Saturday, January 28, 2012

Lured by Acceptance

It began one night many years ago.  I was the new kid, invited by a friend.  We were playing games, separated on four teams.  "That looks easy. I'll win, for sure," I thought.  I was the first one on my team to play.  The players were to run around the circle and into the middle to win points.

The whistle blew and I ran.  Before I knew it, they were awarding points for first and second place to two other people; I was last!

Uh-oh.  I dreaded walking back to my team.  The team with the most points would go home with a reward. I had earned none for my team; now no one would like me.

I was confident that I would hear, "Loser!"   Or "why does she have to be on our team!"

Instead I heard different words. "Good job!"

What did I just hear? Yes, he said it again.  My team leader had said, 'Good job!'  None of the kids rejected me either.  I was welcomed back to the team.  Then the leader turned and began to cheer for the next player.

Even more than being astonished that I came in last, I was shocked that they told me good job when I didn't win. 

The lure had begun. Two simple words embodied acceptance not based on performance. Two simple words breathed life. They spoke loudly to my seeking heart.

It was that acceptance that drew me to Christ. And it is that acceptance not based on my performance that keeps drawing me back in again.

I often stray. I want to perform. I want to do good for Him.  I want to be the best in my flesh. I don't revel in boasting in my insults, in my weaknesses, that in me the only good is Christ. The old me doesn't really like that. No, not at all.

But once again when I am a puddle on the floor, fully aware of my desperate need. Then I am ever so grateful again to be drawn by that amazing merciful acceptance not based on my horrible performance.

I am accepted before the foundation of the world. Not by works of righteousness that I have done but according to His great mercy, He saved me.

And He breathes life again.

I am accepted. We are all accepted based on His performance, not yours. Not mine. But His.

May we all breathe deeply of His life breathing Words.

May you find life, grace, and refreshment in Him,

What about you, do you have a story of when you were lured by Acceptance?

Linking up with Jen at the SDG Sisterhood. Click on over for more great reading.

Linking up with Rachel at Home Sanctuary.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

100 Things: Part II or Whereby the self-indulgent post goes on and on...

Here it is ... the last 58 items in my 100 Things About Me series-- though I doubt anyone has been on pins and needles waiting for the second part.  In order to end this self-indulgent series quickly, this post is long (just like Part I ...only longer...).  And it is in here where my hidden love -- hopefully family and Jesus are obvious loves -- but there is also tucked away a clue or two about a calling I need to pursue. This will make sense if you read THIS post (just 2 posts back). But if you haven't read it yet, you may need to make that another day because you already need a coffee or tea to make this here post some happy reading!

100 Things About Me: Part II

My father-in-law & mother-in-law, the #1 influence on our decision to homeschool.

43) My mother-in-law is the largest single influencing factor of why I started homeschooling. In addition to home-schooling my husband's brother, who is 13 years younger than him, through high school graduation, she offered to watch the children so we could attend...

With Carole Joy Seid & a favorite book (friend, Carole, me) The second most influencing factor on our decision to homeschool.

44)... a Carole Joy Seid seminar,  which is the second most influencing factor of why I homeschool. After listening to Carole, I thought even I could do this and more importantly, I resonated with the lifestyle she presented as a great learning environment, also.

My crazy, fun, support-filled Teacher's Lounge friends. (I'm seated on the couch, 2nd from the left.)

45) The on-going inspiration for homeschooling is the group of homeschooling mom's called the Teacher's Lounge that meet once-a-month.
46) The family dynamics of homeschooling is a main reason we keep on homeschooling.

47) I changed my major so many times in college my parents needed an index card in their pocket or purse so they could tell their friends what exactly I was studying at that moment.
48) I am still characterized by changing my mind; there are just so many good ideas out there!

49) During my junior year of high school, I decided I wanted to be an elementary ed major.
From that time until my junior year in college, I was an education major. In one conversation with a guidance counselor, I was no longer an education major. I still vividly remember that spring day.

50) It turns out that teacher is truly part of my calling -- I love to teach my four children at home, tutor at the public school, or teach a Bible study. My high school intuition was right; it just took me a long time to find my way.

51) One of the best things I did in college was to become a Resident Assistant.
52) Another best thing I did in the college was to be a part of an on-campus Christian group.
53) Most of my friendships in college were cultivated in the wee hours of the morning, talking.
54) I took a college film class and slept through the reason for Rosebud in the pivotal, classic movie Citizen Kane.

