I’m writing today’s post in the mood of being encouraging. Let’s see how it comes out.
Recently, hubs and I were watching a show and one of the characters reminded another to remember that at the end of the day, it’s just a job. I’m sure you’ve all heard this phrase. In fact, you may have even said it. I’m sure I have.
As you know, I am a stay-at-home mom. This means my “job” is 24/7 and it really isn’t just a job. It’s work, pure and simple, but rewarding work. Sometimes I feel like I’m riding an emotional roller-coaster throughout the day. My boys can go from sweet and loving to very challenging in a heartbeat. I’m sure this is true for all parents (and if it hasn’t happened to you yet, just wait.) The other truth is that it can also go the other way from pull your hair out to cuddles and kisses in a heartbeat. Children can be unpredictable and that is one of the amazing things about them.
My” job” somehow requires me to be so much more than I ever thought I could be. It pushes and pulls me in all sorts of directions. I am challenged to rise to new heights all the time. And there are certainly times I fall to lower lows than I ever thought I could. The other thing about my “job” is that it is much more than looking after children. It involves managing a household -meaning grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, keeping a budget and a whole other assortment of mundane little tasks. Plus, during all of this I try to instill in my children a sense of awe for their Creator, recognition that they are well-loved, a desire to grow in wisdom and knowledge and an overall sense of peace and well-being.
What I do is more than a job. It is a calling. It is what I was made for. Every time I recognize this I get a little more strength to make it through the rough moments. Breaking up my routine for fun and laughter helps me remember that even the little things can be big things. When I spend time focusing on Who enabled me to do this job I see that I am more than able and am not limited. There is no list of to-dos that is too-great for me. I am blessed, fortunate, happy and to be envied.
The thing is that some of you do work -just a job. Some of you love what you do. Some of you hate what you do. Either way, it is a source of financial income for your household and you do it to provide for your family and maintain a lifestyle. I use to work one of these types of jobs. I’ve worked in food, retail (home-goods and clothing), office work and for a church. Some of these jobs I loved or loved for a while and some of them I did just because I needed to work. In some I had purpose. In some, I just wanted to run for the hills. But, the real part of life is your family. Big or small the people are what matters. Investing in the people in your life is what makes life real. And when we put income ahead of people we miss out. When the goal is to have all the “toys”, we find we don’t have time to play with them. And eventually we find that this “job” is consuming us. When we are home all we can think about is that project, or assignment or customer from earlier in the day. Even if it’s a good thing, if it is stealing from your family time and focus, then I ask you to ask yourself if it’s worth it.
That’s all good and well you might say to me, but I am too invested in this job. It’s already consuming me and at this point in my life I have no way out. I would like to contend that you do have a way out. Instead of saying “Remember, at the end of the day, it’s just a job.” try saying something similar as you start your day “As you begin your day remember that it’s just a job.” Remembering as you fall into bed completely exhausted at the end of the night having been completely consumed (at least in your mind) with your job is too late. Starting your day remembering it may just help you be focused on what really matters in life. It might give you some extra energy to finish up at “the office” so you can be free when you get home. When you are at work, then be at work. And when you are with your family, then BE with your family. All I can say is that if you are feeling overwhelmed with the things in life that aren’t the important thing then maybe a little mind change might be just what you need for a fresh day. Maybe saying those few little words at the right time of day might make all the difference. I hope so. It certainly can’t hurt, can it?
This Mother’s Day was spent enjoying the blessing of beautiful weather that the Lord so graciously provided to us. One of my favorite things about summer is the adorable piggy toes I get to nibble on as my children leave their socks behind. And this weekend I throughly enjoyed being a mom. Funny, you never know. You never know what being a mom will be like. I often feel like it’s a roller-coaster ride, but I am coming to the understanding that I actually have a lot more control over this ride than I ever thought.
It’s my choice what kind of a mom I want to be. I cannot control everything my kids do. I cannot control the circumstances of life. I can only submit to God all that I am and open myself to His leading and guidance. I can accept that my emotions, attitude and responses often drive my family’s emotions, attitudes and responses. And I can certainly do something about that.
