Monday, February 28, 2011

Kickin' It Into Gear

So today started my six week Memorial CrossFit Challenge.  I mentioned last fall that I joined a boot camp not because I like exercise or mornings but because I'm bound and determined to be the fittest triplet momma in town, even if it kills me.  Two weeks ago I hit my weight watchers goal weight (woohoo!) but it's still 6 pounds more than I weighed on my wedding day, and my 5 year anniversary is a mere TWO months away.  Enter the challenge.  I can't get these last darn pounds off so I'm doing our boot camp spring challenge which involves eating on The Zone diet (this thing is so darn complicated I'm spending way too much time trying to figure out if I'm eating the right "blocks"), upping my 5 am work outs to three mornings plus two additional days of some sort of work out.  Ugh.  By howdy I'd better have a killer swimsuit body by summer (I say this tongue in cheek because I have NEVER had a killer swimsuit body even in my prime - I'm just not that fabulously toned girl). 

Hard Part 1:  Being weighed, measured AND photographed (sports bra & work out pants only - Ana is the first person to see my stomach besides Bray since the babies) this morning.
Hard Part 2:  Trying to figure out what the heck I'm supposed to eat today.
Hard Part 3:  Re-disciplining myself with this goal in mind without becoming obsessive.  

Easy Part 1:  Knowing that the gorgeous very fitted satin white cocktail dress I just purchased for our anniversary trip to New Orleans in May is going to look beautiful.
Easy Part 2:  Knowing that I am doing everything within my power to make this earthly temple healthy.
Easy Part 3:  Giving my kids a momma who can keep up with them and my husband a wife he will be proud to have on his arm. 

This is so hard for me.  Let me tell you - food is probably my favorite vice (it's a close call between that and clothes).  But I know my family history, and I know that if I'm not in great shape now, it's only going to get harder and my health will suffer as I age.  And there are some concessions I won't make just so I can stay sane on this path.  As a silly example, I drink a glass of wine after the kids go to bed.  Apparently The Zone frowns upon that.  I don't care.  I've earned it and I'm not giving it up.  And cheese. I refuse to eat non fat cheese.  It tastes like crap.  So I will concede to reduced fat cheese and I won't eat it on everything, but I will have cheese.  You do what fits for you.  And this is what I'm doing to make myself a better stronger person and a fit and fabulous wife and mother. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I have a headache.  In fact, I've had a headache all week.  Frozen by indecision over a situation I have no control, I've just become frozen altogether.  I'm not being a great mom.  I'm not being a great wife.  I'm not being a great friend.  And I'm certainly not being a great employee this week. 

So I sit here.  Frozen.  With a headache. 

I thaw a little in my sleep, but then the situation slams me in the face once I start my commute, and in to frozen mode I go again.  Have you experienced this?  You let ONE thing throw you off your whole game?  It's just one aspect of your life but it invades every part of it like giant cow parsley.  (Seriously - I looked up invasive species, and this is an invasive species in North America according to the all knowing Wikipedia - the heracleum mantegazzianum commonly known as giant cow parsley or giant hogweed.)  How cool is it that I'm able to work in giant cow parsley to a blog about headaches and indecision - I love the internet. I sit.  Confessing to the computer screen in hopes it will knock me out of my frozen tundra and into action!  What can I do today that will help? 
1.  Stop obsessively thinking about the thing over which I have no control (yes, I know, easier said than done). 
2.  Work.  If you actually throw yourself into your work, then it might just be the thing you start thinking about.
3.  Love.  I read a great devotional this morning about being a wife and so I sent it to my husband to ask him how I could better serve him. 
4.   Play.  We're going to the farm with the kids this weekend.  If I just run around like a _________(insert alternative word for banshee here, I still haven't come up with a good alternative), then being active and laughing hysterically at my truly funny kiddos is way better than Tylenol for my headaches. 

I love my life.  God has blessed me in ways that I can't wrap my head around.  What good am I to Him or to anyone else in my life if I just sit here frozen? 

