A Goat in Sheep’s Clothing

3Apr2018 Filed under: blah-blah-blog
sheep

Confession time: I sometimes worry about my true position in God’s kingdom. I fear that at some point, I will be horrified to find that I never really was one of the blessed sheep, but rather a cursed goat. A clever little goat in sheep’s clothing, hiding coarse straight hair under fluffy faux fleece, a goat that will one day be discovered gnawing contentedly on an old tin can, at which time my shepherd will find me out. My gig will be up!

Here’s the thing. Sometimes, I still rather enjoy the flavor of rust-coated tin crumbling between my molars. Sometimes, my tastes in life look more like the gluttonous goat than the sweet sheep, who contentedly dines on grass alone, every day of its bleating life. Is it possible that we could all be a bit of a goat in sheep’s clothing? I mean really, underneath it all, are the two animals really all that different? I suppose it all boils down to the condition of the heart. I mean, if I am worried about possibly being a goat, doesn’t that very fact that I’m concerned suggest that I might not be as goatish as I fear? When I actually used to BE a goat, I never thought about the fact that I was one. From my dusty old pen, I ate all the garbage I could scrounge up daily, and laughed at the prim and proper sheep on the other side of the field, looking like perfect round cotton balls scattered against the lush green hillside. Perhaps part of me still can’t fully accept that I, this dirty, coarse, metal-loving hooved one actually became one of them.

“Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.”

But when it comes right down to it, the whole reason that I doubt or question or fear, is a sincere desire to please my Shepherd. I want Him to pat my pretty curly head and be proud of me. When the smelly piles of garbage I used to enjoy start beckoning to my old goat nature, I question my worthiness before God because this danged head of mine almost always turns toward what used to please me. I usually just walk away, but I still wonder: are true sheep ever actually tempted to gnaw on old cans?

 

(Just a little something I wrote 12 years ago, and rediscovered today. Can you relate?)

Finally Finalizing

20Mar2018 Filed under: blah-blah-blog

May is a good month for my family.

In May 2014, this happened:

Violet Homecoming Collage

And now, FOUR years, four attorneys, a couple of home studies and enough Ugandan paperwork to reach the peak of Mt. Stanley LATER…

We finally, finally have our court date to finalize our daughter’s adoption!

None of us ever expected it to take this long, but apparently, the paperwork Uganda sends home with adoptees is quite different from most other countries, and it was difficult to find a local attorney who knew what to do with it (although several tried). I think Violet was about to lose hope that she’d ever legally have our last name, that she’d ever receive her citizenship or see her new name printed on a U.S. passport. She had well-meaning (but clearly misinformed) friends who expressed concerns that she would be deported, not understanding that she came here legally to begin with. Four years is a long time to live in limbo. We are all very relieved this stage is almost over!

So we will go to the courthouse on a certain morning in May, and we couldn’t be happier! If you have been part of this journey and would like to be there, let me know. I’ll send you the details and you can come celebrate with us!

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.

-Psalm 136:1

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Work

4Nov2017 Filed under: blah-blah-blog

I am grateful today for the opportunity to work. To not only contribute significantly to my household financially, but to enjoy (for the most part!) what I do AND the privilege of working from home.

computer-2242266_1280

I know I bellyache a lot on social media about how difficult it can be to work with a million distractions, and that is true. Any Work At Home Mom (WAHM) would agree. The flip side to the flexibility coin is that it’s super-easy to overextend yourself and not get enough accomplished because everyone at home needs something from you.

But the benefits outweigh the troubles, especially on nights like this, when I find an amazing deal on a hotel room and escape on a work-cation for the weekend. It’s midnight, I’m in my nightgown, sipping a cup of surprisingly good hotel lobby coffee (that runs free 24/7) and I’m getting paid for this. I may never sleep!

Anyway…freelance writing is a very feast-or-famine career. I spent several years in famine mode, so the fact that next month, I celebrate my one-year anniversary working steadily for one marketing firm? That is a really big deal!

I don’t take this blessing for granted, though. I know that it could end at any point because that’s just the way freelancing is. But I pray it lasts a long time…and that I don’t do anything to mess up this very good gift from God!

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:19 

 

30 Days of Thanksgiving: November

2Nov2017 Filed under: blah-blah-blog

Driving home from school today, the kids and I were talking about how much we like this time of the year. I was surprised to hear them say things similar to what I shared in this post two autumns ago, Saying Yes to November.

aptedchristmas 233

The teenagers mentioned how much they can’t wait to eat turkey, but agreed that November is a nice pause between holidays. As you may have guessed, I am not a fan of jumping straight into Christmas after Halloween, though many of my friends are already listening to Bing Crosby crooning about a White Christmas.

(AND the Hallmark Channel has already started a steady stream of their holiday movies! Really, Hallmark? I count on being able to watch The Golden Girls, Frazier, Cheers and I Love Lucy when insomnia strikes. Now I’ve got nothing until January. Hmph!)

TV aside, I’m just so thankful to live where there are four true seasons, punctuated by a stunningly gorgeous autumn.

IMG_1664

November is so blessedly cool here in Georgia, and so lovely. The juxtaposition of brilliant leaves against bright blue skies never ceases to thrill me.

eli tree

And when God’s handmade confetti falls, it’s perfect for piling up and playing in!

Camera

I am grateful for every cool, peaceful, golden November morning that brings to mind this verse:

“This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” -Psalm 118:24

Save

Save

Save

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Simple Faith

1Nov2017 Filed under: blah-blah-blog
Jesus Loves Me

I must admit: sometimes I think these “30 Days of Thankfulness” posts in November are kind of cheesy.

I mean, shouldn’t we be thankful every day of the year?

We should, of course. But lately, I’ve realized that I’ve fallen away from that discipline. The negativity of life has been so heavy lately that it’s been hard to look for the silver linings behind all the clouds. So I’m making myself find them in November, in the hopes that this focus on gratitude will help me recover some of the joy that’s been missing from daily life.

I truly believe that gratitude is one of the primary keys to happiness, even if my own behavior fails to reflect that sometimes. When I was in my early 20s, I had an elderly Christian friend who exuded this kind of simple joy. We called her Sister Lowman, and she led the hospital ministry I volunteered with at our church. She barely came up to my shoulder, a rounded, gray-haired widow who needed a cane to get around her tiny, government-subsidized apartment. I used to kind of chuckle to myself over how often she would exhale little prayers of gratitude. We’d be driving down the road in her massive Pontiac Bonneville and she would just randomly sigh, “Thank you, Jesus” or “Thank you, Father!” One time, I asked her why she always did that. She said, “Because He’s gotten us safely down the road so far!” as if that was the most obvious thing in the world to be grateful for in that moment.

My younger self found her behavior eccentric, but now I understand the concept she was teaching me: no matter what is going on, there’s always something to be thankful for…even if it’s just driving five miles and arriving at a destination safely. Or just reflecting on the fact that Jesus loves you.

So, that is what I want to be grateful for on this first day of November: the gift of faith. Just the basic privilege of being connected to a God so much bigger than I, so much more powerful than anything life throws at me.

“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.” -Hebrews 12:28

Thank you, God, for the privilege of plugging into your unshakable kingdom.

Save