I was about to hit the "post" button on the blog management page when I saw that this ole blog has had 50,892 page views since way back in the beginning. And that's been years ago...I can't even remember anymore, five, maybe? (I just looked~it's been seven years!) I started blogging before blogging was even a "thing". I remember getting really excited when I would come across a new blog that I liked to read...and now, they're a dime a dozen. I think some people have one because it's become the newest cool thing to do, but some of us (ahem) genuinely love to write.
It's taken more of a journal-ish turn lately, and I don't know that I meant for that to happen. I go in these spurts of what I like to write about, and it seems like all I have to talk about is God and my family. And by the way, that is not "all"...I could go on for ten thousand years talking about those two subjects. The older I get the more my view on life changes. I've noticed it's become increasingly hard to see so many people living in such abundance, like I see on Facebook. Not that money is a bad thing, and neither is having nice things, it's just that the Lord is changing my heart. And ahhhhh...the problems of social media. You know how I have a love/hate relationship with it.
In an age where it would make sense for us to buy a larger house, I would love to downsize. We don't require tons of space, and so many people have said to me, "Oh, just wait until your kids are teenagers. Then you will need all that space." I disagree with that statement. I really don't want extra space for teenagers, you know? And anyway, guess what? Two of them are teenagers and two of them are pre-teenagers, and you know where they always are? Right underneath us! And I wouldn't have it any other way.
At a time when some people may want to add to their collection of _____ (fill in the blank here), I'm trying to give my possessions away. We simply do not need all that we have. And we have way too much. I've gotten a bit of a start on downsizing our wardrobes...all of us are down to what we actually wear on a regular basis. I have a long way to go, though. Once school ends for us, I plan on gutting the interior of every room in my house. From the laundry room to the attic. Yes, that overwhelms me, but I'm ready to live as a minimalist. Only having what I use, and getting rid of all the excess.
It's gotten hard to see and hear the complaints of people. And by complaints, I don't mean that there's actually a problem. I read an article about the hotels in Sochi during the Olympics that was profound and eye-opening for me. We all heard from the journalists, how horrible the hotels were....that the water wasn't pure, or that some lighting was bad, maybe their heat didn't work in the room they stayed in. It actually became sort of a joke here in the United States about the conditions. The article I read stated that the reason it was like that in the hotels is because it is actually like that in the city!
They don't always have clean drinking water. Sometimes they have issues with sewage and with toilets not working properly. It's not that the people of Sochi tried to make it awful...it's that maybe it just is like that and Americans like to think they have it rough. Ouch. It's kind of like complaining about your house not being quite as perfect as you think it should be when the lady who cleans for you leaves. Or maybe that your internet is too slow, in your big, nice and comfy house...when some people would just love to have the house part.
I didn't really mean for this blog to be like this tonight, but I guess the Lord is doing a work within me, and my eyes are being opened to how blessed we truly are. I don't mean with "things" either. I could care less about all the things in the world...I mean that He has blessed us beyond measure with our families, with our health, and with the fact that we know and love Him. I cannot fathom that some people have never even heard His name. But there are people like that. I no longer want "things"...I want experiences. (I mean, occasionally, I need "things", but you know what I'm saying.)
For instance, we are getting back a tax refund. We always do, and for that I am so thankful! Todd and I were talking about how we would spend this money today, and while we were thinking of getting new living room furniture since ours is starting to tear up, we decided that we didn't really have to have that. Something I have been really wanting to do is to go on a family mission trip. Our amazing church offers this kind of opportunity. Every summer a group of people travel by bus to the Navajo nation in Arizona. (I wish I could give you a city reference, but I'm drawing a blank.) For a nominal amount of money, your entire family can go on this trip to minister to these people who don't know the Lord. I know that some of what we will be doing is giving backyard Bible clubs for kids and feeding into the lives of the people there. You have no idea how this thrills my heart.
It's exciting and it's kind of scary, this going outside of your comfort zone. I am one who likes to hunker down and not move. Today as I was filling out the paperwork for this trip, I thought of the last (and only) mission trip I went on to Iceland. The theme that week for us was to have no regrets and to live each day to the fullest. Our leader didn't want us to get back home thinking, "Man, I wish I had done that ______ (fill in the blank)." It wasn't easy to live like that, but when I was asked to sing, I sang. (And I am great in a group~solos are not my thing and I freak out when I'm about to do this. I later found out that a lady was blessed by hearing me sing Amazing Grace. Her husband had died recently and that was his favorite song.) If I was given a new and strange food, I ate it. If my husband wanted me to swim in the Blue Lagoon with him, I did, paying no attention to how long it would take for me to dress and dry my hair again, before jumping on a five hour flight to Boston.
That is the thing about mission trips and today as I was praying about this, I told the Lord that I trusted Him in the details of this trip. I am trusting that I won't get sick, that the problem I was having last year won't come back, that my kids will not get sick, that I won't regret the decision of us doing this. Faith is just that~trust. Belief. Knowing that no matter what, He has got my back. And while that is terrifying at times, it is exhilarating! You never know what the Lord is going to have you do, or what situation He's going to present you with. I love the verse that says, "Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him." To me, that is what trusting Him and doing His will is all about.
I am crazy excited about this summer. We told the kids our plans, and in order to do this, they had to make the decision on giving up their youth camps. (Just the older two.) There's a one day overlap between the high school camp and the day we leave for Arizona, and we really want to experience all of the trip together. Graham would have had to have ridden on a separate bus with the youth pastor. They are fine with all this, though, and really excited. Jonah and Noah will still go to their camp, and Graham and Drew will still participate in the the inner-city Memphis mission trip, Brinkley Heights. And we will also have our church's new version of VBS, which will be more backyard Bible clubs throughout Collierville. (I love that our church is expanding outside of its walls.) I know it'll be a whirlwind summer, but I am excited to see what all God does in our lives over this course of time.
I look forward to updating you. :) I don't know if you look forward to it, but I sure do! And just because I haven't said this in a while, if you are local to me and in search of a church home, why not give mine a try? We have got some really exciting things going on and I would love to share it with you. If you want to talk about it, you can find me on social media or by email (email@example.com). Or you can comment on here. (Thanks for all the comment love this week! Y'all are awesome.) I love our church home and family. If you don't have one, you need one! I love the body of Christ and have thought so many times that I don't ever want to know what it's like to walk through life without them. I've been on the receiving end of being blessed by them so many times I have lost count. It's just good to know that there are people besides your family that love you and have your well being at heart.
So, how is that for a post? It's a little lengthy. Are you still there? ;) I had no idea I was going to write all this...I made one little statement, and off it went. And by the way, God is good. He is more than good. He overwhelms me sometimes and the past two weeks have been like that. He is showing off for me and I feel like He is lavishing me with His love. He can do that same thing for you, if only you would let Him.
Love to all.