The Good Guy Always Wins

January 27, 2011

Recently, I signed up for Netflix. I {heart} Netflix. It's really neat how you can just choose from almost limitless possibilities of something to watch at any given time. Joy. It makes me smile. I don't watch a whole lot of TV. But I do like to watch some things. And it's nice to be able to choose what I'm we're interested in rather than to be a slave to the "programming" that's available at the time.

We live in the country. We have this slight, teeny, weeny, itsy, bitsy, little problem. We live just outside of the area where DSL is available. That means that our internet options are, well, limited to say the least. At least ones that fall into our teeny, weeny budget. We have "high speed" broadband. Which is a fancy way of saying it's wireless internet that's a frog's hair faster than dial-up and we don't have to pay an arm and a leg for it.

Let's get back to Netflix. I am going to show you the connection here. While you are streaming a movie via the Wii, it will randomly PAUSE to "Retrieve" more of the movie. You know- it needs to "catch up". (If you don't know what I am talking about, then just take a minute right now to say a prayer of thanksgiving to God and count your blessings.) It will do this, oh, about , 4 times or so during a movie, depending on the internet traffic at the time. So, we were watching a movie yesterday. It was a good movie. And, there was a car chase. There was a car accident. The "bad guy's" car flipped. The "good guy" (who was riding in the car with the "good girl" who is actually the one the "bad guy" was after) gets out of the car and draws his pistol and walks around to the "bad guy's" car after he tells the girl to stay put. Then, it happened. We got a pause~  "RETRIEVING". It usually takes 3-5 minutes before the movie will resume. So, during that time, Brant said to me, "Oh, it's going to be funny. The good guy and the bad guy are going to keep going around and around the car chasing each other. Then the good guy will get the bad guy." So I asked him, "How do you know that? Have you seen this movie before?" He said, "No. The good guy always wins."

So, ladies and gentlemen. There you have it! Truer words have never been spoken! The Good Guy {Jesus} always wins~ the bad guy {Satan} does not! The end.

"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." John 16:33


X-Ray Vision

January 26, 2011

Yesterday was Dentist Day. I'm not even going to waste time using sarcasm to translate to you how NOT excited I am about that! So, I walked into the office and announced, "I am not responsible for whatever you find in anyone's mouth but the baby's. I brush her teeth, the rest brush their own."  That did not turn out exactly as I had planned for it to. Turns out... I cannot believe that I am even admitting to this.... that my oldest daughter is the only one who has been brushing her teeth! Okay. Not really. I HAVE been brushing the baby's teeth, but, apparently, not good enough or often enough... or maybe it's the whole NOT flossing her teeth that is the problem. I was disappointed about the boys' results, too, but, I was only half surprised at what the dentist found. I struggle with them to get them to even pretend to brush their teeth, much less, do a good job. Even with all the threats of, "If you don't want me to have to brush your teeth for you again, you have to start doing a better job!"

So, the dentist turns to me and says, "What do they drink?" Uhhhh..... immediately, I threw my husband, shoes and all, right under the bus!!!!!! "Well, I don't let them have it, but, my husband allows them one soda a day. And they will steal from anyone else's that is left lying around."  And if that wasn't good enough, I went back in to finish him off.... "And, he makes sure to keep the baby's candy jar full at all times! She doesn't even ask me for candy, she goes straight to him!" That should do it, I thought to myself. However, it doesn't feel like the monkey is on his back. It still feels like I. Have. Failed! (Sorry, Freddie! Sort of.)

Apparently, sugar is bad for your teeth or something. Who would have thought that something so seemingly innocent could reek so much havoc! It's not pretty, people! Trust me! I am so heartbroken by the devastation that sugar has left behind. She's so innocent looking. She seems so harmless... and LOVELY. She has always been so sweet. (Bada bom! I'll be here all week!)

This has got me thinking. How many cavities do I have? I'm not talking teeth here, either. It's obviously not enough to brush my teeth clean after I eat to ask for forgiveness after I sin. I must avoid sugar sin and it must be limited in my diet life.

