Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Down for the Count

Google image
Here at the Nutcase house, I feel like I'm adding a nutcase faster than Jesus can crack one open. It's rough over here, like there's something in the air. It's like WWF tag team-and this referee is tired, physically and emotionally.

"Get back in your corner! Stop yelling. Stop fighting. Please, can't you all be nice to one another?"

I stayed in the fight, not giving up. "We can do this," I thought, "we will make it through. Maybe it's just because it's the end of the school year."

This referee wasn't going down without a fight. Besides, these trials were building character and patience in the kids and me. We had even started to work on looking at things half-full, not half-empty.

But then the weekend came, and the Other Nut got sick. I was on my own, but have no fear, because I. can. do. this. Saturday, I refereed with the best of 'em and put the kids to work. Success! One point for the mommy!

And then Sunday morning rolled around, or more accurately, it hit me up side the head. I realized I needed back-up fast. This referee was going down for the count, and I didn't feel like I would get up before the 10 seconds was over. Quite frankly, I was tired of the bickering, the disrespect, the "I shouldn't have to tell you again" moments.

I was beginning to fight the "where have I gone wrong", "man, I'm a horrible mother" thoughts. The realization that they probably learned these wonderful character traits and talking back from me was the final blow. 

I could just hear the announcer saying, "and now, the worst mother of the year award goes to, Ima Nutcase, because she really is a nutcase!" So in my state of discouragement, I reached for encouragement, an "it's going to be OK" back-up from the Other Nut-and I was left with a handful of more discouragement. I did the only logical thing I knew to do at the moment-I found comfort in my bed with discouragement singing me to sleep-and I slept. All. day.

Funny thing though-my kids were instantly nice and respectful to one another, showing love to each other like they hadn't seen each other in months. They played so well together you would have thought they were simply friends. And chores? Well, they did those without any complaining, reminding, and they even helped one another.
And this all left me to wonder-why does it take me getting so discouraged that I crawl in bed feeling defeated to have them behave this way? Actually, don't answer that. I know my actions were completely immature. But that was all I had.

Throw in the fact that the Other Nut and I are having, let's just call them, lively discussions about finances, I'm spent. This weekend was just another reminder of my love-hate relationship with money. Some days I wish we could go back to the barter system, although I know that wouldn't fix it.

Oh, and don't forget to throw in a handful of worry about something else that is weighing heavy on my heart.

Mix this all together, and my patience is short, and my frustration is long. I'm feeling burned out, used up, beat down, and broken in. Disrespected, unappreciated, and discouraged. I don't know about you, but it's not the best place to be. I told my friend that all I feel like is a servant around here.

"At the end of the day, isn't that what we all should be-servants?"

My friend-always full of wisdom. She's right-servants. Isn't that what Jesus came to be and to show us how to be? He served all the way to the Cross, and I don't even want to fully serve for one day.

I have to be honest-I'm not really there yet-you know, this whole "fully serve" thing. I would be lying if I said that I was. I want to feel appreciated. I want my kids to get along even when I don't act like a fool. And I can still hear the announcer calling my name for the worst mother of the year award. I'm still spent. Tonight, I cried big sloppy tears in the Other Nut's arms, and I'm sure I have more to come. But I think crying is good for the soul sometimes.

So tonight, as I sit here with puffy swollen eyes-I'm thankful for a husband that is way better at forgiving than this here nutcase. I'm thankful for Jesus, that He loves me even when I'm so broken. And I'm thankful for undeserved grace.






Sunday, May 29, 2011

It's A Hard Knock Life


Google image
 Go ahead. Call the authorities, because it's a hard knock life here at the Nutcase house. Don't believe me? Just take a look.







I told you so. Can you believe it? Kids-doing chores. Scrubbing the floor-and on a Saturday at that. Here's how it went down. I'm making it easy for you when you call in the "you shouldn't make kids do that type of work-that's child labor" people.

The Other Nut woke up at 1:00 AM Saturday morning with food poisoning (or at least I hope that's what it was, or I'm not looking forward to the next 2 days). Anyways, needless to say, we didn't get much sleep, or at least not very sound sleep. When morning rolled around, I didn't exactly spring out of bed and get going for the day. I kind of just rolled over, mumbled something about "yes, you can watch a video and make pancakes" and then went back to sleep. I love that my oldest can cook. When I finally did get out of bed, I still didn't spring. My springer was sprung.

After pretty much doing nothing, I decided to try to be productive-that is what adults are supposed to do right? So I warned the kids that their wonderful, lazy Saturday morning, or afternoon by this time, was soon coming to an end. It would soon be chore time. And they all responded with a "yes ma'am".  Aren't they such angels?

