The author or speaker from whom you learn the most is not the one who teaches you something you didn’t know before, but the one who helps you take a truth with which you have quietly struggled, give it expression, and speak it clearly and boldly.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Sunday, December 2, 2007
I'm not just making this stuff up. Check this out:
Now while they were on their way, it occurred that Jesus entered a certain village, and a woman named Martha received and welcomed Him into her house.
And she had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord's feet and was listening to His teaching.
But Martha [overly occupied and too busy] was distracted with much serving; and she came up to Him and said, Lord, is it nothing to You that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me [to lend a hand and do her part along with me]!
But the Lord replied to her by saying, Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things;
There is need of only one or but a few things. Mary has chosen the good portion [that which is to her advantage], which shall not be taken away from her.
Luke 10:38-42 (Amp)
Christ says that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He also told Martha that there is need of only one or but a few things. And He is the main thing, because He deems that Mary has chosen the "good portion." Christ tries to keep it so simple for us. And we constantly complicate it for ourselves. I believe that often we, like Martha, get distracted with much serving. Overly occupied and too busy. And we lose sight of what is really important. What is my calling? We ask ourselves. What we should be asking instead is, To Whom am I called???
I am called first to Jesus. After that, whatever He asks me to do, I will do. But I am called to a relationship with Him. Serving, ministry, and everything else, should flow from that main thing.
Maybe I'm splitting hairs here, but God was pretty clear when He said this:
I am the Lord your God, Who has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
You shall have no other gods before or besides Me.
You shall not make yourself any graven image [to worship it] or any likeness of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;
You shall not bow down yourself to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me,
But showing mercy and steadfast love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments. Exodus 20:2-6 (Amp)
It is so easy, I think, as a Christian to let service (all in the name of God, of course) become our god. I am realizing how easy it is to slip into this. God is bringing me back to Himself. My calling, my purpose, my ministry, my reason for living is God. Obviously, if I am keeping Him at the center I will want to express that in many different ways. Sometimes that may mean serving, sometimes that may mean listening. Resting. Breathing. Being.
Here are our marching orders, direct from the Son of Man Himself:
And you shall love the Lord your God out of and with your whole heart and out of and with all your soul (your life) and out of and with all your mind (with your faculty of thought and your moral understanding) and out of and with all your strength. This is the first and principal commandment. Mark 12:30 (Amp)
It always boils down to this, doesn't it???
Friday, November 30, 2007
...and I will bind you to me forever with chains of righteousness and justice and love and mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness and love, and you will really know me then as you never have before. Hosea 2:19-20 (Living)
It is great to be reminded that even when you're acting like the biggest jerk on the planet, that God doesn't leave. He is moved with compassion for you. He sticks around. He isn't shocked or afraid. Thank You, Lord, for Your loving-kindness. Your mercy does truly endure forever.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I must admit that I wasn't really all that excited about the ultrasound. I mean, I truly don't know how many I've had by now. I thought that some of the magic would be gone. But it wasn't. Seeing little Buckland #4 today was just as exciting, just as thrilling as seeing Isabel in her first ultrasound. I even got all misty-eyed. I was also expecting to see just a little blob on the screen. But you can already see arms, legs, hands, feet, etc. Everything looked perfect and healthy. I have been in kind of a pregnancy shock/denial up until this point. But today it brought it home for me. Very cool.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
1. How in the world does this keep happening?
2. Does God hate me? Because I think He's slowly trying to kill me.
3. I really need to do a Google search on the subject of "contraception."
4. Am I ever going to look human again? Okay, semi-human???
5. This is all rather embarrassing, isn't it?
6. The Old Woman Who Lived In a Shoe ain't got nothin' on me!!!
7. Taking over the world, one Buckland at a time.
8. This really puts a damper on my swimsuit modeling career.
Now before I get bombarded with reprimanding posts and comments about what a BLESSING all this is, I know all that--theoretically. I know that the Bible says that children are a blessing from the Lord. But it isn't specific about the quantity...
All kidding aside, Ren and I are pretty good at making some awesome kids, if I may say so. So if this one turns out anything like the other three, everything will be just fine. Pray that we don't get a dud.
I guess I better post now that I don't know the due date. Due to nursing and moon cycles and whatnot, we're not sure when this baby's actually going to arrive. I had my first real appointment on Thursday, but they really weren't very helpful. I go in for an ultrasound in a couple of weeks to determine all the details. So we will keep everyone posted.
So there it is, folks. Sometime next year Isabel, Josephine, and Oliver will have yet ANOTHER sibling. I can't believe my baby boy, who is just 10 and 1/2 months old, will be a big brother. This is all just way too surreal.
Monday, November 5, 2007
Friday, November 2, 2007
There's nothing extraordinarily special about turning 31. Last year, when I turned 30, everyone of my dearest friends gave me a phone call to wish me a happy birthday. I realized that was really the best gift anyone could give. Just the fact that they remembered, in all of life's craziness, to take time and stop and give someone a call on their birthday. I guess it's true that as you get older, it's the simple things that mean the most.
