Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Getting on the Bandwagon

I recently ran into a situation that I did not fully understand when it started. Only after several weeks did I finally see how the whole puzzle was coming together. Had I jumped on the fast moving bandwagon with both feet from the beginning, I fear trouble would have ensued in the end. I was noticing, at an increasing rate, a name of a woman who seemed to be making the Christian woman blogosphere circuit with regularity. People were reading and reposting her blog at fever pitch. I had no idea who she was, but her name just kept coming up on my facebook and twitter world, and even in real-live conversations that I was having with fellow believers. Eventually, I read one of her blog posts just to see what she was all about.  I really had no idea. Well, after reading the blog post, which was about a hot-button cultural issue, I had what I would call an 'unsettling feeling'. I was not on board with what she had said in the post but I could not fully explain with a rational, biblical response what bothered me about it. I did not look at anymore of her posts/publications and I left it alone.

Fast forward a few weeks. This same woman came up in conversation again and I discovered that she is a pastor's wife. Being a pastor's wife is something near and dear to me, so as I listened on in this conversation, I paid closer attention and my senses were heightened. She has some amazing ideas and a wonderful heart that hurts deeply for the people God loves. Hearing that she was doing good things and people 'just love her' left me with a mixture of thoughts in my mind. She sounds wonderful and her ministry to people was touching lives. I just couldn't get the 'unsettling feeling' out of my mind and heart. In fact the unsettling only grew based on my knowledge of her role and leadership position among God's people.

Fast forward again. I came upon a blog post that had a different take on some of the things this pastor's wife was saying. As I read on, I began to more fully understand why I had the unsettling feeling. As it turns out, it seems that said pastor's wife and I have some foundational differences of how God views gender roles. Knowing that gender roles is a big deal in the grand scheme of God's design for His people and if you get it wrong it affects everything, the situation really troubled me. Getting the role of men and women right (in line with the Truth of God's Word) is critical in establishing God's best for family and 'doing life' in general. No, woman is not less than man or less capable. I am not on the 'woman, take your place and be quiet' bandwagon. Yes, God sees and we must view women with equal value as men. The Truth is though, that we were designed by God for different roles. Not lesser roles. Different roles. So taking those roles and switching them or making them the same causes God's best plan for us to be skewed and has a domino effect on marriage relationships, the local church framework, work environments and family dynamics.  I could go on with the whole redefining gender roles issue as there is much to discuss, but that is not the point.

The point is that I should give pause and think critically about any teaching I receive from someone that has a theological difference with me on such a foundational issue. I should not jump on with both feet to the bandwagon of the most popular women's speaker making the conference circuit. I should test the waters of the most retweeted blogger. Just because everyone 'loves her' does not mean I should accept everything she says as accurate Truth. I do not claim to know everything this pastor's wife believes or positions she holds to, but what I do know (I bought the book and started reading archived posts) is that we differ in our views of biblical womanhood enough for me to not jump on her bandwagon with both feet. That 'unsettling feeling' I had weeks ago was a good thing. The Holy Spirit of God led me to see what was driving the bandwagon and I am so thankful that I did not end up some place the Lord did not want me to go.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Creativity Required

The fourth one broke the mold. Our oldest three kiddos have made life so much more pleasurable by being similar in regards to their desire to be at the dentist and actually enjoy going. The fourth one, not so much. Here's how this works.....five Linos pull up to the dentist office in our minivan stocked with a plethora of kid movies and a DVD player. I run in to get paperwork and make payments and then we get the selected movie going in the van. One by one, the oldest three take turns going into the office by themselves and have their teeth counted, cleaned, x-rayed and routinely examined. The 8, 6, and 4 year olds climb right up into the chair, don fancy shades and open wide. I sit in the van with the other three waiting for the dear hygienist to come out and give me the 'all-clear, see you in 6 months' talk. It's fabulous. We love our dentist. He has been working on Lino teeth since the 1980s.

