Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Busy Week

This week has been a little hectic. I have the privilege of teaching the Vacation Bible School class for 4 year olds through outgoing kindergarteners. I have never taught an age group at VBS, so it has been quite a lot of work. I may have two little girls, but I don't always know how to deal with children who develop normally. Weird makes more sense to me than average.

Plus, we're getting ready to head to Central Asia for an eight day trip to see some of my favorite people. We are really excited about the trip, but there's a lot to get done. In fact, I better get to it. I just wanted to let you know where I am and what I'm doing. I'd hate for you to think that I just suddenly decided to become a shy person, not that I'm too concerned about that. :)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Scattered Jigsaw Puzzle

I found myself wondering this morning about what you thought about me. Yes, you, dear reader. I found myself wondering if I was portraying myself differently than how I really am. I wondered if I was painting a picture of a woman who had it more together than I do. I read my blog through the lense of reality, fully aware of all of the weaknesses and incapabilities that you may not realize are there.

This idea of “having it all put together” brought to my mind an image of a jigsaw puzzle. The pieces are all scattered across a card table, but one little corner is put together. I wondered if that was the corner I was showing you. It's impossible for me to know how you see me. You read this blog from your own perspective and color in the gaps from your own experiences.

I have been in a phase where I am desperate to believe that there is an actual picture at the end of this process. I know that I'm young, but I don't always feel like progress is being made. Sometimes I feel particularly scattered, and right now is one of those times. I believe that grace and the work of the Spirit are similar to puzzle pieces. We already have everything that we need. All that Christ is and was is already available. It just needs to be put together. (Some of my favorite Bible teachers refer to this as “appropriating grace.”)

Our Father doesn't leave us to put it together ourselves. It may feel like we're doing it all on our own, but He's right there, whispering over our shoulders, “You have the right piece, but you need to turn it around,” and, “Do you think that piece goes there? What about this one?” And sometimes He gently pulls the pieces out of our hands and starts putting it together Himself. He's the One doing it all, but there are times when He kindly allows us to sit on His knee and participate in His work in our lives.

How I feel about myself depends on where I am focusing. When I focus on the parts that I have figured out, the little corners that reveal the smallest piece of the picture, I feel pretty good, pretty put together. Then there are times when I am disoriented by the number of pieces that just don't seem to fit in anywhere.

I keep asking for a glimpse of the box. Just for a second, I want to see what He's putting together in me. He shakes His head and tells me to sit next to Him. “Right now we're going to focus on these pieces. But don't think for a second that I don't know what I'm doing. I made this puzzle. I'm the One who painted the picture. I'm the One who cut it into just these pieces. I know what it'll look like when it's all done. I know how long it's going to take to put it together. I know the process. And you know Me. That's all you need to know, dear child. Just remember this: This puzzle that we are putting together is really just a bigger piece in a bigger puzzle. One day I'll put it with the other pieces that I'm putting together in your brothers and sisters. Until then, you won't see how it all comes together. But you can see Me. That's enough. I'm enough.”

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Daddy's Day!

Edwin has requested that our family refer to Father's Day as Daddy's Day because neither of our children are all that sure who in the world “Father” is.

Today we honor you, Edwin, for being such a terrific Daddy. Strong and comforting.

And sweet and sensitive.

You are quite a guy, Edwin Attaway. I am so proud that you are my man, and that my daughters have the privilege of having you for a father. Because of you, the bar for our daughters' future husbands has been set very high.

I also want say a great big thank you to the man who set the bar so high for my husband. Daddy, you're a terrific father and grandfather. All of your girls love you (and so does Edwin)!

Of course, I have to honor the true Father, my Abba, Father. (For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father!" Romans 8:15) Thank You, Lord, for loving me and adopting me into Your eternal family. I may not have a picture to post, but He is the example from which Edwin and my Daddy learned the most about fatherhood. Rest in His strength and compassion today as you celebrate all fathers and grandfathers.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A New Design, A New Title

I have finally re-designed this blog. It's been well over a year since I performed a face-lift on my Internet home, and it was over-due.

Maybe you're curious about my new title, “In This Tent”. If you believe that I'm referencing a passion for camping, please allow me to correct you. I hate tent camping. (I'm still in mourning over the fact that we have absolutely no air conditioning here.) I went through several deeply philosophical titles. “Content in Incompletion,” “The Stay at Home Wanderer,” and “The Empty Vessel” were among many rejected titles. I finally landed on “In This Tent” after reading the passage displayed on my header.

