Monday, April 14, 2014

consider Jesus: object of popular favor


as we move into the week of easter, i have thought about this devotional gem from octavius winslow many times this week. about how fickle i am with my affections towards humans and more importantly towards God.

i love that Jesus can relate to us in so many ways and that he knows us deeply. even our depths that are willing to betray him at any moment. he knew that about all of us, and yet, he humbly and willingly walked to the cross.
Consider Jesus– the Object of Popular Favor 
by Octavius Winslow, 1870 

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, "Who is this?" –Matthew 21:10

(no one was harmed in the waving of these palms. maybe.)

Jesus was now enthroned upon the highest wave of popular favor. It was, perhaps, the only moment in His earthly history in which it might be said that His popularity was in the ascendant. The sun of human glory now shone upon Him in all its splendor. He was for a moment the idol and the delight of the people. They thronged His path, carpeted it with their garments, strewed it with foliage, and rent the air with their loud and joyous hosannas. All this was strange to Jesus. It was a new page in His history, a new lesson in His life, which would fit Him in all future time to sympathize with and support those who should be subjected to a like perilous ordeal in their Christian career.


We learn that, seasons of earthly prosperity in the experience of the Christian may be perfectly compatible with his close walk with God. The sunshine of God and the smile of the creature may be permitted for a while to blend, tinting with their bright hues the varied forms and objects of existence. These are some of the few 'lights' intermingled with the many 'shadows'--with which God pencils the picture of life. Are our callings prospered, are our homes happy, do friends smile, are neighbors kind, and have the lines fallen to us in pleasant places? These are gleams of light upon our path across the desert, and in them, O my soul! see that you trace a Father's hand, and acknowledge a Father's heart. The picture of your life is not all somber. If the clouds shade, the sunshine brightens it; if judgment frowns, mercy smiles; and if the bread and the water of affliction are at times your appointed portion, with it He gives His love to soothe you, His presence to cheer you, His arm to sustain you, His Heaven to receive you, and says, "You shall not be forgotten by Me."


We learn, also, how meekly and lowly a child of God should walk in times of worldly prosperity. Jesus was not inflated with pride, nor lifted up with vainglory by this ebullition of popular favor. Oh, how great the grace required to walk humbly with God in times of worldly prosperity! When "Jeshurun waxed fat, he kicked." When earthly riches increase, or worldly honors are bestowed, or human applause is lavished, then is the time to flee to the mountain of strength, to the armory of truth, to the solitude of the closet, and to wrestle with God for help to resist and overcome the soul-perils to which all these seductions fearfully expose us. O my soul! be doubly on your guard, be whole nights in your watch-tower, when floating with the tide, wafted by the wind, irradiated with the sunshine of creature good, of earthly prosperity. The world's dizziness, the creature's caresses, the heart's self-satisfaction, would prove your downfall and ruin but for the restraining grace of God.


We also learn how empty and evanescent a thing is the bubble of popular favor. When Jesus was come into Jerusalem, "all the city was stirred." But before many days elapsed, the air that rang with His acclaim echoed with His execrations; the voices that then sang "Hosanna!" now shouted "Crucify Him! crucify Him!" and from that very city they led Him out to die. O my soul! bid low for the world's applause; set light by man's favor; be not ensnared by creature smiles. Fill not your censer with the incense, and shape not your sail to catch the breath of, human popularity; still less the favor and adulation of the saints. Their idol today, you may be their object of ridicule tomorrow. 'Hosanna' now, 'Crucify Him' then! Walk humbly with your God. Cling to the faithfulness of the unchanging One, to the friendship of the loving One, to the strength of the Almighty One, and to the compassion and sympathy of the crucified One, and let your Jesus be all in all.
"Earthly friends may fail or leave us, 
One day soothe, the next day grieve us, 
But this Friend will ne'er deceive us 
Oh, how He loves!"
------------

are you fickle like me? a betrayer like me? have you been betrayed like me? Jesus can sympathize greatly.
our pastor preached on the redemption of even our greatest regrets, our greatest betrayals. it is truly incredible. hearing how Jesus bound up peter's betrayals by asking him three times later, after his resurection,  do you love me?
God knows us intamately. and still pursues us.
that sermon is here

Friday, April 11, 2014

giveaway winner!


KJRisma

random.org says you're the winner of the barn owl primatives credit! please email me and give me your address.


