Sunday, September 30, 2012
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Happy Wednesday! I pray this post finds you happy and healthy on this glorious Fall day. My topic today is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I have actually found some evidence to back me up :-) Stay with me!
Organization is a huge part of my life. Yes, there are people more organized than me, but the thrill I get out of organizing my pantry, color-coding our closet (or my son's), alphabetizing our DVDs, checking off my daily cleaning duties on my daily cleaning chart, or re-organizing the freezer again and again knows no bounds. There are so many other parts of my life that I love to organize...I just don't have the time to list them. You get the point, right? I love it. It's part of who I am, and if I am a daughter of the King, then it's part of who He is!
Some have told me this is the "controlling/type A" personality that consumes me. Obviously, this was not a compliment :-) Perhaps! But, fellow organization-loving mommies, is this such a bad thing? Order is good. Routine is helpful. At the very least, knowing where all of our junk is simply makes me smile. I've decided to stop apologizing. I've decided to embrace my obsessive need to straighten under a cabinet and then stand back and marvel at my accomplishment (come on...you know you love to look at a job well done, again and again!). That being said, I needed to do some sleuthing. Check out what I found in His Word! Let's start with my favorite:
"But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way." 1 Corinthians 14:40
Can I get an Amen, sisters?! Yes, Paul was giving instruction the church in Corinth on how to properly run a church, but if God adamantly wants order in His place of worship, why would He not want it in our homes?
"Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money." Matthew 25:14-18
I share this passage because organization is a talent, a gift even. There are many areas where I am not gifted, but I can celebrate that the Lord chose to give me the gift of order and organization. This parable (a fictional story meant to teach a deeper lesson) gives an analogy of God giving either financial prosperity or talents/gifts to each person, according to his/her ability. If you finish the passage (through verse 30), you will see that the master (a.k.a. God) is quite pleased with the first and second servant who double their money, meaning they put their talent/gift to good use and saw a return on the way they invested their abilities. With the third servant, he is quite displeased. A talent wasted is a slap in the face to God. I love the saying...A talent is God's gift to you. What you do with that talent is your gift to God. Beautiful :-) You may wonder how the talent of organization can bless others. The next time your husband asks where his latest copy of Honda Tuning might be, just thank they Lord He gave you the brains to make a super cute magazine pile near the front window!
Finally, think about the planet that where we all dwell. Think about plants, animals, oceans, and deserts. Think about the solar system. Think about the seasons. Think about our bodies. Think about the miracle that made you a momma. He is a God of order. One step leads to the next, which leads to the next, and the next. Sometimes His order is incredibly simple. Sometimes, His order is so complex that the human mind cannot comprehend its magnitude. The first chapter of our Holy Bible explains the seven days that the Lord took to create the world. He had a predestined, planned set of affairs for each day.
To me, this is all evidence that we do not worship a God of chaos. We worship a God of order. So, sweet mommas, celebrate your compulsion to organize the laundry room, put your Facebook photos into chronological albums, alphabetize your children's books, and perfectly tab each book of the Bible. After all, you wouldn't want to waste a talent! Be blessed today and everyday :-)
MMSM #49Have you canceled cable (like I previously suggested), and now you're dying to catch up with your favorite shows? Check out Netflix or Hulu. We're trying to decide between the two for the winter! They give you tons of movie choices and TV series for way less than cable. And if you have the right equipment (an Xbox, Playstation, etc.), you can stream them right to your TV. Not a bad deal for less than $10 per month!
Because I LOVE consignment sales, I like to shop ahead. I keep a running supply of clothes my son will eventually need. I organize them into sizes in a closet in our guest room. When your little one's pants start getting a bit too spandexy or start to look like capri pants, you can go visit your closet for great deals you already found, instead of frantically buying too expensive outfits at the store!
Because I LOVE consignment sales, I like to shop ahead. I keep a running supply of clothes my son will eventually need. I organize them into sizes in a closet in our guest room. When your little one's pants start getting a bit too spandexy or start to look like capri pants, you can go visit your closet for great deals you already found, instead of frantically buying too expensive outfits at the store!
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Welcome back :-) May I be honest today? I'm exhausted and hormonal. I'm deeply missing my husband and praying for patience in dealing with our sweet boy as he gets his first molars. I just cried my eyes out at a silly chick flick, and I'm praying for the motivation to dust my messy house (after all, that is the chore of the day!). I nearly killed one of our dogs for making a mess on the couch, and I'm irritated at meaningless things and frustrated with people who don't deserve it. But in spite of all of that...a great verse was shared at my bible study this morning. It is so true. We must remember His words, especially on days like today. May it be a blessing to you, and may we all have a better tomorrow!
"And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19
Monday, September 24, 2012
Wowza! This is my 100th post since I began this journey on April 29 of this year. In order to honor the beginning, and to remind myself and others why I'm doing this, I've decided to repost my very first message. So...here we go...why this blog?
Stay-at-home Mom...a spiritually respected position that no longer holds such valor in modern-day society. I have heard many reasons for choosing another profession over the years. Things such as, I am a better mother because I work outside the home, I would go stir-crazy being home all of the time, my kids would drive me insane if I were around them all of the time, and the extremely valid reason that a couple simply cannot afford to have the mother quit her current profession to stay at home. While all of these reasons hold merit to each woman who expresses them and to my understanding of each woman reading this blog, my goal is to share God's desire for the stay-at-home Mom through his unfailing Word and the spiritual awakening He has stirred in my soul. I have a passionate desire to open the eyes of mothers everywhere to an adventure that could potentially be your best ever...for you, for your children, AND for your marriages.