“I consider it right, as long as I am in this tent, to wake you up with a reminder, knowing that I will soon lay aside my tent, as our Lord Jesus Christ has also shown me.” 2 Peter 1:13-14

“This tent” is a reference to the human body that temporarily houses our true selves through this life. My thoughts have been centered around the idea of getting settled down in our new life. I haven't been this rooted since I graduated from high school, and it's a weird feeling to know that we aren't going to move again for a very long time. This is probably an odd concept to many of you. I know that a lot of people live in one area their entire lives, with the possible exception of college. Not me. I attended five different colleges before finally graduating, mostly because my husband kept moving me. (Love ya, Honey!) We have lived in four states and seven cities since being married. We have done our very best to follow God wherever He has led, and He has been very mobile during our married years. Now that we are finally here, in a home, in the process of settling our lives into a single town (or village, actually), I am struggling with the idea of permanence.

Now God is reminding me that even the long-term is a single breath to Him. We continue to live in a tent, a mobile home that can follow Him wherever He leads. Although we plan to live here, in Northern New York, for a VERY LONG TIME, it is still a single moment in eternity. I'm still in the process of moving to my eternal Home with Him. And while I dwell in this tent, it's my job to remind those around me of the Eternal King, Christ Jesus.

As for the actual design, I liked the colors and the styling. After having black-and-white decor for so long, it seemed positively necessary to go with a bright color scheme this time around. I hope that this isn't too great a shock to your system.

Thanks for visiting my newly designed digs. I hope that you found yourself a nice, comfy place to crash. You're welcome here anytime.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


About a year ago, a major concern for DeLaynie's development is that she didn't show enough possessiveness over objects. In other words, she shared too well. This didn't really concern me, mind you. It concerned other people. I remember thinking, “Boy! There's a lose-lose situation. If she refuses to share, she's mean. If she readily shares, she's developmentally delayed.” (Yes, I actually thought, “Boy!”)

I am very proud to announce that DeLaynie has conquered this obstacle completely. I am equally proud to announce that Ella is way ahead of the game. We were congratulated on our daughters' above average possessiveness this morning by two separate groups.

This morning was DeLaynie's IEP (individualized education plan) meeting. One of the things that came up was that she has most definitely out-grown her previous apathy toward objects. We were glowing with pride, I tell you.

We had left Ella at a wonderful daycare run by a church family during the meeting (which greatly disappointed DeLaynie's therapists). When we arrived to pick her up, we were again congratulated on our daughter's outstanding development. She, too, has learned to communicate that she is particularly attached to certain objects. I was practically doing cartwheels.

It's all due to the practice that they put in at home. Particularly over a specific doll crib that they both want all. the. time. Ella likes to get in it. I'm not totally sure how she fits, but she does. DeLaynie, being the outside-the-box thinker that she is, likes to use it for dolls. Ella finds this to be a waste of a perfectly good napping spot.

So all of their work has not gone unnoticed. It's so nice to know that their efforts are finally paying off.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

An Oh-So-Quick Shameless Plug

Not to be confused with a shameless pug. That would be weird...

(See what I mean?)

I am currently looking for interest in a Zumba® class specifically geared to young women ages 12-24. If you, someone you care for, or someone you know is interested in such a class, and you actually live in the way Northern New York area, I recommend that you check out my site for more information. If you find your interest piqued, click on Zumba®Chick Info Request, and fill out the form!

Thank you. You may now return to your regularly scheduled blog stalking.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Things I Love

  • When Ella runs in the room with a storybook about Jesus in her hands, saying, “Jesus book! Jesus book!”
  • Ridiculously long walks on Wednesday afternoon.
  • DeLaynie's pretend baby hamsters. (Can you say,“Best pets ever!”?)
  • Reading on the front porch.
  • Those extremely rare days when Edwin and I are both well-rested, and we are actually able to spend time together.
  • The fact that I can tell my kids which shoes I want them to wear, they go get them, and put them on ALL BY THEMSELVES! (As long as they are slip-ons, of course.)
  • When I pull out DeLaynie's artwork from school, and she says, “Look, Mommy! I made it just for you!”
  • Being a pastor's daughter and a pastor's wife. And both of them are great at what they do!
  • Stewart's Light Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.
  • Teaching Zumba® classes. Acting like a kid makes a perfect break from taking care of them.
  • Our fenced-in back yard.
  • The way Ella melts into my arms.
  • This chair, where I blog, have my quiet times, and hide from the world.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Ella in a Ponytail

