Category Archives: January 2016

Lessons from a snow day…

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So, today was our first snow of the winter. Mind you, I live in the south, where snow is a big deal because we don’t get it very often. I was happy that although my husband tried to go into work this morning, he had the discernment to return home. You see, here where we reside, we tend to get ice. If you want to get yourself stranded on the interstate during your commute, you realize from past experience that you’re better off to stay where you are, otherwise you know the likelihood of it happening again is rather great. Cars on end, or in a ditch is unfortunately, a rather common site.

As the snow began to really come down, transitioning from the rain we had last night, I started pondering something. Don’t get too excited; it’s really very simple. I thought about the really hard few days we have experienced as a community of faith, that I began to see God’s purity and grace amidst the really sad and depressing week. As I looked out the window, rather than see the snow and ice as an inconvenience, I saw it through fresh, hopeful eyes. It was a beautiful sight. It was as if God was sending the snow to purify and wash clean the details of the past days. God’s grace is allot like that too…a fresh, clean slate. I couldn’t help but smile!

 

PRiDE

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P  R  D  E: Notice the “I” in the middle of this word.

Webster defines it as an inordinate self-esteem; a feeling that you are more important or better than other people.

Have you ever thought of yourself as being a prideful person? I mean really? Down in the recesses of your soul? To be honest, I never thought of myself as having a problem with this particular issue. After all, I have plenty of other issues. Perhaps the enemy was deceiving me to believe otherwise.

Let me explain…several years back, I heard a rather popular speaker at a Women’s Conference and she spoke on this very subject. This is when I first realized that I’d been duped into thinking this issue didn’t apply to me. Then, recently, someone I respect shared her testimony. I was again reminded of this being true of me, too.

This wise, older Mom who has already raised a set of fully grown twin boys and another daughter, shared how she would stay in her house when she was a SAHM (Stay-at-Home-Mom). She didn’t invite people into her life or her home nor did she ask for help or advice from anyone who might be able to support her in her motherhood. She confessed it was all pride. She begged those of us she was speaking to, to not to make this same mistake.

Does the enemy try to convince you that your home, or whatever you have to offer, isn’t good enough? Or, that you don’t measure up? This is pride. In essence, you are thinking too much of yourself. Wow! This has been an eye-opening revelation to me. Don’t allow yourself, or anyone else for that matter, to dupe you into believing this lie. For it is just that, a lie. Everything we have is a gift from God.

Every generous act of giving and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father who made the heavenly lights, in whom there is no inconsistency or shifting shadow. (James 1:17, ISV)

Taking Time To Read

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Taking Time To Read

This morning as I’m sipping some hot coffee, having made my husband’s lunch and prayed with him upon his departure to another busy day at the office, I’m reading in my favorite comfy chair. I’ve been enjoying reading more and more. While I enjoy reading, I have to work it into my schedule, which has to be a conscious choice made by me. You see, I’ve been convicted lately of spending too much time on social media. For me, it has become a means of escape. You know, mindless distraction from a busy, stressful day at home raising a little person. My point is not to rant on social media, rather convey how I’ve been striving to make better use of my time.

I started reading another of one of my favorite author’s books, Beautiful In God’s Eyes, by Elizabeth George. By no means is this a new publication. To me, new or old, it is timely wisdom for the season I’m in. Quite honestly, this book would apply to just about any season I’ve found myself in! It is about the treasures of the Proverbs 31 woman. Such wisdom is found within the pages of this book. I find myself wanting to read more and more of it even though the attributes of this Proverbs 31 woman seem difficult to ever attain. This woman is someone I’d aspire to be, a true heroine.

By no means is it an easy read, but a convicting one. However, I believe as women we all fall short of these attributes described here. You might be thinking, why read about someone you’ll never feel the satisfaction of becoming, only to be disappointed time and time again? My answer to that question quite simply is this, I realize that there is no way this side of heaven I could ever come close to having this woman’s attributes and character; however, with God’s help and transformation in my life, it is possible. My part is to partner with Him, allowing His Holy Spirit to transform, shape, renew and fix my mind on the things of Him. A tall task for sure, but thankfully, our God is in the miracle business!

Whether you read this book, or another, I’m encouraging you (and me, for that matter!) to choose to put uplifting and encouraging truth in your mind, to invest in bettering yourself as a wife, mom, and woman of God. From this, everything else will flow. More importantly, though, is to read God’s Word; His book trumps all other reading. Within its pages can be found topics on parenting, being an excellent wife and mother, guarding your heart, as well as learning of the Lord’s wisdom and knowing His heart.

Sure, God inspires authors to write, encourage, inspire, and even teach us. What I’ve learned though is that we must be discerning (something else to pray for!) in what we read and who has authored it. I’ve come to understand that just because a book has been recommended to me by someone I admire, or just because I find a book in my local Christian bookstore, doesn’t mean that this book is something of value for me to read. Why, you ask? There is value in researching an author. Look at and read the endorsements given for his publication; do you know these people and their teaching? Research who this author is, his beliefs and his teachings. You certainly don’t want to put false doctrine into your mind. His writing will flow from his teaching and beliefs and if his values and belief system are not in line with God’s teaching, then this book you are considering is probably not going to be something you should read.