There will be no judgement here. God is in the business of changing hearts and lives. As children of God, we are simply his messengers. There was a time in my life where I thought all of the above things about the life of a homemaker. I simply did not even understand that word for many years...homemaker. I thought it was just the box you checked if you had kids and no job. Over the past year, the Lord has done a remarkable thing in my spirit. Not only did He open my eyes to the validity of the role of homemaker, but He has faithfully shown me, and continues to teach me daily, the ways to raise a Godly child and to keep a Godly home...in our modern world.
Like many Christians, I have begged God for years to give me my calling. You hear about people who knew from the time they were three that they would preach and teach. You hear about others coming to know the Lord after a painful history of abuse, and now they are watching people come to Christ right and left as they minister in homeless shelters. You hear about others doing missionary work their whole lives and being able to see thousands of men, women, and children develop personal relationships with God. I never felt like my story was that exciting. I had accepted Jesus into my heart when I was five years old. I had two extremely devoted parents who loved me and my little brother with every fiber of their being. Though raised in the church, my parents divorced when I was fourteen, thus then labeling me the product of a broken home. While a divorce is difficult enough for children who come from non-Christian backgrounds, I think it brings deep feelings of confusion and betrayal for children who know their parents love the Lord, they know their parents love them, yet they just can't seem to wholly love each other. Over the years, through counseling and the words of our Father, I have come to learn that divorce is no small event. I was hurt, I was angry, and I frantically looked everywhere for examples of strong Christian marriages that I could have one day. I dated all of the wrong men, participated in activities that were less than exemplary, and stayed a course that would definitely not birth the outcome of what I so desperately desired. Only by the grace of God did I find my way back to Him.
After finishing college in 2006 with my boyfriend, now my Godly husband who I dreamt of for many years, we moved to Colorado. I often say, jokingly, that God lives here. Honestly, God lives everywhere and in all of us who accept His Son, Jesus Christ, as blamelessly dying on the cross for us so that we may have eternal life with the One and only. But, there is just something about this state that screams His majesty! While living here and beginning my career in elementary music, I slowly allowed God to put me back together. And ever so faithfully, He did. I firmly believe that life is a series of times of Godly preparation followed by the exciting event, Godly preparation followed by the exciting event...over and over and over. As we mature, we can look back to those times of preparation and thank God for equipping us with the resources necessary to either tackle the next hurdle or to reap the benefit of a blessing from Him (both exciting events).
There is much more to my testimony, but I don't want this to be an emphasis on my life. I will close with this story. Three weeks ago, I was spending some time with the Lord, staring at His spectacular snow-topped mountains from a retreat home in Woodland Park, CO. As clearly as I could smell the pine trees and campfire embers from the night before, I heard the Lord say, "I have finished." Umm...ok? What does that mean? Am I breathing my last as I sit here? Is Jesus returning to the earth today? Then ever so sweetly, I heard Him (please know that I do not hear the Lord in audible words but in thoughts impressed upon my heart accompanied with deep emotion) explain that I have been in a very long season of preparation over the past fourteen years. I felt Him say that He has been teaching and training me to minister to other marriages and women by allowing me to go through the life experiences that were less than pleasant at times. At that moment, I knew. This was my calling. This was my passionate desire. To help other women find the spiritual desire to stay at home, learn the Godly principles and practices to make this a reality, and to then bless their husbands, their marriages, and their children by living out this highly esteemed profession.
Beth Moore beautifully speaks in her book So Long, Insecurity, "For many of us, God used painful experiences to birth our life passions. A fire burns in me to see women of all ages and colors freed and flourishing in Christ." Please join me on my journey of spiritual growth, daily how-tos on practical homemaking, and a revival of our marriages as we live out this calling on our lives...staying at home and making it work.
Who doesn't love a pretty Fall-smelling house? No offense to a fantastic store, but Yankee candles are really pricey. Check your local grocery store! King Soopers was running a clearance special on many of their jar-filled candles! I scored this one for $3.19! Happy Fall!!!
Because checks are used so infrequently these days, I tried a method at minimizing "stuff" in my wallet. Try this! Instead of hauling around your checkbook register with you, simply keep track of the check number, the reason, and the amount on the back of your check pad. Write small so that you have room for twenty-five entries (amount in a typical check pad), and then you have one little thing to worry about!
Saturday, September 22, 2012
While Esquire is not typically a magazine I would recommend to fellow SAHMommies, I came across this article via a friend on Facebook and wanted to share it with all of you. Please take a few minutes and read this man's take on being more like Jesus. It is fantastic!
And now, some encouragement for the weekend. Be blessed!
"How Great Is Our God" by Chris Tomlin
Friday, September 21, 2012
"Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6
During my quiet time this morning, I saw this was my "verse of the day" on my Bible iPhone app. Don't you love technology?! Immediately, my mom came to mind. I didn't know why, I was kind of confused, but I felt compelled to text this verse to her. Again, technology :-) I continued with my quiet time until my sweet toddler hit my shin with his play hammer. Honestly...who comes up with "play" tools??? It was promptly added to the pile of toys which he no longer has the privilege of enjoying, for now. Some of those suckers really hurt!
