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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Mowing

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Yesterday I mowed the yard. I was doing it as an act of love for Levi. He’s been reffing trying to earn some extra money. I didn’t want him to have to come home after reffing in the hot Texas sun for 6 hours to mowing the yard and the neighbor’s yard. Another story in itself…anyway. As I was mowing, I kept thinking the mower wasn’t cutting the grass short enough. At one point, I reached down with one hand to move a lever which didn’t move so I just kept mowing knowing something wasn’t quite right. I mean, it was cutting the tall pieces of grass but it didn’t feel like it was short enough. When Levi got home, he was very appreciative that the grass was mowed. I told him that I thought something wasn’t right. He had mowed our neighbor’s backyard a week ago and her grass was really high. He put the blades up and didn’t lower them. It made perfect sense.
I can see a spiritual correlation here for myself. I work hard, I try to do the right things but come up feeling like something's not exactly right. I try to tweak something but it's still not right. I don't want to live that way. I want to live fully engaged with all blades going. Sometimes I feel that way and I've realized it's a phase and kind of cyclical. I feel that way when I'm tired I've struggled this last week with reading my Bible. I can really tell a difference in my actions, reactions, and compassion for others when I don't stay connected, not just in reading but also in praying too. I'm going to make an effort this week to be more consistent. We've got a lot going on this week and I'm already tired....I know the week hasn't started.

HELLO!!!

Well this new job thing is definitely cramping my style.  We are now almost to December.  So, what I'm on a monthly blog entry schedule?!!  I realize that I want to blog when I'm aggravated and usually my aggravation comes from FB. How stupid is that??  I've really considered ditching fb for a while.  I just haven't had the guts to do it yet. I don't to be even more disconnected with my friends.  Lame, I know!!  I'm trying to figure out how to be able to see my groups, events, and messages without looking at all the status updates...those are what get me.  I've started a Beth Moore Bible Study on Daniel with my Life Transformation Group.  We're only a couple of weeks in but I'm really enjoying what we've done so far.  In the study, Moore talks about us relating to the Babylon culture in Biblical times and how we are conforming to society's norms and pressures and trying to live up to that.  And how the surface and outward appearance and how we're perceived is what is most important.  She also challenges us to fast something during part of the study as a way to focus ourselves and remind ourselves to stay true to Christ in the midst of living in a Babylonian culture.  Facebook was the first thing that popped into my head. I haven't decided but I need to. Since I've been working, I haven't been on FB nearly as much and it's actually really nice and refreshing but this week off, I've been on a lot...it's just annoying to me.  It's like a train wreck though, I can't look away;)  How's that for mindless blogging about something with very little significance or meat???

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pain Relaxers

So....I've been having pain in my back since I began working.  I blamed it on stress.  Well, this morning, it moved to my neck and was pretty bad. Levi made me a last minute appointment with our doctor.  He couldn't even "adjust" my neck because it was so tender.  I did get some good meds that have got me pretty loopy and saying some crazy stuff.  I called them pain relaxers....and I guess in part, that's true.  I am thankful tomorrow is Friday. It has been a long week and I am ready for the weekend!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Excuses, Life Change, & Sucky Times

I've had some thoughts brewing in my head and I'm not sure how to even get them out or if this will make any sense but here goes.

So, this past month and a half has been a bit of a transition for our family with me going back to work full time.  I don't want to make any stay at home moms mad but being a stay at home mom was cake FOR ME in comparison to working full time and still being a mom and having all of the mommy responsibilities (kids' schedules, my schedule, hubs' schedule, laundry, etc).  I am so blessed I got to stay home for the 7 1/2 years that I did.  I treasured those days but my hat is off to you moms who work and Mom at the same time.   I do have to give props to my husband who has been killer at helping around the house and adding a lot more "home" responsibility to his plate too.

