Come Play With Me: Choose to Delight

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“Come play with me, Mommy!”  “I will soon baby, I promise.”  I then proceed to walk inside with the intention of getting my sweater.  I go inside and gather my phone and kindle (yes I do need these to play).  “MOMMY, come play ball with me!”, my daughter says in her sweet little 3 year old frustrated voice. “I will baby, I promise, I just forgot my sweater.  (It’s sunny and 60 degrees)  I go inside to get the baby monitor… and my sweater.  I go back outside and sit down, “Moooommmyyyyy, come play”, my daughter pouts. “I will, I just need to get the charger so I can hear baby brother.”  I go inside to find the monitor, just to realize I have misplaced it, spend another few minutes trying to find it, then I give up.

By this time, my daughter is nearing temper tantrum phase.  MOMMMYYYY, COME… PLAY… WITH… ME!! Now, I really try not to let her talk to me like that, but I was exasperating her.  In her defense, she had asked nicely several times  without success.

I finally play ball with her, and we had such a good time! We were both laughing and just delighting in each other.

Isn’t that what our Heavenly Father wants? Much like my daughter continued to plead with me to play with her, our Heavenly Father pleads for us to come to Him. He wants to delight in us. He wants to spend time with us, ball playing, no interruptions, time with us, with you.

"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalms 37:4

Aren’t we all like a three year old sometimes, begging and pleading just for someone to pay attention to our antics? Isn’t that’s why we get angry or frustrated or sad because our spouse or our boss or our friends or our parents or siblings or children don’t appreciate us? They just don’t see that you emptied one side of the sink even if the other is still full. They don’t see that you put one basket of  the never ceasing laundry mountain away or that you took the garbage out without asking or put away your laundry or shoes without asking. Those people, they don’t see that you helped your co workers with that project or that you have already done all the things expected of you and more. If they only would have noticed what the problem was in the first place or just noticed all the little things we just did or do on a daily basis. Does this sound familiar?

That’s just the point though. How awesome it is that we have a Heavenly father who does just that. That lives in the moment, in the present, and we know we are loved.

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love....I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." John 15: 9,11

He does recognize us and all the little things we do or don’t do. Not because it matters whether the kitchen is clean or the laundry is put away or all the toys are picked up. Not to Him at least. Because He sees what really matters. He sees the heart of the matter. He sees your desire for a clean home so that it is pleasant for you and your family to live in. He sees that you took care of the problem at work because it was the right thing to do. He sees the kindness and the listening ears and helping hands. He sees your broken heart and anxious spirit. And He cares. He care about all of it, because He loves you. Unconditional, never un-breaking, always and forever love.

"For God so loved the world (that's you!) that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

It is because of our God that we have an example of how we should treat all our loved ones. It is because of Him that we have a reason to do things without thanks or recognition. Because of Him, our standard is higher and our hope remains constant.

One of my favorite sayings from my teenage and college years (wish I could remember where I originally heard it), is that we need not remember who we are but whose we are.

We all have days when we are frustrated and overwhelmed, when that laundry pile seems like it will never go away (and maybe it won’t).  We all have days where we don’t delight in our loved ones or ourselves even. Today was one of those days for me. I was lacking patience and my daughter was lacking listening. Nothing I did or didn’t do seemed to make a difference in her sassy attitude. It was so bad by 7:00 PM, I was finished. My daughter was in bed by 7:15.

I pray when we have those days the days where you feel like you are the worst mom ever, that instead of raising our fist in anger or thrashing our bodies on the floor toddler style, that we choose the higher standard. I pray we choose love and delight. I failed miserably today, I did not choose love or delight. I chose yelling and frustration and anger. I pray on those days where the end is not what you want to remember, I pray that we will receive grace and forgiveness for ourselves and lift our hands up to our Heavenly Father who hears and forgives all. I pray that we bow on the ground in prayer, not rage.

I pray that we may always choose love and delight and forgiveness for the days when we don’t.

Thanks for reading! Please share with those who need to hear these words.

Life is in the Interruptions

Interruptions, oh how I am constantly being interrupted. Many days I do not sit down to eat until two o’clock…. By the time I feed the baby, prepare my daughter’s meal, then take her to the bathroom, change the baby’s diaper, get them both down for naps at the SAME TIME! (That’s my goal anyway!)

Interruptions are a way of life. It took me 34 years to figure that out!  I hope this helps you know that before 34 years!  I have finally come to expect that I will never be able to complete one task in a day, or at least not while I have a three year old and a baby.  It is just…not… happening.  I try, oh, how I try. I start to unload the dishwasher, then it’s “Mommy, I need to go potty”.  I try again, then the baby starts crying. Then the dog needs to go out. Then I turn my back, and my daughter is handing her seven month old brother paper to chew on and hard peppermints within his reach! (I know, I should have moved the peppermints! Don’t worry, I did after that!)

