Tag Archives: motherhood

Time Out=New Perspective

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Let’s just be really honest here. Being a Mom is oftentimes hard. Who am I kidding? I mean really hard. Yes, there are plenty of (thank goodness!) good days as a parent but somehow when the days turn angry like the clouds in the sky, those days tend to overshadow the good ones, if we’re not careful.

I’m not one of those gals who paints a rosy, Christmas-letter type picture of my life on social media. As a matter of fact, I tend to scroll right on by the “fake family news” as I call it because it’s just that: FAKE. No one lives a life of glory and joy-filled moments day after day after day. That simply does not exist. People are people and let’s face it, people are people, so there’s that. Imperfect people cannot be perfect no matter how you slice it.

Laying myself out there as bare as I care to dare, today was an ugly, angry cloud day in my house. Yes, there I said it! It started, I don’t know, like by 8:30 this morning, to be exact. There were a few golden moments offering peace, giggles, and fun mind you, before it quickly gave way to disrespect, a sassy attitude, ungratefulness, and downright unkind words. Before I knew it, those angry clouds brewing in our home started to leak. That’s right, I lost it and the tears started falling like a rainstorm. And of all days, FRIDAY! My favorite day of the week had gone south on a bullet.

clouds-194840_640.jpgIt wasn’t long before negative thoughts began ruling my mind. True, I hadn’t had my time in the Word to transform those negative thoughts, which was my first mistake. Nor had I offered my day to the Lord asking Him to fill me with His spirit, power, grace, and love equating to my second mistake. Not being a morning person per se, means I tend to bump into the devil before my feet leave the bed, if you know what I mean. It’s no wonder why Jesus got away with the Lord first thing in the morning. I believe there is something to that. Duh!

Sadly, the sports camp my son was in all week, affording me some much-needed peaceful moments, ended yesterday (Thursday), to my shock and dismay. Yeah, that nightmare hit me like a fast-moving train in the middle of the night! So much so, I jumped out of my bed to verify it on my computer only to discover that my bad dream was indeed true. In my effort to get back to ‘La La Land’, I managed to come up with some alternate plans for our day: hunting down some fresh peaches, a Costco run, followed by a trip to the pool. Sadly, none of those things took place. Instead, I found myself driving around our neighborhood in search of my son who chose naughty behavior by sneaking out of our house without my knowing. The results: a prolonged time-out on his part back at the house so I could take a shower (yeah, I was driving around in my nightgown for heavens’ sake!) and try again, only to be met with more shenanigans contributing to the downward spiral of our day.

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Before I knew it, I put myself in my own time-out, giving my brain a chance to cool off, re-focus, and gain a better perspective. I’ve learned “Mommy time-outs” are the best medicine when you find yourself home bound with a child who successfully manages to push all your buttons at one time, multiple times throughout the day. You can better believe I’ll be setting my alarm extra early to get up, have a little coffee, spend some time with the Lord and His Word from this day forward. I’ve learned my lesson!

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lessons from the ocean

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lessons from the ocean

To me, there’s just nothing like the ocean… nothing! I love everything about it… well, except for the seaweed, sand fleas, and scary critters who live there and attack innocent beach chair sitters, like me! I love the splashing sound the waves make as they crash upon the shore. I love hearing the sound of seagulls cawing overhead as they sweep across the bright blue sky; but more than any of that, I love how the ocean’s water relaxes me like nothing else. Honestly, I believe I could sit in my beach chair at the water’s edge with my toes in the sand all day long, drinking in the beauty of my environment. The ocean speaks peace and calm to me and there’s just no denying how wonderful I feel when I’m there. I can take in full, deep breaths of the healing saltwater air. And, did I mention the delicious seafood to be enjoyed while at the beach?! That’s another subject for another day….

Trumping all of that, as if there could possibly be more to enjoy, is the spiritual connotation of the beach. If, like me, you suffer from anxiety and/or depression, you may feel overwhelmed by your circumstances from time to time, as if one more stressor is going to push you straight over the towering waterfall. I can identify with those feelings and because of my affinity for the beach, I so love the words a friend has written. So, with her permission, I’m sharing it here in hopes that it may enlighten and encourage you as it has me.

