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?
(Warning -This is a long post that does ramble a little. Thanks for your indulgence.)
Glug, glug, glug…air bubbles are floating up to the surface, but I am far from being able to take a breath. At first I was just dipping my toes in. Then I was just wading out to my knees. Suddenly the waves started to roll in. I didn’t even see them coming. The next thing I knew I was being pulled under and tossed about. I was drowning…drowning in the deepest ocean I had ever been in. The ocean of too much.
Too much stuff, too many ideas, too many thoughts, too many responsibilities, you name it, I was over my head. Maybe it started with parenting, maybe with politics, maybe with food, maybe with blogging. I can’t really even say anymore what the starting point was…maybe it was just a good idea. I think the waves that finally pulled me under were the waves of lack of sleep. So, this is how I’ve been lately. Feeling like there are so many things coming in that I can’t hold anymore. Feeling like I need to know more and that when I start to look into something simple I get overwhelmed with the mountain behind it. And everybody’s opinions vary.
All of this overwhelming feeling usually takes me to one other feeling…the feeling of failure. It’s like ugg…I will never be able to understand all of this or take it all in or do it all. How do I be all that I want to be and succeed doing it? I can’t say that I’ve been wallowing in this feeling, just recognizing that I need to do some re-evaluating. I’m dropping balls anyway; I might as well take a break from juggling altogether.
And so I stopped reading blogs for a bit. Now I’ve started going through my list and only keeping those I was really aware of missing. I LOVE reading blogs. There is so much interesting information to read about and so many interesting people to get to know. The thing is that I sort of let reading blogs steal a bit of my real love away…reading REAL books. (And I have to say one of my favorite things about going to the gym is that I get to read there. Who knew you could exercise and read at the same time? This rocks…because let’s face it: I don’t have much time for real book reading at home. Or wait, is it really that I haven’t been making time for it? Hmmm…)
And Hubs and I have been taking a look around our house and seeing what we can do without. It’s definitely getting harder. I have a lot more to let go of, but I just don’t want to. I like my stuff… I like not being without. I like freedom. I like peace. I like trusting God to supply all of my needs. Ahh, the crux of this problem. Am I holding onto things because it is wise to and they have a positive impact on my life? Or am I holding onto things because I am afraid I won’t have what I need when I need it? Seems like every time I make the decision to trust Him He comes through…could I please remember this right away next time instead of stressing over things?
When I was 17 I was out roller blading and fell down and broke my collarbone and knocked myself out. Scary right? The really scary part is that I now seem to find gaps in my brain power. I was talking to Hubs about this the other night, but he thinks it’s just lack of sleep. Claims I would be totally smart if I didn’t have kids keeping me from sleeping normal. I think perhaps it’s a combination of these and a little scatter-brainedness thrown in too. I remember in highschool…I used to be smart. Now I struggle to hold in all the important facts.
But maybe it’s really that I want to know so much. There are so many important things to know in life and I don’t like having to pick and choose. I want to know all there is to know about so many things. Thankfully no matter what I’m learning about I always seem to find a new aspect of God. This seems to happen to me especially when it would appear I am learning about something totally unrelated. But He has this way about Him…
There are three things that have really been impacting my life lately. One -The book by Ann Voscamp One Thousand Gifts. Two -Blogs posts written in January by Megan (part 2) from Sorta Crunchy and her husband Kyle about making their home and their lives an Oasis. Three – The book Made from Scratch by Jenna Woginrich. These three sources have been working on me to clarify some things and help me sort out what really matters.
Ann is helping me to see the beauty in the gifts God has given me in the everyday and the ordinary. Megan and Kyle are helping us to let go of our “treasures” and be open to allow God to really move in and through us. Jenna is helping me see that trying to rush through things to get to the end of the dream isn’t going to get me where I want to be. It’s better to take things slowly and one at a time to truly understand what I’m doing.
So, I don’t have to know everything this minute about raising chickens or canning food or vaccinating my kids or hunting or the GAPS diet or exercise or discipline or knitting or loving everyone or understanding what this or that scripture means or soaking grains or cloth diapering. Honestly, this is only a small portion of the things that have been running through my head. Trying to know and understand everything. Feeling like I can’t know enough or even that I am not enough because I can’t quite grab it all and coming back to the drowning place. And when I let go of needing to get it all at once… And when I let go of trying to wrap my brain around everything… And when I let go of my self-imposed expectations… And when I let go of what everyone else thinks… Well, that’s when I realize that I have reached in ENOUGH. I am ENOUGH. I don’t have to be everything to everyone. I just need to tackle one thing at a time. I just need to let God show me which thing to open up to. I just need to see the gift He has for me waiting for me to pick up. I don’t have to tear off the paper. I can savor and enjoy the feel of the ribbon. I can treasure the time my Father took to wrap it up for me. The way He wound this universe together for me to discover. Like the unfolding of a rosebud in the light of His glory I can breathe in the daily lesson He has for me. I can be content with what He has given me for today. I can see Him in all that I do because He is in it ALL. Nothing is separate from His hand. I can trust my brain cells to Him. I can can trust that I will know what I need to know when I need to know it. I can rest in HIM.