Hubby & I are slated to race each other in a final heat in the bi-annual Jaeger Christmas Derby Races. I obviously don't know how to make an I'm gonna getcha face! Ha! December 2011

55) One of the many jobs I've had was selling Creative Memories scrapbooks & supplies. I still love their products and mission.
56) I was scrapbooking before it became trendy or acid-free.
57) I love paper and pens.
58) I love to write letters as much as I love receiving a hand-written letter in my mail-box.
59) I love to stay in-touch with friend and wish that I could stay "best" friends with everyone.

60) I have written since I learned how to write in the first grade. I have kept a journal since the fifth grade.
61) Being a pack-rat by nature, I have all the journals that I've ever written and the stories I wrote in the first grade.
62) I have dreamed of becoming a novelist since I was a young girl.

63) I love to play volleyball.
64) Watching the sunset over water soothes my soul.

One of the 10,000 lakes in Minnesota. Photo by me.
65) I love water. I like to swim in it and to ski on it. I like to go to the ocean, the lake, or the river.
66) I like to drink water. Or take long, hot showers.
67) My fascination with water is one of the reasons that my favorite color is blue.

68) Chocolate and garlic are my friends.

69) I love going out to eat with friends (real friends, not the chocolate and garlic).
70) I love staying up late: either talking with friends or simply by myself.
71) At a fifth-grade slumber party, I began my quest to see the sun rise by staying up all night. It never occurred to me to get up early to see the sun rise!

72) I love playing card and board games.

73) The point of drinking coffee is about the half-n-half. Just plain half-n-half. No low-fat substitute. No artificial flavorings. Just yummy, creamy half-n-half.

74) The nine months that I spent in Michigan were the hardest in my life, so far.
75) It took me years not to mention that time without tears in my eyes. And sometimes I still tear up.

76) I love candles, especially to light them and enjoy their glow.

77) I love music.

The 6 of us singing from a Seeds CD during our Christmas Eve celebration. Dec. 2009
 78) I love to sing, play guitar & piano, and compose songs. I'm not the best at these things but I love them passionately and hope that in heaven I'll finally have the voice that I've always longed for.

79) I like naps. (Especially snuggled in with my kids.)

80) We still have a phone that is attached to a wall with a cord. (No, it is not a rotary phone and yes it does work. People have asked when they see it!) I do enjoy a good phone call with a friend!
81) I know how to text.(This may shock some of my friends I've known the longest.)
82) I have only had a cell phone for a year. My husband still doesn't.
83) I have not yet joined Facebook.

Hubby & I. October 2011
84) I have known my husband longer than I have not known him (since my birthday in September of 2011). More time with him than without him. Thank you Lord!

85) From friendship to marriage took four years.
86) I tease him about how long it took but I needed the time, too.

87) I love leading Bible studies.
88) I love hearing other people's stories.
89) Sometimes you can't tell because I'm doing all the talking. I always have to work at listening to others. (But I really do enjoy hearing other people's stories!)

90) Sunshine makes me happy.
91) And yet, I am often thankful for a rainy day, too.

92) I like to cook & bake.
93) I have learned to enjoy managing a household.
Delivering the annually requested homemade blueberry birthday pie to my oldest. Sept. 2010
94) I like my things organized but my time unstructured.
95) A vacation seems like a vacation to me when we we're able to do what we want, when we want, without a thought of a clock or a to-do list.

96) I have a 'one-dollar' look. (This will need further explanation than I can give it here.)

Celebrating my birthday with a decadent chocolate cake made by my husband. 2011
97) I love to laugh.
98) I enjoy meeting new people & making friends (including on-line ones!).
99) I am not mechanically-inclined and even less so now after being married to a mechanically-inclined person for 18 years (because I let him do all of that).

100) Although a ramp-up person (for instance my blog is  two years old and I am just now getting to my 101st post, actually), I also like to dive-into cold water rather than gradually get in. (Hence another aspect of the dichotomy of my non-existent personality type.)

How about you?
Is there an interesting fact or two you would like to leave in the comments about you? Or if you like you could give a big woo-hoo that this post is done!
If you want to write 100 things or already have,
in the comments leave us a link to your blog where we can learn about you.

