Truly Seeing

The holidays are over and a new year is about to begin. The stress is over, or should be soon.  Relax for a minute with me.  This is merely a collection of photos from the past year with the occasional thought of what I intend to do more of in the coming one.

Friends are where it’s at-

GrayC-Tom

Take time for golf, even if it’s in the median strip.  Drive your favorite car there, just so it looks like you own the joint. (I don’t golf, but there are so many carpe diem lessons here!)

Golfing

There is beauty around you, even if you have to crop the photo or change your angle to see it.  Morning light is always more flattering.

Horses

HankFlowers

Hens

EarlyMornBarryStreamTrainTree

 
Home

PipsOcean

TomSandcastlesHome is not a place; it’s where those you love are.

Enjoy new places, new things, and don’t worry about your clothes.  Some of the best moments of your life happen when you were willing to just do it and be there. The moment will pass far too quickly.

 BrenKnox

Take the photo, even when the camera seems to intrude.  You’ll be glad later.Butterfly2 Babies are beautiful, in whatever form they come.  All the hope and promise – ColtTree

 

Invest heavily, with whatever you have to give. Raelynn

Lifejackets

Look for God’s glory in the smallest things.  Sometimes it takes a camera to truly see what you were looking at.  And too often, even then, it’s only in hindsight you see the blessings of where you’ve been.

 

May today be the beginning of a new life with your eyes attuned to the glories that surround all of us.

OnionCreek

As always, my photos are copyrighted.  Please do not share them without my express permission.

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Christmas, 2014

Successful 1st jump from a C-130!

Successful 1st jump from a C-130!

All in all, it’s been a successful year.  We spent last New Year’s in a communal flop on the couch, sharing a bout with the flu.  Three weeks later, we drove to Missouri for Dave’s graduation from National Guard Basic Training.  I didn’t like that I couldn’t bring him home, but he had to leave immediately for Airborne jump school.  Jon drove to Georgia for that graduation in April, which he said was pretty cool, and they roadtripped home.  Good times.

The next day, we all took off (in one car) for California. First stop was at Bob’s parents’ home, to wish his dad a happy 80th birthday. Bob had flown out alone several weeks before for the actual event, and spent some good time with his parents and sisters and their families at that time. The rest of us had to wait until our Easter trip.  The kids really enjoyed seeing their grandparents again and being in their home.  We weren’t able to stay as long as we wanted; Jon and Bob only had 8 days off work and we had 3337 miles and 2 parties to cover.  My mom and her brother share their birthday, and all my siblings were born the same month.  The goal was to get everybody into her backyard while Mom thought we’d forgotten.  Complete success!

Back row, L-R: Michael, Jon, David; Middle row: Tom, Grammy, Faith, cousin Alondra;; Front: Rachel

RobBarryUJ-me

Uncle John, Rob, me, Barry

We spent a day at San Simeon beach where my kids could experience Pacific waves.  (My kids?  Never been in waves?  Really???)  Jon and Dave are swiftwater rescue swimmers, so they donned their wetsuits and dove in to figure out the currents.  The rest of us played with the waves and built sandcastles, or hiked the hillsides with Uncle Barry. Rachel said the best part was having her two uncles in the same room, so she can now tell them apart!!  It was good to have everybody together.

Wahoo!!

At San Simeon

Jon at play

Jon at play

Jon’s (22) work at Acadian Ambulance allowed him to replace his old Mountaineer with an ’09 Dodge Ram. He achieved his EMT-Basic and now works on a critical care unit.  It means overnight, 12-hour shifts, but he feels it will help him toward his goal of becoming a search & rescue helicopter pilot. He still volunteers at the fire dept, and achieved state recognition of his Firefighter III & IV.

Jon and Dave on the brush truck

Jon and Dave on the brush truck

Dave (20) returned from his winter escapade to a slow start in the season of A/C repair, but it picked up enough that, last month, he replaced the Jeep he’d bought in Cali at Easter with his own ’08 Dodge Ram.  He’s mastering the manual transmission.  He just needed reliability for the monthly National Guard drills, which equate to about 150-ish hours in 2 weeks of hot attics, PT tests and 1200 ft jumps before he gets a day off.  He volunteers with the fire dept when he has time, achieving Firefighter III this summer. He and Jon team lead the sound crew at church.