Because the simple truth of life that I am realizing once again is that – IT is NEVER enough, but
HE is ALWAYS MORE than enough.
Drip. Drip. Drip. It all started with a leak…a leaky nose that is. Well, actually it started before that, but I think I was too asleep to notice it. One little teether will do that to you. So, the little teether (Squeaky) had been put back to sleep after needing mommy and now Yummy was awake and desperately wanting Mommy. (This should have been a sign as he almost never wakes up after he is down for the night.) Daddy brought him to the couch to “sleep” with Mama while Daddy watched TV, but it wasn’t really working. He kept playing and sliding off, but I was way to out of it to do anything about it. Finally Daddy sent us all to our real beds.
Just a few hours later Yummy joined Mommy in bed and actually fell right asleep. (This should have been another sign as he only falls asleep in Mommy and Daddy’s bed when something isn’t right with him.) He also stayed asleep longer than Squeaky which is not the norm. And with his rising the dripping arrived.
Just Friday I read this blog about a simple home remedy for a cold of honey and cinnamon. When my babies aren’t well my heart hurts and I am willing to do just about anything to make them feel better. So, this remedy was the first step of my Get Well Yummy plan. He was delighted to have something so tasty to start his day with.
The remedy was followed by apple spice pancakes and a spread of vapor rub on his feet and chest. Then my goal became liquid, liquid, liquid. I told Hubs that I was going to do for Yummy whatever I would have done had it been one of us who was sick. So, to the grocery store I went. Thankfully all the things I needed were on sale this week which meant I arrived home with OJ, chicken quarters and tissue paper.
Chicken went into a pot for homemade chicken soup. OJ got watered down with hot water and Yummy got lots of extra snuggles and prayers. Turns out it was one of my better batches of soup and even Squeaky delightedly enjoyed the softened vegetables and bits of meat he was given.
Dinner was followed by a warm bath for Yummy and another rub down of vapor rub. He also received a dose of the red liquid to help with the heat that was spread across his body. Then stories and prayers and another snuggle.
This is what I do. I care for my little brood. I pray for them, cook for them, cuddle them and support them. I take note of temperatures, kiss owies, sing lullabies in the middle of the night and love. I get tired, overwhelmed, worn out and somehow find the energy to do it all over again. I am mom…this is what I do. And every moment of everyday I thank God for a man who stands besides and does it all with me. I am one BLESSED woman. I am mom…and this, this is what I WANT to do.
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
31 -That is the age I am today. I have had 31 years to learn, grow and figure things out and yet I feel sometimes like a newborn babe just discovering things for the first time. There are, however, a few things that have stuck with me along the way and these I wanted to share with you today. They are in no particular order because each one is a valuable lesson and if I hadn’t learned it I wouldn’t be who I am today. And I now know that I am not and never will be too old to learn new lessons.
1) Most important lessons are learned when dealing with small and simple things that might appear unimportant at the time.
2) Family is so important and you should do whatever you can to repair any damages that happen in your relationships. Sure, you can live without your family, but nothing is really worth that.
3) Kids are one of the greatest blessings God can give someone and our time with them is meant to be cherished and treasured.
4) Men want respect more than they want love, but if it’s within my power to give my husband both why wouldn’t I?
5) Stuff is just stuff and any “thing” should not hold enough value to have power over my life.
6) It’s okay to take a nap when you’re tired…if the kids let you.
7) Being right is not a necessity.
8) I am a better person when I don’t try to run other people’s lives.
9) Inspire others to action, don’t intimidate them to it.
10) I do well when I’m pregnant; I should be often. 🙂 (right hon?)
11) I actually like cloth diapering…prefer it even.
12) I like becoming a more natural mom and I am open to more “weird” things than I ever thought would be.
13) Brussels sprouts actually have a “s” at the end of brussels and can be pretty good when cooked properly.
14) I like when my hair is colored, but my best look is when I smile.