So, what do we "feast on" that seems benign, but really is doing significant damage?  Do we set our tables with pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed, laziness? If we x-ray our heart, mind, and soul, how many cavities will we find there? Or, are we more careful? Do we snack more on faith, hope, charity, fortitude, justice, temperance, and prudence?

The thing is, no one else may be able to see how many "cavities" we have, but, God has X-Ray vision!

"They hate the light because they want to sin in the darkness. They stay away from the light for fear their sins will be exposed and they will be punished." John 3:20



January 24, 2011

"In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing, so that no one can speak a word of blame against you. You are to live clean, innocent lives as children of God in a dark world full of crooked and perverse people. Let your lives shine brightly before them." Philippians 2:14-15 (NLT)

It also reads: "Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, "children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation." Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky." (NIV)

How does this verse speak to you?

To me, it says that I am to be different from those who do not know what God's grace looks like. It says that I am to hold myself to a higher standard than before. It says to me that I should choose to be the optimist~ always looking for and believing there is good in every situation. It says that when people see me, they should see something unique, something special, something that makes them curious. It tells me that I am a living witness for God's love!

Yes, I fail at times to be what God has asked of me. But, I've been forgiven. And I will keep trying!

Will you shine with me?


Our God Makes House Calls

January 23, 2011

If you can "read between the lines" of my blog, you have probably realized by now that I am in the midst of an "issue". Now, I am the only person involved in this "issue" that actually knows that there is an issue. Still with me? Good. Well, our pastor has been preaching a series at church called "Tongue Tied" and he's gone over several things that have been beneficial to me over the past few weeks. I have really been making an effort to Tame My Tongue lately. I've done a really good job, considering who I am and who I once was. Well, today, it is almost as if he dismissed every one else from the service and sat me down by myself to talk to me. (Has that ever happened to you?)

I had been trying to decide if I should discuss the "issue" with the other person who is involved in the relationship with me or just wait and see what happens. Well, today, my dear pastor told me that if we are to have a relationship with someone we are to relate to them. Which means we must relay information, thoughts, and feelings to them. (Yes, God, I was listening to you. I know you were talking to me. I heard.)

My feelings have been raw and re-injured several times over the past few months. The situation is volatile. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings and my fear is, well actually, I know that if I address the issue, that is exactly what will happen~ and to no avail if history is any predictor of the future. So, I had decided that, at least for now, it was best that I not say anything at all! A dear friend of mine told me that I really needed to have something prepared to say if any questions should arise about what's been bothering me. (It's pretty easy to read my emotions. That can be a very bad thing.) Well, what do you think my dear pastor told me in our personal, one on one conversation church service today? He said that we are to rehearse what we are going to say so that we do the least amount of damage. (I'm paraphrasing here.) For the record~ I DON'T WANNA!!!!!  I don't want to think about what I want to say, I don't want to think about what I should not say, I don't want to think about what I should say! I just don't want to go there!

The reason that I have been so leery of approaching this "issue" is because this is not something new to this relationship. It has always been difficult. It has never in it's history been easy. It has always been a struggle for me. And, it's not a relationship that I can easily give up, nor am I sure that I want to. (It's complicated.)  Every battle, confrontation attempt at resolve has ended the same~ "that person" in tears with me as the villain. I just can't keep doing this. So, I am trying to keep my tongue "caged behind two rows of teeth" where it belongs because I'm not sure that I can be as respectful as I would like to be, or as I am expected to be. So, our relationship sits in near ruins and at a dead stand still.

Another friend of mine has a new favorite phrase~  "I love that He comes for me." (She blogs about it here.) Anyway, today, I felt blessed, sitting in church, knowing that my God "came for me". He sought me out to tell me that He is watching and that He knows what has been on my heart and mind.  And so, I will be praying for Him to work in me to resolve this. However He sees fit. And I will ponder the message and seek to figure out how to apply it in my life. I am so glad for the "house call".  It's really exhilarating and captivating and flattering to know that I am worth the visit to Him!

"Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them." Ephesians 4:29

"Let your conversation be gracious and effective so that you will have the right answer for everyone." Colossians 4:6

"Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time!" Proverbs 15:23


Bon Appetite

January 21, 2011

Last time, I invited you to my "pity party". Today I'm inviting you to my "dinner party".

