The Third Jar

PTS | M&Ms_featured

On my dresser sit three large jars of M&Ms. And I don’t even like M&Ms!

So why are they there?

They are there to remind me. I’m a visual person. It’s with my eyes I dream and think and pray and thank and remember.

When I look at these three jars, representing reality, I remember.

I remember the first jar represents the language groups of the world that have the entire Bible.

I remember the second jar represents the language groups of the world that have portions of the Bible.

And I remember the third jar represents the language groups of the world that don’t have even one verse of the Bible. Not one verse!

After reading stories and saying goodnight to the kids, I climb in bed. I sit up, book or phone in hand, and I see them. I think through my day and the complaints of my heart and my eyes fall on that third jar, full to the brim. It is then that I remember what the real problem is.

It’s bad enough when we have a Bible and don’t choose to treasure it or even read it. God will deal with our prideful and rebellious heart (prideful because not reading indicates we don’t truly believe we have a need for it and rebellious because God tells us to let the words of Christ richly dwell within us.) If we choose not to partake of the living bread, it’s on us. “But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.'” (Luke 16:29). 

But what about those who lack the choice to read? The choice to hear? The choice to know and understand?

That third jar represents the 4000+ languages of the world who don’t have a choice. They don’t have even one word of Scripture in a language they can clearly understand. 

I end my day looking at the jars, knowing I can think of no better way to spend my short time on earth than to use my loaves and fish, as pitiful as they may be, to fill the first two jars by emptying the third.

What about you?

TDD | On the Porch Swing

On The Front Porch

TDD | On the Porch Swing

 

I love having a front porch. The missionary house where we are staying has a big, beautiful front porch, complete with white rocking chairs and a porch swing.

As the nights get longer and the school year end gets closer, I am being more lax in bedtimes and instead trying to enjoy the beautiful spring weather in the evening. It will be blazing hot soon enough.

Last night that meant a few rounds of hitting the softball with the big kids while the little ones played happily on the porch.

I wish they could stay this small forever. But since they can’t, I want to fully enjoy this moment now. Little ones are a lot of work and exhaustion is common, but there is nothing like their sweet smiles and squeals of glee.

©janetphillips_may4_2015_web-98

I haven’t worked in iMovie before, but I had some time in between answering math problems and I played around a bit. I love these two!

And if you want to see some sweet and spunky photos of Bethany, you can see them on my photography blog.

 

©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-32

Let Dad Be Dad (again)

©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-23

About a year and a half ago, I wrote a post entitled Let Dad Be Dad. It was based on some of the best parenting advice I have ever received. I think this mindset has been key in our marriage and in our parenting. If I had tried to make Jason parent like me, I would have squashed his spirit and taken much of the joy out of parenting for both of us.

©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-20

I won’t rehash my thoughts; you can read them here. I do think, though, another dose of photographic proof might be in order.

The two older boys decided on a birthday party this year. Our children are allowed to choose between a family activity and a party. They usually choose to do something as a family, but this year the boys wanted to celebrate with a few friends. And really, they just wanted an excuse to play more football.

For the younger kids this year, I purchased piñatas. Never ones to miss a chance to get candy, the boys wanted one for their party. Since I gave Jason the reigns of the party beyond the food, the piñata and other activities were up to him.

When it was time for the piñata and the kids were all on the front porch, I took a few moments to rest in my room. I was quietly checking email when I hear this from the porch:

“Now, in Piñata ninja, you have two choices: two hits with the nunchucks or one flying kick.”

Um, “piñata ninja?” What is this man up to?

I snuck outside to hear the rest of the directions. I grabbed my camera to prove once again this man is crazy and that my kids are so incredibly blessed to have Jason as their dad.

Fifteen minutes of nunchucks, headbutts, flying kicks, and karate chops later, the coveted candy spilled and the boys joyfully descended like vultures.

Yes. Always. Let dad be dad.

And let dad run boy birthday parties.

©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-38 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-39 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-36 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-35 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-34 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-33 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-32 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-31 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-22 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-24 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-25 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-26 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-27 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-28 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-29 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-30 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-21©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-42 copy

Hands, Not Fists {Psalms on Sunday}

May 3 2015I want to love and glorify God with my entire being: my heart, my soul, my mind, and my strength.

