My father is a wise man. I enjoy hearing his opinions and taking in whatever wisdom he offers. Do I always agree with him? Of course not, but that doesn’t change the way I think about him. He is a father of four kids and a grandfather to eight going on nine kiddos, five and under. Let’s say the man has had some life experience.
I, like my father, have four children. The days run me over like a MAC truck ramming over a soda can. Many days it is difficult to see the future due to the giant mountain standing right in front of me. The mountains change daily. Spilled blueberry smoothie all over the carpet, poop under your fingernail (insert gagging), or maybe my child’s attitude is appalling. During one of those moments of pure frustration, my dad leans over and says, “just remember…these are the good ole days.”
In the moment I want to slap his words away from myself. Heck. To. The. No. Sir. Good ole days. Psh. Finally we are home and all children are in their beds sound asleep. I assess the damage of the day and sit down instead of cleaning. I go through photos on my phone and begin to recall the sweet moments from the days. Simple acts of love from my daughter reaching for my hand and holding it. My son making goofy faces to make me laugh or trying to distract my eyes from the mischief he was causing. My oldest girl telling endless made up knock knock jokes and laughing at her jokes that make no sense.
My children bring me pure, unadaltered joy. They send rage coursing through my entire body. Their kisses on my cheek are overwhelmingly sweet and sticky with snot all at the same time. Their love for me is forgiving and full of grace.
Being a parent is the hardest and most gratifying life decision I have ever made. I would not change these moments for anything because it is true…I am living in the good ole days.
The thing that comes to haunt me in the night. Perfectionism is a ghost that trails behind me whispering in my ear all the faults I have made and constantly reminding me of the to do lists that have not been completed.
I am a woman. I am a wife. I am a mom. All of these parts of me require work. Showering. Dressing. Learning my husband. Teaching my children. Cleaning. Cooking. Driving. Laundering (clothing not money). These are the basics. I can barely scrape my way through the basics.
Eat healthy! Work those buns! See the latest eyeliner to make your eyes pop! What?! You aren’t contouring your make up?! What kind of woman are you? Ew the toilet seat has a ring? Lady when is the last time you cleaned that joker. Yoga pants again?
When did the pressure come for me to be perfect? Has it always been there and I didn’t notice it? Have I slowly become more aware of it over the years?
Want to know the kicker? No one is holding me to these standards except me. In the end, I don’t truly care what others think of me as a mom. My husband praises me for the mom I am. I have no ending of encouragement from those around me and yet I get so angry at myself.
I want to be the best but guess what…what’s think is best is likely not God’s best. I am not saying He doesn’t want me to clean my toilets but it for sure isn’t the end all be all of my life.
2016. I want this year to be a year of awakening. In my spiritual life, my emotional life, and even my physical body. It takes one step at a time. When I fail? I need to pick myself up and keep going with the knowledge that I am not alone. That He sees me as a work in progress and I too should view myself that way.
I have big plans for 2016 but if God has bigger plans? That is fine by me.
Here is to a new year folks!
Are bad things happening more often or in the age of social media do we hear more? Probably a little bit of both. Everywhere I look are lives filled with terrible events, homes being broken, children being killed, racial conflicts, financial woes, slavery, and quite frankly anything under the sun. Brokenness is everywhere.
If I were to dwell on the state of earth, I would need to be on some anxiety medication. As I read the horrific headlines, because I can’t make it past the headlines, I feel completely overwhelmed. I am grieved. How can people act in such a manner?! My mind is blown away by the amount of hatred that seems to seep from people.
Then I stop and think, they are broken. They are broken in the same way I am broken. So what is the difference? I know the redeemer. I bring my awful, broken self to the father of truth. Sure I have to drag this body full of mistakes to him often and usually for the same reasons as the first time I went. I am fallen. We are all fallen.
Learning to look at the world through the eyes of grace is a difficult step. I want to carry my righteous anger around and pray wrath on the evil men and women who create destruction! But I am not called to that. Instead, I am called to plead mercy over them, to pray over the broken.
I encourage you today, when you want to point your finger at someone (even if it is just in your mind) take a moment and remind yourself that they are hurting. Ask God to give you the grace to extend to the broken, as he has already extended to you.
I keep coming back to this picture my sister in law sent me of my daughter. This is Florida. Pool time is basically essential to survive the summer months. Sure I see this picture and love it for the very fact that it is my first baby girl.
