Saturday, August 2, 2014

It's not really about Sharing anyway...

I normally don't write in response to other blogs or articles I have read, but today I feel the need to respond to a blog that has been going around the "mommy blogs". I've seen it pop up repeatedly in my news feed over the past couple of weeks. The first time I read it, I sorta shrugged and admitted I agreed with most of it. But, the more it popped up the more it began to annoy me and the less I found myself agreeing with in it. 

It's the "Why I don't make my child share" blog post. If you haven't read it this is the gist- A mom has decided that by forcing her son to share with others she is giving these children unrealistic expectations of life. They will grow up thinking that they deserve to get anything and everything just because they want it....

I see her point....kinda. Children shouldn't be allowed to point at anything and everything another person has and automatically assume they will receive it in the name of "sharing".  I don't want my son to be walked all over by some kid who envokes the holy rights of sharing! Like all kids, my son has favorite or new toys that are special and can be reserved for him. But, telling your child they can use a toy ( one that doesn't even belong to them) indefinitely when another child is standing on the side lines staring longingly? I think there is a deeper more important lesson being missed here.

Kindness. Thoughtfulness. Compassion. Empathy. Shoot, a general awareness that the world contains people other than them! These are important traits to instill in our children as well. The act of sharing should be less about the desires of the other child and more about the attitude of your child. I want my son to share not because the other child really wants it. I want him to share because he is kind and understands what it feels like to be the kid without. Call me crazy, but I think if we are more concerned about teaching our children kindness and compassion the selfish attitudes the author is so afraid of will be taken care of as well. 

At the end of the blog the author gives an example of how adults wouldn't just go skipping in the grocery store line because they feel they deserve to go sooner. Ok sure. But, will we have citizens who look around and see the person with only one item and kindly let them skip ahead? Will someone see the frazzled mom with three kids who is obviously having a DAY and take compassion on her by letting her go first? Or will they simply think, " I was here first. Stinks for them, but I DESERVE to go first."

Maybe I'm taking the whole "no share" policy to seriously. But, I find the results of it much more frightening than the world in which Tommy's Mommy encouraged him to hand over the cool toy for a little while.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Back In The Saddle Again (Part II)

Sooo.... I got a job. I really am excited.

And yet..... I'm also a little sad ( I really did search for a more impressive adjective to put here but sad just summed it up perfectly).

You see, I have had a fairly flexible schedule for the past few years, and was even a stay at home mom this past year. I had oodles of time with my boys. I was there for all the early morning bed heads, rare but precious snuggles, silly jokes, crazy temper tantrums, exciting firsts, blatant disobedience, and precious sleepy naptime faces. Now, I simply won't be there. And this, this is what makes me sad.

As my mind begins to romanticize these days at home, mommy guilt settles over me. That feeling I am betraying my children by not letting them be the sole center of my universe nags at me. Yet, I do not doubt that returning to teaching is the right decision for me and my family. Isaac will be at the same school I am teaching at, and I know this will be great for him. Titus will be watched ( and spoiled rotten) by family. I've been amazed and encouraged by how the job and then the situations for my children have all been provided. I have peace that this is God directed. But, I'm a girl. And girls love to needlessly drown themselves in guilt!

I also worry about being able to juggle it all. Wife. Mom. Teacher. Pastor's wife. Sometimes I feel slightly overwhelmed by the workload of it all. It'll be a lot. It will be a change. I'm sure there will be several posts this year addressing this very thing.

 When I start to panic at the thought of it all, I reflect on the woman in Proverbs 31. She was a wife, a mother, a business woman. She was busy, yet her family was proud of her and thankful for her. Why? .... Because she prioritized. Her heavenly Father, her husband, her children, her home, her work. In that order. She was diligent, managed her time well, planned ahead, made wise choices, and was strong. What an awesome example of womanhood. Some women view this chapter as an impossible standard that judgingly looks down on them ( I know because I used to think that). But after studying this chapter, I see this as an encouraging testament to what women can accomplish. I can be diligent, use my time wisely, plan ahead, make biblical choices, be strong. 

