Slow Motion

The boys have discovered the slow motion video feature on my I phone. I have to admit it’s been pretty entertaining. From fake fight scenes to super slow dance offs, we have been having a pretty good time being in slow motion mode.

Sometimes I want life to always be in slow motion mode. I want my boys to stay little and love me more than any other woman in this world. I want them to always want to cuddle and kiss me and tell me I’m the best mommy ever. I want my Sundays to last just a little bit longer.

But most of the time, I’m ready to hit fast forward. The nights I have class. The weeks that seem like they will never end.  Days when  my house is entirely covered in Lego sets and half eaten bags of chips, I want to press the speed up button.

Learning to just live in the moment is hard for me. I don’t always appreciate what is happening right then at that very moment. I’m usually too caught up in non-real problems. Too caught up in my schedule or my busyness to appreciate everything else going on around me.

This morning, as I was rushing around at work, I spied a sweet, little girl walking down the hallway. When she saw me, she gave me the biggest smile I have ever seen. It melted my heart. I took just a moment to appreciate it. To let it sink in.

To slow down.

Brady asked me to tuck him in not once, but four times tonight. Each time I would get up to walk him back to his bed, he would wrap his arms around my waste and lay his adorable head full of curls on me. Hugging his mom in his sweet little boy way. I was tired and was probably not as gracious as I could have been by the fourth time.

Slow it down Paige. He’s ten. He won’t be asking you to tuck him in for much longer.

Take it all in. Don’t wish for tomorrow. Be thankful for each and every second. And when you do choose to slow down,  thank God for each and every one of the moments He has given you.

Remember, His plan for your life doesn’t have a fast forward button.

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Box of Crayons

This morning, a very precocious first grader at my school  spilled her box of crayons. The bottom of the box gave in and the crayons poured out all over her desk. Her teacher was giggling because after she spilled the pack, she carefully put them all back in, one at a time and then, of course, the crayons proceeded to spill out the other end of the box.

The little girl was so frustrated she tearfully told her teacher that this was a “catastrophe!”

Don’t you hate when you have a spilled box of crayons kind of day? You get the bottom knocked out from under you, carefully pick back up the pieces, and then watch them come out of the opposite side?

It can certainly feel like a catastrophe.

Aren’t those days just the worst?

I know when I have days like this I look around for something, or someone, to blame.

“She is the reason my day was awful.”

Or

“If that had not happened, everything would have been fine.”

Sometimes I’m just trying to take away any blame I might have in the problem. Sure, I should have checked the bottom of the crayon box. Of course, I should not have tried to put them back in the opposite way.

My fault or not, pointing fingers will never get me anywhere. Instead, when I point fingers, I should be pointing  just one finger (no.. not that finger) and this finger should be pointing up.

This finger is not a pointing blame finger by any means. This finger is telling me  there is only one way to get through this crayon box spilling life of mine.  Only one way to pick up the pieces after they seem to fall over and over again.

When I have catastrophes, I seek Him first. When I have joys,  I thank Him first.

Watch what happens when you seek Him first.

Watch what Jesus can do with a box of crayons.

Watch Him brighten your world over and over again.

How Sweet the Sound

Brady was humming Amazing Grace while he was in school today. Sweet right?   It is precious for my sweet boy to be thinking about Jesus, even while he is at school.  What makes this story sad though is when he realized he was humming Amazing Grace, he stopped.  He stopped humming it because he thought he was going to get in trouble for singing a “Christian song” at a public school.

Brady is ten years old. Not yet old enough  to fully grasp all of the hardships currently happening  in this world, but  old enough to worry about being punished for singing a song about Jesus during the school day.

I worry he will soon not want to share about Jesus at all, for fear of getting in trouble.

I worry he will become embarrassed about sharing his love for Jesus, for fear of being made fun of.

Aren’t grown ups are the same way? How many of us really wear our love for Jesus on our sleeve? Aren’t we almost apologetic about it sometimes?  How many times do we shrink back and not say anything about Jesus for fear of getting in trouble or being made fun of?

I know I have. I know I do.

I do this because I’m still of this world, worried about what this world thinks of me.

Brady is ten. He is watching what I do. If he sees me shrinking back then he’s going to shrink back too.

Jesus died for us. He didn’t die for my child to be afraid to praise him. For my child to be ashamed of loving Him out in the open.

I want Brady to hear me singing Amazing Grace as loudly as I can, in front of as many people as possible. I want him to hear me sharing my love for Jesus to everyone who is willing to hear it.

Although if you have heard me sing, I have a feeling he might be more embarrassed about the sounds of my singing.  How sweet the sound…or not… I still want to praise him as loudly as possible.

Smile

The cooks in the back kitchen of the restaurant where I worked in college used to call me “Smiley.” They always laughed at me because as soon as I would go out onto the floor of the restaurant,  I would start smiling.  I never stopped. Nothing could wipe that grin off my face as I waited on customers. My smiling served me well too. I received a good amount of tips off of those smiles.