When the Lord tells you to go take a walk by yourself. You go take a walk by yourself.
And when He tells you to stop and sit here because He has something He wants to show you, you stop and you sit right there.
Then He says, “watch”.
So you look out over the great big (endless to your eyes) ocean thinking maybe He’s going to cause 10 dolphins to all jump out of the water at the same time, maybe a huge ship will come by, a whale? (in the gulf?)… what could it be?
Then He gently keeps drawing your attention to the edge of the water.
And you notice that there seems to be an invisible border the water will not cross. No matter how much the wind kicks up the waves 10 to 20 feet out into the water, it will not push the foamy edge past this invisible line.
And you hear Him say, “here and no further”.
The words are familiar, I remember them from the book of Job.

“Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’?”
‭‭(Job‬ ‭38:8-11)‬

And then He says to you… “I am what keeps the overwhelming from overwhelming you. Look at the sea, how vast it is, how immeasurable it is to you, yet I keep it from taking you over, from even touching you.”
We may feel the strong winds against our face, and with it we may feel the sand mixed with mists of that water but He will not let it overtake us. We may feel overwhelmed because we can see how big that ocean is in front of us, but guess what… He wants us to see how overwhelming it is. So we can see how even bigger He is.
Whatever it is that surrounds us that looks insurmountable, impossible, hopeless… He has drawn an invisible line between us and it.
There is an end to it. There is a boundary that He has set and says to it… “this far and no further shall you come.”

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Me, Alexander? You, Dennis?

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Me, Alexander? You, Dennis?

One day I might be able to laugh about it. One day.

Actually, I laughed out loud last night. Only because it was portrayed on the TV. I’m talking about Dennis the Menace. Remember that 1950 something black and white show about a curiously inquisitive, yet innocent looking little tot who manages to find trouble wherever he goes…especially next door, with his neighbor, good ‘ol Mr. Wilson! That’s the one! I loved watching this show when I myself was a young’un. I’d laugh and laugh at all Dennis’s shenanigans. It seemed like real life comedy straight out of Hollywood!

That was until I had a boy of my own.

So, watching the show last night made me laugh because, oh my word, I can relate to poor Mrs. Mitchell, Dennis’ mother. If it’s not one thing, it’s another with that boy! All I could think is, that woman needs an award for all she’s put up with. No wonder she only had one child. Fast forward to me, my son, and an only child at that. Similarity on steroids! I guess it’s true what they say, misery loves company. There’s comfort to be found in others who are in the same boat, at the same time.

I had a thought though as I was being entertained by the ‘5o’s TV show last night…..perhaps I need to adjust my attitude. My child, busy as he is with a dose of naughtiness, a spoonful of mischievousness, and energy out the wazoo, is a gift. That’s right. He’s a gift from God and therefore he was created by God. Instead of feeling frustration day after day with his actions (I started to say “behavior” but behavior can be adjusted or corrected; innate curiosity is something different), just like Mrs. Mitchell, I need to embrace my gift and adjust accordingly. There are times to punish naughtiness and there are times to roll with the curiosity of a toddler boy. There are also plenty of opportunities to just sit back and have a good belly laugh over their outlandish and creative imagination! I prefer to choose laughter over anger and negativity; after all, I don’t want to be like *Alexander who proclaims his day is terrible, horrible, and no good.

I’ve decided that we as parents tend to get the most frustrated and irritated with our children when they don’t act or respond the way we think they should. I think I’ve heard this from a psychologist somewhere at some point. In other words, expecting a certain maturity of behavior from a young child will only yield frustration because that young child isn’t capable of it just yet. I find myself in this state quite often. I expect my child to respond or react in a way that I would expect a peer of mine to respond. Impossible. Chalk this up to impatience! Somewhere along the way, I’ve heard it said the older a person is, the more patient he is….HA! At least that is not true of me.

