Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Simple Pleasures (and thoughts on parenting)

"Does everybody know what day it is?" Michael shouted. "TACO TUESDAY! Whoop, whoop!"

And so it was. I had told them a few days ago that we'd head down to our local Mexican place and get tacos on Tuesday while Jon was out of town. Jon recently found this spot between our house and the beach, tucked away off the main road, and perfect for easy beach night dinners. And for me, it meant a night out of the kitchen.

But I have been tired. It's the story of my life, really. I recently told my sister I don't remember what it's like not to be tired. Yeah, having four babies in 5 1/2 years can do it, homeschooling can do it, ministry life too; but my kind of tired is deep and persistent. Recently I went to have my blood checked. The lady looking at my blood under the microscope looked up at me, sighed between pursed lips, and said, "You must be exhausted."

"Yeah," I replied, kind of surprised by her reaction.

I know: It is totally tacky of me to mention this, especially after mentioning my back last week. I hate complaining, and it's out of good taste to openly talk about one's health, especially when it is relatively normal. But both back pain and fatigue are huge parts of my life. Ha, I could mention it more, but I figure that in years to come I will remember it all too well. But this is my journal, the story of my days, my real life. Though I try to live as fully as I can and regardless of these things, my days are always affected.

Extra sleep doesn't help so much, but getting up is hard. By the end of today, I could have settled for a bowl of left over chicken and vegetable soup from last night and cozied up for an easy evening. But it was Taco Tuesday. It was a promise. And thankfully I had enough energy reserve to pull it together and make a memory of our Taco Tuesday. I don't do big things for my kids, like big birthday parties and such, but I do hope we make memories. I hope that in the simplicity of it all, they will remember that I wanted something special, something that said you are worth my attention.

So we packed up a few things: A quilt, my camera, sweaters, and a few quick things from my kitchen to add to our dinner of tacos. On the way out I grabbed the small vase of flowers Jacob picked for me yesterday, because I think little details help to make things special.

Waiting on our number to be called...

I know what Andrew is thinking (above): "Hey! Mom told us not to play with the fruit!" :)

We went straight to the beach, not our favorite spot but the closest and easiest...

It was SO GRAY out. The marine layer was thick, the sun not visible. I cranked up my ISO, but pictures were still hard to get.

Salad with grapefruit, avocado, and roasted almonds tossed together with a white balsamic vinaigrette; left over hazelnuts from Christmas for the kids to crack open, and water. This crate made transportation easy, and the boys argued about who got to hold it in the car. See? Details make it special. No one would have argued if it was in a grocery bag.

My kids wanted to play a little before it got too dark. If Jon were with us, he would have wanted to eat right away!

He's still my baby, albeit a very big one.

The lights on the pier shining through the fog.

Dinner for under 8 bucks. My boys all ate more than me.

Hardly a sunset...

Then darkness came and we went home.


People occasionally ask me about parenting. They bring me their situations and scenarios, asking for advice. I suppose I've learned a thing or two by now, but really I feel like I'm winging it half the time. It's hard stuff. Many times I feel totally clueless, completely unprepared, unequipped, and wondering what on earth I'm supposed to do next. Arguments I can't sort out, resistant character issues, difficult/important conversations to be had... Sin.

And my own sin in the midst of it all.

I once read that both parent and child are in the process of learning. We both don't have it together, we both need to receive instruction, we both need to be molded. The journey of parenting is the very process God uses to bring us to maturity in wisdom and character. Parenting is a process of sanctification and of humbly seeking God's help and divine favor. It's asking God for His mercy and grace despite our own words and actions.

Maybe we are not equipped to parent until our parenting days are complete!

God promises wisdom to those who ask for it; He promises to give generously to those who ask with pure motives. I ask God for wisdom all the time. No, I beg God for wisdom! And I seldom feel wise. 

However, I am convinced that what God says is true: If He says He will grant wisdom, then He sure will. When I pray for wisdom, I know He answers whether or not I feel wise. Perhaps when I pray for wisdom and then move forward in obedience and faith (regardless of feelings of confidence and ability) God works in those situations and relationships and produces the outcome which fulfills His purposes and brings Him glory. I may not see or feel those results yet, but I believe in a good, gracious, and faithful God.

Besides, if I thought I was wise, even as a result of a desperate prayer, I would surely think any good outcome should be credited to me. Yep, that's the pride of my heart.

So if you have ever come to me asking for advice, go to God and beg for mercy and wisdom. Then move forward in faith. Repeat over and over again. Do not grow weary, but be filled with His strength.

God is faithful.


Oh, and Michael's feet are now longer than mine (and I wear a size 9). How on earth...?



  1. love all the pictures. you capture things beautifully...wouldn't it be fun to take a photography class or do a workshop. I'm really wanting to do one. thanks for your wise words. they're an encouragement.

    1. I would love to take a class! I have so many questions (and so little time to spend learning)! Though I'd much rather know how to take a good picture in the first place, I'd also like to know a little about editing. Computers/technology/software... they are not my thing! What do you edit with? I still use iPhoto-- so basic.

      Thanks for your comment, Jessica! Happy V-day!

    2. For last years birthday Caleb bought be lightroom to edit in. (he got a student discount from his brother. you could get the discount because you home school. I think it makes the price around 75 dollars.) But I have surprisingly used it very little. I prefer pictures that are mostly natural with very little post processing. Although, sometimes it unavoidable with poor lighting:) It takes a lot of time to learn that I just haven't had. I've watched a couple instruction videos and read a bit, but I learn much better when I can see it while someone is explaining it. I'm going to keep working on it though. I've also looked into some photo workshops online, but again, little time and little money have not made these an option yet. I did get a new lens for Christmas, the fixed 35 mm. I found it on ebay. I love it and definitely worth the purchase. I think you would love it!


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