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Posts Tagged ‘something i think is important’

I’m amazed at the things my children teach me about myself.

Hannah has started noticing when Nick and I don’t do a very good job. The other day I was in a hurry to get everyone out the door, and just had Hannah and Audrey put their crocs on with no socks, in spite of the fresh snow. When we arrived, Hannah had to walk through the snow and got her feet wet and cold. It wasn’t that cold out – the snow was all melting away, but good job, mommy. What I wasn’t prepared for, was her pointing it out! She just about made me cry, telling me I should have carried her or helped her put on socks! I apologized and eventually that was good enough for her, but…wow…I have some accountability at this point…

Tessa has started smiling and cooing at me all the time. She has brought me so much joy! I’ll just be doing something else, holding her in my lap, and it’s like she suddenly realizes I’m there, and proceeds to have a full conversation with me, whether I’m paying attention or not. She also gazes at me, right in the eye, and doesn’t look away. This is something my other two did not do! I find myself looking away out of discomfort while she just lovingly stares and admires her mommy. Where does my discomfort come from? Why do I get impatient so quickly? I don’t typically have difficulty looking people in the eye, but the purity of her attention and adoration overwhelms me sometimes.

Pay attention, they say to me without realizing it. Pay attention and don’t miss THIS moment. Be fully here with us. Don’t get so caught in the task to be accomplished that you miss the people who are most important. It took me forever to make peace with staying at home with my kids, but now that I have…I can’t imagine anything more fulfilling!

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I read a lot of blogs. Actually, that should say I’m subscribed to a lot of blogs. As of this writing, I have 706 unread blogs n my reader. That’s after I spent quite a bit of time last night on the iphone catching up, and more time this morning. Every 6 months or so, I realize this has gotten out of hand and unsubscribe from anything that has become unimportant. I’m also a big fan of that “mark as read” button.

My own blogging has somewhat fallen off in the past couple of months. Understandably, I’d say. I mean, when you can see this every day,

and smell that sweet newborn smell, not to mention all the work that goes with it, it’s easy to do that instead of write. But I miss writing. So, I’m making it a new goal – a post a day. Check back – keep me accountable. Really. I’ll feel better.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I relate to the older kids. Since having Tessa, it’s been harder for me to give Hannah and Audrey the attention I want to. Also, even though Nick cut back his hours at the pizza place, he’s been having to work extra hours at his regular job, which has made for long hours anyway. This in turn makes for a tired mommy. I was reading my Bible (read: desperate for some truth to keep me going) a couple of days ago, and came across this:

Thessalonians 3:2 AMP

And we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s servant in [spreading] the good news (the Gospel) of Christ, to strengthen and establish and to exhort and comfort and encourage you in your faith,

Right at that moment, I heard God whisper to me, “That’s your job with your kids. Strengthen, establish, exhort, comfort, and encourage.” Oh, is that all? No, but really…that simplifies things. Punish is not in there, because the goal is not to make them feel guilty, it’s to build them up. Belittle is definitely not there. Frustrate is not there either. Not that I should never discipline – exhort means “to give warnings or advice : make urgent appeals.” Discipline is included there in my mind. But the majority of my interaction with them needs to be positive, and it hasn’t been that way lately.

My days go so fast right now. Before I know it the morning is gone and naptime has come. Evenings are a blur – with or without Daddy home – and then we’re to that exhausted please-go-to-bed-right-now time. More than anything I want to become more intentional about my time with my kids. Not just surviving, but thriving and enjoying the time with them. It’s a daily process. I feel like part of the key for us is to strike that balance between a schedule and flexibility – a continual struggle for me. If bedtime happens before I get too tired, there is still energy for conversations and Bible time at bedtime. If I get out of bed in the morning before the kids do, I tend to be more centered and better able to greet them cheerfully and purposefully. If I feed them when they’re hungry instead of waiting for some specific time when they “should” be hungry, I head off tantrums and low-blood-sugar-related bad moods…

What things do you do to connect with your kids in a meaningful way?

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Proverbs 31:13

She seeks out wool and flax and works with willing hands [to develop it].

Although I’m not particularly “crafty,” I love taking raw materials and making them into useful things – whether that be food, children, talent, business ideas, etc. Bringing order to chaos brings me particular joy – for example taking a messy closet and envisioning where things would best fit and be efficient and pleasant to look at, and then making it work. I get such a kick out of that simple task. Giving direction where there wasn’t any before fills me with energy – that’s why I love leading things. In what areas do you have talent to bring something useful out of raw materials? I firmly believe this is something every woman is equipped to do. Anytime I meet another woman, this is what I most I want to know about them: what are they good at? Sometimes I think we’re waaaay too shy about talking about our talents. Every person does something interesting. Please share with us! Feel free to link. 🙂

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Proverbs 31:12

She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her.

Oh man, this one is a soapbox of mine… Nick comes alive when I encourage him. When he senses my full support he’ll move mountains. Just the other day he was feeling a sense of direction for our family that I desperately needed from him, but until I gave him “permission” to lead, he was afraid he would offend me or be misunderstood. When I allowed him to encourage me and exhort me, it not only encouraged me, but him as well!

I wish I could express to women who don’t understand this, how destructive it is to talk negatively about their husbands. It is easy for women to become critical of men because they are wired so differently. But I’m not married to a woman, thank God. With everything in my power, I want to be a comfort to Nick – someone he can’t wait to come home to. I want to encourage and believe in him – he’s flawed, just like I am, but my flaws don’t exempt me from Christ’s love and Nick’s can’t exempt him from mine. I want to only do him good my whole life, never sabotaging our finances, his reputation, his relationship with our children, or any other area in any way.

