Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Domestic Revelation

I had a great time with a girlfriend yesterday (love you ED). Even moms need their own play dates sometimes! And I love how God puts people in our lives who challenge us to move forward. Towards Jesus. Through faithfulness. And with perspective and hope.

I had a busy morning of making bread, chicken salad, and hard boiled eggs in prep for our lunch. As I floated back and forth in my kitchen, I kept praying and asking God:
Give me joy in the domestic. Cause my heart to love the things it takes to make my home flourish. Please God, help me! God has been doing a work in my heart lately and giving me heart-core desire to want to enjoy the housekeeping it takes to make a great home. A peaceful home. A home where I don’t feel overwhelmed because laundry piles into a two-day endeavor. A home where my kids can find the toys they like and like the toys we find. A home where my husband feels a rushing joy to walk in the front door.

Most of all: a home where God is glorified.

Praise God my girlfriend is experiencing the same desires. We talked for hours (and hours!) about these struggles. We were reminded how our gracious husbands show patience. We laughed at how we tend to go from nothing to overachieving – like no meal plan to a ten-week meal plan with every vegetable and seasoning planned out, groceries that require a once-monthly trip to the store, and don’t forget cutting coupons to save thousands! And we felt our hearts swell at the women who model this well, not perfectly, to give us hope without causing too much comparison.

This morning I was meditating on Colossians 1 and asking God to give me the wisdom and knowledge to have an organized and easily maintained home. But my prayers seemed little. Like asking Willy Wonka for an everlasting gobstopper when he is offering the whole factory and a lifetime supply of chocolate. Yum. Okay, back to spiritual insight. My sights started lifting to a broader and bigger prayer:
God be glorified in my homemaking. Yes, that’s it! In my meal preparation, be glorified. In my cleaning and laundry, be glorified. In closets and behind closed doors, be glorified. And hardest of all: be glorified in how I spend my time.

He isn’t glorified in laziness.
He isn’t glorified in chaos.
He isn’t glorified when distraction keeps us from His best.

I believe God places a dream in each woman’s heart for her home. A dream for the what-ifs and why-nots. A dream to see beauty overtaking the tasks that have long weighed our souls and calloused our hands. To close our eyes and picture, imagine, and dream for an environment that can simply cause heaven to break into this earthly structure.

What is God’s dream for your home?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Baby Update

A mom never wants to get a phone a week after having blood taken at a prenatal appointment. They only call when something is wrong, never to congratulate you for having great blood work or for gaining only two pounds in four weeks.

We got such a call last Wednesday and the timing could not have been worse. I had taken Colby to a Build-a-Bear class and about ten other moms had the same idea. Crowded space, crazed children, and obnoxious music playing over the loud speaker. I couldn’t find a quiet corner but could make out enough to understand the weight of the moment: “Quad screen blood work. Down syndrome – fine. Spina bifida – fine. Trisomy 18 – positive. Sending you upstairs to see the high-risk specialist.”

The room whirled and I couldn’t even articulate a question, didn’t know what questions to ask, and felt like the room had turned upside down while the weight of my feet kept me planted. Blinking back tears and trying to occupy Colby with a stuffed military bear, I called Brad and tried to put the pieces together for him.

Inhale. Focus. Faith.

I committed to limit my internet research and especially not visit pages with pictures of children with Edwards Syndrome (trisomy 18 defect). At the three sites I briefly glanced, I found the information we needed: the test is an indicator of
risk and not a diagnosis, only 11% of women who have the positive test actually have a baby with the defect, and most sobering, it’s a fatal disease with most children not living past age 1, if they survive childbirth.

A week later, I walked into the specialist’s office and wondered what kind of change my afternoon would hold.

Genetic Counselor.
God is my counselor.
High-risk Specialist.
God is the author of Life. He is the perfecter of my faith. He knew we would be sitting in this room before the beginning of time and He sits here with us now.
Level 2 Ultrasound. He is knitting this baby together and creating his inmost being.