A couple of weeks ago, DeLaynie had a case of Fifth Disease. We were waiting to see if Ella had it (you don't know if your child has it until after the contagious period is over), so we had to stay home from church. The weirdness of not being at church on a Sunday was a little overwhelming, so I decided to play with their hair. DeLaynie did receive some from French pigtails, but the pictures didn't turn out. I was just thrilled she sat still for the amount of time that she did while I was pulling on her hair. Anyway, Ella ended up in a ponytail, which I found pretty cute. I just thought I would share... mostly because my brain is still asleep.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Unwritten Rules, Written

I have always had a few rules to this blog, but I've never published them, or even spoken of them. The list of rules has grown, so you may discover that I broke one of them if you click through some older posts. I didn't intend to have a list of rules to govern my blogging, but it evolved from a few moral inklings into guidelines that I consider very helpful as I debate what's appropriate and what isn't. After all, I am representing the name of Christ in everything I do, and nothing is completely reversible on the Internet. I take this stuff pretty seriously.

Here we go...

  1. Always remember that you (I am speaking to myself here) are fallible, sinful, and completely capable of being wrong. I try to make sure that I am always humble and sensitive. I fail, I'm sure, but it's still a goal for which to strive.
  2. I don't do politics. That is not to say that I don't enjoy discussing political issues in person, or that I am uninterested in politics. (I have been known to force my husband to watch the State of the Union, no matter how long it was, simply because I do care.) Here's the deal: politics are not usually about good vs. evil. It's more commonly an issue of wrong vs. wronger. I may deal with issues in politics, but I stay out of political party stuff on this blog. In my opinion, the most important things that a Christian can do to influence the government are to know and love God with every fiber of their beings, share the love of Christ at every opportunity, and pray consistantly and steadfastly for the leaders of this wonderful country. Then let the Holy Spirit do His job. (This is not something that I want to push on others. This is my own rule for my own blog.)
  3. I strive to respect God's most precious creation. That would be people. It hurts me to see how many Christian bloggers, whether they are mommy bloggers, ministry bloggers, or just-for-fun bloggers, are willing to insult strangers in order to induce a laugh or provoke an emotional response. God made them. God loves them. Even if they are wrong, God longs to adopt them as His children. It isn't okay to mock them or treat them in any way that I wouldn't want to be treated. Anyone that God was willing to send His Son to save is precious enough to treat with kindness.
  4. I want this blog to reflect the balance of life that I strive for in my personal life. This isn't a moral issue, but a way to keep things in perspective. I don't really want to be a mommy blogger, though I don't think that there is anything wrong with it, and I read many mommy blogs for fun. Sometimes I write about my kids. Sometimes I write about my relationship with God. Sometimes I write about issues that are burdening me at the time. I want to live a life of balance, and this blog acts as a good barometer to help me keep an eye on my priorities. I can only write about what I think about, so I can make sure that my thoughts are where they need to be simply by reading my own blog. Handy, huh?
  5. Be honest, not stupid (again, speaking to myself). I want to be honest with you about my short-comings, mistakes, and hopes for the future. I don't want to force you to carry my burdens, and I don't want you to get the idea that I don't like me. I'm actually quite fond of me, even with all of my quirks and issues. There are people with whom I can be completely transparent, but this is not the place for that.
  6. I am very careful about who/what I endorse. I haven't done any give-aways, in case you haven't noticed. I almost did one, until I clicked around the website and found some unrelated products with questionable messages. I am not willing to send you down a path that could eventually lead to temptation or bad theology. (I almost backed a children's book until I looked up some of the other books by the same author to discover that he has terrible theology in his books geared toward adults.) I am all for giveaways, and I want to tell you about products that I find helpful and good. My standards may be stupidly high, but I would much rather err on the side of caution.

That's about all. I have no intention of forcing my thoughts and beliefs on others. These are the rules that God has laid on my heart for my own blog. I'm grateful for His guidance, even in the little things.