With all that said, yesterday was one of the nicest birthdays I've had in a long time. It's usually when you stop expecting all these great things to happen to you that they usually happen. I had a great surprise birthday lunch with my friends Amy M., Amy F., Kristen, Holly, Angie, and my sister-in-law Kim. I thought I was going out with just the two Amy's. But when I arrived at our lunch destination, I saw the group of all my friends sitting there. Honestly, the first thought that ran through my head was what a strange coincidence it was that we were all having lunch at the same place! Not too quick on the uptake. But it was such a joy to see everyone at the same place at the same time. I can't remember the last real girly lunch I've had. My lunches usually consist of eating dry sandwiches on stale double fiber wheat bread filled with slimy deli meat, standing up in the kitchen while playing server to 3 small kids. The lunch was fabulous, my friends are fabulous. And the ones who couldn't make it, either called or sent lovely Jane Austen e-cards.
Then, as if that weren't enough, when I got home from lunch, I found my evil 3cm deep stainless steel, factory installed kitchen sink replaced with this beauty
This picture doesn't really even do it justice. And the faucet Ren picked out is way cooler than that one. The sink is big enough for all 3 of my kids to take a bath in. Or at least it looks that way. Especially compared to my previous sink. I guess my sweet husband finally got tired of hearing me cuss out my last sink every time I spilled copious amounts of water on myself and the floor while doing dishes. Ren says that the major benefit of having a sink this deep is that you can't see when you have dishes in it. Great. Another way I can add more denial to my life!
Thanks to all my great friends and family who helped make my birthday so special. It is truly one I'll never forget!
Monday, October 15, 2007
First of all, I've always known that these guys were muy talented. But this CD is crazy good. Suzanne's vocals are the best I've ever heard. She has really pushed herself on this CD, reaching notes and ranges that I can't even comprehend coming out of another human being's mouth. The musical arrangements of all the songs are perfection. And the lyrics. Don't even get me started on the lyrics. They've reached a level of, sometimes brutal, honesty mingled with loving truth that, let's face it, a lot of artists are afraid to go for these days. Especially Christian artists.
Here's the deal. I've recently purchased a bunch of new music. So I've been listening to all kinds of great stuff. But it's this album that gets stuck in my head. No matter what, you can find me humming or singing one of their songs all throughout the day. There are so many songs that I love, like "Politix," "Turning This Around," "Lay Down," and "Sonrise." But my favorite song on the CD is the title track, #5, "Inclined." Here's a sample of the lyrics:
With a blanket of mystery, You cover me like a little child.
And even though I don't understand You, at least I'm warm tonight.
I love people who aren't afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves. I love artists who are able to do the same through their music. I love the truth. I love people that aren't afraid to look into the very face of darkness and look for God, even there. These guys have a story to tell. And they tell it. Very beautifully, on this new CD. So be sure to check it out for yourself. It's well worth it.
I've noticed that when I get to feeling this way, I really see the ol' "fight or flight" response in myself in action. I either get snappy and a wee bit confrontational, or I hole up and want to take a permanent vacation from life. I think it may be the result of focusing on too many things at the same time. And before I know it, I find myself at the foot of this cold, ominous mountain of stuff that needs to be moved from Point A to Point B, and I haven't the slightest clue on how to even begin to do that. It really is all about perspective, though, isn't it??? According to Matthew 17:20, it's because my faith is too small. Jesus says,
For if you had faith even as small as a tiny mustard seed you could say to this mountain, 'Move!' and it would go far away. Nothing would be impossible. Matthew 17:20 (Living)
I'd like to think that my faith is larger than a mustard seed. But at times, I'm afraid it isn't even that large! Especially during those times when I am feeling most overwhelmed. In that very moment, we cease to operate out of faith, and begin to walk in fear. How many of God's plans are aborted or disrupted when we choose to react in fear (fight or flight) instead of responding with faith? What I need to do, in that moment, when I feel like I am about to crack under the pressure, is stop, pray, and ask the Father to give me more faith and His perspective. For everything is possible for those that believe. And I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
However, I realized something the other day. It's not my faith that gets me through these things. It's God Himself. It's not faith in faith that I need, but faith in a faithful God. That certainly takes some of the pressure off, doesn't it??? Thank God that it's not my pitifully small faith that will get me through tough times. But a rather large and reliable God. My faith just lets me enjoy the process and the journey, and hopefully see God's hand guiding me along the way.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
The bottom line is that when we have a crisis of faith--and we all do at some point or another--the only thing we can do sometimes is stand and trust. I was encouraged by this. I hope you are, too.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
One of my favorite minor characters is Andy, played by Ed Helms. Yes, I know he's incredibly annoying. But darn funny. When they introduced his character in the second season, I was so hoping he'd become a regular on the show. Apparently, I wasn't the only one since he's now on staff at the Scranton Branch of Dunder-Mifflin.
Well, you can imagine my delight when I found this gem the other day. It's called "Zombie American" starring Ed Helms. It's a short documentary about the discrimination one experiences as a member of one of America's minority groups--the walking dead. Don't forget to watch Chapters 2 and 3. Enjoy!
Monday, October 8, 2007
I just downloaded Sunday! by Tree63. And. Oh. My. God. It's rocking my face off. I can't stop listening to it. I have been a Tree63 fan since their self-titled debut in 2001, which has always been my favorite album of theirs. Sunday! may either be just as good as that one, if not better. I can't be certain of that just yet, because it's still too early to tell. A CD has to stand the test of time for me. Will I still be actively searching for songs from it on my iPod two years from now??? I hope so. Some of my favorites on this one are "Sunday!", "Becoming", "World Undone", "Foolishness", "New Creation", and "The Revolution." I could honestly list every song on it, it's that good. They seem to be drawing a bit more from their punk rock roots, which always gets my seal of approval. Yet, every song is still beautifully written and anthemic, so much so that I can often be found shouting "WHOOO-HOOO!!!" when I'm listening to it by myself in the car. Rest assured, when that happens, it's got to be good.