Ecclesiastes 8 - So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.
Nehemiah 8 and Habakkuk 3 - The joy of the Lord is my strength!
Isaiah 55 - You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011


I was always warned, "don't pray for patience, the Lord just might give it to you."  Well, this morning I prayed for wisdom.  Careful what you wish for........

While praying, I surfed through Bible Gateway, one of my favorite websites, to find a verse to use in my prayer.  And among the MANY discussions throughout the Bible on wisdom, I found such an interesting interchange.  It's the dream conversation between the Lord and King Solomon.  It was actually Solomon I was after when I went to the Word this morning, thinking the wisest man that ever lived might have a few words of "wisdom" from someone who has been there and done that in the asking for wisdom category.  The long and the short of this interchange found in both I Kings 3 and in II Chronicles 1 is this:

The LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart....Now, LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.”

Then as you read you'll see that the very next thing that happened after he rose up and thanked the Lord was that he was confronted with a challenging situation where he imparted great wisdom.  And the next chapter tells us that "God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore....He was wiser than anyone else."

WOW!  Talk about getting some wisdom.  But I wonder if Solomon, on the day of the first test of his wisdom (read on I Kings 3 if you haven't heard this saga) thought "I sure hope this is right because otherwise I'm going to be cutting a perfectly good baby in half........" or if he just knew.  As someone who is NOT the wisest person to have ever walked the Earth, I would have been a little nervous.  The reason I wonder this is because after asking for said wisdom, I was given some.  I wrote earlier about how I have a big decision facing me.  As the days have worn on, one choice slowly began to outweigh the other one until by this morning it was nearly a foregone conclusion.  Still a fear inducing choice, but one that I would make.  But I did feel a bit of a sting in my spirit yesterday when a friend of mine said, "well, I know you will pray about it and you'll make the right decision."  Because certainly I HAD prayed about it but I wasn't currently praying about it any longer (foregone conclusion and what not).  You don't need Solomon to tell you that's foolish.  Hence my morning prayer for wisdom.  And then I went to a meeting.  And then all my foregone conclusions flew out the window.  Everything was dumped back on its head and I had no clue what to do. 

I haven't written a lot about my history or childhood but sufficed to say I crave stability and certainty.  Unknowns and confusion scare the pee out of me.  And I was back in the middle of unknowns and confusion.  So this afternoon I took to Bible Gateway again in search of wisdom.  What did the New Testament offer on the subject?  And this is what I found (ironically I'm in a study on James this spring but missed the night on this set of verses):

James 1 - If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

Seriously?  NOT DOUBT???  Or I'm unstable?  Well crap.  Excuse my language.  But that is what I thought.  Am I not supposed to doubt that God is giving me wisdom or not doubt the actual wisdom given?  Does that make sense?  Because I have no doubt that God is giving me wisdom, but now that I have some, I'm not quite sure what to make of it.  And does the fact that I'm completely unsettled by what I heard this morning mean that I just need to leave my comfort zone for this next chapter, or does it mean that wisdom is saying that it is the wrong choice after all and I should back up while I can? I get that I prayed for wisdom and got kicked in the stomach, a wake up call I'm sure I needed, I'm just not sure yet what that kick means. 

So in the middle of this whirlwind spinning through my head, and I'm not subjecting you to the half of it, I went to my hotmail account.  Yes, not exactly where Solomon was running for wisdom, but I figured it would at least be a nice break.  And what was sitting there?  You'll never guess, so I'll just tell you.  The daily devotional I get from Lysa TerKeurst.  They so frequently knock my socks off that I have a handful of them I keep in my inbox just because they are SO relevant and powerful in my life these days, God is definitely using them and half the time it's like she's in my head with my issue of the day.  Today she shared one verse because she said (sorry for the rough paraphrase) sometimes all you need is one verse to speak to you and you don't need to read a whole chapter.  And here's the verse (sit down, you won't believe this):

Proverbs 2 - My son if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding… Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.

