Thursday, September 29, 2011

Random Outfit Post: Mixed Stripes

Because sometimes you just have to live on the edge like that.  =^)
(Fyi, I wore this quite a while ago. As in, maybe even a couple months... or more than that.)

This outfit came together very last minute. It was one of those I-feel-icky-in-everything-I-wear-I need-something-not-fitted days. 
I seemed to get a lot of "Hey! Love the stripes!" comments, so I took some pictures.

pulling it all together...
Shirt & Pants: Both Gap, via Goodwill
Jacket: Marc by Marc Jacobs, via Goodwill
(I KNOW!!!!!!! WHAT a find. It has a story. Another post?)
Belt: Target, via Goodwill
Sandals: Target clearance
Earrings: I don't even remember.
Bracelet/Ring: Grams'

Sometimes I wonder if I should start listing the prices of some of the items I find. (This entire outfit cost me under $25 total.) Because maybe it would be an encouragement to people that it really does happen? But maybe it would also be a discouragement to people? Hmmm...

I loved mixing the stripes in this outfit. Pants are vertical. Shirt is horizontal. It works because they're both small print, so while they're (similar) patterns, it's almost like they're solids because your brain doesn't register it immediately. 
The pop of the belt and the crispness of the jacket polish it off.
And the wide-leg is super fun, too.

Speaking of wide-leg,
have you seen them all over the place for fall? It doesn't mean skinnies are out, by the way. Just that wide-leg is suddenly trendy again.
So, funny. There's truly nothing new under the sun, and everything comes back around again... seemingly fast these days, too. Where the trend cycles used to take about forty years, now it seems to be about seven to ten.
Moral of the story: If it's good quality, save it. You'll be wearing it again sooner than you think.
Other moral of the story: Don't live your life by trends. Have fun with them... but you rule the trend, don't let it rule you.
Play with the ones you like, leave the ones you don't.

Otherwise, you'll wind up like this:

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Monday, September 26, 2011

They sing with us...

It's interesting how my whole life (the first whopping 35 years of it) I've heard accounts from other people.
Miraculous testimonies, encounters with angels and other things I longed to experience in first person but thought I never would. I don't know why I thought that! I just did. I longed for it, but I'm this goofy girl who's a mom and wife and has a crazy schedule and loves fashion and cries out to God in the middle of my kitchen when I'm overwhelmed with dishes and dirty floors.
The kids and I have prayed for years to see an angel. We know they're all around, because the spiritual side of this world... the stuff we don't see but see the effects of... is way more real than what we do see.

And sometimes we catch glimpses of that much-more-real reality.

That's what I've longed for, to have my eyes and ears opened.
To be a part of the stories we hear happening to missionaries in other countries... but, America?

Maybe I'm just starting to share some of these recent things because I needed time to process them myself.
Sometimes something so beautiful happens, such an intimate gift from my Father, that I want to keep it to myself and bask in His lavish love for a while before sharing it.

Last June... June 24th, to be more specific... I had the honor of leading some worship for a YWAM team that was about to set out for another country.
They'd been through a year of training together and this was their final team meeting before they headed out the following week to a Muslim country.
The country is not closed to the gospel, but can still be very hostile to Christians, so I won't mention it here.
Suffice it to say, that room on June 24th was filled with every emotion imaginable. Luggage was packed, possessions were in storage units, arrangements had been made... and here was this team pressing into the presence of God in worship.
The atmosphere was thick and intense and desperate and beautiful.

I stood in the small room, in front of these 30 or so people with just my guitar, and we worshipped.
"Oh, Lord, speak into the silence. Breathe upon the lifeless. Wake us up from slumber."
"Hallelujah, holy, holy, God Almighty, the Great I AM... who is worthy? None beside Thee. God Almighty, the Great I AM."
Then there came a time where the team members were praying over each other. I kept singing, flowing freely in the lyrics, often not even singing words, only sounds.
I became aware of someone singing the most beautiful harmony with me.
"Who IS that?" I thought. "Their voice is amazing." I looked around the room to see the singer, but everyone was praying with each other.
I wondered if it was a child, because it was so high pitched. But I heard the maturity and confidence of an adult.
This soft, lilting voice continued to follow mine in perfect harmony... truly the most beautiful I have ever, ever heard.
"I must know who's singing with me!" I thought. "This is incredible." I realized the sound was coming from my right, but the only ones there were team members praying for each other. Suddenly I wondered how this voice could follow me perfectly when I was ad-libbing, and not even singing words. How did they know what I was going to sing? How could they possibly know where I was going in the song, in the melody?