I give it 4 & 1/2 stars.
Go out and buy it now!!!
Friday, October 5, 2007
I imagine that's what the disciples felt like on Friday when Jesus was crucified. This was the Man on whom they'd pinned all their hopes. Wasn't He supposed to come and save them??? Why, instead, is He nailed to a cross??? What happened??? What went wrong??? Isn't He supposed to save us???
Now, He's dying!!!
John and Simon Peter saw the body of their Lord gone from the tomb. And they believed. It wasn't until then that they understood the Scriptures that Jesus must rise from the dead (John 20:8-9).
I don't know why things have to die first in order to bring about newness of life. But they do. They always do. I am realizing that I have nothing. I am nothing. I bring absolutely nothing to the table. If the Lord has called me to preach...and I truly believe He has...for this was never my plan or crazy idea, after all...then I must die. I must die in order that He may live through me. I must decrease that He may increase. It's not pretty. And it's certainly not always fun. But here I am. Where else can an ambassador in chains go? How can I extinguish this blazing fire shut up in my bones? I cannot.
And I would not.
I read this morning that when Peter, John, and the other disciples spotted Jesus' resurrected form from their fishing boat, they quickly headed to shore and not only found Jesus, but also a hot breakfast waiting for them (John 21:9). After all that had been...suffering the loss of their Lord, fleeing His side and denying His name...and after a hard night's work...Jesus is the one waiting for them. With a hot meal.
It's Friday, but Sunday's comin'...Hallelujah.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I bet that whatever you guys list as your bad habit, it won't be as gross as mine.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
But today after church, I ventured out with my family for lunch, only after we discovered that Cracker Barrell, once again, had its typical 45-minute wait established as we arrived. So onward to Applebee's. I wasn't really looking forward to it, but I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by my meal. And particularly by Tyler Florence's Garlic Fries. First off, let me just say that it was SO NICE of him to take time out of his busy schedule just to make my fries. You can't get better service than that, in my opinion. And. Oh. My. I am already regretting the fact that I ate the entire contents of the fry dish that was the size of my 9 month old son's head. But strangely enough, I didn't feel that way as I was scarfing them down. Each fry had this buttery, garlicky, rosemary and Parmesan cheese magic dust sprinkled all over it. I am certain that I've surpassed my caloric intake for the week. But, man, they were good. Apparently, good enough for me to blog about.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
Friday, September 7, 2007
She's going to a K4 program at a church nearby. She's been such a trooper and she absolutely loves it. We've gotten no protests, so far. It's only a few hours a day, five days a week. But it gives me some time with my other two babies. I've realized that when Isabel's around, she likes to run the show. With her at school, it's a lot quieter around here!
Monday, September 3, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
I do want to ask you all to be praying for me as I venture into this weekend. It's funny how these things go. A couple weeks out, you feel great. You've got some ideas. You're confident that God is giving you a word for the people. And then as D-day approaches, you feel less and less confident that you should be even speaking English in front of any one person, let alone a room full of people! Let alone communicating timeless truths from the Word of God. No pressure. Sheesh. I'm not nervous at all. Heh heh. A-hem. Please pray for me.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
All I can say about this show is , "Oh my dear Lord." What have we become? Seriously. My kids and I have been seeing commercials for this mysterious show on Nick Jr. for the past month. My girls were captivated by the ads from the get go. So much so that they would rewind the DVR over and over again so they could sing "Party in my tummy" one more time. It just started airing this week and already my girls are hooked. Heck, I'm hooked. This is, hands down, the most insane, freakazoid, creative, entertaining, crack-inspired kids show I have ever seen in my life. Anything else you've ever seen? Forget it. Teletubbies? Mere child's play compared to this show. Banana Splits? More like Banana Splats. I haven't quite yet figured out what the heck this show is supposed to be about. It's basically a tribute to all things pop culture packaged in electric neon candy-coated colors and hip hop music stuffed in a half hour segment. It's sort of what I would imagine to resemble a kid's version of Hell. And yes, that is Biz Markie in the ad. Today's episode featured Hector Jimenez, or "Esqueleto", from Nacho Libre. I'm completely not kidding about any of this. Do yourself a favor and watch this show. You'll thank me (or quite possibly hate me) for it later.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
I'm not totally giving up on Blogger, though. I don't know where this relationship with Facebook is going. I'm just having a lot of fun right now. And I want to invite each and every one of you to come and meet my new friend, Facebook. You'll love him, too. I just know it.
(Oh, and don't forget to request me as a friend! Anyone can join!)
Monday, August 6, 2007
Anyway, I'm still reeling from all of Beth's teachings. She's such an excellent teacher. Mainly, though, I was so blessed by all the women on this retreat. I looked around at one point at all the women at this retreat. Many of these women didn't know God when they first came to Mill Creek. But I've seen, firsthand, what God can do to a person's heart. These women are loving, giving, and serving like I've never witnessed before in my life. These women's lives are changed and they live their lives giving glory to the One who's forever changed them. The precious ladies at our church are evidence of the love and grace and power of an amazing Savior. Glory to God!