Welcome Company Girls -- Jump on over to Rachel Anne's to meet another group of wonderful women.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Celebrating my 100th Post

 It has been around a long time. Long enough that it seems old. Not fresh and hip. Well...truth be told, I've never been really good at hip & trendy. Once I figured out that I had friends who liked me for me and not the Izod alligator on my shirt, I stopped working so hard on style.

And so in honor of my lack of hipness, I am commemorating my 100th post by being terribly self-indulgent with a 100 Things About Me series. (Yes, more than one self-indulgent post for the sake of length.Yikes!)

I am doing this because I enjoy reading these types of posts on other blogs. Hopefully, I'm not the only one. If I'm part of the minority (and I often am), don't blame me; blame the person who started this.

If you read my post about 380 miles and are curious about my new pursuit of an old dream, it is hidden in the second of these two posts. I'll be curious if you can detect what it is.

100 Things About Me: Part I
(The information in the intro paragraph is just a bonus!)
My family of origin with spouses and children on my parent's 50th wedding anniversary.  I'm seated on the far left.

1) I am the youngest of 5 children.
2) I mention this a lot because I am intrigued by birth order and other such personality tests.
3) Just ask my husband who has been subjected to dozens of personality tests (even though I probably know his personality type better than he does!)
4) I once read that my combined personality type doesn't exist.

5) A horse stepped on my foot when I was about eight.
6) I didn't like horses for a long time but said I did because I thought all girls were suppose to like horses.
7) It took many years to become an out-of-the box thinker instead of doing what I thought people wanted to me to do.
8) Either way, I do like horses now but wish I knew how to ride them better.

9) My parents still live in the only home I lived in as a child.

My parents on their 50th wedding anniversary.

10) I was born and raised in Minnesota -- the land of 10, 000 lakes.
11) Though I love Minnesota, I am its fair weather friend: I cry when I leave in the summer and am thankful to leave its cold behind when I leave in the wintertime.

12) My favorite season depends upon location. In Tennessee, it is the spring. The gradual weeks long process of blooming flowers is amazing! In Minnesota, summer is my favorite. Perhaps I should have named a daughter Summer because I love it that much.

From our summer 2011 camping trip. We try to go camping at least once a year.
13) In the summertime, my parents took our family on lots of camping trips. They are my favorite childhood memories.
14) I still like to go camping. Camping can mean staying in a camper, a cabin, or a tent.

15) Another favorite summertime activity was going to camp. If I could have lived at camp all summer long, I probably would have. But then I would have missed my favorite family-times. So I'm glad I didn't.
16) I still often wish that I could be in more than one place at a time. The desire to not miss out on any fun has yet to die in me. Those last-born tendencies live on!

Volunteering in the kitchen at the kid's camp 2011 -- can't get it out of my system!
17) I am a voracious reader.
18) I rejected a book club invitation in high school from friends who were going to sit around and read and discuss books like The Brothers Karamazov. It sounded boring.
19) Since then, I have obtained The Brothers Karamazov.
20) And I have also participated in two different book clubs. Neither of which read or discussed The Brothers Karamazov. Now, I think I would have enjoyed that first book club.

My running shoes.
21) I have run one full marathon. (Yes, oh yes, I ran 26.2 miles of fun.)
22) Seven years after running a full marathon, I ran a half-marathon (just this past spring).
23) I often do things in an unusual order or way but you couldn't tell that by my hair or clothing.

My oldest brother & I doing a funny pose. Nov. 2011
24) It's my eldest brother's fault that I started running. He invited me to run with him one night. I have run off and on since that time, including two years on my high school cross country team.

25) When asked about an accomplishment that I am proud of, I still cite receiving the Most Improved Runner award on my high school cross country team. It was a huge surprise because I didn't remember that award being given out the previous year. I still have the plaque.

The kids imitating the faces they carved. Oct. 2011
26) I have four children.
27) I have had five pregnancies. (I had a miscarriage between number 3 and 4).
28) I have had two of my children at home. (On purpose.)
29) Labor and delivery of my fourth child was way harder than the marathon.

Our family photo on Easter 2010.
30) My husband and I were married for 5 years before any of his siblings got married.

31) We celebrated our fifth anniversary by canoeing down a river. I was 7 months pregnant with our first child.
32) We were infertile for 4 years. Then we had 3 kids in three years.
33) When I had three kids ages 3 and under, I often was crying by 10 o'clock in the morning wondering how I would make it to the end of the day.