To put shoe leather on this, as my former pastor used to say, I have been erroneously trying to manage my emotions and frustrations over parenting on my own. If I’ve read one parenting book, I’ve read ten! I’m not saying books aren’t of value, but Whom better to turn to that our Creator? The One who made me, the One who created my son. God’s Word should be my go to source. A book to supplement here and there is okay but where am I getting my main advisement??? At some point, enough reading regurgitated psychological thoughts….no two children are the same. Comparison is not where it’s at. Being in tune with my Maker, who is also my son’s Maker (duh!), has all the wisdom and equipping I need.

That said, I’m committing this year to turn to God’s Word first, rather than as a last resort. God’s Word has the power to transform and renew my mind, to change my “want to” and give me a song in my heart. His Word not only has the power to change me and my heart, but also my son and his heart. I want and need God’s wisdom above all else. In order to attain His wisdom, I have to be plugged into it. Spending time with the Lord, reading His Word, committing it to memory, asking the Holy Spirit to give me the desire to read and understand so that I can apply it to my life is paramount. I need this for my life, and I can bet you need it for yours!

Let’s do this together!

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things. (1 Corinthians 13:11, HCSB)

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! (Matthew 7:11, HCSB)

For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my request which I asked of Him.   (1 Samuel 1:27, AMP)

And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]. (Romans 12:2, AMP)

For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12, AMP)

Honor [esteem, value as precious] your father and your mother [and be respectful to them]—this is the first commandment with a promise— (Ephesians 6:2, AMP)

Fathers, do not provoke or irritate or exasperate your children [with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive; nor by favoritism or indifference; treat them tenderly with lovingkindness], so they will not lose heart and become discouraged or unmotivated [with their spirits broken]. (Colossians 3:21, AMP)

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105, KJV)

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11, NIV)

Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. (Proverbs 7:2, NIV)

*Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judy Viorst

It’s a New Year!

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It’s a New Year!

While I’m not a resolution making girl, I do enjoy perusing Facebook to take a peek at what others are resolving to do in the new year. Personally, I don’t make them because I tend to peter out early after attempting to go gangbusters all at once. I believe the key is to take small, baby steps until it becomes a habit (like 21 days, I think?).

Typically, one of the most common resolutions I see across social media is to get fit, and even lose weight. Not a bad idea and one I would benefit by ascribing to myself! So far in the infancy stage of this new year, I’ve seen everything from dream board parties to paying off debt plans, to being more intentional with people rather than cyber-friendships. One thing I haven’t seen much of so far is the desire to be intentional about growing in relationship to Christ. For me, this is one resolution I can sink my teeth into. I feel like it is out of this relationship that everything else stems from. Admittedly, since becoming a mother, I have struggled to keep my relationship with Christ my number one priority. I can’t say I wasn’t warned this would probably happen…

One of the best ways I can take care of myself is to spiritually feed my mind and soul. Hearing God’s Word spoken, reading it, meditating on it, praying it, and committing it to memory is what we were created to do as believers. I don’t know about you, but becoming a mom has quickly diminished time for myself. To be a good wife and mom, the most important thing I can do for myself is to spend time daily in His Word, after all, it’s our guidebook for living. In order to live how He has instructed me to live, I need to know what His Word says.

These days, “self-care” has come to mean the spending of money on yourself in the form of nails, salons, tanning, personal training, travel, botox…and the list goes. However, the best self-care in my opinion is to be a woman in God’s Word. All other ideals mentioned aren’t necessarily bad in and of themselves but they all share the same common denominator=superficial. At the end of my life, none of those things will matter or last. Additionally, finances are needed to keep the wheel of indulgence turning. Think about it: do you want to be remembered for your pretty nails, or tanned skin? Or, do you want to be remembered as a woman who revered God and spent her life growing to be more and more like Him?

My desire for the year 2018 is to be intentional about being in God’s Word daily and to allow it to shape who I am rather than succumb to the world’s influence. To turn to Him with my worries, fears, and problems first before exhausting all my resources and then in a last-ditch effort, seeking Him as my rescuer. To see life through His perspective rather than fear what may be lurking around the corner; and to realize that life is not about perfection, money, and things or a problem-free existence.