God bless you, Ladies of Fusion Church! Thank you for another awesome and amazing retreat!
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Also, the above picture is not just some random hip, cool name for a church. It's OUR new name. Yep. As of today, we are no longer Mill Creek Community Church. We are calling ourselves Fusion Church. Yeah, I said it. Jealous? I bet you wish you were going to a church called Fusion Church. I do. Oh wait...I do go to that church!
Sunday, July 22, 2007
So, I saw this on my friend Doug's site. Too much fun. I knew too many Simpsons fans that would appreciate this, so I had to share it. Apparently, you too can be a Simpson. This is what I would look like if I were a resident of Springfield:
I must admit, it doesn't really look like me. I think it's actually a bit too flattering. I'm really not this hot in real life.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Here it is, folks. My couch. I have this hate/hate relationship with my sofa. It bothers me like nothing else does. I try not to look at it anymore. I pretend it doesn't exist. I refuse to even sit on it. I try to avoid it at all costs. But there it sits. Staring at me. Taunting me with its hideousness.
Allow me to vent a little bit about this piece of crap that we own. Yes, that's how strongly I feel about this...this...thing that graces my living room. One of the first things that people see when they walk into my house...is this beauty. First of all, I married into this couch, okay. I didn't select it for myself. It belonged to my husband and his sister first. Now, I am sure that when they chose it--11 blasted years ago--it had at least some semblance of a shape. Now, it reminds me of a dirty pair of crumpled gray and black socks that sits in the middle of my living room. It sits really low to the ground, so your knees sort of come up to your ears--reminiscent of the birthing position. And 3/4 of your leg is hanging off the seat. Also, the back cushions have absolutely no shape to them, so I am constantly trying to fluff them or beat them into submission. And when I say "beat" I'm not exaggerating. It always starts innocent enough. I walk--daily, I might add--over to the couch to merely fluff a cushion or two...Then minutes later I find myself crying, speaking in unknown tongues, sweating profusely, fists pounding in a fury, with my daughters looking on in complete astonishment. Now you understand why I avoid it like the plague.
I told Ren just tonight that I believe our couch is affecting our marriage. I don't sit with him on it anymore. I take the recliner, and he suffers--alone--on the couch. It looks like something that would belong in a frat house. Seriously. Do I deserve this?
So, if you feel so inclined to contribute to the Buckland Family Couch Fund, feel free to email me, leave me comments, etc. We take checks, cash, and credit cards. Heck, I'll even trade sofas with you. Your sofa can't be as ugly as mine.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Sinead O’Connor. I bet just reading that name sets off a firestorm of emotional responses in various readers. Many of you probably thought, or hoped, she’d disappeared. Nope, she’s still around. And she’s just released a new CD. I’ve heard bits and pieces of it, and it’s pretty good. It’s called Theology, and it’s a collection of songs that she’s written containing mostly Scripture, predominantly from the Psalms and the Prophets of the Old Testament. Christianity Today did an album review and an interview with Sinead. I was very impressed with and proud of CT for doing the interview and getting her to open up about her beliefs. Well, apparently, I am one of 5 Christians who feels this way. She has some unconventional beliefs that have offended many readers over at CT. I’ve read both the review, the interview, and some of the comments, and I have some thoughts I'd like to share.
First of all, I’m not necessarily the biggest Sinead fan in the world, but I have a couple of friends that would probably contend for that title! I do, however, think she’s incredibly talented and I have enjoyed many of her songs and CDs. I welcome Sinead’s thoughts on God and could maybe learn a thing or two from her. I don’t agree with all her ideas, but they certainly don’t scare me either. We often react in fear to ideas that are different than our own. Here’s why I think that is: We are deathly afraid of being wrong. Seriously. What would happen if you woke up one day and everything you built your life on proved to be a lie? That’s what happens when you place your trust in a belief system over the person of God. Oswald Chambers said, “When we become simply a promoter or a defender of a particular belief, something within us dies. That is not believing God — it is only believing our belief about Him.” I love that. Let God be true, and every man a liar. We love that verse when we’re talking about other people. But that even applies to me. And even to you. Let my convictions be damned. If they’re not from God, then I don’t want them anyway. Chambers also says, “My goal is God Himself, not joy nor peace nor even blessing, but Himself, my God.” That is all I endeavor to know in this life. And with that involves continually laying down the dearly beloved white-washed belief systems that have made me feel so safe in the past, when they block my view from seeing Him more clearly, knowing Him more intimately, and touching His heart.
I disagree with Sinead on several counts. I do believe God is perfect. And I do believe that He is perfect love and perfect justice, and therefore pronounces judgment, at the same time. He is God, after all! Her “theology” has always been a little bit muddy for me, but that’s okay. Mine maybe for her and even for some of you. I would even challenge her and encourage her to explore the greater depths of His personality and character, even those parts that might make her uncomfortable, as I do the same. It's usually in the wrestling and in the pushing through to God that we catch our greatest glimpses of Him. At the same time, I truly believe that she knows Jesus, and has for a long time. This isn’t the first album she’s ever made about Him. When she talks about Him, and sings about Him, she’s singing about the God that I know and love. No, she doesn’t go to church, so she doesn’t use the same church-y language that we do. When she talks about Jesus being “like an energy” it reminds me of Jesus as a Spirit. That’s how I think of Him and relate to Him. That’s what the Bible says that He is. It’s not THAT different of a concept really. People have never been comfortable with that whole idea anyway. Following a bunch of written-down rules is a whole lot easier, and safer, than a Spirit. But a whole lot more boring and binding.
