Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Real Hope

Today marks 1 year til the 2012 London Olympic Games.  I also just learned early this morning that a beloved Olympic Silver Medalist, Jeret "Speedy" Peterson took his life the other night. 

This is a powerful and painful reminder to me how big and important things can appear to me, and how easily I can get caught up in them.  I'm a dreamer, a big dreamer, and I'm always striving for something.  That in itself is a good thing, as usually those dreams and passions are something that God places on my heart and wants me doing.  But even when I'm striving for something "good," my focus can get distorted, placing way too much importance on that goal or dream, where it becomes the center of my life and the thing by which I measure everything else.  Then suddenly without even knowing it, I realize that this great and wonderful dream has now become the idol which I am overly focused on, it's the center of my life, it's what I'm worshiping.

But a gold medal, a fancy diploma, a cushy bank account, fame, fitting in... these things aren't lasting, they're fleeting.  Gold medals tarnish, the ribbons unravel; it doesn't erase your past or your problems or magically change your character.  Diplomas are just papers saying you've spent X amount of time studying from a book; it doesn't mean you are now wise or know how to truly live.  Money comes and goes and often creates more problems and more emptiness inside as you realize the things you buy will never fully satisfy you.  Fame lasts for that quick 15 minutes and then people forget and cease to care about you; it's lust not real love.  Fitting in and people pleasing is only trying to mash yourself into a box that you may not fit; it doesn't allow you to be your unique self and to understand how to give and receive true affection and love.

All these things are not "bad" things but when we are consumed by them, they are idols we are placing in our lives.  They are all temporary, they will all fade away in the end.  But the One who truly deserves and is worthy of our worship, offers a relationship that is eternal and has far greater reward than anything this world can offer.  He will not leave you thirsting for more.  He will not leave you longing for the next best thing.  He will not cease to love you.  He will never leave you.  He will, however, provide for you.  He will walk with you through the storm.  He will fill your emptiness with a very true, very real and everlasting and loving relationship.

You don't have to clean yourself up to come to Him.  As a matter of fact, He says you can't earn it, it's a gift.  "For by grace you have been saved through faith,and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."  (Ephesians 2:8-9)  No matter what you've done or where you've been, He loves you and desires a relationship with you.  His is the way, the truth and the life.  He is Jesus, and the hope we have in Him is eternal and will never ever fade away.

Monday, July 25, 2011

When it rains....

This past week has brought our first steady rains in quite some time.  The Woodlands is usually lush and green with flowers everywhere, pretty much the tropical part of Texas.  But 15 inches behind in our annual rainfall has left this area brown and dried up with people hiding in their AC filled homes this summer including on July 4th which for the first time that I can remember has not ended with a bang due to fire fears.  With the rain this week, I was thankful that my yard is beginning to look green again, but I was also reminded of a few very special days in my life.

I've always loved rain and big storms, there's just something so awesome, scary and calming about them all at the same time.  Maybe it's the intensity with which they come and hit, or perhaps it's that part of you that just wants to snuggle under a blanket with a good book listening to the rain, or the fun moments when you're caught out in it and it makes you giggle and want to step in a puddle.  And it's kind of cool that three of the most important and memorable days of my life happened on dark and stormy days.

On September 24, 2000 in Sydney, Australia, as I headed to the Olympic venue nervous and excited for my final five dives, the ones that would end up catapulting me to the top of the podium, I stared out the bus windows watching the rain start to fall.  As I walked down the long corridor between the pool and a wall of windows, I watched the rain come down harder, even a little sideways.  I remember smiling, thinking, "These conditions are just perfect."  And they were.

Two years later on September 7th, I was supposed to have a beautiful, much dreamed of outdoor wedding.  But a few days prior we started tracking Tropical Storm Fay that was headed right for us, like a last minute uninvited guest.  Fortunately the night before the wedding, an available room inside opened up for us to use.  This room happened to be all windows on two sides over looking a pretty lake.  I had the joy of being married nice and dry inside with the view of a lovely rain outside.

As we were counting down the days in May until our little bundle of joy came, it was really hot and dry and drought conditions were already apparent.  I remember telling Eriek one day that I wouldn't be surprised at all if it rained the day Arella was born, it just seemed right.  Well, she showed up two weeks early on May 11th, one of the only rainy days we've had this year.

There's just something about those rainy days.  Maybe I just have a thing for water.  But I think it's more of a reminder for me of God's promises. 

Back in the day people were running amok, doing whatever they pleased, totally corrupted and full of violence.  God saw that their wickedness was great and that every intent of their heart was evil, except for Noah who pleased God.  So God decided to destroy every living thing (except those on the ark with Noah) with a great flood. After the rain stopped and the flood waters receded, God made a sign, the rainbow, to mark a covenant that He would never again use a flood to destroy the earth.  So when we see the rainbow it is for God and for us to remember His covenant.

Dolly Parton has a great quote, "The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you've gotta put up with the rain."  I think that is why I love rain and storms so much, for the hope that follows it.  Not every rain storm promises a great event in my life and not every great event will happen on a rainy day.  But we all go through the storms of life and sometimes just feel like we're drowning.  If we can look forward with hope and excitement for the rainbow to come, it makes putting up with the rain a lot easier.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Arella's Room

Many of you know I started working on Arella's room back in February, and I have yet to post pics. Well, I finally took pictures and had a few minutes to get them on my computer

Everything is hand painted except the verse on the wall is a vinyl sticker.  I'm tickled every time we change Arella's diaper because she loves to stare at her little monkey and even reaches out for it and smiles at it!  That makes all the time and effort worth it!!!  Enjoy...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Let the Games Begin

I've had all of these absolutely brilliant ideas to write about on my blog, but as you can see it's been a month since my last entry.  As any mom knows, these moments of wisdom and insight come at the most convenient times to write them down, like while driving in the car, or nursing a baby, or on the really rare occasion you get the chance to take a shower. 

I feel like this past week has given me a fresh start.  We discovered Arella has reflux and her medicine has helped in a huge way this past week and a half.  So my previously upset and in pain baby is back to her happy little self, and this mommy now has a new sense of calm and peace.  Last Saturday my husband watched Arella so I could go do Piyo at the gym.  It kicked my butt and I was sore all over- one of the best feelings in the world to me!  So that jump started me to get back into shape, and now I look forward to doing a little physical activity every day.  And of course, my mom gave me this card that just hits the nail on the head:

I laughed so hard at this because it's so accurate!  But it's also really made me think about a few things.  Obviously things have changed for me in a big way.  I have always been an on-the-go kinda gal and an athlete constantly working out.  Now, there might be several days in a row where the closest I get to leaving the house is opening the garage door to throw the trash out and I glance at my car.  I was a good girl and didn't work out at all until the doctor cleared me.  Six weeks has to be the longest I've ever not done some kind of workout!

I knew these things would happen, I was ready for the change and had an idea of what would be coming.  And I have to say, I'm absolutely LOVING having so much time with my daughter- priceless!  But what keeps crossing my mind now, is what's next? Where will this road lead me?  What does God have in store?

It's scary for me not to be planning out the next four year cycle of my life like I've been accustomed to.  However, it's also freeing and invigorating to be on a new winding path.  And today I will find my contentment staring into these beautiful bright blue eyes God has blessed us with.