Sometimes the most significant moments are the ones we overlook.
It all boils down to this very moment. The sweat. The grind. They end here. For this purpose we carry out our daily marching orders. Like the fine mechanisms of a clock our gears turn in perfect harmony…
The shadows seem to dance around the fire. Perfect little faces stare in my direction, barely outlined by the orange glow emanating from the small fire. My son Caleb pours river sand on my lap, seeking my attention but his attempt is feeble. My heart is preoccupied capturing this moment to create a perfect memory; a memory I hope to retain for all eternity.
I am extremely grateful for givers. But the question I pose to you is this: are you a giver or a taker?
Givers. The one’s who keep on giving. I’m convinced giving goes against the very nature of fallen man. Fallen man seeks to gratify the flesh on every level. Fallen man seeks to satisfy his needs no matter the cost. In fact, the benefits seem to outweigh the cost nearly every time. I can prove the inherent selfishness that wakes and sleeps in the heart of humanity… just go to Disney when it’s extremely busy.
Jessi Schwertfeger discusses how she is grateful for people and the significant, but sometimes messy, relationships we encounter in our day-to-day lives…
My beautiful, intelligent, and anointed friend and co-worker Jessi Schwertfeger is my guest contributor today. I am so grateful that she has written for Pretty Little Lemons despite the extremely busy season that she is in. She and I go back nearly a decade! We met at our Overland Missions’ Advanced Missions Training school early 2008 and we have done A LOT of life together. She and her husband Jacob Schwertfeger, along with their three beautiful children, are our head of operations in Africa (we both work for Overland Missions if you didn’t guess that already). They are such an amazing family and they have hearts of gold. This entry she has written communicates a large portion of her heart, which is people. Her heart is BIG and LOVING and she has a passion for people and to see relationships flourish in the body of Christ. So, here we go…
I get to guard my heart… what a privilege
Regardless of how tired my physical body feels because it’s 11:30 at night I want to share with you how thankful I am for the ability to guard my heart in hopes that my mere words can ignite this same thankfulness in you. Some of you are well acquainted with this Scripture, but let me throw it out there just for a little refresher:
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life (or out of it flows the issues of life)
Re-telling a story about one of the most beautiful women I met in the village in 2009 that touched my heart and I still think of her to this day…
So, I’m homeschooling. It’s not my first choice as far as educating my children goes (purely because I’m not a formally trained educator)… but it suits our lifestyle best considering all of the recent transitions. If we were still living on the base in Zambia I’d be homeschooling. There’s a very good chance that I will be homeschooling when we move back to Africa on a more permanent basis too. In certain instances good international schools can be found when overseas, but one generally has to be located near a big city. In our line of work, re-locating near a big city is quite the stretch because our focus is on rural communities, i.e., the wild bush where jackals and gazelles roam. I love the village. Sigh and pause for effect.
Fifty Shades of Grey is still making headlines and it’s devastation seems without end. Sadly, this movie and loads of other major motion pictures are targeting and indoctrinating our youth and many others with their own definitions of love.
Ciaran and I went to the shopping mall today to meet a friend for coffee and while we were waiting Caleb got a hankering for a hot dog. So we stopped at a hot dog shop and the two African ladies working doted on my boy. They laughed and played while I ran a quick errand into the pharmacy. When I came back Ciaran was busy eating Caleb’s hot dog (as dad’s love to do) and Ellie Goulding’s music videos were playing on the tv. I know this because Elly was eager to point out that her favorite dance song “Burn” was airing.
Then the next music video came on, “Love Me Like You Do.” And because I know the origin of this song, protective mother bear made her debut and quickly told the kids they were NOT allowed to watch the video. So we left! The thing is, I knew little eyes would be curious to see why I wasn’t allowing them to watch this seemingly innocent music video.
My beautiful friend Kirsty guest contributes this week and shares on motherhood, God’s grace, and forgiveness… Raw and unfiltered
Kirsty talks on motherhood. Yay! Kirsty and I met years ago in London before she had her beautiful babies. She was a newlywed and I was in the process of planning my wedding. I instantly fell in love with her dramatic flare and creative genius. She is an amazing woman that truly loves Jesus with all of her being. I will never forget how she and her husband Bryan communicated with walkie talkies while he was upstairs and she was downstairs having an all girls Bible study. They truly are hilarious. They are such lovely, genuine, and kind people. So thank you Kirsty for writing this!! Love you!
The best advice I’ve received on parenting a strong-willed child
Elly. My daughter. I wrote my very first entry on her. Sometimes words just aren’t enough to describe her. When I look at her I initially see hair. Just hair everywhere. Her golden locks are nearly always a tangled mess, they hang in front of her face, and she hates getting her hair brushed. Underneath that hair is this gorgeous, little round face with big blue eyes and a perfect little nose. She has beautiful skin… it’s nearly olive, but not quite. I’ve often been told she looks like Smurfette minus the whole blue thing. It’s totally true. Look at the picture of Smurfette and then look at the picture of Elly. You agree. Good. I think we can all agree that I enjoy parenting her too.
Is your standard of beauty derived from Hollywood? The media?
We travel. That’s our lives. It’s our job. We love it. Sometimes there are sacrifices involved and it isn’t the life of luxury that you might think it is. We don’t sit in first class or even business class, yet. One day we will. We aren’t members of an airline that gives us the perks of a lounge, yet. One day we will be. In our travels we see. We see places, people, and sites. But mostly we see people. Lots and lots of people. People of many nations. We see the rich, the poor, the middle class. We see funny people, happy people, sad people, angry people, quirky people, pretty people, and ugly people. Yes, I said ugly. Are you offended? You have a standard of beauty and so do I. Let’s not pretend like you have never looked at someone and thought, “They aren’t very pretty.” Do you feel guilty for doing so? I’m not sure the answer to this question is entirely black and white. Or does the answer to this question even matter? Beauty is relative, therefore ugly is relative. Yet, Hollywood’s standard of beauty is the standard for hundreds of millions of people around the globe. We are inundated with Hollywood “news” on a regular basis in the western world. Perhaps we have been brainwashed? I pose a question to you: is your standard of beauty influenced mostly by Hollywood? Mine is, but not for long because I’m seeking to change that and here’s why.
Guest contributor Fional Killough
Fiona Killough is a highly respected friend of mine that works with me in Overland Missions. She and her super cute family are missionaries in Angola and they are totally hardcore. Here are some beautiful words of wisdom from her.
Hi! I’m Fiona and I’m a wife and mother to a beautiful family. I’m a follower of Jesus and part of His bride. I’m a creative-type that loves to, well, create stuff. I’ve lived in three countries and speak two languages thanks to the missionary vocation that I joined my husband in. We live in a fabulous home, with some money in the bank. We enjoy good health and have an abundance of great family and friends. I have a bazillion reasons to be thankful, I really do. Most of them you can guess from my ‘lil intro. But if I had to choose one thing, above all else, that I’m most grateful for, it wouldn’t be one of these things. Not to undermine any of them, or lessen the gift that they are to me, but there’s something else that I have to tell you about. The thing I’m most grateful for is choice.