It’s 11 o’clock on Thanksgiving night and the house is peaceful and quiet. The soft whir of the fan in our bedroom is accompanied by the rhythmic turning of the air conditioner fan outside our bedroom window. My sweet husband is sleeping beside me breathing softly, tired from a long, wonderful day of feasting with family. Our 2012 Thanksgiving was spent mostly with just us and the kids. James’s Dad and Step Mom came over for the dinner hours and some church friends stopped by in the evening. Now is a good time to reflect on how grateful I am for our blessings, the small and large. To include what an awesome and challenging responsibility it is to be a parent. One of our personal goals as parents is to teach our children to have a spirit of thankfulness year round. We have made intentional choices in regards to “commercializing” the holidays, but every year I feel the true meaning of the holidays slips further and further out of reach. I sit here and analyze why, despite much effort against it, this true meaning seems to be growing fainter; as if each year the batteries are becoming weaker and weaker. How can we fight this tidal wave of self-gratification, wants confused with needs, new technology, the violence of black friday, ad nauseum? This question has haunted me for over a month now, with each Christmas commercial and sales ad fueling this burning search for an answer. My family has always waited until the day after Thanksgiving before switching into Christmas mode. As the years have drawn on, more and more of our culture seems to skip right over Thanksgiving in a desperate attempt to fulfill the Christmas desire. What so draws Christians to leap over an opportunity to reflect and be thankful for our blessings? Is it really that we’re so anxious to celebrate the birth of our Savior? As I definitively respond with a NO, let me also say I don’t believe Christians have forgot the reason for Christmas. However, it seems we have concluded that setting up the Christmas tree, hanging lights and buying Christmas gifts somehow brings us closer to celebrating His birth. Now that it appears I have painted these things as evil, allow me to elaborate. Decorating the Christmas tree is fun and traditional, hanging lights is artistic and beautiful, buying gifts can be very gratifying, but how do we ensure our heart’s motivation is in the right place? I arrive squarely back at my original question, how to teach my children the true meaning of Christmas amidst all the worldy static? As parents it seems we sit at a fork in the road. One way leads us down the lonely path of secluding ourselves off from the commercial hype and fun of Christmas and the other leads us down a path of blissful, ignorance where we chase down the very last gift left on the shelves, bought with our very last dollar! Depressing choices it seems, but depressing choices have always made me search deeper than the surface for the truth. Before I began this current writing I felt like I was poised to run at that previously mentioned fork. I had a choice to make and no time left to make it. Tonight’s the night I told myself and thus started the “googling.” Any Mom reading this knows exactly the heart pounding moment you step out to find your solution. You feel as if the future of your family rests upon your next choice. Will you lead them to seclusion or ignorance? As I researched the origin of the Christmas tree, searching for a limb to hold on to , God spoke to me. Not in an audible voice, that’s never been how He chooses to guide me. I recognized the sweet thoughts that fill my mind and know that they are not my own. The Lord did not give me those two choices, I painted my own map, complete with a fork in the road. My search for the answer had given me a black and white option. God wants to paint my map with colors beyond what I can even imagine! He reminded me each family is on a journey mapped out by Him, as Christians our desired destinations may be the same, but our paths to get there are not. It’s a personal answer I’m looking for, one that God tailored for the family He gave me. My question all along was wrong. It’s not, “How do I teach my children the true meaning of Christmas?” It’s, “God how would You like the Stafford Family to bring honor and glory to Your Son’s birthday?” There exists no more fork in the road. Only a blank canvas map, ready to be drawn on by God. I don’t have the complete map yet, but I know that by faith through this 2012 Christmas season, God is going to begin to fill it in. It’s not about how successful you are in blotting out the commercial side to Christmas, instead it’s about how you can intentionally focus your family on its’ meaning of Christmas. A focus that requires God’s input. Now the question to you, my dear reader, is “When will you ask God what your family’s Meaning of Christmas is?”
Archive for the ‘ TimAyn ’ Category
Tis the season for keeping our houses clean in expectation of company! Here is an example of a “paid” chore list we use at our house.
