Sunday, November 24, 2013

Seeking Joy this Holiday Season

I am critical. No - not of you. (although I can also do that from time to time) I am critical of myself. Extremely so. My house is not clean enough. My weight is not where I would like it. I lack in homeschooling my children. I am not stimulating my special needs children in the areas they need it most. I need to be more consistent. I'm too negative at times. I need to be more organized. blah blah blah blah ...

Perfectionism. Blech.

I don't think I am the only Mom that suffers in this area. I know that others do as well. I think it's a human nature thing - and more specifically - it's a Mom kinda thing.

But. It's not ok.

Well maybe it is ... in moderation? I mean, perhaps it helps motivate. But that's not where I want to focus.

I know that scripture uses the story of Martha & Mary to illustrate to us how it is not the "doing" of serving others that we should be focused on, but rather our heart. Our admiration of Christ in the doing. In that you can find joy. Contentment of heart feels good and doesn't bode well of being self critical.

And yet we read in the last proverb of what is referred to as the 'Virtuous Woman' proverb, that this portion is focused on her doings. Even the last verse states 'Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.' Her works praise her. They are a testament to her virtue.

Does this contradict the story of Martha and Mary in Luke 10 - where Martha (the doer) is reminded that " ... Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her"? (Luke 10:42b)

No. The "doing" and the "heart focus" come together in a way that can make the woman ... or anyone ... complete in their faith.

We read in James 2:26 'For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead'. Meaning that works is the manifestation of your faith in Christ.

So what's my point? How does this pertain to me, as a mother, and my zealousness in self criticism?

I need to stop.

I am focused on my inefficiencies and this is an indicator that my heart is not where it ought to be. I am focused on self. On my works - and it is bringing me to a point of frustration and stealing my joy. Really. This is my struggle right now. I am a very busy mom. I'm busy with appointments, school, housework, etc. So I tend to focus on the doings. My heart has drifted away from just seeking Christ and starting there.

My 'works' - is my service. Yes, to my family - but ultimately in serving my family - I am serving Christ. I need to let off on the being self critical and know that I am offering my best (and do that) while maintaining my joy, peace, and contentment all along the way.

Christ is reminding me that my children are watching. What am I teaching them?

So as I head into the rush of this holiday season, I am resolving to daily seek Him - be joyful, take everything in stride and offer a warning:

My home may not be in crazy clean condition if you stop by, but I have tea - and I promise I will clean a spot off my sofa for you to sit awhile and visit.

Have a joyful Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Family Pictures 2013

Hi there. Yes. I'm alive. 
Sorry for the lag in blogging. It has truly been one of the busiest seasons in Browning existence. 
There has been MUCH that has taken place - and I promise to recap soon, but for now I will post pictures, because if your like me - that's all you really care about anyway.

We normally have our friend Jenny Savage take our yearly family pictures. She has done so since Ellie was a baby. She has always done such a fantastic job that we never sought out anyone else. However, this year we needed to seek another photographer simply because we now live about three hours away from Jenny. 

We decided to go with another friend who has also been blessed with the talent of photography.  Jamie Fuller of Fultography took our pictures this year. She was a champ - as taking our pictures is no easy task. After having to reschedule due to an epic storm, move to another park, and battle impending rains - I can honestly say we are so pleased and love the results. 

Here are just a few:

We ended up in Gas Works park in Seattle - which is located looking at the city's skyline. If you look you can see the Space Needle in the background. I love that. This city has my heart. It's beautiful and fun to be in. 

Sometimes you just gotta 'pick'. 

This last picture is my favorite. All of my kiddos with their 'sassy faces' on. And all of them looking at the camera - that is incredible! You should have seen Phillip running in and out of the pillars just to get Asher to chill out and look forward. It was hilarious and I'm sure with all the noise and crazy running we were doing to get their attention - that we drew some looks! ;)

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Unc

The week before last my dear Uncle Marv passed away. My uncle was special to me in that when I was a teenager - and in need of a home and safe place to go to high school, he opened up his home and heart to me. 

My Aunt Gale and Uncle Marv didn't have to do such a sacrificial thing, taking in a teenager - when they were both nearing retirement age, but I'm glad they did. It started the domino affect of a better life for me. I was able to focus more in school, thus graduating with my class. If it had not been for their kindness - I have no idea where I might be today in life. I will forever be grateful to them both. They helped change my world. I finally knew what stability felt like, what it meant to really be a student - no longer concerned about surviving whatever situation I was in. 

Uncle Marv wasn't only a kind hearted man, but he was pretty funny too. Many times - I could be found laughing hysterically over his antics. Even now, while remembering - I feel a smile on my lips. He was a good man - and he will be missed. I came to endearingly call him 'The Unc', and even in my adult years - I would always get a Christmas card signed "The Unc", and of course, in his estimation it was no card at all, unless it was a 'Leaning Tree' card.

I love you Uncle Marv 

My memories of you will include things like: Tennessee, liquid smoke in my tacos, big boxes full of rocks, barking at strangers, telling me to wash my hair - with soap, your teasing me when I always came back in because I forgot something, yorkies, cowboy movies, big belt buckles, stealing your white t-shirts and driving you crazy, licking your glasses, first car shopping, fixing first car, teasing Aunt Gale together, and giving you sloppy kisses on your big ole' forehead.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Photo Bomb

In true Charrissa fashion, here I am again - taking a whole month's of picture taking (via cell phone) and cramming it into one post.

aka: photo bomb


Some have descriptions. Some do not. 
Some need explaining. Some - are well, obvious. ;)

Asher, so sweet & cuddly. In the bottom picture I am the chubster on the left and he is the chunkalicious on the right. Similar, right?

Goofing off being mommy & son.

A Virginian sky. Pretty.

No explanation needed. Just cute baby bunnies.

Need a bowl clean? Justus has that covered.

Currently this elliptical is my own personal device of torture. Actually, it was a huge blessing. A family member gave this to us! I was so happy, because the move here obliterated my treadmill. I have lost nearly 30 pounds since moving here!
(unfortunately this doesn't mean I'm skinny)

The next pics are from Gabe's 12th birthday. We spent it downtown, and went to the Aquarium as well as the very first Starbuck's. We also stopped off on the way home to pick up some pretty amazing Thai food.

Sometimes you just need to ... be ... crazy.

I love when my niece Rudi comes for a visit. Here she and Asher are sharing my lap.

Grouchy pants above was caught red handed stealing green beans out of my pan.

Our pastor from Port Orchard came with his family for a visit and of course, Justus had to snuggle up. Justus has a thing for Pastors and Assistant Pastors. He LOVES them - and hunts them down and hounds them for affection! It's really kinda cute! We miss everyone in Port Orchard!
 Grateful for the ministry there as well!

Here we are out to dinner with our new pastor and his wife. We adore our new church and are so grateful that God places our family in good churches wherever we seem to land.  God is doing some great things at Everett BBC. In just the short time being there we have seen a mighty prayer answered in the most amazing way, that it was no doubt the hand of God. Spectacular are the wonderments of Christ!

Cute as a button.

Oh goodness. We are currently in the midst of Chicken Pox. Max is finally over them, but Chloe and Asher have just begun ...

 Man Down!!! Or more like, TENT DOWN ON MAN! ;)

Trophy Cupcakes in the U Village are PHENOMENAL! 
That with a cup of coffee - and it's bliss ...

That's the last few weeks ... in a nutshell:  Birthday, some goofiness, some coffee & some chicken pox. 
Now you are all caught up!