Thursday, September 10, 2015

Done Any Autopsies Lately?

     So, I have been thinking about a blog post for a while.  This is the hard kind of post to write.  The ones about the kids and fun family stuff are way easier.  Plus, I know they're more fun for you to read. But I have been mulling over something for a while, and it won't leave, so I know I am supposed to get it out there.

    It's hard for several reasons.  One is that it is something I have been guilty of myself.  Another is that it touches on areas that are personal, and therefore it is more important to me to write about them sensitively.  The purpose of this is not to offend or cause strife among others.  But there are times when not saying something is the wrong thing to do.

     There have been several articles floating around talking about "mommy shaming" and the negative repercussions that it can have on our mothering.  For those of you who may not be familiar with this term, it basically means that moms who subscribe to certain thought processes (vax vs. non-vax; bottle vs. breastfeeding; homeschool vs. public school, etc.) band together and leave out other moms who may think differently about a topic.  Not a pleasant thing to do, or to have done to you.

     These articles have been mainly written from a secular standpoint, addressing the problems in play groups, carpools, classrooms, etc.  Part if what I want to write about touches on this a little bit, but I think there is a bigger problem in church circles than just "mommy shaming."

    It's more of a "family shaming" problem.  I have noticed how quick we as Christians are to look at a family who has a kid who strays from the way they were brought up and begin the process of dissecting them.  From famous people--like the Duggars--to people who are in your own circle of acquaintances.  No one is safe from our opinions on the hows and whys of what went wrong.

          Well, of course, they over-sheltered their kids.  Or didn't protect them from the influence of the world enough.  They were not very tough disciplinarians when their kids were young.  Or they were too strict.  They sent their kids to public school.  Or they never let their kids out of their sight.  They missed too much church activity with their family.  Or they let the work of the church take priority over their family.  The dad (or mom) was not a presence in the home. Or the dad (or mom) was over-protective and a "helicopter" parent.  Are we seeing a pattern here?

     The pattern I am starting to see is that there is no pattern. Good families who have done their best to follow what they believe is God's will for their lives don't get the magic formula for perfect kids. Their kids walk away...sometimes they come back later, and sometimes they don't.  And a large part of this tragedy is that they are not able to turn to their family in Christ for support.  Partially it is due to embarrassment of feeling like you have somehow failed as a Christian parent, but a large part is because often times the reaction of people is one of silent (and sometimes not-so-silent) condemnation. 

     Take for example the recent situation for the Duggars.  This family, who have been outspoken witnesses for Christ in a very public way, have been berated for every decision they have made for the last fifteen+ years.  They should have sent their son away.  They should have reported it. They should have not reported it.  They should have done more. They should have never been in the public eye.  They should have...  We are so quick to tell them (or other people) what they should have done.  Rather, we should realize that they did the best they could in a tragic situation.  There is no way to prepare for some things.  You just have to get through it one step at a time, doing your best to follow God's leading in your life. 

     Because what it is really about is a choice.  A choice that we all must make at some point in our lives.  The choice to put ourselves aside and follow Jesus.  No matter what.  And this is hard.  The hardest thing you will do.  And some people don't.  It's not something their parents did, or didn't do.  It is their choice, and they have to make it.  And as a parent, this is a scary thought.
     You wonder, "Am I doing enough?  Did I miss too many opportunities?  Have I been genuine in my faith so my kids see truth?" can we keep from constantly second-guessing ourselves?  But we have to remember it is not ourselves that we trust in.

     One of the greatest verses for me as a mom and a teacher is 3 John 4: "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."  But conversely, you understand that there must be no greater sorrow than to hear that your children walk away from truth.  And how much is someone's sorrow compounded when they hear the people who are supposed to love and support them begin to dissect and make judgment on everything they have done?  It would be like going to someone's funeral and standing around and criticizing the medical decisions made by his family.  How cruel.  We say "We would never do that."  But how many times have we made statements like, "Well, if they hadn't done X, Y, or Z I bet their kid wouldn't have gone down that road."  I know I have.  And I shouldn't.