I suddenly had the realization I was hearing angels. It swept over me and I became acutely aware of their presence just off to my right.
They were singing with me, worshipping with me, over this group of people who were about to take the amazing news of Jesus to a Muslim nation.
There were two or three of them, but their voices blended so perfectly that it sounded like one.
In that moment I don't know if I was more humbled and amazed that God would open my ears to such a thing, or that THE FREAKING ANGELS WERE SINGING WITH ME!!!!!!
Holy COW! They were singing the most beautiful harmony (the highest I've ever heard anyone sing in person) with ME. We were worshipping together.
The angels. Me. What words can I even use here? None are adequate.

I've thought about that moment many times since and can only react with awe that I got to hear. I'll never forget the sound, and in fact have heard it again once since then... a little over a week ago. Soft, incredibly high-pitched, yet sweet and pure and lilting. Truly, the most perfect harmony ever sung.

And I heard it. I heard angels. Singing with me.
What an amazing God I serve, who opens my ears to things that are more reality that what is before my eyes.

The angels. They sing with us. And it doesn't matter what anyone says to the contrary, because I heard them. I bet I'll get to hear them on this earth again, too.
Because my God SO rocks like that.

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Random Outfit Post: Birthday Edition

...which does NOT, fyi, mean that I'm wearing my birthday suit.
(Just thought I'd clarify.)

Yesterday was my BIRTHDAY, and I decided that it was quite necessary to wear something fitting for the occasion.

Fitting for the occasion = pink tutu.
...or petticoat... or whatever you want to call it.
Because I want to.
And because I can.

And, yes. I had way too much fun taking pictures.
But, so be it.

pulling it all together...
Pink Tutu/Petticoat: DIY... kind of. Tutorial coming soon. (Seriously, I don't sew people. It's a no-brainer.)
Tee: Target, like, five years ago
Jacket: Vintage 80's, baby! via Goodwill, complete with Michael Jackson Thriller shoulders. I totally love this thing. I'm not sure anyone else does. But I do. 
Leggings: H&M
Socks (which are actually stirrups): Claire's (It's a clearance gold mine in there.)
Booties: Charlotte Russe, gifted from a friend. (Thanks, Becky!)
Sunglasses: Walmart (One of the only good things that comes from there.)
Various bracelets/rings/earrings: GodChicks, Disney, Relatives, Friends, Forever 21

So, all day yesterday I kept hearing comments that fell into the category of Oh-I-SO-wish-I-could-wear-something-like-that-but-I-just-can't.
Why not?
Why can't you wear a tutu if you so please?
I am all for being appropriate to the environment you're in.
 But, honey, if you want to wear a tutu and it's not inappropriate for your day's activities... wear a tutu! Just rock it with some other fun accessories so it looks more like an actual outfit than something that belongs on stage at the Nutcracker.

I had a blast wearing that yesterday. It made me smile.
And I think God looked at that and said, "Yes, daughter. You ARE beautiful and I love seeing your joy spill out all over the place... especially in hot pink... because it's so you... and I'm the One who made you that way."
Yep, I think that's what He said.

Here is where I wanna sing, "Girls, they wanna have fun. Oh, girls justa wanna have..."

Ian came outside and asked if he could help take the pictures.
So, he crouched down, I sat, and he snapped away.

Then I said, "Ian! Get in here with me!"
And he obliged. (That may have been what he wanted in the first place.)

Moral of the story: Life is fleeting. Rock the tutu.
(Or different hair color, or nail polish, or whatever.)

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Yesterday in History

Yesterday a seismic shift occurred in the foundational operations of our nation.

There is a small minority fighting and shouting loud support for what has taken place. It doesn't matter what happens down the road, they believe this is the right thing to do.
There is a large group that supports the shift, but gives no thought to the future implications it will inevitably bring. Or they know what is coming down the road, but they mentally don't go there because that would make them question their support of the shift, thus going against what they want so badly to be the right thing to do.
There is a vast middle ground that either is blind or is trying very hard to be blind because they don't want to engage in any type of disagreement with anyone. If they hold no position then there will be no way to offend.
There is another minority, albeit bigger than the first, that knows exactly what will now occur but is remaining silent out of fear. 

I fall into none of those categories.

