Monday, June 30, 2014

To Dive in With Them

Sometime last week I stumbled across this article: Moms, Put on That Swimsuit by Jessica N. Turner. Please read it. I honestly want to just copy and paste the entirety of the thing right here, but instead I'll trust that you'll read it and just put out here the two lines that hit me hard...

"Your swimsuit does not define you."
 
"I want them to remember that their mom was there, with them."
 
As much as I hate, hate, hate to say it, I am That Mom. The Mom who doesn't want to put on the dreaded swimsuit simply because my own insecurities start screaming wild and loud the minute I go to open the drawer where the dreaded swimsuit lives.
 
I am That Mom. The Mom who fears what thoughts might be harbored in a strangers head about my weight or size.
 
I am That Mom. The one who, way more often than not, lets Daddy be the one who swims with the kids. I'll cheer them on, sure! And stare at them a million times when they yell "Watch me!", but get in with them?
 
Sigh....
 
This article challenged me, and coupled with this verse...
 
"For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,
so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."
Ephesians 2:10
 
...changed me.
 
Not a solved, finished, or even close kind of changed...but a continual and working on it realization that I am His, created as a masterpiece, regardless of what I look like in a swimsuit, or anything else for that matter.
 
I want my children to remember that I swam with them. I want my husband to remember that I swam with him. And I want my daughter to know that her confidence, no matter what outfit she wears, comes from Christ alone, the creator of beautiful masterpieces.

 
 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Rest is Grace

Last week was hard. Bitter, butt-kicking hard. One of those weeks in which you feel like all the things you never want to hear are spoken, all of the feelings that inconvenience and convict you creep up, and all of the aches your body fights as a Momma come careening down on you. That kind of hard.

I had a week of little sleep. For me, that equates to a measly 3 or 4 hours a night. Some of it I can blame on the kiddos. One is teething, the other struggling with nightmares. But overall, it was just plain ol' me. I have a mind that struggles to shutdown. It's wild and meanders when it should be resting. That kind of exhaustion doesn't make for a good or happy Mommy. And we all know Mommy sets the tone for the house.

I had been feeling some conviction in my heart about parenting. Partially because I overanalyze and probably read too many parenting books that aren't always sound and cause more guilt than improvement. But overwhelmingly, I heard God speaking some truth to me about being more intentional with my children. Our Little Lady has been hitting and pushing A LOT, and has some other manners that need working on, and the Big Brother has had a bit of an attitude when he speaks that I just can't let slip. What I've begun to realize is that I don't need to care about these things because the world says I should, but I need to care because I want my children to ooze Jesus. And I'm certain Jesus didn't go around hitting people.

Mid-week a conversation with my son's preschool teacher floored me with some serious Mommy-Guilt. She told me Big Brother might be a little behind. WHAT? I was a teacher! How could my son possibly be behind? And, how am I going to fix this? Well, isn't that always where God steps in full force? "You aren't going to fix this Michelle, I AM. And that's what I AM working out in your heart right now."

I've been fasting for 43 days - not a full blown not-eating fast, but the kind where I restrict certain foods for a duration of time. In my case, it's the Daniel Fast and it's lasting 60 days. It isn't a diet, it's a fast, and I'm doing it so that I can break some bad food-related habits and so that I can remember to lean into Christ, rather than a double-fudge brownie when life gets sticky. It hasn't been easy but I'd been successful....up until Mother's Day. Go figure.

I know that part of it was that the week had been long and I felt I deserved a treat. But for me a treat can be a slippery-slope; it can be the way I self-medicate. While I didn't destroy the day by eating an entire cake, I broke my fast and my tummy paid for it later. I felt defeated. It felt like the enemy had won that day. But lying in bed that night I was reminded that I was made for more. I heard His whisper that victory would come through obedience. And obedience starts with the very next choice.

And so the hard decisions begin. I have to cut back. I have to realign my priorities and make sure that it looks like Jesus.

And even though I don't come close to doing life perfectly or even beautifully, I know that God's grace covers all, and in that I can rest.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Delight

No matter how much you clean or remodel or move or rebuild, 
hospitality will always be more a matter of the heart than the architecture. 
Your guests will only feel as comfortable in your house as you feel in your own skin. There's no shame in paper plates if they're heaped high with 
delight in each others' company. 
~Ann Voskamp


Today this meant kids in swimsuits and muddy-feet. It meant water guns and a friend changing my Little Lady no less than 3 times because she's a fish. It meant mac&cheese and oranges and chatting about wonderful God-inspired writers and how exciting it is to see that in the nutrition section of bookstores. It meant talking about the nitty-gritty bits of life and owning up to some of our hurts and heartaches and struggles. It meant smiles and laughter and honesty. It meant not worrying that there were raisins all over the floor or that Little Lady had a bit of a messy room or that weeds hadn't been plucked yet. And it meant delight. True delight.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Come On In