On the menu for tonight is
Rotisserie Chicken
Mashed "Faux-Tatoes" (cauliflower)
Grilled Asparagus
Baked Apples for dessert

Tomorrow night:
Homemade Spinach Pizza for the adults
Homemade Cheese Pizza for the kids

Church: food for the soul

What's on the menu at your house this weekend?


You're Invited to My Pity Party!

January 18, 2011

a person or thing that proves unsuccessful

Yep. That's what you will see if you look up the word "failure" in the dictionary. That definition with MY picture! I don't think I look like a failure. Do you? I look pretty normal. It doesn't seem like I am on the verge of going over the edge. Okay, so maybe I'm being slightly dramatic. But, I have had fantasies over the last several days of running away from home- ALONE. Then I think- "Where would I go? What would I do? No. That wouldn't be any fun." And I change my mind. I think I'll just stay here. "Maybe I'll lock everyone in their rooms." Just kidding. But, maybe I could bribe them to stay in their rooms with a new movie.

What's all this drama about? What am I a failure at? Well, it feels like I am a failure at being a good parent! I feel like every attempt I make at discipline is a bust! I feel like my kids are not learning their lessons regarding behavior. I feel like I am wishy-washy, unpredictable, loud, and bullying. I don't want to be ANY of those things. Yet, day after day, no matter how calmly I start out, I still must tell, (okay, so I may or may not end up yelling at) my lovely children more than once to get them to do anything. You would think that after 9 years or so you would just KNOW that you've GOT to brush your teeth and take a bath every day! That's not the only thing I fuss about. I actually fuss about everything~ chores, whining, fighting, school, whining, and have I mentioned fighting and whining?

It is a shame that my new phrase is, "If you don't want to have to go on a scavenger hunt for your lips, I suggest that you watch how you speak to me." I am certainly embarrassed to admit this. But, I've never claimed that I'm perfect. (For the record, I would NEVER slap their lips off of their faces! And, yes, I know that they speak to me with disrespect probably because that's how I often speak to them. I am not a proud girl right now.) And in all fairness, I don't always yell. I often yell. But, I also often try speaking calmly to them. In a whisper if need be. And it "need be" quite a bit lately. Is it more effective? No. Just quieter. Maybe calmer. Maybe less dramatic. Maybe not. But, maybe less damaging.

The thing is, I am trying (and failing) so HARD! But somebody forgot to tell that to my Patience. She is no where to be found. She must've gone on vacation, and I think she took Consistency with her. They left Idle Threats home, though. I struggle with feeling like I am being too hard on my kids if I punish them. I feel sorry for them. And then I cave!  Probably because I feel so guilty because I've yelled at them. Or maybe I feel guilty because I am constantly in "drill sergeant" mode. I feel like a nag who's asking for too much. Am I? If I analyze my expectations then I would say no. If I look at my kids faces I would say yes.

Unfortunately, I don't have a very good example from my own upbringing. My mom did the best she could, but I was raised most of my childhood with a mean-hearted, overly strict, bully of a dad who was on one end of the spectrum and a wishy-washy, constantly yelling, easily manipulated mom on the other end of the spectrum. Yes, I know. I have qualities of both of them. Boo. Why does this have to be so hard? Why can't I just have all the answers? The bible says "Don't make your children angry by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord." Ephesians 6:4   Well, I'm pretty sure that I make my children angry. How do I not do that? It drives me nuts to hear them fighting with each other all most of the time. (Yes, I know. It's not a far drive. Hardy Har Har.) They usually seem to act up the most when I am on the phone (can anyone out there relate?) or when I have several "irons in the fire". Of course I am going to be less able to keep my cool. But I WANT to be able to! Instead, I jump the gun, hand out a punishment that does not fit the crime, and then later, I recant. Way to go Mom! Let's show them who's boss. I would like to be able to think clearly or, if that's not possible, I would like to have the ability to wait to react until I've had time to think clearly. And then, I want some confidence in my decision-making skills! (I'm almost certain she went on vacation with the others. She's probably the one who made the reservations.)