It’s a boy. A healthy baby boy without a single trace of a genetic malformation. Head shape: normal. Heart chambers: normal. Function of hands and feet: normal. Growth rate: normal. Heart Defects: none. No cleft lip. No swelling around his head. Praise the Lord.

For us, the suffering was limited to a “what-if” scenario and we were kept from having to walk through a deeper trial. His goodness would not have waivered had the ultrasound shown all the markers for the syndrome. His craftsmanship doesn’t stop when He creates babies to have physical imperfections and His promises are certainly not void when an earthly life lasts only a few short days, weeks, or months. He is good. His love endures forever.

And we can’t wait to introduce you to this baby boy sometime in February.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Catching Up...

I can hardly believe I haven't blogged since February but dates don't lie and it's really been 5 months. Sadness. I have moments when I think of some fantastic blog topic but it's rarely at a moment I can actually sit down at the computer. And, if I'm really honest, I will tell you that I've been weaning myself from technology. I'll explain later but for now, here are my random thoughts of late:

Total Irritation
There are several things frustrating me at the moment but here is the first on my list: Downfall. It's the newest game show on ABC and it bugs the heck out of me. The basic premise of the show is that contestants are in a rush against time to answer trivia questions. Rather than just "losing" the amazing prizes, audiences watch the actual items progress down a conveyor belt that eventually drops items off the side of a building. Crashing to complete obliteration. Fascinating to watch but disgusting to think about the value that some of those items might have for families in today's economic times. Brand new appliances. Pianos. Techie juke boxes. And new cars. Do you know how many families in America could have their lives changed by one of those prizes? ABC boasts itself as "A Better Community" but this is far from supporting local lives. Ugh.

I have subscribed over the years to dozens of email newsletters & updates, in the hopes of getting great coupons and deals. I have often been excited to receive member-only invitations, coupons that don't require a purchase of the Sunday paper, and other deals in my inbox. Most recently, I received an invitation from Dove to become a Dove Ambassador, which I eagerly said "Sign me up!" Here's the scoop: Dove has introduced a new product (Daily Treatment Conditioner) and sent me an amazing package including the full-size product and five samples to give to girlfriends. There were coupons (!!) and I was blown away by such an extreme gesture. I mean, I expect the little "tear-open-with-your-teeth-in-the-shower" samples but this was exactly what I would have purchased at the store. The product is thick and creamy, made my hair look and feel so healthy, and the smell was divine. Love the program, love the product. Way to go, Dove.

Morning Sickness Tips from a Real Mom
Some of you may know that we're pregnant and expecting baby #3 in February. I hit the ten-week mark yesterday and that came with a typical day of "getting sick" (always with one kid hovering over my shoulder), an appetite that doesn't allow ANYthing to sound good EVER, and just the plain irritation of feeling like shit all day. Oops. Sorry. There's just not another word that does this feeling justice. My husband has picked up all household chores as my capacity currently keeps me on the couch if I'm not doing the essentials: making sure my kids don't starve, keeping diapers from leaking, and trips to the bathroom.

So here are a few things that actually make the worst moments a little more manageable, starting with my favorite:
  1. Problem: Hungry for something but nothing sounds good. Solution: Stock up on a HUGE variety of frozen meals (I prefer Lean Cuisine and try to get them on sale). Here's the secret: when nothing sounds good, variety is the key. I can choose from chicken alfredo, macaroni and cheese, or santa fe rice & beans. Or lasagna. Or turkey tetrazzini. I sometimes opt for things I wouldn't touch other days and it's ready in 6-7 minutes or less. Problem solved.
  2. Problem: Overwhelming smells. Solution: Invest in your favorite candles and keep them lit all day. To walk past my favorite Slatkin & Company candle (Pineapple Orchid), gives me, even if just for 5 seconds, total serenity. It's like I forget I'm pregnant!
  3. Problem: Zero Productivity. Solution: Pride yourself in the little things. I had a day a couple weeks ago where I started a load of laundry and it was like Christmas! I was so excited to have found 15 minutes of feeling normal and took advantage of it. I bragged on myself to my sweet husband and just felt good for having accomplished such a little task! Moms: your super human gift is making babies - don't be hard on yourself! God is great when we are weak.
(insert Dr. Pepper craving)