I can choose to put my God first. I can still pour into my family. I can be a diligent teacher and love my students. I can do all these things, not because I'm naturally strong but because He is. 

So.....Goodbye guilt, goodbye panic, goodbye sadness.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Back In the Saddle Again...

So, I got a job. It's pretty great and I am nervously excited. It's not my dream job (unfortunately no one has offered to pay me gross amounts of money to lounge around and read all day. Maybe one day...). But, it's pretty close.

Starting in August I will be a middle school teacher at a christian school here in town. I already know several teachers who work there and a few parents whose children attend there. All have great things to say. I find this encouraging. I'm excited. And I'm also scared.

I haven't been in a traditional classroom for several years now. I have been tutoring and assisting others with homeschooling. But 16+ students in a classroom all staring at and depending on me...its been awhile. I have an overwhelming desire to reread every teaching book I've ever owned. I no longer browse pinterest for recipes but classroom ideas. I  sit on the couch staring at the tv but thinking about curriculum, classroom management, and various other teachery things. But the biggest sign of the upcoming school year are the nightmares.

This is not new for me. Every year about two weeks before school started I would begin having nightmares. The content of the nightmares is what you expect, I'm sure. Unruly children creating chaos and small fires everywhere they go, disapproving principals ominously shaking their heads, me running horribly late, forgetting which classroom is mine, realizing I forgot to get dressed. But this year they have come earlier, happen more frequently, and seem much more vivid. I feel like a newbie again. I wake up startled and drenched in sweat. My mind charges back to reality and relief floods my entire body as I realize it was just a dream, and no, I have not been fired on the first day of school.

As weird as this may read.... I'm glad for these nightmares. They are proof of new experiences. New adventures. New school and new friends. They signal my return to a profession I love.

My hiatus is over. The school year will start and the nightmares will end.

They always do.

And yet....... well, that's for the next entry........

Thursday, June 26, 2014

What a Mighty Fine Man

Ten years ago on this date I stood at the end of a long aisle in a poofy white dress staring at a  nervous young man. A young man who was about to make some awfully big promises. He promised to cherish me. Protect me. Love me. Till death do us part. Promises he has upheld in millions of ways over the past ten years.

Getting up early with the boys because I'm exhausted (even though we both went to bed at the same time).

Trading seats with me in the restaurant because the sun is in my eyes.

Telling me I look just as lovely as the day he married me (and meaning it despite my new baby squishyness).

Making me laugh harder than anyone else. Ever. Everyday.

Putting our oldest to bed every night. Its their quality time together. 

Indulging my whiny self and picking up my slack when I'm sick.

Not judging me when I have my weekly "I'm the worst mother ever" breakdown.

Sweetly going along with all my impromptu and crazy schemes, whether it be home improvement or last minute family trips.

Lovingly telling me when I'm being a brat.

Humbly listening when I tell him he is being a brat.

Pretending like he actually cares when I go on a ten minute schpeel about why I NEED a jean jacket.

Holding me when I need to cry. And just letting me cry.

Being excited for and supportive of my passions and dreams.

Ten years of putting me before his own wants or needs.

Ten years ago as my newly married self looked ahead I envisioned this day, our ten year anniversary, a little differently. I saw us boarding a plane to some fabulous location as hundred dollar bills rained down. New York. Paris. St. Lucia. Somewhere beautiful to celebrate us. Instead, we will put our two boys to bed and snuggle up on the couch while eating a celebratory bowl of icecream as pennies raindown! We will reminisce, laugh, indulge in dreaming about the next ten years. And I will feel cherished. Protected. Loved. 

Happy Anniversary Hubs.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The NOT So Cool Kid.

This past weekend we had our students from church over to the house. At some point during the night one student insinuated ( or maybe flat out stated) that I was a bit of a nerdy person. I was not offended. I had heard this before and at the age of thirty-one readily accepted the truth of the statement. I am a bit of a nerd, and always have been. I just didn't always know it.