15) It’s okay to say the following…”no” or “I don’t know”
16) If something is wrong with your body, don’t suffer through it…TAKE CARE OF IT. Everyone will be happy you did.
17) Credit cards are not for me because,I hate being in debt.
18) It’s not about what or how much I have, it’s about how much I love.
19) Living a lifestyle of forgiveness will make you a softer person and being a soft person can be a good thing.
20) My parents are great.
21) The whole world doesn’t have to be black and white…it can have shades of grace.
22) Getting older is a good thing when you get wiser as you go…otherwise you just look like an idiot.
23) Friendships come and friendships go, but if you miss someone you can always try Facebook.
24) It’s okay to make friends on the internet.
25) Jesus is my best friend and my hubby is number 2. I interact better with both of them off the internet.
26) Sometimes I’m lonely, but I’m never alone.
27) Peace may be costly, but it’s worth it.
28) If you feel rushed into something it probably isn’t the best thing for you.
29) Freedom isn’t free and I would pay any price so my kids can be free.
30) I love my husband and children more than I love myself.
31) Putting God first makes for a better marriage, causes us to be better parents and helps me be a better me.
And my bonus lesson is…
The best thing is the laughter! (click for link)
Wishing you the happiest of days!
Stiff as a board…lobster red skin…an open mouth with angry screams issuing from it. No, this is s not a horror movie I was watching…except my own personal horror show. Rather, this is the response that I have been getting for saying “no”. Have you seen these signs in your children? Yikes, it’s kind of scary. And there has been a sense of dread that this could happen out in “gasp” public.
I know this happens to other parents, but sometimes I feel like I am the only one having these moments. Some days I get really down and let it get to me. I allow that instance to control my entire day. Some days I work past it and we move on, but it’s a lot of work.
Today I was reading 2 Timothy 1:7. I have known this verse by heart from the King James version for as long as I could remember. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind. This has been so ingrained in me. Yummy and I say it all the time together as he is getting into that “I’m scared” phase (which personally I believe not to be a fear thing, but an attention game). We even shout at the end…that means NO FEAR (well, Yummy says No Sear, but he is working on his f’s).
By now you are thinking…what does a kid throwing a fit and no fear have to do with each other? Well, today when I was reading that verse I read it i a different version than I ever have before and instead of a sound mind, it says self-discipline. Usually when Yummy starts to get angry and throws one of “those” kind of fits we tell him to calm down that he needs to control himself and when I read self-discipline I realized that is one of the ways he has to deal with his anger. So, of course I had to go read it in the Amplified which is my favorite research version. This is how it reads, For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. And the Message reads God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible.
Wow…all those words hit me. CALM – WELL-BALANCED MIND – SELF-CONTROL and the way the Message refers to these things as GIFTS. How many times have I forgotten to use these GIFTS as a parent? Am I training my children to recognize what God has given them and use it or am I training them to leave their GIFTS wrapped up sitting in a closet? Let’s be realistic…everybody likes GIFTS. Most of the time we all want to use what we’ve been given. I really believe that if I continue to instill in him that God has given him so many GIFTS and TOOLS to use that he will. He can be calm instead of over-reacting in anger. He can think clearly and be balanced in how he responds to not getting his way. He is able to discipline his body to stay at peace or as we say in this house…grow his peace muscles.
And I can too. I can grow my peace muscles by using the GIFTS that God has given me. I do not need to fear angry outbursts, but rather rejoice that God is doing a good work in my children and when flesh tries to take control they are learning that they don’t have to let it. I am learning that I can be a parent of calm and orderliness. I can speak peace and see it change what used to be my moments of misery into my moments of celebration.
May you find today that the GIFTS you have been given are greater than what you thought they were. May you remember to open the closet and take them out and unwrap them. May today finding you doing something differently than you did yesterday.
I ask my boys this daily. “Do you know, do you really know how much I love you?” Then I tell them…just in case. I say, “I love you more than the sands by the sea and the stars in the sky. I love you more than that.” Sometimes Yummy looks up at me and smiles. Sometimes he answers before I can tell him and says “sand sea, stars sky.”
My prayer is that they eventually both think of how much they are loved every time they look up at the night sky or visit the sea’s beautiful shore. The next question I always ask is “Who loves you more than that even?” To which Yummy has jokingly replied “Daddy…” Little stinker. He knows what I am asking him. I want him to know that no matter what happens Jesus loves him even more than we do.
