Monday, February 27, 2012

Milk and honey

First off today...a litte encouragement for those who are walking in the same tired and worn out shoes as myself.

Oh give me patience when wee hands
Tug at me with their small demands.
And give me gentle and smiling eyes.
Keep my lips from hasty replies.

And let not weariness, confusion or noise
Obscure my vision of life's fleeting joys.
So when, in years to come my house is still
No bitter memories its rooms may fill
author unknown


And now for more encouragement.  I'm sure if you read this blog very much, you have picked up on the fact that I use a lot of other people's 'words'.  Why?   Because I think that I am inadequate when it comes to sharing wisdom and insight on most things.  I have certainly not got it all figured out, and there are many more people out there that have a lot more wisdom and experience than me.  I know they bless my heart, so I hope that you can gain some blessing from them as well.  

Now that I feel like I've explained myself.  {Although no one has asked.}  Sigh.  Here's a story.

Milk.  And honey.

...while milk is fine and good over breakfast cereal and is refreshingly satisfying when poured ice cold from the refrigerator, most of us don't crawl out of bed thinking about how great that first serving of milk is going to be today.   That's why I'm glad God didn't promise the Israelites a land flowing with nothing but milk---just as I'm glad Jesus didn't stop short in John 10:10 by merely saying, "I came that they may have life."   Life is good, just like milk is good.   But the life Jesus came to give is a whole lot more than good.   It's not just the good life; it's the great life, the kind of life He intends for us to experience "abundantly".

You know as I read that I thought back on my 33 years of life and wondered have I lived an "abundant" life?   Do I live an abundant life today?   Do I think it is possible to live an abundant life?

College was not a good time for me, spiritually speaking.   Some of you can relate.   Although the Lord has graciously used a lot of my rebellion to teach me so much about Him, no doubt those days have been a learning tool for me and have had much to do with the shaping of who I am now.   I readily admit that that time was filled with stubborness against God.   Against my parents.   Plain and simple.   Some of the activities and relationships in which I allowed myself to be a part of repulse me to think about now.   I know that some of those things went directly against God's calling for my life.   They have resulted in some consequences that I surely haven't enjoyed to say the least.

Priscilla Shirer calls those days her "Egyptian Tour Package".  She puts it like this...


Yet every now and then, especially when life gets unusually hard or when I feel restless from the sameness and boredom of a particularly dull patch, the enemy tries to remind me of the so-called perks that came with my Egyptian tour package.  The lack of responsibility that marked my single, college life sometimes seem a lot more exciting in hindsight than sorting the laundry and pacing the floor with whiny baby.   I can be tempted to look back with longing to a time when life was blissfully free of responsibility, despite the fact {so easily forgotten} that it was also shot through with pain, heartbreak, and deep skid marks of disappointment.

That is awesome!   And isn't it so true!!!

John and I often think back to the BC days {before children} and wonder why we couldn't see how wonderful they were back then.   But in the end we both always agree we wouldn't trade what we got now for a second of those carefree moments!   It's just so hard sometimes to appreciate the everyday.   I can remember when John had cancer surgery, we would say, "I wish we could go back to the same -ole' same - ole where you knew pretty much how every day would start and how every day would end.   And everything in between was the same as it was the day before."  There was a confidence that came with that 'everyday rut.'

Although we tend to get tired with the everyday, we seem to be scared to step out of it's comfort zone.  "Unsure that He can deliver on the unknown, we too often settle for the safe and familiar."

God never fails to bring about abundant living in those who receive His gifts with confident gratitude.  Rather than grumbling and complaining, at which the Hebrews became quite proficient {not that we haven't given their record a run for its money}, we must accept His ways, knowing that they are designed as much for our good as they are for His glory.

Happy Monday Friends~

Excerpts taken from One in a Million by Priscilla Shirer

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Imperfections



As we browse around our favorite blogs or visit our friend's homes, and we see how perfectly clean and beautifully decorated they each are, it's easy to believe the lie that perfection is reality for them.

I am a perfectionist.   No doubt.   And let me tell you, it's a disease.   An addiction.   One that is all about control and pride.  One that I am trying desperately to recover from.