The more I look at it, the more I see.
Here is what I see under the surface:
Until recently, she has been afraid to let herself lay back in water. She is overcoming fear. She has learned to swim floaty free this summer. Practing the art of diligence. She is enjoying the water and sun how God intended. She is mixing with nature.
Does she not look peaceful? When was the last time you lay your head back into a body of water and let the sounds of movement touch you to the core? Even now, I can hear the waves and the muffled voices of people above the water speaking. I can feel my hair swaying back and forth with the swaying of the ripples.
This is a moment of peace. A time of not worrying about tomorrow. A knowing that God sees it all and is watching over me. Holding on to the thought that His ways are far greater than mine and the fact that His burden is easy.
I hope you are walking in peace today.
Then there are the low times. You know the days. Your life is good. Your heart believes it and your mind is sure of it, yet the low times can tear you down fast. When it happens, you are completely shocked and caught unawares! I was sipping my coffee and reading my devo when nothing happened and my day was turned inside out.
So what took place? How could my day possibly turn into shambles?
Life. This the only answer I can come up with. I am a person, walking the human path, and on this journey are the struggles, the hormones, the unbelievable. My reaction can mold the end result. I can sulk. I could cry. I may eat a tub of cookie dough while doing the first two. I will even fall into a sleep stupor to avoid my own thoughts.
I had done all the above, but some days…I get it right. I sit and yell at God, “why?!” I cry to Him. I shout at Him ABOUT Him and the unfairness of my emotions. I meditate on the music He sendsover my radio. He has His arms open and He beckons me to Him. I sit and He holds me. He whispers in my heart’s ear about the love He has for me. He reveals the areas where indeed His hand was moving me and He encourages me to keep going.
He does not turn me away. He accepts me. He graciously molds my mind and heart.
Today…today I am thankful He loves me.
My dad puts together a yearly collage of our family videos from each year. It is one of the few TV watching experiences that my 16mo old twins will sit through. So as they sit and watch themselves and their cousins, I sit and drink coffee.
Twenty minutes of uninterrupted coffee sipping and reading. Often times I scroll through social media sites and see friends with their families doing amazing adventure type stuff. For a moment, I rage in angry jealousy but then I set the thought down and thank God for the life I lead. I remind myself “my life is not their life.”
Truthfully, I want it that way! I don’t honestly desire to live someone else’s path for even a moment. If I did, then I wouldn’t be in mine and the thought of that is heart breaking. I love my husband, my children, and my family. I sort of deal with my house and I am thankful to be driving a mini van everyday. (Seriously, mini vans are the shiz.)
In high school, I used to tell my friends “if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence it is high time you watered your own.” I still believe that!
Take a moment to think and if there are areas you would like to experience change, then make a change. Life is fluid. We are not doomed to a situation or one way of thinking. If we didn’t have hope…a hope to change, then what would we have?
We are not stuck. No one holds us back more than ourselves. Take a breath, ask God for guidance, and jump.
As a kid, everything seemed long. Days. Weeks. Years especially so. As I have gotten older it has appeared to quicken and continued to do so after marriage. Nothing…I mean nothing prepares you for the speed changes when your first child comes along. Sure, the first year doesn’t go too fast while you’re in the midst of it. The lack of sleep and constant demands of an infant can make an evening feel like an eternity.
Then it happens. You are throwing a birthday bash for a small one year old child that is yours. At least everyone is acting like it is yours. All you can do is stare at it thinking, “what the heck happened to the infant I was holding yesterday?”
Then you miss the days of infancy and talk about another. So you and your mate give it a go and one or even two come at once. Time warp. At three kids, your life moves into time warp mode. You can’t stop it and nothing will slow it down.
Like I said, some of the days are long, almost too long but the weeks fly by.
There are moments when I remind my husband, while also preaching to myself, these days go by fast. The days of the toddler wanting to curl up in your lap without prompting. (See photo below) Want you to watch every little dance move and to cheer at how they jump. It is hard to take it all in AND like it, especially for stay at home parents who are on 24/7.
I hope you can take a moment today and just enjoy the moment. Relish the age of your children. Whether you are tired or angry or just put out. Breathe in the sweaty outdoor smell they seem to have and hug them as hard as their little bodies allow. For tomorrow….it comes all too quickly.