The only problem arises when the last little Lino has to go inside the office....for any reason. The restroom, to check on paperwork, to see what's happening with sister. String Bean freaks out just upon entering the building. I know what the problem is....sound. She is very sensitive to sounds. Fans in restrooms, trucks starting up, toilets flushing, air conditioners turning on, hissing pots and pans on the stove. Many things that don't faze a lot of people. So, all of the unusual sounds in a dentist office just about send her over the edge. I have yet to even get her in an exam chair - in my lap. She just covers her ears and cries.

The 'I have four kids and don't have time for this' side of me says just make her sit and get it done. The 'nurturing, help me help her' side of me says I need some creative mommies to help me find a solution to get her in that chair willingly. So, if you have any ideas that can help me get my String Bean into that chair, please share. Has anyone tried special headphones?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Behind the Veils

I can think of an endless amount of reasons why you should read this book but I only have room for a few of the things that impacted me...........

- it showed me more of who God is
- it is a terrific picture into the Muslim woman's world
- it convicted me of my willingness to share the Gospel
- it gave me perspective on my view of what God's people are facing around the globe to take His Word to them
- it broadened my mindset of what darkness the lost Muslim world is shrouded in

In Behind the Veils of Yemen, a female Christ follower tells of her personal experience walking with the One True God and into the lives of the Yemeni women. I originally picked it up as part of my Around the World in 80 Books Challenge because it was based in Yemen. Little did I know how much it would impact my life. I know that the Lord, in His sovereign way, brought it to my reading list more for my heart change rather than a check mark on my challenge.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Just What I Need

I am really not sure what we were thinking all along, but this new plan worked amazingly well. My college roommates and I spent the weekend in Austin catching up and relaxing. The exciting part was leaving all 12 kids at home. We usually meet with all the kids......and have a great time. It's just not very relaxing. It's a lot of work. The kids just love being together and a fun time is had by all. This time around with 'mommies only' was just what I needed. These two girls have known me for decades and we just get each other. I am not their pastor's wife. I am not their counselor. I am not their employer. I am not their crisis manager. I am their friend. I don't have to be anything else and they don't have to be anything to me. Being a ministry wife can often put me in a bubble and these two have never been on the inside of that bubble. I like it that way. I'm sure they do too. Our relationship will always be different from those in the bubble. No matter what friendships I form in the church, at the end of the day, I am always married to their pastor.

I am reminded each time I talk to the roommates on the phone or see them how much I need a relationship like the one we have. It does not have expectations or requirements of me (perceived or real) and it allows me to be stretched and grow in the Lord. They love the Lord with all their hearts and want to see Him glorified in all of us. The Lord regularly uses them in my life to convict me, shape me and show me more of who He is. I am so thankful that though the miles separate us, the Lord continues to draw us close. Our time together was full of laughter, near tears, thoughtful and meaningful conversations, and no expectations for greatness. It was as treasured time and sure beyond great! We are trying to figure out how to get the three dads to keep the 12 again soon.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Our Resurrection Sunday

Resurrection Sunday was fabulous today.......worshipping the risen King, family and friends for a relaxing lunch at home and now enjoying the incredible day that the Lord has made. I am so thankful for the life He has given me. Amidst the thankfulness, I have such a sense of want......wanting others to know and love the Lord Jesus with all their hearts - that they may experience the eternal life He has for them!

Here are the little Linos all ready for worship - the most exciting part of our day.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

So Far So Good

We are easing into some healthier eating changes around here. So far, we are doing whole wheat (homemade) bread, the whole wheat pancakes (recipe here) and wheat dough for our homemade pizzas. All of our pastas have been switched to whole wheat. I have added more fruit to our already fruit-heavy diet and eliminated some of the crackers and pre-packaged snacks that seem to disappear like candy around here. It's amazing - if you don't buy it, they don't eat it.

