Thursday, January 31, 2013

Cutting the Cord


We have "pulled the plug" on our cable;
(pun intended)
we are surviving, in fact thriving!

We have noticed for some time that the television was becoming a true addiction for our children, maybe even for us. We were continuing to allow it. Enough was enough. It is the boldest move yet, in our quest for a much more simplified, healthy life. It was very intimidating to actually follow through with it. I was comfortable with cable, and not so comfortable with change on any level. So, this has been good for even me. We have much more time on our hands, much less noise, while increasing our bottom line. We fill our time talking, playing, reading, gaming, dancing (yes, I know Baptists don't dance, but I am rebellious!). It's bringing joy. There is satisfaction in it.

In our future, I see more outings, more thinking,  more bonding,
more experience, more culture, more family.

There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind. - C.S. Lewis

Monday, January 28, 2013


I am not satisfied. Is that a way to start a blog or what?  I am searching. And before you tell me that I am looking for Jesus....I have Him. I have just been having trouble experiencing that supreme satisfaction guaranteed by only Him. Can anyone feel me? I love the Lord, don't confuse what I am saying. I just cannot get over the feeling that wires are getting crossed somewhere and short circuiting this whole process. We actively attend church, I pray, I have led several bible studies for women, teach my children the Bible, in fact I have a pile books that are half-read or unread from last year, hoping to find the answer. I haven't found it, or the time to read for that matter. My faith is central in my life, yet with all of this I am still left wanting. How can that be?

(These are just the 2012 books, I got more for Christmas!)

Be careful, this this where self condemnation can set in. The echos of what I should do or how I should feel begin. But I know, that I know, that I know, that I know it is not about what I can do, not about how good I can be. Within me there is the resolve that Jesus is enough. So why can't I feel that?

One would think that contentment should be easily attained, especially in in our culture where we have so much at our fingertips. We have everything. What a rich and beautiful nation we live! Even the lowest of the low sit on a mountain of treasures. In a crowd of people, there is a gadget in almost every hand. We aren't forced to eat of bland, meager rations. We have super-sized portions filled with the finest spices and delicacies. With great reason, our country can boast of our intellect, our credentials, our advancements. But careful! Just what are we advancing toward, or better yet, away from? No matter how high on the corporate ladder we climb, we are never fully satisfied. We lean to our logic and our cognizance lacks.

If our value isn't derived from our intelligence, then it must be from our beauty. Ah, to be the alluring woman. Right? With the right duds you could pass for a super model, in the right dim lighting. I know I am guilty of filling my Pinterest pinboard with the loveliest of new trends to add to my wardrobe. Even fairy tales of Sleeping Beauty and the fairest of them all, Snow White in wee toddlerhood illustrate the value of beauty. Does it ever satisfy? Styles change, fashion week is still pulling the strings. You be the judge. It leaves us still wanting.

Desire leads to desire. Craving, compulsion, need and then finally requirement is what you are left telling yourself. Have you ever said "I need a new outfit to wear to that party." or "We need a bigger house."? I just said that, like yesterday! We aren't really in need. We lack for little. We are looked upon with covetous gazes by those who really do have needs. Needs unmet. What are we doing with our illustrious abundance? Seeking more of it. 

I remember distinctly, the sweetest conversation with a dear friend.  We relished of having gotten a taste of bliss here and there in the intimacy of our gatherings to pour over His Word. Why only here and there? Why not daily? Does my Jesus not mean for us to live in His fulfillment always? Then His Word answers. God used my husband's sweet gesture; an email with a simple scripture, to speak intimately to me. "You will seek Me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart." - Jeremiah 29:13 It said all, didn't it?

My conclusion? We have too much! Too much materialism, too much entertainment, too much going, too much work, too much responsibility apart from Him. If I sit and analyze, like the good Type-A that I am, my pursuits, possessions, my heart, what portion is His? I am heavyhearted and humbled.

We think we are refined, enlightened, accomplished, stylish, when really these things are heaped upon us, covering the one, true heir to contentment. We rummage through all of our stuff  trying to fill the void to make us whole. The stuff never fits.

 I desire wholeness. I want more of Him and less of the lackluster excess. With less we must trust. With less, we become seasoned. With less we are free.