Our God is a crazy God. At what point in the Bible does He ever do anything that’s safe, conventional, or predictable? He commands His most devoted follower to slay his own son. He tells a prophet to marry a whore. He impregnates a virgin. He’s certainly a lot more exciting, creative, passionate, and unpredictable than we ever give Him credit for. We all have heard the saying, “You can’t put God in a box.” Well, it’s true. And that unfortunately, like Sinead, makes us uncomfortable.
Here’s my point: Let the poor woman speak. Welcome her into the God conversation. She’s been ostracized enough. Let’s not shun her simply because her ideas don’t line up with our own. And let’s remember to have some grace.
Saturday, July 7, 2007
Friday, July 6, 2007
Just got some more awesome photos of our beach trip from my friend, Shannon. See, I really AM in beach denial! Had to share three of my favorites. The first one is of all the crazy, wonderful people that were there. I love and miss each and every one of you! Conspicuously missing from this photo is the Whitener Family. There were some excuses about cabinets, flooring, and flying with toddlers that kept them from coming. In their defense, they did have the furthest distance to travel. But if they miss out again next year, I will be suspicious!
In our family photo, I especially love Ren's "beach hair"! He's got the beach bum look down! I can't believe we're all looking at the camera in this one. This is now my new desktop background.
This one of Nora (Shannon's oldest), Isabel, and JoJo is a work of art. Thanks for the great photos, Shannon!
Thursday, July 5, 2007
We did. We've been celebrating the 4th every year with these crazy cats for the last three years. And I must say, we always have a great time. The food is great, the fireworks are great, and everyone's still alive to talk about it the next day. Thanks, Mike & Suzanne, as always for a great 4th of July!
Monday, July 2, 2007
Alright. I'm back. And I'm so sad. I think I've been in denial a bit. I've tried to pretend that I'm still at the beach. But there's just something about Winder, GA that doesn't really lend itself to a beach state of mind. Seriously. That was one of the best vacations we've ever had. Now, I am scheming to figure out ways to be on a permanent vacation on Isle of Palms! If you've never been to Isle of Palms, SC then you owe it to yourself to go. It's about 30 minutes from Charleston. Typically, I am a Gulf girl. But the beach where we were staying was incredible. Very warm water. High afternoon waves. Sandy white beaches. Very family friendly, and not touristy at all. I could honestly make this a yearly beach destination. It'd been two years since our last beach trip. Hopefully it won't be so long the next time we go.
We went with a bunch of old friends. It was great catching up and meeting the newest additions. Going with a group of friends and splitting the cost is definitely the way to go. Very affordable and a great way to go on vacation and not feel guilty about it afterwards.
My kids were great. Really the hardest aspect of the trip was the travel to and fro. But they absolutely loved everything about the beach. Definitely a requirement for a Buckland!
Most of all, I am so impressed with my husband. He has such amazing patience with the kids. More than I do, I'm afraid. These were my friends that we were vacationing with, and he fit right in and was such a trooper the whole time. The best part of the whole trip was getting to spend so much time with him and my sweet kids. And the best part about coming home was knowing that I get to keep them and bring them home with me!
Friday, June 22, 2007
Monday, June 18, 2007
Saturday, June 9, 2007
I am still alive. Just busy. I am happy to report that we will be selling a house that's been on the market for 2 years this Friday. Yes, you read that correctly. 2 frickin' years. 2 years of paying 2 mortgages. These next 6 days cannot go by fast enough.
Life is good. God is good. I love my hard-working husband, my great, sweet, smart kids, and I'm going to the beach in 2 weeks. Oh, and did I mention that my house is selling this Friday?
There's so much I could write about right now, but won't. It's late. I'm tired. I promise to write more soon.
Monday, May 21, 2007
So my daughter, Josephine, who's 2, sat on the floor today flipping through the pages of the Bible that she received the day of her baby dedication at our church. As she turned each page, I heard her declare, "He disobeyed God, and he disobeyed God, and he disobeyed God." I found it very amusing, and somewhat true, but then I found myself thinking, "What on earth are we teaching this child?!?!" I think we'd better expand our Bible lessons! But then again, I guess the world of a two-year old revolves around the question "to obey, or not to obey?" I'm afraid it's usually the latter.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
I must give a "shout out" to my little man, Oliver. I cannot believe he is already 5 months old. He is at a very fun age. We are enjoying him immensely. He's such a happy little guy. His personality is really shining through, and he has the most expressive face. His expressions are hilarious. These are two of his cutest pictures to date. We simply adore our baby boy!
Friday, May 18, 2007
Friends, when life gets really difficult, don't jump to the conclusion that God isn't on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.--1 Peter 4:12-13 (Msg)
As I look back, I realize that the most trying times in my life always preceded some major breakthrough in my life. Some major work that God was trying to do in me. Then I read this in my devotional this morning.
Pressed beyond measure; yes, pressed to great length;I think Paul sums it up well here for us, too.