Final Thought
I told you I would explain my disinterest in technology and here it is in a nutshell: Does your computer or iPhone make you a better or worse mom? For me, there is no neutral in this subject and I wonder if it's really this way for most of us. I have been found more than guilty of becoming consumed by Facebook for hours a day, placing checking my email above my kids, and falling into the ugliness of my own escape. Facebook lately has just disgusted me...actually, let me rephrase that: I've seen such pride, judgment, etc. on Facebook from women who could spend their time better. Nobody really cares about your status getting updated every 15 minutes and YOUR KIDS DON'T CARE EITHER!!! I can't quite convince myself to delete my account but I've cut it out of my daily routine. What's holding you? When your kids picture you in their minds, is it with an iPhone in hand or sitting at the computer? Come on, ladies!

Okay, so that's enough ranting for one afternoon. And certainly controversial enough for a long overdue blog update. Live your life!!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Rushing To Crisis

The kids and I were on our way home yesterday when I noticed several sets of flashing lights, about a mile ahead. Our normal route has us make a left before the accident but something powerful stirred in my heart as I realized there was an emergency on the road ahead. I imagined broken, bloodied bodies on the road and the gifted & trained professionals who would be tending to their wounds.

But I realized that the Kingdom was drawing us to the scene of the crisis.

We drove forward and my heart began racing. I pictured myself parking my car and bringing gospel-centered prayers to the victims and speaking the power of the cross into their despair. I began praying out loud so my kids would engage with the situation, even though their eyes couldn't see over the sides of the doors and through the windows. When their sight isn't "high" enough to see or understand, I still draw them into the situation so they encounter Kingdom. We prophesied to the injury, internal bleeding, and mental states of those involved and we took Blood-centered authority over the situation.

We arrived at the scene to find that there were no victims, probably removed by ambulance, and the only remnants were deployed air bags and broken metal & plastic on the road. I was slightly disappointed we couldn't stop but we continued praying and I asked Zoe if she knew the names of the hurt people. She responded with a confident "Laura. Jess." So we prayed for "Laura" and "Jess" and we'll know in eternity their real names. Or the real faces with the prophesied names.

In Matthew 9:36, Jesus looks at a crowd of people who were:
scattered abroad
and hurting

Even after healing and announcing the kingdom for days - weeks? months? - Jesus chose to see people and have a heart response to them. Isn't everyone in their own personal crisis? Isn't everyone hurting? Don't we live in a land of confusion and aimlessness? And aren't so many of today's people feeling faint and weary? We are living in a day of crisis and are called to bring Kingdom.

And so, we shepherd our children's hearts so they rush to crisis, and not despise it. We train our children to love people in their individual emergencies and enter with hearts of love. To tell them to run away or to model a life of comfort that avoids the problems or crisis of others - is to tell our children that the gospel is not true and that Jesus is insufficient.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Book Review: Crazy Love by Francis Chan

Crazy Love has been quite the adventure and I'm a little sad to be closing the final chapters of this inspiring book. I wanted to share a few highlights:

In his opening chapter, Francis directs his readers to view two videos available on his website. The Awe Factor of God is brilliant.

Chapter 4, "Profile of the Lukewarm," gets pretty personal as Francis addresses some specific attitudes and behaviors of so-called lukewarm Christians. (He even at some points go as far as to say that lukewarm Christians cannot exist.) Page 68:

"Lukewarm People don't really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin. They don't genuinely hate sin and aren't truly sorry for it; they're merely sorry because God is going to punish them. Lukewarm people don't really believe that this new life Jesus offers is better than the old sinful one."

He included a beautiful prayer from A.W. Tozer's The Pursuit of God, which has been prodding my heart more towards the heart of Jesus:

"O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need for further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I ant to want Thee; I love to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory I pray Thee, so that I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, "Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away." Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long."