Isn't that easier on the soul than ole James?  I mean James has a word for the people, but sometimes he is hard on you.  And in the midst of my confusion, I needed a balm.  And this was a balm.  Call out for the insight and then you will understand and that will be good for your soul and it will protect you.  The Message translates a portion of this text to say, "Good Sense will scout ahead for danger, Insight will keep an eye out for you.  They'll keep you from making wrong turns, or following the bad directions..."

So this is what I learned today:  steel yourself before asking for wisdom because you'll get it, and know that God's wisdom and guidance will protect you from taking the wrong path if only you'll let it.  Now I'm off to do some praying......

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mommies Camp Out

Well, that title should really say mommies AND daddies camp out.  Let me give you the punch line and then work backwards - "They Got In!"  That's right, at 16 months old, I've been a little nerve ball about getting my babies into an amazing school next fall for two mornings a week (their starter program).  I'd interviewed and researched schools in the area - traditional, Montessori, you name it, trying to find the program I thought would fit them best.  And I just couldn't find one.  Everyone told me at this age it doesn't matter, that the program is just for socialization, but I couldn't get on board.  I think that's a lost opportunity.  If I have bright children (which as you know from previous posts, my children are geniuses  ), why not capitalize on this time for them to learn new and interesting things.  Well I fell in love at Memorial Drive UMC's open house.  It seemed like the perfect fusion of a program - structure so they would get used to having that in a school environment coupled with the opportunity to capitalize on their own intellectual strengths.  The teachers were great, the program certified and the environment just happened to be the church where Bray and I were married.

Apparently this perfect fusion of a program is not unnoticed in our area of town.  They even used the term "the Harvard" of Memorial preschools!  So apparently, unless you are already in school there or the sibling of a student, parents CAMP OUT to get their kids in to the program.  When I called yesterday, sibling registration was so overwhelming this year that they only had TWO spots left in our age group.  I was disappointed until the registrar told me to be FIRST in line and I still might be able to get all three admitted.  So Bray and I had a conversation about whether midnight or 2 am was more appropriate (they hand out numbers at 7 am based on first come first serve and register at 9 am).  Bray magnanimously offered to do the midnight to 4:30 am shift and my mom offered to spend the night so I could relieve him before 5.  Armed with our School Camp Out Plan, we drove up to the school/church about 8:30 pm so I could show him where he needed to be and where to tape the sign in sheet when much to my incredulity and DISMAY there were two people in their camp out chairs plopped in front of the door.  Seriously?  At 8:30 pm????

So I rushed home, got ready & dashed back up to the church (the plan was now Gindi 9 pm to 12, Bray 12 am to 4:30 and then Gindi back on while Bray got the kids up and fed - work be darned).  Luckily, the two people were a couple and were camped out for the infant program which meant........drum roll please.....I was first in line for MDO 2 (my kids program)!!! TaDa!  FIVE MINUTES later, a woman came and got in line behind me for the MDO 2 program, I won it by FIVE MINUTES!  Shortly after visiting with the campees, I retired to my car until Bray rescued me where he then proceeded to sleep out in the parking lot until I rescued him by which time I could no longer sleep (meaning I got about 3 1/2 hrs of sleep).  Would I get in?  Would they wait list one kid who would just totally miss out on school next year (I exaggerate I know - but I'm slightly inclined that way....)?  NO.  After handing out numbers at 7 am the registrar went back to see who would get in & upon her return announced we were IN - ALL THREE!!!  Insert Happy (albeit tired) Dance Here. 

There were a million ways God worked to get the kids into this program where I feel so strongly they are supposed to be, but here are the highlights:  I looked into the program four days before open house (having no idea about the open house or the school or the camp out) and was told about the open house when I emailed, at the open house I fell in love with the school and felt sure this was where God wanted us, at the open house I learned there was a "we really don't recommend you camping out" policy which meant every Type A parent in the room would be camping out (news to me), I met a fellow triplet mom there that had helpful guidance, I had every sweet prayer friend praying that things fell into place, I got some inside intel, Bray and I just HAPPENED to go look at the school camp out site at the exact time we needed to so that we would beat the other camper by FIVE minutes, and I could go on and on.  I don't have concert tickets, nor the latest flat screen t.v., but boy do I have peace of mind about the fall. 