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also, everyone. thanks for being so encouraging with walking through this special needs stuff with me. the appointment sort of went just as expected. 

no new labels for now. just severely delayed in speech and language. and he says we're on the right path as far as what we're pursuing now. so we just keep pushing on. 

thank you all for your prayers and sweet words. you don't even know how encouraging they are and continue to be to me!

xoxo,
jami

Thursday, April 10, 2014

today in the unknown

today we have a doctor's appointment today for lila.
with her special developmental specialist. we will sit in the office for 2 hours while he plays with her and asks her questions. he is so incredible with her.
but i've done this before. i've watched him take down his notes and think, what is he writing? i know she did that skill set all wrong. he asked her to draw mommy and she drew a spider. with a unibrow. i mean, that's more creative than just drawing a human.

it's not a question of if she's a normal kid, i know she's not a normal almost 6 year old. her brain works completely different. her speech is at a 2 year old's level and she's almost 6. i know that. i really know that in so many ways.

but when you hear a label, something different happens. that is to be carried around. it can be carried around as a burden or as a tool set, my brain knows that. but what will we choose to do? likely, we will swim in and out of both ways of thinking.

this morning, with wet hair and the kitchen house undone with mess, i wanted to process before i go into that office this afternoon and face the unknown. order in my thoughts, perhaps.

i could come out of there still walking in the unknown or i could walk out having a label. the label is bittersweet to me: it could be helpful as she moves into kindergarten for her teachers and for her therapists to better care for her. it could be hurtful if people see the label and not the lila.

oh, that they would see beyond the disability.

i am struck by one thought this morning: that even though all this feels so heavy and earth shattering in this moment, it's just a breath. this life. i can do all of this because my focus isn't on caring for lila but that God is caring for me during this very short life we have walking with sweet lila. i don't have to fear the diagnosis because God has already known all of this before he made the stars. he will show us the way like he always has.

and he is near. his nearness is better than a good diagnosis or avoiding hard things. both of which stare at me today asking me what i really believe. this is not a sad moment, it is a moment in which God's great goodness shines light into our mundane and proclaims that Jesus is better.

that is what i will speak today in the doctor's office when i ask my questions and when i thank the doctor for his time. when i gather up lila's drawings and when i tell lila that i just love her spiders. more spiders, i'll say. there aren't enough spiders on that paper. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

barn owl primitives giveaway!


today, the kind people at barn owl primitives that make these adorable wooden plaques are giving you a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to their fun store! they have a million different signs and sayings, but i loved this one. 



everyday, whether you're going through something big or small, earth shattering or mundane, we are all doing hard things.

i was reminded of seeing a friend riding his bike the other day. we both stopped at the same stoplight. lynnie!, i shouted.
oh hey.
he wheeled over and looking into his eyes, i could see terrible sadness. i knew why. his wife had lost a battle to congenital heart disease the very night before.

i'm glad that you're riding. 

will you guys be at the funeral tonight?, he asked.

of course.

and then the light changed from red to green. life kept moving and so did we.

to other drivers, he's just a guy riding his bike. but everyone has a story, a hard thing that they're living out right then. we never know what people are living through when we see them and interact with them. it's easy to forget hat we all walk the road of suffering. if not now, then sometime.

rapper drake says it best: we're all walking the same road, we just got different shoes on. 

remembering that lends greater compassion towards others. and yet we need something more. the only way we can do the hard things and remain soft hearted or to look at other people through a compassionate lens, is with Christ's strength. eventually our own strength will wain. we get tired.
run to the one who never gets tired. never sleeps. never stops working on your behalf.

paul, who would have been an incredible rapper in our day, says
philipians 4:11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

i pray that i can remember that "secret" today.


if you would like to enter the giveaway, barn owl primitives asks that you do one or more of the following:

1) like Barn Owl Primitives on FB (https://www.facebook.com/barnowlprimitives?ref=hl)
3) follow on IG (@BarnOwlPrimitives)

then leave a comment that you did so. winner will be picked next week! 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

on ignoring special needs people

when people talk about causes or issues that don't relate to me, i find it particularly easy to ignore what they're saying.

yes, that was my compassionate opening line, just now.  but if we're all honest, i think we can relate to that statement. you love adoption? meh. you love fitness? ok. you're into oils? fine, moving on.

you know what i mean?

perhaps it's because we're all so inundated with causes constantly on the internet or at church or at school or our kid's school. i think some of the shut out is ok and even needed. no one can champion every cause nor should they. we would all be exhausted humans getting small amounts of 1million things done and i'm not sure how much good that does.

what i do know is that everyone can champion life. because, we're all humans and we're all living and no one is a robot. i think my logic there is impeccable.

the other day before i started "working out", i downloaded a pod cast, thinking it was something else. it didn't download in time and i forgot about it...until i was on the plane coming home from the conference. i was bored and exhausted but couldn't sleep, so i looked in my podcasts and there it was. one lone ranger to listen to. so, why not.