I really don't think that I will ever make it to the messy category.   And for sure not slob status.  I have always been a 'cleaner'.   Even as a child I kept my room clean and I liked things to be organized and in it's right place.  I just want moderation.

It is truly hard for me to celebrate the imperfections.   There.  I said it.  I am becoming more and more aware that my addiction to perfectionism goes farther than just a spotless house.  It touches so many more areas of my life.  It pushes me to push others to 'want to be perfect.'  To be frustrated when my husband doesn't take that step I think he should.   Or my children to act grown instead of 2 and 4.

Photobucket

This was the view coming in my back door just a few days ago.   For some, it's not all that bad.  For a perfectionist, it's almost death-defying to allow it.

I'll show it to you again.......
Photobucket

Did you get goosebumps?   I did.


This is how that space should look.  Today, as a I write, I'm enjoying the sunshine beaming through the window panes and I'm thankful for the view of simplicity and green grass.

Photobucket
Photobucket
I'm running a little behind, but I thought joining up with The Nester and embracing my imperfections would do me good.  Hope any fellow perfectionists can be encouraged as well.

And for the record....I've only cleaned my floors one time today!  From 49 times to 1!  I say that's improvement :-)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

On why I don't want to just raise a good child

My daughter, Hope, is a senior this year. And she decided her senior year should be adventurous and a little out of the “normal” box. A lot out of the box actually.

She withdrew from traditional school. Applied with the state to homeschool. Enrolled in on-line college courses that would allow her to get both high school and college credit simultaneously. And planned to spend the month of January serving in Nicaragua doing missions.

This didn’t surprise me really. Because Hope has always liked charting her own course.

When she was really little I was scared to death I was the world’s worst mom, because Hope was never one to be contained. And I honestly thought all her extra tenacity was a sign of my poor mothering.

One day I took her to the mall to meet several of my friends with toddlers to grab lunch. All of their kids sat quietly eating cheerios in their strollers. They shined their halos and quoted Bible verses and used tissues to wipe their snot.

Not Hope.

She was infuriated by my insistence she stay in her stroller. So, when I turned away for a split second to place our lunch order, she wiggled free. She stripped off all her clothes. She ran across the food court. And jumped in the fountain in the center of the mall.

Really nothing makes the mother of a toddler feel more incapable than seeing her naked child splashing in the mall fountain. Except maybe that toddler refusing to get out and said mother having to also get into the fountain.

I cried all the way home.

Not because of what she’d done that day. But rather because of how she was everyday. So determined. So independent. So insistent.

I would beg God to show me how to raise a good child. One that stayed in her stroller. One that other people would comment about how wonderfully behaved she was. One that made me look good.
But God seemed so slow to answer those prayers. So, over the years, I changed my prayer. ”God help me to raise Hope to be who you want her to be.” Emphasis on, “God HELP ME!”

I think I changed my prayers for her because God started to change my heart. I started sensing He had a different plan in mind for my mothering of Hope.

Maybe God’s goal wasn’t for me to raise a good rule following child. God’s goal was for me to raise a God-following adult. An adult just determined and independent and insistent enough to fulfill a purpose He had in mind all along.

I don’t know what mama needs to hear this today. But let me encourage you from the bottom of my heart with 3 simple mothering perspectives you must hang on to:

1. Don’t take too much credit for their good.
2. Don’t take too much credit for their bad.
3. Don’t try to raise a good child. Raise a God-following adult.

And all the mamas of fountain dancing children said, “Amen!”
by Lisa TerKeurst

I read this story a few weeks ago.  Someone had shared it on Facebook from Lisa's TerKeurst's blog.  As I read her words, I could not believe what I was reading.  It was so dead-on to my life with my children that I read it over and over again.   Isn't it so true how we measure our worth against other people's opinions?   Opinions of our children and their behavior.  Our home and it's condition.  Our career or lack there of.  The status of our marriage.  The car we drive.  The size of our jeans.  The number of commitments we hold.  We're constantly being critiqued by someone... and we care.  We're constantly being critiqued by ourselves.  And we listen.

Photobucket
My Allie Beth is the little girl in this story.  She is not one to necessarily make me look good.   I am slowly realizing that I'm not measured by what other's think about my children .  I don't have to immediately give a disclaimer on why they are who they are.   Or who they're not.  The only view that matters is His. 