Sometimes Mother’s Day can be a day of expectations. I mean, you as a mom work hard all year…having a day where YOU are celebrated is kind of a nice thing. But the problem is that when you come to the table with lots of expectations you can tend to be disappointed. (Of course, there is ONE table that always exceeds your expectations.) The human table however, often just falls short. I remember my second Mother’s Day. The next day I woke up extremely disappointed that I had not even had a picture taken of my beautiful son and myself. So, last year I was determined to have a nice picture taken. And I got some nice ones. This year, I just wanted to relax and have fun. And truth be told I did not get any pictures of the kids and myself, but I got some really great pictures of my darlings playing in the sun and sprinklers. And I had a lot of fun.
It was a great day because I did have expectations. I had expectations for myself. I expected that I would let go of stress and frustration and my idea of how things should be done and hang on to the peace God had readily available to me. I am really starting to understand that this is the key to great parenting too. Put the expectations on yourself. Expect yourself to let go of laziness and pour into your kids. Expect that there will be bad days, but that you can turn them around by keeping your attitude in check. Expect that there will be poop blow-outs right before you leave, face scrapes right before important pictures, fighting between siblings when you NEED some peace and quiet and overall anything that could go wrong probably will…and you can handle it all with peace in your heart. You can actually smile when a whole plate of spaghetti sauce gets dropped on the white carpet (okay, maybe not right away) and allow God’s grace to reign. If you expect yourself to submit to God and train yourself to look to Him to lead, you can expect to see Him work miracles in your everyday situations.
5 Practical Applications
-Spend Time with God (you can’t expect to tap into what He offers if you haven’t spent time building relationship with Him)
-Spend focused time teaching your kids how to act by example (this means you practice how they act when you go to a store, the park, the zoo, etc.)
-Forgive yourself when you mess up (Nothing keeps you from succeeding more than hanging onto to the failures of the past)
-Turn off outside distractions so your children hear and understand what you say and you hear and understand what they say (It seems to me this is especially huge with boys…men are not natural multi-taskers)
-Know that each of your children will be different in how they listen and respond to what you ask of them and learn how to effectively communicate to them specifically ( by knowing what they need your communication can be more effective to get what you need)
You are in charge of you. And you can determine if your day is going to be filled with stormy clouds or sprinklers and sunshine!
Before you have kids people with kids always tell you that you need to pick your battles. They say that not everything is worth fighting for and some things you just have to let go. And I thought sure, no problem, of course. And when you hold that sweet little innocent baby in your arms you think everything will go smoothly and easily and battles will be a thing only OTHER parents have to deal with…not you.
Well, in our family we have made it through the Terrific Two’s with Yummy and are now into the Teachable Three’s. The problem with the teachable three’s is that sometimes you have to go through some battles. And let’s just be clear here that the three-year old isn’t the only one learning the lessons. Mommy and Daddy actually seem to be the biggest students around here.
Last night we picked a lesson that somewhere in the middle of it we probably wished we hadn’t. It was the – you must eat one piece of broccoli before you can be done with dinner – lesson. Right now, Squeaky is the most amazing eater. If you put something in front of him he will try it. He will probably eat it and lots of it. Yummy on the other hand would prefer to eat an apple, or cereal or peanut butter sandwich. Don’t get me wrong when he likes something he will devour it. And broccoli is actually something he used to love. He would eat piece after piece after piece. Last night however, he was not in the mood. And when he is not in the mood to eat something we realize how lacking his other table manners are. So, we have decided that it is well past time to start working on some practical table manners. I mean there have always been manners we’ve worked on, but not necessarily in a child specific way. (Another lesson learned for mom and dad.) I hate fighting around food because it just makes for poor digestion. So, we gave Yums the option…eat your one piece of broccoli or go straight to bed, no playtime, no bath, no story…oh yeah, and you have to eat that piece of broccoli for breakfast. Needless to say he picked the latter option. Why oh why did he have to go that route? So, Yummy went to bed and Squeaky got a bath and time with Mommy and Daddy and it was hard on Yummy. But not so hard as this morning.