That is until the time actually came. They did something that they should know doesn't fly too well here in the Nutcase house-they whined! For real? After 4 hours straight of watching videos, you're going to whine about 1 1/2 hours of chores?

"Well, actually yes, we are, because 4 hours straight of videos makes us lazy and believe that things are rights, not privileges."

"Well, now you just got yourself some extra work, because the game room floor is really dirty."

And now, I'm scratching my head, wondering why I didn't think of this earlier. I mean, it really was a win/win situation all around if you think about it. Our game room is the room they use the most. They are in there most of the day. They even used to roller skate in there. Plus, with 3 dogs, the floors take a beating. So, I filled up a bucket with some vinegar and water, gave them sponges, and told them to "get to work and don't stop until you can see your face in the floor." Just kidding! I didn't say that.

They ended up actually enjoying it, learned a little bit more about cleaning, stopped whining, and I got a clean floor without having to clean it. Me thinks me will do this again-even when they aren't whining. A little floor scrubbing is good for them.

Now, we can all go around today with "It's A Hard Knock Life For Us" in our head. Man, I love Annie. It's one of my favorite musicals.






Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Simple Pleasure Link Up

Lola Irene Rhodes-my Granny, and one of the most amazing women I have ever met. It was an honor having her as my Granny. My mom would agree. She died when I had just turned 19, and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about her (I am now 36).

After my grandfather died, her husband (who was equally amazing), I got to go to their lakehouse in East Texas and get what I wanted to keep. I am so thankful for that. I have little memories around my house now that remind me daily of her.

One such special thing are her rocks. Well, they are really colored glass, but I always called them rocks. Every time they would go on vacation, she would buy a new one. The minute I showed up at the lake house, I would immediately go to her rock collection, which was quite large, and see if I could pick out the new one. I so treasured this little game so naturally, I wanted to keep some of the rocks. I was always so amazed by the colors of the glass. They now sit on a shelf on my front porch where I can see them when I sit on my couch inside.

It's a view full of memories, and my simple pleasure!


Project Simple Pleasures2


The Waterpot

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I imagine she was hot from the sun beating down on her, sweat beads dripping down her face and back of her neck. Her feet were probably covered in dirt from the long walk, waterpot in hand. And the aching that was probably in her soul; for she walked alone. Alone. I wonder how deep the longing of her heart went, a longing for relationship, a longing to be known.

The words came as a shock to her, "give Me a drink of water"; for this wasn't someone that would typically speak to her. She was a woman, and a Samaritan for that matter. And Him? Well, He was a Jew.

And yet, in those words, "give Me a drink of water", a message was spoken; one much deeper than just water. It was a message of acceptance, an invitation to enter into a relationship, to be known. It was a message of hope.

And Jesus knew that she needed hope. He knew that she needed living water.

"If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."

She, still holding onto her waterpot, onto her desire for physical water, didn't understand.

". . .where then do You get that living water?"

He, still holding the answer to living water, to this eternal life, pursues her more. Further still he goes, explaining that she will no longer thirst again.

And yet, she still doesn't realize what He is offering her. Her focus remains on her waterpot, and the physical water for which she has come. Sometimes I find myself standing, waterpot in hand, looking, searching for something physical to quench my spiritual thirst.

"Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty, nor come all the way here to draw."

Further still He goes, pursuing her to the depths of her soul; a soul that He knows is thirsty for more than just physical water. He doesn't shy away from her pain, but brings it to light, to the Light. It's as if He says, "I know you, every part of you and your life. I know your pain, the depths of your scars, and I am here to bring you healing."

He meets her right there in her aloneness. Aloneness; sometimes it's the only place I see the pursuing of Jesus for my soul.


". . . for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly."

And at this, she realizes that this man she is speaking to is different, but how? Is He just a prophet that knows some things of God?

Another question asked and further He goes to get her to see.

Closer she gets.

"I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us."

And then she hears the words that He was saying all along; "I who speak to you am He."

Finally, for the first time, she sees. And then for the first time her focus changes. Her longing for physical water is overshadowed by her need for living water.

"So the woman left her waterpot,. . ."

Alone, we stand with our waterpot in hand, reaching for something to quench our need, not realizing what we truly need. And often times, it's in this aloneness, that we meet the passionate pursuit of Jesus Christ, who comes with a message of hope, a message of living water. May we leave our waterpot.

John 4:1-28



 


Monday, May 23, 2011

Learning to Fly

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Tonight I'm feeling broken, broken as a mother. Tears of uncertainty fall down my cheeks. I'm not sure what to do, what type of discipline will speak to his little heart. And yet, I'm thankful that he does know Jesus, because Jesus is truly the One that can speak to his little heart, louder than this mommy can. Sure, I can discipline, but I can't change his heart-only Jesus can do that.