Do they let you camp out to get your kids into the actual Harvard?  And if so, will someone tell me when to start standing in line? 

Jeremiah 29 - For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
Psalm 26 - For I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.
Isaiah 25 - LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.

Sit Down or Get Down

So apparently you're not supposed to say "no" to toddlers.  Did the person who invented this rule ever HAVE toddlers?  In an effort to at least get better about saying no, because I do find it flying out of my mouth on a fairly regular basis, we have implemented two critical new rules at our house:

1.  Sit Down or Get Down:  This rule is in response to the fact that all three children can now climb on anything - the big leather chair, the sofa, the wicker chairs, the outdoor furniture, you name it, they can climb on it and I can't find anything that will stop it absent removing every stick of furniture from my house.  Therefore, we have implemented "sit down or get down" because not only do they climb on furniture but then they proceed to stand up and dance about.  Three 16 month olds dancing in one chair together makes for certain disaster.  Heck, it can be a disaster even with one - e.g., the eldest fell head first out of Bray's TV chair Saturday because while I was keeping the other two out of some dangerous activity like eating the diaper pail down he tumbled.  I was HORRIFIED.  He cried but otherwise seems in tact.  So they all now know that if they don't sit down when we say it, one of us goes to pull them off the item of furniture immediately.

2.  Read It, Don't Eat It:  This rule, as you might imagine, is a result of the fact that not only do my children love READING their books but they also have grown fond of INGESTING THEM!  We have TONS of books.  Tons.  The kids love to read.  They will read inside of their book bin (yes, that's right, they climb in it to sit among the books), in the play room, in their high chairs, but most enjoyably in your lap.  However, since they're all cutting one year molars, they also eat these books.  Our books are a disaster.  I don't know how any mothers of multiples sell their books in such great shape.  I have gone through rolls of packing tape trying to salvage dozens of books due to ripping or eating (note, these are BOARD books).  I refuse to put the books away because I love that they read but I also would rather not find Moo, Baa, La La La  in tomorrow's diaper.  Hence mother's gentle remonstration to "read it, don't eat it" every time a book finds a way into their mouths. 

I would not yet characterize my success as even modest at this point.  But I'm hopeful.  I offer these rules as hope for any of you trying to reduce the use of "no" but I can't promise it will work........

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fearful or Scared?

You may look at those two words and say there's no difference between them.  But this week I've realized there is.  I may have to make a big decision in a couple of weeks.  One that is big for me personally and for my family.  Probably the biggest decision I've had to make in years. 

When I was confronted yesterday with the reality this decision could be imminent I immediately jumped to a place of fear.  I was full of fear in analyzing the decision...."fearful."  If I said yes, I was fearful of what might go wrong and of change and of the implications if I'd misunderstood God and taken my life off of His course for it.  If I said no, I was fearful of the current situation, people involved, their role in my success or failure, and missed opportunity.  I was weighing the pros and cons of my decision out of fear.  That is not from God - let me repeat this carefully in case you find yourself in this situation, fear is NOT from our Faithful Father.  FEAR is from the enemy. 
(I John 4 - God is love....There is no fear in love. 
John 14 - Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.)

As I talked through the decision with my husband last night I said out loud, for myself and to make sure that the devil was on notice, "I will NOT make this decision out of fear!"  Do not let fear of what might happen if you go, or fear of what could happen if you stay, push you to make a decision that is not led by the Lord but out of our own human frailty. 

That does not mean you aren't allowed to be a little "scared."  Doing something new IS scary.  You're allowed to feel a little dizzy or nauseous over the unknown.  Don't avoid the unknown because you are FEARFUL, but if you make a decision that takes you into a new and unexpected adventure, then God gets that your nerves may be a little raw at the outset.  Even though you're jumping out of a plane with God as your parachute, those first hundred feet are jaw dropping and stomach plummeting.  That's humanity.  God created us so He gets us. 