1. Clean out kitchen fridge $2.00
*Remove old food containers
*Wipe down shelves, door and any messes
2. Clean out kitchen freezer $2.00
*Wipe down shelves, door and any messes
3. Sweep and Mop kitchen floor $1.00
4. Sweep the front porch and walkway $.50
5. Pulling weeds from front flower beds $1.00/Walmart bag full
6. Washing windows $.25/window
7. Dusting wood banisters $1.50
8. Cleaning dining room table and chair legs $2.00
9. Dusting window sills $.10/window sill
10. Wipe down air hockey table $1.00
*Pledge and paper towels
11. Washing walls with magic eraser $2.00 upstairs $2.00 downstairs
12. Clean leather couches and chairs $1.50
I allow my children to pick which chores they want to do (as of right now.) When they start on a chore they put their initials next to it, ensuring that no one else comes along and starts it. Then when they are finished they must find me or Dad to check it off. When it meets our standards we circle their initial and it’s considered completed for the week. We pay once a week on Saturdays, that way they can tithe on their weekly earnings the next day . These chores are in addition to their “you live here so you’ll help” unpaid chores! That list would include keeping your room clean, making your bed, putting away your clothes and keeping common areas clean. This “paid chore” list also helps with discipline, James and I use work around the house as a discipline tool. For example, if a child whines when asked to do something we immediately assign an additional task. We can use this list if nothing comes to mind quickly
I would like to thank my Mom, PJ Roberts, for this brilliant idea! She used this with Arissa and I growing up and I remember it to this day. I loved getting to pick which chore I wanted to do and getting paid for it! Thanks Mom for laying a great foundation for your grandkids!! Love ya.
I’m going to preface this post with the assurance that I’m sharing these events in my day for comic relief not sympathy! Feel free to laugh, cry or decide to “bubble wrap” your family bc I’m sure going to after today…
I was taking a nice rare break in my bed on a lazy Sunday afternoon. The two older boys were playing xbox and the girls and my youngest son were playing with the guinea pigs outside on the patio. All was peaceful and calm (again a rare occasion ) the girls brought the two guinea pigs back inside and placed them in their cage. A few minutes later I heard my 5 yr old daughter yell to my oldest, “Naomi the guinea pigs are fighting!” Naomi responded, “Oh they do that sometimes,” and ran off upstairs to check it out. I was still enjoying the last five minutes of my rest before cooking homemade spaghetti (important detail for later events.) All of a sudden I hear Naomi say with great urgency, “Mom!!!!!! Speckles bit me and I’m gushing out blood!!!!!” I promise I’m not a materialistic Mom, but at that moment I’m thinking….Oh man, I just had the carpets shampooed last week!!! I yell, “Go to the kitchen!” I rush through the doorway and see splashes of blood all over the floor leading from the steps to the sink where she’s already crying hysterically and holding her right thumb in her left hand. There is blood sprayed all over the white sink, water faucet, clean dishes next to the sink and it’s running down both her arms. I grab a paper towel and wrap it around her thumb and lift it above her head with one hand while I try to rinse the blood off the sink so she stops seeing it. I ask my 5 yr old daughter to get me more paper towels. About a minute passes and I’ve managed to calm her down a small bit. I peel back the paper towel and for a brief second before the blood starts gushing, I can see the bite, it’s an inch long rough laceration that is pretty deep…most likely stitch worthy deep in my humble Mom opinion. I rewrap her thumb with clean paper towels and send my 8 yr old son across the street to bring our babysitter over because I’ve made my decision to take her to the ER. As he runs out the door I send my 7 yr old son to retrieve my cell phone so I can call my husband’s parents for back up. No answer on their cell, but here comes my 8 yr old son and he says, “Ms. Charli isn’t home but I brought someone better – her DAD!” Du du dudu, in walks Mr. Todd. I showed him the bite mark and he calmly takes over holding her thumb while I text my in-laws and get out the first aid kit. About 5 minutes has passed and the bleeding has slowed down, enough that we are able to get some bandages and tape on it before it bleeds out. I decided not to wait for my inlaws because my neighbor so graciously offered to watch all 4 other kids while I took Naomi to the doctor. Now a little background on Naomi would be useful here…she’s super observant and has a lot of common sense. Combine that with a lot of boys in the house who get hurt a lot…she knows that the only reason I would take someone into the doctor is because the wound is stitch worthy! And in case I hadn’t mentioned it, she’s already freaking out. She cries all the way to the urgent care center and the rest of the visit just got worse. She was so panic stricken by the time the triage nurse called us back that she refused the pulse/ox fingertip thingy. I put it on my own finger and still had to convince her it wouldn’t hurt. She was so upset she couldn’t even tell me what she was afraid of. The sweet, patient nurse leads us back to a room and when the door opens and the light comes on, Naomi sees the hospital bed and flips her lid. She backs up into me all the while whining like a stuck pig (guinea pig pun intended!) I coax her into the room and into the CHAIR. The nurse has me take of the bandage and does the