Lately when I tell Yummy this he has been acting super goofy. He closes his eyes and pretends he is asleep. I guess this is his way of saying that he has heard it before. The longer I have been a parent the more I wonder how God deals with us as His children. How many times does He tell us He loves us and we close our eyes and say “Yeah, yeah God. That’s nice.” ? Have we heard Him saying it so often that it no longer means as much? Is it possible for us to be more complacent about His love? Or is it possible that His love for us is so great that whether we have our toes in shallow end or have waded in to our waist, there is still an ocean of discovery waiting for us to dive into? The simple truth is that His love is boundless. He eagerly waits for us to run into His arms. He waits for us to dance in His arms and drink of His new mercy every morning. He delights in sharing His love with us. It’s time for us to open our eyes and look at His glorious face. It’s time to open our ears again and REALLY listen. It’s time to fall in love all over again.
I ask you today that no matter where you are at; no matter what is going on in your life take a moment to really listen to your Daddy. Let His words of love crash over you like the waves of the ocean. Let them surround you like fog and blanket you like the one your mother tucked under your chin at night. Hear His gentle words whisper on the wind “I love you, My child, I love you.”
And just as I will continue to tell my children every day multiple times a day that I love them, so He will continue to tell you. He will tell you in the morning breeze and under the bright shining sun and with the twinkling stars at night. I LOVE YOU MY CHILD…MORE THAN THE SANDS BY THE SEA AND THE STARS IN THE SKY. I LOVE YOU!
Today started out pretty ordinary…other than the fact that I am still having pretty extreme back pain. Yummy woke up early, 5:30AM, hungry and ready to start his day. I did what I could for him and then laid down to rest. Back was aching, aching. (My pelvis is out of whack right now. It’s tilted so one side is higher than the other and also turned in a bit. This is making things very difficult right now.)
Our potty training adventure have been going pretty well actually and I trust Yummy’s sense of timing more and more. Pee pee accidents are few and far between. We can even leave the house for short trips in undies only. (BTW – I have decided that Pull-Ups make me lazy and I am trying very hard not to use them too often.) Most days he runs around the house in just undies or his birthday suit because that’s the easiest.
Today, we knew company was coming so it was definitely an undie day and as I love to see him in his cute little clothes I wanted to add some of them too. It took some digging in his clean clothes basket, but I found something cute to wear and a pair of undies. He was busy building me a tower in his room and I didn’t have the energy to fight him to get him dressed right then, so I went downstairs to rest my back a bit.
I was actually feeling pretty good hearing him use the bathroom. After a while, Yummy calls out to me. “Mama, poo poo.” Uh-oh was my first thought. I struggle to get off the couch. “Do you need to use the potty, honey? Mama’s coming.” “No Mama, I did poo poo.” More uh-oh’s running through my mind.
Then everything got worse. I came up the stairs to discover that my darling little angel had pooped on his bedroom floor. Not only that, but being like his amazing Daddy he knew it needed to be cleaned up. So, he took the clean shirt on the top of his basket and proceeded to wipe up his mess. By the time I arrived it was pretty bad. There was poop everywhere. On his floor, on the now “not clean” shirt, on his fingers and legs and feet. GROSS!
I was so upset, not so much at him, okay, so I was upset at him and at my pain and how was I going to clean up the mess. It was bad. My attitude got as stinky as the mess I was cleaning up. I started crying out at him…”Where does poo poo go?” His initial response was “in the potty”, but as I asked it over and over his response simply turned to “I’m sorry Mommy. I’m sorry Mommy.” I got the poop cleaned up as best I could as my back was killing me from bending over and I was very afraid of popping things out of place again. I decided that even though I was hurting I should probably try to steam clean the carpet. I took Yummy and his shirt downstairs while he continued to tell me how sorry he was. I scrubbed his shirt and told him to just be quiet and sit on his potty. How mean was I?
I found the steam cleaner to be buried behind a pile of junk that my back would not allow me to move. Yummy continued to feel bad and I had to tell him that I was trying to forgive him. What a yucky mommy!!! Eventually, I got over my idiocy and forgave him. I am sure I will even laugh about this someday (which by the way, most of the people I told already have…thanks for that.) The little naked butt got clothed and we had a great rest of the day.
This was one of what I am sure will be many learning moments for me. I don’t ever want to be like that again. I want to show my darlings peace and love regardless of the circumstances. I CAN make a choice in “these” moments and I choose that I will be better from now on!
I also choose to not feel guilty over my actions and choose to see each moment as a fresh one. Pain will not dictate my reaction and responses. Also, I will keep it stored in my memory that I never cause my children to feel such guilt again.
Yummy, if you ever read this I want you to know that I LOVE YOU with all my heart and you are a fantastic amazing wonderful little boy! ~Mommy