One way I hope to grow in my knowledge of Him this year is to try this Bible reading plan, which in my opinion, offers a little grace with reading only 5 days a week rather than 7. http://bibleclassmaterial.com/Catalog/Mark%20Roberts/BibleReadingSchedule.htm Of course, there are many, many different plans, tools, and scheduled reading choices out there. This is one that was recommended to me and looks to be a little more doable as a mom.

Won’t you join me??

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Miss It

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Don’t Miss It

Admittedly, Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I love everything about it: family, love, food, friends, but more than that, I cherish the reason for the season: Jesus’ birth. For if He were not born, there would be no death and resurrection to save us from our sins, offering grace and pardon to live eternally with Him. Our hope is found in the birth of Jesus! We have reason to celebrate and to share the hope we have in Christ.

Somehow, some way, every year without fail it seems that the reason for our celebrating is left in the dust. Our focus turns to stuff and what we can buy to give, or to receive for ourselves. We are scurrying around to every child’s event at school, church, and the like not to mention the office parties and gatherings among friends. We find ourselves stressed out, broke, and even depressed. Then, there’s the sickness that naturally occurs as the weather cools down and germs begin to spread. We find ourselves sleeping less and going til we can’t go anymore.

I find it hard to believe that this is what Christmas was meant to be about. Why is it that we wait until December to show love for our friends and family? Why is it that we feel that gifts given somehow equate to how much we love someone? Why do we continually spend money we don’t have in fear of being perceived a grinch?

As I continue to age, I find myself tremendously scaling back. Cutting back on activities, some of which I’d rather enjoy partaking in; however, I’ve learned my limits. To me, Christmas is time invested with family and friends, quiet moments by the fireplace, sharing yummy simple food, listening to beautiful Christmas carols and hymns, finding peace amidst the chaos, simplified giving, and self-care. As much as I love sending and receiving Christmas cards, I find myself cutting back on the expense of them. We erroneously allow money and the giving of gifts to be the focus of our Christmas when we already have the best gift we could ever receive: Jesus.

When I allow my mind to wander back to Christmases past, what I have fond memories of is time spent with both sets of grandparents and extended family, traditions of baking family favorite treats (even the dreaded fruitcake!), Christmas Eve candlelight services at our church, luminaries throughout our neighborhood, finding and cutting our Christmas tree, homemade hot cocoa, roasting marshmallows and making s’mores, singing favorite Christmas songs, Christmas caroling throughout the neighborhood, unwrapping one gift on Christmas Eve, reading the Christmas story from our family Bible, opening treasured engraved ornaments from family friends, trading Christmas cards from friends and family near and far.

Pinterest and facebook didn’t exist in my treasured memories. We baked and created in the kitchen only to be compared to the recipe that had been passed down through the family. Selfies and instant posting of pictures on social media didn’t exist; we were busy living in the moment, savoring time with those we loved, enjoying being out of school and traveling to Grandma’s. Cellphones and texting weren’t a thing yet making our family time more special and less distracted. We were excited to see what gifts were under the tree and enjoyed hearing the back story of how and why each gift was chosen and purchased. Amazon didn’t exist making it exciting to actually go to the mall and wonder who you might run into while you were shopping.

It was a joyous and simple time. Even with all of today’s technology intended to make life easier and less complicated, yet distracting us like never before, we can find simplicity. We can savor the moments, find joy in simple handmade gifts and cards, and most importantly, focus our minds and thoughts on Jesus. Being present in the moment and enjoying life’s simple pleasures. Love isn’t about money spent on gifts; rather the heart that gives out of love.

Consider these thoughts as you and your family count down the days before Christmas. Don’t allow yourself to be caught up in the commercialism of the season or the comparison trap of gift giving to keep up with the Joneses; for there isn’t any love there. Demonstrate Christ’s love in a simple smile, handshake, hug, handwritten note, or even an anonymous gift given to someone in need. For here is where the joy and love of the season is found.

Wishing you and those you love a very Merry Christmas!