That strength includes my body — what I put into it, what I ask of it, how I maintain it, and what I do with it.

May 3 2015 (3)

Our hands clap when we have found joy and appreciation in something. We clap at plays, sports events, recitals. Our joy and gratitude and admiration overflow into a spontaneous outburst of praise for the performer.

Do my hands erupt in praise for God? Do I use my hands to show my appreciation and joy in all that God has done or do I spend most of my time shaking my fists at God, demanding — like Job — He explain Himself to me.

Perhaps if I would take to heart the words of the previous Psalm —

May 3 2015 (4)

 

— I would do less fist shaking and instead issue forth more intentional applause.

Today, I choose hands, not fists.

Eleven

©janetphillips_caleb-93

My sweet Caleb is eleven today.

I didn’t know I was having a boy. I suspected, but chose to be surprised. After a long labor, a sweet boy was handed to me and I thought, “What am I going to do with a boy?”

I continued to ask myself that question over the next few years. Girls I understood. But boys? I don’t get them at all. How can I be a mother to a boy?

Two years later, the Lord then blessed me with another boy and I have spent these eleven years learning what it means to be a mother to a boy (or three).

It means watching the warrior heart of God shine bright through rough play, sword fighting, and sports. It means lots of sweet cuddles from boys with big hearts. It means trusting that when my mothering instincts fail, God’s fathering instincts have been there all along.

I love my sweet Caleb. He was the squishiest, most kissable cheeks on the planet. I could kiss them all day.

I love his zest for life. He’s so much like me: what he loves, he loves deeply and completely (admittedly, bordering on far into the territory of obsession). His ages and stages have changed, but his passion remains.

I had so much fun going through photos, trying to choose which to show. I couldn’t narrow it down. Every single moment of his life has been filled with great joy and love.

I love you, sweet Caleb. You are such an awesome kid and I am so glad to get to be your mom. You have taught me so much and have inspired so many. Your tenacity and loyalty will take you far.

©janetphillips_caleb-2 ©janetphillips_caleb-3 ©janetphillips_caleb-4 ©janetphillips_caleb-5 ©janetphillips_caleb-6 ©janetphillips_caleb-7 ©janetphillips_caleb-8 ©janetphillips_caleb-9 ©janetphillips_caleb-10 ©janetphillips_caleb-11 ©janetphillips_caleb-12 ©janetphillips_caleb-13 ©janetphillips_caleb-14 ©janetphillips_caleb-15 ©janetphillips_caleb-16 ©janetphillips_caleb-17 ©janetphillips_caleb-18 ©janetphillips_caleb-19 ©janetphillips_caleb-20 ©janetphillips_caleb-21 ©janetphillips_caleb-22 ©janetphillips_caleb-23 ©janetphillips_caleb-24 ©janetphillips_caleb-25 ©janetphillips_caleb-26 ©janetphillips_caleb-27 ©janetphillips_caleb-28 ©janetphillips_caleb-29 ©janetphillips_caleb-30 ©janetphillips_caleb-31 ©janetphillips_caleb-33 copy ©janetphillips_caleb-33 copy2 ©janetphillips_caleb-36 ©janetphillips_caleb-37 ©janetphillips_caleb-38 ©janetphillips_caleb-39 ©janetphillips_caleb-40 ©janetphillips_caleb-41 ©janetphillips_caleb-42 ©janetphillips_caleb-43 ©janetphillips_caleb-44 ©janetphillips_caleb-45 ©janetphillips_caleb-46 ©janetphillips_caleb-47 ©janetphillips_caleb-48 ©janetphillips_caleb-49 ©janetphillips_caleb-50 ©janetphillips_caleb-51 ©janetphillips_caleb-52 ©janetphillips_caleb-53 ©janetphillips_caleb-54 ©janetphillips_caleb-55 ©janetphillips_caleb-56 ©janetphillips_caleb-57 ©janetphillips_caleb-58 ©janetphillips_caleb-59 ©janetphillips_caleb-60 ©janetphillips_caleb-61_b ©janetphillips_caleb-61 ©janetphillips_caleb-62 ©janetphillips_caleb-63 ©janetphillips_caleb-64 ©janetphillips_caleb-65 ©janetphillips_caleb-66 ©janetphillips_caleb-67 ©janetphillips_caleb-68 ©janetphillips_caleb-69 ©janetphillips_caleb-70 ©janetphillips_caleb-71 ©janetphillips_caleb-72 ©janetphillips_caleb-73 ©janetphillips_caleb-74
©janetphillips_caleb-76 ©janetphillips_caleb-77 ©janetphillips_caleb-78 ©janetphillips_caleb-79 ©janetphillips_caleb-80 ©janetphillips_caleb-81 ©janetphillips_caleb-82 ©janetphillips_caleb-83 ©janetphillips_caleb-84 ©janetphillips_caleb-85 ©janetphillips_caleb-86 ©janetphillips_caleb-87 ©janetphillips_caleb-88 ©janetphillips_caleb-89 ©janetphillips_caleb-90 ©janetphillips_caleb-91 ©janetphillips_caleb-92©janetphillips_caleb-93

