entire day, and we went to a U of A softball game that night to actually watch THE SOONERS!  Bart just sat quietly while Ladybug and I yelled Boomer Sooner over and over.  It was a record crowd, because there were far more Sooner fans there than Razorback.

We did sit more with Razorback fans than Sooner. At one point after Ladybug yelled (and we've already established she's loud) a particularly robust, "GO OU!" a man in front of us turned around, looked at Ladybug, and asked, "How old is she?"  I told him she is four, and he said, "I would have had words with her if she was older."  Oh well, the Sooners won, 3-1, so we were happy in the end!

Ladybug has decided that she likes to eat fish, so she has been begging Bart to take her fishing.  They enlisted her best friend, B.E. and her Dad and went fishing Saturday.  They didn't end up catching anything, but the girls had fun (and so did the dads).  Since they didn't catch any fish, we went to eat at Flying Fish with B.E.'s family, then went across the street to Onyx Coffee Lab for macaroons.  It was a pretty great day!

Dory Gale (And Lucy Too)
For Christmas, Bart and I thought we'd be nice and get the puppy girls a new dog bed.  By the puppy girls, we assumed it would be Dory's bed.  She's the only one who ever used the old one.  Lucy always seemed to prefer the couch or our laps to the bed.  The few times she has slept on it, she just put the front half of her body on it.  The old bed has holes in it from where Dory has dug to make it comfortable.  It is sad shape.  Surely she'd love a new one, right?  WRONG! She has curled up in it once, maybe twice in all these months.

Lucy, on the other hand, seems to love the new bed.  I should have realized that she thought it was too small for her.  She always has seemed just a bit claustrophobic (add that to her huge list of phobias).  Thankfully she and Ladybug are getting a lot of use out of it.

Dory though...  Do you remember on Fraiser when Martin Crane only wanted his chair?  Fraiser would buy him the newest, most comfortable looking chair, but it wasn't his nasty, duct-tape covered recliner.  Dory is Martin Crane.

The old bed has been sitting in front our bed since Christmas.  We didn't have the heart to throw it away yet, thank goodness.  While cleaning the bathroom one afternoon, Dory came into the bedroom to be near me, and curled up in her bed.  Then she stayed there.  Realizing that my poor girl had been missing her bed these past four and a half months, I placed it next to the new one in the living room, and I think I heard Etta James singing "At Last" in the background when she saw it.   She has spent more time on that old, holey bed that anywhere else.  The moral of the story is you may be able to teach an older dog new tricks, but don't try to change her bed!

We're expecting a night of severe weather tonight, so I should probably go charge my phone or something.  I know that I should prepare more for it, but I'm an Oklahoma girl.  I don't sweat storms until they're on top of me.  Have a happy week, y'all!

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