Freddie and I have different parenting experiences. Our children listen to him. The end. He doesn't have to "stay on them all the time" like I feel I have to do. He goes to work and handles that aspect of our lives. (Which I am super grateful for, by the way!) I am at home All The Time with the kids and so I have to be the primary disciplinarian. I feel as though that, at least in part, has caused me to lose some effectiveness with the kids. They know my weaknesses. They know exactly who's on vacation at any given time. And believe me, they work it!

Okay. So, now I've got it all out. I've had my time to cry about how hard it is. I've had my pity party. Thanks for coming. It's over now. You can go home. I'm off to put on my big girl pants and read my Bible to find out about "bringing them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord." (If you get a chance, I'd appreciate it if you'd keep me in your prayers. My kids and I thank you!)

"If you refuse to discipline your children, it proves you don't love them; if you love your children, you will be prompt to discipline them." Proverbs 13:24


Go to Grow!

January 17, 2011

I LOVE my church! I don't think there has ever been a time in my life when I have been able to utter those words. I have been through the whole spectrum~
  • going because my parent(s) made me go,
  • going because my parent(s) made me feel guilty if I didn't go, 
  • not going because I didn't care if my parent(s) made me feel guilty anymore, 
  • going back because I was an adult now and I have kid(s) and that's what you're supposed to do, 
  • not going because "the" church didn't have a nursery for the kids(s) and I didn't get anything out of the service and so why go if you only leave feeling worse than when you went in?, 
  • going in search of and diligently SEEKING out a church with the truest of intentions,  

and now.... 
  • Going because I LOVE it! 
  • Going because I am finally being FED. 
  • Going because I WANT to go. 
  • Going because I NEED to go. 
  • Going because I am GROWING!

Right now, I sit in service soaking it all in. I sit in service being a taker student. I am a selfish member of the congregation. I am in it to get as much out of it as possible. But, after about 21 years of being a "born again" Christian, I would say that it's about time! Eventually, I would like to get to the point where I give back as much as I get. But, for now, for a short season, I am still cultivating.

Another thing that I love about my church is that when I "fetch" my children from their "classrooms" they are bubbling over with eagerness to tell me everything that happened. (Well, with the exception of one "tweenager" who is too cool to gush over anything.) They are super excited to reach an age where they will be able to become more active participants in their children's groups. It touches my soul to hear how they let me know in all earnest that they have invited Jesus into their hearts.

It is wonderful to be in a place where each person's needs are carefully considered and met. I count myself blessed to be exactly where I am~ for me AND my family! (Maybe I'm not completely selfish.)

"You must crave pure spiritual milk so that you can grow into the fullness of your salvation. Cry out for this nourishment as a baby cries for milk, now that you have had a taste of the Lord's kindness." 1Peter 2:2-3

"May God bless you with his special favor and wonderful peace as you come to  know Jesus, our God and Lord, better and better." 2Peter 1:2

"So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the message God has planted in your hearts, for it is strong enough to save your souls. And remember, it is a message to obey, not just to listen to. If you don't obey, you are only fooling yourself. For if you just listen and don't obey, it is like looking at your face in a mirror but doing nothing to improve your appearance. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you keep looking steadily into God's perfect law- the law that sets you free- and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it." James 1:21-25 


When the Moon Hits Your Eye......

January 14, 2011

One month from today will be Valentine's Day. The day for L.O.V.E. Amore. I am hoping that I will be able to score a date with my husband. ALONE. It's funny, because anytime he and I are near each other, no matter where we are, one of the girls (it is rarely one of the boys~ I wonder what that means?) will make it her business to get between us~ one of them does this overtly and the other one tries to be a little more covert. Fail. What is it with those girls? 

Anyway, I was thinking about other times when Freddie and I have had the opportunity to go out to dinner, just the two of us. It's funny because we are all pumped up and excited, eager to have some quality time to ourselves and we get to the restaurant and then.... crickets. Nothing. We just stare at each other waiting for the appetizer to arrive. Then we force conversation. We look around. We say a lot of "I love you's" to fill in the gaps. But, it's almost like we have forgotten how to be a couple. We've lost how to be Freddie & Dana instead of Daddy & Mommy. (The only reason I am brave enough to share this is because I KNOW that we are not the only ones out there. You know what I'm talking about. It's happened to you, too. Right?)