Everyone seems to be adjusting well to the changes, but it was not a seamless transition. The whole wheat pancakes taste much better with chocolate chips instead of banana. The bread is rather dense, so you have to only eat half a sandwich and some of the littles don't 'love it'. They eat it, but could do without a sandwich if allowed. Some of the pastas made the switch without anyone knowing they were wheat. Nathan did not even recognize it a couple of times. The texture is the hardest thing for me to accept. The wheat pasta seems a little rough to me and not nearly as slimy.

Vegetables are our biggest challenge. I don't like them - never have. Salads, green beans and green peas are staples that go over well in addition to a few carrots here and there. We are really lacking in the veggie department. That's next on my list.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mommy and JUST Me

self-checkout at the library
Today was a 'mommy and me' day for Samoosa. She wasn't really feeling herself so I asked if she just wanted to hangout with me while the other three were at school. A resounding yes was her answer and off we went to do what mommies do on the 'I have no kids at home today', library, Easter dress shopping, coffee, etc.

We had a fabulous day just being together - the two of us. It rarely happens so today was extra special. I was able to see more and more of who she is and what she loves. I am pretty sure today was the first time she has been through the bank teller drive thru (not ATM) because she was astounded that the lady sent a sucker back to us. I was the astounded one when she asked 'did you order my Easter dress online since that's what you do when you don't want to go to the store?' Four year olds knowing about e-commerce is just crazy. Her favorite part of the day was 'playing librarian' at the self checkout line in the local public library. The favorite part of my day was enjoying the blessing God has given me in our third precious child all to myself. She is a joy and I love doing life with her!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Made it to Worship on the Big Day

I only have one goal on Sunday morning......get 5 Linos to worship on time
with happy hearts. Always easier said than done. Sunday mornings rarely go
exactly as planned or the same as any other Sunday morning at the Lino
house. The one constant is that Daddy has long been at the church when the
rest of us finally roll out of bed. I can always count on being by myself to
face whatever surprise Sunday morning holds. If I wasn't prepared for
surprises, I'm sure I would be a little crazy.

Today's surprise wasn't actually a surprise. She had been running a fever
all weekend. The fever was up over 103 (probably just the fourth ear
infection in 3 months - not worried) at midnight and sleep was light and
restless when it came. The problem was that today at NEHBC was the day we
were saying 'yes' to God. As a church, we were getting on board with His
plan for our future. It was to be a huge day in the life of our church.
Baptisms were planned for after worship. So, I continued with my plan to at
least make it for one hour to sit in the lobby and participate in worship
through the TV screen.

As the pastor's wife, my plan to make it to and through worship with four
young children does not involve my husband. Not only is his mind focused on
what the Lord wants him to share with His people, but countless other people
are vying for his time and energy on Sunday mornings too. Don't worry, we
are not neglected. He worships with us and steps in to the family dynamic
when absolutely necessary (translation: discipline issues.) Please don't
hear that as a complaint.....this is our ministry and I am thrilled to be a
part of it. My role as his helpmate is to minister as I am able and give him
the freedom to minster to the people. I am completely on board! I always
have a family or two on standby to help with the children in the event that
I spend the worship hour in the lobby with a sick kid. In the lobby, we do
our best to sing along, open Bibles if possible and engage with the sermon
as much as I can. One special family is also willing to pick up and care for
any of our children if I need to stay home with some of the sick kids. We
usually make it to church and have a meaningful worship experience.

The effort it takes to get us all to worship is completely worth it. Our
week is set into motion by what happens on Sunday morning. If we don't make
it to worship, our week just flounders as we struggle through the week
because we were not set or recalibrated on God and His Word with His people.
The time we spend with God's people rejuvenates us and encourages us to live
on mission throughout the week. Being in worship, no matter how difficult it
was to get there, teaches our children how important it is to us and the
Lord and having even an hour of worshipping the Lord Jesus in the lobby with
a toddler will always be better than being at home missing out on the
blessings of being with believers and lifting up His Name.