I have finally just decided to accept my interrupted life. That’s not a bad thing. I’ve decided to change my perspective. If you can’t change the circumstance, then change the way you look at things. When I look at my children as interruptions, then my day goes much smoother.  I expect to be interrupted every five minutes.  And that’s OKAY. This is just a season. My children need me now, they will not always need me. God made me to be their mom, the dishes can wait.

I often think this is how Jesus felt. He was constantly interrupted as well. He was constantly giving, with very little in return.  I wonder if he ever got frustrated?

Just this evening, I was actually sweeping the floors (this is a rarity in my house! Who has time for that?).  My daughter was “helping”, and by helping I mean sweeping my piles of dirt out of their piles in order that I had to sweep again! She was trying to be helpful. It’s really my fault for showing her how and buying her a mini broom. (Yes, I did!) How often were people trying to help Jesus, and they just made it worse. What did Jesus do in those moments?

I think so many times we focus on life in between the interruptions, on the tasks on hand. We so often forget that Life is IN the interruptions.  Our life is those little interruptions:  the baby crying in the night, sticky hands hugging you, tears that need wiping, knees that need to be kissed and cleaned. Our life is in those phone calls from a friend who needs you. Or perhaps it’s in putting down your electronics to look your spouse in the eye. Maybe it’s the person in the hall at work or school who is lost, just needing directions and guidance. Take Martha, for instance. She was a busy woman, and I think she may have been a little resentful of Mary. Mary was her interruption. She had to stop what she was doing to go ask Mary to help. I can relate.  BUT, Jesus had it more right. He delighted in the interruption. He saw Mary’s heart and accepted her. He loved her. He loved Martha too; he just needed her to stop and slow down, to take joy in the interruption.

I’m not saying I’m great at this. Not in the least.  I am a work in progress, and I am just praying along the way that I don’t screw my kids up too bad.  I probably would have been a Martha. But when I look back on my life, I want to remember what I did with my life of interruptions.

Remember, Life is in the interruptions.

What interruptions have you had today?

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5 Lessons We Learned From Our Marriage

dmpbjw_0037Recently, my husband and I celebrated our 6 year anniversary. Yay us!  I’m so glad to have him in my life. I wouldn’t want to share this life with anybody else. That being said, we have definitely had our ups and downs. Everyone says the first year is the hardest, but for us, that was not the case. Maybe it was because we didn’t live together before marriage, so we hadn’t had time t get to know each other’s little quirks. Our hardest year wasn’t even the second year. For us, it has definitely been the year 2013, year 3. A year of great blessing and great strife. That was the year our first child was born. You think you know each other, you think you have talked about how you want to raise your kids, until you have one. We argued so much that year, about things I never thought we would argue about. We argued about why we were arguing and what was important or not important to argue about. Crazy, I know! We argued about how to change a diaper, where to put the baby to sleep, what food to start the baby on, when she could have her first taste of sugar, when to call the doctor. You name it, we probably argued about it. Oh, the wasted months spent arguing.! But, if I had to do it again, I would not change a thing. Not one silly argument. Not because I like to argue (though I have been known to be argumentative) :), but because it taught us so much. Of course, we have not completed our lessons in life, I am sure, but here’s hoping the following lessons we learned can help you through your journey of marriage (and let’s face it, it is a journey more times than a vacation)