     So, instead of dissecting and performing an autopsy on someone's seeming failures, maybe we should help in the healing processes.  Maybe instead of thinking "I knew they shouldn't have done that," we should take time to pray for that family.  Be more understanding of the rawness of their wounds.  Be willing to listen without judging.  I know I want to be that person.  Christians shouldn't be spiritual "coroners"--always trying to determine how someone else failed.  We should be medics...ready to enter the fray and do all we can to aid our hurting brother and sister.  We should see other's hurts and ask "How can I help?"  I am sure that is what the Great Physician would have us to do.  

Sunday, August 23, 2015

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

     For most of us, at some point in our life, we had a teacher ask us to write an essay on what we did over the summer when we got back to school.  (Side note: for some reason, essays are called "themes" now.  Why this had to change is a mystery to me.)  Well, I thought since the first week of school is behind me, I would write my essay about how I spent my summer.  Hope I get a good grade... :)

     We started off the summer with a couple of daunting tasks that we wanted to get accomplished before school started back again.  These included adding more light fixtures to the main Learning Center, and also painting the offices.  I thought the lights would be complicated, and that the paint would be the easy part.  Was I ever wrong...
     Let's just say that painting over old oil-based paint is more daunting than you would expect.  I was happily painting away and thought I was making good progress until I picked up one of the dry pieces and realized that the new paint was basically just sitting on top of the old wasn't sticking to the pieces at all.  This was cause for some alarm for me, because I know what happens when you put a kid in front of chipped paint.  It's like a magnet for picking fingers.  Well, we did a little research (probably should have done it first, but come on, it's painting, how hard can it be?) and found out that the type of paint used to paint the offices originally was oil based paint specifically meant to repel dirt, damage, and other things.  This would seem to include any new coats of paint that you may want to apply.  We finally found that if we used soap, water, and a ScotchBrite sponge before we tried to paint, then the new coat would adhere better.  So, after we made this discovery things went much more smoothly.

    It was out goal to get most of those two jobs done before we took our family vacation.  We were able to do that, and so we headed out of town for a week to do a few fun things together as a family.  We like to use our fun times to also learn things, so our trip itinerary included a trip to Stone Mountain, Georgia and the Atlanta Aquarium and a visit to some family as well.

Stone Mt.

The boys at the top of the mountain. 

     For those of you unfamiliar with it, Stone Mountain is just outside Atlanta, Georgia.  It is composed of granite, and has a large picture of three Confederate leaders carved into its side.  It was very interesting to learn how they made the carving, and also for the boys to learn about the War Between the States, and the history of the area.  The boys, their aunt, and I rode the sky bucket to the top of the mountain, and then hiked back down.  It was an impressive view, and it was especially interesting to watch as a thunderstorm rolled in from the distance.

     The kids like the aquarium the most.  All of our kids really enjoy going and seeing animals, and learning about all the different kinds of creatures God put on Earth for us to enjoy.  We knew this would be the highlight of their trip, so we planned to spend the whole day there.   Some of their most favorite things to see were the penguins (we love us some penguins in this house!), the whale sharks, and the dolphin show.  It was a long day, but the definitely a fun one!  

Ready for our day at the aquarium!

Whale shark swimming overhead.


In the bubble!


Our newest penguin fan!

The cutest penguin...

     In addition to seeing these fun places, we also got to visit Daddy's sister in Georgia and brother in Indiana.  First-Born had a big milestone this summer: spending a whole week away from us!  He spent a fun week with his cousins in Indiana.  He fished, played, fished, rowed in the boat, fished, went to the fair, and fished.  He was so excited about the several bass he caught with his cousin.  I think he would have happily spent two weeks!

     Too soon it was back home again, and back to work for Mommy and Daddy!  Lots of paperwork to do, computer programs to learn to use, and school things to get organized.  Let's just say, I didn't know if it would all get done!!  But the Lord is our Help, and with His Help, we were all ready to go on Orientation Night.  We had a great summer, but it was time to get settled back into a routine.

     Thanks for checking back in with us, and I hope you all enjoyed your summer fun too!  I will end this how every student ends their summer vacation essay: "...and that's how I spent my summer vacation."  THE END  :)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Summer Update!