When you create an environment highly conducive to immoral activity, the likelihood of immoral activity taking place rises significantly.

 Regardless of where your opinion falls on Don't Ask, Don't Tell being repealed, there are vast future ramifications that I am hearing absolutely no acknowledgement of.
Not by our government.
Not by our media.
The only discussion I am aware of is happening quietly in the military, behind closed doors of a training room where servicemen and women are saying, "But, what does this mean?"
And no one can give them an answer because the military doesn't even know.
They feign answers, but every path of explanation and reasoning falls apart with further questions.
When "anonymous" surveys were taken and studies were done to try and decipher the military's attitude toward the shift, the majority of service members didn't even take the survey. And most that did didn't answer honestly.
Because the "anonymous" survey was accessed by their ID card, which could be traced back to them.
And in the event that Don't Ask, Don't Tell was repealed (yesterday) they could be under fire for giving their honest "anonymous" opinions.

From here we will see inevitable lawsuits.
If two people who are sexually attracted to each other can share a dorm room in our military, why can't two people of the opposite sex?
What is the difference?
There is none.

If two people who are sexually attracted to each other can share a bathroom in our military, why can't two people of the opposite sex?
What is the difference?
There is none.

If we do not separate based on sexual orientation, it's going to be hard to hold the reasoning of separating based on sex.
When you follow the line of logic, it unravels. 
We're already seeing it on college campuses, and now in our nation's military.
Schools. Public restrooms. It's only a matter of time.

We can say (as the official position of the US Government) that all individuals in our military will conduct themselves with utmost integrity in these situations and that no immoral activity will take place.
But, again, the reality is when you create an environment highly conducive to immoral activity, the likelihood of immoral activity taking place rises significantly.

So, in a few years, tell that to the service woman who comes back from Iraq having been raped by her fellow service member.
He should have acted morally, but he did not.
 Tell her that now she's going to have to live with a man, because a lawsuit has won stating that there is no logical reason to separate based on sex when we're no longer separating based on sexual orientation.
He should act morally, though, and the military is already struggling with a budget.
So men attracted to women (and vice versa) will no longer be in separate living quarters, because men who are attracted to men are not separated and neither are women who are attracted to women.

It's the inevitable path we've started down.

And if you express your unwillingness to live with someone who has the potential of being sexually attracted to you, that is considered hate and falls under the hate crime law.
You could be prosecuted and discharged.

No one is talking about the future implications.
We're just trying so hard to do what we want so badly to be right that we aren't stopping to ask the question of what is going to happen.
We aren't even allowing anyone to raise the question that it could be wrong.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Life is...

...running through the rain with a friend and not worrying about the wet, but laughing at it instead.

...not pulling into the garage immediately, but sitting in the driveway listening to said rain pounding on the car roof.

...walking in the door and realizing your shoes are soaked all the way through, and being glad for the adventure and JOY that rain brings.

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Memory (repost)

(This was first posted on September 11th, 2008, following a trip to New York that previous spring.
I think I've reposted it once before,
but I'm reposting it again today on the 10th anniversary of September 11th.
May we never forget...)

I didn't expect it to affect me this way. I experienced it much like many other Americans, waking to news on the tv, sitting with my mouth open watching the horror. But I didn't know anyone who lost their life that day. I didn't even know anyone that knew anyone. I had a friend at The Pentagon who, had he of been in his office, would most likely no longer be here, but thank God he was off running an errand on the opposite side of the building.

So I didn't expect it to affect me this way.

Walking up to Ground Zero I wondered if we would really be able to pass through the large locked gate. Others stood outside peering in, taking pictures through the chain link. We went to the information/security booth. The guard looked at our ids, radioed to someone on the other side, thanked my husband for his service to our country, and told us to stand at the gate.

I still didn't expect it to affect me this way.

A man came and let us in. As the gate closed behind us the reality of where we stood began to hit. A tingling started at my hands and feet, quickly spreading over my body. As I followed the construction worker I realized I was numb, my breath shallow. I was watching myself taking steps, but didn't feel any movement. There were other people standing at the end of the makeshift path, peering down into the enormous hole.

The images on tv don't communicate how massive it really is. The buildings outside the fence seemed so far away, as did the ground below. Perspective didn't become clear until I saw a worker on the far side, and how small he was.

The rebar protruding from the concrete foundation somehow stuck with me, what was left of what had been.