Faith (18) went to Salem, MA for a summer history vacation and time with the liberal relatives.  She visited  Concord, Lexington, Boston (the participatory Tea Party re-enactment was good!) and NYC, and toured the Empire State Bldg, the Met, Grand Central Station and Central Park, along with the new World Trade Center. Lake Winnipesauckee was her favorite.  She learned a lot about America’s beginnings and modern culture to add to her natural love of ancient world history.

Faith and Stas

Faith and Stas

In the fall, she teamed with a Ukrainian guy in Youth & Government to compete in Model UN. Faith is the only homeschooler (other than Michael) in the 400-student district, so the different perspectives they present as a team is a powerful, unexpected force in the discussions.

Michael at YG

Michael at YG

Michael (16) also competes with Y&G, in Trial Court this year.  His team of all first-timers went undefeated at the district meet, a streak they hope to continue at the state meet in January. He joined Trail Life when it began last January and has already earned several badges. The high point of his year was trekking to the top of Mt. Marcy, CO with his troop. He also began working as a handyman for a family in our church, which allows him to play with the big boys in his free time.

13,000 ft elevation with storm clouds looming

Tom

Tom

Tom (12) also works with Michael on weekends and joined Trail Life on his birthday.  He has earned his first rank and is looking forward to whatever large trip is planned for this summer.   He went for an overnight campout (in the rain) on Mustang Island and another weekend hike at Enchanted Rock.  At our church retreat, he rode the zipline.

Rachel (8) is becoming quite the cook, always at the side of whoever’s in the kitchen, measuring, sifting, stirring or washing.  Her best times are when going out to lunch or on errands with Jon or Dave in a truck.  She was blessed this year when a new family joined our church and brought with them a best friend.  She and Maria are almost inseparable, and have developed a great little group of friends.  Her high point was when Jon and his friend Zach took her and Maria canoeing and spiders appeared in the boat.  I’m sure the boys had fun with two screaming little girls in a canoe!

Rachel, in pink, with her friends

Friends Helen and Maria with Rachel

Bob spent a lot more time with the family this year and also rode the zipline with the boys at the church retreat.  He still works at Vargo and volunteers with the fire dept’s swiftwater rescue team.

Swiftwater rescue recertification

Swiftwater Advanced Recertification

I am studying Naturopathy in preparation for the quickly approaching years when I will no longer be necessary for daily homeschool lessons.  I volunteer with Youth & Government as a counselor at their competitions and have enjoyed the addition to our home of a friend’s toddler several days a week. We haven’t mixed toddlers and school for a few years now; it’s more challenging than I’d remembered.  She brings a bright light to our week.

Faith in class

Faith in class

Merry Christmas to all our friends and family, and best wishes for a healthy, prosperous 2015!   – The Elving Family

Focus and the Peace Pipe

Someone I respect posted a blog today.  I have a lot higher priorities than blogging right now, but I couldn’t NOT respond to what he said here.  So today was an investment.  Even though I’ve never met him, he’s a child of God, and worth every minute of my time. He could be my child.  My other priorities will have to happen later. Mama’s about to have a tellin’ –

I remember my first drug deal.  It was a shady street on the other side of town, probably nice enough in daylight and not much different from the street where I was born, but it wasn’t too friendly from this angle.  I was left outside in a car with a couple of very trashy girls while the guys who’d professed to our fathers they’d take care of us with their lives had disappeared inside – which house, I wasn’t sure.  For a long time.  I finally got out of the smoke-filled car so I could breathe, and went for a walk.  In the days before cell phones, it was sometimes difficult to call Dad for a rescue.  Just as I decided to go knock on a door, the guys came out, laughing and ready to go have a fun time.  All the time I’d spent primping and preening for my date – I now stunk like an ashtray, my head was splitting from toxicities audible and airborne, and now I had to listen to a lame excuse as to why it was ok for me to have been temporarily abandoned for something much more interesting.

It was just this side of the transaction I’d never seen.  My brother had a small nursery in his room upstairs that was the envy of all the neighbor teens.  He had a small income on top of his job.  I helped him, on occasion, to clean the seeds.  After he vacationed in Hawaii, I learned to tell the difference between the acrid smell of the crappy local stuff and the full bodied, richer Kona Gold and Maui Wowie.  I guess I had a nose for nuances even then.  We laughed when somebody sold an oregano joint to a stupid kid who wanted to grow up faster.  We cried a few years later when someone laced a roll for the same, now stupid teen, and he ended up in the mental hospital permanently.  Some of the older kids said he had it coming; he was always an idiot.  I felt badly; he was a really nice kid.