When my children question why we don't do things quite like the masses, I tell them that we are called to be different. We the Wests, we as Christians. Paul said "And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:2) Are we acting differently from the rest of the world? Or do we blend in? I vow to be different.





To be continuous.....

Monday, January 21, 2013


He had a dream. What stirs of emotion did that dream bring still today. I have heard that great speech before, but why had it not always made my heart pound so? Maybe it was the little ears listening. Today I introduced my oldest homeschoolers to the great speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I Have A Dream. We listened to the words by his own voice. The impact was great seeing him stand in that massive crowd of thousands who believed desperately in his cause and hearing his voice with such conviction that day in 1963.

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

"I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood."

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

"I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers."

" I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together."

His words gripped me today just like a Baptist preacher of old can do. As I sat listening, becoming engulfed in the realization of those without freedom. Suddenly my daughter's words captured my attention. "Mom, is this making you cry?" On the verge of overwhelm, I was grasping a former reality. The enormity of it had settled on me. How could this treatment have ever been acceptable by any human culture? 
Surrounded by racism in some form or fashion all of my life, the thought of walking a mile in those shoes never really lingered more than a moment. But as I was handing down this value of compassion and equality to those who would carry my legacy, the importance became undeniable.

Dreams, they do come true...some of them. Many of his dreams have come true today. I still have hope that our nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. But I rejoice that today we are equal by law, but most importantly in the eyes of our Creator. And that we do hold hands, every color, and sit at the table of brotherhood together. Although, my greatest hope remains in the future. For fulfillment will come embodied in our Savior and the glory of the Lord WILL be revealed and all flesh WILL see it. Even so, come Lord Jesus!

 In response to our discussion of segregation, discrimination and equality, my little ones declared their own dreams. How precious!

 A warrior of the cause for good...

A lover of a Savior...

And freedom of expression.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

5 Months!!

There is something magical about baby's first year! I have experienced it four times before and again, I find myself in this time travel. Shy is five months old. I remember her birth like it was yesterday. She was the most peaceful birth I have ever had. She is a TREASURE in every sense! She has an impressive resume for here mere five months. She babbles, she rolls (from back to tummy), she smiles (even in her sleep), she sings (high-pitched tweets, like a songbird)...

 she exclusively nurses 6 times a day, she has roly-poly, baby pudge from head to toe, she blows raspberries, she giggles (but only for her sister Mimi), she sleeps7-9 hours each night...

 she has discovered her fingers and thinks they are delicious! We are enamored with her and she knows it! Five delightful months! 

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Year, New Blog!

Hello 2013! One of my resolutions for the new year was to start my own blog.What's that? What do I have to blog about? Everything and nothing at all! This is not one of those how-to, self-help, DIY, I'm-so-creative-somebody-stop-me kind of blogs. This blog is for ME! Sound selfish? Well, really it isn't. As a busy mom, at times life can feel like someone pushed the fast forward button. Details get lost, kids grow up, memories get jumbled, the edges of life begin to smear as if you're moving at the speed of light. I have to admit that some days I wonder am I still me or have I become someone who is merely going through the motions of life, just trying to keep my head above water so that I don't drown in the abyss. I have to remain grounded and negate the world's pursuit for my despair. The great words of David Crowder ring in my ears often, "This place is trying to break my belief, but my faith is bigger than all I can see!" Some days I need redemption and some days, resurrection. I find them in Christ. That's who I am; that's who we are, my husband, my self, this family! And thus, Remaining West was born! You see, this West family has a mission, or better yet, a commission (Matt. 28: 19-20). What an unbelievable privilege it is to share how my Christ's saving grace is growing me and humbling me every day, every minute, every second. As I chronicle my life from the driver's seat, my hope is that I can capture the essence of who I am on this journey. Who I am is embedded in Christ, including the triumphs and failures that come along with it. Same goes for you. He will take you as you are, scars, skeletons, demons; all that you have hidden. You are His desire! That's right, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly! Perfection is an illusion; no one knows that better than I do! That's my thorn! There, I said it. Christ said that in this life there would be troubles (John 16:33) and my life is full of them! I wouldn't be candid nor transparent if I posted all the wonderful successes in my life and left out all of the marred attempts to "get it right", causing others to wonder why they don't measure up. So I am lighting my candle, placing it on a stand for the world to see, in hopes that you see Jesus somewhere!