  1. It is okay to argue. It is what you do with those arguments. I would like to say we don’t have arguments anymore, or at the very least, we don’t have the same arguments. But though we have learned to communicate better, we still tend to have similar arguments. Just don’t let it fester! I’m talking to you girls! You know we are bad about letting things fester until it boils over. When you bring up something from a week ago, your poor guy is probably feeling bombarded (or so my husband says). It is healthy to argue, just as long as you do resolve it eventually.
  2. Do take time to enjoy your life and children together. If your husband and daughter are giggling together instead of him putting her to bed, join in.  If your daughter is throwing her stuffed animals in the air to see how far they can fly, then throw them with her. If she makes you some “tea”, drink it. And if your infant son wants to snuggle just a little longer than usual, than snuggle! Turn off the computer, tablet, phone, and remote control, and look your loved ones in the eye and be present!
  3. Take time for you! We hear it all the time. I’m still working on it too. In my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group, we are currently talking about being refreshed and flourishing. Whatever that looks like for you: Reading, taking a nap, exercise, meditating, music.  It looks different for everybody, but we all need it to flourish. It looks different in each season of life. For me, right now, it may only be 15 minutes of reading or enjoying a hot cup of tea or coffee (without having to microwave a million times!). I know between taking care of a 5 month old and a spirited almost 3 year old, I need time to refresh. I know you do too. Take time to be quiet and still! For the sanity of yourself and your marriage and the safety of your children, instill a quiet hour or two. (Some of us need more sanity saving time then others)  If your children don’t nap anymore, make it a quiet time. And everybody has quiet time, including the adults. We all need time to ourselves. At the same time. For me, right now, that means working my toddler’s schedule around the 5 month old baby. As soon as I lay him down for a nap, I’m laying her down shortly after or shortly before I know he will be ready for his nap. It won’t always be perfect. Life happens and you get off schedule. But some days, this  is the only thing that has saved my sanity. During this time, give yourself permission to not do any cleaning or “needed tasks”, only things you enjoy, that fill you up!
  4. Pray. .Pray for your marriage. Pray for your parenting. You are on the same team. Marriage and parenting is not for the faint of heart. We need God to be first in our marriage, then each other, then the children. I don’t think the children should come before your spouse. I’m sure there are exceptions, but I believe if you have a healthy marriage, then your children will see that, they will see that you are on the same team, so really it benefits them more for you to put your spouse first. Pray together, pray for each other, pray for your children. Pray aloud, pray silently. Just pray. That jut may be the only way to keep Satan out of your marriage.
  5. Share and Sacrifice. Share your prayer life. Share time together. Share a back rub even when you are exhausted. (I’m preaching to myself on this one.) Sacrifice your time by allowing the other to have time alone or with friends. Share articles and books you read. Just share your life. I don’t know much, but I do know that when my husband and I share and sacrifice for each other, we are at our happiest and most content. Just the other day, we were arguing about who would go to get the dog food.  He didn’t want me to go because I would have to manage both kids and a 50 lb bag of dog food. I didn’t want him to go because he had a long day  at work and that would prolong his day even more. I don’t give this example to brag, but rather to point out that when you share considerations for the other, then you are sharing love. Sharing is of paramount importance. When you share your life in all the tiniest daily living, then your share love. Not love in the sappy romantic way (although that his its time and pace), but true and deep and unconditional love.

What are some of the lessons you have learned in your relationships?

Thanks for reading! Please share this post if you feel led.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoince at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 (ESV)

Be That Act of Kindness

To the lady in Walgreen’s:

Thank you! You were so kind to me the other day. You probably don’t remember me, or maybe you do. I was the mother of two, with a two month old and a 2 year old clinging to my side and crying. You changed my day, for the better. I dropped off my prescription for my little girl’s ear infection and was told it would be 30 minutes. I was not upset that I was going to have to wait, I was a little dismayed it was going to be such a seemingly long time, but I wasn’t mad. But you noticed me, you saw me with my two young children and from the kindness in your heart, you expedited our prescription to being ready in 5 minutes!  That was such an amazing act of kindness, you have no idea how much I appreciated you! I wish I had remembered to get your name and not just hurriedly said thank you, though I hope my sincere thanks was apparent.

How extraordinary to be the recipient of such kindness!  I was not expecting it, was not even go to ask, but somehow she knew. Maybe it was the little baby fussing or the little girl clinging and crying on her mommy. Maybe it was my disheveled look (though I think I looked pretty put together under the circumstances 🙂  Or maybe you noticed the bags under my eyes from near chronic sleep deprivation. ( I am happy to say my baby appears to finally be sleeping through the night now!)  Whatever her reason, it felt amazing. Amazing to be noticed, amazing to be loved, even if just for that moment.

She was Jesus to me in that moment. She stopped to notice the little people and made a difference. How many times have we read stories of Jesus, stopping to talk to those culture deemed insignificant? (the woman at the well, little children, the boy with the few fish and bread that fed five thousand, the fishermen to become apostles) What he did for those people, at first glance, did not appear to be a big deal, but for those people, it made all the difference in the world.

It seems fitting, on the eve of Thanksgiving, for us to remember to be thankful for those seemingly insignificant moments that make all the difference. So, as you are doing your last minute shopping, or your early Black Friday shopping, as you sit down with your family or friends, remember to take notice. Take notice of the salesperson still being friendly after a full shift of having to work on Thanksgiving. Take notice of the nurses and doctors and other healthcare personnel for  caring for you or your loved one. Take notice of the loving hands preparing your food, whether at home or in a restaurant (one year it was just my sister and I for Thanksgiving, and yes, we did eat our Thanksgiving meal in a restaurant, and we were thankful there were restaurants willing to prepare a meal!) Take notice of the homeless guy asking for food or money. Take notice of the elderly who cannot walk or hear or see as well as they once could. Take notice of the young mothers or fathers who are juggling car seats, sticky fingers, diaper bags and temper tantrums (If you have no children, don’t judge. When and if you decide to have children, your day will come. It will be your child screaming in the grocery store or restaurant, and if you haven’t had this experience, then please share your secret with the rest of us!)  Take notice ,not just on and around the holidays, but all year round.  Be that act of kindness. Be somebody’s Jesus. You never know what a difference even the smallest of kind acts can do.  God will do the planting; you only need to do the sowing.