With that said, one of the things I grieved (maybe over dramatic) about going back to work was my time with my friends and keeping up with them during the week. I so miss that now.  I really worried about staying connected.  My friend, Shelley, told me a few months ago, "You and the other friends will have to be very intentional about that.  You can't be responsible for both sides."  I really appreciated that and I'm learning that it's very true.  At the same time, I do miss being on facebook and meeting up for lunch.  I really enjoyed those things. I've dropped the ball a bit with connecting with some friends and others I've tried to connect and felt like I've hit a brick wall.  It's such a tight rope walk for me some times.  I'm trying to give myself a break and listen to Shelley's words and let others respond or not and not take it personally either way.  Life changes and things change and that's okay, it really is.  I'm trying not to be too hard on others and give grace, that's hard for me at times.

This past year has been filled with challenges and in some respects we survived some really hard times.  I've been thinking alot about Galations 6:2, Help carry each other's burdens. In this way you will follow Christ's teachings.  I've definitely felt like I've had friends who have helped do this for us and they did it so well.  They came along side when we needed them most and loved us and carried our burdens with us.  I'm so thankful for that.  I also felt like we had some opportunities to do that with others and it's such a sweet bond that is formed when you do that (on either side).  I'm realizing that if I stay in my little safe bubble where no one knows what is really going on with me and I act like everything is fine, I miss out on so many authentic life experiences and relationships.  If I stay comfortable and safe and with my "church" friends, I miss out on what God has called me to.  Busy-ness is no excuse....we were never promised easy or clean or drama free living.  And I'm thankful. I pray that God would continue to call me out into relational living and out of my bubble. 

This last month or so has been hard in regards to scheduling and being tired but it hit me today that I have to be intentional about my relationships and staying connected, I have to carry the burdens of others when life sucks, and I don't want to make excuses as to why I can't do and be who God has called me to be and the things He has called me to do. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Random Thankful Thoughts

I'm sitting in a quiet house tonight just reflecting on my life....I have a lot to be thankful for. I love it when all of those thankful thoughts hit me during the same day.  I feel very lucky.

I love that my husband will do small tasks that mean a HUGE amount to me, like vacuuming and picking up the kitchen.

I love coming home and seeing a well manicured lawn.  He's so good at that and I'm thankful for the extra energy that he puts into it.

I love having my friend cut my hair.  She and her husband mean more to us than they will ever know, we try to tell them:)

I love meeting friends and shopping and feeling like part of their family when mine is so far away.  I love when they treat my kids like their own "grands."

I love that our neighbors who are teenagers will come hang out at our house and play with our kids.

I love that our neighbors will add a forgotten grocery item to their late night shopping list and deliver it. 

I love that our neighbors who are teenagers will ask us to borrow random food to make a dish they are craving, even when their parents tell them not to "bother" us.

I love that my kids love to sing and dance and don't care who is watching.  They love to roll the windows down and turn the music up.

More than ever before, I'm trying to savor the thankful moments that I have.  I'm reminded that time is fleeting and precious and I want to enjoy these moments.  I want to have an attitude of gratitude (cliche as it sounds). 




Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day Holiday- Not for Everyone


Happy Labor Day to you all, well maybe not all of us.  In Ghana, there are around 7,000 children working in the fishing industry. Most of you know that our former neighbors began a non profit organization called Mercy Project.  Levi actually traveled to Ghana 2 summers ago to work alongside that organization.  http://levilowry.com/2010/08/ghana-part-1.html You can read some of his story there.  We are very fond of these folks and try to do whatever we can to help.  Please read my post today in it's entirety. Lots of Mommy bloggers are joining forces today to get the word out about Mercy Project and these precious children.

There’s an estimated 7,000 children who work in the Ghana fishing industry. Some of
these children are as young as 5 and 6 years old.  All of these children are slaves.
–Mercy Project

Today many in our country will take a day off from our jobs to celebrate the social and economic achievements of American workers.  No matter if we’re celebrating at home or at the beach, we’re entering into a tradition that has largely been shaped by Labor Unions - organizations that are dedicated to protecting workers’ interests and improving their wages, hours, and working conditions.  Today as we lounge around or hang out with friends and family, we’re not only celebrating hard work, we’re honoring fair, ethical working practices and the laws that prevent discrimination, abuse, and child labor in our country.  Without these laws in place (and enforced), the most vulnerable members of society suffer.  Who are the most vulnerable? Children. 

