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! ;)