little Mmmhmmm when she sees it. From here on out we’ll call that the “yep she needs stitches” Mmmhmmm. The doctor comes in right away and Naomi grabs the side of the chair and is crying hysterically. I don’t mean just upset, I mean snot spraying, wild eyed, you’re going to stick me with a needle upset. And folks, he has nothing in his hand and no one has said anything about stitches or needles or anything. (This is one of those times you wish you child wasn’t as observant as they are) He asks us a few questions about vaccination history for her and the guinea pigs and then looks at it. He responds with the tell tale Mmmmhmmm, and looks at me. I respond with the Mmmmhmmm I thought so that’s why we’re here sound. My smart, beautiful, tender hearted daughter hears this and proceeds to “wig out” for lack of a better word. The doctor leaves and the nurses come back in to put a cotton ball soaked with lidocaine and some other stuff on her finger to numb it for stitches. I had already removed her dress shoes because I had a feeling they were going to cause some issues, good thing I did. By the end I had her knees bear hugged with my left arm and was holding her left arm with my right hand. Both nurses were holding her right arm trying to tape the cotton ball on her thumb. Fast forward 10 minutes, of which every second I spent trying to calm her down, telling her Daddy would be here if he could and trying to reason her into complying with the doctor. The doctor came back in and she turned around backwards and death gripped the chair. I managed to muscle her over to the bed and was practically laying on her to hold her down. The doctor calls the nurse in and they proceed to tell me that she’s too big to restrain and that the only way she’s safely getting stitches is if I take her to the ER. Hearing that she about topples off the bed trying to get away By this point I had already stopped being nice patient Mom and moved into the strict serious “get er done” Mom mode. As a Mom, if the doctor says they need stitches, then they need stitches and come hell or high water it’s GOING to happen because that’s what’s best. The doctor then says he’ll just clean it up and bandage it and prescribe antibiotics!!! WHAT!!!!!! I didn’t know who to direct my rage at…my 9 yr old who’s absolutely freaking out almost peed her pants from fear, or the doctor who apparently decided the stitches were just one out of our multitude of options. Grrrrr. I was actually so mad I had to take a seat and let them calm her down by telling her they weren’t going to stitch it. After about 5 minutes of irrigating the wound my curiosity became bigger than my anger. I really wanted to see how bad it was now that it was all cleaned up. Still looked pretty swollen and gruesome and the scar is going to be a lot bigger because of no stitches. They bandaged it up with glued on steri strips and then wrapped it with some kind of finger type ace bandage thingy and sent us on our way. My husband calls to check on us and after hearing that Naomi was ok he proceeds to tell me he just fell and busted open his knee and several spots on his foot! Geez what a night, what else could happen???? Never, never, never even think that! We made it a block down the road and Naomi looks down at her thumb and says, “Mom the end of my thumb is purple.” I look over and sure enough it is. First thought, they wrapped it too tight, but I had strict instructions not to remove it until Tuesday when we go back in to have it checked for infection. BECAUSE the gaping wound is not stitched closed!!! I call the number on the discharge sheet and the nurse tells me there’s not way they wrapped it too tight. She tells us to come back in. Two minutes later we’re back in the office and they rewrap her thumb because it was too tight, and we say goodbye for the second time. I call my husband back again to give him the update and to find out if he’s been able to bandage up his wounds. He’s telling me the story as I’m sitting at a red light, which happens to turn green while I’m looking down at Naomi’s thumb. I look up and see it’s green, I put my foot on the gas petal and begin to inch forward. Something catches my eye from the left and ZOOM this car runs the red light bigger than Dallas!! Had I been 3 seconds faster we would have been headed back to the hospital with me on the stretcher! At this point I’m thinking, “Go home and wrap everyone in bubble wrap and don’t answer the door!” I forge on to fill the antibiotic prescription and realize that it’s now almost 7 PM and my homemade spaghetti didn’t cook itself. Taco Bell is right next to the pharmacy so I swing in and “cook” dinner. I proceed home, thank the inlaws, relive the gist of the moments and close the door behind them. I lay out my slaved over dinner at the table and call the herd Everyone sits down and I realize how hungry I really am. I’m bordering on that grouchy, mommy hasn’t eaten all day kind of hungry. We pray and I’m just about to take my first bite…”Splash” my 5 yr old daughter spills her entire medium sized fruit punch. It’s now dripping through the space in between the leaves of the table, off the chair and all over the cloth centerpiece. And of course nobody else moves to clean it up. I quickly grab a paper towel and have been cleaning it up for all of 20 seconds when my 3 yr old, less than a week into potty training, little boy says, “Uh oh, pee pee Momma!” Really? Really? I quickly finish blocking the fruit punch in so it doesn’t flood anywhere else and get more paper towels to wipe up the pee! Several minutes and almost half a roll of paper towels later I take my first bite of burrito, it was delicious!