Freddie & I really do have a very good relationship. It's perfect. (Okay, maybe just shy of perfect. Okay, maybe close to perfect. Who am I kidding? But it IS really, really good great awesome!) We try really hard throughout each day to slip in a few minutes of uninterrupted conversation, which usually revolves around a cell phone and me fanatically running through the house to get away from noisy, screaming, whining kids who HAVE TO HAVE MY ATTENTION NOW amid interruptions from Freddie's demanding job. Even though it seems impossible to have any sort of quality communication, we do just fine. We communicate effectively about the important stuff in life all the way down to the mundane and everything in between. It's just that we do it around and between the kids. We even have figured out how to pepper in a few minutes alone together here and there.

I'm not complaining, even though that is how it might seem. I actually think it's amusing and pretty ingenious on our parts. We are so immersed in our children, but, we still have figured out a way to not neglect each other. We just do it in a less conventional way than we used to. I wouldn't have it any other way. I realize that my kids will soon be trickling right out of the door. Time goes by so fast, it almost seems as though the past 12 years have been nothing but a blur with a few pictures sprinkled in for the sake of posterity. (It happens in a blink, It happens in a flash, It happens in the time it takes to look back, I try to hold on tight, But there's no stopping time....Ugh Ughm... Sorry, I got a little carried away there.)

I realize that each day is new. It holds fresh opportunities for memories, for growth, for connection. It is what I will remember when this season of my life is over and Freddie and I are a "couple" once again. I just want to make sure that he and I are sitting next to each other, holding hands, and there is more to be heard than the sound of crickets. Just like I get creative in raising our children, I need to remember to get creative in expressing my love for my husband. I must remember to put as much time, effort, and consideration into making sure that he feels how much I love and adore him, how much I respect and need him. I need to not forget that he is an individual soul, like each of our kids is. He, too, needs to be nurtured and fed and encouraged, and LOVED. It is just as important as anything else in my life is. After all, these days are just the stepping stones for our tomorrows!

"Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She will not hinder him, but help him all her life." Proverbs 31:11-12


Miss Congeniality?

January 11, 2011

This blog was originally started as a gift for my children.  The purpose was to have a diary of my thoughts and feelings in regards to our lives as they were growing up and, eventually, have it printed in book form for them to read and, hopefully, cherish forever. I want them to be able to understand somehow that every decision I made was with careful consideration and agony. I don't want them to think that I just breezed through their childhoods with little thought. I want them to come to an understanding that in those moments when things got hairy at our house, I had reasons behind the actions and consequences. I want them to know that everything I do is because I always want more FOR them. My goal is to raise them to be responsible, self-sufficient, Christ-loving human beings. I want them to know that I struggle hard each day to become a better person. I want them to learn that it is not always easy to do what is right and that sometimes, much is required of us, even when we have little to work with. And I want them to be able to finally see the bigger picture. The one that includes the motivations of a sometimes seemingly harsh and misunderstanding parent.

Those of you who are raising children know how H.A.R.D. it is! I never imagined there would be so many difficult and heart wrenching moments. Before I had children, I was very confident and I really thought that I had it all figured out. Anyway, fast forward to almost 12 years after my debut as a parent. I find myself no longer confident, but constantly second-guessing my decision making skills where my children are concerned. I desperately want them to know that everything I do is for them. I want them to know that I have agonized over every decision, every discussion, every punishment. I want them to know that I have taken this call as a parent seriously. I want them to know that I have loved each one of them the very best I possibly can and so much more than I love myself.

