Sunday, March 3, 2013

Living the "Bittersweet"

I have shared before about the book "Bittersweet" by Shauna Niequist.  It has really helped me in so many ways, but specifically with my perspective on life.  I had this view in the past, that life is an all or nothing thing.  Everything is all good or all bad.  Living with that expectation is a surefire way for discouragement.  Her argument in the book is that life really is a mixture of the bitter right along with the sweet and in every bit of the bitter, sweet can be found.  Knowing that, centers me on those days where the bitter seems to outweigh the sweet.  It challenges me to look for the sweet amongst the bitter, and to approach life with the willingness to embrace whatever comes my way.  Now, I am not always graceful about it, but I have an awareness that I didn't have in the past that tends to temper my extreme reactions a bit(a teeny bit)!

I have shared, that with 6 children, I pretty much have someone upset to deal with all the time or someone disgruntled about something in this family at any given moment throughout the day.  That can make for a very bitter taste in my mouth as I desire harmony and peace in our household.  I want my kids to take hold of this "bittersweet" concept much earlier in life than I did so that they can have a more balanced perspective.  I want them to be able to pluck out those sweet, ripe fruits that melt in your mouth hidden within the bitter, bruised, mushy fruit of life.  I want them to appreciate how God has blessed them.  I have to be the example of that to them.    

I have been back from Hawaii for over 2 weeks now.  (I am still trying to say the word "Hawaii" in as many conversations as possible just keep the reality of it alive!)  I have encountered the bittersweet A LOT and thought I would share some it with you.  

I am sitting at home right now instead of going to church after a long night of little sleep.  Isaiah has a fever and his "waist is sore".  What kind of symptoms are those?  That is the only description he can give me.  So, I made some coffee, had some garlic cheese grits, set the kids(Sam, Isaiah, and Laila)  up with a movie, and set out to watch our church service via live stream.  Well, the website isn't working so I sit here typing this post and plan on doing some of my Lent reading next.  (On a sidenote, God is teaching me some lessons through my first Lenten Season that I will share in another post.)  Cody and Lauren are on the youth retreat, Avalanche, with church, and I have been praying that God would really reach into their hearts with His love for them during this time away.  

Cody is in the midst of his second season of wrestling.  Last year, he did not win any matches.  He headed into this year determined to come out with some wins.  He has won several matches so far and has become quite the wrestler.  

I still think this sport is a bit disturbing.  The singlets that they wear are the first obstacle to overcome when watching the sport.  Even worse is sitting through a match watching your child(I say "child" because there are girls that wrestle.  Yeah, that's a tricky one for a boy.  Cody has not had to face that obstacle yet and would most likely forfeit a match if he did.  It just makes me think of the line in "Diary of a Wimpy Kid."  "She's a girl.  Where do I grab?")  Man, I am getting distracted easily today.  
That is Cody in blue
Watching him do this for 3 minutes is exhausting.
When it is over, I feel like I have been wrestling.  
The winner is...
Good job, Cody!!

This is pretty much a bitter part of every day for me, dishes.  
I pretty much spend half of my life doing something related to food, shopping for it, cooking it, cleaning up after it.  I cannot let one meal go by without cleaning up or my whole main level would be covered with dirty dishes!!
Have I mentioned the 3 snowstorms we have had since I returned from HAWAII?!?!
Lauren is using the ice block maker to make a house.  The sun doesn't really hit our back yard so this will most likely stay there until April.  With each storm, she can add more blocks to her house.

Abby making a snowman
Abby's snowman
We were so excited to have friends from Swaziland visit this week.  
Isaiah and Laila were helping me get the house ready for their visit.
(Don't look at all the dirty dishes on the counter!)
It just warms my heart to see these 3 play together!
Sam had a very special friend that he met when he was just a little guy.  (I think he was 2 or 3 when he met her).  Her name is Hadley Rae.  She had some very severe disabilities and had to be in a wheelchair. She was not able to talk or play with Sam, but that didn't matter.  They had a very special bond and from the day Sam met her, he became her prayer warrior.  He literally prayed for her every day from the day he met her until the day she went to be with Jesus at the age of 12.  2 years ago, we had to say goodbye to Hadley from this earth.  Sam has grieved this loss in ways that are heartbreaking.  Last week, Hadley's family was so kind to let him come to see her room and pick out one of her blankets to have.  He has not stopped smiling about this blanket and has used it nonstop since he brought it home.  He has processed his grief at a new level since that time.  I love Sam's tender heart and the special relationship he had with this amazing little girl.  We talk a lot about what Hadley is doing in Heaven now that her body is completely healed and she is now whole.  
Someone has been losing teeth.  This picture is Isaiah, Laila, and me on a walk.
Isaiah and I went on a date this week to see "Wreck-it Ralph."  He was thrilled to have his very own bucket of popcorn!  It was as big as him!
The sweetest part of my life is this group of people.  Being blessed with them makes all of the bitter seem not so hard to handle.
Did I mention that I went to Hawaii a couple of weeks ago?
This is what I see in my head when the snow is falling outside!

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