I hope you can all hear that sang in my best “rocker” voice! Ok some things are lost in the translation I’m sure we’re all excited that school is out, or almost out for summer break. No more arguments about school clothes, no more searching for lost homework, no more frantically packing lunches that will pass the nutritional standard, etc. The list could go on for quite awhile, but I won’t take up any more of your precious summer break time with them. Summer break is usually nice for the first week or two…being lazy, no schedule, kids can do what they want when they want. However, for some households that doesn’t work out too well. You already know if you’re one of them…I am. With 5 children so close in age “free” time doesn’t result in sweet children lazing in hammocks reading Shakespeare! Our family operates better with a loose schedule and an understanding of what activities are ok and when. I’m including an example of my “Spectacular Summer Schedule 2012″ so you can see what my family will be doing this summer. It only took about 30 minutes total. I sat the kids down for a SHORT family planning session. We talked quickly about the fun stuff; trips, pool times, tv time and video games. Then I moved into the chores that had to be done and when they were expected to be done. As a family we also choose to stay fresh on our math facts and spelling through out the summer. So those were included as well. I also know that the neighbor friends will be hanging out more so I printed off extra copies for them. That way they know when the kids are available to play, that helps me out a lot! I hate turning kids away from my house. So with no further adieu, here’s a screenshot:
All you need to make this on the computer is a word processing program. Most programs will have the capability of inserting a table. Although, don’t underestimate the power of a schedule written on construction paper with a crayon!
Several old military sayings I heard from our time in service come to mind right now… “Hurry up and wait!” and “If the military wanted you to have a wife, they would have issued you one!” I say this because my DH called today and said his return date may be changing. Inside I was screaming, but I tried to stay calm to hear the rest of the story. The company is short handed the entire month of July so his return could be delayed until mid-August. He was also quick to tell that mid-August was better than what the schedule currently read – December!!!!! All of a sudden August didn’t sound too bad. We had a lovely talk that lasted over an hour, a luxury that is few and far between because of lousy internet connections. As I cleaning up after dinner, or should I say “feeding time at the zoo,” I thought about how tired I was. Not physically tired, but the kind of exhaustion only a single-mom or military spouse will ever be able to fully understand. It’s a bone-tired, reserves are depleted kind of fatigue. Nothing but reuniting with your spouse can fix it BUT, just as single mom’s and military spouses around the world do, I accepted my current situation and began to think about ways I could make life a little easier. I laughed out loud as I thought about the events of the day; EVERYONE, except me, woke up on the wrong side of the monday morning bed and was subsequently cranky and irresponsible about school assignments. At recess time we lined up at the back gate to head out to the park and I realized my 8 yr old son had no shoes on AGAIN. Not wanting to allow this to become a habit I headed in to help him find them, bc if he went in alone we’d be waiting for hours! Just as soon as we found them I heard a scuffle outside, I looked out the window just in time to see my 9 yr old daughter “sword fighting” with my 3 yr old son. BAM! She accidentally hit him in the mouth, several bloody rags later and some hugs and we were ready to go again. Once out the gate the 9 yr old had a total meltdown that the entire world was unfair to her, then moments later my 7 yr old son ran through a fire ant hill, ALL the way across the park from me, in bare feet! I ran across the park (which mind you was sopping wet from the sprinkler system that had just finished) to him and quickly swept them off his legs. Phew, disaster averted…at least that’s what I thought until I heard my 5yr old daughter yell for me. I turned around and saw her standing in the middle of the sopping wet grass I had just ran through, she had slipped and fallen and her whole back side from the top of her head to her shoes was soaked! At that point I really wanted a do over, let’s just all go home and go back to bed and try it again! LOL. Anyway fast forward through the rest of the day and a few more unmentionable accidents and events to my current mindset of trying to make things run more smoothly until July or August or whenever DH gets to come home. I realized that I had plenty of discipline and consequences built in to my day, the kids know that Y happens if you do X. So this begs the question, “Why aren’t they doing the right thing