Monday, September 21, 2009

Life . . .

. . . is busy these days-- not really earth-shattering news to anyone as they are all busy too! But here's a little recap of what God has in store for the Leman household this fall, and what He's been doing this year.

James began seminary at George Fox University full-time this fall. It's mostly an online/cohort modeled program, but he does have to take an occasional trip out to Portland for it. He continues to love his work at our church. He is still the Associate Pastor but is continually taking on more and more responsibilities. He is excited to help the church enter a new phase in its life. We count it a true joy to be able to be involved in people's lives during joys and crisis' that arise, and being able to share Christ continually through those experiences! James still bikes regularly, and is really excited about some new shoes he recently got. (This is a big to-do b/c he never buys things for himself unless it's outdoor gear). He was thrilled to be able to finally share with me part of his heritage earlier this summer by going up to Alaska for his cousin's wedding!

Sam began Kindergarten at home this fall. He absolutely loves it, but his favorite subjects are Science and Math. He sees 2 of his best friends almost every other day as they're in the same homeschool PE class together and they're also in the same Co-op. He is enjoying soccer again this fall and is one of the oldest on his team, so he's enjoying his role of being the big kid and encouraging the younger ones. About 2 months ago, he told us he had a dream to buy Bibles for people who don't have them, especially kids, so we told him we'd pray with him for a special gift to come to our family so he could start doing this. God answered that prayer and now we're helping him figure out what this ministry could look like. What an encouragement to see child-like faith! We're excited to see that be nurtured through AWANA this year! He turns 6 in 3 days!

JJ continues to enjoy being a JJ. He is talking so much more now and often has very funny expressions to share with anyone who will hear him. It's a joy seeing his personality emerge especially since it's a stark contrast in many ways from his brothers. JJ too is enjoying Co-op and getting to be with the big kids. He tells almost everyone he says goodbye to that he'll miss them. We pray we won't squelch that tender heart! He too loves soccer, and though he isn't officially playing this year, he is a very devout team mascot that enthusiastically participates in all the drills. It's been fun watching him learn to swim as well. The boy has no fear of water, so we figured we'd better teach him how to navigate well once he's in it! JJ's our little dancer and loves almost any kind of music! Though his intake has slowed down, food is still a top priority for JJ! He also has deemed himself the family meal pray-er! He turns 3 in about 3 weeks!

Abby is on the go a lot lately it seems! I am thoroughly enjoying homeschooling, even more than I thought I would! I am so grateful for the Co-op that we were asked to join! It's an answer to prayer for me to have a group like that to both take and receive from! I have very much enjoyed quality time with my best friend since college over this last year in many different ways, including getting to homeschool our kids together! She and I and another college friend decided to meet regularly as women/moms/wives/friends/daughters/christians about a year ago, and the time has been so precious to me! In all honesty, my soul was quite lonely for some time before that, and to have their friendship and authenticity has been huge!! I'm still involved in church but am trying to get the leadership roles off my plate! Due to James' job, it works better for us to have me as a volunteer, which is perfectly fine by me!! I really want to get a Boxer puppy but the timing isn't quite right yet. We had a fantastic family vacation with my best friend and her family on the Oregon Coast a few weeks ago! Seeing that part of God's creation does wonders for my soul!

Well, my part was longer than the boys, but since I'm writing it, that's my prerogative right? Though we're busy, we're at peace, and not just a circumstantial peace, but a peace that comes from deep faith and great trust in the One who has control over it all! And we're never too busy to hear from or have visits from friends!

Friday, September 11, 2009

In love with love . . .

So I recently came to the conclusion that I am in love with love. I love everything about it! The tingly way you feel when you're discovering it, the heart pounding joy you experience when you've found it, the disappointment and heartache when it's gone, and the complete security and freedom you treasure when you give yourself fully to it. Love really is a beautiful thing.

You know the little kids who can't get enough of their best friend and want to spend every second with them? Love. How about those teenagers who truly believe they can't go on if separated from their companion? Love. Or the couple who looks in each others eyes as they promise forever in front of everyone they know? Love. The look parents give to each other after gazing at the beautiful life they helped create? Love. The shed tears because the one person who has complete power of you was momentarily thoughtless. Love. The mom holding her daughter's hand while she gets her chemo treatment. Love. The couple who struggles through counseling because they are committed to each other and making their marriage work even though they're scared to death. Love. The letter that's wrinkled and damaged at the edges so that one could have a link with another again and again and again. Love. Or the dad who takes his son on a solo camping trip just because. Love. The couple who cries alone because their dream of holding their child has yet to be realized. Love. The couple who grieves for their aging dog because he's only ever given them joy. Love. The aged couple who still holds hands and are comfortable in each other's silence. Love. The man who visits his wife's grave and still brings her flowers even after she's gone. Love.

Two of my absolute favorite places to go are airports and hospitals. I seriously get excited every time I go to either of these locations because they are places where people run a huge gamut of uncensored emotions, many of which stem from love in some shape or form. I truly count it a privilege every time I witness a display of love. Even if those displaying it are imperfect or not healthy, I find that when I see it, I am catching a glimpse of my Maker and what He intended to be a good thing.

Does that mean it's always easy. No. I think those people we love the most are often the most difficult to love, because in order to truly love them, we have to give up ourselves, which isn't easy or popular. Often the things that really hurt us are because we love deeply. It's inconvenient when the neighboring car cuts you off, but when you get cut off by your spouse, it's much more than inconvenient- it's painful. When I discipline my boys, I don't do it because they disobeyed me and my pride's been pricked; I do it because I deeply love them and want the best for them which often means pointing out and correcting when they've done wrong as much as it hurts both them and me.

I know that not every love works out for one reason or another. I do wonder though how often love is given up on because of a feeling involved rather than a choice to be made. People will always disappoint each other, but Love never will. Maybe that's why so many give up on love because they've never let the Author of it into their relationship in the first place. It's hard to navigate something in which you know nothing about. I am grateful that when all is said and done, we haven't been left alone to come up with the rules of engagement, but have been gifted with the play book, and even more importantly been gifted with the gift of love!