“So let us not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time, we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity we should do good to everyone- especially to those in the family of faith” Galatians 6:9-10

In what ways have you shown kindness or received kindness? I would love for you to share in the comments!

P.s. For more inspiration, follow my blog, and if this post encouraged you, please share with others!

 

For the Love of Chocolate

DSC_0197I LOVE chocolate! Just about any kind, with nuts, without, with peanut butter, caramel, whatever. If it has chocolate in it or around it, I will eat it and be bribed by it. One of my favorite kinds of chocolate is Dove chocolate, every flavor. I even love the little sayings that come in the wrapper. Now, I’m sure the Dove manufacturers did not intend to provoke profound thinking on their wrappers. And often, I just read them in passing. Some are cute, some are downright stupid (sorry Dove), and some are sweet. But one recently did have me pondering deep thoughts (maybe it’s the breastfeeding hormones).  “Do all things with love.”

Do ALL things with LOVE. Really?? Do ALL things with LOVE? Am I supposed to potty train with love, change diapers with love, eat, feed my children, fold laundry with love? While these things seem trivial, are they? What if we did everything from the lens of “Do ALL things with LOVE“.

Would that make the mundane things a little more enjoyable, or just increase the pressure of being a parent? After all, as all moms and dads know, toddlers and infants are exhausting (as I’m sure any age can be).  Between taking my two year old to the potty for the millionth time, cleaning the floor and sheets from pee and poo (I am happy to report that we are now almost completely potty trained!, just trying to get that #2!). Between  begging her to go # 2 on the potty and bribing her with a new toy and ice cream (which has not worked), and just short of forcing her on the toilet (which I realize does not work either!).  Between nursing every few hours to soothing a fussy baby at all hours, the last thing I  think about sometimes is love. I think about sleep and rest and peace! I think about being able to sit down with my lunch and not have little hands grabbing at my plate demanding at that instant to eat, even though they may have just eaten or just said they were done! I think about drinking HOT tea or coffee. I want to read a book in its entirety and in one sitting. I want to finish writing this post without interruption. I want to be able to eat my chocolate without having to hide it or share it with my child.

Maybe that is the point. Parenting is not glorious work. But neither was Jesus’ work . Did he want to constantly be traveling and speaking and healing? How many times did he get interrupted while praying or having a meal with his friends. How many times did he get woken up by cries and whines? How many times did he just want to spend time with his Father without having to break up an argument or soothe somebody? He did those things out of love and with love. Do ALL things with love.

“Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16: 14

What if, instead of lamenting our days away we said the following instead:

How amazing is it that my two year old is learning to go to the bathroom all by herself? How awesome is it that I can see my baby boy growing right before my eyes?. How extraordinary are all those dirty and wet diapers, for they are a sign that he is healthy?

While not the most glorious acts, these are all opportunities to show love. Show our love in discipline and teaching and learning. And even though this season of my life with young children seems to be dragging by at times, I know this too shall pass. Will I look back and say I did all things with love and that my children knew they were loved? At the end of the day, ask yourself:  Did I have a heart filled with love or was my heart weary and weighed down with the tasks and to do lists of the day?

I want to make sure my children know that they are loved. I don’t want them to remember a clean house, every meal being at 6:30, or an organized playroom. While there is certainly nothing wrong with, and I do aim for those things, my point is this:

I want my children to remember the laughter we shared, coloring and building blocks together. I want them to remember me baking with them and taking them to the park. I want them to have love filled memories.  I want them to remember that I loved them, just as they were. And, perhaps, I will share my chocolate. 🙂 (Sometimes…)

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to share!

Be sure to follow me for weekly encouragement from the realities of my ordinary life!

I Don’t Deserve Your Friendship

So many great friends in one picture!
So many great friends in one picture!

I don’t deserve to be your friend.  Chances are I will not be fully focused on you, especially if I have my child with me. I will probably forget your birthday or forget to tell you how much I appreciate you. I may never call you or return your text messages or voice mail.  My house will not always be clean when you come over. I will say again and again that we need to get together and then forget to follow through. It is not my intention to be a bad friend, for I greatly value your friendship.  Know that I am always striving to be a better friend to you.