   Well, once again the time has flown by since my last blog post!  I know--you'd think now that it was summer and  I was a SAHM, I would have plenty of time to sit down and do a little blogging...I'm such a slacker!  *eyeroll  But, as I have explained to several people, being "out of school" does not mean that there is no work to do there!  This summer's projects include learning and utilizing a new computer based records system for school paperwork, painting and restructuring the school desks, closing up last school year and opening up this school year, and don't forget the general cleaning out and sorting through that has to happen in the meantime.  Needless to say, we are still putting in a "few" hours over at school.
     And let's not forget the home front.  We have decided that this summer would be the time to potty train Little Sister.  And for those of you who have been through that particular fun time, you know what that entails.  We are slowly seeing progress though...I think...  Also, I have started a little side venture of something that I have always been interested in.  A missionary acquaintance of ours is in the process of writing several commentaries on some books of the Bible, and I am his editor.  I am excited about doing this job as editing has always been something I have been interested in.  Plus, I just didn't think I had enough going on in my life...haha!

     Even though we are busy, we have tried to take time to have some family fun this summer.  In fact, the reason I have a little extra time today to sit down and blog is because I am "only" doing laundry and packing to leave for a vacation.  We plan to visit family, see an aquarium and a state park, and (gulp) leave First-Born to stay for a week with his cousins in Indiana.  This will be his first time spending time so far away from home.  Kinda like summer camp, but with people we actually know.  This will be a big change for him, but also for Middle Biscuit, who will have to be the big brother for a week!

    We have done a few fun things already this summer.  A couple of weeks ago, we wanted to go on an "adventure," so we took the kids to a local creek to play for a while.  They had a great time, and are already asking when we can go again!

    One of the highlights of our summer is the Fourth of July.  Besides our country's celebrations, this is the time that my mom's family (who are mostly local to us here) has chosen to have our family reunion.  We always enjoy getting together with family to have good food, lots of fun, and plenty of time to visit.  Not everyone can make it every year as we grow as a family, and we miss those who can't be there.  Family seems to become more and more important as my kids get older.  I want them to have memories of people who have contributed so much to their upbringing.  I want them to know a family that honors God even when we get together for fun.  Family who have stayed faithful even when times have been hard.  This is the important thing that I want for my kids.  To know that it is not just Mommy and Daddy who believe this way, but that they come from a family who makes it their highest priority to honor God with their lives.  

     I hope to make a post about our vacation when we get back.  Maybe I will even get it done and posted before Christmas--haha!  Thanks for reading my musings, and I hope you have a great rest of the summer!  :)

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Reflections at 35

   So, in a few days, I will be 35.  Most people consider this middle age, but I guess I have to echo the trite sentiment--"But I don't feel middle-aged!"  But I have never understood what people meant by saying they feel an age...what does an age feel like?  I haven't noticed any marked changes that have occurred at a given know, like 16, 18, 21, 30...the supposed "milestone" ages.  And thank the Lord and good genetics, I have never actually looked my age.  When I was 16, people thought I was 12, which I hated...then.  Then during my twenties, when I was having babies and being a grown-up, people gave me pitying looks like I was a teen mom, or asked questions like "Are those all your kids?!"  (In an incredulous voice, of course.)  So, age has always been just a number for me.

   But now that I am about to reach yet another "milestone" age, I have been thinking about what I might say about such an event.  I mean, according to the "three-score and ten" principle, I am halfway through my allotted span.  So, have I reached any conclusions about life that I could share?  Have I learned any lessons that I can pass on to younger moms and wives to save them maybe having to learn them the hard way?  Are there things that I have yet to learn that I can get busy on in the time I have left?   I have been mulling over these points and thought I might share a few things on my li'l ol' blog.   So, here are a few things I have had occasion to try out, fail at, try again, learn, re-learn, and practice in my life.  It's my hope that something will encourage you, challenge you, make you laugh, or remind you of God's direction in your life.

   1.   God does have a plan for you---even if it not the plan you thought.  This was a big one for me early on in my life.  You see, I am a planner.  But often, God's plan for my life was to change the plan I had.  One early lesson I learned in this was when we moved right before my sixteenth birthday.  This was a difficult time of my life, and I was not very pleased with my parents (and to be honest, God) for disrupting my life and uprooting me just when I felt I was "coming into my own."  Unfortunately, I struggled with this lesson for a while before finally just giving up.  (Yay for a senior trip to the Wilds!)  I decided that it might be easier for me to let God plan my life for a know, just to see what might happen.  Well, things did happen, and three years after that "traumatic" move, I was married!  Which leads me right into my next musing...