First he only wanted Mommy cause he found out that Daddy was not budging on the broccoli for breakfast. Only to find out that Mommy and Daddy are a team and he was going to get the same answer from her. This simply would not do. But Mom had one alternative option. (First I must say that I must have been crazy when I suggested this. I am not one for covering up food with dips, etc., but I was beyond worn out from working on this issue.) So, I suggested we put syrup on the three bites and maybe that would help it go down. It did help the first two pieces, but last bite was proving to be a problem. After much dragging on and several threats (which did end up getting carried out) Yummy finally decided to man-up and eat that last piece. And with the swallowing of that last bite peace descended on our house. Yummy followed up that bite with 2 1/2 bowls of cereal, some steak from steak and eggs and some bit of egg.
The whole time this was going on I kept thinking about how God must feel when we act in this childish manner with Him. How many times does he just let us have our way? How many times does He give us a choice and we choose the more difficult route for us? What important lessons are we failing to learn because we are stubborn and hard-headed? How many times do we go through countless struggles only to find ourselves suffering instead of just turning around and taking that one step that takes us into a place of peace? Because we are simply His children learning the lessons that He is teaching in order to lead us into a complete-fulfilled life…true life.
And so today as I reflect on the lessons that I feel are battles in my life perhaps I will see the opportunity to take some syrup on my broccoli and be done with it. May I encourage you to examine these areas of your life too? If there is something that you are struggling with might you today take a step back and turn into the place of peace He has opened for you.
Sometimes I feel like the month of December is so overwhelmingly packed that I just can’t fit in one more thing. It feels like we are going, going, going every minute trying to fit in everything we can. I long for the ability to get everything done, but it feels like the hours are minutes and let’s not talk about the minutes.
What does this mean? It means that sometimes the most important things get squished into what might feel like less than they deserve. As you already know my mom’s birthday is in the month of December and my parents also decided to pack their anniversary into this blessed month, but perhaps you don’t know that it’s also my dad’s birthday this month. Yes, they have both their birthdays and their anniversary all packed into the Christmas holidays. Yikes! Since my dad’s birthday is so very close to the “Big” day I think sometimes it can really get squished.
The thing is…my dad isn’t really the kind of guy that you can easily squish. I mean the guy is 6 ft 3 in tall. I wanted to give him this birthday blog at the beginning of today, but I didn’t have all the pictures I wanted. (Thanks Carolyn for getting me some more.)
My dad has been so many things to so many people…son, brother, husband, father, pastor, friend. To me, he is simply my Daddy. I know there are lots of pastor’s kids out there that had a horrible childhood and felt like their dad’s were never around. I don’t remember ever feeling this way. Dad always made time for us. We were a priority in his life. (Thank you Dad!)
Perfect Dad…nope. Fantastic Dad…absolutely. He didn’t always do the perfect thing or say the perfect thing as a father, but he did work hard to make us happy. He loved us. He prayed for us. He spent time with us. He loved (and loves) my mom. He took care of her and still does. They are such good friends. They have made a great marriage and family together.
Because of my dad we traveled the world. I got to see places and experience adventure that most kids will never know. My dad loves adventure. I know he will never be happy stuck all in one place. Fortunately he also travels via the written word and I have been inspired to read as much as possible.
Dad – Happy Birthday! I love you. I love the time we spend together. You have given me so much. You have taught me to love God and love people. You used to rock the “Magnum P.I.” look and I have always been proud to have such a handsome dad. I love our birthday ‘dates’. Those have always been treasured times in my memory. You always give me the sappiest of cards and make me cry. I treasure the man you are because you showed me what type of man I should marry. I am so thankful that I found someone like you (although I have to admit it scares me sometimes too). There are things I got from you that I could live without…like the sweat glands and giant feet, but most of the things I got from you I celebrate…like my eyes and values. I love your relationship with my sons. You are a fantastic Bucko!
Sure I have a lot of memories about childhood. (Okay, less than I’d like…) One of my most treasured memories is one that happened pretty much every night was how you would stand out in the hallway between Nick’s room and mine and sing to us. I really believe that made my sleep much more peaceful than it ever would have been otherwise. And then there was the time you were in another country for my birthday and sent me flowers at school. I felt so grown-up and so treasured. It has always given me a sense of security knowing I can come to you if something goes wrong. Another one of my favorite memories was the sound of your voice when I told you that I was pregnant with your first grandchild. It was so much fun telling you that way. I would love to have my kids feel as loved by me as I felt by you growing up.