Later on, after our zoo play date (where he learned to growl at every animal, and every stranger!), we were browsing through the Christian bookstore looking for some good deals (with coupons!). I had not thought about Philippians 1:6 since this morning, and then my phone rang. It was my mom. As soon as she said "hello," I knew she had been crying. She then shared that the company she has faithfully served for over a decade has decided to outsource all of their jobs to India, and as of January 31, she will be unemployed. After we hung up, the verse came to mind immediately.
When we spoke again later in the day, she thanked me for sending the verse, and then she realized I had sent it early this morning, before either of us knew the news about her company. I didn't know it, my mom didn't know it, but God knew that she needed that verse today, at 8am. This powerful verse from Philippians encourages confidence in the fact that, if you are still breathing, God is not finished with your story! Things may get rough...really rough. You, or your husband, could lose a job, you could lose a friend, you could lose your spouse, or even your child. While we pray against all of these and other awful things, we know that we will face hardship in this life. In John 16:33, Jesus says:
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (emphasis added)
It's not a question of "if," but a question of "when." Thankfully, we have a Father in heaven who will equip us with enough grace to handle the most difficult of situations. But isn't it just like our sweet Father to provide some unexpected encouragement along the way? That's why I wanted to share this story with you. I was actually going to write today on whether or not organization was biblical (I know...so spiritually important!), but I was overwhelmed at His timing and methods this evening, and so I simply wanted to share my day with each of you. He never ceases to amaze me.
So to you, fellow mommies, I urge you to stand as pillars of your palace and spiritually encourage anyone whom God places on your heart and mind. Not long ago, I would have felt silly texting a random verse to someone. Now with this situation, and others that have happened recently, I am motivated to keep listening to His direction. I've learned not to add my own interpretation...that can put you and your recipient on a slippery slope of confusion. I just simply give a verse He shows me to whomever He says. His perfect Word always speaks for itself. Maybe he'll use you to speak His Word to your children, a friend, your husband, the person sitting three chairs down at church, or a perfect stranger! There are no limits to His ways. Embrace them and obey them. The fruits of encouragement that you will see blossom in others will make your day :-)
Today, and everyday, be blessed as mommies and as women! Come back next week for more fun topics (on organization!), and some all new MMSM and OT's. Have a great weekend!
Thursday, September 20, 2012
For all of you Colorado Springs mommies, there are two fantastic consignment sales coming up next week:
- Tri-Lakes Chapel (1750 Deer Creek Rd. in Monument)
- Friday and Saturday 9/28 and 9/29
- 8am to noon both days
JBF (Just Between Friends) Sale
- Colorado Springs Event Center (3960 Palmer Park Blvd. in Colorado Springs)
- Tuesday through Saturday 9/25-9/29
- Click here for a detailed schedule with times
Happy deal-finding, mommas!
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
At my women's bible study this week, we did a lesson on intentional praying...that is, setting aside a few minutes each day (maybe even just 5!) to speak to the Lord about whatever is on your heart. It was a fantastic lesson, and we were given many practical how-tos to make this habit part of daily life. In addition to encouraging the prayer life of a woman, we received a hand-out on praying scripture over our children. This is a wonderful resource that I wanted to share with all of you. Go to the following link:
My husband and I agreed that we would choose one verse to pray over our son each day. Since today is September 19, we picked #19 to start out with. Because my husband is gone most weeks, we planned that I would email him the verse each morning, and we would both remember to pray it often throughout the day...putting Caleb's name into the verse. So today, we are praying humility over our son:
"God, please cultivate in [Caleb] the ability to show true humility toward all." Titus 3:2
This activity totally blessed me, and I hope it does the same for you!
I want to share a verse with each of you that hit me in a great way yesterday.
"...Our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace." Psalm 144:12
We can agree that the life of a wife and mother can, sometimes, seem monotonous, unappreciated, and unimportant. The Lord is so faithful to give us little nuggets all throughout scripture of encouragement, compliment, and validation. This is one of those verses! Think of what a pillar does. Dictionary.com says:
- an upright shaft or structure...relatively slender in proportion to its height...used as a building support, or standing alone, as for a monument.
- any upright, supporting part; post.
The important part of the definition describes a pillar as "upright" and "supporting." I'm not going to lie and say I didn't get excited when it also describes a pillar as "relatively slender" :-) God calls us to be upright examples in our home. Imagine what would happen if the pillar crumbled. The house would no longer be supported. While many of us do not support a household financially, we are called to support it with love, wisdom, and all other Christlike attitudes. The beautiful validation that this verse describes, especially for women who stay-at-home, is unmistakable.
A friend of mine has a Pinterest board titled "For the Palace." I always thought that was so cute. What if we all jumped off the house-envy train and thought of each of our homes as our own little palace. As I meet and get to know so many people who are struggling financially in this economy, I can't help but develop an even stronger sense of gratefulness for the shelter the Lord has provided for my family. My palace may not be the palace I have always dreamed of, but it is mine for now...to care for, clean, preserve, and make welcoming and hospitable to anyone who visits.