consistently?” I understand normal child development and I also understand that a certain amount of that is normal with my children’s ages. This knowledge and experience also tells me that somethings out of balance. I love how God drops little nuggets of wisdom right where we need them, well in my case He has to keep re-dropping them because I keep forgetting! If your encouragement vs. discipline percentage isn’t in balance the result is what’s occurring in my house right now as we speak! I once had a college professor of child development tell us that you need at least 80% positive interactions in a day to allow the 20% of discipline to succeed. I certainly had not encouraged my children 80% of the time today or any other day in near past. It’s a slippery slide that we walk on as Mom’s. We all inherently know this balance between encouragement and discipline exists and we naturally try to create it, but over time we slip away. We don’t usually slip towards more encouragement either! I firmly believe the more kids you have the quicker and further you slip down this slope before you realize it. Now away with the thoughts of failure and negativity all you lovely Mom’s out there, because if you’re feeling convicted at this moment AND you’re exhausted thinking about the climb back up the slope there is hope! The conviction and exhaustion mean you HAVEN’T GIVEN UP!! The solution is simple, not easy, but simple. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel you just have to try to encourage as much as possible for the next week or so. You don’t stop all your discipline, but choose your battles very wisely. Children respond to their environments very quickly and your household will not be any different. Stay focused on your goal and pray that God will show you all the places you can encourage your children.
I would love to take credit for the wisdom that is about to come, but alas I did not come up with this idea! LOL. On first glance encouragement and praise seem like they can be used interchangeably, in fact dictionary.com uses the word praise in it’s definition of encouragement. However, I challenge you to dig deeper with me. When it comes to teaching your children to continue a behavior because it means something to them rather than because someone else wants them to, the difference becomes crystal clear. In my mind I equate praise with flattery. Most of the time flattery is empty, in fact Proverbs 26:28 says, “A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin.” The writer of Proverbs, inspired by God, speaks of flattery in the same sentence as lying. That’s because flattery simply tells someone else what you think of the action they did, it doesn’t inspire them to see how they feel about the action they did. It’s the difference between making your children dependent on what you think or teaching them to evaluate their actions for themselves. I first heard this topic discussed in one of my early childhood development classes in college, but like a lot of other bits of wisdom, I shelved them for later use and forgot about them. God brought this to my remembrance today as I sought His help on dealing with what feels like a landslide of parenting issues! I came across the following article while refreshing my mind about the difference between Encouragement and Praise. I have only read the the article and comments following on this topic, I have NOT researched this child psychologist any further or read any of her other ideas on parenting. She does not appear to have used any Christian influence or background in her personal summary of Encouragement vs. Praise, but she does sight some other books. My Bachelors degree in Psychology with a minor in Early Childhood Development gave me the background to know the conclusion that Encouragement being better for children than praise was accurate. On a personal note I would encourage you to be careful, actually be diligent to compare the parenting advice and ideas you find online to the Bible. Even if the author claims to be a Christian authority on parenting practices and principles, you as Mom are the ultimate authority and the only one that will answer to God for your discipline techniques. God’s word says He is faithful to give us what we ask for, I know that He has always provided me with the answer to my parenting question when I took the time to ask Him. Unfortunately, too often I sought “googles” thoughts first! God entrusted your children to you for a reason. No behavior they display shocks God. He’s waiting to be your “go to guy” on anything parenting wise. He may lead you to a book or an idea that’s already been discussed by another Christian, but we would be wise Mom’s if we asked for His guidance first. With no further distractions here is the link:
Why is it that some of the most important moments we will ever spend with our children, happen at the most exhausting part of our day? I don’t know what bed time looks like at your house, but let me just tell you it’s not always pretty at mine! Don’t get me wrong, I have a bedtime routine which should look something like this: All five beautiful angels pajama themselves and do an exceptional job flossing and brushing their own teeth (without being asked.) They each settle down with an educational book allowing me to put my three yr. old to bed without interruption, AND he of course doesn’t fuss because he loves to lay down in his bed. I read and pray with him and then repeat the process with each child in age order. Always having uninterrupted time to pray and answer all questions that are asked. They sweetly pray with me, understand their devotional and drift off to sleep quickly without getting out of bed. I peacefully retire to my own bed to enjoy some much needed reading and praying time…NOT!!! Oh how I wish this happened every night, ok who am I kidding, maybe just once a week???? All joking aside, for most Mom’s this is the hardest part of the day to follow through with. We are exhausted and pulling our hair out by then, and want nothing more than a huge chocolate bar and some peace and quiet. However, as exhausted as we are, it’s imperative to our children’s spiritual development that we persevere. Those final precious moments that we spend with our children every day leave a lasting impression. Our children vie for our attention all throughout the day whether they’re toddlers or teenagers. Sometimes tucking them in and kisses their sweet faces is the only time they had our undivided attention that day. Can you blame them for wanting it to last just a little bit longer? Mom, you are such a special treat, and your loving prayers and words mean the world to them. The Bible says we are to teach our children about God from the time they get up until the time they go to bed AND all the time in between. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my children to fall asleep one more night without thoughts of Jesus filling their minds! Who better to put them there than you…So I ask, have you prayed with your children tonight?
This checklist will allow you to enter all your child’s school subjects and other daily responsibilities in the right hand column. The days of the school week, Monday – Friday, are listed across the top. So every day your student works their way down through their tasks, school or/and household, placing a mark in the empty box. You will need to adjust the Month and Days for your use. There are two full weeks on one page. Here are some more tips to use this checklist to it’s fullest potential:
- Print it on card stock for durability
- After you’ve printed your current two weeks, change your dates for the next two weeks. Flip your paper over and print. That will give you a whole month checklist on one page!
- I use a red pencil to place a star next to their mark after I’ve checked that subject’s completion.
- Buy cheap clipboards and have your child place their checklist on their own clipboard.
Click here to download: ->Schedule
98 Days left: Today I would like to talk about motivation, which I find hilarious bc I haven’t been “motivated” to write in several days! Bwahahahah. I could go on and on about all the crazy things that happen when you’re trying to parent 5 kids alone, like an IPod being dropped in a toilet, like a glass jar of olive oil (extra virgin too $$) breaking on the floor in the middle of the all the other grocery bags, like my 8 yr old son hitting a metal pole with his tooth and knocking out half of it, like a cultural misunderstanding that lands us spending Easter with no family, like being so “busy” I don’t read my bible or pray, ICEE’s exploding on white shirts, drinks spilling at WalMart in the produce section, but I won’t bore you with all those silly, little details. Ok, OK, seriously I have to share my God moment tonight. I was driving to my “A Mom After God’s Own Heart” church group and sulking because of the crappy day I had experienced when the truth slammed me in the face – My house is a mess BECAUSE we have one, dishes are in my sink BECAUSE we have $ to buy food, my kids are driving me bonkers BECAUSE I have the privilege to homeschool this semester. What right do I have to sulk when I have everything I need and could want!! I don’t! And here I was driving by myself, kids home safe with a babysitter to talk “Mom talk” with another Sister in Christ! Seriously I was ashamed at that moment and adjusted my attitude. Consequently I had a great time with my friend and we encouraged each other quite a bit. As I was driving home I had one of those “God” moments, where it feels like God just places a whole thought process right in your brain. I hope you don’t think I’m crazy because that’s really how God speaks into my life. He created me and He knows best how to “speak” to me As I was thinking about how encouraged/motivated I felt after my visit I thought again about my recent struggles with motivation. These are not your everyday, “Oh I just feel lazy today” kind of things, I’m talking about a deep down, I don’t have any fight left in me, stick a fork in me I’m done kind of