If only time would slow down a little bit and we could really spend more time together. If only we could talk more and learn more about each other. I know you would love to talk about your favorite subject and I have a few of my own I’m sure you would love to hear about. In the meantime let’s just promise each other that we will treasure the moments and the talks that we do have.
I love you Dad!
Yesterday I missed writing a blog post. In the earlier part of the day I went with a friend on a walk to the park. Then we went on a hike in the mountains with family in the late afternoon.
What an absolutely gorgeously wonderful day. Sometimes I forget how much fun it is to get out in the beautiful weather and enjoy the outdoors. And being that fall is my favorite time of year the urge to get out there gets even stronger.
Today I want to encourage you to get out and enjoy the fresh air in a way you don’t normally do. Revel in the unique fall air warm with a hint of briskness. And if you just can’t today, well then, take today to plan something you’re going to do this weekend. Don’t let another day go by humdrum and mundane. Go for it and get outside!
Happy Fall! ~Jessica
Here are some pictures from last week’s garage sale. It was a bright sunshiny day and we had lots of customers. We all made money and I reached and even exceeded my goal for apple picking. My sister was the star of the show in that she brought two items to sell in the garage sale and sold both of them.
As you can see my parents live with a hilly driveway so everything was perched to keep it from rolling down. Even their street is a hill so we worked for a while to have everything placed just so. The sale went so well and we had customers showing up after we were closing down so I decided to continue the sale this weekend again. Perhaps not my greatest plan, but I had a smaller goal to make and primarily it was to sell as much as I could so we didn’t have to transport as much to charity.
Yesterday I left the kids at home with their Daddy and planned to have the sale from 7AM-9AM. I walked out of the house to drizzle and knew this was not going to be the same sort of sale as the one I had last weekend. May parents dog was not thrilled that I was over so early making noise…
After an hour and 20 minutes with only one customer I think we started going a little crazy…crazy, but we started making our own fun. Cousin “B” had a tray of wheatgrass that reminded my mother of the golf coarse grass she grew up on.
This must have sparked something in my mom, because her silly side came out. Then Cousin “B” joined her and here are the results.
I think at this point I had made about $2.50 so things weren’t that promising. I did realize that after watching my mom take on the open road though that there was no way I was going to have a bad day. After this though, things started to pick up and I ended up exceeding my goal for the day by a whole $1.50 and mom even made $5 too. All in all, I had a great morning that none of us will probably ever forget. Instead of saying it was “just another” garage sale, we will be saying remember that garage sale with the wheeled chairs…yep, I lead the good life!
This is just a quick review of the newest farmer’s market style store that opened up in close vicinity to my house, Sprouts Farmer’s Market. Actually, it’s closer to my mom’s and that is why after I bit of persuasion I was able to get her to accompany me out this morning. This wasn’t hard-core shopping, it was a just a check you out kind of stop. I just wanted to let you know what your would be in for should you happen to stop by. I will be comparing it to my beloved Sunflower Market which is within walking distance of my house.
First of all this location just opened yesterday, so of course everything is nice and clean. They have two types of carts just like SF, but their bigger cart is a little narrower, but much deeper. I bring this up because when shopping with two kids you really notice this sort of thing. I had planned to wear Squeaky in a carrier, but of course he fell asleep right before we got to the store. Dilemma…wake him and put him close to me or figure out how to bring his carseat along. I HATE putting his carseat on the upper bars because I am so short and can hardly see over it, but when it’s in the basket I often don’t have room for any items. Fortunately since mom was with me we were able to take two carts and I maneuvered the seat into the basket. Not easy if I do say so myself, but doable.
We were greeted by a cheerful face and offered flyers and coupons. Because this is the first week there were a lot of sales going on…my favorite kind of shopping. The store was laid out almost identical to Sunflower, but was a bit brighter. It did look like they have a bit better fresh fish section than SF if you’re interested in that kind of thing. Today many of the prices were a bit better, but not that much and I think it was really because of the grand opening. There was one thing that they had that I LOVED…a bulk spice section. Normally I go to the Savory Spice Shop which I adore, for most of my spices, although it is not the most kid friendly place…at least if your kid is 2 and a half. And I will still continue to go there because they have a HUGE selection. But, if I need something quick and am on that side of town I will pick some spice up at Sprouts.