All my friends did it, so it couldn’t have been that bad.  Every so often you heard a story of a bad trip and seeing spiders on all the walls of your home or somesuch.  That was a gauntlet of sanity I never wanted to experience.  I stayed away from it all.  They laughed at me.  It wasn’t until a decade had passed that several of them mentioned I was the only smart one in the group.  I’d drawn my line and never crossed it.

I never wanted to be in a place where I was not firmly in control of my own faculties.

As I got older,  I began learning about herbs in order to heal childhood maladies without going broke at the pharmacy.  Remember, I’d already drawn my line with the drug dealers.  I came across Lobelia, or Indian tobacco.  The kids knew if they got really sick, it wouldn’t be long before I rubbed it on their feet and made them smell like an old Indian chief.  I fear it for all the dire warnings that accompany its description, but I’m drawn to its power and adaptogenic properties.  I still use it when I need it.

But we don’t play with the peace pipe recreationally.

Ps.104:14 says that we have been given “herbs for the service of man.”  The legal status of pot has given it a position – it’s become the logo for rebellious teens all across the country for several generations instead of just another herb for holistic health.

William Dufty, in his book Sugar Blues, compared drugs to alcohol and sugar and concluded with one statement:  “Junkies die of junk.”

We are all dying of our sins – this is the human condition.  If you repeatedly give your body unnecessary substances, physically or spiritually, eventually you’ll be unhealthy. It doesn’t matter whether it’s socially acceptable or not.  Red Bull, fast food, or weed isn’t the substance of the argument.

“If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which [temple] ye are.”  (1 Cor. 3:17)

I didn’t draw my line on smoking, drugs and illegality back in the day because of the moral high ground.  Far from it – I was afraid I’d be the one to die, first time out.  A medicinal herbalist will call for help if someone has a reaction, because he/she has no fear of the light.  Lawbreakers don’t want light shed on their activities, because 9-1-1 responders don’t care about whether what you’re doing should be legal.  You both know it’s not.

A little side note here: my dentist found that I am VERY sensitive to substances.  He remarked that I would’ve been the one in a million to OD on my first try.

But most people never have a problem and eventually dismiss those years as “adolescence”.   My brother went on to teach doctors about drugs and their interactions internationally.  Experts are amazed at his command of the subject.  Others, though, lulled by their successful foray into rebellion with no repercussions, continued to rebel in other areas as well, and stayed wasted.

Wasted lives.

Are Christians perfect?  Hardly.  Many of them think they are because they don’t smoke pot or frequent bars..  But really, we’re all humans, tainted by sin and a propensity to flirt with darkness.  The devil is cunning and will twist God’s goodness to entice us away from righteousness.  Knowing this, do we dare go off our own way -to the other side of the laws He has explicitly given us-  effectively leaving Him in the smoky backseat until we come back with a lame excuse of “it shouldn’t be illegal anyway”?

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31)  I have a hard time envisioning passing a bong around a room full of wasted dudes and sharing Cheetos as a way to bring glory to God.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)

It’s not the herb or a particular thing that’s the problem.  It’s your heart regarding it.

Be careful little eyes what you see
It’s the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings
Be careful little feet where you go
For it’s the little feet behind you that are sure to follow

It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away

It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray 
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It’s a slow fade, it’s a slow fade

–      Casting Crowns, “Slow Fade”

 

For another interesting article on this topic, see here.

 

Chasing Wellness

Swim LessonsHow are you doing on your fitness resolutions? Yeah, right.  If you’re at all like me, nothing was accomplished yesterday.  But today’s a new day. The best part of every morning is the opportunity to start over.  And even if you only put one foot forward today, it’s progress.  We all have to start somewhere.  It’s in the keeping going that success is found.

Nutrition is the first step to achieving overall health, although it is often overlooked.  Just like with a car, junk fuel means junk performance.  A steady diet of Cheetos and Mountain Dew doesn’t translate to having the competitive edge at the next 5K.  Aim for less sugar and junk carbs while pushing more colorful vegetables into your main meals.  That’s it.  No wild diets or crash programs that run you into the ground faster than last year’s Bikini Body program.  Eat Smart, Move More is a good, workable philosophy.