Why a blog? Why not just TELL them how much you love them? Why not TELL them how important they are? Well, I do. Often. We have heart to heart talks when I see trouble in their eyes. When I notice them having a difficult time managing their lives and emotions, I will pull them into my lap and smother them with kisses. I will often tell each one of them with 100% honesty that he/she is my favorite! I make sure they each know what it is that makes them special. They have heard me say over and over again that, if given the choice, I would ALWAYS choose them! What they don't see, is that I know how much it hurts when you're on the receiving end of a punishment, but, that the punishment is absolutely necessary in order to teach certain disciplines needed in life. They don't see that right now they have their parents to protect them and rescue them from trouble. One day, they will have to rely on what they've learned from us to take care of themselves, and hopefully, their own family. They don't see that I often use discipline to "head off" inevitable "complications". They aren't equipped with foresight or wisdom that comes from years of experience. I guess this blog is an attempt at some semblance of assurance that one day, They. Will. KNOW.

My job requires that I must often do things that make me not so popular. I am rarely in the running at my house for the "Miss Congeniality" award. I so want to be the one that they WANT to be with! I want to be "Mrs. Nice Guy".  Oh, how I would love to be the "fun" parent. My job is a full-time position that requires double over-time most days. It requires things from me that are often not very well-received. I'm not complaining. I work with some of the most awesome people on the PLANET! I just hate that  it seems that most of the time I am viewed as "The Enemy". But, the goal is that one day, they'll "get it". Until then, I will remain as diligent and committed as ever. And, hopefully, this blog will be proof to them that, even amid my many failures, I did the very best I could and I did it all because I love them!

"My child, don't ignore it when the Lord disciplines you, and don't be discouraged when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights." Proverbs 3:11-12

"If you refuse to discipline your children, it proves you don't love them; if you love your children, you will be prompt to discipline them." Proverbs 13:24

"Discipline your children while there is hope. If you don't, you will ruin their lives." Proverbs 19:18

"Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will remain upon it." Proverbs 22:6

"Don't fail to correct your children. They won't die if you spank them. Physical discipline may well save them from death." Proverbs 23:13-14


Lip Service

January 10, 2011

It's been a little more than a week into the "new" year. I did set some resolutions goals for this year. So far, I am 3 pounds lighter than I was 10 days ago. Yay! The first few days were T.O.R.T.U.R.E. I mean, I could've eaten a box of chocolate covered doughnuts- literally. Cardboard and all! It takes great discipline on my part to make a note of every single thing I put into my mouth and account for it. I have an "app" on my "smartphone" that helps in calculating the amount of calories I consume in the foods I eat and the amount of calories I burn by performing certain "exercises". (Don't get too impressed- The extent of my exercise consists of Housework and Walking.) Anyway, I have realized that even though I don't usually eat a terrible amount of food, I do eat more than I thought I did. It is very easy to lose track of a "Little Debbie" here and a second serving of supper there. I also am more mindful of adding things to my food, like mayonnaise and butter and heavy whipping cream and cream cheese. Before, I gave it no more thought than how much better the recipe would taste WITH these things added. And, I was right. But, the truth is that those things are no more fulfilling of my basic needs for survival. I CAN do without all the extra fat and calories and still be satisfied.

Another "goal" for this year is not only to be more mindful of what I put in my mouth, but I really want to be more mindful of what comes out of my mouth! This may be a little lot more difficult. The day they were handing out "filters" that go between the brain and the mouth I must have been sick in bed shopping. I totally missed out. I have a really hard time NOT saying what I am thinking. I was born as a very outspoken person. I have been independent from the time I can remember. This has not always served me very well. I can also, from time to time, possess a mentality of "I'm right and you're stupid." (Insert GIANT embarrassed smiley here.) Don't get me wrong. I can initiate change in my behavior. I am totally open to accepting a "better" idea. I am riding the "Dr. Phil and Oprah" bandwagon with all the others. I take notes in church, and once I realize that the sermon was not meant for "So and So", I reflect on how I can apply the lessons in my own life. But, I am an emotion-led person. I tend to feel a certain way about a situation and just let my mouth regurgitate E.V.E.R.Y. thing until I am left with dry heaves and a BIG case of regret! It is totally fair to say that my mouth has gotten me into a lot of trouble during my lifetime.