I looked up. The sky was so vast, such an expanse. A plane passed overhead and suddenly all I saw was a blurry blue. My cheeks became wet. It was just so much. The loss.

We took photos. I didn't want to forget this. But I don't need those to recall the vivid memory.

The construction worker stood quietly by as we walked around the platform, taking in all sides. He waited patiently, just as he does with each visitor that comes.

As he escorted us back up the makeshift path to the gate we passed a trailer. Flowers were set outside and Nate asked the man what it was, but the sign on the door was our answer. My cheeks grew wet again.

The gate closed. The church just outside had new significance. We made our way down the street, around the corner to the museum. I didn't know if I wanted to enter, I wasn't sure I wanted to take the stories into my heart.

I hadn't expected it to affect me this way.

I worried about my umbrella and my purse. I needed to use the restroom. Anything trivial to move my mind from the depths of my heart it had gone to.

We walked quietly through the walls with memories in large print for us to relive with each survivor. Every so often Nate would beckon me to something in particular. Every so often I would beckon him. We moved slowly.

The cuff of my sleeve was stretched out and damp.

Rounding the corner took my breath away. One wall filled with names. Another wall, pictures of them laughing, hugging their daughter, playing baseball with their son, at their grandma's birthday party, smiling so broadly. My lungs could not find air, my vision was reeling. These people were me.

A rose lay on the floor.

I was still numb.

I didn't expect it to affect me this way.

God, help us. Help us see You. I don't understand the making of the tapestry or why threads are woven a certain way, but I stand firm in the faith that it will be beautiful. I know You don't cause these things. I know You didn't cause 9/11. And I know You didn't cause Ian's diabetes. I know You didn't cause Grandad to die when it was supposed to be a routine surgery. I know You didn't cause my sister's friend to develop a rare form of lymphoma as she's juggling new motherhood. I know You have given us free will, and our earth is fallen and broken. We as a people are fallen and broken. I know You came as a man, choosing to be the blameless sacrifice that our earth could never provide. I know You are truth. I know You are hope. I know You are light. I know You are sovereign and You can rescue and You can heal and You can prevent and You can protect. I know our tapestry is woven IN SPITE OF our own choices. I also know that I will not understand the deepest weaving, but that it is beautiful. It is a miracle. One that only You can accomplish. Thank You for being a tower we can rest in when we don't understand. Thank You for letting us cry and be angry and mourn, and for holding us close through it all. Some of us choose not to feel Your arms around us, but You are there. You are always there.

Thank you for letting it affect me this way.

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Maintaining the "Clean"

A year ago I was given a most awesome birthday gift.
It was something I had always wanted, something I had asked for every year...
and something I let sit on my counter since last September 22nd.

It stared at me. It called out, "Use me!" My husband would see it and say, "I thought you were super excited about that?"
"I was! I am! I mean... I'll use it when it's time."

See, a year ago my parents very generously gave me one of my dream gifts: Maids.
Merry Maids, to be more specific. A gift card that covered a deep "spring cleaning."

Yesterday I finally used it.

When the girl came to do the walk-through last week, she looked at all the rooms to be done (everything except the kids' rooms and laundry) and said, "It should take about 3 to 4 hours."
I think I asked a couple more times, knowing the extent to which dirt was piled behind the couches, atop the shelves and upon those blinds.
"3 to 4 hours." She said that was pretty typical for a house like this.

A couple days before, I started clearing away some of the clutter... and realized how much clutter-y junk there actually was! It was all dusty, resting on night stands and dressers and counters and tables. That was one of the reasons why I had waited so long to use my coveted gift card: I knew I would have to actually tackle the piles!And the piles are there in the first place because I don't usually have the time to tackle them!!!

When the two Maids (hee-hee) walked through the house yesterday morning (cleared of clutter, ready to be cleaned) it was the same thing, "Oh, 3 hours, maybe 4. We should be out around lunchtime."

I was still skeptical, because I know my house.
I know it looks cozy, but is actually a lot bigger that it appears.
I know it looks clean on the surface, but there are things lurking. 
3 to 4 hours. Out around lunchtime.

At 4:15, those Maids finally crawled out the front door. Seven and a half hours.
They were tired. I'm sure they were sore.
They wanted to keep going at lunchtime (when I think they had fully realized this was going to take much longer than first anticipated), so around 1:30-ish I convinced them to take the crackers and Cokes I was offering. I knew they had to be hungry.

