Category Archives: August 2016

Help! My Toes!!!!

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Help! My Toes!!!!

Whether you’re a Momma or a proud Aunt or Grandparent, even a friend to a Momma with Littles, you’ll be able to relate to what I’m saying here….

I once heard one of my fave Christian comedians of the day, Mark Lowry, do a bit on what toes are for, “finding furniture in the dark!” I’d like to propose an alternate: “toes are for finding TOYS, no matter the time of day!” Oh. my. gosh! They are everywhere, toys that is, not toes!!! Why just now, I injured my entire left foot stepping on a racetrack set up in the middle of our floor! Now, you might say, how in the world did you not miss stepping on a racetrack?! Well, I’m glad you asked. I was on a mission to take care of something across the room amidst the other toys in the floor when my foot found the end of an elaborate racetrack set up. It hurt like the dickens from the baby toe all the way down the center of my foot to the heel. OUCH! It’s a wonder I haven’t broken a toe. I’m not even kidding!

Lest you think I’m being overly dramatic in my ‘toys-on-the-floor’ rant, it has become a perpetual problem in my house. No matter that I have organizational boxes upstairs and downstairs for all those little demon pieces; Littles don’t want to put them away, at least not my boy. I’ve heard plenty of Moms proclaim their toddler daughters are motivated to put their toys away once they have a home to store them in. Well, that’s just fine and great for them, but my Little isn’t motivated in the least. Get the picture I’m painting here?

Before you pass on my post, writing me off as an unorganized, slob-of-a-Mom, hang on! I’ve stepped off my tower-high soapbox and am turning a corner. You see, even though my foot is worse for the wear causing me to hobble just about everywhere I go from the pain endured (my husband calls me “Quasimodo“), I am trying to wrap my brain around the fact that these are the things memories are made of. What, you ask? I know, I thought it was a funny notion too, UNTIL I started perusing Facebook the past week or so seeing all the back-to-school photos. You know, the posts displaying a group of photos from toddler to kindergardner to grade school child? Seeing these photos made me realize that I’m enjoying having my Little at home even though……(you fill in the blank) my house is a disaster, floors are dirty, carpets need vacuuming, bathrooms need bombing, dishes need washing, laundry needs folding (hey! at least they’re washed!), calls need to be returned, windows need cleaning, groceries need to be bought (sometimes even the Wal-Mart grocery pick-up isn’t as fabulous as I’ve made it out to be if you can’t drive yourself there!)

You see, I came to the conclusion that an immaculate home without toys, mess, even dirt, would be pretty stale living when you have Littles. Why, I wouldn’t have anything to write about (LOL!) Really though, unless I’m up til midnight every night, cleaning and scrubbing and being a “Army sergeant” to my boy for cleaning up all the time, our life would be pretty dull, not to mention sleepless. Heaven knows we Mommas need our sleep! I don’t want my son growing up remembering his Momma was more concerned about having a clean house or a toyless floor than having fun and playing with those toys. Something clicked for me as I perused these pictures of school-aged children who are now out of the house for 8+ hours at school. While the Mommas are probably relishing a little time to themselves, they are also sadly missing the memories made of days gone by, as proven in their posts.

So, I’ve by  no means arrived, but I am trying to see these little frustrations through a pair of rose-colored glasses. I want to enjoy the days, for they are few. Expectations are dangerous. They can get us in a lot of trouble and drive us to places we didn’t intend to go. What’s worse is we Mommas place these oftentimes unattainable expectations upon ourselves. What? That’s messed up! Yes, I know. I’m trying to undo some of the damage I’ve done, swallowing the pills of perfection. No, I’m not saying I’m a perfectionist by any stretch, but, like many of you, because I desire to be perfect, I struggle because I can’t get there and probably will never arrive to the state of perfection. It’s just not in the cards for me. Sure, I can always do better but placing unrealistic expectations upon myself is just driving this Momma to the state of Crazy.

I want to remember these days of being a SAHM (stay-at-home-Mom) with a fondness and a smile rather than a bad memory of constant frustration because I couldn’t keep my home up to a standard that’s not even characteristic of me, much less the Momma of a Little. I hope you’ll try, as I aspire to, exhale and allow yourself to enjoy this road trip with our Littles and not be distracted by the images we conjure up in our minds of having a Southern Living Magazine home. Let. It. Go. Relax and enjoy the journey. Soon enough, the destination will be reached but at that point, it will be too late to tweak our expectations of what might have been.

My prescription: “It is what it is”. Yep! I even have it posted in a very visible place in our living room so that I’m sure to see it every day. I’m laughing as I’m typing this because this very saying decoratively painted on a piece of wood, used to adorn a prominent shelf within my office when I was a working girl. Yes, I had to remind myself there, too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Decisions, decisions

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Decisions, decisions

Like me, I’m sure you have come to a crossroads more than once in your life as to which way to go in making a decision. It’s really challenging when both choices (or more!) are (seemingly) good. Ever been there? I have dozens and dozens of times! And, it’s not always family-related. Sometimes it’s a job decision, sometimes health or treatment, insurance/benefits, a potential move, building/existing construction. You get the picture.

