Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Heading out.

Tomorrow, I am headed to Los Angeles for a quick trip with my BFF to celebrate her birthday!!  I can't wait for this little getaway and to spend time with people I don't see often enough.

Amazing view from the Cinta Costera

Yesterday was running class so you know my heart and mind are full of things to share, but they'll have to wait.  Preparing my luggage and the notes for the substitute teacher take priority today.

I'll be back in Panama on Monday, and I'll look forward to blogging Tuesday or Wednesday- which happens to be Tony's birthday!  Y'all know that I love birthdays!

Have an amazing weekend!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

More ponderings.

My 9 days away from the blog have been spent pondering.  Well, they've been spent driving the kids places, home schooling, cooking, chatting, and all kinds of other things.  But, my mind has been pondering.

The hour I spend downtown with Carson each Tuesday has become a time of great renewal for me.  He runs, and I think.  In the noisy quiet of city buzz, I'm able to steal away into myself.  It's perhaps the highlight of my every week.  I'm an extrovert in the truest, most textbook ways, but this one hour-long conversation with myself allows me the interaction that keeps me moving.

I walked and pondered your words about this blog and its purpose.  That led me to pondering me and my purpose.  Which, ultimately, led me to a place of deep gratitude for this place I'm in.  Not just Panama City, Panama, but also the place I'm in with my journey through life.

I'm sure part of it is being okay with being an adult,   I'm even more sure that an even bigger part of it is walking in deeper relationship with Jesus.  For the first time ever, I recognize that I'm not the sum of my failings.  I'm not the picture of "not good enough."  I'm not just a mess.

My value isn't measured in what I can do, who I know, or how useful I am. 

No, my value is complete and perfect in the love of Christ.  And, I have had the privilege of spending the past three and a half years diving deeper in what the Truth means for my reality.  For me, it brought freedom.  And total redemption.

I used to believe (because church people taught me) that Tony's job as an accountant for a secular corporation wasn't good enough for God.  We have received congratulations from people who mention "at least" Tony has "earthly success."  I used to shy away from church functions because people would ask me what Tony did for a living, and I really wanted to say something holy like missionary,  but all I had to offer was accountant.  

I now have the freedom of rejoicing that God is using my exceedingly-gifted (and handsome) husband in the corporate world.  And the freedom to know that God desires Tony in that job.  The job isn't less than.  It's perfectly within God's perfect will.

I used to live in constant fear of a god who was constantly looking to destroy me for my mistakes, sins, and short comings.  More than that, I used to have the constant frustration of forever failing, in my strength, to be anything God would desire.

Freedom has brought the total understanding that God's love isn't changing.  It isn't affected or altered by my behavior.  

**Did everyone get that?  We're running over that one again because my guess is some of you don't get it.  And, that's okay.**  

Think about the highest point in your faith journey.  That moment when you were thrilled because you knew that you had done the right thing for the right Reason.  Okay.  You there?  Now, think about how much God loved you in that moment.  Got the warm feeling?  Perfect.

That's exactly how God loves you all the time.  ALL.THE.TIME.   Just let that one soak in deep.  And, stop arguing with me about it.  God cannot love you more, and He will not love you less.  Ever.  Period.  Done.

Freedom to know that God has given me power, through the working of the Holy Spirit, to walk out everything He desires of me.  This march toward holiness that we're all on?  We're all going to fail in our flesh.  And God knew it!  The Holy Spirit marches with us- not as a brutal tyrant ready to rip you to shreds for your sin- but as a constant companion and comforter to encourage you through the battle.

I now sleep at night.  And breathe deeply during the day.  I celebrated my birthday this past Sunday, and I don't think any purchased present compares to living without fear or shame.  And, the superest, coolest thing is that freedom is totally available to everybody.

No one needs to live in a state of shame.  Or of fear.  Or of guilt.  You don't have to believe that God just needs more out of you.  Or that doing more or giving more will make Him love you more.  Nope.  You can breathe deep, too!

I was talking with my 1:00 am friend the other day (at 11:00 pm).  She said the sweetest thing.  I'm sharing it not because I want to brag, but because I want to promise you that you can be different.  She told me, "Lisa, I met you right after you moved to Panama.  And, I know that the you of now wasn't the you of then."  

