Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lent : Signs of Life

We were out in the yard enjoying a beautiful afternoon and I noticed the first evidence of spring inbound.  These are daffodils and they surround the base of our Texas Pistache tree in the backyard.


It actually caught me a little off-guard.  I was not expecting my yard to begin blooming so soon. (Am I revealing my extreme lack of gardening experience here?). This is a fairly new home to us, so I'm still learning the annual cycle of our plants and garden.  More importantly, I was not expecting to have to begin the weekly Saturday ritual of maintaining the yard so soon!

If indeed spring is ready to bloom, then we have a lot of work to do.  Work that looks something like this...

And this...

Often God gives us visible signs through nature to help our understanding.  I'm sure many of us have heard analogies from a garden as it relates to our hearts...and my yard is a perfect picture of the purpose of the Lenten season.

Lent is about pulling the weeds to give room for new life, new growth.  It's no accident that Lent covers the weeks of the year where the cold and barrenness of winter gives way to a season of new growth and life springing forth.  If I do not get out in my yard and begin pulling those weeds and preparing the soil, then the weeds will choke out the new growth of spring and any new seeds planted will not have the rich soil needed to grow into something beautiful and fruitful. 

If we don't do the work in our hearts of pulling the weeds (the unaddressed sin, poor attitudes, selfish habits) then they will choke out the life-giving actions in us and holy seeds that have been planted in our hearts will not grow to bear fruit as they were intended.

It's amazing how quickly weeds can overtake an unattended garden.  If we skip a few weeks of yard work, then the next time we put on our gloves we always find the weeds multiplied and a huge job ahead of us.  It can be overwhelming. 

But if we keep up on the yard work and take time each week to pull the few weeds that have popped up and pull any dead plants, then the work is much more manageable.  A little regular yard maintenance makes for a fruitful, beautiful yard full of life and growth....and a yard neglected makes for an overwhelming job that can send us right back inside. 

Regular introspection, confession and prayer prevents a heart overtaken by sin and a situation that is easier to ignore than to face. 

One of the ways we can know that our hearts are not bound by the vines of sin is when we see evidence of fruit growing in our lives.

Galatians 5:22-23 "In contrast the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control..."

So are we growing in the fruits of the Spirit?  Are we becoming more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, faithful, gentle and self mastered?  If so, then these are signs of life in us. 

If not, then it's probably a signal that we have some weeds to address. 

Don't be afraid to look at your garden.  Lent is the time.  The time to pull the weeds so that resurrection life can do its work in us. 






Monday, February 27, 2012

Change to House Blog Address

Sorry for the url changes for the blogs.  I had to change the house blog too, so here is the new link. 

http://freshpaintabq.blogspot.com/

These shouldn't change!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Fun in the Winter Sun

It was a beautiful sunny day and after weeks of being stuck inside because the weather was too cold for Jack, we were all thrilled to get outside to play!  It was even sunny enough to grab the sunglasses.



When I asked our diva for a pose, she gave me this..


She went right for her garden shovel and was very diligent about her work



Sully was full speed ahead as usual..


He took a quick rest and then it was back to it!








But he did stop for a little mama love..


Last but not least is Action Jackson, who was in rare form today.


Who me?!  Yes, you.



First a little hula hoop action..


Next, a little wagon time with my sis...


And then all I wanted to do was put the nut-looking things that had fallen from the tree into my mouth...and I was really upset when Mommy made me stop.

I mean really distraught...


What is a sweet mischievous boy to do?  Just move on (until mommy turns her head....)


And then, this one sat herself down because of a tummy ache..


But I think we'll be ok :)



It was a great afternoon and it's amazing how quickly a little fresh air can lift three little spirits :)



Friday, February 24, 2012

House Blog

If you are interested in checking out the progress we are making around the house, check out our house blog at http://freshpaintabq.blogspot.com/

I'll put a note with the link here whenever we update with posts on our latest projects :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lent: It Begins..


Yesterday was Ash Wednesday and it marked the beginning of the 40 days of Lent, the season of prayer, fasting, and repentence that prepares us for the Easter celebration.  While Lent is not strictly a catholic practice, I had never participated in it until I was confirmed catholic 5 years ago....and it's become one of my favorite times of the year, though not because it's incredibly joyful and easy. It can actually be quite painful. 


But sometimes don't we need a little of that?  Something to make us a little uncomfortable, something to pull us out of our complacency, give us the push and the decisiveness we need to set aside habits that are harmful or have become time-wasters, a season to help us focus our attention on the most important sacrifice of all. 

