"Once a Month" Introduction

I have been on a journey to notice and see God in my everyday life. 
I accepted Jesus as my Savior as a little girl and my spiritual journey has been fluid on my end swaying between being fully immersed in my relationship with God to feeling stagnant and immobile in my walk.  In my adult life, I was starting to see the busyness of work and life creep into my heart, not leaving room for me to be still and notice the ever-moving, ever-working, living God that continually surrounds me.  
So when my second son was born, I decided to intentionally pause and let myself daily see God's beauty around me As a result, that fire that he lights in our heart was rejuvenated and is steadily growing warmer.  
Then, I read two books that made me stop and think:  Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt  and  7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. 
Wow.  I need some time to process.  Because these books challenged me evaluate what our culture and society tells us is "necessary" and "normal" in life and what about America's churches is truly Jesus' message and what is not.   It makes me think about what Jesus' message of hope and love really means.  I have been reflecting on what it means to "love your neighbor as yourself."  
I have been specifically asking myself, how much do I actually reach out to those that are truly in need?  We serve in our church, but is that being "living church out there" as our pastor always challenges us each Sunday?  I just have this feeling that I could be a better job of sharing God's love "out there." 
What shows Jesus' love more than "doing?"  What moves me?   Talking the talk or walking the walk?  Seeing people "doing" completely moves me.  It can even make me weepy. 
And now that I am a mother, what do I want to teach my children about how we can live a joyful life and share Jesus and the love and peace he gives with others?  These thoughts have been on my mind for weeks.  I have been sharing them with my husband and we have been brainstorming about what we can do about this as a family. 
We have come up with a mission that we will call "Once a Month."  We are going to try and connect with and serve others that are truly in need once a month as a family.  As I type this, it doesn't seem like enough.  But, I want to set us up for success, because once a week wouldn't happen with our schedules of two working parents and two of our three kids in school and activities.  So "once a month" it is and we are excited about coming up with how we can show Christ's love to others through intentionally serving and giving to those in need. 
We are starting next month.  I feel nervous about this.  Why do I feel nervous?  This doesn't seem like something that should make be nervous?  I guess stepping out of my comfort zone is always nerve-wracking, but I have found that it is often when I learn and grow the most. 
So with some fire in my heart and little bit of nerves, I say, "bring on next month!" 


"If I shot an arrow through the fire would it come out a burning arrow on the other side?"
"The craters on the moon look like a rabbit."

These are the things we discussed during our evening.  It was awesome. 
 I love family.  I love fall.




We are a few weeks in to school and I find that my kids are not telling me about their day like they did last year.  Maybe now that they are in 1st and 2nd grade, they feel like they are pro's at the school thing, so they don't need to discuss every detail with me.  Our conversations have gone like this: 
Me: "What did you learn at school today?"  
Boys: "Nothing."  
Me (in my head): Really?  You were there all day and nothing?  
I try a different angle: 
Me:  "Who did you play with at recess?"   
Boys: "I don't remember."  
Me (in my head):  Really?  It was only like a couple of hours ago!  
So I have had to resort to bribery.  This is probably not recommended in the parents books but I am too busy parenting right now to pick one up and read about what to do in this type of situation. Conversations now go like this: 
Boys:  "Mom, can we go outside and play with our friends?" 
Me:  "Tell me three things about your day." 
Boys:  "Can we have a cookie?" 
Me:  "Tell me what you learned about in school today." 
Boys:  "Can we play video games?" 
Me:  "Tell me five things  that happened at school." 
Not only do I have the bribery thing going for me, we also carpool with a very friendly and talkative neighbor girl who is in my oldest son's class.  She gets in the car in the mornings and I ask her to tell me all about school yesterday.  She always giggles and says she did the same thing my oldest son did.  I tell her I want to hear her version, not that he only gives me small amounts of info that I bribe out of him.  It is always fun to hear how she describes her day.  But you know what, I would rather hear that much detail freely from my boys.
Because it is one thing to know about what happened during the school day and it's another thing to hear it from him.  To see his expression when he tells about what happened so I can tell if he is excited or sad or thought it was really hard.  To hear the tone of his voice to tell me if he is feeling good or is discouraged.   
I suspect this is how it is with God and us.   
I have most certainly played the tight-lipped role with God that my boys are currently playing in my life.  I have different seasons in my spiritual journey.  Seasons where I pour out my heart to God and cling to him tightly.  Then there are times when I am don't say much.  I don't know why.  Laziness? Lack of confidence?  I know that God knows my thoughts and my heart and I believe in the power of Jesus, so sometimes I think that he doesn't need me telling him what I need or what to do. 
But then where does relationship come in if I am not speaking my heart?    
God wants us to tell him about our day.  He wants us to pour out our heart to him.   He desires that personal, deep and rich relationship with us that I so desire with my boys.   And quite frankly, I also desire this type of relationship with God.  I deeply desire it. When I do pour my thoughts out to him, my heart fills with his peace.  It's pretty cool how that works.   
So this annoying situation with my boys is a good reminder to me...of how much Jesus loves me and how he longs to hear my heart.  And that I need to talk to God in order to pursue that relationship I so greatly desire. 
I have an idea about what one of my top prayers about my boys will be.  Until that is answered and I am freely getting talkative responses from my sons, I guess I will stick with my bribery...for now at least...until a better idea hits me...