Finally, let's not miss the beautiful word "adorn" that God so sweetly placed in this verse. When I hear that word, I instantly think of making something more lovely than it already is. We could adorn ourselves with jewelry or adorn a tree with Christmas decorations. Dictionary.com (I'm into definitions today!) says:
- to make more pleasing, attractive, or impressive; to enhance.
I am honored that my heavenly Father would choose to use women as an adorning piece to a palace.
Therefore, sweet mommies, when you feel deflated and missed in the shuffle of busy life, let the Lord bring Psalm 144:12 to the forefront of your mind. You are each a beautifully adorned pillar of your palace. That is something to make any tired mommy smile. Be blessed today!
Here is another great idea I picked up at bible study yesterday. I can't claim this as my own thought, but I did get permission to share! To instill the discipline of prayer in yourself and your family, make a prayer jar to keep on the dining room table (or kitchen island, or coffee table, wherever!). Use an old mason jar, an aluminum can, or anything you can find around the house. Tie a ribbon around the top to make it cute (I thought of even changing out the ribbon with the seasons!). Write family member's names or certain events that are important right now on wooden tongue depressors. Each person draws a stick and prays for whoever/whatever is written on the stick. It's almost no cost, a great family bonding activity, and it will be incredible to watch God answer those prayers!
Monday, September 17, 2012
Motherhood is a challenging time for the best of us, especially the infant/toddler years. Nearly a year ago, I was invited to a unique small group through our church called Moms Connect. Just recently, I was asked to take over as the new leader of the group. I am beyond thrilled to head up a community solely based on encouraging one another in Christ through mommyhood!
As I was sharing about this group with potential new members between services at church yesterday, I was overwhelmed by the hunger that these women had for a place to belong, to be understood, and to be loved as young mothers. Why can't more churches provide this ministry to moms?! Overall, most churches do an incredible job providing support for kids, youth, college/20-somethings, men, women, and seniors. But, do you see the gap? What happens to you between college and your 40s? We've seen it, and many of our friends have commented on it. There's a lull in personalized ministry during the young married/young family time. As the women in Moms Connect and I continue to allow God to evolve this group as it should grow, I pray that other women will step up and minister to the mommies in churches across the world. We all need it! Maybe you are the one to start it in your church! Here is how we do it...
Moms Connect 2012-2013
-Grow in our relationship with Christ-
-Connect as Moms, Learn from each other, and Serve one another-
-Encourage Godly friendships among our children-
-Build and Strengthen relationships among our families-
When you are a part of Moms Connect (moms with kids ages tummy through pre-school), you can expect...
-Fellowship with other mommies
(Matthew 18:20 – For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them.)
-To help each other navigate through the challenges of “motherhood”
(1 Thessalonians 5:11 – Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.)
-Prayer for one another
(Colossians 1:9-11 – For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being stregthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience...)
-To serve one another in a variety of ways (i.e. providing meals for new moms, babysitting for one another, helping with moves, lending/giving items to one another)
(Galatians 5:14 – The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”)
-“Kid” play dates, “Mom” play dates, and “Family” play dates
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 – There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven...a time to laugh...a time to dance...a time to embrace...a time to love...a time for peace.)
(Luke 5:16 – But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.)
Each month, two planned events will be spiritually-focused and just for moms. One play date for all moms and kids will be planned per month, as well as a Mom play date (a.k.a. Girl's Night Out) that is also just for moms. Four times per year, we will plan a Family play date to introduce our husbands and build relationships among our families. Retreats will occur twice per year, and various other activities will be planned monthly for you and your children to attend as it fits with your schedule.
As always, mommies, please let me know if you have any questions on this idea or others. I pray that you and the moms in your close circle of friends and beyond can be blessed by this ongoing tradition started long ago at our church. Be blessed today and every day!
In our kitchen pantry, I only like to keep things we are currently using or will use soon. Everything else (especially those awesome deals found with coupons) goes to the stock pile. I found some extra shelving in the garage, and it is now my mini store for grocery items. We keep ours in the basement, and this stock pile system has been working well for us for over a year!
Until recently, our pantry has been a disorganized, crumby abyss. Not so, anymore! I have implemented the rule of "everything has a place, and everything in its place" when it comes to the kitchen. For anyone who may use the pantry on a regular basis (ahem...my sweet husband), there is now no excuse for remnants being shoved to the back, never to be seen again. Get some folder labels, organize the shelves/drawers in a way that works for you, and ask that your family members comply with the system. My sections are as follows:
- Health Mixes
- Pasta and Side Dishes
- Kid Snacks
- Appliances and Lunch Boxes
- Cooking Liquids and Condiments
- Soup and Cans
- Kid Items
- Warm Drinks
- Paper Products
A bit of an odd list, but it works for us! Happy pantry organizing!