"Hello."
"Oh hi. No, I haven't heard anything."
"Oh! No, I didn't know that at all."
 "That is unacceptable and quite disappointing."

Not the phone call I was wanting. After dealing with this, I was hoping better choices would be made.

Dinner had just wrapped up; spaghetti to be exact. When I hung up, the Walnut was surprisingly missing. When he walked in, me with evidence in hand, the eyes went down. He knew I knew. He knew he had been caught. I don't know if he thought it was wrong until that moment, until he saw my face.

Anger. Disappointment. Feelings of worry. Brokenness as a mother.

Have I missed something? Am I not engaged enough? Did I take a wrong turn somewhere along this path called parenting?

The young little Mockingbird. Probably the same one we tried to save 2 days before. We put it in a bucket to keep it safe from ants and cats, hoping Momma Bird would come back for it. She did and what a wonderful site it was. Hop. Hop. Hop. Wings spread. Flying lessons that day; for one day, it was supposed to fly.

But today, it had perched on the side of the bucket full of water, a bucket that catches water from a dripping pipe. Balance lost. Life lost. The little bird didn't stand a chance to get out. It drowned in that bucket of water, water it was hoping would bring nourishment.

"Really. Do you know where the bird is?"
"Did he say anything else?"
"Right. No, he won't be playing anymore this week either."
"Thank you so much for calling. I will speak with him right away."
"I will. I'll call if I learn anything else."

The little bird. They found it, carried it to the front yard, and then smashed it-just because. Just to see what was inside. 

Thoughts swirled inside my head. What does this mean? I think about young men that kill-so often, it started with animals. Was smashing a dead bird just one small step towards that? Maybe that is drastic to think, but the reality of what he had done was heavy on my heart. The Other Nut too. We just stood there. 

Clean up soon happened. Proper burial. Spankings. Conversations. Discipline.

Tears fell on the Walnut's face. He was sad for what he had done, but also sad, because he thought I didn't love him anymore. How do you explain to an 8 year old that you discipline, that you let him feel the pain of his actions, because you do love him?

"Son, I do love you. If I didn't love you, I wouldn't care what you did. I would let you do things that are wrong and just turn away. I wouldn't want to teach you to love God, people, and animals. I wouldn't want to teach you anything. And so I discipline, I train you, I hopefully show you how to be like Jesus."

Long shower for the Walnut. I'm sure he was pretty dirty from his misadventure.

Jesus walks in, evidence in hand, eyes go down. We've been caught. And so Jesus too washes us; for we too are dirty from our misadventures.

"Mommy, I talked with daddy, and I'm glad that you and daddy discipline me."

If he only knew how it hurts this heart of mine to discipline, to have him feel the pain of his actions.

One day, he will. Lord willing, as he watches his own children grow and stumble, he'll know.

Hop. Hop. Hop. Wings spread. Momma teaching her little boy how to fly in this world. Flying lessons; for one day, he will be gone from the nest.

Today, little boy perched on the side of a bucket full of a world ravaged by sin. Balance lost. But life is not lost. The little boy stands a chance. He won't drown in this bucket. Jesus pulled him out and set his feet upon the Rock.


Hop. Hop. Hop. Wings spread. Little boy is learning how to fly.



 






Sunday, May 22, 2011

He Wrote What?!

You know those times when you just feel like you should get the "Mother of the Year" award? Well, I had one today. (insert sarcasm with the whole "mother of the year" award thing).  Today left the Other Nut and I basically speechless. We both just kept shaking our heads, wondering if we had somehow taught our son this.

You see, he has been trying to push against authority lately, which really isn't too surprising. I think every kid does this at different times, but I sure do wish it would end.

Last night we had a babysitter, a wonderful babysitter at that. The Other Nut and I were so glad to be going on a date-it had been a while since we had been to dinner together. Since I have been working with our little Walnut in this "pushing against authority" area, I had a little talk with him before we left. He has been telling other people that he doesn't have to obey them, because "they aren't his mommy".

So, like I said, we had a talk, and he very specifically told me that he would obey.

"Son, what are you going to say when she tells you to do something, or to stop doing something?"
"I am going to say, 'Yes, Ma'am' and obey."
"Good, because if not, when we get home, you will get in trouble. I don't want the babysitter to have to call."

Upon returning home from our wonderful, relaxing date, I of course asked the babysitter how the kids were. Well, let's just say, that the Walnut didn't do what he said he was going to do. During the course of the night, he did inform the babysitter that "she wasn't his mommy". I mean, does he really think she isn't going to tell us?

They were already asleep so this morning we addressed it and part of his punishment was that he had to write a note apologizing to our sweet babysitter.