Preparing the Soil | April 30 2015

Consider

Preparing the Soil | April 30 2015

Only fear the Lord and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. (1 Samuel 12:24)


CONSIDER: to think carefully about something, typically before making a decision;
to think about and be drawn toward a course of action


We make hundreds of decisions a day. Some big. Some small. In making these decisions we consider — sometimes at length, sometimes instantaneously — our feelings, our desires, our cravings, our laziness, our ambitions, and our values.  But what does God tell us to consider?

This morning, as I was tempted to worry again about all that needed to be accomplished, all the unanswered questions that fill my mind, all the feelings of guilt and inadequacy that plague me and weigh me down to the point of inaction, He reminded me:

“…Consider what great things He has done for you.”

Oh yes. That. What great things He has done! When I stop to consider and to reflect, the floodgates of memory open wide and I am overcome with His goodness. His grace. His patience. He has cared for me in the past. He will care for me in the future. He is caring for me now. He is caring for me in the joyful moments and He is caring for me in the pain (emotional and physical).

Our God is a God of memories. Through all of Scripture, God asks us to remember, to consider what great things He has done. The psalmists reflect and it comforts them. The Israelites set up stones of remembrance. The story of the exodus was told over and over so that those who couldn’t remember would remember. The passover was to be celebrated each year so God’s people would remember their great deliverance. We go to the communion table to remember what great things Christ has done for us.

As I go about my day today, I want to consider. Before making a decision — a decision to worry, a decision to be impatient, a decision to bow down to the god of my feelings — I want to consider God’s goodness: past, present, and future.

He has done great things for me. I choose to consider them.

 

 

Playing My Part {Audio Post}

Playing My Part_post imageIn this 32 minute audio post, I share about what God is teaching me about playing my part in His orchestra.

In the audio, I mention I post entitled Children Tie the Mother’s Feet. You can read it HERE.

 

You can listen to it here or download below.


And Then There is Today

©janetphillips_april27_2015_postimageThose who know me have heard me speak of “yellow bus days.” Those are the days I dream of a big yellow bus to take my kids far, far away. I admit to daydreams of a life where the kids are gone for seven plus hours a day. Think of all I could accomplish! I could clean and there would be no one to reverse my work. I could have a cup of coffee without having to microwave it three times before finding the bottom. I could shower on a regular basis and not have to answer math questions from behind the curtain. Oh, to dream!

©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-8

Homeschooling is hard. The educational component of it alone is enough to send prayers for the yellow bus. When your child’s academic progress and future depends mostly on you, the guilt flows freely. When you have to listen to struggling readers stumble over the same words again and again, the stress builds quickly. When you realize that no matter how many times you explain squares and cubes, the child will always say that 42=8, the feelings of defeat mount fiercely.

©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-13

Beyond the academics, homeschooling is still hard. The kids are home all day. They mess up far more quickly than you can clean up. While you read with the first grader, the toddler is pulling DVDs off the shelf. When you are doing grammar with the sixth grader, the third grader has slipped out to the trampoline, multiplication tables long abandoned. When you are snuggling and reading stories to the four year old, the fifth grader can’t find any of his work and therefore asks if he can go out to play instead.

©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-7©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-6

Yes, it’s hard. It’s really hard. And I have many yellow bus days. But then I have a day like today.