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." Isaiah 30:21
What a confident verse to start our day! So many times I've heard people (myself included) say, "I just don't know that God wants me to do." I was talking to a friend yesterday about a potential out-of-state move on their horizon, and she is already doing everything I could suggest to her in order to listen to God's direction. After reading this verse this morning, I felt I was reminded that sometimes in our lives, with our husbands, and our children we just need to make the best decision our mature brains can muster and simply step out in faith. Perhaps, God is waiting for us to take that first step, and His gentle reassurance will come only after we have walked in faith. God is not in the business of trickery. He doesn't want to trip us up. He is faithful to show when a wrong decision has been made. He is faithful to close doors, sometimes painfully, when our path is not His path for us. If you have been waiting for confirmation from the Lord on a certain subject, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting...maybe it's time to make a choice, and then excitedly you may hear His sweet voice saying, "This is the way, my daughter, walk in it." Today and everyday, be blessed :-)
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Good morning! I feel the urging today to encourage pregnant mommies. A woman from church just emailed to ask if she could join our mommy group, even though she's still pregnant and "not technically a mommy." What?!? Oh my...I think your first Mom-of-the-Year award should be given the day you find out you are pregnant. I was already bent over the toilet praying for the flu bug to pass as I stared in unbelief at the two pink lines. Happily for us, that flu bug morphed into our sweet little Caleb! Honestly, some of my hardest days of mommyhood would have to be enduring pregnancy misery. I know that some women love being pregnant, so just know that I have a healthy amount of envy for each and every one of you. As we consider having another baby, I feel like I'm praying for God to ramp up my excitement level for the symptoms that will ensue. But really, what a small price to pay for a precious child. You just have to keep repeating that over, and over, and over :-)
I came across a verse this morning that is meant to speak to us about our sweet Jesus, and then God opened up my mind to a whole new angle on the verse! 1 Peter 1:8 says,
"Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy..."
When I first read that, I nodded my head as I thought about my faith in Christ. Then, when I was thinking about the many pregnant mommies whom I know of right now, this verse seemed beautifully applicable to their situation, or maybe even to some of you reading this post! Think about how you feel about your sweet baby (him or her!) growing inside your belly. You haven't seen that child with your own eyes (okay, maybe on an ultrasound...), but you love that child, you believe in that child, and you have an inexpressible and glorious joy for that child. Already! Before he/she is even born! Simply put, that is, at the very least, what our Father in heaven wants us to feel for Him.
There are so many examples in scripture of Christ relating to us as His children. When God chooses to bless us with the gift of motherhood, I know that it is meant, in part, to give us a new revelation into the many relationship facets we share with the God of the universe. I feel like I understand the Lord in a completely new way, after becoming a mother. Every time you read a passage about how He does what He does because of His love for us as His daughters, think about how we do what we do out of our love for our children. It is absolutely beautiful. It's truly amazing how He uses worldly relationships to show visible, emotional, and tangible proof of how He relates to us. So cool!
Be blessed today, mommies. And, enjoy this picture/quote from Kristin Merwin Photography showing the love between a mother and son :-)
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Back-to-school time is one of my favorite times of the year. As a teacher, I loved the fresh start that came along with a whole new year of school, new faces, a perfectly clean and organized classroom, and a brand new stash of office supplies! I don't know what it is, but I get more excited about a new package of multi-colored Sharpies than I do about new teacher clothes. Someone has to keep those stores in business...just be sure and use a coupon!
Twice now, I've been in the midst of back-to-school excitement while watching from the side lines with our son. To my surprise, I did not have the overwhelming desire to jump in and join my past co-workers. Truthfully, I was still in the newborn haze last year...I hardly noticed anything past Caleb's sweet little face. But this year, something very cool happened. I could watch my teacher friends excitedly preparing for the new year, I could see my mommy friends encouraging their school-aged children to get ready for school, we could watch the neighborhood children happily skipping to the bus stop at our corner, and I could still admire the isles of office supplies at Walmart. But! I was overwhelmed with a contentment that I was exactly where God wanted me to be.
I loved teaching. Elementary music is a world of its very own, and I felt confident in my career choice for the five years that it lasted. And that's just it. I'm just as confident of my life choice right now. To me, this is an unexpected feeling. I've dealt with feelings of restlessness and discontentment throughout my life...always wondering what's coming up next and nostalgically pining away for the past. God has really shown up for me in this area of contentment. I can honestly say that while I enjoyed my five years in public school teaching, I am absolutely loving my time at home with our son. I don't look back and think...what if??? I don't wonder if I should have put him in day care and continued my teaching career. I don't hold feelings of jealousy for those friends who have more money and prettier things because they have continued working outside the home. I've simply learned to be grateful for what we have, when we have it, and I appreciate my whole journey that has led me to my calling of a SAHM.
I ran across a verse this morning that reminded me how much God loves to bless us. Maybe you are simply asking for the practical pieces to fall into place to make staying-at-home a reality. Maybe you are having a heart issue. Trust me...we have all had those! Pray to Jesus and ask Him to turn your heart towards Him and what He wants for your life. If God can change my restless and discontented heart towards loving a life of 24/7 spit up, poop, and sleeplessness, then He can do it for anyone. It's really hard to do this job of SAHM if you don't love it. Ask Him to help you love it. Ask Him to put your "old life" in a sweet little box that you can look sweetly upon, yet have the full confidence in knowing you are right where He needs you to be. I'll leave you today with this passage from Matthew. Remember, sweet mommies, how much He loves us and wants to bless us with gifts, both tangible and spiritual.
"Which of you, if her son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" Matthew 7:9-11
Need an easy, inexpensive, and cute way to decorate a playroom or a child's room? I found this fantastic idea from Pinterest. Check out this etsy site...ABC Scriptures for Kids. I went my own route with it and actually used a pile of flash cards that I had sitting around. I Google searched verses that started with the letter (whatever), and then taped the flash card to a 1/2 piece of scrap-booking paper. You could get really fancy and frame each one, but I'm going for the rustic look with push pins :-) When your child is older, you could use the verses you choose for scripture memory practice! Happy playroom decorating!