   2.  Marriage is good...but hard.  I mean hard.  No one really tells you this.  You hear the trite phrases about love being blind or deaf.  And you expect to have a spat here or there with your spouse.  But no one tells you about the flat-out, gritty reality of marriage and the work that goes into making one work.  The sleepless nights where you are emotionally so drained you think maybe this was a mistake.  The days where nothing goes right and the only thing you can do is take it out on the person whose fault it seems like.  The times where you would cheerfully punch the daylights out of the person you said "I love you" to earlier that day.  But after this is the plain out satisfaction of getting through all that.  Together on the other side...hopefully wiser, closer, more together.  So, all you newbies out there, my advice would be tough it out.  When the shine is off, when the stress takes it toll, when you want to walk away, or wish the other person would.  Stay. Fight. Don't quit. Talk. Yell. Love.  Beat the odds...together.  Because...

   3.  People are watching.  Looking to you, even though you have no clue what you are doing.  This is one I am still not comfortable with.  I don't think I have it "all together" like--oh, I don't know--several hundred other people that are way more "together" than me.  So when the thought crosses my mind that people are looking to me to be a leader, I still kinda freak out.  I don't really want to be one.  Because, let's face's way easier to say "Follow someone else."  But, at some point--although I don't really know how it happened--I was a leader.  People came to me for advice.  They looked to me to set the tone of a situation.  They assumed that since I was there, I was in charge.  When, mostly, I just wanted to say, "Wait...I'm not a can't put me in charge!  I've never done this before!"  I guess this is part of point number one that I am still working on!

   4.  There is no magic formula for parenting.  At some point, early on, maybe even before you have kids of your own, you have already had a mental dialog with yourself about "well, when I have kids, they will never..."  And you assume that there is a set formula of love, patience, discipline, and firmness that you can plug in and out will come a well-adjusted, well-behaved little person.  And there pretty much is...but the formula seems to change everyday...sometimes multiple times a day.  And no one tells you that some days you will just be happy with kids that are still alive at the end of the day...because some days that's an accomplishment all by itself.  It is hard to choose the battles to pick...but critical to win the ones you choose.  And people will give you advice, article, books, dissertations, blogs, and criticisms...all in the name of good intentions.  And you have the best intentions to try and follow it all.  But then life happens.  And all the good intentions go out the window and your husband comes home to find the children in pajamas, in front of the television, eating carrot sticks out of a bag while you just stare at him.  Vacantly.  And he takes you all out for supper, because he is great.  And then the next week you find the "magic formula" one day, and he comes home to happy kids, a warm supper, good dessert, and a clean house.  And he just smiles and says, "How was your day?" because he is great.  So, mommies, hang in there.  The magic formula is simply this--there is no formula.  Pray for, take care of, and love your easy--yet so challenging.

   5.  Life is full of big challenges, but little things are what's important.  As I look back on my life up to this point, I can remember the "big" things most clearly.  Getting married, having babies, losing babies, major illnesses of family members, natural disasters, job changes, moves, conflicts, trials, loss...all the things that make the milestones that people use to measure their life by.  You know, "It's been three years since this tragedy" or "It's been two weeks since that happened."  I guess it's human nature to quantify our life on a timetable of what has happened to us.  But we need to be careful that we don't get trapped in measuring our lives by the negative things that have happened.  If we are simply waiting for the next complication with which to measure our life by, we may miss the everyday blessing that God sends.  The phone call from a friend, the chubby fistful of flowers from your toddler, the new book you started reading, a fancy coffee for no reason at all, a trip to the grocery store by yourself.  The time you wished you had cookies, and the next day a church member brings some to church.  The wonderfulness of your washing machine, dishwasher, or Crockpot.  A thing you have always harbored a secret wish to do, and out of the blue God gives you a chance to do it.  Don't forget these seemingly little things.  Because they are the things that God send us to help us get through those challenging times.  We can store them up and take them out and look at them and remember that God is there, and He loves us, and He will help us through the hard times because look how good He was when we weren't looking for it.  Little things are still important...which is kinda what this blog is about after all.