If you’ll allow me to speak to you very bluntly for a minute: every woman I have ever heard criticize her husband to her friends ends up either in divorce, or at the very least, in a marriage that is far from happy and affectionate. Our hearts long for romance, and sometimes life is just not romantic. But criticism will never produce intimacy and romance. If you don’t have something nice to say… I understand this is not easy, and I don’t mean to be harsh, but I just see this so black and white that it’s difficult to communicate it any other way!

If this is a habit you have: start by just saying nothing about your husband to other women. At first, that may be all you can do, and even that will be hard. If other women get into husband bashing around you, politely excuse yourself. You don’t have to get preachy, just don’t participate. Next, start looking for something to compliment your husband about, both to his face and to others. You’ve gotta turn the ship around – it will take a little while. Watch the movie Fireproof (I thought it would be cheesy too. It’s not…ok, parts are, but the point is well worth it!). Pray that God will bless your husband and help you change your feelings toward him. Surround yourself with people who have marriages like the one you want to have. Find a mentor couple who has a great marriage and ask to meet with them regularly for a little while. Pay attention to how she treats her husband and copy her. I know this simplifies a complex problem, but you have to start somewhere. Quit reading romance novels and wishing your husband would treat you like that – those are written by women. Men aren’t made that way! 🙂 Make sure you’re connected with a healthy church, not just attending, but connected to other people. None of this is easy and it requires swallowing your pride, big time. How badly do you want things to be different?

OK, I could go on forever about this. I’m sure you guys have all kinds of thoughts too – please share!

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When to say yes

Good advice from my pastor, on how to decide what deserves your time and energy, and what does not. May we all be clearer on what our assignment is!

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I know some people will disagree with this post. That’s okay. I still need to write it.

Life hasn’t been easy around here lately. Between a loss of some income, a rise in some bills, a broken car, both of us looking for second (and really, third and fourth) jobs, it has been really tempting to just fall apart. And some days I have. Some might say I have the right to, that my reality is hard right now. I suppose you could look at it that way. The problem is, when I allow myself to fall apart, when I yell at the kids all day and am cranky with my husband, when I sit and cry or lose myself in the internet, I don’t feel better. I feel worse. And to the things that are already hard, I add more hard things – things like strained relationships with my husband and kids, stomachaches, depression, a messy house, and that’s just the half of it! So whether I have the “right” to be upset or not, it doesn’t make things better.

That’s why I don’t like to complain on my blog. It doesn’t change things for me, it’s not helpful for you, and I really don’t believe it’s honoring to God. If I’m trusting Him to care for us, then why would I be complaining? To me, complaining communicates a lack of trust in God’s faithfulness to care for us, and in His love for me. That doesn’t mean I never do it. Sometimes with a close friend, a “vent” session can be very healing and helpful. But this is not my journal, not all of you are my close friends (I’ve never even met most of you!), and I just don’t see the point of broadcasting my problems publicly on the internet. Some people may have a different philosophy about these things. That’s fine – I’m certainly not judging anybody. I have no room whatsoever to be doing that. But I am saying, for me, for the person I personally want to be and become, it just doesn’t fit. That doesn’t mean I’m being phoney, it means I’m choosing to point people back to God and His faithfulness with every opportunity I have. After all, God’s reality is more real than my “reality.” What the Bible says is more true than my circumstances.

I’m making a decision – to choose to be thankful. To choose to praise God for His blessings. It’s difficult to be depressed when your mind is fixed on the amazing things God has done for you. So, along those lines, here’s my list of things I’m thankful for today:

1. I’m SO thankful that I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance 1 1/2 years ago, and that my body is stronger than ever. This pregnancy is worlds better than my last two. I feel great most of the time, and I still forget I’m pregnant even though I’m 17 weeks today!

2. I’m thankful that my children are healthy and have been all summer – not even colds!

3. I’m thankful that we have a huge house to live in and a big backyard, and a park two houses down that I FINALLY took the kids to yesterday. They had a blast and I got some sun, and it was nice.

4. I’m thankful that we’re almost done with our next gown. This one’s been a doozy.

5. I’m thankful to have so many different clients who appreciate my marketing work, and allow me to make a little money on a flexible schedule from home.

6. I’m thankful that we bought a new radiator for the Jetta and that as soon as Nick can get it put in, I might have a car again.

7. I’m thankful that my parents rented a carpet cleaning machine and let us use it for free. My house smells so much better now. Vinegar and water is the perfect carpet cleaning solution. Don’t bother buying the expensive chemical soap!

8. I’m thankful that I have a huge stock of food in the house and might not even need to grocery shop this week. This is especially good, considering what we spent on food last week. Oy.

9. I’m thankful for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and the fact that my kids are enthralled with it.

10. I’m thankful that I’m not having a root canal on Thursday, and that I’m going to a holistic dentist on Monday. Can’t wait to talk with him.

11. I’m thankful for an exciting meeting about my piano curriculum on Friday. If/when this all works, it’s going to be so amazing. What a great opportunity.

12. I’m thankful that I’ve been playing the piano again and singing, and enjoying it again.

13. I’m thankful for God’s direction in our lives, even when it takes us in directions we never expected or imagined.

14. I’m thankful that my cousin (is it third cousin, Donna?) saw me wishing for a Kitchenaid mixer on Facebook, so she’s sending me one she has had in her garage. It will be here Thursday! It’s from the 70’s and it’s mustard yellow and I’m thrilled. (Hey, mustard yellow is back in, right? I totally think it is. 🙂 I’ve been wishing for one since I moved out of my parents’ house 7 years ago.

Wow, I feel so much better. Who wouldn’t with a list like that? Do you need to make one?

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More on Giving Yourself a Break

Another great post I saw today…

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