I had one such rather challenging decision to make years ago. I was quite young and new to living on my own. It was an emotionally charged time for me. You see, my Mom had been recently diagnosed with cancer. I had just made a move across state lines to start a new job in which I felt called to begin a new chapter in my single life, only seven months prior to her diagnosis. I had prayed a long time about making this job move and had great peace about it, in addition to my family being on board, offering their full support. Doors opened left and right for me confirming what God had shown me. Yet, I wrestled with God more than once after hearing of Mom’s illness, “God, I just know that I heard clearly from You to move forward and take this job. Why, then, would you move me 250 miles away from my family at such a time as this?

My answer didn’t come all at once. Even at my young age, I knew that this move was part of a bigger plan that God had for me. He physically moved me to grow me up, to mature me, to be on my own and to trust Him to work out all the details. My Mom is the one who confirmed this for me! I knew she struggled with me being so far away once she was found to be terminally ill, especially, but she was selfless; knowing that this move for me was part of God growing me up and that had I stayed home, I probably would never have left home to sprout my wings and fly.

Now, understand, I’m making a lonnnnnnnng story quite short. In a nutshell, as I struggled with my heart being pulled between two seemingly “good” things: this exciting new job in a new city doing exactly what I’d dreamed of doing versus being near my family at such a time as this. In the midst of my inner turmoiI, out of the blue I  had been offered a job which would take me back home, near my family. Oh, how my emotions pulled me every which way. The kicker was this job I’d been offered would pay me quite a bit more salary than the job I currently held. I was really feeling torn. I wasn’t making much money anyway, so the hope of making more captured my attention. Complicating things was the fact that some well-meaning families in our home church believed I should be back home, taking care of my Mom during her terminal illness. Now, I’m a people-pleaser to the core, and their opinion rocked my emotional world. My heart was troubled.

This is where the story gets interesting. While I never  heard God’s audible voice lay out His perfect plan for me, He certainly gave me direction with the details unfolding before my eyes. I vividly remember asking Him to help me hear His voice above all others. My boss had generously offered for me to go to be with my family as I needed and not to worry about my job, that he would bring in a “temp” to cover me until I could return. Wait? What?! This type of offer doesn’t just happen! I reached out to a couple friends whose advice and wisdom I valued, asking them to pray for me and the decisions I needed to make. What I learned through this process was that money isn’t everything. In other words, the job offer I’d received, while boasting a higher salary, proved to be a “short-lived” job opportunity. In other words, it wasn’t going to afford me the opportunities long-term that I was interested in pursuing. However, I was temporarily blind-sighted by the lure of the money being offered when I really wasn’t interested in the job. Not to mention, I was emotionally wracked over the fact that barring a miracle, I would be losing my Mom.

I’m not saying this job was a “bad” job in any way. I’m sure it would have proven to be a good job had I not already moved away from home. God used my trusted, praying friends to help me weed through this emotional dilemma I was facing. On one of my many trips home, my Mom encouraged me that she wanted me to be where I wanted to be and not take this job I wasn’t interested in only to be back home. I believe God allowed her to see her days were numbered and my time back home wasn’t going to last forever. She reminded me I needed to be where I felt the Lord had led me.  She had been my biggest cheerleader when I thought moving away to a new city wasn’t even a possibility for me. God used all these ‘puzzle pieces’ of wisdom to lead me to the decision I made. I had to come back to where I knew God had brought me, despite the distractions in my path. I don’t mean to imply my Mom’s illness was a distraction. Far from it! She was my best friend and the thought of losing her broke my heart. I felt that God had provided me an amazing opportunity to spend quality time with her, keep my job, and still get paid! I was able to work 3 days a week while commuting to be with my family the other 4 days of the week. I was able to go back and forth for 3 months.  It was a win-win and I knew only God could have orchestrated this solution!

I believe I had more quality time with my mom during the 4 days of the week I was home then I would have had if I’d moved back to take a new job. It was arranged that I would be closely involved in Mom’s care. I was able to be there for her doctor’s weekly evaluation visits, keep her medical diary, and get all the details of her care and updates firsthand. I took the night shift, sleeping in her room being available to her all throughout the night as she needed me to relieve my Dad of sleep deprivation as he had to continue working, and my sister was trying to graduate high school.

I am still in awe of all the many blessings God lavishly poured out upon our family at such a difficult and sad time. He truly manifested Himself through friends and loved ones in our lives. All of our needs were met by His grace. God truly showed up! He is a good, good God and He loves us more than we can even fathom with our own limited human minds.

What did I learn? Trusting Him throughout life’s most difficult moments and trials will grow and stretch your faith like nothing else. He is the only One able to make sense and order out of a messed up situation. He may not answer our prayers the way we want Him to (or think He should) BUT His Word tells us His ways are infinitely higher than ours. When we ask Him for wisdom, He generously gives it to us. He gives us direction and discernment. I cannot imagine living a life without Him. Life is hard, unfair and senseless at times. He doesn’t rescue us from difficulties, pain and disappointments but promises to walk through, even carry us through these times. He promises never to leave or forsake us.

I want to encourage you to get to know Him and His Word so that you will know His promises for yourself, as well as His character. Hide His Word in your heart. He will uphold us with His righteous right hand if we will allow Him to. He is a gentleman and never forces Himself upon us. Don’t miss out on another day’s worth of divine wisdom and guidance for the problems and decisions that constantly bombard and plague; turn your eyes upon Him and allow Him to shoulder your burdens, as only He can. He alone is faithful.

(Proverbs 18:24, Isaiah 41:10, James 1:5, Matthew 11:28-30, Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 1:7, Proverbs 2, Proverbs 3, Proverbs 4, Proverbs 9:10)