Thursday, March 27, 2014

White Suburbia, Middle Class Jesus

I often find myself betwixt emotions when it comes to figuring out our responsibility to serving when we live in such a rich and wasteful country. I love love love where we live and am so grateful for clean air, endless amounts of fresh food, and my religious freedoms. But I have traveled to numerous 3rd world countries and it is actually challenging to sleep when you've been up thinking about the lack of food and shelter that many people are receiving at that very moment. For a while I used to block those thoughts and I would just tell myself that "I didn't even want to think about others over 'there'". It was just too painful and it might mean that I have to DO something about those feelings. What to do when it all feels so helpless!?? How can 1 person help? How can 1 family make a difference? Sometimes I also find myself trapped in the myth that I must sell all my crap and move to downtown Phoenix and live/serve in the projects so that we can truly live a holy, God-Centered life. That's a pack of lies! So what's the answer? Just live where I live and soak it up and absorb all the materials and food and culture that I can and ignore my heart? Well, I have come to a place of peace for our family.

This is what we do. We realize that everyone needs Jesus, not just kids in Africa, homeless in Phoenix and we were born in wealthy America. Middle class, blue- collar, wealthy people.........they all need the Gospel. What can we do where we are? We can reach out to our middle class friends and offer support when her husband loses his job. We can offer support to the stranger in the grocery store that needs help. We can volunteer to help the 'Invisible' people in America. What? Yes, we can help those people who are sometimes overlooked: elderly, homeless, and handicapped. We can take our kids to nursing homes, assisted living homes, and we can continue to take our kids to serve in 3rd world countries so that they have a true world view. We can live as simple as possible so that we have extra funds to help people right here that need support. We can send money to organizations and missionaries in other countries: like Harvest India and Orchard Africa. We can adopt a child in a 3rd world country by sending support each month and then go visit her.

God has blessed us with 2 cars, a house, and an income. We don't have to buy the newest cars, the biggest and fanciest house (that our budget allows), go on vacation every year, or go to every new movie at the theater. We have learned to LOVE Goodwill, embracing stay-cations, and looking for more ways to serve here in Phoenix. We are still figuring out ways to be more pro-active about sharing Jesus here in Gilbert AZ. We still have a Loooooooooooooong way to go!!! But it's a start.

Jesus spoke about orphans and widows because I believe they were dear to His heart and He knew that they could easily be tossed aside by society. If they mattered to Him then they should matter to us.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

From Tiaras to Tea Cups

I truly cannot believe we've reached this milestone. My oldest is 10 and we only have 8 years left until she pulls out for college. So yes, I'm clinging to each moment and every activity, knowing that tomorrow comes much too quickly. We celebrated the first Alexander Pillar together this weekend: trustworthiness. Instead of renting out a spa salon, throwing a slumber party, or offering a bunch of toys, we decided to take the least traveled route. We celebrated this moment with some of my dearest friends- who might add wisdom to Kennedy's life. Don't get me wrong, presents and cake most certainly adorned our table the night before, but we wanted the focus to be on something a bit more meaningful. On Saturday morning tables with tea cups, flowers, and ribbon were set up in our back yard. A fancy cake was delivered, and about 15-17 ladies marched into our home with precious letters and fragile packages of tea cups and saucers. After diving into the delicious cake and drinking hot tea, each lady had an opportunity to sit down with Kennedy, one at a time, and read a carefully written card of advice and unwrap the tea cup with my new 10 year old. It was a truly precious moment. Throughout the year, Kennedy and I are going to make sure we drink tea from each cup and spend time revisiting the cards that were written. This engagement was a reminder to me that I am truly blessed by the presence of wise women, well beyond my years and experience. Not only are they filled with wisdom and love but they are supportive and committed to praying for my children. I need this support and cannot raise my kids without it. I'm a mom in training each day. I am learning and constantly doubting and asking questions. I need these ladies in my life so that my children might have a chance at growing into godly ladies and gentlemen that choose to serve Christ with a passionate and unquenchable spirit!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Making Family Count by Counting to 5

Seriously, had to dust off this blog cause I haven't written in so long. Not sure if it's cause I have 4 kids age 9 and under or because I'm at a total loss of words some days. Maybe both. But either way, I'm back. As the year kicks off we find so many people are trying to evaluate their lives and set some type of goals for the journey that lies ahead. I know I always like to aspire to further accomplishments each year. Why not have goals? They cause us to work harder and make what we have a better thing.

Last year I tried something new and plan to continue it this year. I always feel like I'm spread so thin and can't accomplish all that I want to get done. So I finally decided that I have to just focus on getting a little bit done each day instead of trying to take the hill each day. Makes no sense to me but some of us moms forget that we are not Super Woman. Go figure!

So each day I try to do these 5 things: Spend time in the Bible or reading a book that improves my life (however- the Bible is the best for me), do something helpful for my husband, do 1 thing on the housework list (i.e. laundry, vacuum, etc..), spend time playing with kids, and something for ME (exercise, nap, Coffee Shop). And so if you can count to 5, you can make it work. I will admit that some days, I only get 2-3 of those things done but I do shoot for 5. However, I'm not disappointed in only accomplishing a few. I know that my life will ebb and flow with my family. and one more thing.........

We are finally in the last stage of nailing down the Alexander Pillars. I can't function without vision and spend time wonder mindlessly through life; so I am anal and must have these in place. These pillars can literally encompass anything and everything that happens in life. Not only are they Pillars but 'rights of passages' for our children. My girls can already tell you what the 4 pillars are in our home. They have 4 birthdays that will revolve around these 4 pillars.

So here we go........ Trustworthiness hits at age 10. We will be talking with Kennedy this year and having a Tea Party with ladies that she looks up to and giving Tea Cups/Saucers to discuss this topic. Trustworthiness is so important for her to have with her relationship with her family and a great trait to look for in friends. At age 13, we will hit Gratitude (my FAVORITE). Gratitude can be the root of humility and humility is the essence of Christ- shall I say more?! Age 16, Responsibility- driving, dating, phones......blahhhhhhhhh- majorly important. Finally age 18, Compassion. A missions trip will hit again that year to a place they want to serve. Compassion for all people, of all races, all walks, and all sorts of different sins. All are loved by Christ. Hoping to always discuss these 4 pillars in our home but really make them special at certain moments in their lives. I don't know; maybe I"m crazy for doing this- hoping my kids aren't in a shrinks office one day talking about their crazy mom with 4 pesty pillars. But, my heart yells out for these characteristics and so does God's Word.