In closing, fill your mind with God’s Word and know His truth and teachings well so that you will be better equipped to discern whether something you are considering reading is of value or not. Believe me, there is plenty of unbiblical teaching written, published and housed on many a shelf at even our Christian bookstore. I witnessed this first-hand having worked in a Christian bookstore for many years. I had so much respect for the owners of our store who, despite flack and lost sales, chose not to carry books by certain authors. It is sad, but so very true. We have to remember that there are wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing…even in our local bookstores.

Trying Something New Sometimes Is Hard!

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Trying Something New Sometimes Is Hard!

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New year, new resolutions…right? I’m not much on New Years Resolutions, rather forming new disciplines, new practices, new habits. I’m sure it sounds the same, but I prefer to think of it this way. Somehow it seems more attainable, more positive to me.

Well, just today, I’m trying really hard to work on my reactions to my son. Since he is such an active one, it is super hard for me to not react when he’s being naughty by doing something I’ve repeatedly asked him not to do. For the past hour or so as I’ve been puttering around the house attempting to accomplish some little something while he’s awake, I’ve been intentionally ignoring him.

Let me explain. Not really am I ignoring him; rather, I’m choosing to ignore his negative behavior. Honestly, it’s more of an experiment I’m conducting. My husband, as well as other well-meaning friends, have told me that he thrives on my reactions. He enjoys manipulating me by acting out so he can generate a rise out of me. I’ve seen it with my own two eyes this morning, that’s for sure! He has been deliberately aggravating me trying as he might to get me stirred up emotionally.

 

I am sad to admit that as a fairly new Mom, I’ve turned into a yeller, screamer, and reactor of sorts. This has become a habit, unfortunately, and one I’m not so proud of, quite frankly. I have let my “adult temper tantrum” continue for far too long. It has negatively set the tone of our once peaceful home. I feel badly when my husband comes home from a long day at the office and I’m in a mood because I’m just at my tipping point. I realize that I need to make a change. A positive one. Sure, it’s normal as a SAHM to be wrung out at the end of a long day while at home with her little. After all, a Mom has been spit up on, cried on, argued with, yelled “no!” a zillion-and-one times to, temper tantrum-ed on end, chatted non-stop to, and quite possibly even trampled on emotionally throughout her day. Not to mention the never ending, constant repetition of correction and discipline, potty training, and teaching that transpires over the course of a mothers’ day. It certainly isn’t an easy job and pays SQUAT in monetary value. Yes, I said “SQUAT”!

I came to the realization of this in a big way on New Year’s Eve. My husband had come home from work on the early side to find me in a state. It wasn’t a “New York state of mind,” mind you. I had flat-out had it with my toddler. He had been on my last nerve pretty much all day long starting with his naughty behavior while making a simple return at Old Navy. Honestly, I’d barely entered the store before he was pitching a royal fit. Regrettably, it went ‘south on a bullet’ in the flash of a second. By the time my hubby arrived home eager to start his 3-day holiday week-end with a little football watching, my voice was escalating. I could see in a quick minute that he questioned whether he’d made the right decision to come home a little early. Understandably, he wanted peace. After all, isn’t our home to be a place of refuge and solace?

It was then that I knew I needed to turn this ship around before it sank. I didn’t want my husband to dread coming home anymore to find me in a funk. Enter, my decision to purse my lips as chaos flew around me in every way this morning. I mean to tell you, my kid was doing everything in his power to get me frazzled. Throwing things across the room, running around in my dining room (which is off-limits to him!), flinging freshly washed and folded clothes out of the laundry basket and onto the floor, chasing and agitating the dog, climbing on and jumping in the bed, refusing to let me change his nasty, stinky diaper, you name it, he was doing it and more! I could tell he was anxiously waiting for me to fly off the handle and he wasn’t getting zilch from me. Granted, internally I was chatting up a storm to God begging him to make my kid just stop so he wouldn’t hurt himself or, (even worse), break something.

I’m asking God to help me be intentional. Goodness knows, I cannot nip this in the bud on my own. I most definitely need some Divine intervention here! I decided to place one of those simple rubber band bracelets made popular by Lance Armstrong, as a remembrance to keep my cool, let it go, and give it to God. I wanted to be reminded of the kind of behavior that would be God-honoring rather than displeasing Him with my childish rants. I want to demonstrate godliness and grace to my son rather than him remember his mommy as being an out-of-control emotional freak.

Truly, my behavior boils down to control, or lack of it, in my case. I’m unhappy whenever I feel that my control is being usurped or threatened in any way. Now, you tell me, what on this earth do I have control of anyway? Nothing. I have control over zip in my life. However, I can choose to, with God’s help, to make positive changes in my life and in my behavior. To accomplish this, I must remember that “God is in Control,” as the popular Twila Paris song from the nineties reminds us.