Whatever my decision is, I'm going to let God have the final word.  I'll do some praying, some searching His word, some seeking Godly counsel, some long talks with my husband, and I'll bind the fear up and let God's voice fill the space where the fear invaded.  He is SO big, so no matter what size your fear is, He can fill the space it leaves.  Let Him.

Psalm 56 - When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid.

Isaiah 43 - Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life.  Do not be afraid, for I am with you.

Daniel 10 - He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling. Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them...." “Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,” he said. “Peace! Be strong now; be strong.” When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.”

Psalm 118 and Hebrews 13 - When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD; he brought me into a spacious place.  The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Oops, I hit it again.......

How do you moms with toddlers keep from losing your mind?  All of my children are currently in possession of bumps, bruises and cuts, and this doesn't show signs of stopping. 

They are precious but also audacious.  Holy Moley!  The little lady is the worst!  A daredevil at heart she can climb, jump, rock and run better than most high school athletes.  She loves to flip and spin and dance and jump, and she's even perfected a few hysterical new moves:  Technique 1 - imagine a 32 inch lifelike doll bouncing and swaying w/one hand waving in the air, fingers spread as if she's rapping "Holla!"; Technique 2 - imagine a 32 inch lifelike doll taking a short stop crouching position in between her sprints around the house, as if to say, "think you can catch me?"; Technique 3 - imagine a 32 inch lifelike doll crooking her pointer finger and bouncing it up and down while grinning a face splitting grin.  These particular moves are not dangerous, but every other single move she has IS! 

And the eldest engineer, supposedly the thinking man, is nuts too.  He can climb up onto ANYTHING no matter what we do to blockade it and then he leans off the side upside down.  The only reason he hasn't landed head first is because we're there to catch him and tell him no.  He certainly is more thoughtful than the others, but that has not translated into less bumps and bruises.  Oh, and he's seriously mastered a slide.  I realize you're supposed to redirect and not say no, but with these kids, no just flies out of our mouths. 

Not to be left out, our chunky baby of the bunch laughs with each outlandish brutish move.  Standing fully upright on the toddler rocker and laughing like he was on drugs.  Running around outside slamming his head into the swing and pushing the others around in the choo choo wagon (until it goes 10 feet and slams into the wall) and laughing so hard he sometimes loses his balance.  The child is bruised from butt to shin.  And this is with most of their time spent in our completely foam tile padded den!

Rarely do any of these near brushes with death cause alarm or tears.  If anything, they are the cause of great mirth.  The fact that there is no understanding of the "effect" part of "cause and effect" is extremely distressing to me and I understand it will stay this way for some number of years.  I have to say it because, as you know, there really is no other appropriate reaction -"seriously?"


This past week, I spent an enjoyable evening shopping with a 16 year old girl that is dear to me.  We were trying to find her the perfect formal and covered quite a lot of ground at the Houston Galleria.  Of course, there was lots of teenage conversation to be had (a glimpse of what I have to come) - from the pressures of school, to what career to choose at college, to the all important one: BOYS! 

This particular young woman is far more confident that your average 16 year old.  And she certainly is more confident that I ever was at that age (or at 20 for that matter).  But as talk circled back to boys once again and she bemoaned her single status, she uttered a few words that struck me: "I want to be desired."  I had been sharing that I didn't have boyfriends in high school and college and that this is a terrible time to get into a serious relationship and all the other platitudes that adults tell teenagers when she uttered those words:  "I want to be desired." 

It shocked me.  So adult.  So naked in its emotion.  Yet so basic to our human nature.  She didn't mean it in a sexual or inappropriate way - she meant it as the cry of her heart and the cry of women around the world, "Please someone, want me.  Love me.  Value me."  You could have this exact conversation with a 9 year old or a 90 year old. 

We want to be wanted from the time we are born.  Children long to find love and affection from their parents and family.  Then you enter puberty and realize you want it from the opposite sex.  And you spend years, maybe decades, chasing it.  You want to be wanted.  Heck, I've stayed in relationships just because I was wanted.  There were years it didn't really matter what I wanted or what God wanted for me - I just wanted someone to want me. 