But let’s be realistic. Accept that we will all make regrettable food choices, most likely today. There will be office and tailgate parties where “imitation food product” is the only option.  So have a backup plan for when the judicious chef’s salad can’t fend off the  hot fudge marshmallow banana split chasing it down.  Running all those calories off before bedtime isn’t really feasible.  Smart planning, ahead of time, is the ticket to long-term health.  Plan what you will eat at the next meal – before you’re hungry for it – and put exercise onto the calendar to keep any splurges in check.

KayakingSo many people think exercise must mean running.  It doesn’t.  Physical fitness is a combination of cardiovascular strength, muscular strength, and flexibility.  6-pack abs look amazing, but they won’t help much when trying to keep up with toddlers for an entire afternoon or washing your back in the shower.  It takes all three to be truly fit.  Focus on endurance one day, muscle tone the next, and stretch out the kinks on Day 3 to achieve a comprehensive fitness program with the added benefit of keeping up interest over the long haul.

Getting your head in the game will be a huge asset.  It is much easier to actually move off the bed each morning if there’s something fun to do.  “Let’s go pump iron” sounds like work. Dogs are great exercise buddies since they have to go out in the morning anyway.  Grab the leash and go find some bunnies together!  Going farther or faster – or both – is more realistic once you’re out the door. Look for what inspires you to choose health, whether it’s not ruining a good workout with junk food or a buying a new outfit to reinforce improved eating and exercise habits.  Small strides in all these areas will add up and synergy will begin to work for you.

But that’s just physical stuff.  You and I are made of more than just flesh and bone.  We are made in the image of God; our bodies are His temple and His Spirit (should) reside in us.  Spiritual nutrition and exercise are necessary for health on this third plane.  Just like food for our bodies, the Bible contains the essential elements for fueling a healthy life.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

There are few people who will say the Bible is an easy read.  It must be chewed thoroughly, frequently, and in its totality (no spitting out the onions!) before being put into practice.  Real life exercise of Biblical principles is essential to full incorporation.  This is harder work still.  But no pain, no gain, right?  If we are to remodel ourselves and approach total wellness, all the aspects must be part of the program. The Apostle Paul said, “For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” (1 Tim 4:8)

We are not just getting ready for the high school reunion.  Jesus said, “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (John 6:54).  The food of Scripture and the blood of His life must so completely infuse us that the exercise of total wellness overflows into our surroundings.  And the ripples from that could make a big impact over time.

Parenting Off-leash

The seasons are changing.  My oldest is gone more than home now, and the next two boys are working out in the gym and growing manly muscles on their lean arms.  My daughter’s turned into a lady with a keen sense of right, a quick tongue and an even sharper wit.

We’re all growing up. Not that I’m crying, mind you. I welcome the opportunity to wrestle bigger challenges than whose Hot Wheel this is.  It’s just a different type of parenting now.  They still need shepherding, just with a looser hand.

I’m reminded of my first parenting lessons, years ago. I had adopted a 100 lb. Labrador Retriever with an assertive streak. What a tough bugger he was in obedience class, refusing to lie down on command unless I body-slammed him and pinned him in my own version of a wrestling hold.  I only outweighed him by about 3 pounds, and he had testosterone and four legs on his side.  He strained to keep his head above mine.  With persistence, he learned to work with me. We moved to off-leash training, where he had to choose to obey lessons like, ‘don’t chase the kitty across the road just because you’re the dog for the job and I’m not looking’.  At the end of the summer, we won 2nd place at the trials.Sandyswim

I wish it were that easy to train kids.  Today, I’d be thrilled to come in second place.  On that day, I felt gypped, and came up with all sorts of consolations.  I was a teen with a large, intact male dog competing against an adult with a spayed people pleaser. She wasn’t at all moved by the lovely mutt in heat that wandered through the final exam.  My dog looked like Pepe Le Pew floating away after a Persian cat.

I didn’t recognize the real point.  That class was a joint effort to develop well-mannered companions, not a competition to see who could produce the perfect show dog.

Education is not about perfection.

I will never be a perfect mother, homeschool or otherwise.  My only charge is to love the Lord more than anything else and figure out how to stir each of my students to choose to follow me in that, daily.  But just like my old Lab, the outcome boils down to a choice that is outside of my control.  Will he follow my path, or not?  Milk bones or a swim in the lake assist with retention, but just like most adults on earth, if it doesn’t pay off, he probably won’t repeat it.