The Other Nut put it in his pocket WITHOUT READING IT. After church, he was looking for our babysitter to give it to her. I asked to see it and was left speechless with what I read. Was this really what I was teaching my kids? And what if I hadn't read it before the Other Nut gave it to her? Oh. my. gosh!

You're curious aren't you? I bet you are wondering what it said and thinking that it couldn't have been that bad. Well, let's just take a look shall we.



In case you can't read it, let me translate:
"To Kaitlyn (meanie) Sorry for what my parent's call talking back to you last night."

From, Anonymous

That's just great, son. And now you will have a miserable day and not get to go to your birthday party you were invited to. Hope you enjoy it.

When we got home, Hazelnut decided to act up as well. They were on a roll, I guess so she also lost her privilege today. She told me I needed to watch Jonah, because that is the movie about second chances. She apparently thought she deserved a second chance BEFORE SHE HAD ANY OUNCE OF REMORSE. Needless to say, it is a quiet day at the Nutcase home. Lost privileges, a quick lunch, chores immediately, no playing outside, no videos/movies, no computer time, and whatever else I decide to do.

The Other Nut and Peanut are at the symphony. I'm home with the delinquents who are surprisingly pretty quiet now.

Please feel free to nominate me for "Mother of the Year" award. Thank you.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Blogger Mishap

So, this is basically a quick explanation. Apparently when blogger went crazy last week, I lost some comments. I am just now getting around to catching up on things and some of the comments, I can't respond too. I have them on my email, but can't reply-so that is a longer than needed explanation to say, if you left a comment that I haven't been able to respond too, that is why. Thank you for your sweet comments-I find them encouraging to read (well, except that negative one I received one time. That wasn't so encouraging, but I figured it was like a right of passage when you join the blog world) Anyways, thanks for reading.

Simple Pleasure Link Up

I wasn't sure if I was going to get around to linking up with Simple Pleasures today-I have been so busy lately and feel like I have been M.I.A., but then something so sweet happened tonight so I couldn't resist.

Siblings fight sometimes-at least mine do. I figured it is to be expected, but I still try to train them to at least fight fair and without using mean, hurtful words. Often times, I find myself wondering if they ever hear me. And then, I see it. A moment happens between these children of mine, and I know-they are listening and learning. When I catch these moments, this mamma's heart is filled with joy, and I consider it a simple pleasure to capture and tuck away in my memory.

Tonight, my younger daughter had a hand chimes performance. After it was over, she went to sit down while the next group performed. During the changing of performers, my oldest went over ON HER OWN and gave her little sister a kiss on the head and told her she did a good job. Now I can't say that my younger daughter was totally receptive to the kiss on the head-she kind of waved her arms a little in a "OK, OK that's enough" motion. But, hey, I gotta look at the positive side right? The Other Nut got it all on tape, captured forever. What a sweet simple pleasure that made for a great ending of my day.

My younger daughter is the one with her hands on her knees right when the video starts. You will see my oldest daughter come into view soon. OK, so I am a little technically challenged. I can't figure out how to insert the video. I tried the full length, I tried cutting/slicing the video to the "kiss the head" part-nothing worked. All I got was a little dinging sound with "I'm sorry, but there was an error in processing your video. Trying the same thing 10 times isn't going to make it work any better. Please stop before you break your laptop." Well, it didn't actually say all those things, but you get the point-I couldn't figure it out. So, a snapshot of the actual frame will have to do. Not really sure how I figured that out either, but I did.



My simple pleasure to end my day!

Project Simple Pleasures2


Monday, May 16, 2011

Music Monday


"Music Monday"
 Well, I haven't blogged, commented on anything, or even responded yet to some sweet comments people have let me in a while, because I teach on Wednesday at Bible study. And when that happens, I have my nose is quite a few books:) I have a lot to catch up on and respond too. I can't wait to share with you how May 15th was this year. It was a great day of celebrating and another picture of a God who restores and makes all things new. You can click on "My story" and read the first half to find out why that date is significant here in the Nutcase house. Anyways, when I finish up my teaching, I will share more about that day. Until then, I thought I would do a quick Music Monday since it has been, well, a while since my last one. This song is by Lanae' Hale. I found her music by buying her CD when I saw it on sale. I had never heard of her before, but am glad that I found it. I love her style, and her music makes me happy. When I listened to her CD on the way home for the first time, I just knew that God had provided the Other Nut and I with a song as we made our way back from brokenness. Our saying during that time had become "Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be." You can read more about it here. Anyways, I love this song and play it and dance with the Other Nut. Our kids love it when we do that! Instead of just the words, I put the video so you can enjoy what I now call "our song." And, the Other Nut has the most beautiful blue eyes I have ever seen. Listen and you will know why I am mentioning that. Have a great day, and I will write more after I teach. Feel free to say a prayer as I prepare and teach on Wednesday. :)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Simple Pleasure Link Up

Mother's Day-a redeeming day this year. Relaxing. Loving. Special. Simple-exactly what I needed.