and i sat in my seat and just cried and cried while i listened to a man talk about the value of life. and how the value of our life is simply found in being made in the image of God, not in the contribution we can give society. now, i am particularly sensitive to this as our sweet lila is on that special needs spectrum somewhere. and perhaps i would have ignored this before her. but i don't think it's right as a body of believers to do so...ignoring the value of all life.

at hopespoken there were a few meet-up/share groups on the last night like; new moms, seasoned moms, an adoption group, singles, handmade shop owners, and i lead the special needs moms group.

we sat outside and laughed together about our children licking everything. saying strange things. taking their pants off in the store, because why not. not being able to verbalize when someone asks, what's your name? pushing someone because they can't say they'd like a turn with that toy.
a group where we didn't feel so abnormal saying, we don't fit in at playdates. 
my child doesn't get invited to birthday parties. 
this is hard and i feel alone.
where do we fit into this life?



it was one of my favorite times at the conference. i don't have many friends with special needs kids--where i live or on the internet even. so being connected like this was so refreshing. just to nod our heads at each other and say, i know.

we talked about how God knitted these children in the womb, just like this. knowing the missing chromosomes. knowing the intricacies of their different needs, their special diets, their unique brains, their unusual bodies. he knit them just so and they reflect the image of God in some way. i was just blown back by that thought. that somehow, special needs children reflect the image of God.

their limitless boundaries.
their crazy joy.
how they find no reason to hide emotions.
how they feel so intensely some things.

i see Him in lila so much. and i feel like i have to champion and defend her most of the time. and sometimes i do defend her...but she can do this! see her value!

so when i heard this sermon, i finally really heard someone saying, all of life is important. the ones that contribute, and the ones that aren't born yet, the ones that are born with special needs, the ones that are considered normal. life is valuable simply because every single person reflects the image of christ. you never have to defend your child's value for anything other than simply, because God said So.

i feel a burden to help people understand that my special needs child and others all around the world, are valuable because God made it so. whether you have no experience with a special needs kid or you have plenty, we all need to listen to this truth over and over.

will you take time to listen to it? i promise it will knock your socks off.
(it is addressed to pastors, but pretend like he said i want to address my fellow CHRISTIANS)


SERMON from Paul Martin 

Image of God - Creation - Fall - Redemption - Consummation




Monday, March 31, 2014

my weekend.

when i opened my speaker bag this morning and saw this, then sings my soul cross stitch from take the cannoli, i just cried.

partly because i'm exhausted and raw from the weekend at hopespoken. conferences are not restful for me, they are work. good work. work i want to be doing, but nonetheless. i am completely uncomfortable most of the time for reasons listed below:

public speaking.(sweating through armpit pads ... it's possible! fun fact)

crowds.(hey, remember how i'm an introvert that everyone thinks is an extrovert?)

donuts everywhere. (i'm constantly conflicted. don't eat a donut. eat the donut. eat another donut? how many donuts is too many to eat in, say, the span of one hour? who has watched me eat the last donut so that i know not to get a donut in front of them next time.)

hotel "sleeping". or lack thereof.  (are hotels for sleeping or just a place for your stuff. i'm not quite sure yet.)

pregnancy. (why does it look like my legs have elephantitis . oh, because who sits down much at a conference? who's face retains water? mine. hashtag ALLTHEFLUID)


awkward jokes that seem funny in my head but out loud sound like i'm a weirdo. i'm all, just kidding! like it's the magic eraser of words.
(for the record, hannah laughed at all my jokes)

listen, all of this sounds like complaining, but what i'm trying to say is that it's hard for me. and this is where i am called. sharing stories of redemption in my marriage and in the bible,  and telling people that Jesus is the only thing that makes this life worth living. that is good news. not law and rules and advice and waking up in the morning and doing better. the cross. the blood. do you know that God sees you as perfect--because he sees Jesus, not you.  i love telling people that. i could tell people that all day long because the message of the Gospel never gets old or tired.

i'm getting old and tired(and large). but in that, God uses my weakness and all my awkwardness and all the things that make me uncomfortable and turns them for his glory. i am incredibly thankful for that.
(they put the pregos on the end to make themselves feel better. rude)


so when i took this cute cross stitch out, i thought, yes. my body is tired, but my soul is singing today. i felt most restful at hopespoken when the lights were turned down and we're just singing together about how God is our only hope. i have always felt such a connection to music, typically with secular music (don't tell anyone). i can hear the songs he sings to his people on the radio anytime i want, on any station. a lot of times it's a man or woman singing to his or her love interest making ridiculous promises they can never keep. but to me i hear God singing those promises.