I’m not suggesting that I have this thing mastered by any stretch! I am putting myself out there in hopes of gaining a little accountability to strive to be a better Mom in 2016. That’s my goal and challenge for this year. Won’t you join me?

Oh Monday! Why so hard on me?

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Oh Monday! Why so hard on me?

Ever feel this way? Well, for me, it happens more than I’d like, that’s for sure. Even though I no longer work outside of the home, I still look forward to Fridays so the week-end can begin. After all, my husband works hard outside the home and I look so forward to our family time together.

So, back to my story….Christmas break was over, week-end behind us and a new month with a new year and a first Monday. Sounds negative, I know. I’m not one of those who relishes a fresh start in January. To me, January is, like it or not, depressing. So, clinging to my bed, against my better judgement, I got up. I did manage to have a few quiet moments with my husband to catch the days’ headlines along with at least one cup of coffee before my day lunged into action.

Things started okay until the first cry of the day alerted me that my son was ready to get up and come out of his room. Once he’s up, there’s no gradual awakening with him, it’s full throttle! So, I grabbed my protein shake and started gulping it down, desperate to fill my growling tummy. As I was preparing his snack and tuning in to one of his favorite TV shows, he visited our master bathroom. He’s suddenly infatuated with brushing his teeth. It’s quite the norm to find gobs of blue gel toothpaste lining the bathroom sink begging to be washed down the drain.

This morning however, was quite different and out of the norm. Rather than just brushing his teeth and coming out in the family room to resume his TV watching, he was absent for a few more minutes which is never a good thing. Silence, as much as I enjoy it, just doesn’t occur as long as he’s awake, anyway. Noticing his absence, I quickly made my way into our bathroom only to find the typical mess in the sink and then I turned around to be greeted with a wide smile proudly pointing to his masterpiece within the commode. At first, it looked as if he’d only had some fun with the toothpaste, shaving cream and facial cleanser until I peered in a bit further and spotted a large object wedged into the small opening in the back of the commode.

Since my son is in the early stages of potty training, yes he’s 3, I knew that the brown object wedged wayyyy back in the back of the potty opening couldn’t be what I first imagined it possibly could be. It just couldn’t because he’s yet to put THAT in the potty. I didn’t have my glasses on, and rather than take the time to go get them, I knelt down to get a closer look. Yes, it was that empty thick, hard cardboard spool left from a craft project I’d done just days before. I’m hardly a crafter, but just last week had a bee in my bonnet to create something out of some mesh ribbon I had bought back before Christmas.

Much smaller in diameter and quite a bit thicker than a toilet paper roll, I realized it was starting to unravel in the commode. This is when I reached for the closest thing to me, my son’s spanking spoon. I attempted to jar this thing loose to hopefully unplug the commode, but unfortunately for me, the thing had pretty much disintegrated into several sheets once it hit the water and was partially already down the hatch.

“Oh boy!” I uttered at the mess before me. I quickly interrogated my son who was proudly standing behind me, proud of his work, to see if anything else had gone in the potty. He mentioned a toothbrush but when I took inventory of the counter, realized none were missing. I was relieved! So, I quickly grabbed our handy dandy little plunger and began doing CPR on the toilet until I realized whatever was lodged in there wasn’t going to budge. This is when I threw up my hands and went straight for the laptop to search “clogged toilet” on youtube. I tried a couple “plumber tricks” to no avail. By the way, watching some of these DIY videos would have been more humorous had I not been in the throes of unclogging our much needed commode.

This went on and on throughout my day. Back and forth I logged coveted steps on my Garmin Vivofit as I wore the carpet thin running back to our said throne. Somehow, thanks to the videos I watched, I kept the potty from overflowing as I continued to resuscitate it. All to no avail. UNTIL my husband arrived home at nearly 6:00 that evening. I realized I had used one of our cheaper plungers and that we had a “cadillac” of sorts in the guest bath. So, I ran to get the better of our two and used some of the techniques portrayed on youtube earlier in the day, and VOILA! After give or take 25 flush and plunge maneuvers, I was able to dislodge whatever had been plugging our chair for most of the day!

Needless to say, this had become one stressful and aggravating Monday. I won’t even get into the other toddler tragedies that took place throughout the day. Can you tell I’ve not fully recovered? This is when the revelation came to me that I now have a hidden talent as a plumber! Yeah, not something I really wanted or felt I needed to have on my resume (no offense to plumbers!), but hey! When you’re a Mom, being a plumber is just one of many hats to be worn, am I right?

I am happy to report that I was able to maintain my cool throughout this not-so-happy Monday. I didn’t yell, scream, or cry (not that there’s anything wrong with that) but it has become my MO for longer than I’d like to admit. By the end of the day, as I was enjoying some comedy TV with my hubby, I was able to take it in stride….and laugh. It felt good!

Uh oh! It’s gotten awfully quiet around here….NOW where did he go?! Ooops! Gotta go! Another toddler tragedy in process!!