It's not pleasant or easy to focus on our sin or even on how extensively Christ suffered on our behalf, but we must.  It's hard to admit our need for a savior...and not just at a moment of conversion but each day.  And we must.  We can not focus only on the joyous and redeeming aspects of God's love or even truly experience them without doing the painful work of honestly looking at ourselves and recognizing where we have fallen. 



Sometimes we reject love because it can make us uncomfortable.  Christ loved bigger than we ever can or ever will....and no one has or ever will love us as much as our Lord and Savior.   He paid the ultimate price for our sin on the cross, in ultimate humility, all out of LOVE.  This is the season to reflect on that and to respond to what the Holy Spirit stirs in us as we do.

I frequently get the urge to purge the house of all unnecessary items and the things that clutter up our home.  When the piles of clutter accumulate and I begin stuffing things in random places,  I have trouble seeing all that we have, I develop a skewed perspective of what we need, things that require my action can get lost in the shuffle, and I don't use our space or our things as they are intended.  The same goes for our soul. 

When we don't do the work of addressing the "clutter" that has accumulated (the subtle [or blatant] sin, habits that aren't beneficial, and our spiritual laziness), we lose focus.  The spiritual clutter distracts us from the things that are most important and our priorities are misplaced.  We have trouble listening.  It's hard find the silence needed to heard God's voice when so many other things are vying for our attention. 

So it's time to purge the heart...to get rid of the clutter that weighs down our soul and distracts us from the work at hand.  It's time to make room for grace and let God do the work of restoring right order to our souls. 

We shouldn't need a season of Lent to do this but often we get distracted with the busyness of life.  So, I'm ready.  I don't want to miss this season.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Still Winter

Just as I was feeling like the warm weather was coming a little too quickly, we woke up to a white surpise this morning...


I've been craving a cold, grey day to keep us snuggled up inside, sipping on warm goodness.  Mia keeps asking for hot chocolate but it feels a bit of an odd drink to have on a sunny afternoon. 

So while my grey clouds dumped their perfect snow under the cover of darkness and the sun rose to reveal a clear, crisp day, they left us a lovely reminder that it is in fact still winter.



Now, driving Mia to school on icy roads was no fun but the kids sure were excited....especially when large chunks of snow flew off the car as we were driving.


 And it left as quickly as it arrived...all melted by the end of the day.  That's Albuquerque for you!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Goodbye curls...

...excuse me a moment while I wipe my tears.  *deep breath*  Ok.

I am in love with Sully's curls but with this dry Albuquerque air they always fall flat.  I would drench his hair with water every morning and use the curl enhancing products I use on my own hair to crunch up those adorable ringlets.  Those crazy curls just fit our sweet, mischievous boy perfectly. 

Two minutes later he would roll around on the couch or floor playing and the static would flatten those swirls just as quickly as they had curled up.  As his hair grew out it would look like this most of the time...



 So it was time for the scissors.  Well, the clippers actually.

He was a very squirmy subject but also very patient.  It ended up a pretty short but I like it.  

Don't mind the cow-lick...
 

Our little buddy initiated potty training on his own a couple of weeks ago, has been using his bink less and less....and now has the haircut to match all this big boy action :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Popcorn Tour!

One of our favorite tours to do with our mom's group here is Mr. Walker's Popcorn shop.  He has all kinds of yummy popcorn flavors from traditional caramel to very uniquely Albuquerque flavors like caramel green chile - my personal fav :)  He also has butter toffee pecan, cookies n cream, strawberry lemonade, and so many others...all delish.  And he puts on a great tour for little kids!


First they try to find all the colors of the rainbow in the different flavors of popcorn..


Then he teaches them a special popcorn song which requires a bit of imagination...


Someone couldn't resist taking a peek :)


Then Mr Walker introduces them to his *magic* popcorn machine.  It's huge.  It's loud.  It makes a LOT of popcorn.


Hanging on every word...


Listening for the pops...


Here it comes!

And the grande finale with all the popcorn!!!.......I didn't get the shot :(  I had to put down the camera to help those little hands get some popcorn without shoving other kids into the popcorn machine.

There was one last special treat.   Mr. Walker also makes cotton candy.....a mother's worst nightmare.  But hey, who am I to steal a moment of obscene amounts of sugar and stickness from my children. 

It was actually Sully's first time trying it...



A little hesitant...


And then the man could not be stopped.


This one dove right in


Did I mention the stickiness?


And yes, Jack was there...but no treats for him.  They process peanuts there and we didn't want to take the risk.   Besides, he had that big pack of graham crackers he's grabbing to keep him occupied :)


It was a messy, sugary morning and great fun.  Thanks Mr. Walker!




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