The funny thing about a clean house is that you now really notice the not-quite-clean areas.
After seeing them out, I walked back into the kitchen surveying my fresh-smelling surroundings... and found a few places they forgot.
(I don't blame them. I would, too, if I had worked for that long!)
I grabbed the Windex and wiped down the kitchen and dining room windows. I cleaned out the sliding glass door track. I scrubbed off some remaining spots on the floor.
This morning I got down on my hands and knees and dusted that little grill under the fridge doors.

With everything being so clean, it's easy to see the not-so-clean.
With everything being so clear, it's easy to see the clutter-y.

And I realize this is my life. I go back and forth with staying in the Word, with really delving into what it's teaching me. I go back and forth with keeping things up, and then letting them go, and then getting back into keeping them up again, only to *without quite realizing it* let them go again.
And I think this is why Jesus told us to remain in Him.
When we do that, it's easier to see the parts that aren't remaining in Him as much.
But when we don't spend time with Him, when we let ourselves get "dusty," it becomes harder to spot the messes and get them taken care of. They can easily overtake life without us even fully realizing it.
Or maybe we realize it, but we feel like we don't have the energy to take care of the "messes."

Maintenance requires daily time, both with my house and with myself.
And sometimes it requires bringing in the professionals to help you get back on track... whether Merry Maids or a trusted pastor or counselor or friend.

Often, we know full well how deep the dust goes. Others may look and say, "Oh, 3 to 4 hours. This is typical." But we know. We can be lulled into a bit of complacency by well-meaning people who say, "It's not that bad." And we think, "Yeah, I guess it's not. I'm sure it's fine."
But, we still know.

My house is clean now. I'm not saying it's going to remain spotless. Let's be realistic here.
But, it's easier to spot the messes. Easier to see the clutter that had become a part of daily living, however unwanted.
As the Maids left they were quite insistent that I should sign up for a monthly cleaning.
"Oh, this was a gift. It's not something I can do on a monthly basis."
"But, now that we have it all taken care of, the upkeep will be a lot easier," one of the maids implored.
"That's what I'm hoping," I said with a smile... 
(What I wanted to say was, "If I could pay you $180 to come clean monthly, I would pay you instead the $240 to do this twice a month! Are you kidding me? Do you think I don't want that? Of course I want that! The reality is, that's another car payment, which we can't wisely afford... keyword being wisely... which is why you came and cleaned everything... so I could hopefully keep up on it better myself." But, I didn't say that. Maybe I should have. *smile*)

Let's try to daily remain in Him, because then maintaining the "clean" is a lot easier!

(Thanks, Mom and Dad. What a blessing!!! It's sure nice to head into our busy season with a deeply clean house.)

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Random Outfit Post & Fashion Tip

I wore this last week and wasn't even going to take pictures.
(I really should take them every day, but the day ends and I realize I forgot after I'm already in my sweats.)
BUT, my friend who normally does NOT like my Random Outfit Posts actually said, "You need to post this outfit!"
I was stunned.
So, it was on my mind and *gasp* I remembered to take pictures!!!

AND, this outfit is a great example of a tried and true fashion trick.
(If you've ever been to a women's conference, chances are you've seen this.)

pulling it all together...
polkadot dress/tunic/whatever: H&M (on sale when the hubs took me to Vegas)
denim skinnes: H&M
blue layering tank: brand is Active Basic, best
cardi: Ronson for JCPenny's, via Goodwill (adore.)
belt: Came with a thrifted silk dress I found for ten cents. (Yes, I said ten cents.)
shoes: Stuart Weitzman for *insert name I can't remember here*, via Goodwill
sunglasses: Wal-Mart... about the only thing I like from there
earrings: I had taken them off and forgot to put them back on! *gasp* BUT, I was wearing my big gold circle ones.

Okay, ready for the tip/trick?
I don't have a super small waist. Now, quiet!!! I can hear some of you starting up even now. What I'm saying is that, in proportion to the rest of my body, I really don't have much of a waist at all. I'm kind of, for lack of a better term, boy-cut. Always have been, always will be. 

Note picture one:

*Cue entrance of belt & jackety-type-thing.*

Now, note picture two:

When you add a belt AND a jackety-type-thing (here shown as a cardigan), it creates a sort of visual illusion, suddenly giving you a waist.
Peek back and forth between these two pictures and you can totally see what I'm talking about.
Nothing has changed except for the addition of the cardigan!

