Saturday, May 25, 2013

Mommy Affirmation

Happy Memorial Day weekend, mommies! Hopefully, you get to spend some much needed time with your kiddos and your honey...remembering those we have lost, and appreciating those who are still with us!

I'm off to shop for bridesmaid dresses with my bestie, but I stumbled upon a fantastic Facebook post yesterday. I don't know the author, she is a friend of a friend, but her name is Leah and she provided some awesome affirmation for any mommy out there! Leah, if you read this...thank you for your wise words! Enjoy this, and have a fantastic weekend!

To the mom who's breastfeeding: Way to go! It really is an amazing gift to give your baby, for any amount of time that you can manage! You're a good mom.

To the mom who's formula feeding: Isn't science amazing? To think there was a time when a baby with a mother who couldn't produce enough would suffer, but now? Better living through chemistry! You're a good mom.

To the cloth diapering mom: Fluffy bums are the cutest, and so friendly on the bank account. You're a good mom.

To the disposable diapering mom: Damn those things hold a lot, and it's excellent to not worry about leakage and laundry! You're a good mom.

To the mom who stays home: I can imagine it isn't easy doing what you do, but to spend those precious years with your babies must be amazing. You're a good mom.

To the mom who works: It's wonderful that you're sticking to your career, you're a positive role model for your children in so many ways, it's fantastic. You're a good mom.

To the mom who had to feed her kids from the drive thru all week because you're too worn out to cook or go grocery shopping: You're feeding your kids, and hey, I bet they aren't complaining! Sometimes sanity can indeed be found in a red box with a big yellow M on it. You're a good mom.

To the mom who gave her kids a homecooked breakfast lunch and dinner for the past week: Excellent! Good nutrition is important, and they're learning to enjoy healthy foods at an early age, a boon for the rest of their lives. You're a good mom.

To the mom with the kids who are sitting quietly and using their manners in the fancy restaurant: Kudos, it takes a lot to maintain order with children in a place where they can't run around. You're a good mom.

To the mom with the toddler having a meltdown in the cereal aisle: they always seem to pick the most embarrassing places to lose their minds don't they? We've all been through it. You're a good mom.

To the moms who judge other moms for ANY of the above? Glass houses, friend. Glass houses.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Turn our Focus

Hello, mommies! I heard this song as I was making dinner last night, and her words have stayed with me throughout the night and this morning. I wanted to share it with each of you, as I feel it will speak deeply to some of you.

"Blessings" by Laura Story

Have you ever felt like the Lord has promised you and your family a season of blessings, but the current circumstances aren't lining up with His words? It's confusing, it's hurtful, and it's a perfect environment for the Enemy to insert fear, despair, and a litany of lies. I want to encourage each of you to hold fast to the words that our heavenly Father has spoken to you. I have spoken before about my bad tendency to obsess, worry, and over-analyze. I could write out every verse that battles anxiety, but it feels like I have a constant seed of worry that bursts into this grotesque, monstrous tree every so often.

Sometimes, the lifestyle of a SAHM feeds my anxiety problem. Yes, we're busy, but a lot of our time is spent doing mindless house chores, preparing food, or organizing something. We can be "working" while our minds spin out of control. To be honest, I don't have the remedy for this problem! But I do know that obsessiveness is rooted in the Enemy. I need to do a better job of recognizing thoughts that aren't of Him, and turning my attention to this verse. Our Lord has been screaming these words to me lately:

"Finally, sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4:8

God is doing some amazing things in my family right now, but one certain trial, one potential earth-shattering disappointment, is looming. I don't mean to be cryptic, but I'm not ready to share the details. I will, sweet mommies. And through my story, I hope many of you are blessed by the evidence of His love amidst the storms. Clearly, I'm missing the great stuff God is doing because Satan wants to keep my attention on the hard stuff. It's a choice, mommies. It's a choice to protect our hearts so that we can be our best for our husbands and our children. I'm not at my best for the duties set before me when I'm obsessing in a cesspool of negativity. My prayer for each of us today is the verse above. Have a lovely day with your children, and remember to focus on those things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy :-)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Choosing Peace

Welcome back! I'm not totally sure the Dalai Lama said this, but it's a great quote, and very applicable to the modern momma...

