Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Sin Virus

Prepare yourself for a painfully honest view of my life this past week. It was not pretty.

I toss Kleenex ® number 4,289 in the trash can, and I move my clogged head sluggishly around to survey the damage. Crumbs remain scattered on the table (and the floor and the counters, but whatever) yet they are hardly noticeable compared to the dishes that have taken over not just the sink, but the entire kitchen. How is it humanly possible to have so many toy trails going in one humble little house? I mean really…

Continue reading the rest of the post at my bloggy buddy, Sarah’s blog, In Total Disarray.

If you’re new to this site, thanks so much for stopping by! I would love to have you as a part of this humble little community of women who want to find the exceptional power of God in our otherwise average lives. If you would like to receive updates when I add new posts, you can like my Facebook page, subscribe to my RSS feed, or receive new posts by email. You can also find all of these options easily by going to my home page and clicking on the appropriate icon located in the right side bar. Have a blessed day!

Parents and the Dating Game

When I think back to how complicated and awkward life was when I first entered the dating scene, I thank God it’s over. No more lying awake at night, trying to figure out if this guy really liked me or not. No more fussing over what to wear or say the next time I saw him. Yep. I happily traded in those days for a marriage to a wonderful man who loves me for who I am without a doubt.

When we added parenthood to our list of accomplishments a few years back, I started to notice some of those old “dating days” symptoms arising again. Does this man really like me anymore with my stretch marks and boxy t-shirts? Does he find any joy in the thought of coming home to me when he knows I’ll look just like the mess that I am on the inside? The irony of this whole scenario was that I was having all of the dating girl insecurities without actually going on a single date with my husband.

Well, there was that one date we tried going on when our son was a month old. I knew he was in good hands with my parents, yet I spent the entire length of the movie stressing over the possibility of the little guy’s head exploding at the spot where I accidentally bumped it right before we left. So that wasn’t exactly a date worth remembering.

Several months later, my husband and I were so in need of a date it was ridiculous. We spent those months doing what we thought was noble. We threw ourselves into our responsibilities as parents and leaders in our church, and held onto the knowledge that we loved each other.

Somewhere along the way, we started to realize how far from happy we felt as a couple. The fact is, love is not enough unless we’re putting effort into proving it and living it out. Everything in life needs to have a balance, and that includes the amount of time we spend with and apart from our children. So we started collecting restaurant gift cards we received for Christmas and made it a goal to go on one date per month.

I started to notice that we began communicating more in the day to day when we were making dating each other a priority. I also love knowing that my son is learning some important lessons about the purposeful efforts that go into making a marriage successful.  He deserves to have parents who care enough about him to care about each other.

Now I know what some of you are thinking. “That’s all nice in theory, but there are a couple of problems with going out on the town with my man. First off, we don’t have family (AKA free babysitting) close by. Second, we don’t have the finances to enjoy a date in a restaurant that doesn’t have a value menu.”

Those are some big challenges to overcome, I know. While I’m blessed to have family close by, I do understand the inability to go out for a date at times due to the lack of funds. What have I discovered? It’s all in what you make it. If you can’t make your date a night out, determine to have a special night in. At-home dates just work better at certain times in your family’s life.  When you have a baby who needs nursing every two hours or your family has been quarantined by illness for what seems like forever, Mom and Dad sometimes need a break from the parenting survival mindset to reconnect as a couple.
There are tons of ideas online for fun dates with your spouse. A couple of my favorite resources are The Dating Divas and Love Actually.  If you’re a creative type with some money to spare, you can do some pretty elaborate things. If you’re not, or more importantly, your spouse is not the type to get into elaborate things such as this, try some of these simple things – or your own more special ideas – soon.

  1. Movie night: Cost – Renting a movie from Redbox -$1.20 or you could also re-watch an old favorite DVD for free!
  2. Game night: Remember those board games and deck of cards you used to play with when you had friends over? What’s stopping you from dusting them off and giving them another whirl?
  3. Spa night: You can be as elaborate or as simple as you like. Go on YouTube and find some calming music, whip out some massage oil or lotion, and take time to pamper your husband.
  4. Themed or Candlelight Dinner: If dinner is a possibility on your date at home, make it more special than your usual evenings together. Make or pick up carryout for a favorite Chinese dish then plan some activities that go with Chinese. Origami swan making competition anyone?
  5. Stroll Down Memory Lane: Pull out old pictures, watch your wedding video or videos of your kids when they were younger. There’s nothing wrong with talking about your kids on your dates from time to time. They are a big part of your life, after all, and no one is going to more excited to see what they’ve accomplished in their short lives than your spouse.

Dating has the potential to be complicated no matter what season of life you’re in. Choose to make it fabulous now that you have a man who is committed to you. It really boils down to the determination you’re willing to put into making it happen no matter what.

 

 

My fun-loving husband  and me on a date last weekend. We have this goofy tradition of trying on hats when we’re out shopping.

 

 

If you’re new to this site, thanks so much for stopping by! I would love to have you as a part of this humble little community of women who want to find the exceptional power of God in our otherwise average lives. If you would like to receive updates when I add new posts, you can like my Facebook page, subscribe to my RSS feed, or receive new posts by email. You can also find all of these options easily by going to my home page and clicking on the appropriate icon located in the right side bar. Have a blessed day!

Meditation Mondays – My God Strengthens

I’m not going to attempt to utter profound truths today. I write this as I cough incessantly and try to remember how to make coherent sentences in the midst of the mucus that has taken over my head. I don’t feel strong today. I would much rather crawl back into my bed and snuggle up with my sweet little one who is battling the same thing.