And I know if you're in the middle of this, there's no way this is going to sound like anything but a platitude, but you ARE wanted.  God loves you.  God values you.  God thinks you are beautiful and talented.  I realize that it is hard that it doesn't "feel" concrete.  I had a friend going through a rough patch two weeks ago tell me, "I really wish God had skin right now."  There is something, created by our Creator, that makes us need that human interaction and affirmation.  But if you are in between that, or if you have never had that, I do hope that His promises give you reassurance and comfort and love.  You are desired. 

Psalm 103
Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s....The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him...But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children—  with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.

I John 4
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us....God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Prayer Priorities?

Have you ever thought about your prayer priorities?  What gets feverishly prayed over and what gets left behind for occasional lip service?

I have been considering this a lot lately as I have just generally been neglectful in praying.  The really top line items will get hit fairly regularly but everything else pretty much gets lost.  I realize that I'm super busy just like everyone else in America and it's easy to fall asleep when you've been up with cranky kids the night before, but what have we let turn to crumbs on the floor instead of our main course? 

For me, it's marriage.  Now that I have children, they definitely get prayed for every day.  I have to admit I'm not as diligent as my husband on a daily basis from a time perspective, but I definitely pray for them each day.  For their health, for their future, for their development, for their heart and soul, and every single day I thank God for giving them to us.  I truly do not believe a day has passed in 16 months where I am not completely speechless at these amazing blessings running through my house.  They are perfect, even when they're not. 

But that re-prioritization of prayers for my children, coupled with intense sleep deprivation and times of distant fellowship with God, has led to my marriage getting the prayer equivalent of crumbs on the floor instead of prime rib on the china. 

What is particularly astonishing, and saddening, about this fact is that my parents got divorced.  I waited a long time to get married because I would rather have stayed single than gone through a divorce or had my children experience their parents splitting up.  And in the first years of my marriage not only was I praying constantly about my marriage but I was reading every "how to have a good marriage" book out there and even leading marriage bible studies!!!!  I was serious about making sure I didn't fall into the trap of letting my marriage play second fiddle to anything.  Amazing what having triplets will do to your perspective.  And in the first year of having kids I am embarrassed to say that I never thought, "Gosh, maybe we're having these fights because I'm not praying about our marriage or trying to seek God's direction."  Instead, I just said, "we had triplets, this is what happens."  What an opportunity missed!

Well I am determined to make a change.  This May is my fifth wedding anniversary.  I am madly in love with my husband and I am determined to make sure that not only does he know it but that God does too.  That God is super clear on the fact that I am devoted and dedicated to this man and this marriage, and I will daily seek His guidance on what I should do to become a better wife and have a stronger marriage.  I will continue to pray for my children.  And I certainly hope I will add in prayers for my extended family and friends who bring their prayer requests to me with trust.  But I will no longer let my marriage be the crumbs on the floor.  They will be the prime rib on the china on a candlelit table with a tablecloth and steamed asparagus and chocolate cake.

What are your prayer priorities?  Is it time to make a change?

Reproof v. Judgment

I think Christians have gotten away from the reproof for fear it is judgment.  Don't get me wrong, judging is something I get particularly worked up about.  It's what drove my husband away from the organized church because people loudly made judgments about who was really a Christian based upon how frequently they came through the church doors in any given month or whether they ascribed to their theories on drinking or movies or the topic du jour.  The Bible tells us in no uncertain terms not to judge: Matthew 7, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."

We once heard a pastor's sermon called, "Yank the Plank" about exactly that - we shouldn't be plucking a splinter out of our neighbor's eye when we have a plank sticking out of our own.  And those who drive folks away from Christ because of judgments they pass down from their soapbox, well, the Bible has no shortage of words about that:  Matthew 18, “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!"
But simultaneously, and I do not believe that this is at all contradictory, the Bible calls us to hold our fellow brothers and sisters accountable.  Jesus, in that same passage in Matthew 18, goes on to say, “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over...Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

