Friday, September 27, 2013

Be Sure and Certain

Good morning, mommas! It is a beautiful morning at our house...this momma had a cup of real coffee! It's amazing the difference a dose of caffeine makes for a weary pregnant mommy with a toddler. During Caleb's pregnancy, I avoided caffeine like the plague. I likened it to using cocaine, or something insanely detrimental for a baby's development. Well...once you have to chase a kiddo around the house whilst growing another big boy, I've found that I have started questioning my previous beliefs :-) That, coupled with the assurance from my doctor that no harm will come to our little one from one cup a day, I'm back to enjoying my pick-me-up. Who knows...maybe I'll turn into super mom first thing in the morning and get everything done (including blogging!) before Caleb wakes up. Ha! Not going to happen...but, I can dream!

I want to give you an uplifting verse to mull over today as you go about your very busy life!

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1 (emphasis added)

Honestly, I've read this verse many times. But, something new struck me this morning. What are you hoping for this morning? What promise has God spoken softly into your life? What something do you long for, something that is in accordance with His Will? Just as we are sure and certain that God is who He says He is, we must also have the same faith in the promises which He has spoken over our lives--both personally and through the Bible. A small example of choosing to stand on faith and hope would be the following: wringing our hands with anxiety and succumbing to feelings of dread before your toddler awakens to terrorize the house isn't being certain and sure of God's plan for the day to come. His Word teaches us to show our children the fruits of the Spirit at all, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We can't control our children. But, we can control our own behavior. If our choices align with the instructions in God's Word, we can be sure and certain that the day will go just as God intends. Don't get me wrong...just because we try our best doesn't mean a certain two-year-old will try his best, BUT it can't hurt the situation. It can only help.

Maybe you are mustering the faith and hope for something huge...healing from an illness, the return of a prodigal child, the salvation of a loved one, a breakthrough in your finances. Go to His Word. What does the Bible say about your current situation? A great resource for a topic search throughout the Bible is Open Bible. Read repeatedly what He promises about your circumstance. Stand on the fact that His Word is infallible, and that He is sovereign. Often times, He allows difficult situations to enter our lives in order to push us to His instruction manual. Once you have learned His stance on the subject matter, practice living in faith and in hope that your personal situation will bring glory to Him.

Nervous "wishing" won't get us anywhere. Daily practice of sure and certain belief that His words are true? That's the ticket. Let's all promise to try this together :-) Enjoy your day...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

ABC Jesus Loves Me

Good morning, mommies! Recently, I was introduced to a fabulous resource for home-schooling our littles. Before I elaborate, home-schooling throughout the school years is a personal choice which should be made within your family while considering personalities, time, resources, and willingness of every family member. Because our Caleb is an exceedingly social child who does well in group settings and has never been a homebody or needing excessive snuggles by his momma (sniff sniff!), and because many of the public and charter schools in our area are absolutely wonderful, we will probably send him to school for kindergarten and beyond. Things could change in the next few years, as he's only two, but my gut tells me that he will be chomping at the bit to have a teacher other than mommy by the time he's five!

In the mean time, though, he still wants to learn! And, I need to let my creative teacher juices flow! I've noticed how he's picking up concepts from his PBS cartoons (I know...parenting at it's finest!), and he's re-telling things he heard in Sunday school (warms a momma's heart!). I wanted to start some intentional "school" time with him during the day, but I didn't know where to begin. I met a new friend a few weeks ago, and she told me about this incredible site! Check it out at :

If you use this curriculum exclusively with your own child(ren) in your own home, then you may use it free of cost! If you are going to use it in a school setting with children who are not your own, then they ask you to purchase the materials. You can order the workbook to use with your children, or you can go through the weekly lesson plan ideas and keep a note in a journal of what you will try with your children (this is what we do). For instance, we are on Week 2 of the 2-year-old curriculum: 2YO Week 2. On Sunday evening, I go through the page and decide what will probably be successful with Caleb. I write down what activities we will accomplish, and I pick and choose a few each day. We talk about the concepts throughout the day (i.e. color of the week, the number, etc.), but then we have devoted "school" time post-nap/pre-dinner preparation (no more than thirty minutes to one hour of time). Choose a time that works for you, but I've found that this particular time of day needed some structure.

Some other tricks I've learned for this program are to print your pages off at the library. Our library allows you 10 free prints per day! This way, you aren't using your own printer ink. Check out the suggested books from the library, so you aren't buying all of them. Add other activities that your child enjoys to the suggested plans (playdough to identify colors, reading books electronically on the iPad, etc.). Finally, make it a fun part to the day. Honestly, there have been a couple of days that Caleb won't have it. I'm not going to force it, as I want "school" to be something which he enjoys. Also, we don't even get to it every day. If we can do four days of school in a week, I'm happy! 

