Maybe Realism Isn’t the Actual Goal Here

1735 1735_ () 1735 1735 Henry is at that glorious age where he is willing to watch a few minutes, here and there, of PBSKids in the morning while I get ready for the day. There are a few shows on that channel that really drive me nuts, but most of them are fine and do the trick of letting this toddler’s mom jump in the shower with diminished fear of safety transgressions (read: climbing on top of bookcases while I’m in another room).

This morning I sat with Henry for a minute as he watched a show about dinosaurs, something new that wasn’t on back when the older boys were watching at this time of day.

On the show, a group of dinosaurs is riding in a train through the lush prehistoric countryside as the train conductor, a chipper green T-Rex sporting a brightly-colored conductor’s hat, explains to the happy group that back in the Jurassic period of the Mesozoic era, there was not as much flora and fauna as the group is currently witnessing.

“But now we are in the Cretaceous period,” explains the reptilian conductor, “so we are seeing more trees and plants than before.”

“Ha!,” I thought, “Major Anachronism! This dinosaur would have no way of knowing what time period they were in because it didn’t get named until later!”

Until I realized, you know — cute little dinosaur T-Rex wearing a clever conductor’s hat driving a train full of friendly dinosaurs through the countryside. Um, yeah. 1735″

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Faith, Food, Fun

1734 1734_ () 1734 1734 A quick recent round-up from Faith and Family:

1. Everyone is being very helpful with ideas for good nausea-busting food and drink. It’s all relative, of course, but there are some good suggestions. If you have anything to add, please do!

2. I hosted my very first podcast! Lisa, Danielle and I discuss Fall and decluttering and while I was a bit embarrassed to listen to myself go on and on (and on) about how much I LOVE to declutter, I did have a good time hosting the podcast. It also gave me a greater appreciation for how nice a job Lisa Hendey does! 1734″> .

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Peace, Be Still

1733 1733_ () 1733 1733 This week’s column. And thank you all for the prayers and shared excitement! I can’t wait to write more about it.

In our home, we are currently living with a level of chaos that I just don’t like. You would think with five boys I’d be used to a certain amount of craziness; that’s probably true by some standards. But compared to the way I prefer to live – the peace and order that I strive so hard to achieve – life seems ridiculously off-target right now.

For a variety of reasons, things are not where I want them to be. We are on the brink of starting school, and that preparation causes upheaval. There are bags of school supplies waiting to be labeled and put in book bags. There are bags of uniforms waiting to be labeled and put in the boys’ dressers. Lists need reviewing and things are piling up.

We are also in the midst of some major work getting done on our house, and while that is exciting and wonderful it also throws things off-balance. It’s hard to keep high standards of cleanliness and order when the refrigerator is in the dining room and you’re preparing lunch on the laundry table.

All of this combined with end-of-summer ennui and a few of us feeling under the weather, and you have a recipe for dangerously low expectations of peace and order. We are all out-of-sorts.

A few days ago, one of the boys came to me wondering if he could play video games for a bit.

“It’s just been a really long day,” he said with all the fatigue of a sweatshop worker back from twelve hours at the factory.

I did a mental rundown of his day. Due to the madness of our home situation and inclement weather, the boys had already logged more time playing video games than is normally allowed. In fact, my son’s itinerary that day had included playing games, then a quick trip to the mall where I tortured the boys with uniform shopping, lunch out (due to no kitchen at home) and then that boy went to a friend’s house.

“Didn’t you play video games at his house, too,” I asked my son, after running down the list in my mind.

“Yes,” he admitted. It had indeed been a long day – a long day filled with plenty of fun. I decided no more video games were warranted. Just because our surroundings were complete bedlam didn’t mean we had to live in arrested development.

“Go read a book,” I told him.

I don’t like living this way – trying to maintain a sense of order in the midst of circumstances I can’t control. I like the feeling that I have charge of the details of my life. Unfortunately situations like home renovation and illness remind me that this is all an illusion.

It’s not that we’re puppets that God yanks around at will, but so many of the details in our lives – things we rely on for a sense of peace and joy – these are things that can easily be taken away from us.

Right now my ability to keep our home in order is greatly diminished – but that doesn’t mean I must give up all sense of peace in my life. If anything these weeks are a good reminder that while the externals are important for order, I cannot allow those details to dictate what goes on within my soul.

There will be seasons – sometimes days, sometimes weeks – when the circumstances of our lives feel out of our control. That is not the Lord abandoning us. That is not God laughing at us or showing us who is boss.

It is simply an opportunity to search for peace from the source who can truly offer it to us.

In the midst of this small trial, I am reminded that my peace does not come from my surroundings, from how tidy I keep my home or how many things I mark off my to-do list. Peace is from the grace that is a result of keeping our eyes on Christ and asking him to keep us always in the center of his will. 1733″>

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Also Coming in April!