Our son goes through a lot of sippy cups. I became annoyed when I was constantly going back and forth to cabinets trying to pull all of the little pieces together for one stinkin' cup. So now, they just stay on our counter! He has a basket with his cups and bottles (yes...he still has a bottle at night!), wash cloths for wiping his face after a meal, and Tylenol or Advil if we are using them. Cups and bottles go right from the dishwasher to the basket, so we always know where they are.
Saturday, September 8, 2012
Friday, September 7, 2012
Happy Friday! Today's funny speaks too perfectly of my child. When there is silence in your kitchen, make sure your child isn't sucking on the iPhone charger, while it's plugged in. Just a note...apparently, they don't electrocute children.
Second funny of today...my husband was chomping down on some gummy bears in the kitchen. I didn't recall buying gummy bears. Low and behold, they were Caleb's vitamins. When I freaked out, he said it wasn't a big deal and that they were really tasty. And I leave my child alone with this person...
Have a great weekend, mommies! And, check out the Pinterest link that I successfully added to the left sidebar! I get so proud of my technologically-challenged self :-) Be blessed!
I'm always looking for a great deal on milk. Our son goes through it like it's going out of style, and I've heard that it only gets worse as they get older! My friend, Cara, told me that she gets her milk at Costco, and that it was definitely the best deal. I scoped it out, and it absolutely is! You have to buy two gallons at once, but they equal out to $1.98 per gallon. Not too shabby! I'm not sure of the Sam's Club price on milk, but it's worth checking out. Oh yes...and did you know you can freeze milk? I'll buy several gallons at once, stick them in the freezer, then let one thaw on a towel on the kitchen counter overnight when you're ready for a new gallon. Tastes perfectly normal, and no one has gotten sick at our house!
I've now decided to sort through mail once a week, instead of attempting to keep up with it daily. Until sorting day arrives, our mail gets to sit in a cute little holder. I found this at a thrift store for $2. It sure beats looking at a cluttered pile of paper on the counter!
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Today, I'm writing at a local coffee house overlooking our gorgeous Colorado mountains, while enjoying a full-fat white mocha. Does this help in losing my Caleb fluff? Not a bit. Does it provide some sweet silence and relief from my sick and whining child? Oh, yes. No worries...I didn't leave him in the car. Daddy's home! As much as I missed my husband these last two weeks, I kissed him on the head (as to not share my flu germs), bid my son farewell, and high-tailed it out of there. Sick or not, this momma needed some re-charge time. And, my sweet friends, that is very ok!
As SAHMs, our children and our homes are our full-time job...very full-time. When something happens beyond our control to stress our situation, it requires an extra dose of God-strength to even do our job (i.e. our husbands are gone, our child is sick, we get sick (not allowed!), etc.). As we live for Christ and live our lives in His Will, we can feel confident that our current ministry is our family. I say all this so that we can mentally align our lives as SAHMs with anyone's life in ministry. You don't have to be a pastor to be in ministry. We minister to our children, our husbands, and everyone we come in contact with everyday. Because of that, we have to have a break from our ministry.
I admit that I am not good at taking breaks. Babysitters are still a new thing for us, and because my husband travels so much, I kind of feel bad spending the money on a sitter when it doesn't equate a date night. Recently, a friend told me that our kids need to miss us sometimes. I thought that was odd. Really? I'm his mother, his nurturer, his full-time caregiver, his playmate, his everything right now. How could he need to miss me?! Hmmm...is that such a good thing? I think my friend is on to something. Truly, I think my son has actually grown tired of me that last few days. And so, I happily told him not to worry...the feeling is mutual :-) So, here I am. I'm feeling refreshed by the minute, and excited to spend the remainder of the evening with my two favorite boys. Or, maybe I'll run up into the mountains and hide out for a few days :-)
When that guilt comes as we take time for ourselves, remember that the Author of our faith did just that. There are numerous accounts in the Gospels that tell of Jesus withdrawing to quiet places to pray. Even the Lord and Savior needed re-charge time and time alone with the Father. After hearing of His dear friend, John the Baptist's murder, Matthew says:
"When Jesus heard what had happened, He withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place..." Matthew 14:13
Other accounts of Jesus taking appropriate breaks from his ministry are...
"After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone." Matthew 14:23
"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed." Mark 1:35
"But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." Luke 5:16
If Jesus recognized the important of taking time away, we should be able to confidently follow in His footsteps. I believe mommies are better mommies with appropriately-taken refresh time. In my mind, this does not equal running around like crazy women trying to get every errand done that is not toddler-appropriate. I see refresh time as quiet time with the Lord, doing your hobby that invigorates you (mine would be writing), or perhaps simply giving thanks to God for the money to go and get your pretty little toes painted. Whatever it is for you, let's make the commitment together to build it into our schedules. Probably not every day, maybe not even every week, but at the very least when you are on the edge of losing it. We all know that feeling :-)
Finally, make sure that your husband, your mom, or whoever is caring for your sweet baby knows you are appreciative of your non-mommy time. I think the old adage may be true that it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure and thank your personal village. As always, be blessed!