My oldest kids have learned the basics of come, sit, and stay.

It’s now time to go off-leash.  What they know, they know, and what they don’t will show quickly.  We’ll focus there.  Move into the world, my children.  You will fall.  Know that – but know also that falls are not fatal.  You’ll get up and be stronger.  I’ll help you, but only if you need it.  You have the rest of your lives to fine-tune who you want to become.

Someone asked me today how I parent high schoolers.  I couldn’t help but chuckle under my breath.  I’m really not the one to ask.  But yet I am – I can answer from experience that there comes a point when you must trust that what you’ve done has made an impact and that your children are competent to think and move on their own.  But you’re not done.

You must still pray.  Pray for quiet patience that exudes faith, in God and in the child.  Pray for safety and quickly growing wisdom.  Know that God is there, and won’t blink, even when it’s midnight and you haven’t heard from your son since lunch.

If you’ve been diligent with your time when you had it before you, you will not be disappointed now.  The Bible doesn’t just spout cool maxims that encourage us emptily.  When the proverb says, ” Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” – it’s a promise you can lean on.

I found this interesting elucidation in Clarke’s Commentary:

When he comes to the opening of the way of life, being able to walk alone, and to choose; stop at this entrance, and begin a series of instructions, how he is to conduct himself in every step he takes. Show him the duties, the dangers, and the blessings of the path; give him directions how to perform the duties, how to escape the dangers, and how to secure the blessings, which all lie before him. Fix these on his mind by daily inculcation, till their impression is become indelible; then lead him to practice by slow and almost imperceptible degrees, till each indelible impression becomes a strongly radicated habit. Beg incessantly the blessing of God on all this teaching and discipline; and then you have obeyed the injunction of the wisest of men. Nor is there any likelihood that such impressions shall ever be effaced, or that such habits shall ever be destroyed.

I’ve not done everything right.  But that’s where the prayers come in: God is the perfect Father.  He can instill in each of my children what I never taught.  They’re in good hands.

Image

Family Christmas Letter, 2012

Swim LessonsThis year, I wanted to get the kids involved in activities outside the home.  So in February, we joined the YMCA.  Tommy and Rachel initially took swim lessons and are now in a Homeschool Fitness class, which teaches a new sport each month and also refines their pool skills.  Tommy’s already qualified for swim team!  Their schedule has pretty much determined the rest of our calendar, because of the early hours and regularity.  Most of us try to work out several times a week, either with weights in the gym or lap swimming during the kids’ classes.

Michael presents his billThe older ones have become involved in the Youth & Government program through the YMCA.  Michael is a youth legislator, writing and presenting bills.  He did NOT want to do this, but quickly discovered that public speaking isn’t all that hard and was actually fun, especially if you get to dress up.  His bill was featured in the first newsletter and he is enjoying the feel, if not the workload, of being a nearly high school student.  Dave and Faith signed up for media, being everywhere and writing up everything that happens around them (hence, the highlight on Michael for their first subject!).  Faith won a distinguished delegate award for her role as editor in chief of the newsletter at their first meet, and all three of them were recognized on the YMCA’s Facebook page as being notable representatives of our team.  At the state meet in January, they will convene in the Austin Capitol building where Dave hopes to merit a spot on the camera crew televising the event locally.

Jon at work Jon began work full time at Walmart in electronics as they moved into a new superstore, quickly distinguishing himself as capable of accomplishing whatever needed done.  He’s really developed his people skills in just a few months.  As his schedule permits, he still runs the sound system for church on Sundays and volunteers his free time at the fire department.  Just this week, he assisted with a county-wide reprogramming of all emergency radios to meet FEMA standards of compatibility.  He is working toward EMT certification (still – don’t ask!) while he figures out where he ultimately wants to go and how to finance college to get there.

Editor in Chief FaithOver the summer, Faith had a great time visiting all major SoCal points of interest with Grandma and Grandpa Elving before flying to help Grandma and Grandpa Bryant move to Uncle Barry’s property near the Central Coast.  I met her in Phoenix and enjoyed a brief visit with Amy, Kolby and Mia over moving boxes and sandwiches.  Dave flew into Cali in time to unload the truck with us on the other end.  He and Faith stayed with Barry’s family to help Mom settle in and I started back home, stopping briefly at my mentor/best friend’s home in Santa Cruz.  I was greatly inspired to see the achievements of homeschoolers grown up and what they still had ahead of them.  By fall when my wayward teens returned, Dave had a more surfer-influenced style and an appreciation of clean cars; Faith came home with a Starbucks habit and a personal strength she never realized was inside.

