This past week Matt and I took some of our Relentless students to St Louis on a
Spring Break trip while our children had a 5 day sleepover at their Nanna's house.

Limbo doesn't even begin to explain where I'm at right now. Our family is not playing a simple game of see who can keep their balance while crawling under a pole. No, we have been on a full-blown roller coaster with an end beyond the horizon filled with flips, tight turns, giant loops, and hills that take your stomach away and force out feelings you didn't know you had. All this since October of 2011. Going and going and going...

Preparing to travel. Traveling. Preparing kids to be away from home. Readjusting to being home. Preparing to travel again. And the cycle starts over.

Where is the recovery in this cycle?

We're all running in circles.

Where is the rest?

We're all tired and sick.

Where is the peace?

We're all on edge; our bodies sore with stress.

Our poor home has felt the wake of this coaster. It's winds blowing through reeking havoc in every corner of clutter. Filling trash cans with debris. Tearing our home to pieces, literally.

We need time to stretch the aches out of our inner most muscles. Time to rest our eyes not just in sleep but from the hustle and bustle of looking for what's next. Time to regroup, reorganize, clear out, clean up, settle down, have a seat, Enjoy one another.

I'm ready for a smaller house. A smaller yard. Less maintenance. Less responsibility. I want a to-do list diet: fewer things on my plate that are making me chubby with anxiety.

I'm ready for routine. I'm ready for predictable. Not just knowing about the millions of things that are filling up our calendar but a standard. I'm ready for almost dull, monotonous, SLOW way of life.

I'm trying to find peace and enjoy this stage. I don't wanna miss life as we are traveling through it. I'm so glad I have my camera back so I can remember to stop and capture each moment. Not only to remember it later but to notice it now.

I know God did not build us to run as fast as the machines we've created. I want to get back to the pace of the garden. Walking in the cool of the evening! Chatting with our maker. awe...

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Practical Peace

 How peaceful does this woman looks as she calmly gazes over her coupons or whatever she hold in that thing?
How about this lady? Don't we all wish we could be the lady at the super market with an adorable bun, fitted sweater, wearing HEELS as we pace about the aisles gazing at the goods around us!
That is sooo not how my Monday grocery shopping trips go down.
I planned last night (as I do most weeks) to rise early, shower, get myself ready, feed and dress all 3 the children (With my amazing hubby's help), load my van by 8 (8:30 at the latest) to head out for a fun-filled morning of grocery shopping with my quant list.
7:30 my middle child is awake knocking on her door asking for daddy which wakes her younger brother
           I jump in the shower
Matt takes the youngest 2 down stairs to feed them
8:15 I am blowing drying my hair only to be startled by my eldest staring at me in my bedroom
We go maker her bed, potty, brush hair and teeth, pick out clothes for everyone (tossing them down stairs)
8:30 Everyone is helping someone get clothes and shoes on
          Matt and I load all 3 children into the van (children toting their diaper bags that had been tossed to them as jackets were being
layered on)
8:45 I pull in the bank to get cash out for the week...ATM doesn't work
8:50 TOTALLY stressed already I run by Sonic and get a Vanilla Dr Pepper {THANK YOU double Happy Hour!!!}
9:05 I pull back into the bank now that the drive through is open and get cash
9:25 I circle the Wal-Mart parking lot looking for a spot close enough to the door so maybe I can make it inside without any major
9:30 I load all 3 of my children into 1 regular cart (meaning no really cool blue, double seater thingy)
9:32 I realize I left my list in the van and take my entire load back out to get it (so glad our parking spot wasn't too far from the
9:35 Group potty break: Preschooler uses potty, Toddler gets a diaper change, Baby is awakened by all the noiseless of the store
9:45 We start our shopping adventure
I won't play-by-play the rest of the trip but lets just say there were missing shoes, 2 laundry baskets taking up the entire cart, an exhausted walking preschooler, a toddler past her a.m. nap fussy because she had to sit on top of the bottled water, 1 bottle made and drank, trading of the rider/walker (who ended up being held >1/2 the time), lot of "are those all your kids?" and "we saw YOU here last time" comments, forgotten items, back tracking, bad selections made, and one sweaty mamma at the check out handing over bananas the moment they were weighed.
My poor babes are always done by the time we get to the register. Usually before then. That's when it never fails something doesn't ring up right, the checker doesn't like my coupon, and I can't juggle breaking up a fight in the crowed cart and paying for my items fast enough.
There have been lots of rough trips to the store. As I stand at that register I breath deeply, focus on hierarchy of needs, and smile with consistent apologies if necessary to those waiting eagerly behind us.
To my surprise most people when you thank them for their patience respond with patience!
I had several encouraging women ask me, "Are you always this calm?" to which I always seem to respond, "If you could only see my insides... {churning}"
Why? Why do I respond that way? Yes, I want to be honest with people but I also want to be a witness in all I do. I am challenged to make this reoccurring situation one to seize!
My prayer is that I will be able to communicate this {Not in these exact words} next time: I am in charge of my actions
The Weymouth New Testament says in Acts 19:36 that "These facts, then, being unquestioned, it becomes you to maintain you...r self-control and not act recklessly."
and because God is in charge of my changing heart, I will rest in what the New Living Translation says
Zeph. 3:17, "For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs."
So next time you see me sweating like a sumo wrestler at the Wal-Mart check out line with 3 fussy babies, too many groceries for one cart, and a smile on my face, just know I'm attempting to practice practical calmness in hopes of resting in supernatural peace: practical peace!
What do your shopping trips look like?
Any helpful hints? {I've tried all kinds of things: different times, days, with the hubs, by myself, etc}
What reoccurring situation will you use to testify what God's doing in your life? How will you look different that the rest of the world when under stress?
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