Monday, October 1, 2012

Nutty Behavior!

I have recently discovered something about myself. I work well with a calendar filled with actual “events” and “outings.” Ever the pragmatist I have two calendars in my kitchen. One is the monthly dinner calendar and the other is the standard (boring) family calendar which includes appointment dates/times for the doctors, dentist, the vet, and my course schedule.  

At the end of the summer the Engineer and I came up with the novel idea that our time should be spent more intentionally.  I am not saying to stop making medical appointments or neglect Fido’s need for flea and tick medication but we realized that so much of our time was being consumed without our consent! We made the resolution to do something about this problem.

One commitment we have made is to join several of the small groups that our church offers, and this has made a huge impact on our family’s weekly outlook. The kids get a chance to hang out, make a craft, do a Bible lesson while we enjoy time of fellowship and Bible study with other adults. [So here’s my testimony to offer concerning small groups & the local church: STOP BEING A PEW POTATO AND MAKE IT A POINT TO GET ACTIVE.]

While making our faith a more intentional part of the day-to-day, we are also trying to be a part of the outings offered by our kids’ schools, community, and most recently my husband’s job. Enter my antic dote:  
Last week the Engineer’s company had a gathering on the Bay. The event was low key and everyone was asked to bring a side dish. Since it was a hamburgers and hotdogs gig (and I saw that people had already signed up for the “easy” items like chips and soda), I decided a salad would be a good (healthy) choice. 

But I didn’t want to make just any salad. I wanted to make a Fuji Apple Salad complete with a homemade dressing topped with toasted pecans. So, looking at the calendar and seeing the “BAY OUTING” I made plans to go shopping and make a delicious contribution courtesy of the Trent household. 

Knowing that the salad would have to be made the day of the picnic, I had allotted plenty of time to get it all done. What I didn’t plan on was my daughter’s preschool dismissing late and my Baby Bear doing anything she could do to avoid napping.  This was the genesis of the downward spiral. With the Twins about to get home from school knew I had to work furiously.

So there I am in the kitchen with my baby in a sling (screaming because she’s teething), and my 3 year old under my feet giving me the rundown on all the nasty things the boys in her class did that day. While I “listened” I began to check off the recipe. Dressing: done. The apples, sliced. The salad fixin’s: washed, prepped, and ready to go. All that remained was toasting the delicious pecans that complete the salad (and make it almost magical).

I get them on the stove in the melted butter (please no comments on calories), and even though my Baby Bear is still crying I am shushing her with a lullaby because I know this will “only take a second.” Then… the phone rings. Thinking it was the Twins’ school I answer. There’s a woman on the other end who explains that she is conducting a national survey about the upcoming election and--- “OH NO!” I screamed! “Ma’am are you okay?” she asks. I reply “I’m okay but my husband’s nuts are on fire!”

That is the day that I learned how to get a pollster off the phone in one succinct sentence.  She didn’t even give me time to explain that I had been working so hard at being more intentional about my time and that I wanted to make something (I mean really make something) for my husband’s work event. Nope. And there I was left with burned pecans, kids chaotically entering my home from the bus, and one Baby Bear who had finally fallen fast asleep.

As a Theology major I can’t help myself from wondering “What does God think about my good intentions?” Proverbs 16:1-3 helped me to see that (1) Good Planning (2) God Centered Motives and (3) Commitment are required for quality spiritual growth. Good intentions alone will not make me an asset to my church or anyone else.

Making the decision to join in is just step 1; it is by God’s grace that I will pursue to become a more committed ambassador for the sake of Christ. This is what separates the “good” from the “holy.” My prayer is that we all dedicate more time towards having holy intentions.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Hello again!

This has been a long time coming hasn’t it? Well, my excuses are pretty solid. This past year has been pretty insane and the insanity does not seem to be halting anytime soon. So, I am going to take this couple of minutes to re-enter the blog-o-sphere just because writing has always been a wonderful outlet for me to calm the chaos.

In case you’re interested, school is going well. After the fall I will have 1 more class to complete and then we can pomp and circumstance all over place! Praise God!

More important than any academic achievement, my family has grown! February 3 we welcomed our sweet little Baby Bear into the picture [see below]

Here’s a fun fact. The above picture was taken the evening we came home from the hospital. In it, you will notice I am wearing glasses. They are not mine. They in fact belong to my husband, the Engineer. What’s important to note is that our prescriptions are very different, with his being significantly stronger than my own. Anyway, that was over 7 months ago here’s the Baby Bear (and her very proud older sisters) now:

More than all of my “achievements” these kids bring me the greatest joy. And that got me thinking... "What does God think of me?"

For those of you who don’t know me, let me tell you: I believe I have a Jonah-complex. I knew what I was supposed to do a long time ago, God did not cryptically call me into ministry. In fact, He was pretty blatant. I fully knew what I was purposed for doing but I was not having it. Like Jonah, I tried run away and the real world swallowed me up and spit me out (ironically, I did end up in VA Beach).

I thought that coming back to God with my tail between my legs asking for forgiveness was going to be one of the hardest parts of this journey. So after that exercise in humility and making good on my word by going to  college, choosing a seminary would be a cinch, right? Wrong! Here's why:

I have been agonizing the last few months about what to do at the end of my undergraduate studies. Per my calling, I know that grad school is a must but the location is the issue. Right now there are several places that I am interested in and all of them require us (the "Fam") to relocate. Having strayed from God before, I am now focused on doing His exact plan. But He hasn't whispered in my ear "Mary, go to [insert seminary]."  I've often found myself crying out to God for help like a 3 year old.

Then the other day it hit me… I am God's kid. And if my kids bring me such happiness just because they’re my kids, how does God view me? All of the “agonizing” that has taken place circles around one central theme: I want to do what God asks of me.

Ever since I have embraced my call I have worried about every detail that would follow my decision of obedience. Would my family “get it?” Would I lose my friends? What impact would this have on my marriage? How is this going to affect my kids? All those questions and more swam through my brain down into my conscience and the result has usually  been an icky feeling that twists my stomach in knots. I typically end up being full of doubt and insecurity.

What I realize now is that having this perspective is normal, and okay even. God understands my anxiety! What’s not normal is to dwell in it. If I am not embracing this completely, I am not trusting God fully. It’s sort of like having on the wrong pair of glasses. Jesus tells us “do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.[1] If I were able to have the powerful foresight of my Creator, my faith in Him would be rendered mute.

Now with the appropriate lens on I am capable of looking in the mirror for the first time ever and seeing myself as one of God’s children that He is proud of no matter what I “accomplish” or what I “achieve.” He loves me, is proud of me, all because I am His. And He IS going to lead me to the right place at the right time.

My prayer today is that you will be able to see yourself as more than a follower or believer, but truly grasp that you are a child of the King.

[1][1] Matthew 6:34, NASB.