Dave, ready for actionA long-awaited answer to prayer was braces for both Faith and Dave.  We probably won’t see their smiles again for two years.  Dave’s so busy with his senior year he wasn’t smiling anyway.  In addition to working out, Y&G, and core courses at home, he enrolled in Fire Academy, which will enable him to challenge the state exam this summer and hopefully get hired on at a paid department.

Bob and I took a much-needed vacation just after Thanksgiving to Ohio for his company’s Christmas party.  We had a great time all around, including visiting Beth and Paul and attending Bible study with them.  We left all the kids home “alone” with a tank full of gas in my new-to-me Expedition and some cash for expenses.  It was awesome to check on them Friday night and find that Jon had taken them all to the nighttime Christmas parade in downtown Lockhart and arranged for the younger boys to ride on fire trucks in the procession. Rachel waved from the curb with her favorite family friend.  Saturday they hung Christmas lights on the house and watched a Hogan’s Heroes marathon.  Sunday morning, they drove up to church early to set up sound as usual, and enable Michael to meet with his Boy Scout leader to sign off the requirements for his next level, the Tenderfoot.  By the time we arrived home later that evening, my truck and Jon’s were sparkling clean, dogs were fed, cat was medicated and all children ready for bed on time. Awesome.  I love my kids and the opportunity I’ve had be on the front lines of their lives, every day. God has done more in our lives through me teaching them than I ever could have predicted when we first set out.

Family PicWe celebrated our 23rd anniversary as a family this year by sightseeing around the Alamo. It’s getting harder and harder to get everyone together for a photo. I could just merge me in, if I had any clue how to work Photoshop.  But technology is Jon’s gig; I just take the photos.Me

Merry Christmas to all our dear friends and family!

Time Away

A new year, a new look.  It was time.  I’ve changed so much since I set up this space nearly two years ago.

When I first became a mother, I was advised to reserve time for me.  I couldn’t; it just felt so wrong.  I understand the airline concept of putting on my own facemask before turning to help the child beside me; but this isn’t an emergency.  This is everyday life.  This is the season of life to rear children; I must be with them, I’d think.

“Me Time” was such a buzzword, and it grated on me.  I quickly learned to avoid the topic, since it was met with such hostility.  “It will become a necessity; you’ll see,” an old lady warned me.  But after 15 years, I was still much happier with my family intact.  Dinner out wasn’t fun if I was wondering about that little piece of me I’d left behind.  Even when I had six not-so-little pieces of me, time out wasn’t right without them.

Yeah, I’m weird.  I know that.

Eventually, though, I saw that I couldn’t breathe anymore.  I had to stop and focus on my own facemask.  I hate the taste of crow.  This space was set up as my time away – my adult time.  But the whole concept still irritated me, because no matter how much time I got to myself, I still could not breathe.  I needed something, but even getting away wasn’t helping.  It was merely taking me away from my responsibilities, which didn’t help anyone.

Then I saw something important. Jesus made time alone, away from his disciples.  But He didn’t go to spend “Me Time”; He went apart to commune with His Father before returning refreshed.  I was confirmed that my path is turning a corner.

Spending time for me and spending time with God is vastly different.  As I put aside time every morning to read Scripture, to let His word flood through my soul, and to talk with him about what I’d read or was struggling with, I was strangely strengthened.  My time is often interrupted (how could it not be in a house with 6 children?), but that’s okay. The rewards are tangible, and I see that I no longer have time not to read my Bible in the morning.

It wasn’t “Me Time” I needed; it was God Time.  I give everything I have in caring for my family, and it makes sense that I might need refreshing.  It must be refueling time, though, not just recess. God Himself put me here and gave me this family.  His Spirit must filter through every pore, into every cell, and flood every bronchiole and hemoglobin for me to actually accomplish His purpose.

“Give me your firstfruits.” “I have living water you know nothing of.”  “Come to me, you who are weary.”  His words jumble together in my mind as I think.  So when I come directly to Him in the early morning for my thirst to be quenched and my body quickened, He is there.  Just as He promised. It all comes together.

Bring it on, 2012.  I’ve got a new outlook and a new look, and I’m ready for whatever you have in store.