And there you have one of the fashion tricks used tirelessly by professionals the world over.
Draw the eyes to the center with a belt, then cut off the sides of the belt (ie, waist) with a jacket/sweater, thus creating a new "waist."

I love these colors and patterns together!
Polkadots and plaid and teal... oh, my!

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

On Pruning and Life and Family and Such

During the summer I love to have petunias on my front porch.
I'm generally a sucker for red, white and blue... because we are The White House.
But, really, even a mix of flowers that includes petunias should be there.
I think it goes back to my Mom doing the same thing.
Every summer growing up we would have pots of petunias out front and the walk would be lined with their bursts of color.

This summer, due to busyness and life in general, I didn't get mine into their pots until 4th of July weekend.
And even after that I wasn't too diligent about their pruning.

See, the thing with petunias (okay, any flower, but stick with me here) is that you plant them, and then prune them down to about half of what they came from the store as... or more.
You can't take off too much, or they won't make it. But you need to take off a significant amount so the water will go to strengthen their roots.
This also allows for other shoots to come off of where you prune them, producing fullness and more flowers.
If you don't do it, they'll become one long leggy stalk, usually with only one flower on the end, shooting straight up and then falling over because they're so tall and out of proportion.
That's the sign of a neglected petunia.

So, I got them in their pots and pruned them back... and then life filled in again.
Generally, you should go out every few days and snap off the heads where the flowers have lived their lives and shriveled up. Once again, this lets new shoots grow and doesn't send nutrients to stalks that aren't growing flowers.
I stopped doing that. I did the initial prune, but didn't keep up with the maintenance.  

The other day I realized how leggy my petunias were getting. Yes, there were some flowers... but they were not full and fluffy and healthy like they should be. They were still growing, but it was all in one direction, and the were getting so long that they were falling over!
They were laying on the dirt, which was causing their leaves to rot, and they looked quite anemic.
"What the heck?" I thought. "Hey, I planted you guys! I pruned you. I fed you. I watered you (okay, maybe not as often as you wanted, but I did). What's going on?"
Then I realized the problem wasn't with them, it was with me.
I had grown neglectful. I hadn't been doing the maintenance pruning.
It was my fault.

So, this morning I went out and pruned my petunias again.
I pinched off all the old, dead blossoms and trimmed those leggy stalks back so new ones will branch out.
In about a week we'll start to the see the results, and my front porch will be the better for it.

I know flower and garden talks are cliche illustrations, but the point remains true.
So often we look at our circumstances and think, "Will I ever feel settled? Will things ever be smooth? Why do I feel pinched and pulled all the time?"
Yes, the issues in life can be constant... but I'm realizing that the One who tends my growth cares so much for me that He is constantly pruning, always trimming. He wants me to live the fullest and most beautiful life possible!!!

But, unlike the petunias on my front porch, we have a say in our pruning. "Ouch, God! I don't like this! I'm going to lean away and not let You touch my life for a while."
Then we become out of balance, often growing too far in one direction and falling over from the weight of our skewed life.
We think it's easier, more comfortable without the pruning... but the reality is we wind up not looking very nice to those around us. Instead of full color and many blossoms, we're barely able to squeak out one blossom on the end of our lopsided stem.

I want to be thankful that my Creator cares so much for me that He's always trimming away the dead stuff, pruning the areas of my life so they don't get out of balance.
Sometimes he pinches off a long stem that I thought was fine, but obviously needed to go.
Other times He's simply pulling off a blossom that has lived its life, run its course.
I want to stay submitted to that, even if it gets uncomfortable at times!!!

I also want to stay attentive to my children, and follow God's leading to be diligent with pruning in their lives. That's my God-given responsibility as a parent. Not to say that Nate and I get this right all the time, because we're imperfect parents just like everyone else on this planet.
When we realize our kids are starting to become too out of proportion or falling over, the problem isn't usually with them... it's because we've not been diligent with their pruning.
Ooooo... ouch.
BUT, we've found that when we keep ourselves submitted to the pruning of our Creator, we're better at having wisdom with the pruning of our children.

And our family winds up fuller and more beautiful for it.

The great thing about pruning is you can always do it. Of course, the longer you wait the more there is to prune, and the more painful and time consuming it becomes.
But, you can do it.
And no matter how long it's been, you'll be better off for it.
(So will your kids, just be carful to not take too much off at one time.)

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