Even though my String Bean is still not well, I am so glad I made the choice
to do whatever it took to get to worship this morning! I will always
remember our family being a part of the NEHBC commitment to continue His

PS - No, I don't take extremely sick, contagious kids to church.......we are
talking ear infections, allergies, etc. No vomit, flu or any of the other
stuff you don't want from us.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The First Part of the Slow and Steady Plan

sausage & pineapple pizza on homemade whole wheat crust
With Daddy missing dinner last night, I decided to try something different. Not toooo different. I have been looking into different options for our eating habits lately and one of the changes I am considering is switching from enriched flour to a pure whole wheat - tortillas, bread, any doughs, etc. I actually feel fairly confident about the Six Linos being able to easily transition to this since we already only eat a 'honey wheat' bread off the shelf.

So, I, for the first time in my life I think, actually made pizza dough from scratch. It was much easier than I anticipated.....whole wheat flour, olive oil, water, salt and yeast....all in the mixer and no problem. I skipped the tons of veggies on top and went with good ol' sausage that the Linos know and love with some pineapple and mozarella. My thinking was to only make one big change at a time. The toppings were things the kids would eat so it would only be a test on the dough. There was only an eighth of the pizza left after the five of us finished.

Overall, the feedback was good. In response to 'how'd you like the pizza?' I got a 'loved it', 'more', indifferent and 'can we have different dough next time.' For now, I am going to give it a few more tries. The machine homemade whole wheat loaf is on the counter for lunches and then tortillas are next. I don't have any scientific research and numbers at the ready to say this is best (although there are many bloggers who say it is), but I think some slow and steady changes will benefit our overall health.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Three Girls His Way

Three girls was not our plan. It was the Lord's plan. I trust He knows what He is doing and that is such a good feeling since I can often become plagued by thoughts of inadequacy and down right ignorance. Sometimes I hear, 'but you're a'll know what to do' in response to my musings of mothering three girls and I just want to scream 'I'm an ONLY girl!' Growing up with two brothers did not fully prepare me for this. There are tears, drama and hormones in such doses that they cannot be quantified. And the girls are only 2, 4 and 6.

String Bean, Girly Girl & Samoosa - March 13, 2012
I know I will not be a perfect mom to these three unique little girls. I choose to believe that God will be faithful to equip me to fulfill my role in their lives. I choose to allow God the freedom to make them into the women He designed them to be. I choose to not mother them in my own power. These choices are the only ones that will allow the four Lino women to thrive amidst the tears, drama and hormones.

His plan. His way. Not mine.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Growth Comes from the Cutest Places

I am not sure how we would survive without this ray of sunshine in our lives. Our sweet Samoosa keeps us laughing and throwing up our hands all at the same time. She is passionate about absolutely everything she does. She is also the little Lino I think the Lord uses most in my life to teach me and stretch me. My sanctification process would be incomplete without her. I love her to pieces!!!

This snapshot is before we left the house for preschool picture day. I can't wait to see how the hair held up for the actual pictures.......hopes aren't as high as the Houston humidity was that day.

Unscheduled Weekend On Mission

My favorite Team Beaumont members………..the Six Linos. Our first mission trip with all six of us. The littles did their best to keep up and we all had a great time doing a variety of ministry endeavors with Amelia Baptist Church. A great and worthwhile way to spend our free weekend!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Addition to My World of Lists

There are a number of things that I am intentional about in my life, but reading has not really ever been one. I have always enjoyed a good book, but never set goals or made a list of books that I just had to read. I know it’s good for me and I should have always been more intentional. Well, there’s an app for that. Seriously, it was not until I found the goodreads app that had a reading challenge on it that I made a plan. So my plan is in full force. I am participating in the Around the World in 80 Books challenge. The idea is to read 80 books that are set in different regions of the world so that you are exposed to different cultures, authors, and genres. There are guidelines for how to navigate the world and so far I have been successful. I have enjoyed most all of the books I’ve read so far and am looking forward to reaching my goal.

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