Shifting the Focus

I am thankful:

~ for fall decorations. Haven’t been super motivated to decorate, but the kids have been asking. I pulled out a little more each day and they were excited to look around like a scavenger hunt when they got home from school to see what I had added. And I love my pampas plumes, and am so very thankful I did not get arrested for trespassing when I clipped them. I will not divulge the location on the grounds that it may incriminate me.

~ for one of my favorite weeks of the year: Bulky Item Trash Pickup! I had an exceptionally successful week of treasure hunting, so good that even Josh was pleased! (That NEVER happens!) I look forward to giving these castoffs a second chance at life!

~ for Gavin, who received a Character Quality Award for “Carefulness.” So proud of the young man God is shaping, and love seeing those sparkling eyes and dimples for days!

~ for the love of and talent for art that ALL our children have! They are all such creative artists! These are just a couple paintings done this week.

~ for a remarkable donation! In September I was approached by an Usborne Books consultant who asked if she could do a fundraiser for Gold Network of East Texas. Of course, I gratefully accepted, she held the fundraiser, and we finally met this week. She collected funds to purchase 50 copies of the book, “Cuddle Bear,” and its companion stuffed teddy bear for our HERO families! It was such a blessing to get to meet her, and I can’t wait to distribute these bears to our families!

~ for a friend who unexpectedly pops in to deliver a donation to Gold Network of East Texas AND brings a minky kitty for a certain little girl!!! Thanks so much Meredith and My Minky Co!

~ for a productive Giddyup & Whoa week prepping for the Vintage & Co Fall Gresham Barn Sale. I finally completed all my custom orders and was able to create several new designs to take to the Barn. If you are local, come check it out THIS WEEK October 14-17.

~ for a fun departure from our normal Friday nights. We went to hear Carson Grace’s boyfriend’s band! Rock music and brick oven pizza under the stars! It was a family friendly event, and we all had a blast.

~ for the roars of alternating jubilation and agony as we watch ALL the football. Prayers for our beloved Dak Prescott. He has been so kind to the childhood cancer community, and has loved personally on many of our HERO kids.

~ for a decadent FEAST prepared by Dad and Colton: juicy grilled pork chops, cheesy scalloped potatoes, and savory grilled asparagus. Thumbs up all around!

Before church this morning I was wrestling with some things, feeling low, sitting alone in my studio space while the family finished getting ready. (That’s always one of my patterns: to withdraw and hide away when I’m struggling.) I was playing a worship playlist and thinking about a troubling situation that is heavy on my heart. One by one, my kids trickled in. (Don’t they always?) They settled in around me, snuggling in and singing along to one of their favorite songs, “I give thanks for all you have done. I won’t forget all the battles You have won. Your love is unfailing, Lord I am grateful…”

And I was reminded afresh: He has done so much! Look around! Look at the blessings! Look at the victories right in front of you! Yes, there are still broken hearts and prayers that long for answers. BUT GOD! HE IS WORKING! He is good all the time (and all the time, He is good).

I don’t take back what I said about parenting being hard. It’s SO. HARD. But it’s also so worth it. The valleys are agonizing, but the mountains are pretty spectacular. And I’m so blessed.

I think about when we make a project or create something, or even cook something. Maybe it’s even when we look at ourselves. Our eyes search out the flaws. And once we find one, and we inevitably do, that’s where we focus. We can’t help ourselves. “If only I hadn’t done that.” “If only this spec wasn’t there.” We miss the beauty of what was created by zeroing in on the flaw. It’s so easy to focus on the hard parts, the bumps in the road. Our family, like every family, has some things that we are wrestling through, some painful processes that will take time and healing to grow through. That’s real life. Messy. Imperfect. And it’s so easy to let myself be CONSUMED by focusing on the problem.

But when I shift my focus and look at the whole picture…I see a six-year-old boy who wasn’t supposed to live to be one-year-old. BUT GOD.

I see him thriving and bright and active when we were told to expect brain damage and learning disabilities and fragile bones that might limit his abilities.

I see three beautiful bright thriving kids who were terrors just a few short years ago. They were physically and emotionally unhealthy, kicking and screaming and pulling each other‘s hair out. And we were pulling OUR hair out trying to manage them. BUT GOD.

Now they are sweet and smart and creative and loving. And OURS.

I see a bitsy girl who first had heart arrhythmias in the womb and then was nonverbal as an infant long enough for doctors to suspect hearing loss. BUT GOD.

And now she’s the liveliest, healthiest, singing-song-iest little spitfire you ever did meet.

I see an angry, rebellious teenager who couldn’t stand his parents who now as an adult comes over just to hang out 3 to 4 times a week.

I see prayers answered. Hopes realized.

Even though I blog my thankful thoughts every Sunday, I struggle just as much as anyone else to KEEP MY FOCUS on the faithfulness of the Savior instead of the ever-changing and troubling waves of my circumstances. But when I remember to shift my focus…oh, how blessed I am.

Thanks for giving thanks with me.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” (Psalms 126:3)

2 thoughts on “Shifting the Focus

  1. Amen! Makes me think of that new song by Jonathan Traylor..”You Get the glory”

    …No matter what I have to go through in this world, as long as you get the glory from it”

    Thanks for sharing.
    I needed that today.


  2. It IS hard to stay focused on the Lord! I just started thinking about the old hymn “The Solid Rock.”
    “On Christ the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand. When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay. In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.” And then there is “How Firm a Foundation” “When through fiery trials, thy pathway shall lie, My grace all sufficient shall be thy supply. The fire shall not harm thee; I only design thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.”
    I loved looking back at how far your children have come, with challenges for each one – biggest for Sawyer, of course. But GOD, indeed! And I see this house, for which you waited so long and worked so hard. (How ARE those ceiling beams? 🙂 The Colton and Dad meal looks delish, and I am SOO Proud of your Gavin, and his Carefulness Award. Your art work is so lovely and inspiring, Heather! And I am totally amazed at your GREAT FINDS during Bulky Item week. WOW! No wonder Josh was pleased! When I used that Phil. 4:8 verse in kids’ Sunday School years ago, I memorized it in the same translation you used – as TNRPLA, so I could remember all the characteristics. My Big Sis used to have that verse on a card on top of their TV. .
    I love you all and miss you SO MUCH and wish I could just run over and join you outside in this lovely weather for some grilled hamburgers – my favorite! And one of your fabulous desserts (stressed spelled backwards – lol)! Love always to each of you.


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