I went to a very small high school where everyone hung out with everyone. When there are only ten people in your graduating class you are forced to have social interactioins with everyone despite perceived status. So honestly, I just never even thought about "cool" in high school. From my high school puddle I jumped straight to a ginormous lake. A 14,000 person lake. Again, I really didn't think about social status. There were way too many people for that to even be relevant. But, I built a little friend group. They were hilarious, fun, and creative ladies. We had an awesome time together. It would be these same ladies that would open my eyes.

It was a regular old weeknight, and we sat in my dormroom playing a board game ( that probably should have been my first clue).  In this particular game you describe people using provided adjectives. When it came time to describe me I was bewildered to see that ALL of my friends had chosen Cheesy. I, of course, had chosen Hilarious...... cause I am. They all assured me that we were all cheesy in a lovable dorky way. My confused expression and breathless stutters prompted one friend to quietly ask, " oh honey, you didn't think we were the cool kids did you?" I sat there mouth gaping and simply nodded. I felt like the main character who just learned they were adopted. Past moments swirled through my head: making up dance routines to Debbie Gibson songs. My bedroom walls covered in posters of the Beatles, Cary Grant, William Holden, and Jimmy Stewart ( sigh). The coolest party I had ever been to was hosted by parents. I had only been to parties that used words like "hosted". A flash of me tumbling down a hill after falling off my bike two days before Senior Prom. 

My eyes were open, and sadly the world made more sense now. I was not the Kelly Kapowski. I was the female Screech. 

This might have been a devastating blow for some, but I was surrounded by friends who assured me we shared this common bond. Instead of clawing against it, I embraced it. 

My college years were spent laughing, making up stupid dances, campus water balloon fights, midnight hide and go seek, 80s movies marathons, a 21st birthday rootbeer kegger, and thousands of Cheesy inside jokes. I loved every lame minute. 

And I still do. 

You can call me lame, cheesy or nerdy... but I know it's really just code for Awesome.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Change Will do You Good....

Change. A dirty word in my world. Something I'm not particularly keen to embrace. Instead I wiggle down into my comfort zones and try to ignore the little hints God is giving me. I curl my fingers tight around my wants and refuse to consider other possibilities. I close my eyes, stick my fingers in my ears, and loudly sing la-la-la. Very adult, I know. 

In the book The Beloved Disciple Beth Moore asks,"What do you do when you don't understand what Jesus is doing?"

Sometimes during a season of change, this is exactly how I feel. Jesus, what are you doing?? More importantly, how will I respond to what you are doing? Will I obey even when it's scary? Or hurts? Or doesn't quite make sense from man's perpective? Am I willing to embrace the change that unsettles me?

Thankfully, my Jesus isn't just playing this by ear. He has it all planned out and even if it doesnt make sense to me, I know it makes perfect sense to Him.

 Time to loosen my grip and open my eyes. My God has a plan, an adventure, a change.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Stalk this way... A confession

Confession time- I am a social media stalker. Creepily enough, I stalk other women. Women who I think are awesome and I secretly want to be their best friend... Or for them to at least know I am alive. The stalking in itself is not necessarily bad ( sure it's weird but not bad). The bad part is I begin to compare, like obsessively compare. 

Her blog is amazing... I wish I wrote more like her. 
That outfit is perfection.... Why isn't my wardrobe that awesome?
She is so thin..... I need to starve myself to achieve a thigh gap.
I love her hair... I want effortless beachy waves!
She has a fierce love for Jesus.... Why can't my relationship with Christ look like hers?

The proper response to all of these: because I'm not her! I'm me! I recently read a devotional that spoke to the individual purpose God has for each of us. How He has a plan specifically tailored for me. Yet, I've been missing it. I have been so busy obsessing over what I'm not, I've missed what I am.

I am a child of the King. Created in His image. Tailored for a specific purpose. 

Touching thighs and all. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

When I Up Down Touch the Ground....