This may be an odd money-saving tip, but I love a healthy snack that won't go to waste. Too often, I have brought fresh fruits or veggies with us, only to have to keep them in a cooler, and then thrown out the mushy leftovers that he won't eat. Then, thanks to my friend Kristen, I found a great snack idea that is easily transportable, all-natural, easily re-sealable (is that a word?), and my son loves them. They are called Fruities, and you can get them at any grocery store. While they typically sell for 99 cents a piece, they frequently go on sale. I have yet to see a coupon, but a girl can hope!
I found this great blog with a super cute idea for playroom/craftroom organization. Don't throw away cans after you use them in the kitchen! Remove the label, run them through the dishwasher, and put a cute label on after you nail them to the wall. I use them for Sharpies, pens/pencils, scissors, and dry-erase markers in my craft room. It looks pretty cute! Check out her site for this and many other ideas at http://laissezfairedesign.blogspot.com/2008/02/clever-ideas-to-declutter.html.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Happy Wednesday! Remember when I had planned to give a fitness update each Wednesday as I was working on losing my Caleb fluff? Well, I've dropped the ball on posting, but I have continued to drop the fluff! My weight loss tip for today is to get the flu and stop eating, while you take care of your child with a double ear infection...it works wonders :-)
Quick little post today...here is my cleaning schedule (an update to an OT that I posted earlier this week). I put it in a frame and use a dry-erase marker to keep track of tasks accomplished. This is working really well for us, as the house doesn't ever seem to get too nasty and overwhelming :-) Keep in mind, when it says "Dust," I'm not dusting the whole house...just one floor or one area that is particularly in need. Again, just a tip for some organization, so use it how it works best for you!
Another tip is from a friend, Jayme. Don't throw those expired coupons away! Visit the website: http://coupsfortroops.com/. You can donate your expired coupons to help those serving our country. I'll add this tip to my couponing page, as well.
Be blessed today, mommies! And don't forget to comment on yesterday's post, if you want to share your opinion on spanking for discipline :-)
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Welcome back to our ongoing topic of discipline! How many of us are familiar with the following verse:
"Do not withhold discipline from your child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death." Proverbs 23:13-14
Spanking (or punishing with the rod) was of very little thought to me until we had our son. Even then, I knew it would be a long time before we had to tackle this subject, so I let it mellow on the back burner. Well, we're here. After my post yesterday, you'll see that I'm struggling with the actual act of discipline. While I have talked to several moms who share in my struggles, I've chatted with even more who have gotten way past it, and they, along with their husbands, have settled into a good plan of appropriate discipline for their children. This gives me hope that I am getting over my nervousness about the whole topic. I wholeheartedly believe in discipline, I know that scripture supports it, and I'm seeing the fruits of well-behaved and happy children who have seen their fair share of a spank, a time-out, or a privilege lost. Now, on to the hot topic...
I was spanked as a child. My parents did an excellent job of disciplining in love with both my brother and me. While other methods were used most of the time for various offenses, we were spanked for three reasons, agreed upon ahead of time by my mom and dad:
With disobedience and lying, we were given a warning, and then my mom would proceed with the spanking, or we were told to wait until my dad got home from work for a spanking...a tool that I now see as a fantastic way to get your child to clean their room, behave perfectly the rest of the day, and think about what they've done all day, meanwhile hoping that Mom would forget. She never did :-) Well played, Mommy, well played. With danger, it was an immediate spank. Running into the street, touching the stove, etc. Those spanks needed to be surprising and super effective in order to curb the potentially lethal behavior. Other than danger, the spanking was done in love, with a full conversation about the behavior and the consequence, and we would cuddle while I cried afterwards while talking about repentance. Now that I'm a grown mommy who has been doing my research, I'm pretty sure my parents were in touch with Dr. Dobson's Focus on the Family ministry. I wanted to share a fantastic article on spanking. Click the links to the right of the article for more information about their biblical view of the subject:
My husband was spanked one time as a child. He was playing "tight rope" on the railing of their two-story deck. A dangerous situation, indeed! It was obviously effective since he can still share the story of his spank, but I frequently tease him that he needed his little bottom spanked a lot more! He was sent to his room a lot, something that he recalls as torture. When I was sent to my room, I was happy to take a few minutes of time to play quietly or look at a book. Different personalities...right?
You see, there is my question. Is spanking right for every child? I think it's too early to say whether or not spanking is/is not effective for our 13-month-old. He's still a baby. He is only on the brink of understanding right and wrong. No, it isn't working lately, so we're trying other methods while we all ease into consistent discipline. What I'm learning (and sharing with you as I go) is to not take on the world's perspective of spanking as merely beating your children into submission. I understand it's biblical. And, when done in love for your children and out of respect for our heavenly Father, it is incredibly effective at instilling godly behavior into our children. Perhaps there is a place for it for every child...thoughts?
The bottom line I've come to is that you need to be in absolute agreement with your husband of what discipline will look like in your home. Even though many of us stay at home with our children, thereby making us the primary disciplinarians, I strongly feel that our husbands should discipline, too. Maybe a little part of me just doesn't want to be the mean mommy :-) But in all seriousness, I feel it's important that our children understand that my husband and I are a team. We are in this together, and it's not to hurt them. It is to eventually create amazingly strong and God-fearing adults.