I have had some great friends in my life and still do. I don’t know why; because like stated above I am not always a good friend. I try, oh how I try. It probably doesn’t seem like it when I ask you for the fifth time when your birthday is or what your husband does for a  living, or even what your husband’s name is. But I do value your friendship.  I believe we have friends at all stages of our lives for diferent reasons. Some friends are only there for a brief second like the friend you meet in the store with a kid the same age.  While you were both shopping, they were able to entertain each other. Or like the friend at the park whose kid generously shared with yours out of the blue. Their friendship meant a great lesson for your child or prevention of a meltdown in public.  Then there are the friends who are there for a season, some of these are college friends who you lose touch with or the one friend you studied with in the one class you had together. Some of these for me are friends from the church camp and girl scout camps I attended as a teenager. I have great memories of those friendships, the laughter, the pranks, the singing, playing ping pong, or swamping the canoe. Many of those friendships have passed on from my life, but played an important role in my life at the time.  Then of course there are the friends who come into your life and never leave, and they become your family. Even if you don’t talk to them everyday or even every month, you know they are always there for you and that they would give you the shirt off their back.  I would like to introduce you to two of these such friends in my life.

The first one I have known my entire life. We were supposedly friends when we were tots. She is my lifetime friend.  And while we are not as close as we once were, I know she will always be there for me and I hope she knows I would do the same.  And while we are both busy with our own lives in different cities and different states, she will always be a part of me, a part of why I am the way I am and what values I choose to teach my own children. She was the friend I could always be myself with and the one I shared my dreams with. The one who knew the perfect gift to buy, the one you could have a picnic in the backyard with. The one that you shared your coffee dates over the phone with.  The memories we have shared are too many to recount. Thank you Amy, for being my lifetime friend, the one I “loved like a sister” (LYLAS) and BFF.

The second friendship, was one that was never expected.  My friend, Connie, was my manager at the Chick Fil A when I was in high school. How many of you have become friends with a manager from a high school job?  I can’t say we were necessarily friends in high school (she was four years older than me, a big difference for a high schooler), but she is someone who I always had great respect for and always treated me with respect (in spite of my bad teenage attitude!) For some unknown reason, we kept in touch, even after I quit that job and went to college and she moved to a far away city.  I ended up moving to that very same city. She let me and a couple of my friends whom she had never met stay at her house during college interviews. Then, when I decided to move there, she helped me find an apartment, helped me find my way around.  That is where our friendship was truly sealed. She could not have been rid of me if she tried!  What kind of extraordinary person does that? We have been great friends ever since (even after living together which as we all know is sometimes detrimental to friendships). We live in separate towns now though close enough to visit fairly regularly.

For both of those friendships, I miss the days of seeing them on a daily basis. But, I have a feeling they will always be in my life and we will celebrate together in eternity.

I don’t deserve either of those friendships nor any of my other great friendships, of which all deserve an individual post. (Let me not forget my dear husband who is my greatest friend and partner, and my two sisters who I am lucky to also call friends).  Much like we don’t deserve Jesus’ friendship, He loves us in spite of our sinful lives.  He has done far more for us then we could ever repay. EVER!  It is because of Him that we are called to great friendships and great love.

“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.” 1 John 3:16

Because of Him, I remind you to open your mind to friendships you would have never expected.  I encourage you to be a better friend then I. God gives us different friends at different times in our lives that we need and that need us. We have to keep our eyes open so we don’t miss that treasure!  That is what I am working on right now, keeping an open mind for new friendships and not so quickly dismissing those that are different then me as a friend or one who needs a friend. Perhaps it is that person in the park you just met, or the work friend you keep at a distance, or perhaps even an older or younger friend.  There are no defintiions of what  friendship should be, except love. Jesus was a friend to all sinners. Often his friendship was not reciprocated, but he kept trying. He kept trying out of love and mercy. Never give up on friendship. A true friend is always worth the quest.

My question to you is how do you meet new friends? Whatever age you are, whatever stage in life, In what ways do you open your heart to new friends, and keep your heart free for old friends?

I will end with the words to one of my favorite songs: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xj4oukh8hY)

“We were made to love and be loved. But the price this world demands will cost you far too much. I spent so many lonely years just trying to fit in. Now I’ve found a place in this circle of friends.”

“In a circle of friends, we have one Father. In a circle of friends, we share this prayer. That every orphaned soul will know, and all will enter in to the shelter of this circle friends”

“If you weep I will weep with you. If you sing for joy, the rest of us will lift our voices too. But no matter what you feel inside, there’s no need to pretend. that’s the way it is with this circle of friends.

“Among the nations, tribes and tongues, we have sisters and brothers. And when we meet in heaven we will recognize each other. With joy so deep and love so sweet, oh we’ll celebrate these friends and a life that never ends.”