   I have by no means mastered anything on this list.  I don't know if it is even something that can be "mastered" or not.  But looking back, these are a few things that stick out to me as lessons that I have revisited the most often.  Now I have a place to come and read them the next time I need a refresher course!!  Keep looking for those little things!  And remember, age is just a number! ;)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Me And Ms. Lee

    So, a couple of weeks ago, this happened.  And "Mockingbird" fans everywhere rejoiced.  I am super-excited about this and can't wait to read it.  I have been a huge fan of Harper Lee ever since I first read "Mockingbird," and have read all that I could get my hands on about both the book and its author.  (I even read some stuff on Truman Capote, since he was one of the people Ms. Lee called a friend.  At least they were friends until the friendship became so detrimental that she had to sever ties.  In fact, she was his research assistant on "In Cold Blood", and many people believe she should have gotten co-author credit.)  I have read the book about fifty times, and watched the film adaptation several times as well.

    This novel was eye-opening for me as a young reader.  It was after I read "Mockingbird" that I really began to realize that things like what Harper Lee wrote about actually happened.  And that there were good men and women that stood for what was right, no matter the popular opinions of the time.  The character of Atticus Finch taught me a lot about standing.

    But I feel a connection to this book for another reason.  And that is the story I want to tell.  The story of the time I meet the author of this great novel.

    Back in 2003, I was teaching at the school.  My younger sister was in high school at the time, and the principal gave her an opportunity to participate in an essay contest held by the University of Alabama (Harper Lee's alma mater) celebrating the 40th anniversary of "Mockingbird."  So, she wrote an essay, and was invited to come to the campus and receive a certificate of recognition for her essay.  And a chance to meet Harper Lee.  She was allowed to bring one guest, and so she invited me. (Thanks, Little Sis!)  I was pretty excited to meet any author, and the fact that she was the author of one of my favorite books was just icing on the cake.

   On the day of the ceremony, we left bright and early.  We had never been to the campus before, so I wanted to be sure that I could find my way there, find the right building, parking, etc.  So we left like 2 hours early to make sure we had a window of time just in case we ran into a problem.  (Paranoid much?)

   Well, we got turned around once, but we made it to the campus with time to spare.  So, we drove over to the building that the ceremony was being held in.  It was a big old plantation-style house, with a circular drive.  The only problem was I didn't see anywhere to park!  We drove around the driveway a couple of times, and then just sort of pulled off to the side at the end of the driveway.  I figured that if there was a problem, then someone would let us know, right?.

   Anyway, while we were waiting there, (still about twenty minutes early) we noticed a car pulling up, and driving around the circular drive.  It stopped, and an older lady got out.  We figured that someone was finally here to start the process of telling people where to park and stuff.  So, we got out of the car and started meandering toward the front door of the house.  (Trying to look like we knew exactly what we were doing!)  As, we got closer, we made eye contact with the lady who had driven the car.  Being polite Southern ladies, we said "Hey" and "Good morning."  Then she asked what we were doing there, and we told her about the essay contest, and asked her if she knew where we should park.  She said no, and asked if there was anyone from the university here yet.  We said we hadn't seen anyone yet, but that we were a little early.  She looked at us and smiled a little smile and said, "Well, I'm Harper Lee."

   I think I can be forgiven for not recognizing her right away, since she has always been a private person.  She rarely gives interviews, makes appearances, or anything else that may put her in the public spotlight.  After I processed what she had said (and closed my mouth), I think I managed to get out a "Well, hi!" or something witty like that.  I asked her if the university had sent anyone to meet her, or tell her anything, and she said no. (Really, UA, you have a ceremony to honor one of your most well-known graduates, and you can't even make sure there's a greeter?!)  We talked about the parking issue, and she said finally said, "Well, I'm going to park right here, and you can park behind me, and then there won't be a problem, will there."  I had to agree with her--I mean, would you tell Harper Lee to move her car?!  Not likely!  So, we got the cars settled (the whole time I was thinking "Please don't let me rear-end Harper Lee's car!") and she told us to come on into the house.  So, of course, we followed her right inside.