The kids made me breakfast in bed both Saturday and Sunday morning. I would post a picture, but I didn't take any of me eating. Trust me-I had just woken up. You wouldn't want to see that. Anyways, the meals were wonderful with A LOT of food. It was really sweet-my kids really enjoy making me breakfast in bed.

Sunday afternoon brought a performance of a play written by my oldest daughter. Aside from the fighting that went on throughout the rehearsals all. weekend. long, it was very entertaining and priceless.

Sunday morning during breakfast was extra special, because I got to share part of my breakfast with another "mother" in our house. The kids even gave her some sausage and bacon to honor her as well. I decided to share my yogurt with her-she really likes yogurt. She is really special in this here Nutcase house. She doesn't have her babies anymore, and I think she misses them. I have a feeling she was a great mommy. You can read more about her here and here. 


My simple pleasure-a wonderful Mother's Day and sharing a meal with one of my best friends, Addie.



Project Simple Pleasures2


 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It's Not About Me


It was a rough morning at the Nutcase house. Actually, there were a lot of mornings that were rough. The mood was one of walking on eggshells around the house. I was not sure of what to say or how to say it. You see, my oldest daughter was struggling. She was struggling with trying to figure out where she fit in this world as she navigated the preteen years. She had just started middle school at a school where she knew only a few people. Her response to stress was anger, no matter what emotion really lurked beneath the surface. Simple questions were answered with anger and frustration which resulted in her beating herself up verbally.

As a mom, it was hard to hear. The Other Nut and I had tried so many different things; tough love, gentle love, discipline for responding rudely, prayer, hours of communicating with her. And yet, we didn't feel that we were getting anywhere, that we were helping her grow and learn through this struggle. We found ourselves throwing our hands up in the air and quite frankly, feeling defeated. We had no more answers. We realized that we had reached a point where we needed help in parenting our oldest. We had both just spent time in counseling, me for 2 years to be exact, and it had been a great tool towards healing and understanding our feelings. And so we realized that maybe this was what our daughter needed as well.

But along with this realization came a lot of insecurities for me. Even though I was and am a huge proponant for counseling, the mere fact that my daughter needed it made me feel like a huge failure. I felt like I had messed up my daughter, so bad that she needed a counselor to "fix her". At first, I didn't even want to talk about it with others, because I saw it as a reflection of me and my parenting skills. I was looking at the situation through my own insecurities.

And so this morning, this hard, difficult morning, I spoke out of my insecurities. I wanted to feel better about myself as a mommy. As soon as the words left my mouth, the venom immediately stung my sweet daughter.

"You have problems, and you just need some help." As soon as I said it, I wanted to take them back. Inwardly, I grabbed at the air, trying to get them back. But the damage had been done-the words had already been heard, not only with her ears, but her heart.





But I was too prideful at the moment, my insecurities too controlling so I just shut the door and walked away. It wasn't until later that my pride began to melt away. It wasn't until I faced my insecurities head on that I was able to humble myself. My insecurities told me that I had messed her up, that I was a horrible mommy.

But God had a "come to Jesus" meeting with me. He didn't tell me, "oh, you are a great mom. Don't worry. You didn't do anything wrong." Instead, He said,

"It's not about you." And oh, how I needed those words.

It wasn't about me. It didn't matter how I felt. It didn't matter that my daughter needing counseling to help her process her thoughts made me feel like a failure. What mattered was that I did what was best for my daughter, even if that meant admitting that I didn't have all the answers for her and that I needed some help in parenting her. This was hard to swallow, because pride can be like that, hard to swallow. It can get stuck in our throat as we try to gulp it down.

I think the hardest part was having to be willing to hear some hard things; things that maybe I needed to change in how I respond to her, things that I might say, or things that I have already said that have wounded her. I knew that if I was seeking help, I would need to be willing to take advice and change things that might need changing. This was hard, vulnerable, uncomfortable. What would this reveal about myself? This could be ugly.

But it's not about me. It's about her and what she needs from me to grow and mature as she figures out this world and these things called emotions. Isn't that what God calls me to do as her mommy? To not parent out of my need for validation, but out of her need for victory in this life. I want my kids to live victorious lives.



I went back to her later that day, apologizing for my hateful words. I asked her to forgive me for hurting her. We talked about the fact that those words weren't filled with truth and love. We talked about that it was OK to need someone to help process our thoughts sometimes and that it didn't mean that we were somehow "bad or wrong". And we talked about that having problems or whatever you want to call them is just a normal part of navigating life in a world that is so marred by sin. 