I pray that you will continue to be my friend. I will be taking an official break from my blogging to acquaint myself with our new baby boy and readjust to a family of four!  My official due date is September 3rd, so he could decide to meet the world at any moment!

Thank you for reading!

Look at the Birds

One of my favorite birds: A Painted Bunting Photo credit: www.fanpop.com

If you have been following my blog or know me personally, then you know my husband and I are expecting our second child very soon! September 3rd. 4 weeks away!! Yikes!  That being said, I plan on continuing to write until our little boy decides he is ready to meet the world. Once he is here, I plan on taking 4 to 8 weeks off from blogging to get to know our newest family member and adapt to life with two children.  I hope to be able to work on my website’s design as well, so if you have any tips, feel free to share as the whole technological thing is a challenge for me.  I plan to make a quick announcement shortly after the birth of our baby boy.

The question is, am I ready? I am not, but are you ever, really? I know we will adjust and learn, but it is scary all the same. How soon you forget all the nuances of taking care of a newborn.  You have this tiny living being that is utterly and completely dependent on you. God has granted you a gift and responsibility. It is ever daunting. No other species, that I know of, does it seem that their children are quite so dependent and useless when they first come into this world. Foals come out already walking and then running soon after.  Baby sea turtles are set off on their own as soon as their eggs hatch to live or die. I am glad we are not turtles! (for many reasons, think hundreds of eggs being hatched!)  But my sense of fear and anxiousness is where my weakness lies, and thus where God’s strength is shown.  I think we all have those one or two verses that speak to your heart. It is almost like God wrote those words just for you! Mine is the following:

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life-whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?  And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”  Matthew 6: 25-34

Some of you may be surprised to learn that I am a worry wart. I have learned through the years to that God is in control, but it is an ongoing struggle.  The words above speak to my heart and serve to remind me of what is important and how to deal with my worries. If it was not for the truth of those words, I would have had several panic attacks. Truly, there are days, where I am  just trying to get through the day. And that is okay!  We don’t have to have everything planned all the time (I’m preaching to myself here!)  It’s a running joke among friends that I have to do  lists for my to do lists.   But truthfully some days, I am just trying to accomplish what needs to be done that day, and I know the rest will have to wait or be pitched completely. My favorite part of the verse above is where it talks about the birds.  That holds a special place in my heart, for some of my best childhood memories are from bird watching with my father.  Finding that one special colorful bird was exciting and its beauty enthralling.

I ask for your prayers in the last few weeks of my pregnancy, that I can take things day by day. (and not be too mean to people!) To trust that God will take care of me. I ask for reminders to cherish my daughter and husband in the last few weeks as we are, and yet be ready to celebrate a new life in our son and with each other.  That I can truly focus on what actually needs to be done and not on things I would like to be completed. I pray that we can cherish our new son, as they are only that little and vulnerable but for a brief time. And in a flash, they will, Lord willing, be leading their own lives. I pray for a strong and healthy baby, but most of all I pray that he will know he is loved by God and that he is loved by his family.

I leave you with the following link to a song that has been on my heart all week, for our God is merciful. “God be Merciful to Me”. https://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play?p=God+be+merciful+to+me&vid=52ccc4e1e0a4ddc12e638186c9acd817&turl=http%3A%2F%2Ftse1.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DWN.PZhG4LtZOlCocnhR1%252bQ%252fcw%26pid%3D15.1%26h%3D360%26w%3D480%26c%3D7%26rs%3D1&rurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DEjPzlDvaYfU&tit=God+Be+Merciful+to+Me+%28w%2F+Lyrics%29&c=1&h=360&w=480&l=271&sigr=11bu9rhrc&sigt=1116klb97&sigi=12p60i38j&ct=p&age=1329511266&fr2=p%3As%2Cv%3Av&hsimp=yhs-prodege_001&hspart=prodege&vm=p&tt=b

Truly God is merciful to me:
“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Thank you for reading and praying!

15 Simple Ways to Show Someone You Care

Recently, I asked my husband what he considered the most important things he needed to do for his day to be successful. His response, quite frankly, surprised me. Not because of what he said, but more so because of what I had in mind. I was thinking along the lines of housework, meal planning., etc…  He quickly made me realize what really mattered. His list was 1. Spend time with your spouse. 2 Spend time with your children 3. Do something nice for somebody every day.

The last one is what really honestly floored me and totally made me reevauate, well, everything.

How do you do that exactly? How do you do something nice for somebody every day. It seems like such a simple tasks, but when I actually tried to put those words into practice, it proved to be quite difficult. The majority of my days are spent with a 30 something inch little person. Even when we leave the house, my focus is on not losing sight of her, keeping her from running out in front of a car, and from destroying other people’s property. You know, just your usual day spent chasing a toddler. To say or do somthig nice for somebody else??? Are you serious??