These are my ever-evolving thoughts on discipline and spanking. I'd love to hear yours! Please comment below. I promise to respond to every, single one. Be blessed, mommies!
While I am getting better at enjoying yard work, it still feels like a chore. Often times, I kill whatever I plant, and I fill with rage when our water bill comes. Really? You have to pay big bucks for something that God drops from the sky? Anyway, we have to landscape...for our enjoyment, and our HOA :-) Check this out! Hit up your local home improvement store for clearance, end-of-summer plant deals. Make sure to get perennials that easily grow in your climate (perennials come back every year, whereas annuals must be purchased new each year). I found mum plants for 88 cents a piece, and I found three pretty purple plants (not sure of their name!) for $3.33 each. But the least expensive mulch, and put in some work while your little one(s) naps. Voila! You have a lovely flower bed that should multiply in beauty each year, for cheap! Happy planting!
Need some help on garage organization? I've found that there is no reason to re-invent the wheel. If you do a quick Google search on whatever organization topic you may be looking for, you're bound to come up with a myriad of helpful sites. I love this one for the honey-do list. Since much of our honey-do list gets done by me (due to my husband's traveling), this will make a great winter project. Happy organizing...of the garage...Organizing your Garage.
Monday, September 3, 2012
"Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:7-11
Can you tell this topic is on my mommy mind lately? Maybe some of you can relate. Our son seems to be exhibiting unacceptable behaviors that are ahead of where the "books" say he should be, but his capacity to understand consequences and discipline is still quite immature. For instance, he can deliberately look me in the eye and disobey a direction I've given him a hundred times about not touching the fan in his room or throwing handfuls of food at my face, but when he is spanked, put in time out, or firmly scolded, he typically laughs. We know our children. We know when they are merely exploring or choosing to be defiant. You can see it in their eyes...am I right?! So, what is a mother to do?
I remember when my parents used to say, "This hurts me more than it hurts you." I always thought they were totally ridiculous for saying that, but now I completely understand. I hate to discipline Caleb. This fact alone surprises me. I was a pretty tough teacher, and I expected a lot out of my students, especially when it came to behavior. I didn't hesitate using appropriate discipline, and in turn, I usually had a controlled and well-behaved classroom. When it comes to my sweet baby boy, it's torture. I know he needs discipline, I know he needs correction, and I know he needs boundaries, but the questions that loom in my mind during these episodes are upsetting...
- Is this the right discipline method for this child?
- If I'm making a mistake and being too harsh, will he be scarred for life?
- Why isn't he responding the way I want him to?
- When he is so quick to pick up other behaviors, why won't this stick?
- Am I making too big a deal out of this specific behavior?
- If I "let this behavior go," am I setting us both up for bigger challenges?
As I have been sorting through these thoughts and questions as we slowly make progress in this area, I came to the realization (with my mom's encouragement) that I am even more grateful that I have the privilege to stay at home with Caleb. While he is an absolutely precious child, his behavior is challenging. I shudder at the thought of how he would, or wouldn't, be disciplined in a daycare setting. I know my son. I watch the ins and outs of his personality all day, everyday. As we've moved into this challenging phase of child-rearing, the gratefulness I feel is overwhelming for the responsibility of raising him not to just be a good boy, but to be a great man. It's a privilege. Yes, most husbands are involved with discipline, as they should be, but if you stay at home during the day, the brunt of this not-so-pleasant job lies on your shoulders. A not-so-pleasant privilege...strange!
Which leads to me to my final point of today. Often times, I have looked at disciplining my sweet boy as a curse. My flesh doesn't want to do it. It doesn't like to do it. And when I finally do get a reaction from him (crying, sad eyes, etc.), which is the goal, I feel like the world's worst mother for hurting my son. Last week, on a particularly hard day, the Lord led me to the above passage. Isn't His Word amazing? Not only does He acknowledge that the act of disciplining is unpleasant, but He emphasizes that it is painful. I can only assume that He means painful for all involved. But then, He goes on to say that just as we are disciplined by Him, those we discipline in love will reap the benefits of "...a harvest of righteousness and peace." Oh, how I would love to bring that upon my child! I felt like God is sympathizing with us as we discipline our children, just as He disciplines us (and eventually our children). He does it because He loves us. We should do it because we love our babies. Be blessed, mommies, and join me tomorrow as we discuss...duh, duh, duh...spanking.
Need a great, and super inexpensive, idea for a girl's night out? Find a willing hostess to provide coffee and drinks, and have each lady brings an appetizer/dessert to share. Here comes the fun part...bring necklaces, earrings, scarves, purses, hats, shoes, any accessory that you no longer wear, but is still in good shape. Set everything up like a really cute boutique, draw numbers to see who picks first, then you get to shop (for FREE!) for the number of items that you brought. For instance, I brought 13 items to our event, and I got to pick 13 new-to-me accessories to bring home! Anything that doesn't get chosen, donate to a local charity store. Happy (FREE!) shopping!
This tip is being implemented today in the McNamee house. Trying to clean the whole house in one day is way too time-consuming, and it rarely gets done. Use this link that I found to help get you started on your cleaning schedule, or design one that works just for your house...Cleaning Schedule. Here's to a happy and sparkling home!