We have been keeping ourselves busy and on "schedule" to meet the requirements of the Lilly grant.
We've been to Kennedy Space center a few times where we enjoyed a 3-D movie about the Space Station, some of the kids participated in a stage performance and we toured a few exhibits.
Yesterday, we had a great time exploring the Astronaut Hall of Fame.
My favorite so far has been the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. It was like walking into another world with the tropical plants bending over the walkway and the animals all around. I'd like to go back there at some point for some quiet time and sketching with the kids.
Although we've been actively sightseeing, there have been some afternoons of rest, sunrise walks and evening exercise. My mind is beginning to feel freed up slowly but surely from the cares of my daily routines and regular responsibilities.
I've been working my way through the book of Esther doing homiletics on each chapter. This is something I learned through being a Bible Study Fellowship leader. This type of Bible Study is pretty in depth and I have not done this in quite some time.
I decided specifically on the book of Esther for two reasons. First, the girls, together with their neighbor friends, are working on a play based on Esther. They have written scripts, have made costumes and hold rehearsals regularly. I pray that God will use this particular story in the hearts of these girls to grow them up in Him.
Also, I've been struggling quite a bit recently with my own perceptions of beauty. I've never been a beauty queen, but I was able to attract a really hot guy. That counts for something I think. Sean's love is enduring and amazingly he doesn't seem to see me any differently than when we first fell in love fourteen years ago.
But when I look in the mirror these days or see a picture of myself I don't recognize the person I see there. I know that having seven children in ten years will change the landscape. I recognize that the I am 36, not 26. And I accept that I am not in optimal health due to inconsistent exercise and excess weight. But I have been at a loss regarding what to do with this perception of myself. My natural bent is to compare myself to others and be covetous. I have had to work hard not to do this.
When people meet me and find out that we have seven kids they will comment, "You look so good." This is a complement that I simply can not accept, because I know that I am not completely comfortable with who I am on the outside.
I know some women who go through their whole lives trying to someone they are not. I know some that let themselves go and never turned back. And there are others who know who they are and exude beauty in all they do. I want to be like them. I'm just not there.
These thought have been in the back of my mind for some time. I've been putting off thinking on this matter until now. And now is now.
So I will keep praying and studying Esther. I'm asking God to give me His perspective on beauty as well as encourage my spirit related to my struggle. More than anything, I want to be of use to the Lord- not self focused, but a true reflection of Him.