A little something is still something :-)

Take it or leave it, but I thought this website was too cool not to pass on!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

We Will Never Forget

As I sat down to write a post on daily organization today, I quickly flipped over to my Facebook page to get the low down on the morning's happenings. Immediately, I was reminded of the day. September 11. As a freshman in a Tuesday morning Introduction to Music Therapy class at the University of Kansas, I had no personal connection to the tragedy which occurred on the 2001 morning. But, I'll never forget a fellow student who announced that her dad worked at the World Trade Center. She left the room crying after the radio told of an accidental plane crash. We attempted to go on with class as usual, and when I got to the dorm a few hours later, the truth was beginning to come out. This was no accident. This was intentional. This was far more horrific than anyone knew a few hours earlier. So now, this day is a day to remember.

There is a firm difference between dwelling on past tragedies and remembering past tragedies. Dwelling and obsessing about terrible earthly events does not allow God's healing to run it's rightful course. Dwelling on tragedy makes us depressed, fearful, angry, bitter, and revengeful. But, dismissing awful calamities that affect us all during our time on this planet can have nearly the same dreadful consequences. Horrific things happen because we live in a fallen world. Pain is real. Physical death is part of life. Evil has a foothold as we wait for our Jesus to return. But, if we go to His Word, God doesn't dismiss tragedy. In fact, read below:

"But David continued up the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went; his head was covered and he was barefoot. All the people with him covered their heads too and were weeping as they went up." 2 Samuel 15:30

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven...a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance...Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." Matthew 5:4

"Jesus wept." John 11:35

The Bible, our instruction book, instructs us to not only acknowledge pain and heartache, but to grieve with each other. Like me, you may not have personally known anyone who lost their life on that fateful day, but we do know that this day, September 11, is a dark day in our great nation's history. We are encouraged by God to weep with those who weep, and to mourn with those who mourn.

After becoming a mother two years ago, I have a new perspective with mass tragedy, or tragedy of any kind for that matter. Every single person who died that day was somebody's child. Every single person. Because each of us reading these words has the heart of a mother, we can offer a new compassion for those women who lost a child. We can pray that "...the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard their hearts and their minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7 We probably cannot do a lot from our homes scattered around the world, but we can pray specifically for all of the mothers who lost their children.

Don't shy away from remembering tragedy. Turn to God's word for instruction on how to appropriately grieve, yet maintain great joy for another day in which we are each alive and well.

Today and everyday...

Monday, September 9, 2013

Completion with Joy

Hello, sweet mommas! Have you ever had a period of time when you have been extra grumbly about something? Lately, I am extra grumbly about "homemaking." The word itself has annoyed me. I clearly understand that when my husband and I agreed to have me stay at home after the birth of our son, it meant that I would take over the logistical duties of keeping a, chores, laundry, paying bills, cooking, and Pinteresting :-) Well, really, if you want to enjoy living in the house you keep, you have to make it cute with projects! More on Pinterest later, though. I had an epiphany about the famed website this weekend.

But just as adults who work outside of the home go through "blah" times with their careers, I am a firm believer that it can happen to those of us in the home, as well. I've looked at my home lately and felt dread overwhelm me in my tasks of the day. Caleb has tossed oatmeal onto the floor for the 538th time, and I don't feel like scrubbing it on my hands and knees. While wood floors are desirable, they show dust bunnies like nobody's business...can I get an "amen" for carpet? At least the dirt is hidden better in the fibers :-) My windows are like something out of an old western movie with dust and dirt, there are cobwebs forming in the high corners, and the ease of cleaning our bathroom has disappeared with the introduction of BOY potty-training. Um...gross!

I say all of this not to complain, but to relate with you And, to preface my sweet kick in the pants I received from our heavenly Father last week. My devotional had taken me to Proverbs 31 for the week...yes, an entire week. Really, God? Super funny. Not only can I not stay on top of the bare minimum of homekeeping, but He has to show me the picture perfect example of a Godly wife and mother for seven days in a row! Well, several verses out of the Message version of the passage jumped out at me, and I want to discuss one of those today:

"She's skilled in the crafts of home and hearth, diligent in homemaking."

Again, God...hilarious! Here I am struggling with the desire to pick Cheerios up off of the floor, and You draw me to a passage of the ideal woman flitting around her home, whistling as she polishes the baseboards. Truly though, His character is never to poke fun at us. He was encouraging me. I am skilled in the crafts of home and hearth. I am diligent in homemaking. Not because I say so, but because He says so. These verses speak to each one of us as mothers. He isn't condemning us for not doing a good job caring for our homes. He is encouraging us to ask Him for the strength to do it. All He wants from us is joy and gratitude for the opportunity to work hard, care for our children, and care for the home He has lovingly provided. He wants to be involved in the day-to-day lives of raising young children...even wiping up "accidents" in the bathroom. No prayer is too small for God. Even if you must wake up each morning, during a rough spot, and pray to God for the desire to complete the tasks set before you, including cleaning your husband's dirty and sour-smelling Camelback, then ask Him to give you the time, give you the desire, give you the patience, and to give you joy.

Keeping a home is an odd job...full of joy and satisfaction, but also full of yuck. Trust me, having a bad attitude about it doesn't help your spirit, and it seeps into the souls of your family members. Don't shoot for perfection (a fault of mine), instead you should aim for completion with joy.

Check back next time for my tips on organizing our days, homekeeping included :-) Until then, go whistle while you wash the sheets :-)