And so together, as a family, we all head to counseling for my sweet daughter. Hand in hand, heart to heart. We have this connection now that we didn't have before. We talk about counseling, both of our experiences, and how it is so good.





The mornings are better, but not just because of her. I've come to learn and be OK with the fact that I don't have to have all the answers. I think the pressure is off of everyone, knowing that we don't have to figure it all out. There is a peace in knowing that there is someone else that my daughter can talk too and process things with, someone that is godly and understands children. My daughter loves this woman, and she looks up to her. She has helped my daughter realize that often times there is another emotion underneath the anger and how to recognize that emotion. She has helped her understand herself better, and I am so grateful that my daughter is learning these skills at a young age.

So counseling has been good, good in so many ways. I have faced my insecurities in the realm of parenting. Being a mommy is hard, and I'm not going to get everything right-and that's OK. I am going to do and say things I shouldn't say, and there are going to be things that I need to change in how I parent my kids-and this is OK. None of this means that I have failed as a mom, that somehow I have messed up my children. It just means what I already know-that I'm a sinful person, learning as I go, clinging to God and His grace, and praying for His wisdom to raise up my kids.

You know, I never quite knew what I would think about someone else being a role model for my kids, someone that could say the same thing I say, but my children accept it from them and not from me. How would I feel about my kids seeking advice and answers from someone else? My insecurities told me that I probably wouldn't like it, that I wouldn't want to embrace it and encourage it.

But I couldn't have been more wrong. It has been a sweet experience, one that has brought about a peace to this momma's heart. It has been freeing and has let me relax more. I don't have to have all the answers. My daughter doesn't have to feel like she can only talk to me about things. I actually think it has made me a better mommy to my kids, thanks to the grace of God.

And it has been a great reminder that, this parenting thing, being a mommy, really has nothing to do with me, but instead is about 3 beautiful kids that God has given me to love and train up to love Him.

After all, it's not about me.












Monday, May 9, 2011

Much Ado About Nothing

Well, here I sit Monday night, and I haven't done a Music Monday in a while. But I'm tired. This is the first time all day I have sat down, and I don't want to focus that much. At least I don't think I do-maybe I will get my second wind and whip out a Music Monday in no time flat. Maybe. But let's be real-it probably won't happen.

Besides, now I have to get up. The Other Nut just got home from the grocery story so I need to help him put away the groceries. And yes, I am a SAHM, but he does the grocery shopping. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit it, but not enough to do the shopping. I don't really like grocery shopping, and the Other Nut actually doesn't mind it. He says that it is one way he likes to show me love. I know-he's awesome.

I have realized that I don't really like the month of May. I don't mean to hate on May. It's just that this month is really busy-every year. The kids have last minute field trips, performances, class parties and tests, and my ladies' Bible study is winding down. Oh, and there is always the decision on what to get the teachers. My oldest daughter has like 7 teachers. I'll need to get a job just to get them something. Bottom line, I don't like the month of May.

I need to lose about 7 pounds right now. I know that doesn't seem like a lot, but my clothes aren't really fitting right. My shirts are all too tight around my arms, and some of my pants just don't look right anymore. I'm afraid if I bend over, the button might pop off causing somebody some harm. Here's the thing though-I'm just not really that motivated says the girl that is currently eating chocolate ice cream. I spent so much of my life worrying about my weight and what I looked like, it has been nice to kind of breathe a little bit and relax-unless of course I try to put on some of my pants-then I can't breathe at all.

I cleaned out my closet today and got rid of some above mentioned clothes. Hey, does that mean I don't need to worry about losing the 7 pounds? I mean if I don't have the clothes in my closet anymore maybe I won't realize I am 7 pounds heavier. Or not.

My collection of items that I have washed in the washing machine is growing. Tonight I found a rock and a comb. These were added to my pile of an Awana pin, a utility knife, a styrofoam cup (I threw this away though), and the many different coins. And yes, these are all things from my kids' laundry. You would think I would remember to clean out their pockets. Instead, I have chosen to be surprised by the little treasures I find when I empty the washing machine into the dryer.

My son is being baptized on May 15th. I am so excited about this for various reasons. One is that I am reminded of a God that loves to redeem things. I consider this to be just one of His many gifts to me. You can read here and here to find out why.

And now it is official. I won't be "whipping" out a Music Monday, at least not tonight. Maybe I will do a "Music Monday, but on Tuesday" post.

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Mom

In honor of Mother's Day, I thought I would share with you my mom. This is one of my favorite pictures of her which is good, because this is one of the only pictures I have of her. I don't have too many recent ones-I think I might have to fix that.