I have a confession to make - I go to Weight Watchers.  I have been a member on and off since 2005.  My parents have a weight problem, so I am very mindful when I put on 10 or 20 pounds in a given year.  It absolutely has to come off or I'll never get it off and then I won't be able to keep up with my very young and very active children.  But one of the things that makes Weight Watchers work for me is accountability.  Knowing that every Thursday there will be someone there to watch me stand on a scale and she will write down the numbers in a book and tell me whether I gained or lost a pound keeps me tremendously incentivized.  I really don't want to look someone in the face when they say, "uh-oh, you've gained 2 pounds."  Now they don't do that in judgment.  But they know that if I am there trying to be healthy, then they are there to remind me I'm headed in the wrong direction.  And if I keep headed down that direction, I will never achieve my goal.  Having that person tell me, "hey, wrong direction," or "congratulations, right direction," helps me stay on the path to a healthy weight. 

I believe strongly that our Christian friends are there to do the same thing.  The Bible is full of passages supporting this accountability principle.  First, if you are a believer and do not have a good friend who is a strong believer, FIND ONE.  I can not tell you how critical that is to your success on the path Christ has set before us.  This has nothing to do with being in 10 bible studies or being in church every time it's open - that's judgment.  This has to do with you needing an accountability partner (sorry if that's an overused church-y term).  Second, if you are a believer and see a fellow Christian headed down a path that is filled with Biblical warning signs, SPEAK UP.  Do not do it in judgment, do it in love.  But let them know someone saw them put that pound on this week, and catch them before they're 20 pounds down the path.  Third, if you are a Christian, then give a close friend or friends whose Godly wisdom you trust the permission to SOUND THE ALARM.  Because of this whole concern over "judgment," some people worry they will lose a friendship if they give you counsel to back up and go the other way.  I was reminded of this once again recently when I not only needed the freedom to say, "watch out!," but I needed someone to tell me, "you've put on a couple of pounds!" 

Always keep in mind though that we must speak from love and from a leading of the Spirit and out of no other motivation:  Philippians 2, "Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." 

God calls us to be His audible voice here on Earth.  Be willing to speak when called, or to listen when spoken to, depending on the season in your life.  No doubt, we will be on each end of the spectrum at some point in our journey. 

Proverbs 27 - As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

II Timothy 4 and 2 (respectively) - Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.  Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth...

James 5 - Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Galatians 6 - Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.  Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I'm an attorney, so I've gotten my fair share of verdicts.  Honestly, they're generally good verdicts.  If I don't think I can get a good verdict, then the case generally settles. 

But recently I've been thinking about life verdicts.  Verdicts you have no control over.  Some good, some bad, some expected, some complete surprises.  I've had friends recently confronting serious and unexpected verdicts with a faith and grace that astonishes me. 

I've had my own tough verdicts personally:  "Dad's leaving," "Grandaddy has brain cancer," "You may not be able to have children."  But you process verdicts differently when they are verdicts handed down about your children.  Any mothers out there know that.  "He's so advanced - he shouldn't even know that at this age."  "They are gorgeous!"  "Isn't he funny?"  You puff your chest out with pride as if it was you who designed and formed them instead of the Creator!  But then you get other verdicts that punch you in the gut in a way you've never experienced.  I had several of these in the NICU.  I know other triplet mommas that have received far more challenging and trying verdicts that we ever did, but still, we struggled with the string of verdicts we received over that month.  God was faithful through it all and our kids are wonderful and beautiful and healthy. 

Recently, we had a 15 month check up.  And we got some more verdicts.  Not great verdicts.  None of them life threatening, thank the Lord, by any means.  But they weren't positive either.  So we're addressing those.  Praying for peace.  Seeking God's guidance and wisdom for the doctors.  Giving extra kisses every night at bedtime because we know friends that have struggled with far harder verdicts and we are so blessed.  So blessed. 

Regardless of whether you are getting good or bad verdicts right now, have faith that it's in His hands.  As I posted earlier, we couldn't possibly understand His plan in our finite minds, but we know He wins the trial.  And these intermediate verdicts are just that - intermediate.  The final verdict is peace and rest and everlasting life with our Heavenly Father where there is no suffering and no disappointing verdicts.