My husband’s mindset is right, even if you don’t do it correctly all the time and even if keeping your toddler from destroying other’s property might be considered your good deed for the day (even if they didn’t know it! :)). Perhaps, my service would be walking out of my house showered and with make up applied to my face. Gasp! They, being the world,  have no idea what they would have been presented with if I had not left my house somewhat prepared.  In all seriousness though, I sat down to to actually think of ways to actually be nice to somebody that did not include my toddler not coloring on their wall or demanding a 5th sucker. 🙂 I came up with the following list:

1. Wash your loved one’s car (You could either do this by hand or if you despise that you could take it to a basic car wash; I prefer the latter)

2. Freeze their favorite summer fruit and then bring it out in the winter for them to enjoy (this was inspiration from my friend Lisa)

3. Send an old fashioned card. You know, the ones you buy in a store and put a stamp on an envelope.

4. Send a simple text message telling your loved one how much you appreciate him/her.  It will put a smile on their face.

5. Prepare their coffee or tea just the way they like it or buy their favorite beverage

6. Bring home ice cream unannounced or whatever their favorite treat may be.

7. Flowers (even those who say they don’t care about flowers appreciate the gesture occasionally). It doesn’t have to be a dozen red roses; a simple bouquet from the grocery store will suffice.

8. Keep a bag of candy or gum at your workspace for co workers.

9. Do a chore someone else in your family always does.

10. Hold the door open, for anyone! It’s always appreciated.

11. Pick up somebody else’s trash. Sometimes the best deeds are those unnoticed.

12. Take cookies or donuts to a firehouse or to your work place or husband’s work, doctor’s office etc.. (They do not have to be homemade!)

13. Put $5 dollars in a library book or pay somebody’s library fine.

14. Try the pay it forward thing at a fast food restaurant or if you can afford it, find someone’s meal in a restaurant you can pay for.

15. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in awhile out of the blue.

What are some of your ideas for a simple kindness you can do for somebody else? I would love to hear from you. I challenge you to practice an act of kindness at least once a week for the next month. Once a week is really not very much, you can do it! Follow me as I attempt to meet the challenge as well at #showsomeoneyoucare

Proverbs 16:24, “Kind words are like honey-sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”

Galatians 6:9, “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good.”

THERE WILL BE A PARTY FOR YOU!

dmpbjw_1366For my daughter’s birthday a few months ago we received a magnet book. It was just a two page book that came with 31 magnets.  Technically, it said the age range was above 3, so I was a little paranoid to use it at first. Being a nurse, I know just enough to make myself crazy about what could happen if a child swallows a magnet.  Finally, one day a few months after her birthday, we tried it out. Of course, my little girl loved it. (crazy what entertains them) I was being very astute and watching her very closely. Later it was time for lunch and she wanted to play with the book again.  I set it in front of her, turned my back for, literally, one second. Irony of ironies, she had a few in her mouth.  I quickly grabbed them out of her mouth, then proceeded to count all the magnets to ensure I had all of them. I was missing one.  I turned to my toddler and asked her if she had swallowed one, for which she proceeded to say yes. Now at that time her yes also sounded like no so it was very hard to tell if, she knew what I meant, and if she  actually swallowed it.  After that point, I quickly progressed to full panic mode including “googling” what could happen when a magnet is swallowed just to add to my hysteria.  I swept the floor two to three times,  mopped, looked under the couch, and counted again and again. I was starting to cry, thinking how could I have turned my back for one second, why did I even let her play with it and all other sorts of self deprecating thoughts, thinking of the worse possible scenario and end result.  Anyway, long story short, we ended up at the pediatrician’s office in which he basically said since it  was so small and thin of a magnet and my child appeared in no distress, he would advise just watching and waiting. Nothing happened, she was completely fine. Needless to say, I was very observant of the floors and her stool over the next few days. (On the positive note, my floors were cleaner than usual!)

Several months, later, after I had given up ever finding this magnet and assuming she had passed it unnoticed, I saw a black spot on the floor. I bent to look at it closer, and you guessed it, it was the magnet. I was elated! I knew at that point that our daughter was fine, but somehow it was reassuring to know I had found it.

My silly story reminds me of the following stories found in the Bible:

“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and havent’ strayed away!” Luke 15: 3-7

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents”  Luke 15: 8-10

“for this son of mine was dead, and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found. So the party began. We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!” Luke 15: 24, 32

Can you imagine?  Every time one of God’s children comes home or he finds a lost soul, he rejoices with His angels. He basically has a party. He has a party for you. He spends all his resources and money for this party. Against all logic and reason, in spite of our sinfulness and rebelliousness, there will be a celebration for you! He will call over all His friends and neighbors, and celebrate as if you are the only person that matters!