I am struggling right now with an issue of deciding what exactly should be said and what is better left unsaid. Sometimes, in a relationship, there are things, ideas, attitudes, that can hinder the "bond" you feel with someone else. I am a person who always tries to look at someone's INTENTIONS. But, sometimes, even the best of intentions can hurt the heart and injure the spirit. So, do I open the proverbial "can of worms" and delve into the possibility of hurting someone I care about with my well-intentioned words? How can I be certain that my motivations are pure and not self-righteous? I have learned that if I open my mouth BEFORE I pray about it and think it through, then I am just asking for a poor outcome and a broken heart. So, do I "build a bridge and get over it", even if it is at the risk of "building a bridge and getting away from it"? Yes, this is a difficult one for me. It is a raw, tender spot in my soul. My instinct is driving me to WANT NEED to spill it out and relieve myself of the burden. But, the spirit in me to want to be better is having me question myself.

I'm not sure how my lips are going to serve me in this case. Will I hold it all in or will I succumb to the desire to rid myself of my perceptions and interpretations? Will there be healing in my heart without ever having to say a word or will God give me the words to mend the relationship? All I do know, is that I want this to end with me one step closer to my goal of being a better me, one step closer to God.

"Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time!" Proverbs 15:23

"A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered." Proverbs 17:27

"My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry." James 1:19

"A good person produces good deeds from a good heart, and an evil person produces evil deeds from an evil  heart. Whatever is in your heart determines what you say." Luke 6:45


What Do You Find at the Bottom of Your Well?

I am so proud of this kid! When I picked her up from dance class yesterday she put this sign in the van! I was "woo-hoo'ing" and she was M.O.R.T.I.F.I.E.D. She doesn't like me to make a big deal over such things. I was ready to have a parade in her honor!!!! She didn't want me to even put the sign up in the yard. (Too bad.) Karli is usually very even keeled. She's a "go with the flow" kind of girl. Like her daddy, she can easily adapt to most situations. She doesn't like to be the center of attention. She tends to be very quiet in "public" situations, especially in dance class. I feel bad for her because she knows absolutely NO ONE in her dance class. She dances at a studio that is in another parish a few towns away. We chose this school because we feel as though it offers a better dance education and experience. She loves it. We just wish that she could love it with her friends (who dance locally at a school that does not offer what Karli's studio does.) Anyway. Karli works VERY hard at dancing. She was blessed with her mother's grace and natural sense of rhythm (insert sarcasm). Poor girl. But, she is a wonderful dancer, not because it comes naturally, but,  because she puts her heart into it! And, I guess I am not the only one to notice her efforts. Way to go, Karli!

As Christians, things are not always going to be easy or ideal for us. We are not always going to be surrounded by our friends. There will be many times in our lives that we will feel alone in a world of strangers. We will have to rely on what we find deep in ourselves to get us through and push us forward. We are going to have to go out alone and "get it done" without a "cheering section" for support and encouragement. Those are the times when we will find out exactly what we are made of. That is when we are going to prove to ourselves, God, and everybody just what we can do! And those are the times that will bring us the most confidence and sense of satisfaction. Those moments will prove that we CAN do anything that we put our minds and our hearts into. When we have to go out by ourselves, out of our "comfort zone", away from the familiar life we know, without the loving, unconditional acceptance and reassurance of our family and friends to urge us on, is exactly when we will discover where we draw our strength from! What's at the bottom of your well?

"For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need." Philippians 4:13

"Each time he said, 'My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.' So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me." 2Corinthians 12:9


Who Wants a Cat?

January 6, 2011

Last night, Freddie and I were snuggling in bed just having a rare conversation. (Adult conversation is one of the things you sacrifice when you have 4 kids.) Anyway, Aubree MUST have a sensor device built in that goes off anytime her Daddy and I are closer than 3 feet apart and alone because, as predictable as ever, here she comes rushing in right between us. There was some small talk, and Freddie said something like, "You're my baby girl." To which Aubree replied, "I not a baby, I big like you." And then Freddie said, "But you're MY baby." Then Aubree informed  him, "I like Momma." So, Freddie said, "You want me to go get another little girl to be my baby?" And she looked at him like only she can and said, "Just get a cat, Dad!"

You know, you cannot replace someone who is important to you with anything else. There is no use in trying. Nor can you replace Jesus in your life with anything else. You just as soon get a cat instead!