Photobucket

And the same principle goes with every aspect of my life.   Of your life.   We should never feel threatened by false insecurities placed in us by other's opinions.   I was reminded today by a dear sweet friend of the age-old saying about how pretty much everybody has an opinion.  {Thanks T!}  But ain't it the truth?!

Photobucket

So love yourself.   The person God made.....after HiS own image.   And love those children that He has placed in your care.   Love them for who He has made them to be.   Appreciate your home.  Your status.   Your jean size.   If God prompts you to "improve" on something, then improve.  But otherwise, cut yourself some slack. 

"Don't try to raise a good child.   Raise a God-following adult."


Friday, February 17, 2012

I can only do 10 things at a time

This is my story and I'm stickin' to it.   Can you relate?  Someone please tell me I'm not alone.
Most days I feel like my stuffing is bulging out from my unraveled sems and I have morphed into an Army drill sargeant.  With every "don't do that again or else!", "stop dragging that out, I just cleaned it up!", "leave your sister alone!", "can't you see I'm trying to have a conversation on the telephone?!", "i need some peace and quite!", "please get out from under my feet!", "i just filled that juice cup up for the 69th time today!", "is your daddy ever coming home?! i'm quickly going crazy!"
 
The things in my mind are running around like a train track on crack!  And I scream "how in the world will I get it all done?!!"

I will be transparent.

This is a major area of struggle for me.  So many see me as having the perfectly clean house with such an "organized" life, but it's really not that way.  I feel over-whelmed with guilt at the end of more days than not, and wake up to the same full plate the next day with no perfect idea on how to "clean" it.

 We all have struggles and short-comings.  Some are different than others.  For me, I believe the "getting it all done while trying to still make good use of this short time God has given me at home with my kids.... and not feeling like I've failed them....feeling like a failure at helping others.... trying to be a wife that has the time and/or energy to acknowledge my husband... trying to honor and obey God with our budget.... trying to somehow cram in a second for a shower and maybe a little make-up" ....is my struggle. I often have the thought "If I could just figure it out like she has then I'd be more successful as a wife and mother."  For some it may be keeping a clean house.  Staying caught up on the laundry.  Organzing the closets and drawers.  Loving and respecting your husband.  Being faithful to a commitment.  Eating healthy.  Losing weight.  

I've told myself today::: We all have insecurities!  Every single one of us.  Can you believe it?  Even those that have it all and have it all together! 

Beth Moore does a fantastic job encouraging us women on this dreaded topic.  She too has stuggled her entire lifetime with debilitating insecurities.  And who would have thought it!  If you've ever seen or heard Beth Moore speak, you know she is beautiful. Her hair is just right, she's dressed to a "T" in her size 6, with all the pretty accesories, and Lord knows the girl can talk!  We think what in heaven's name does she have to be insecure about?   But that's just my point.

"I'm convinced that many women---if not most---have enough insecurity to hinder them.  I recently surveyed more than nine hundred women and found that 78% admitted to having feelings of insecurity at or above a level that bothers them.  That qualifies as a major cry for healing."
                                                       ---------- So Long Insecurity  by Beth Moore

Most nights when John comes in from work, I am hagard, wearing a frown and the same night gown I had on when he left that morning.  He's lucky if I say hello, and really lucky if I actually stop what I'm doing long enough to walk over and give him a 'welcome home'.  Yes, I know that's what I'm supposed to do.  I just don't feel like it.  I've yelled at the kids non-stop, I've swept the floor at least 49 times, I've been buried alive in laundry, I've wiped everything from fannies to counters to noses to fingers. That hideous night gown is hanging on by a thread because I've had a child or two pull on me all day and stretch it with each demanding yank.  I feel completely over-whelmed by not only the commitments at home but also those outside ones.  I wonder what in the world I'm doing.  Why in the world am I doing it?  I can't get it all together.  And when I finally fall into bed the guilt takes over.  Because I know I'm not supposed to be like that.  To act like that.  To feel like that.  So I drown in guilt.  It's a vicious cycle!

Praise God His mercies are new every morning.  And I will learn to except that fact. 