   When you walked in the front door, it felt like you were entering Tara.  Grand sweeping staircase, ornate furniture, oil paintings of people in old clothes, shining hardwood floors with Oriental rugs covering them--everything you could imagine in an old plantation house. But it was absolutely empty!  No one was there yet.  You could tell they were expecting company, but nobody was home.  So, what do we do?  Well, Ms. Lee gives us the grand tour, of course!

    I am not joking...Harper Lee gave us a tour of this grand old house while we all waited for everyone else to show up!  She started by telling us that the house was where the university president had lived at one time.  (I believe they live off-campus now.)  She told us who was in the pictures, showed us the art work in all the rooms, and gave us the provenance of several of the pieces of furniture in the house!  (I guess she knew all this because she was a former student. Or because she was Harper Lee.)   I still cannot quite forget the surreal feeling of the whole situation...we are being shown around this old plantation house by one of the most well-known authors in all of America like we are prospective buyers or something!  And she was so nice!  Just the picture of a Southern lady in her gray pantsuit and purple blouse and sensible shoes.  I mean, she looked like an English teacher or librarian or something.  And the whole time in my brain I was going "This is Harper Lee.  Scout Finch!  She won the Nobel prize for Literature.  She was friends with Truman Capote.  She is saying words, and I want to remember everything she is saying because she is Harper Lee, but I can't because she is Harper Lee!"  I know I made some kind of remarks about the things she was showing us, and I think I even asked a couple of questions, but I couldn't tell you what they are because I was just blown away by the whole experience.

Well, finally, after about fifteen minutes, a couple of more people showed up.  Ms. Lee kind of retreated into was almost a visible process.  Then somebody (finally) showed up from the university, and the actual event started to get rolling, but I was pretty much done for the day.  I mean, we had already gotten to spend one-on-one time with Ms. Lee--how much better could the day have been?!  I really could have left right then and been totally satisfied with how it turned out.  But, of course, we stayed, had a few snacks, my sister received her certificate, and then things kind of started to wrap up.  The ceremony people invited us to come across the way to another building where Ms. Lee would sign books for a few minutes.  (Something else she rarely does.)  I had like four copies of "Mockingbird" with me for her to sign because all my family are huge fans as well.  So we trooped over there, and got in line.

    When we made it through the line and I set down my stack of books, Ms. Lee looked up at me over the top of her glasses and asked, "You're not planning on selling these, are you?"  I managed to stammer out a "no, ma'am." and she signed all the books for me.  (Sell them?!  My family members would be lucky if they got them back!!)  I was even able to take a picture of her autographing my copy.

    So, that is the story of how I met one of my favorite authors.  Who totally blew me away with how much she was "like folks" to use a Southern expression.   I can't wait to read her newest book, and when I do, I will remember the person behind the story and that will make me enjoy it all the more.  :)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Birthdays and Other Fun Stuff!

     We have been busy around here!  I was talking to a friend the other day, and we were discussing how we spend most of our time saying "If I can make it through this week, then things should slow down..." but somehow it never seems to happen that way!  Each week seems to bring its own pile of stuff.

     Since I posted last, we have had sickness, a cold snap during which I had seven college guys staying over night at the house, (only ONE set of pipes froze), several school-related happenings, a Lego event (BrickFair!!), and two birthdays!  And that is on top of the regular stuff of the day-to-day life with four kids.  So, once again, the poor little blog has been neglected.

     Stitch turned 6 during all that craziness.  He has had several milestones of great importance this year--at least to him, anyway!  He "officially" went to K5 (even though he's been in school for two years); he finally got to be a ring bearer in a wedding; and he lost his first two teeth!  (Thankfully, the teeth were lost after the wedding!)  It's hard to believe my littlest guy has gone from this:

 to this:

 to this:

 to this:

 in just six short years!  He is our mischievous, talkative entertainer.  He adores his little sister, and tags after his big brothers.  Our family just wouldn't be as fun without you, Stitch!

     Since he is such a great big brother, I am sure he won't mind sharing this post with his beloved Little Sister!  She turned 2 (!!) last week.  I can't believe this.  In fact, I think I am just going to be in denial for a little while longer.  She has been the "cherry" on our family's sundae.  Easy-going, sweet, and fun...she is such a trooper.  She comes to school with mommy and daddy every day, and is loved by all her other "brothers" and "sisters" there.  She has learned a lot in her two short years...and her favorite job is to set the table.  She walks around putting every thing in just the right spot, saying everyone's name in the process. ("Ye-BI", "E-e", Mommy, Dada, "Ja-yen")   We love you, Little Miss Sunshine!