demotivation!! Nothing I have tried has helped. I might improve for a day, but never two in a row. The next day I feel beat down even worse than before. The gut-wrenching honesty about this is, there is no one else to take my place…even for a minute. There’s no one to lift my burden…even just one of them. So as the lack of motivation got worse and worse so did my downward death spiral (pardon the aviation pun, my awesome DH is an aviator.) So here’s what God then drops into my mind: What used to motivate you? Things like what would someone else think? What if someone else was watching? I don’t want people to pass quick judgements on me! I want people to think I’m a good Mom, housekeeper, teacher…. Then God reminds me of a prayer I said a LONG time ago, “God help me to not be motivated by what others will think because it makes me wishy washy! I want to have a firm grasp on who I am and what I’m doing.” Then He brings the thought process full circle by saying, “I’ve removed ALL extrinsic motivations!!” Dictionary.com defines extrinsic as “not essential or inherent.” Duhhhhhhh, that explains why I feel the way I do. Then I have to realize that my true motivation should come from Him, so by my actions I have told our Precious Savior He wasn’t motivating enough! Sorry God your just not worth doing a good job. I’m not motivated enough to put reading Your Word and praying at the top of my list! Wow talk about a “God” moment. I always know it’s from God because His word says He doesn’t come to condemn us but to encourage us with the truth! How beautiful and majestic is our God! He loves us so much that He continues to refine us and shape us into the beautiful creations He made So my challenge to you is: What motivates you? What masks do you wear to shape how people see you? If we continue to wear masks to hide who God has created, how can they see God in us? They can’t!
Day 12: I had the most pleasant surprise on Day 9, the morning after God opened my eyes to being transparent. At about 10:30 in the morning the kids started yelling that somebody was at the door. Turns out two of my closest friends from Alabama had drove ALL night to surprise me! Talk about being blessed We had a wonderful time of fellowship, miniature golf and shopping of course. Words cannot explain the joy my heart felt when I saw their smiling faces…to know that my friends sacrificed A LOT to drive across the country just to see me! I’m still in shock, LOL. My friends left at about 4 this morning and after saying our goodbyes I went back to bed for some much needed rest. Again to my two sweet friends, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. I pray you know how much you blessed me with your visit!!!
Life is a balancing act, whether you stay home or not. As Moms it feels as if we’re being pulled in multiple directions and still expected to keep that balance. For me those directions become magnified when DH is gone. When just a few are giving me a hearty tug I can recognize it and gently pull things back in balance. However, when they all pull at once life for me becomes a tug-of-war that I can’t win. This is where I am finding myself right now. I feel like a divided person in every aspect of my life. My beliefs are not in question, but as my stress level increases and the pulling gets stronger I have to decide where my best efforts are needed. How do you decide that when all aspects seem to carry the same importance? I am an “imperfect perfectionist.” Maybe you are too I will never be perfect and most of the time it doesn’t stop me from moving on, but it does make me try 110% on everything my heart desires to do. You can probably imagine how this character trait magnifies my tug-of-war. Homeschool vs. Public school, time regimented homeschool lessons vs. fun learning environment, healthy menu planning and cooking vs. quick prepared store bought foods, more rewarding of good behavior vs. more discipline of the bad behavior, teaching responsibility with kid’s chores vs. me keeping the house clean and presentable, etc. I’m sure you can add a few more, but I think the point is clear. My balance point won’t look the same as yours, God calls us to find the balance for our individual families that brings Him glory. God revealed to me today, through my most amazing sister Arissa, that when life is pulling you in every direction your only hope is to crawl onto the Rock in the middle!! He is our Rock and our Salvation! You must focus your efforts on staying on the Rock, God will help you restore that balance. My mind is always searching for the why’s and how’s to every situation, so naturally I question what caused me to fall off the Rock in the first place. The answer is always my quiet and prayer time. As soon as I let life choke out my time with my Savior, I start to slide off my Rock. It’s so slow and gradual I don’t notice it until it’s too late! The wonderful thing about God is that He doesn’t care why you fell off, he just wants you to climb back on…are your feet firmly planted on your Rock today?