And believe it or not, I still stand firm on the belief that I am right where God wants me in this season of my life.   I would not trade it.  I would not change it.  I will not back down from that or allow satan to make me doubt it.

I will adopt the new motto that although I can do 10 things at a time ........

I CANNOT DO IT ALL.

And by golly george, that is OKAY!

This post was inspired by one of my favorite blogs Jones Design Company.



Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love day

Today is the day..... the day of love.

Photobucket

This here little love is what we call a firecracker. She is small but loud.  Really loud.  She is spunky.  She is busy.  She is a-t-t-i-t-u-d-e.  She is bad.....b-b-b-b-bad to the bone.  But she is funny.  She is alive. And she keeps us laughing :-)  She has her daddy wrapped but that's okay.  She is independent and full of life.  She is the definition of strong-willed.  She takes a challenge head-on and is not afraid of the consequences.  She is motivated and on a mission, so watch out!


Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

This here love is sweetness.   He melts my heart.  Mostly because his heart melts....quickly.   He loves hard yet tenderly.   He is always ready to offer a hug, and an "it's okay" to anyone and everyone.  Tears come easily for him.  God has given him a most tenderheart and I pray he keeps it.  He plays rough and trys to be tough.   He aims to please {most times} and appreciates the little things.   He notices and he compliments.   He has my heart and I can't imagine it any other way.

Photobucket


And of course, this little love is mine all mine.

Photobucket

 He is tough, yet gentle.  He loves me when I ain't easy to love.  He forgives quickly and he does it often.  He offers to me what counts in this life and what matters most.  He is in love with the people who live here and we all know it.  He is committed.  He is generous to us.   With his time, his help, his support and  his love.  One day, he gently won my heart, then we made a vow.  A vow to never part. If God allows it, we'll grow old together.  And I truly wouldn't have it any other way.


Photobucket

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you! I hope your love tank is filled to overflowing!


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Be my valentine

Valentine's Day is quite possibly my favorite holiday.  Okay, well maybe Easter is actually my favorite, but Valentine's Day is ranking pretty high.  I really like the way some think... Those that are of the opinion that Valentine's Day "should be everyday".  I would agree with that :-)  But really.   We all know that's not really how it is.  Face it.  Some days we have probably considered Henrietta's plan of action.

I love--- love.  Does that make any sense?  I am a girl that loves romance, quality time, and meaningful conversations.  I am the biggest fan of dating in marriage.  Dates are a beautiful thing.  A very beautiful thing.  They are a must for me.  I have come to realize they don't have to be fancy-smancy, out of town, expensive, or last all night to be great. It's not the money spent that makes it, it's the time spent.  I guess I'm saying it doesn't have to be big to be beautiful :-)

Photobucket

For the first several years of my marriage {which would be up until recently}, I thought with all of my being that John was totally responsible for the dates.  I thought that since he was the guy and back in the "courting" days he was the one that did the asking, that it should always be that way. Why should we change things now?  Well, I read something one day and it was the biggest 'duh' moment for me.

Please realize that your creativity is a key to opening the door of the Fun Department. Many wives wait for their husbands to initiate the fun. A wife may dream of a husband who sits around "dreaming up" creative and romantic events and outings (as if he isn't busy enough providing for the family, taking care of the finances and the upkeep of the home and car, being a good dad after he gets home from work....and on and on his list goes!) I had my wake-up call in this area when I was a seminary wife....who was sitting around waiting for my poor Jim, a full-time student with four part-time jobs, to "dream up" a little fun for the two of us. A guest speaker encouraged all of us wives to become "the planner of fun" for our marriage. He said, "You plan and prepare the picnic or whatever. I guarantee, your husband will show up and he will enjoy it. But don't wait for him to think of it!" So be creative! What will you plan first?
                                                       -------Elizabeth George, A Wife After God's Own Heart

That was an eye opener! Needless to say, we go on a lot more dates now! And believe it or not, since I have lightened up, he has started planning more dates on his own :-)

Photobucket

I don't know why God put this on my heart.  Maybe it can be encouraging to someone else.  Or maybe I'm just doing more rambling.  I guess in some crazy way, I feel like I'm having an adult converstion with you. Even though you're not sitting here with me.  And I can't see you or anyone for that matter.  And no one is talking back to me. {except in the comments of which I adore and read over and over.} But for this moderately insane stay-at-home mama, I need that kind of 'conversation'.