     Well, that about catches everything up around here.  It doesn't seem like life has any plans to slow down soon, but I am working on the next post already, so maybe it will be up here soon!  Thanks for checking in on this little piece of crazy fun that is our life!  I hope you are enjoying the craziness that is yours! :) 

Monday, January 5, 2015


     We have had a great holiday season around here.  I hope your Christmas time was filled with fun things, family times, and reminders of God's blessings in your life.  Our family really enjoyed our break from the "grind" of school, and we spent several hours just doing nothing for a change!  I even stayed up late playing video games--*gasp!

    I was pretty glad to get back to the routine today, though.  Schedule is soothing to my OCD soul.  Although, I already miss the sleeping in!

    As most people look at the new year, they think about the things they want to change, or the weight they want to be, or the goals they want to accomplish in the new year.  I always feel that my "new year" begins in August, when school starts back.  That is usually when I take stock of our lives and see what is working and what isn't, make changes, and things like that.  So, the New Year for me is more of a time to check in on the plans from August and see how they are working.  (So far, so good!)

    Secondly, I think that in order for resolutions to make any impact in your life, they should really be made on a daily basis, rather than a batch of "I want to..." at the beginning of a year, most of which are forgotten by the end of the month!  I thought I would share a few things that I try to resolve to do each day.  Like a lot of things, some days it works, and some days it doesn't!  Which ones would make your "daily resolution" list?

       1. Pray more purposefully.   We pray over our meals, and there are the quick, desperate "mommy" prayers ("Please keep me from completely LOSING it!"), but praying purposefully can be something that is difficult to do on a daily basis--especially for us busy moms!  Praying purposefully means to me that I have sought a quiet time, alone, to go to God and talk with Him in a coherent, thoughtful way.  I have tried to clear my mind of the busy clamor of life to spend some time worshiping and communicating with my Heavenly Father.

       2. Think about God's Word.   Again, this is not a snatched verse here or there, but a time apart to read an spend time meditating on God's Word and what He would have for me to apply in my life.

       3.  Tell my husband I love him.  Yes, this is something I have to decide to do.  When you and your spouse are busy working hard all day, and then you come home to kids who need you to take care of them, it can be easy to push through until bedtime and then crash and burn at the end of the night.  Then, before you know it, it's been three days since you have said anything meaningful to your spouse besides "Did you remember to pay that bill?" or "Have you done anything for supper?" or "It's your turn to deal with that!"  Take the extra minute to connect with your love.

      4.  Hug my kids and tell them each I love them.   Usually this is something that happens daily at bedtime, but once in a while even the bedtimes are rushed and it is just time for EVERYONE TO GO TO SLEEP RIGHT NOW!!  Your little guys and girls (and your big ones, if you have them)  still need to feel those special moments, even in the midst of your busy life.

     5.  Remember this song.  We have an old Johnny Cash album recorded at San Quentin prison, where Johnny Cash is singing with the Carter Family and the Statler Brothers.  One of the songs on this album has the best words for mommies (and other people) to have in the back of their mind on a daily basis.  Here are the lyrics, and you could probably hear a recording on Youtube, if you looked it up.  So simple, yet powerful if you take a few minutes to think about them.  It's like a mommy theme song!

"Less Of Me"
lyrics by Glen Campbell

Let me be a little kinder
Let me be a little blinder
To the faults of those about me
Let me praise a little more

Let me be when I am weary
Just a little bit more cheery
Think a little more of others
And a little less of me

Let me be a little braver
When temptation bids me waver
Let me strive a little harder
To be all that I should be

Let me be a little meeker
With the brother that is weaker
Let me think more of my neighbor
And a little less of me

Let me be when I am weary
Just a little bit more cheery
Let me serve a little better
Those that I am strivin' for

Let me be a little meeker
With the brother that is weaker
Think a little more of others
And a little less of me

    Anyway, those are just  few of the things I try to resolve to do on a daily basis.  What's on your daily "resolve" list?  If you don't have one, maybe that can be your New Year's resolution! :)