But I need so desperately to soak up God’s promises, especially on days where illness has settled into our home. I needed a Word about God’s strength to keep me moving when I feel sluggish.

He gave me this familiar reminder, and I am determined to cling to this strength that He promises me.

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

                 ~Philippians 4:11-13

I’ve been challenged to be content today, no matter how uncomfortable this state is. It could be so much worse, and He has allowed our family to endure this to grow us stronger. To remember to depend on Him for our strength.

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If you’re new to this site, thanks so much for stopping by! I would love to have you as a part of this humble little community of women who want to find the power of God in our otherwise average lives. If you would like to receive updates when I add new posts, you can like my Facebook page, subscribe to my RSS feed, or receive new posts by email. You can also find all of these options easily by going to my home page and clicking on the appropriate icon located in the right side bar. Have a blessed day!

So I will.

Five Minute Friday: What is Real About You to Me?

Today is Five Minute Friday, hosted by The Gypsy Mama. It’s a chance to put aside plans and just write whatever comes out of our hearts in five minutes. If you love writing, I encourage you to do a free write of your own – computer or paper, blog or no blog – it’s just a great thing to experience. If you do have a blog and choose to participate, be sure to link up with the incredible community of women who share each week. They really are all amazing!

Today’s word is REAL.

GO

What is real about you to me, my God?

The sunsets painting the skies so many vibrant shades.

The rain coming down to water the earth that is brown and dead without it.

The ocean with its tides and waves that could swallow most anything, yet you keep it all perfectly in place.

The love you’ve placed in my heart for the husband who is my perfect match.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The incredible gift that is my son.

The family with whom you’ve extravagantly blessed me – they provide such an incredible picture of Your grace and love in the way they are there for me. The way they have sacrificed for me. The way they love.

The home that shelters me from the harshness of the world. It may be humble with plenty of flaws, but you allow me to see that they are just little bits of its character.

Your church and how it is so necessary for life. It is Your bride, and I am part of it. You died for it, and I love being able to be a part of this thing that is so precious in Your sight. The knowledge that hits me so often when I stand singing praise to You with a body of believers fully knowing that in that moment, thousands of others are joining me across this entire world doing the same thing.

The way You are always there for me so intimately when I need You. The way You guide me so clearly without ever verbally speaking to me. And yet You speak. That is really You, guiding, encouraging, loving, chastening, revealing Yourself to me.

STOP

In it for the Outcome

I didn’t always realize that I wanted to be a teacher. In fact, I fought it for a long time. But the more I matured, the more I saw I was built for it. I was called to it. So I quit resisting and jumped into the life of lesson planning, grading, and determining entertaining ways to educate skeptical teenagers.

For four years, my life became the 150 teenagers assigned to my English classes. I grew up fast when I began listening to them pour out the details of their lives, sometimes heart wrenching, other times beautiful. I grew to not mind the piles that grew on my desk when one or more of them would come into my classroom after school to receive a taste of Christ’s love in me. When they started coming in before school as well, I arrived earlier so I could get my work done before they arrived and needed some attention. It was a hard job, and most days I loved it, but other days it was all I could do to drag myself out of bed to hear the immature, cutting words many of them would utter at me.

But I knew it was my calling. I knew they needed me to be there for them unconditionally. I knew that in the long run, my investment into their lives would pay off. This recent find on Pinterest summed up perfectly the motivation that helped me push my shoulders back and face the difficult days where my lesson plan flopped and the students were uninterested in what I had to say. Oh yes, and for the days when I had to accept that they were learning from how I handled apologizing and recovering when I made my own mistakes.

 

 

 

Source

The first couple of years, I didn’t see many results. It was difficult, sometimes humiliating, and always exhausting. But by the end of my four years invested in that school, I felt respected for the most part. I’ve had even more blessings heaped upon me by so many of these wonderful young adults in the three plus years since I’ve stopped being a daily part of their lives. While I do not in any way take credit for all of the accomplishments and realizations they’ve come to on their own, I feel privileged to have been a part of their journey of learning. I feel humbled and appreciated by their loving messages, visits, and invitations to be a part of their special days. It’s encouraging to see fruit from the effort I put in when I could not see that it would someday pay off with far greater dividends than I put into it.

When I came across the quote last week, I was struck with how much like teaching motherhood really is. As my son’s teacher, I’m the one doing the majority of the investing at this point. Why can’t I let go of the clutter and dust that accumulates around my house when I’m focused on potty training or building towers with blocks? If the piles on my desk didn’t determine the quality of my teaching in my career, the piles in my house shouldn’t reflect the quality of my mothering either.

When defiance erupts from my current, precious student as I’m working to teach him God’s way of doing things, I can’t lose heart with his slow progress because these things just take time. As I set my alarm to get up while my little bundle of energy recharges in his bed for another hour, why can’t I view this as my job? I would get up far earlier for my career, and be as productive and cheerful as I knew to be while most of the world slept.

I’ve reached a paradigm shift in my view of mothering. Being in the midst of all the chaos that goes into raising a preschooler was definitely getting me down, and believe me when I say I still have moments days. When I look at it as the beautiful calling, and job (in a good way) that it is, I can stand taller when I handle the screaming, spills, and accidents that make up my days. They’re all part of a much bigger picture, and I’m in this thing for the outcome – a son who brings glory to God and shows love to others.