I think she is so pretty, here in this picture and now. She has taught me a lot in my life. We didn't always get along, as many teenagers and moms don't, but we made it through. I wouldn't say our life was always easy either. There were some tough financial years which can be hard on anyone. But we made it through.
And I know that I gave her plenty of grey hairs. Sorry mom:)

My mom is a strong woman. She showed me how to persevere. Like I said, there were some tough years in there financially, but my parents stuck with it. They could have given up on each other and walked away-but they didn't.
She taught me to not give up and the importance of wedding vows. 

My mom was and is always good at praying. She knows the power of prayer. There were many nights when I was not living for the Lord that my mom spent in prayer. I remember her telling me that sometimes God would wake her up in the middle of the night to pray for me when I was away at college. Boy did I need it.
She taught me about the importance of praying for my children.

I watched my mom sacrifice for my sister and me. She didn't get to go shopping for clothes that much, because she was trying to keep us in clothes. We never had the most fancy or most expensive, but she would let us get some of the "in" brands sometimes. I am thankful that she didn't get them for us all the time. Even though not at the time, I am thankful that I had to shop at K-Mart sometimes.
She taught me about sacrifice and that you don't always have to have the "cool" things to make it through life.

I remember one morning realizing that my mom had gone without breakfast so I could eat the last of the cereal. I will never forget that.
She taught me about the love of a mother for her child-that you would go without for your child. 

My mom had to watch me suffer through the horrible disease of anorexia, and I know that was hard for her. She would come into my room at night just to make sure I was still breathing. I am sure she felt like her heart was ripping out while she watched me fight that battle.
She taught me about the depth of a mother's love for her child-that when your child suffers, you suffer. 

Through the good times and the hard times, I have seen her keep going. I have seen her grow and mature.

I am thankful that God chose her to be my mom. I am thankful for both the good times and the hard times, because they both helped shape me into who I am today. I am thankful that my mom loves Jesus.

Because she taught me to love Jesus.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I love you!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Stripped

photo source
Change is hard. It isn't something that I particularly like, although I know it must happen. Actually, it happens everyday-we just don't always notice it. But when we do, it's hard.

It's funny, because I know change has to happen; for without it we would stay stale, never moving, never living, never growing to become more like Him. If we never embrace change, we miss out on experiencing what God may have for us around the bend in our life's road.

And yet I find myself, in some ways, resisting it, pushing against it. What if I don't find what I desire, what I think God has for me around that bend? What if? And if not, when I look back, will everything I had be gone? No turning back now. The road of life is a one way street. So I must keep going, never quite knowing what's around the bend. I know what I want, what I desire, what I think God has called me to. But again, there it is-the what if?

There is a stripping process that happens with change, when we let go of something that we have known, something that has become so familiar to us, things that we love. But we let go, because we think God wants us to.

But this stripping process-it hurts, it's scary. I'm left feeling naked, exposed, somewhat unsure. I want to reach for something to cover me, something familiar; and yet, I hold back with all my might, knowing that I have to let go and embrace change.

But I feel it, the nakedness of winter, the trees stripped bare for all to see their branches, some broken and going in all different directions. Do I look like that? Is my brokenness somehow exposed in this stripping process for all the world to see?

If it is, shouldn't that be OK? Aren't we all, at times, stripped down to our nakedness, our brokenness exposed as we navigate change.

But even the trees are eventually covered again, with new growth covering their nakedness. And it is the most beautiful sight to behold. One day, there is nothing and the next, you see it-tiny little buds appearing, stretching, reaching for the sun. And then one day, we forget that they even stood naked before us.  

And so in my nakedness, I tip toe closer to the bend of life's road. Slowly I walk towards it, not sure what I will find. Slowly I walk towards it, clinging to the Savior that walks ahead, and the promise that He knows. He knows.

Looking down, I see it. Tiny little buds appearing on me, slowly covering me. Stretching, reaching for the Son. And one day, I will find myself, once again, fully covered on my life's road, looking ahead to the next bend.












Simple Pleasure Interrupted-or Not

So says the washing machine to the woman trying to enjoy her simple pleasure day of her pink hydrangea and attempt to do nothing but wash one load of laundry. . .

"Ha, Ha! Do you hear the running water splashing all over your floor in your laundry room while you stare out the open kitchen window listening to the birds?"

The woman runs to look and sure enough-water is running out the back of the hose, down the wall, and all over floor. She hears the washing machine laugh again. . .

"Ha! Now you have a washing machine half full of water and completely full of wet clothes! And you didn't want to have to do much today did you?"

The snickers from the machine grow louder.

"Yes, as a matter of fact, I do hear and see the water splashing everywhere. And yes, now I have a lot of wet clothes that are sitting in a possibly broken machine. And no, I didn't want to have to do much today. But! But, little ol' washing machine, you will not ruin my day. I will choose instead to tell you thank you."