If you are fortunate enough to rise a few minutes before your little ones, you may know what this inner peace feels like. If you are fortunate enough to keep your eyes open for awhile longer after they fall asleep, you may know what this inner peace feels like. Or, if your toddler who never stops moving is tired enough to sweetly fall asleep in your arms, you may know what this inner peace feels like. Some call it the "happy place." Whatever you call it, I think it is so important for us as mommies to:
  • Identify what it feels like
  • Ask God to bring it to us, all the time!
  • Choose to stay in it as long as possible
Isn't it funny how our peace can disappear in a second? A friend gives you bad news. Your husband makes an off-handed remark that gets to your core. Or, my favorite this week, your toddler gets the stomach flu and throws up all over the middle of the night. Yep, there it goes! My peace...But! It doesn't have to. I want to make a vow to stay peaceful as much as possible. Our God-given peace does not depend on the behavior and actions of others, or on the circumstances around us. I tend to view peace vs. circumstances as a cause and effect relationship. But, God has clearly shown me lately that this is not the case!

As mommies, I believe that one of our primary responibilites of the home is to foster an atmosphere of peace. How can we do that for our families if we can't do it for ourselves? I dream of Caleb growing up in a home that regardless of what hard things his daddy and I may be dealing with, he will remember a home of peace. Peace is defined as:
  • a state of tranquillity or quiet
  • freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions
Isn't that second definition fantastic?! How many times do we lose our peace because of our own behavior or, more specifically, our own thoughts? This was never God's intention. If we know Him, and we know His Son, Jesus Christ, then we have the ability to feel His supernatural peace washing over us at all times...regardless of our circumstances. When my little man was throwing up for the umpteenth time this week, I sat back and held him and thought about the intricacy that went in to our heavenly Father's creation of the human body. Okay, maybe I was delirious from carpet cleaner, but I really was put at peace in the fact that his little body was behaving just as God designed it. Something foreign was attacking his cells, and his body was getting rid of the culprit. I knew he wouldn't throw up forever, I knew that I was the only person who could comfort him in the moment, and I knew that God would heal our son. I had peace.

That might have been a bizarre example of peace right now, but it's where my head is :-) I had a hard conversation with a friend today, we've run into a snag with our house contract, and I'm trying to prepare us to go out of town again. Through all of that, God reminded me of this verse...

 "You will keep in perfect peace her whose mind is steadfast, because she trusts in you." Isaiah 26:3

Over the past year, I have been on a major journey of learning to trust God in what He is doing. The more I trust Him, the more peace I feel in the big things, and the small things. Mommies, I encourage you to identify how it feels when you are in "perfect peace." Ask Him to allow you to feel that more often. He doesn't desire us to feel like this:
I know that we have all that, and more, to do! But, we don't have to look like that :-) Let's learn how to do this job peacefully. The responsibilities aren't going away...but He may just desire that we practice a peaceful spirit while completing our tasks. Just some thoughts!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!!!

Hi mommies! I've been busy with my boys today, but I did want to post a "sweet" and a "silly" in honor of our special day! Happy Mother's Day!!!
Today, and everyday, remember how much you are loved and needed. Even if our little babes can't find the words, their smiles and adoring eyes say it all. Enjoy this day devoted to all of us!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Story of Two Houses

Welcome back! Tonight, I want to start by discussing a little parenting dilemma :-) Caleb threw his first full-blown tantrum this afternoon, and his daddy and I were at a loss as to how to handle this out of control toddler. You see, Caleb has grown quite fond of the Thomas the Train and Chuggington apps on the iPad. We used them, apparently too much, to pacify the little man on the exceedingly long plane rides to Columbus, OH and back last weekend. Well now, Caleb thinks he needs to play them all the time...whether we are on a plane, or sitting on the couch. The child clearly needs a bit of detox! Just a note...detox is NEVER fun. We had to move the iPad and the cover completely out of view for him to stop obsessing, we tried distracting him with everything imaginable, we tried to feed him, take him outside, put him in time-out, and even put him down for a nap. Toddlers have the strongest one-track mind. Our refusal to allow him to play came with some seriously strong consequences, over several long hours. Yes, he eventually succumbed to exhaustion, but not without upsetting the whole household before giving up. Here is our dilemma...