Well, we officially survived Spring Break. My kitchen sink looked like this most of the week. We had play dates, trips to the zoo, lazy afternoons outside, and movies to watch so the dishes had to wait. I didn't mind. :)

My sink got me thinking about what you might happen upon if you were to come hang with my little crew for an afternoon. Here's a little run-down:

- Crusty, dried-up peas by the television. I don't know why but the little ladies around these parts love to leave their snacking peas around the television. By the time I've gotten around to finding them and cleaning them up the peas are usually crusty and weird.

- Socks. They're everywhere. I can't explain it other than to say that as soon as we get inside the socks come off and end up in every nook and cranny of the living room, kitchen, and dining area. I am constantly finding socks. Now, if I could only find their mates...

- Crushed something. It might be Cheerios. But it could be a pretzel. A Veggie Straw perhaps?

- Napkins by CocoPuff. She likes to draw on the napkins with pen and I can't bring myself to throw them away just because they have a little pen ink on them. So, if you need a napkin please help yourself and know that the art on it was done in love.

- Piles of stuffed animals. My boy loves his stuffed animals. There is always a small collection of them in the living room. Today it's Pokémon. Tomorrow might be Monster's Inc. guys. The next day it'll be Dr. Seuss characters. And don't touch them by the way - someone is a little protective of his stuffed friends. :)

The truth of it all is that my house won't be perfectly clean or even tidy, but you are always welcome here. I don't have an agenda, don't need compliments on my decorating style or the snacks I scrambled to put out; I just want to know you and be known by you.

So come on over, have some coffee, pull up a chair or find a comfy spot on the floor, let your kiddos play wild with mine, and let's chat. The door is open...just keep an eye out for crunchy peas.
 

Friday, March 21, 2014

On Waiting for Good News

Have you been there? Making beds, washing clothes, fixing dinner, budgeting, crying, studying, enjoying a cup of tea and a sunrise; all while waiting for, and praying for, good news.

Our little house has been waiting for weeks to hear back from a "Choice Enrollment" school about the possibility of our Little Man getting to attend Kindergarten there.

My Soul Sister friend has been waiting for several months for a great job to open up for her husband who was laid off last October.

My Closest and Dearest friend waits in heartache to see what direction her marriage is headed in.

We wait. We wonder. And wander. We go through all the "ifs". And life continues in the waiting. Floors still need swept. There are still hugs to give and receive, still bills to pay, and still gifts to discover.

We got word Tuesday that there is an opening at that school; our son is officially "in". Good news. Soul Sister shared that her husband is in the top 3 for that amazing position. Good news. And my Closest and Dearest...still waiting.

Not every question is answered with what we define as good news. Not every pondering and stirring in our hearts is met with the good news we had hoped for. And sometimes answers leave us heavy with more questions. When the questions and waiting bury me whole, this is the gift I lean on - the Good News is really Great News, and He wants to share that news with you; the news that no matter what the answer may be in the waiting, you are loved by Him.

Whatever you may be waiting on today or tomorrow or two months from now, breath deep the Good News that He holds you in the waiting.

"All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things..."
Blessings - Laura Story

Monday, March 17, 2014

Beginning Again & My Feeble Ode to St. Patrick

After 2 years the of being absent from the blogging world I have returned. I can literally hear the roar of applause! :)

Sometimes seasons of life just necessitate leaving bits of your "once self" behind in order to begin something new. I've been toying with the idea of restarting a blog since before Christmas and today I was finally met with the needed inspiration (and time!) to write a post. And so it begins...
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 Generally speaking, I am STELLAR at remembering holidays and kids school parties and all things celebratory. However, on this particular Monday, I totally forgot it was St. Patrick's Day. My son did end up wearing green but it was a freak accident. And thank GOD for that! Because for my sensitive little man, not showing up to school in green would have been devastating.

So what it all boils down to is that I didn't realize that at the ripe ol' age of 5, my little man would want to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in some which-way at our home. OOPS. Luckily, I overheard him and his little friend discussing magic pennies and realized that this would be my saving grace. I just happened to have plenty of pretty pennies in my wallet. Fast forward to me distracting the boys with a cartoon so I could toss pennies all over the front & back patios and then send the little munchkins outside to find what the leprechaun had left for them.

No, I didn't accomplish anything Pinterest worthy today in celebration of this Day O' Green, but I did get to delight in the sweet smiles of two boys on the hunt for magic pennies. Mission Accomplished.