What amused the cooks the most though, was when I would reenter the kitchen. The smile seemed to leave my face almost immediately as I concentrated on putting orders into the computer or getting drinks. The cooks would laugh at how I was always smiling out on the floor, for the public, and then I was all business  in the back kitchen.

Sometimes I still feel like that 18 year old waitress.  I spend a lot of time smiling throughout my day. After all, I do have a lot to smile about. It’s not a fake smile by any means. I love being around people.  Sometimes though, when I’m alone,  I do feel like the smile fades almost too suddenly. When I’m alone, I worry more. I start fretting about how I’m going to fix this or do this. Who needs this? Or did I forget that?  It is kind of like being in the back kitchen of a restaurant. I start thinking about all that is on my plate. How much I need to carry. My tray is only so big.

Thankfully,  I don’t have to carry that big tray all by myself. No matter how many plates and cups I have stacked on it. No matter how many times I trip and spill it (Yes did that a few times too). There is always someone there to help me, to hold it, to steady me and to pick it back up.

When I think of all that He does for me, it’s hard not to smile. He gives me the purest type of joy I will ever know.

A joy so powerful that I can’t help but feel the corners of my mouth start to move.

His joy has me grinning from ear to ear.

Job 9:27 If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint, I will change my expression, and smile,’

His Way

It’s so hard trying to live in two worlds at once.  I know which world I should be in. I know where I want to be. It’s just hard getting both feet next to each other.   Truthfully, I feel like I have one foot on one side and one foot on the other side of an imaginary line. One is firmly planted with Jesus. This foot knows He is The Way. The Truth. The Life. The other foot is planted firmly in this world. Worried about myself. Worried about what others think. Worried about trivial things that don’t even really matter.

I just can’t get both feet over that line.

Why do I care so much about the ways of this world?  Why do I let others bother me?  Why am I so good at pleasing people when I should be worried about pleasing Jesus?

It’s time to start picking my other foot up some more. I know they are both never going to be fully planted on one side. I’m not moving in permanently while I live on this earth. I am human after all. This world will continue to tempt me.   But I can place it next to the other foot far more often than I have been.  I can try and put Jesus first in all that I do. Not myself. I can at least start packing some bags and labeling them “One Way.”

Or maybe I should label them “His Way?”

Because I’m not planning on coming back.

Picture Day

Tomorrow is picture day and I have just finished running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Getting pants together, shirts, ties. Everything for my little boys to look like handsome little men in their school photos. My husband gets so annoyed. He doesn’t understand the picture obsession.  He was even more annoyed when I told him we were having family pictures taken in November.  He doesn’t see the point and, of course, he rallies the boys to his side. Unfortunately for them, I am the only girl in this house and I like pictures. So they have to deal with them too.

Pictures are a great way to remember the past. The question is, are they really an accurate representation? Sure my boys will look like sweet little angels tomorrow.  Yet, that’s not really what I will remember when they grow up is it? I will probably remember the dirty boys more than I remember the clean ones. The boys who run inside after playing outside for hours, covered in a day’s adventures. Or the boys who like to spend hours making slow motion action movies on my Iphone. Or the boys who snuggle up to me in the bed asking for one more good night kiss. Yes, the picture boys are handsome, but I think I like, and will remember, the real life versions even better.

When I think of who Jesus probably prefers, I think he likes  the  non- picture day version of me as well.   No matter how polished we may look on the outside, how put together we can appear,  how spiritually mature we may seem, Jesus prefers the real life versions of us too.

He doesn’t want to see a pretty picture. He wants to see the stress, the hurt and the pain.

In other words, He wants to see the hot mess.

He wants us to come to Him weary. He wants us to come to Him burdened. He wants us to come to Him with all of our struggles and all of our problems.

He can see past the pretty anyways.  He knows the real me. He knows the real you. He desires a personal relationship with each and everyone of us. We just have to be honest with Him. To show him that version.

The real life version.

Not just the picture in the frame.

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

It’s All You.

I am grateful tonight.

I am grateful for the lady at school  who waited five extra seconds to hold the door open for me. I am grateful for the cashier at Chic-A-Fila who made me laugh. I am grateful for the unexpected help I received with a student today.

It’s all You God.

I am grateful for classmates who take pity on my lack of math skills. They are patient and kind. They calm my anxiety more than they will ever know.

It’s all You God.

I am grateful for my coworkers who just get me. Who know when I need a hug. Who know when I need my door closed. Who know when I need Starbucks. Who know when I need to laugh.

I am grateful for my students. Their little notes. Their crooked smiles. Their never ending hugs. These are what fill my days.

It’s all you God.

I am grateful for my prayer sisters. For their sweet early morning texts. For their kind words. For their never ending support.

It’s all You God.

I am grateful for friends and family. Old and new. The people who fill my life  with brightness, each and everyday. Who will always love me, despite my many flaws.

It’s all You God.

I am grateful for my boys. All three of them. Grateful for the triple hugs I’m greeted with after I get home from a long day of work and class. Grateful for the snuggles and the “I love yous” and the never ending devotion.

It’s all You God.

So no stories tonight. No metaphors about the world or my life. Just a small list of what I am thankful for at this very moment in time.

It’s all You God.

It is always You God.