Good book. Great author. Glorious God.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day #5: Let's Kick Fear in the Face

I was on the treadmill at the gym this morning when an interesting line popped up on the TV screen during a commercial for Ghost Hunters. Yes, ridiculous show but they are hooking viewers with a quite profound line:

"Get Fluent in Fear"

I have been spending my time on the treadmill praying, reading a Beth Moore book, and interceding for the Village small group that Brad and I are going to be leading at our church, The City Church. And I tend to be one of those people that likes to turn everything I encounter into something spiritual or having to do with the Gospel. Please, don't stop reading because I found a piece of truth in a dusty corner of media.

Assuming all my readers are English speakers, have you ever noticed how we never have to think to speak in English? Our thoughts, even though rarely put into vocabulary, always seem to be in English. We rarely have to grasp for a word, or translate in our heads when we need to communicate. Those that have learned other languages have probably encountered a time when their thoughts (or sometimes dreams) switch easily between their native & new language with ease. That might be considered a time when we become fluent in something other than our native tongue.

The same is true when our minds think in fear, like the above quote. When we start learning the language of fear, whether through bad experiences, uncontrolled emotions, or just plain humanity, parts of our brain start making the switch. We practice the language because, for many of us, it's actually easier to speak & think "in fear" than remember how we were created to think. Before long, our minds are fluent in the language and - because we live in a land that thrives on fear - it becomes our primary way of functioning.

We make decisions because we are fluent in fear.
We build walls around our hearts towards others & God that protect us - because the language of fear requires isolation.
We don't even realize that we are dreaming, thinking, and living "fluent in fear" because it's become so natural.

I don't know about you but I want this to be the year that I kick fear in the face. How many times in our lives have we missed out on something great because we're afraid? As I stand on the fifth day of 2010, I want to view the year before me with eyes of FAITH & ADVENTURE. I want words spoken to me "in fear" to sound like gibberish, easily recognized as such and even more quickly dismissed.

Walking in this adventure requires leaving FEAR behind so I'm bolting for the cross, where faith meets my soul.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day #1: Reading Adventures

Within one month (late November through late December) I read the last three novels of the Twilight saga. Between these three books, I logged over 2000 pages in these high-energy, sweet romance drama, vampire/werewolf madness. I loved the books and it was a great way to finish a year of increasing my book list.

So the adventure in 2010 is to organize my reading efforts into three categories:

Faith (books related to my walk with God)
Fiction (novels, "fun" pleasure reads)
For Reals (non-fiction doesn't technically start with an "f")

My plan is to keep one book in each of the three categories by my bedside and commence late night reading. I'll update everyone with reviews, tidbits, and personal revelation I receive from what I read.

So, here is the list for January:

Anyone want to join the book club?

Friday, January 1, 2010


I saw "Julie & Julia" a few weeks ago and was completely inspired by Julie's blogging endeavors. (I secretly hope I will get a book deal someday. *wink*) I figured that with the start of a new year, now might be a good time to start some sort of series or theme that relates to the next 365 days. Oh wait, is this a leap year? Nope, 365 days indeed.

My most honest and raw topics tend to be related to being a mom and having children (and yes, those can be two different things) so I'm going to dub this my "Year of Adventure" and broaden my theme to include other parts of my existence.

Those closest to us might say our marriage has been one big adventure: one strong-willed woman marrying a quiet, although strong and passionate younger man, which turned quickly into a story of becoming pregnant, struggling through some very dark times, and finding ourselves with two children within 3.5 years of being "the Thompsons." It's only fitting that the year 2010, a new decade, and potentially the most life-changing year we've faced, become the platform for sharing life on a more consistent level with the cyber masses. Adventure, though some might call it change or stress factors, has always been a part of our lives.

So here's to TwentyTen. I might not have over five hundred recipes to set a particular goal but I do believe that God is creating something more unique than "beef bourguignon" within the space around me and my family. And, more than that, He is creating space within us (and in the days before us) that requires an adventurous spirit, one that embraces His great goodness and leadership.

Will you join me for the Adventure?