The days are long but the years are short.
For those of you who don’t know, which is most of you, my husband and I had our first date on VDay 7 years ago. It was actually a joke. I’m two years his senior and he is my brother’s friend. Eating at Chickfila with friends and home boy gets the bright idea for us all to go on a double date for VDay. The other two chose to do no such thing. I was all for it. What did I have to lose? Nothing. A free meal? Yes please.
Long story short, 7 years later and we are married with 3 kids. Crazy beautiful.
The past two years Valentine’s Day became a nightmare. We chose last minute to go to dinner and drove from restaurant to restaurant. 2013 we ate at some Italian joint we did not like. 2014 we ended up in the Jimmy John’s drive thru. This year we ate at our favorite Italian place…on Valentine’s Day EVE. Smart right? Still a 45 minute wait, but we picked it before leaving home and chose to stay through a wait.
Making the decision beforehand relieved stress. Sitting and waiting have us much needed alone carry on adult conversation time that we do not get at home these days. It was wonderful! I am so thankful for parents who live close and offer to watch the kids.
The past week has been the week from H – E – double hockey sticks! Three kids with pink eye, twins had ear infections and then the tot developed a cough cold yuck crud. Talk about momma needed a break! So even more so Friday night came and was most thoroughly enjoyed.
How was your VDay? Was it everything you hoped? Have you given up on receiving a romantic VDay? Personally, if my husband wasted money on a stuffed animal (aka dust bag) I would die or he would. Pending the mood. Ha! Kidding…or am I?
All that to say, Happy Valentine’s Day y’all!
(How we spent the actual Valentine’s Day…BLOCKS!)
My three year old daughter gets into these cycles of watching a particular movie over and over again. In the past, they have been oldies but goodies. Aristocats, The Sword in the Stone, Peter Pan, and Robinhood. All movies I enjoy. Recently, she has discovered Hannah Montana and Ella Enchanted. Both of these movies consist of singing and dancing teenage girls.
She is three!
OK anyway…in the car today she begins to talk about Ella Enchanted, “Mommy, I want daddy to dress up like Prince Char and I will be Ella. I will get a wedding dress and marry daddy. Daddy can buy you a purple dress and flowers for your hair. You will want to marry daddy but you can’t so you will cry.”
She sounds like a heartless B right? I will cry?? Now let me tell you this, Ella Enchanted is a teenager’s version of Cinderella. I slowly begin to realize that my child has described one of the stepsisters. This is the role she would have me play?! A stepsister?! Geez…to be demoted by a three year old.
So I drank loads of coffee today and I feel pretty good about it. I’ll show you ugly step sister kid. *raises shaking fist in the air
That was my Thursday. How was yours?
It is the hardest and most rewarding job I know. I am never bored. NEVER. Sure there are slow days, but they are not boring. I am exhausted. I told my mother that my body is no longer recognizing sleepiness. Instead everything is a haze. I usual walk around in a haze. Imagine cotton balls in your head with gauze over your eyes and you can get an idea of how I am on a daily basis.
There are days when I get a clear moment of clarity and I know I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. This is usually following copious amounts of caffeine. Since the twins have been born, large amounts of caffeine end up in fits of anxiety. From brilliance to fear. The mind and body are a dangerous combination when caffeine is involved.
Anyway, since being a stay at home mom I have had more ideas of things I want to do than ever before. Create. Imagine. Dream. Inspire. I want to stimulate growth among moms in my area. Last night, I was on the verge of a major breakthrough of inspiration, then immediately following was a piercing disappointment for time is precious and I seem to have little of it. (As you can see it has been two months since updating my blog…and I write blogs in my mind everyday, mostly when driving which is not the best time to sit at a computer and compose.)
So as I wander about in my haze of a life and try my best to push my ideas forward, I begin to think about Starbucks. How a smooth iced caramel macchiato would be at this moment. Probably caffeine free as to keep anxiety at bay and allow sleep to come at a decent time.Then my thoughts travel to the movie that my tot is watching. Ella Enchanted. Many famous faces with a cheesy storyline. Meant for older girls, but my little girl likes the songs meanwhile asking me all the questions since she does not understand the plot of the story.
I will now bring my evening ramblings to end. Do you have a stroke of genius in mind? What do you do to push your dreams forward? Do you use technology or paper more?