Now my husband and I’s wedding was a celebration. We had a blast! We dined and wined and danced. It did not matter what anyone else thought, because we were having fun and were blessed with celebrating with all of our family and friends. Not to brag, but people still say how much fun our wedding was that day five and half years ago. Can you imagine? God’s party will be so much better than any party that you have ever attended!

Think of how happy you are in the following moments: A lost coin. A dress  or piece of jewelry that has been missing for months found in the back of your closet.  Cash in your glove compartment that you had long since forgotten. The gift card lost in your wallet or pocket.  Your favorite pair of flip-flops that had been misplaced.  Think of the elation or the thoughts of good fortune that run through your mind in those seemingly trivial moments. You had even stopped looking  God rejoices so much more.  He continues to look and search, even in darkness.

HE NEVER STOPS SEARCHING!  AND WHEN HE FINDS YOU, THERE WILL BE A PARTY LIKE NONE OTHER!

All I Need is to Trust

{a95594f7-0dfd-4a22-b877-0531c3490ff2}_6BWRecently I have started trying to initiate a morning devotional time with my toddler. It is literally only a few minutes including reading or watching a short bible story, singing a song if I can think of an applicable one, maybe talk a few minutes, and a scripture. We are working on memorizing a short scripture. The first day I tried it, my daughter was focused and even repeated the verse after me. I was so excited! I did not think it was possible for a two year old! Of course, in typical toddler fashion, she has vehemently and passionately refused to partake in any sort of devotional time since then. I, of course, being a dedicated mom, continue to try anyway, in hopes that she may absorb some of what I am saying.   And while I know she is only two, I can’t help but irrationaly think she is doomed and will never learn to listen. Of course, I know this is just a phase. (that she will hopefully soon, but not too soon, pass.)

At any rate, it does not matter if she refuses to listen right now or not; the truth of the matter is I have learned more then anybody. It has caused me to memorize scripture (a habit I have long forgotten) and the particular one I am trying to enforce upon my poor daughter is actually very fitting in my life right now.

“Depend on the Lord, trust Him, and He will take care of you” Psalms 37:5

My husband and I are about to have another child in this scary, messed up world.  We have just lost another (the third in three years) family member to the ugly word that is cancer.  I have friends and family members going through so much hurt right now.  I suffer from my own lack of friendship making skills. I want to pay off school loans, but can’t seem to find a way.  Every time I think we are making progress, something else happens where that money needs to be allocated: an unexpected, but necessary trip, a car needing repair, clothes for my child and upcoming infant, and so on. I am struggling with the feeling of being overwhelmed and the daily mundane tasks seem ever daunting.  The security thing is what gets me the most.  I like to feel secure. I like to know where my bread is coming from, and I honestly have never really had to wonder. We have closets full of clothes. I know we have way more than we need. That’s where the trust gets me. I know God will take care of us, but will I choose to let him? To honestly give of myself and my finances? To know he will carry us through the hard times of recent losses and sorrows? To know that He is with me, to the very end?  I am reminded of a very simple story:

One day, while at summer camp in high school, we were having our Bible class time. It was sooo hot and humid. The air was completely flat, no breeze, nothing. If you have ever lived in the deep south, then you know what I am talking about. There is no relief from the raw humidity and heat. Well, we were all sitting on the grass or tree stumps, trying to focus on the devotion and not focus on the sweat blinding our eyes and drenching our clothing.  I don’t remember what we were talking about, but it must have been something to do with praying in faith, because I decided to pray for a breeze. Most importantly, I believed. I knew there would be relief. And there was!  It was just enough, even if for a moment. Now, I know in the large scheme of life how that must seem like a mundane, useless and trivial prayer. There are so many greater things to pray for: lost souls, the poor , the homeless, the list is insurmountable.  That is just the whole point though! God does care about the big things of course, but perhaps more importantly He cares about every thing, even the things that seem trivial. He cares about us!  That is where trust comes in.

So as I contemplate the aforementioned verse, I think of what that means in my life. To trust, that in spite of currently having no benefits with my upcoming maternity leave (my choice so to get paid more hourly), he will provide. He will provide what we need and if needed he will provide a job when I am able to go back to work.  To trust, that through the loss of loved ones, He will provide us comfort? To trust that God will work in my child’s heart and help us to show her God’s love? To trust that God will provide the friendships I need and help me overcome my personal obstacles? To trust that God will provide a way and not give us more than we can bear?   I dare you to trust. Trust that He will take care of us.

What will you trust God with today?