Do you discipline during a tantrum? The minute and a half in the time-out chair definitely allowed him to catch his breath, but he went right back to the wailing after he got up. I don't think I believe in spanking during a tantrum because, truly, the child hardly seems like he's in his right mind! I tried to hold him and comfort him, reassuring him that all will still be well in the world if he didn't get his game, but he took turns pushing both of us away. Is teething a factor? Probably. Was he overly tired? Absolutely. Was part of this just typical toddler behavior? Most definitely. So, here is my question for you...what do you do at your home in the midst of a tantrum? Time-out? Spankings? Loss of privileges? Time alone in their crib? Hug and comfort? I'm open to any and all comments. I have a strong suspicion that this will not be the last tantrum, even if we do accomplish a full detox from the train apps...oh technology, you are so good, yet so bad!

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest! On to the exciting happenings...nearly one month ago, The Lord told my husband and I to put our house on the market. It was a huge leap of faith, as we had no where to go, and we really had no good reason to leave our current house, other than the fact that it's a bit too pricey for our current situation. You see, we bought this house and then quickly found out that we were pregnant with Caleb. In the months that followed, we decided that I would stay home with him, which meant that our income went from two comfortable salaries to one. While He has remained faithful in providing us the necessary resources to live comfortably, this house has felt like more of a burden, rather than the blessing it was intended to be. We contemplated selling last year, but the real estate market had not picked up enough to warrant a good effort. Thankfully, it seems to have made a come back in the Colorado Springs area this year! After meeting with our realtor and agreeing to prepare our home and list it, we prayed. us where to go. Show us what you want us to do, and open our hearts to the next phase that you have in store for us! Well, what do you know...

One week later, a cute little bungalow came up on the market, not even five minutes from our current home. We went to look at it the first afternoon it was listed. I walked in and cried...happy tears :-) Have you ever seen evidence of God simply loving you by blessing you with desires you have never even uttered aloud? This was that house. This was our dream house. It certainly would not classify as a dream house for many, but it does for us. It is the exact style of our first home that we fell in love with in Virginia. At half the size of our current home, it has beautiful hard wood floors, a gorgeous kitchen, original woodwork throughout, French doors off the master onto a lovely deck, a separate playroom, a series of "secret" closets and passageways for little boys and their imaginations, aspen trees all around the yard, an oversized garage with a manly workshop, a spot for an RV, a main-level laundry room, a mud room, a cellar (or a "bunker" if you ask my husband!), a formal dining room, picture windows with a view of the mountains, a guest room and bathroom, a scrapbooking/craft nook, lots of storage space, a log cabin playhouse, a swing set, a huge yard, tons and tons of character, and a hot tub. All of these sweet desires, many of which we have never spoken aloud, for over 100k less than our current house. This is the kind of house we have been waiting for...and I now know that God was just waiting for us to take a leap of faith on our current home before He would lovingly provide our dream home.

Long story short...our offer was accepted (not without a bidding war!). So then, the task came to prepare our current home for the market with massive packing, staging, and cleaning. Our goal was May 3, and we made it! Caleb sweetly helped along the way, and then happily went to play at others' homes while I finished up...after all, toddlers can only "help" so much :-) We literally vacuumed ourselves out of our house on the morning of May 4, and took off to see my amazing brother graduate from The Ohio State University. So proud of him! As we were pulling into the gate at the Columbus airport, my phone rang. Yea I know, it shouldn't have been on! It was our realtor. We received an offer, a GREAT offer, on our house! In less that 24 hours! If that isn't God, then I have no explanation. Yes, the market has picked up, but I didn't think we would get an offer that quickly. We did a few negotiations, and we were under contract by the next morning. Another couple came to see the house, and they told our realtor that if anything went awry with our current deal, they are next in line. Praise God!!! While it is absolutely wonderful to be under contract, I would be lying if I didn't express my extreme delight in not having to keep a house in "show condition" with a toddler. I truly didn't know how I was going to do it!