(no real transition)

anyway, i didn't get to hear most of the talks while i was there-- but can't wait to listen to them online so i can learn more from those incredible women and where they saw Jesus in their story. and as much as conferences are uncomfortable for me, meeting so many of you was incredible and something i won't forget anytime soon. all these stories God is weaving for good! he's one creative guy.
(please note that in the first picture, emily is making a heart shape sign on my belly. awkward pregnancy photos are my fave. also, to the right, my dolphin jump i've been really working on finally paid off)

anyway, i'm going to put my sweat pants back on and just lay on the couch, while i stare at a white wall. for 2 to 3 weeks. someone just bring me a chocolate now and again and make sure i'm breathing and that lila hasn't found my stash of permanent markers and drawn an entire family (including extended family) of "spiders" all over the couch again.

thanks for listening to me process! ramblings in hot pink stretchy pants at my messy desk feels nice on this sunny monday morning.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

oils update: what we think.

guys, are you obsessed with essential oils yet, or what? i know, some of you are like, if i have to hear about the oils again, i'm going to hurt people.
i have an oil for your rage.

just kidding.
i mean, i do. but...

it's just that they work. it's really crazy when you stop taking your over the counter stuff and rely on the essential oils, which work just as well, but are natural and good for you. it's hard to say that about most OTC stuff.

so...let me tell you how we're using our essential oils over here. i prefer to call them oilzzzzzz at my house. so when you see that word, please know that it's with a long zzzzzz.

orange oil is really cheap and it makes my kids calm down. lila has a rough time getting her calm on sometimes. particularly with her special needs stuff going on, it's hard to know how to help her gain composure again after she's gotten worked up. so i put it up and down her spine and in about a minute, she's sitting quietly coloring while i freak out and say, is anyone watching this?!

it is a citrus oil, so make sure you're using lotion or a carrier oil to apply, as it will make their skin itchy or irritated if directly applied.

we have also been using brain power, clarity, and vetiver on her as well, and in the past couple of months, people keep telling us how much better she's doing with her language. honestly, i don't know if this is because she's growing up and maturing, or because of the oils. but now i don't want to go back!
so we'll keep applying and i'll keep you guys updated.

and thieves, let me count the ways. this oil is pretty incredible for avoiding sickness or helping when you do get sick. we didn't get the flu this year...i was applying this oil all over the children, especially after church or the YMCA we attend regularly. aside from a cold here and there, nothing really slammed us. it was quite glorious.


usually i just rub this on their feet before we go somewhere or as soon as i see sniffles. you can also diffuse it in the air if you have a diffuser. personally, i'm much more inclined to put this stuff topically on my fam, as it works quickly and effectively. i'll turn the diffuser on at night if someone's got a cold. the humidity and the oils work their magic while they sleep.

last week i woke up with what i thought was a cold, but i looked in the mirror and sure enough, there were white spots on my throat and it was incredibly painful to swallow. i was like...NOOOOO, i can't handle strep right now! so, i took thieves orally just right into my throat every couple hours and then i took 3 drops of oregano via capsules, orally.
i woke up the next day, and while the cold lingered, the spots were gone. crazy town. so i kept at it for a couple more days until the cold was gone. what was interesting is that i had some cystic acne popping up again on my neck(my diet the pregnancy is not amazing...i'm eating more sugar and other naughty things), but all of that went down quite a bit as well. it was incredible.

now you shouldn't take oregano orally all the time, it's a really powerful antibiotic and it will clean your gut out of both good and bad bacteria. so use it only when needed for bad sickness or infections.

i'm also really loving lavender. my ankles are disappearing with this pregnancy again...i tend to retain water like a champ. so i rub the lavender all over my ankles before i go the gym and not only do i smell like an amazing floral extravaganza(and a crazy hippie), my kankles are noticeably smaller when i use it, as opposed to when i don't. i need to be more vigilant about applying during the day and especially at night when i turn into a hippopotamus.

i could go on and on and on...we use so many more oils. but i'm not going to bore you all. the oils have thus far, really worked for us. we couldn't be more thrilled! worth every penny we've spent.

and if  you are interested in getting oils or the premium starter kit(which comes with 13 oils and a diffuser), follow these step-by-step directions.

  • Please make sure you've checked Young Living Independent Distributor (and not retail customer---you will not get wholesale prices as a customer)
  • Enter this number 1566248 in the Sponsor ID and Enroller ID areas
  • Fill out your info
  • Select your kit ($150 premium starter kit is the best value)
  • You can choose to sign up for Essential Rewards at this time if you'd like (read about why we like essential rewards here)
  • At this point, you can add more product to your order if you'd like
  • You're all done---welcome to the family!