Because of the grand opening the are giving away reusable bags with the orders this week so that was really cool. I am always happy to get a few more of those. And I love the bright green…it will never get lost, or at least not easily.I got several good buys like nectarines 3lbs for $1 and a 5lb bag of potatoes for $.88. And I got some natural cereal for $1/box. I am hoping it tastes good because it has no high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated palm oil. It has some really good stuff instead.
I do believe that my most interesting purchase was …
No, those are not small lettuce…they are giant brussels sprouts. They were $.99/lb. I have hated brussels sprouts, but because my darling cousin told me a yummy sounding way to cook them I am going to try them out. (I will post up something about that too.) My man says that if they are covered in melted butter he’ll eat them, but that doesn’t sound too healthy which is one of the reasons I would like to add them into our diet. We’ll see what happens there.
Overall, Sprouts Farmer’s Market was a great place to go. The people were all really friendly and the store was nice and clean. I will definitely go back when I am on my mom’s side of town.
Well, I don’t know if you shop at local farmer’s markets, but I really recommend them. Both Sprouts and Sunflower are great commercialized farmer’s markets. I really recommend trying out a totally local one, but if you can’t, go to one of these or something like it in your area. Try something new to add variety into your diet. Try something from a local farm in season and see the taste difference. What you put in your body matters and if you can get good stuff at good prices then go for it. Shopping at these places will save you money if you follow the specials and buy what’s in season.
Have fun! ~Jessica
My kids are my simple blessings and nothing can compare to the joy I feel when I spend time with them. It’s a treasure for me to do special things for them and just hanging out can be the best moments of my life. I just thought that today I would share some of the special things we’ve been doing together.
Last week we washed all the toys in a bleach water solution because someone had a pee-pee accident on the edge of his toy box. It was SO MUCH fun. (hahaha) The house smelled like bleach all day and the dishes that needed to be washed stayed piled up next to the sink an extra day, but all our toys are ready for the one who likes to chew.
We went to the park and both boys got to swing on the big boy swings because there were no little guy swings. Still it was fun and a good opportunity for Yums to work on in-out pumping. It’s always nice when we get to hang out with family too. But since we walked to the park in the hot sun and we adults were all sweaty I am not going to share any pictures of us 🙂
Some family lives close by and other family is no-where near close enough. Whenever we get the chance we spend time hanging with those we love and miss oh so much. Uncle N was here this week. Yummy adores his uncle and can’t get enough of him and his big truck. Squeaky on the other hand is a little more cautious. He loves seeing uncle tap out rhythms…can’t take his eyes away from him, but the minute he gets into his arms we do see a cascade of tears. (I think secretly Yummy is threatening Squeaky at night so he doesn’t lose any of his precious unkie time.) We managed to sneak in one special picture.
It doesn’t matter if we sitting around at night eating living food or blowing bubbles outside into the wind. It doesn’t matter if we are playing the guitar or building towers. All that matters is that we are together…enjoying the simple blessing of being with each other.
Tonight I made a simple treat for Daddy and Yummy (although I am sure Squeaky would have dove right in if we had let him). It’s an odd recipe that is from a cookbook my grandmother gave me that was distributed the year after I was born in her church group. Sometimes when I read these recipes I have to be careful because some of these ladies didn’t quite share all the ingredients, but this one is so simple that you really can’t mess it up. Enjoy!
TOASTED MARSHMALLOW CRACKERS
saltine crackers (I’ve also use Ritz) butter marshmallows
Spray a cookie sheet. Spread butter on top of crackers. Place on cookie sheet. Top with a half or whole marshmallow (I prefer a half…it’s a little less messy). Bake in a 300 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove when nicely browned. Let cool for a minute or so and remove from pan.
My dearest asked me to make them with grape jelly also. I was thinking next time I might try this on graham crackers and add a drizzle of chocolate. Okay, so maybe since we didn’t get to go camping this summer I am really craving s’mores.
This may sound like a really weird treat, but I get rave reviews every time I make it. Give it try, you never know what you may like.
Be encouraged today to count your simple blessings and name them one by one. Let yourself be childlike and enjoy every moment like it’s the best thing you’ve ever done…even when it’s work. You never know what delight you may have missed.
Proverbs 10:22 God’s blessing makes life rich; nothing we do can improve on God.