I say all of this to encourage each of you. While we have waited for two years for a shift in our house/financial situation, maybe you have waited that long, or even longer, for some type of monumental change in your family. Don't give up hope, mommies! He is so faithful to provide just what we need at just the right time, sprinkled with sweet blessings that could only come from the Father who loves us so much. Even through situations that can seem unbearably challenging, He can bring ease and fluidity. Sometimes He asks for our assistance, and sometimes He simply asks us to sit back and watch His beautiful work. Keep praying for that marriage, that child, that financial crisis, that parent, that attitude-shift. I pray that this story will be a testimony to His greatness, and I look forward to hearing your testimonies of His greatness, as well. Until next time...

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9

Friday, May 10, 2013

His Blessing

Well, hello! I bet you thought I had disappeared, huh?! I suppose I did, but not because I didn't want to write...I simply haven't had the time, the energy, the health, or the words. But, I'm back! I'm rested, healthy, I'm still short on time, but I have some new thoughts that I want to share :-)

I know that I have vowed to not plan my next blog entry, as something inevitably comes up to disrupt my precious writing time, but I am going out on a limb to say that tomorrow I will share the exciting happenings of the McNamee family with all of you! Just a preview? We're under contract on a new home and on our current home! Caleb survived another way-too-long plane trip, I survived a flu bug (who gets the flu in May?!?), and we are preparing for a gloriously fantastic summer! He is so good...

As I hear my little one stirring, let me share a blessing that I was led to this morning during my quiet time. This blessing from 1 Kings was given from Solomon to the people of Israel during the dedication of the Temple. Remember that all of God's Word remains true today. The Bible is an over-arching story of the love of God for His people, all of His people. Though this blessing is directed at the Israelites, it may be received by us today as followers of Christ. Read this, meditate on this, and let it sink into the core of your spirit today, mommies :-)

"Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to His people just as He promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises He gave through His servants. May the Lord our God be with us as He was with our fathers; may He never leave us nor forsake us. May He turn our hearts to Him, to walk in all His ways and to keep the commands, decrees and regulations He gave our fathers. And may these words of mine, which I have prayed before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, that He may uphold the cause of His servant and the cause of His people according to each day's need, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other. But your hearts must be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by His decrees and obey His commands, as at this time." 1 Kings 8:56-61

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Encouraging Words from an Unlikely Source

Good morning! I was having a hard time feeling inspired this morning, but I knew I wanted to post. I considered sharing the ways in which I have staged our house in preparation for listing, but I honestly need to do more of it instead of simply writing about it :-) Then, I glanced at my email and saw that my hubby had forwarded on the daily devotional email that he receives each morning from a friend. So, I present my post for today. It isn't from my own brain, but I know it will bless you...thank you, Jesus, for sending me words to pass on to these sweet mommies!

A Mother's Work, by Os Hillman
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother - which is the first commandment with a promise - that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth" (Eph 6:1-3).
One of the great tragedies of society today is the minimizing of the work performed daily by stay-at-home moms. Women who decide to stay home to raise their kids are a rare breed indeed. They must overcome the stigma of comparison to others who pursue careers outside the home. They fail to get the feelings of accomplishment that can come from a career. They are the unseen missionaries of our day. There will be a special reward for these selfless servants. 

Without the commitment of our stay-at-home moms we would not have some of our greatest leaders. "All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother," said Abraham Lincoln. 

Though poor, Ida Stover was determined to go to college. She scraped together enough money to attend Lane College in Lecompton, Kan., where she met fellow student David Eisenhower. She was known as a firm but gentle disciplinarian and was deeply religious. It is said she once won a prize for memorizing 1,365 Bible verses. As a pacifist, she was not in favor of her son attending West Point but decided to let him go. She was the mother of Dwight David Eisenhower, one of the greatest U.S. presidents. 

Mary Litogot grew up on a farm, and met her future husband, William Ford, when he came to work on their farm. She was 12 and he was 26. They married nine years later. Mary was self-sufficient and a diligent worker. Henry later attributed his clean factories to her belief in cleanliness. She encouraged his interest in machines early on. He later said, "I have tried to live my life as my mother would have wished. I believe I have done, as far as I could, just what she hoped for me." She was the mother of Henry Ford.* 

Has God called you to be a stay-at-home mom? Know that your obedience and sacrifice will be recognized by the Lord. 

*Adapted from Source: "Mothers: 100 Mothers of the Famous and Infamous," edited by Richard Ehrlich; Paddington Press Ltd.