©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-10 ©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-9 ©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-11

©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-5 ©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-3 ©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-2 ©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-1 ©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-4

©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-12 ©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-14 ©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-15©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-18 ©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-16 ©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-17

A day when we laugh through group work because words like Hawaii and Oxygen can be said in all sorts of silly ways.

A day when wet rags are thrown and giggles abound during chores.

A day when KLove blasts in the kitchen and the kids discuss their favorite artists.

A day when the kids decide school is much more fun in the camper and they set up a home and pretend its an RV while they do their math.

A day when the big kids play with the little kids and the love just oozes from everywhere.

A day when the little ones splash and giggle in the bath and beg me to take pictures of their funny faces.

A day when we have a scavenger hunt in the afternoon and the bigs are paired with the littles and the tender moments threaten to make my mama heart burst.

A day when we can enjoy silly food during an indoor campout and the kids munch on “acorns” and “bear poop” and wash it down with “river water” and “bug juice.”

A day when I am cleaning in the kitchen and I hear wails of laughter as the kids have their first encounter with The Little Rascals.

A day when they don’t want the fun and togetherness to end and they drag their stuffed animals and sleeping bags to the camper and end their day chatting past their bedtime with their favorite people.

©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-19 ©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-20 ©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-21 ©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-22 ©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-23 ©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-33 ©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-32 ©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-31 ©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-30 ©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-29 ©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-28 ©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-27 ©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-26 ©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-25 ©janetphillips_april27_2015_web-24

Yes. There are yellow bus days. And then there is today.

What Does It Mean For Me?

“It’s when you feel closest to God, isn’t it?

©janetphillips_april17_2015_web-47

My friend put into words something I hadn’t been able to articulate. With camera in hand, macro lens ready, I look at the tiniest details available to the human eye and I marvel at God’s goodness. When I see the minute details of leaves, insects, sand and shells, I can’t help but stand in awe.

©janetphillips_april17_2015_web-40

Every day, thousands of scenes pass us by because we are too busy to notice. We miss the bees flying, the birds nesting, and the grass growing. But when we stop to see the glorious wonder of the smallest details, we begin to comprehend what a BIG God we serve.

©janetphillips_april17_2015_web-41

And so, on a regular basis, I take my camera outside and I choose to see.

I watched the fly,  grooming himself (or is it herself?) Known for carrying grime and disease, the housefly is a meticulous groomer. He makes his way in the world through receptors all over the body; being able to fly, find mates, and avoid predators depend on this ritualistic cleanliness.

©janetphillips_april17_2015_web-41 ©janetphillips_april17_2015_web-42 ©janetphillips_april17_2015_web-44

Thousands of lenses make up those big (and dare I say beautiful?) eyes. These amazing creations allow the fly to detect the slightest movement, usually evading our attempts to swat them.

©janetphillips_april17_2015_web-37

If God’s creativity is so great in something as small and insignificant as a fly, what does that mean for me?

Where Is My Delight?

TDD | April 26 2015 | post image

 

One simple question can be the answer to many more.

Where is my delight?

“Great pleasure”

“To please someone greatly”

Definitions of the word delight vary, but the meaning is the same. Something that delights us brings us happiness, pleases us, satisfies us and makes us long for more.

According to the Psalmist, our stability and fruitfulness in life and ministry depends on where our delight is.

Roots absorb water and dissolved nutrients. They also anchor a plant. If a plant is drawing from nutritious soil and has a source of water, it will yield its fruit in season. If that plant, however, has to attempt to draw strength and nourishment from poisonous or arid soil, fruit won’t be likely.

So we have to ask ourselves, on a regular basis, “Where is my delight?” Lip service won’t do much good here. We can say our delight is in God and in His word but what does the use of our time or the attitude of our heart or the tone of our voice indicate?

I want to be fruitful. I want to be anchored. I want to flourish. But that only comes with true delight being found in God’s word. We fool ourselves if we say we delight in something we rarely do.

The delights of the world (the counsel of the wicked, the path of sinners, the seat of scoffers) are easy to come by. But true delight comes from only one place.

And so, with sky still dark and little blond people still sleeping, I fill my coffee cup and situate myself in my favorite chair. I open the delightful words, just as I have almost every day for the past four years, and I let the streams of water course through my soul.

And in season, my fruit will grow.

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...