Today as we’re celebrating the systems in our own country that strive to prevent injustices like child trafficking and child labor, we’re mindful of the many child slaves around the world who are unprotected and the organizations, like Mercy Project, who are working to free them.

As a mother, it’s difficult for me to imagine my children working 14 hours a day, 7 days a week.  I’m unable to wrap my brain around the thought of my children engaged in long, hard days of physical labor, eating one meal a day, and then falling asleep at night on a dirt floor filled with other slave children.  Yet this is the daily reality for kids who have been trafficked into the fishing industry in Ghana, Africa.  As with much of Africa, there is a great deal of poverty in Ghana. Unfortunately, this leaves many mothers in an unimaginable position: sell their children to someone who can take better care of them or watch them starve to death. Most of the mothers are told their children will be given food, housing, and an education. Instead, the kids are often taken to Lake Volta where they become child slaves and their mothers never see them again.  Thankfully, Mercy Project is working to break the cycles of trafficking around Lake Volta by providing alternate, more efficient, sustainable, fishing methods for villagers – ultimately eliminating the need for child slaves.  Because of the work Mercy Project is doing in Ghana, the first group of children will be freed this month from Lake Volta.
VIDEO

We invite you to watch this moving, 10 minute documentary about the issues surrounding child labor and trafficking in Ghana and most importantly the hope Mercy Project is bringing to children and entire communities in Africa.  Mercy Project is the only NGO working on Lake Volta addressing the injustice of child labor and child trafficking at its root - by strengthening the Ghanaian economy and eliminating the structures that cause the demand for trafficked children.
Whether these ideas of child labor, child trafficking, and modern-day slavery are new to you or you’re aware of these injustices, but need to hear some good news every once in awhile, we invite you to become a part of what Mercy Project is doing in Ghana.  When Mercy Project frees their first group of children this month, we can all celebrate together.

Please check out Mercy Project. 
Mercy Project’s Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/mercyproject

Mercy Project on Twitter - https://twitter.com/mercyproject

Mercy Project’s Website: http://mercyproject.net/

Saturday, September 1, 2012

3 Months & a Whole Lot of Change Later.....

My bloggy skills are not what they used to be!  It's been 3 months since my last blog and a whole lot of life change.  Let me recap...the kids and I spent a few weeks in Florida (Levi was there for one of them).  We had a great time with my family.  We came back and hit the ground running.  We've had a great summer.  July got crazy busy for me.  I studied, took, and passed my two teaching exams.  I led worship for almost 2 months at church.  I began interviewing and landed a teaching job.  I completed a digital analytics job as H & L Lowry Services, LLC.  All this was within a 2 week period.  It was crazy to say the least.  Okay so now you're basically caught up on my life.

These last couple of weeks as I've re-entered the "paid" work force, I've realized a few wonderful things about my life.  My kids are champs.  They are flexible and have adapted beautifully to our life change.  Levi has been amazing.  (For those of you that know him and have heard him speak of my 7 year sabbatical, let me defend him for a second.  He actually told me as I was interviewing that if a job didn't feel right, not to accept.  Fortunately, it did fit and feel right and I'm a working woman.)

In marriage, there is give and take. And when that give and take is balanced, that makes for a sweet relationship. We are a team and I realize I fall deeper in love with him every day.  And it's not that ooey gooey mushy love stuff.  It's a strong love and care and regard.  It's the kind of love that says, "Think about Levi before yourself."  I've not always been good at that, I'm honestly still not all that good at that.  I also realize that relationships are cyclical.  It's so nice to be in a season where things are great between us and life is good.