Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It's official-I am an extrovert!

Ha! My title for today's blog is a bit of a joke...but do you ever just find that you relearn things about yourself that you already knew to be true?

I love people. I gain energy from being around people (byproduct of being an extrovert). Now, don't get me wrong, I love time alone...but I am so energized when I am around people and it is soooo good for my soul.

Just a few events recently have reminded me of this...I can be in a somewhat average mood, but then I can go have coffee with someone and that completely changes my mood!

Last week, I went to one of our women's ministry team meetings. I have the privilege of serving alongside some really cool women at Lake Forest. I was so excited to go and be with them. We shared a fabulous meal together (thanks Corinne!),we talked about our lives, we talked about ministry "stuff", and we prayed for one another. If I had to rate my soul on a scale of a 1-10, it was probably a 5 or 6 when I got there and a 9 or 10 when I left! I am so aware that God does not intend for us to "do life" on our own, but He gives us other people to share our lives with! Sometimes it is messy, sometimes it is hard, but overall, it challenges me to be more and to live life more fully!

Yesterday, some friends came over to our neighborhood pool. I could have just gone with my kids and I would have had fun, but NOTHING like what I felt as a result of being with other people! I came home tired and yet energized! I find it so much more fun to share experiences with others.

Last night, my dear friend, Pam, went to church for a Bible study and she said she would come by afterward and we could hang out and talk on my porch. She came by at 9pm and we sat out there talking until 10:30'ish! I came in and the first thing I said to my husband was " I just LOVE Pam! She is such a good friend!" and I could tell my spirit was so encouraged by spending time with her. She made the initiative and even such a simple gesture like hanging out on a porch can bring so much encouragement!

And today, the kids and I got together with some of the other kids and parents from Taylor's preschool. We like hanging out together and so we decided to try and do some stuff together every Tuesday this summer. We met them and went to the fountains at Birkdale and then all went to lunch together. I really like these folks and am just so thankful we are getting together!

So, as I was driving home today, with more dirty, wet towels in the car, half drank Caprisuns from the kids, more laundry to do when I got home, I realized that my heart was full...because I had been with friends. So, it is something I already knew about myself but have been reminded of every time I have been with people lately. It does my heart good to spend time with others. I believe God created us to be in relationships with others, to share in the fun times and the not-so- fun times, and just to "do life" with others.

It has always struck me that when Jesus sent the disciples out, He did not send them out alone, but He sent them in pairs, or even in groups. I think He was onto something (-:!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Aren't you glad I am not God?

That is what I found myself thinking yesterday...I am glad I am not God, and you should be too! (-: He is infinitely more patient, loving, and forgiving than I am!

It started yesterday morning when Taylor came to me with a bottle of my nail polish in her hand and asked me if I could paint her nails for her dance recital, which was that evening. I told her she was not allowed to have nail polish on her fingers for the recital and then asked her to please go put the nail polish back in my bathroom. She walked away with it in her hand and it seemed that she took longer than usual to get back to me. When she did come back, she said, "Um mom, the nail polish broke." I put Zach down , shut the door, and went into my bathroom to find a shattered bottle of hot pink nail polish everywhere on the floor. Taylor told me she was sorry and I basically stood there dumbfounded because I had no idea how to clean up such a mess. I tried nail polish remover and that did not work, so I left it alone for hours until I could get back to it while the kids were resting in the afternoon and I had some time to look up on the internet what I should do.

I was so frustrated and yet I knew it was an accident! Accidents happen all the time and I also knew Taylor was sorry for what had happened. What was so interesting to me, though, is even KNOWING all that, I still found myself bringing it up to her a couple of times throughout the morning. Why? Because I was frustrated? Why would I take it out on her? It was not willful disobedience...it was a mistake.

Here is what I realized , though. I was reminded at some point of the verse that says "I, even I , am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and REMEMBERS YOUR SINS NO MORE." (Isaiah 43:25) God does not remember our sins after we have confessed them to Him. He does not rub it back in our face. He does not remind us of our failings. In fact, "as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." Psalms 103:12

I thought about those verses and then I thought about myself. I was reminded of how GOOD God is, and how amazing His ability to forgive and forget is, and how HUMAN I am, even when it comes to something as simple as a bottle of nail polish on the bathroom floor!!!

After some research, and a Magic Eraser, the spill came up, but the lesson in my heart remains. I am so grateful God does not treat our sins, our mistakes, our disobedience, our turning our backs on Him, like I do! His Magic Eraser is REAL and it is because of Jesus that He remembers my sins no more. I hope to become a little more like Him the next time something like this happens...which will most likely be very soon!

Friday, June 4, 2010

SUMMER TIME...Lovin' this pace of life already!

It has officially been one week of summer (ie. out of school) and I am already loving this pace of life!! I did not realize until this week how nice it is to not have to rush out the door every morning, with the kids both fed and dressed, lunches made, etc. We have had a good week doing some fun stuff and what I have probably enjoyed the most is NOT BEING IN A HURRY!! Ahhh!

We have set some "Team Howard" summer rules this year. It seems that sometimes summer can be a time when we can get a bit self-absorbant. Last summer I remember feeling a bit like a "full time entertainer" while trying hard to keep the idea of serving others in front of us. It was a challenge, especially with Taylor who wakes up every morning asking "What are we going to do today?" So, that is one of the reasons for implementing the "summer rules."


1) Have fun!
2) Be kind to everyone. (This is something we are working on pretty intentionally)
3) Play nicely and share (Phillip always seems to struggle with this one-ha ha!)
4) Put your friends and your family before yourself.
5) Have at least one hour of "rest time" each day.
6) Try to "outdo" one another in love. (Romans 13:8)
7) Every day, do something kind for someone else, expecting nothing in return.
8) Obey right away, all the way, with a happy heart. (Thanks,Bethany!)

I am enjoying the kids, enjoying a slower pace with our family as a whole, and I look forward to seeing what God is going to do in our lives this summer. I feel so peaceful even as I write this. It might have to do with the fact that I am sitting outside on the front porch as I type this, with "Hillsong radio" on Pandora playing in the background. (-: I hope you, too, have a rich, enjoyable, summer filled with fewer "to do" lists and more chill time to enjoy God and one another!