Pressed so intensely, beyond my own strength;
Pressed in my body and pressed in my soul,
Pressed in my mind till the dark surges roll.
Pressure from foes, and pressure from dear friends.
Pressure on pressure, till life nearly ends.
Pressed into knowing no helper but God;
Pressed into loving His staff and His rod.
Pressed into liberty where nothing clings;
Pressed into faith for impossible things.
Pressed into living my life for the Lord,
Pressed into living a Christ-life outpoured. --author unknown
We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.--2 Cor. 1:8-9 (NIV)
Thank You, Father, for giving us strength to make it through whatever is pressing us today.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Waiting! Yes, patiently waiting!
Till next steps made plain will be;
To hear with the inner hearing,
The Voice that will call for me.
Waiting! Yes, hopefully waiting!
With hope that need not grow dim;
The Master is pledged to guide me,
And my eyes are unto him.
Waiting! Expectantly waiting!
Perhaps it may be today
The Master will quickly open
The gate to my future way.
Waiting! Yes waiting! Still waiting!
I know, though I've waited long,
that, while He withholds his purpose,
his waiting cannot be wrong.
Waiting! Yes, waiting! Still waiting!
The Master will not be late:
Since He knows that I am waiting
For Him to unlatch the gate. [emphasis mine]
These verses come to mind:
But those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)
Do I bring to the moment of birth
and not give delivery?" says the Lord.
"Do I close up the womb
when I bring to delivery?" says your God. Isaiah 66:9 (NIV)
Wait on Him. Trust in Him. He is trustworthy. Whatever you need, whatever you are waiting for--He will bring it to pass.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Thursday, May 10, 2007
He is divine to me, if He be human to all the world beside. He has done that for me which none but a God could do. He has subdued my stubborn will, melted a heart of adamant, opened gates of brass, and snapped bars of iron. He hath turned for me my mourning into laughter, and my desolation into joy; He hath led my captivity captive, and made my heart rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Let others think as they will of Him, to me He must be the only begotten of the Father: blessed be His name.
Word up, Chuck. Word up.
Friday, May 4, 2007
I couldn't help but chuckle when I read this article. I haven't laughed this hard in a while. Kids these days just don't appreciate art when it comes to their class and croaks out a song for 'em. I mean, c'mon. What are they so afraid of?
Friday, April 27, 2007
You may recognize this song from Wednesday night's American Idol. It was performed by Kelly Clarkson and Jeff Beck, but originally written by Patty Griffin. I prefer her version so that's the one I'm sharing. I wish I could find a better video of it, but this is all You Tube has to offer. I hope you enjoy the song as much as I do. These are some great, great lyrics.
I went up to the mountain
Because you asked me to
Up over the clouds
To where the sky was blue
I could see all around me
I could see all around me
Sometimes I feel like
I've never been nothing but tired
And I'll be working
Till the day I expire
Sometimes I lay down
No more can I do
But then I go on again
Because you ask me to
Some days I look down
Afraid I will fall
And though the sun shines
I see nothing at all
Then I hear your sweet voice, oh
Oh, come and then go, come and then go
Telling me softly
You love me so
The peaceful valley
Just over the mountain
The peaceful valley
Few come to know
I may never get there
Ever in this lifetime
But sooner or later
It's there I will go
Sooner or later
It's there I will go
"Wake up, O sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you."--Ephes. 5:14 (NIV)
Sleep. That's really where my greatest battle lies. I love to sleep. I'm not a morning person by nature. Before kids, I could, and often would, sleep til noon and love every second of that pure, blissful laziness. Ever since I had kids, however, it seems that I can never get enough of it. Like I am constantly chasing after some unattainable dream of, well, sweet dreams. I'm lucky if I can manage to steal 4 hours of unbroken, uninterrupted sleep these days.
The world will tell you that a good night's sleep needs to be a top priority. But at what expense? Studies tell us that the reason we're so stressed, so tired, so anxious, so...whatever...is because Americans just aren't getting enough sleep. But the Bible has some pretty interesting things to say about sleep. Like this one:
So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing?
How long before you get out of bed?
A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there,
sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next?
Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life,
poverty your permanent houseguest!--Proverbs 6:9-11 (Msg)
Sound harsh? It's kind of offensive at first glance, isn't it? Trust me, no one hates this verse more than I do! But does God hate sleep? Does He hate me because I love to sleep? No!!! Look at this:
Don't you know he enjoys
giving rest to those he loves?--Psalm 127:2 (Msg)
God is so good, and He wants us to get our proper rest. I think it's more a question of what am I putting first, God or sleep? What has a higher priority in my life? I tend to think that if only I could get enough sleep, then I could wake up early, then I could make some time in the morning for prayer and Bible study, then my whole day will be perfect, etc., etc. See where my emphasis lies? The sleep part of the equation. I have to have these perfect conditions in order to make God a priority in my life. And sleep typically comes first for me. I lay my little head down on my little pillow and bow down to my little sleep god. I forget about that whole "seek ye first" thing where Jesus said that all our other needs, absolutely everything else--food, clothing, shelter, and yes, even sleep--would be added to our lives if we are seeking Him first.
I'm afraid this isn't a very popular idea, especially considering how incredibly busy we are these days. But no matter how much I think I need sleep, or even deserve it--how much more do I need God?