"Thank you!" yells the washing machine. "I didn't want a 'thank you'. I wanted to ruin your day!"

"Oh, but you won't. I will thank you for providing the water for me to clean the really nasty floor I have discovered that you have been hiding behind you for so long. I will thank you for providing one more funny story that I can tuck back into my memory. And I will thank you for providing just another opportunity for me to work on my character, patience, and perseverence. Besides, I have a really pretty pink hydrangea that God made just for me to look at today."

"And so Mr. Washing Machine! You can just stop your laughing and hope that we don't have to throw you away. And now if you will excuse me, I need to also go clean up the cat throw up that is unfortunately tinged with blood that my cat just left me as a gift."

Ah! The simple pleasures. Sometimes it's just in how we look at things. I think I might take one last look at my hydrangea before I start the clean up and a possible trip to the vet.



Project Simple Pleasures2


Simple Pleasure Link Up

I'm pooped. Exhausted. Tired. As in, I don't really want to do much today. I taught yesterday at my ladies' Bible Study, and the topic was a difficult, debated topic in the realm of spiritual gifts which naturally lead to many hours of study. I wrestled and wrestled with this topic and different parts of scripture and when this happens, I can literally physically feel it. So today, I'm pooped.

I will slow down, take it easy today. I'm not going to fret if I don't get my to-do list finished. In fact, I just might do away with it all together. I think I might even walk a little slower today than normal. Why not? Who says I have to walk at a certain pace? Maybe I will even take a nap.

One thing I do know I will do-walk outside numerous times just to enjoy this:



I am so excited that it is blooming well this year. I don't really have a "green" thumb when it comes to gardening, but I do truly enjoy flowers. I see them as one of God's wonderful gifts to us. I even love what many classify as weeds. Isn't God good, that He would even adorn the so-called weeds with flowers? Have you seen how pretty the flowers are that grow on clover? The same clover that many spend relentless hours trying to kill so it doesn't take over our yards?

So today, I will slow down and enjoy the simple pleasure of my pink hydrangea. Even if that is all I do today, that sounds like a pretty good day. And with that, I think I might go take another look.





Project Simple Pleasures2

Monday, May 2, 2011

Words Can Crush A Soul



photo source
Whoever came up with the saying "sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me" wasn't telling the truth.

In fact, words can crush a soul.

I know, because I saw it happen.

And when I did, I wanted to tell them that their actions, or lack thereof, hurt my daughter. I wanted to tell them that one day hopefully they would realize they were wrong. I wanted to tell them that they were missing out on interacting with a sweet little girl. And I wanted to tell my daughter just how rude they were.

But I didn't.

Instead, I watched it unfold before my eyes, watching my daughter wrestle with this situation, all the while seeing the hurt on her face.

I'm not accepted.
I'm an outcast.
I'm not OK.

It's not that I don't care. It's quite the contrary. You see, it's that I care a lot.

I want my daughter to love like Jesus.

I don't want to fight her every battle. I don't want to swoop in anytime she is hurting and fix it. Well, OK maybe that isn't true. I do, but I know that isn't always the best for her.

She needs to learn to wrestle with things, fight battles, process her hurts, process words that are said to hurt, and love like Jesus in the midst of her hurts. . . and I would much rather her do that at a young age, at home in a safe place, instead of later on out in this big, mean world. 

And so I just watched.

As we walked home, the Other Nut and I talked to her. We were right-she was hurt. She had some questions and didn't quite understand. I could tell the wound was already there. Wounds seem to happen so easily don't they? I guess that is one of the consequences of sin.

As we talked through the hurt with her, she thought about her feelings and what she was thinking. I was so proud of her-to see her already processing, fighting against the lies at such a young age. We had a sweet talk, one that I will remember forever.

Part of me still wanted to take away the hurt, the wound already in her little heart, but I can't. Thankfully, she knows the One who can.

And so our conversation turned to Him, and the cost of living for Him.

She knows and embraces this truth in a way that inspires me. Young girl with a big faith.

I'm sure the hurt is still there. She might even remember that day for the rest of her life, but I pray that Jesus will heal the hurt and replace the lies with the truth.

When the conversation was over, she went to her room. And then I heard the sweetest sound. Tears began to fall down my cheeks as I heard her sweet voice singing praises to Jesus. Words that are full of truth.

I cried, because I know how actions, or a lack thereof, and words can hurt so deeply.

I cried, because I hope that somehow through my words, God began to heal her hurt.

I cried, because I was so proud of her for pressing into her hurt, already trying to process things at the young age of 11. 

I cried, because I know that words hurt.

And I cried, because when my kids hurt, I hurt.

Sticks and stones can break my bones,
but words can crush a soul.

Linking up with Words Matter at Roscommon Acres




 

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