So, with the approaching "holiday", what will you plan fun for you and your Valentine?

"Talk" to ya' later :-)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

There are no limits....

*****Pause the playlist at the very bottom of the page first!



......to what GOD can do!!!!!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Line em' up

It's in his genes.  

Photobucket

And I'm not talking about those jeans.  The husband's jeans.  The ones that fit so nicely on his little rump.  Nope, not talking about those right now....... 

Photobucket

The other kind.  They can be strong.

Photobucket 

You know like blue eyes, blonde hair.

Or brown eyes, brown hair.

Photobucket

Or hazel eyes, sandy hair.

This could go on forever..........

Tall or short.  Thin or husky.  Big ears, little ears.

Photobucket

Or lining things up until they're just so-so.

 Photobucket

Quick story:::
The other night, we were all laying in John Luke's bed for our nightly routine.  The 4 of us scrunched up in a double bed.  Basically laying on top of each other, poking each other's eyeballs out, putting elbows where they should not be, all while 'quitely' listening to John read one of our 37 Berenstain Bear books.  Crazy as it is, we love it!  It is definitely one of our highlights. {John reading the story is the BEST part of the whole thing!}  So anyway, out of nowhere John Luke pops up and screams, "Hold on daddy, I gotta fix my tractor."  We both say, "What tractor?"  He jumps up runs to his dresser and puts the bucket down on his little New Holland tractor, turns it about 1/100th of a cm and says, "That's how daddy does his." Jumps back in the bed and settles himself back in his little hole like nothing ever happened and says, "Okay daddy, now you can finish the story."
We have problems people!

Photobucket

I find things "lined up" everywhere I turn. 

His daddy does the exact same thing!  One day when his equipment is back to the yard, I will take my camera by there and prove it to you:)

 Do your children have those crazy things they do?

Maybe crazy things just like you do?

Line em' up boys~

Happy Monday y'all :-)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Henrietta and Wally

Henrietta and her husband, Wally, had struggled for years with a troubled marriage.   The owner of the only bank in town, Wally was also the town's most tight-fisted miser.   His constant insistence that Henrietta curb her spending, along with this relentless bargain hunting, nearly drove his wife crazy.
Much to her surprise one day, Henrietta found a note addressed to her on her doorstep.   "Leave ten thousand dollars under the roots of the dogwood tree in the town square tonight," the note said, "or your husband will be kidnapped, and you will never see him again."   That night Henrietta went to the town square and left her reply under the dogwood tree:  "I don't have a hundred dollars, let alone ten thousand, but I am counting on you boys to keep your end of the deal."
                                                                -------Karol Ladd, The Power of a Positive Wife

Okay, so no marriage is perfect!  Although, I have to admit, Henrietta's solutions to her troubled marriage was creative.  Hopefully, I won't be offering up a reward for the kidnapping of John anytime soon :-) Maybe. Not.

No matter what condition our marriages are in, we have one common ground we can build on: the basic human need for companionship.  God made us that way.  So it's okay.

"Best friends make the best spouses."  -----Wilfred A. Peterson

  Nobody has it all together all of the time.  Do you find yourself asking questions like:::

"Why can't my marriage be like her's?"
"Why can't my husband be as supportive as her's?
"Why can't I be the wife she is to her husband?"
Why can't I love my husband like she does?"
"Why can't my husband do that for me?"
...And the list could go on FOR-EVAH!

The enemy will use these insecurities to destroy us!  But take heart, we have an advocate!

We can pray!  And we can pray big!

"Without exception, the most effective resource for any marriage is prayer.  While there are many tools and helps available for marriages these days, prayer is by far the most potent.  It has the ability to work in the hearts of the two most important players in a marriage---the husband and wife---faster and more strategically than any tool you can buy...."
                               ----------Will Davis Jr., Pray Big for Your Marriage

So sweet friends, learn with me.  And pray. Pray big.

"There are no shortcuts to any place worth going." ------Beverly Sills