My baby boy woke me up the other morning at 4 am. So we sat up together and watched a little Joyce Meyer. And lo and behold, her whole segment was about making time with God a priority in your life. So after it was over and I got my son back to sleep, I was literally faced with the dilemma of either going back to sleep or staying up to spend some much needed prayer time. I took a hard look at what I really wanted to do. My tired mind, body, and eyes were telling me, "Go back to bed!!" While my beat-up heart and my broken spirit were hungry and thirsty for the love, the joy, the peace, the patience, the kindness, the goodness, the gentleness, and the self-control that my day requires, and that, without His help, I frankly just don't have.
Let the words of King David ring true in your heart, as they have been in mine lately, and be challenged to renew your commitment to making God your number one priority. It is a sacrifice, but one that you can be sure He will bless in more ways than you can even begin to imagine.
He swore an oath to the Lord
and made a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob:
"I will not enter my house
or go to my bed--
I will allow no sleep to my eyes,
no slumber to my eyelids,
till I find a place for the Lord,
a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob."--Psalm 132:2-5 (NIV)
Saturday, April 14, 2007
"But if you are a poor creature—poisoned by a wretched upbringing in some house full of vulgar jealousies and senseless quarrels—saddled, by no choice of your own, with some loathsome sexual perversion—nagged day in and day out by an inferiority complex that makes you snap at your best friends—do not despair. He knows all about it. You are one of the poor whom he blessed. He knows what a wretched machine you are trying to drive. Keep on. Do what you can. One day (perhaps in another world, but perhaps far sooner than that) he will fling it on the scrapheap and give you a new one. And then you may astonish us all—not least yourself: for you have learned your driving in a hard school. (Some of the last will be first and some of the first will be last.)"--C.S. LewisI'm reminded me of the time I met Douglas Gresham, C.S. Lewis' stepson. I was a complete basket case. A nervous wreck. I was at some Narnia promo thing, in line to talk to him and get his autograph. I tried desperately to calm myself down whilst I waited. I took deep breaths. Prayed. But nothing helped. By the time I got to him, my voice started quivering, my knees shaking. I mumbled a few things, and something about, "I can't wait to meet C.S. in heaven." He just kind of stared blankly at me, his mouth slightly open, and nodded. I'm sure I came across to him as nothing less than a psychopath. As soon as I got his autograph, I turned and left...and started crying. I kid you not.
Oh well, I hope you enjoy the quote as much as I did.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Our culture, and dare I say it, particularly the Christian culture, is obsessed with perfection. Strength. Victory. Winning. A plusses and Botox. So much so that we are afraid to admit our faults to one another, keeping us from showing each other who we really are. Everything becomes a competition. We compete for the best mom, the best student, the best wife, the best Christian. I was never really good at being the best at anything. I got so tired of trying that, when I was in high school, I just sort of dropped out of the best game. I knew I wasn't good enough, could never be good enough, so I just stopped trying. Instead, I went the other way. I was much better at being "bad". It certainly came a lot more naturally to me than being good.
Remember Edmund, from _The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe_? He's the supposed "bad" kid in the book. Well, truth be told, he's the one I relate to the most. It's sad but true. I'm sure I'd sell out my siblings for sweeties if given the chance. Especially coming face to face with evil as he did. What's interesting to me is that none of the others had the interactions with the White Witch that he had. She happened upon him as soon as he entered Narnia. Cold, alone, bewildered. She's the first person he met. He was bewitched. Deceived. He gave in to her tricks. He believed her despicable lies. He's very much like Eve. And like Eve, his actions cost Aslan His life.
All of us have a little Edmund in us. Some more than others, I suppose. So why does it still surprise us when we fall? Being a Christian is not, and has never been, all about acting right. If it were, we would have no more need of Christ. It is, and always will be, about our utter and dire need of a Savior. That I need saving to the very depths of my being. It's about His goodness, when I am bad. His strength when I'm weak. But what does that really mean?
It means that you are going to blow it! At some point, face it, we're all going to make a bad choice. And when you do, who's got your back? Who will be there to catch you when you fall? The point of walking with God isn't about not blowing it. It's about what to do when you blow it. Do you lie, hide, or blame? Or do you fess up? We would rather focus on what we should or should not be doing. If I'm doing that, then my focus is not on God, but on myself. My own "righteousness." And we all know what that is like.
We are all infected and impure with sin. When we put on our prized robes of righteousness, we find they are but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves we fade, wither and fall. And our sins, like the wind, sweep us away. (Isaiah 64:6, Living)
Frankly, I think we give so much attention to our own filthy rags, that don't know what to do when we blow it. Like children having temper tantrums, who don't have the tools to properly deal with anger. We're told, "Stop that!" "Shape up!" "Fly right!" "Believe!" The focus is on eliminating the behavior rather than healing the person.
I would love to find a book entitled, "The Crappy Mother" or "The Weak Wife." I am more interested in someone's struggles and how they deal with them, their battles and how they fight them, then I am in two-bit versions of righteousness. I am more interested in God Himself. Not someone else's bad impression of Him. If that's what walking with God is all about then this verse makes no sense:
Each time he said, "My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me. (2 Cor. 12:9, NLT)
Glad to boast about weakness, huh? Try doing that at your next small group meeting and see how well that goes over. Believe me, I've tried.
Monday, April 9, 2007
The coolest part was knowing that we were all being used for something important. God has an amazing plan for this special girl's life, and He allowed us to all play a part in it. That was pretty cool.