34) Now I know it wasn't just being overwhelmed by little ones but also lack of blood sugar...I usually hadn't eaten breakfast yet. Thank goodness for the season of everyday eggs that taught me this.

35) I like my husband to decide what I want for breakfast.
36) I don't like him to decide any other meal of the day for me.

November 2011
37) I felt complete when I became a mother.
38) Becoming a mother has been one of the best things to happen to me because I have grown-up in responsibility and in loving others. I am a better person because I am a mother. I am thankful that God granted this desire of mine.

39) I have 80 first cousins. (Give or take a few, its hard to count that many!)
40) I know most of them, which means I know who they are and their name when I see them.
41) Most of my first cousins and their families live in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. I'm in the very small minority that moved and stayed away.
42) June 2011 marked living in Tennessee for 19 years.

Stay tuned....I'll finish the next 58 delightfully entertaining items about myself tomorrow (Click HERE to read)...waiting on pins and needles I'm sure.... in the meantime...feel free to leave a comment about the most interesting item so far...or better yet something about you...this is beginning to sound like a monologue...dive in and save me from me....

Also linking up with Jen and the SDG sisters.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

380 Miles

In 2011, I logged three hundred and eighty miles on my running shoes. It is hard to believe that I ran that many miles. With something that impressive, it seems I would have set out to do it. I didn't.

Rather, after seven years of sporadic daily exercise, I decided to run a half-marathon because my sister-in-law was finally ready to run it with me.

That was the main goal. To run a half-marathon.

Since I had run a full marathon several years before I thought this would be an easy goal to tackle. I was wrong. Yes, you can write that down. I was wrong. Not running -- really at all -- for seven years, gaining the weight I had lost back, and entering into my forties doesn't make for easy half-marathon training.

On a crazy note, because it felt like work to train, it made it easier to make time to train. "I have to do this" seems much more compelling than "I love this!" Usually I feel guilty for doing something that I enjoy. This time I only remember one good training run.

Yet, the reason 380 miles is on my mind is the gratitude I have for them. You see, I twisted my knee two days after Christmas. Running the upcoming half-marathon this spring is out of the question. Walking it is a maybe and a daunting goal, considering that I have not bent my knee fully for 3 weeks.

I am so thankful that I have run a half-marathon and the full 26.2 marathon before that. That full marathon was one of my top two items on my life list I things I want to accomplish. This set-back is only temporary. I will be active again.

But it is not a blow to a dream-goal.

I am so thankful.

There is disappointment. My son and I had signed up together and were training together. I loved that. I am sad about not being able to do that.

But I am so thankful that this set-back isn't putting me in despair of reaching a dream that I've had for a long time. It can't!

This obstacle cannot strike a blow to the goal of running a marathon because I have already done it! Amazing!

Thus, this realization has caused me to think about the number one item on my life list. It has been there longer than running 26.2 miles.

So... now it's time.

Time to pursue that dream. Cross it off the list before some small obstacle knocks a blow to that dream-goal.

Hopefully next year at this time I will have logged 380 miles pursuing my other dream. No regrets. May the Lord continue to "teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12

How about you?
Have you ever encountered a disappointing set-back
that surprisingly gave you a better perspective on life?

Love, Kathleen

Monday, January 9, 2012

The telling tales of where our pockets have been

I Spy...
...paper clips that try to hold my many scattered papers together...
...a string of fake, pink pearls to decorate the throat of a princess or a bride...
...a safety pin or two to make the capes of superheroes ..
...a police badge helps to capture pirates running through our halls

I Spy...
... something red and stretchy: an extra hand that I can always use... from the pockets of explorers in frontier lands...
...beads, and shells, and buttons for creative inventions and gifts...

I spy earplug or two: the attempt for quiet in this loud and sticky life...
...a sparkly flower to brighten our day while we wait for spring....
...a dime & a nickel: tips that a laundry lady will be grateful for indeed...

I spy
...bits and pieces of my life
Telling tales of where our pockets have been
Now tumbled out
Washed and dried
Now in a laundry jar
Forgotten, misplaced

Mixed together
Tiny tools and treasures
Taking things that
Don't belong together
Not quite in the place they're meant to be
Except that they're in
My washer, my life

The superheroes, the princesses,
The treasures of explorers
The many scattered thoughts
Mixed up, not belonging together
Except that they are here

In my life

* * * *

Linking up today with Jen and the SDG women. Click HERE for more inspiration.
Linking up also with the Company Coffee girls HERE.
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