This isn't about beating up the old me or glorifying the new me.  It's about recognizing that the God of yesterday, today, and tomorrow has mercy enough to accept me as I am today, and love enough to not leave me that way.   And the journey- in the long term- doesn't bring discouragement but freedom.

Cue another deep breath.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Day 30.

We made it!!

September is over, and we made it with 27 blog posts.  I'm pretty impressed with myself- even if Dad just sent me a message to remind me to blog.  (Technically, he just asked if I needed encouragement.)  And thank you to those who've read with me each day. (or day or 2)

So, what have I learned through this process?

Mostly, I've learned that I love writing, but that the lack of clear scope of the blog and the uncertain audience makes blogging incredibly difficult for me.

There were times during the month that I wanted to pour my soul out all over the laptop.  I wanted to go to those deep, sometimes ugly, places where my mind spends much time, but I despise drama.  Yes, my former bestie, drama, now makes me physically ill.  I can handle real and emotional, but I can't stand all the syrup-y nonsense that is taking over blogs and social media.

So, how do I pour out my soul without dripping in drama on a blog that doesn't have clear parameters with an unknown audience?  How do I balance the fun, this-is-the-cute-kids blogs with the deeper ones that feed and energize me?

Yes.  That's my pondering for the next few days.

All thoughts appreciated.  :)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Day 29. No more ideas.

I'm not sure what to blog on.  I have nothing that would take an entire post.  How about a series of random thoughts?

1.  My birthday is in 6 days!!!  (and I'll be in the US in 3 weeks if you want to mail me something.)

2.  Coralynn has made great progress in her speech class.  Today, there was talk of her graduating out of the program fairly soon!

3.  At the Bible Superhero Party last weekend, Carson had his bass-guitar playing debut.  I hear he did well!

4.   I think it's super fun having a 7th grader for a daughter.  She's 12, and I love the age.  I love being able to have real conversations with one of my children.  It feels like a reward for all those newborn baby days that aren't my favorite.

5.  Tony and his coworkers went on a hike today- at an old US Air Force base.  Then, they had shaved ices.  This mental picture has made me laugh all day.

6.  We're trying to come up with good vacation locations for our 15th anniversary trip.  Dubai had a HUGE lead, but Tony's work may get in the way of that possibility.

7.  I'm working on our summer 2015 travel plans.  It's going to look different this year.

8.  Camilla cried today.  I can't tell you the last time Camilla cried.  (She's happy now.)

9.  Tomorrow, we have obligations at 7:30 am,7:30 am,  8:30 am, 9:15 am, 9:30 am, 10 am, 10 am, 10:45 am, 12:00pm, 1:00pm, 2:00 pm, 4:00 pm, 4:00 pm, 6:00 pm, 7:00 pm.  And, we consider Tuesdays to be our light day.

10.  I've having custom-made cabinets and shelves made for our home school room because I can't ever get enough bookcases.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Day 27.

Tonight, the three older kids got to go to Bible Superhero Night at church.  Chloe was a leader, Carson was in the band, and Camilla was an attender.  The dress code for the evening was becoming a Bible hero with a modern twist.  Well, we aren't so great with costumes, but I love a twist!

Camilla decided to become Miriam.  
So, she went, of course, as the big sister with a baby in her basket!

Carson decided to dress as a basketball player to become the modern David.  Why a basketball player?  Because David was the only one willing to take the shot at Goliath.

Chloe dressed in an apron with cooking and cleaning supplies.  Of course, she was a modern-day Martha!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Day 25.

Y'all the most exciting this is happening.  And will continue for the next 36 ish hours.

At 3pm, I returned home.  I don't have to leave the house until 9:00 Saturday morning!  In all seriousness, I can't tell you the last time I went that long without driving.


If you need me, I'll be at home!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Day 24.

It's a gorgeous, sunny, warm day today in Panama City, Panama.  Normally, we would be in the middle of the rainy season, but we've gotten a reprieve from the rain for a few days.  Unfortunately, instead of being able to play outside, Coralynn had an hour-long speech class.  To reward her for her great attitude and hard work, I decided she needed a treat.  A treat in the form of a strawberry smoothie.  (Momma may have rewarded herself with some iced chai.)

Which, of course, required a smoothie selfie!