I don't know if she gave her life to God yesterday or not. But I do know that seeds were planted, and that God's not finished with her yet. I will keep praying and believing.
Thank You, God, that someone was willing to sit down and share the story of Jesus with me. Where would I be if they had not?
On the bright side, now that we're all sick, maybe this will get everyone taken care of all at once!
We haven't been getting the best sleep either. Do all children sleep as poorly as the Buckland kids? Even my 3 & 1/2 month old is getting into the annoying habit of not napping at all during the day. How is that even possible?!? Josephine did the same thing at his age. They take like two 30 minute naps during the day, and then don't go to bed till after midnight. My four-year old is the best out of all of 'em, and she just (by "just" I mean this year) started sleeping through the night on a regular basis, that is when she's not sick.
I made the realization yesterday that every year at this time is probably the worst for us, health wise. I think the past 3 Easters I've been faced with whether or not we could all make it to church. So far we have. But just barely.
So, am I sounding like a big wuss? I guess I am. I'm a tired wuss. I hate being sick. I hate when my kids are sick. And I would just like some sleep. Some long, peaceful, restful sleep.
A year ago, Ren and I spent our anniversary at Chateau Elan. Here we were thinking that we were going to get a great night's sleep, away from the kids. They were with my mom, giving her a rough night. Anyways, we spent all night waking up every hour, because we were so conditioned to my then 3-year old waking up at least 4 times a night! And for those of you who are all smug and have babies that sleep through the night, it don't mean nuthin'. Isabel was the best sleeper from the time she was an infant. Then when she hit 18 months old, her sleep patterns just went haywire. We'd get some sleep here and there, but not enough. It's amazing that neither of us have gone postal. I sure hope the other two don't follow in her footsteps.
I know I'm having a pity party. But guess what? It's my blog, and I'll cry if I want to.
So, all this complaining and whining is my way of asking for prayer. Anyone that would feel so inclined, it would be much appreciated. Honestly, I am so tired (literally and figuratively) of asking God for sweet sleep, that my faith level in this area is just really low. We need some folks lifting us up right now.
Monday, March 26, 2007
As I stated in my previous post, I attended the Mute Math concert in Atlanta Saturday night. It goes without saying that it was incredible, yet hot, sweaty, and squished. Some friends of mine had the right idea by snagging some seats up in the balcony. But not me. Oh no. I have to be all up in it.
I always leave concerts feeling a little sad. You listen to these people over and over again, and you feel as if you are making a connection with them through their music. And then you go see them live and you're just some nameless face in crowd. I always wish I could somehow hang out back stage, eat a bag of Doritos with them, and pick their brains. I felt the same way after I saw Aimee Mann, a songwriting hero of mine, play last September.
So, Friday night we had family in from out of town for Isabel's birthday party. Saturday was the big bash, where Cinderella herself was in attendance. Then Saturday night was the concert. Sunday we had church. And then Sunday evening, a friend's surprise birthday party at Dave & Buster's. I thought I could just take it easy, but then realized that the girls started gymnastics today. Needless to say, I am beat. As if taking care of three kids ages 4 and under wasn't enough!
If you don't believe me about Cinderella, here's photographic proof that she really does exist. She's slightly more exotic than I remember her looking, but still lovely. And unfortunately we couldn't get a close-up of her nose piercing. Hey, it is the new millennium, you know.
Isabel certainly has the "I couldn't care less look" down. She's hard to impress.
Friday, March 23, 2007
That's right folks. This is MuteMath's brand new video for "Typical". Tomorrow night I will be seeing them live. They never disappoint. If you ever have the chance to see them live, do not, I repeat, DO NOT miss the opportunity.
I just read somewhere that they had to learn the entire song backwards to make this video. Pretty impressive if you ask me.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Yesterday Oliver turned 3 months old. It snuck up on me so fast I hardly even realized it! The picture of him with his sisters is actually a little old. I thought I'd post a more recent one of him to give you guys that haven't seen him yet an idea of what he looks like. He couldn't look more like Ren if he tried.
Monday, March 19, 2007
Later that year, Hurricane Isabel hit North Carolina shores.
What does all this say about my daughter? I sure hope that her entire life is not marked with unnecessary wars and deadly hurricanes!
Today is March 19th. A very special day. Today is the day, 4 years ago, I became a mom for the first time and little Isabel Mae was born. I remember holding her and thinking that there was never a more beautiful, perfect little girl. I was smitten from the start. That time was so magical. I was blown away by how much I loved her, even though I barely knew her and she certainly hadn't done anything to earn my love. Other than the fact that she was my daughter. My first-born. I just wasn't prepared for the intensity of emotions I would have towards her. I also couldn't believe that the way I was feeling was just a fraction of how God felt, and still feels, towards me. This still boggles my mind to this day.
I cannot believe it has been 4 years. She was such a perfect baby and has turned into an even more incredible, smart, spunky little kid. She amazes me with how much and how quickly she learns every day. I am so happy that God decided to bless us with her. She makes me proud to be a mother.
Motherhood and marriage, while not always easy or smooth-sailing, are the two most rewarding roads I've ever traveled along. I am honored and humbled beyond words that God has given me both.
Happy Birthday, my big girl. I love you so much. May God bless you and keep you all the days of your life.