"Jesus told him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.'" John 14:6

"Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who parts from me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you stay joined to me and my words remain in you, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted!" John15:5-7

"A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked." Psalm 84:10


A High Calling

January 4, 2011

I love my kids. I love my job. As long as I can remember I have wanted to be nothing more than somebody's wife and somebody's Mommy. (I know- I'm ambitious.) But, I believe from the depths of my soul that God's purpose for my main vocation in life is to be nothing more and nothing less. I revere it as a High Calling.

Just because I have the blessing and extreme privilege to be living my dream, it does not mean that I always do my job well, nor does it mean that I never want need time away. Actually, I often need a "time out". I need time to step back and reevaluate things. I need to put things back into perspective with fresh eyes and a fresh heart. One of the major "traps" of being a full-time stay-at-home-schooling-mom is the whole "snowball" effect thingy! It is inevitable... one day bleeds into the next, bringing with it all the frustrations from the previous day. Before you know it, you've got a big, giant ball of "mess" that you are dragging around from day to day. It's not fair~ to my kids, or to my husband, or to ME! It totally sets up a scenario for disaster. It prolongs feelings of annoyance, chagrin, disgruntlement, dissatisfaction, failure, resentment, and unfulfillment. It quite simply, puts me in a state of impatience and anxiousness. Raising kids is hard enough without the burden of previous "sin". But, how do you prevent it from happening?

I hate that my kids anticipate certain situations with dread. I hate knowing that they would prefer to be with Daddy at times than with me. I hate that my voice becomes like that of Charlie Brown's teacher~ "Whamp whamp whamp Whamp whamp". They simply tune me out a lot of the time. They produce an attitude of "Oh, Mom's just blowing off steam again." And that starts the whole, vicious cycle all over again!

Am I the only one responsible for this? NOPE. I refuse to take all of the blame. I know that I am not perfect. I am admittedly often less than patient and gentle. Many times I do take out my exhaustion on those innocent little souls. But, those same precious, culpable, beautiful, cunning,  loving, disregarding, awesome little souls play a part too! They know what is expected of them on any given day. Our lives are such a routine. We are predictable if nothing else, people! Yet, those little ones force me to give them instruction yell more than once to try to get them to do the same things they were supposed to do the day before and the day before that. If that's not exhausting and frustrating then I don't know what is. (Okay, maybe there are things besides yelling that would be more effective. I acknowledge that. This is my journey on becoming a better person. I've already admitted not to be perfect.)

What I am responsible for is keeping it together. I am responsible for not losing my sanity. I am responsible for keeping everything in perspective. I am responsible for keeping them accountable (without screaming like a mad woman). I am responsible for falling on my knees before my Father asking for help and guidance. I am responsible for being an example to them of how one responds to pressure and disappointment. I am responsible for showing them that consequences are real and consistent. I am responsible for teaching them how to become responsible. (What have I gotten myself into? Just joking.)

I found myself today in a place that I did not want to be. I found myself to be unreliable and, perhaps even slightly untrustworthy in the sense of being incredibly grouchy and impatient. It hurts my heart to think that my kids, as guilty as they are for being disobedient, are being treated with disrespect from me when I demand respect from them. I often forget that they are HUMAN beings with souls that are just as valuable as mine is! They are only shared with me. They are God's children, not mine. He trusts me to take care of them and not hurt them. He trusts me to love them the very best that I can. And I do not want to let Him down, nor do I want to let them down!

As bad as I am making myself out to be, I want to make it clear that I don't beat my children, nor do I neglect them. I actually love them pretty darn good, too. It's just that I know that I can do better. I can stand to fuss less. I can try harder to be more patient. Once these years are gone, they are gone for good. I cannot get them back. I can apologize later for things that I should or should not have done now. Or, I can do all that I can to be better now so that I have no regrets later. I think I'd best get to work now. There are some heart to heart talks that need to be had and some "babies" that need some huggin' and kissin' and lovin'! (Okay, maybe Mommy needs a li'l bit lot of that mushy stuff, too!)

"Continue to love each other with true Christian love." Hebrews 13:1

"So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs. Mark out a straight path for your feet. Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but will become strong." Hebrews 12:12-13