I started exercising. If you know me at all ( since you're reading this I assume you do) you know that I HATE working out. I believe it to be torture of the most heinous sort. I have been on this "healthy" journey for a little over a month now and exercising for two weeks. 

I still hate it. I still think it's evil. Every movement is hard, really hard and every second feels like an hour. 

I am pretty certain exercise will always feel this way for me. I will never be that woman who lives for the gym, has a runner's high, and enthusiastically recruits others to join her. I will be the sweaty mess who looks close to death trying not to throw up in the corner. And that's ok. I don't have to love it. I don't have to have perfect hair during and after each workout (seriously, what is up with those women? I don't trust them or their freak hair). And I don't have to be "excited" for my workout each day. I just have to do it.

It's a small portion of my day that can make a huge impact on my life. So time to suck it up, stop making sarcastic excuses, and accept the need to take care of my 30 something self.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cry Baby, Cry

I used to be able to sleep soundly anywhere. The car, a plane, a tiny desk in an overly crowded classroom, it didn't matter. I could sleep through it all.

Then I had a child. All of a sudden my brain was magically tuned in to a special frequency that could pick up even the slightest whimper. My eyes spring open, my ears straining, my mind aware something has occured but it is still not quite sure what it is. The second slightly louder wail quickly follows immediately clarifying the situation. My child has awakened in the night and has decided to use this new found "down time" to torture me. 

Interestingly enough, it seems I am the only person in the house who is tuned in to this particular frequency. Proof came earlier this week.

My youngest is now 7 months old, and normally he sleeps just fine at night. But, 2 nights ago darling boy decided to wake up at 2 am and start calling for company. My eyes immediately flew open. I laid there listening, hoping he would settle himself down. He didn't. I then turned to my next line of defense, my sweet husband. He was snoring. Oblivious to all. Sleeping peacefully. I thought several undeserved and mean thoughts about my poor husband then noisely went to care for the " needs" of my demanding little offspring. 

As I flopped back into bed the whimpers began again. I sighed rather loudly and glared at the figure beside me. Apparently something had awakened him during my stomping retreat and rustling return.....

I could feel it coming. The overly tired, everythings worse in the middle of the night battle of unfair accusations. If your not familiar with this battle, I will explain. It is normally one person spewing a vicious onslaught of exaggerated perceived wrong doings in a louder than necessary voice. The other person is usually staring in wide eyed confusion trying to determine if this is a dream, prank, or someone who is mentally unstable. I'm sure you can guess which role I played in this epic 2 am battle....

Almost immediately, I knew my tired rant was very wrong. It is not my husband's fault that he can't read my mind or that he didn't receive the "gift" of the crying frequency. It's a pity, but it isn't his fault. Don't feel to bad for him though. I swallowed my pride and apologized then cooked three of his favorite meals this week. Plus I made apology accepted. 

In reflection, I've made peace with my role as the hearer of all cries, also known as mother. I have agreed to not assume he knows when I need and want his help. And the dear man believes me, or at least he will till the next 2 am battle!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Where does my Help come from?

My necks is sore from the constant swiveling. My cheeks sting from the repeated blows. My heart aches. My mind wonders. 

But I am resolved. I will lift my head, close my mouth, and retain my testimony, my dignity. Like Gideon I will watch the 20,000 men turn and leave, I will look out at the bleak unknown, and trust the movements of my God. 

I will lift my eyes up. My help will come. True strength comes from my Lord. I will put my trust in Him. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Adventures in Appendicitis

As most of you know, I spent this past weekend in the hospital recovering from an appendectomy. I thought it would be fun to share some little gems I gathered from this weekend. 

1. Listen to your husband when he says that intense, never ending, excruciating pain in your side is not simply a reaction to an antibiotic. 

2. Always brush your hair before leaving the house, no matter how bad you feel. 

3. Morphine is pretty amazing. Like REALLY amazing. 

4. Ambulance drivers/ medics are wonderfully kind people who give you desperately needed water when cruel doctors and nurses deny this basic human need. 

5. Little surgery hats are funny, with or without the morphine. 

6. Being awakened from surgery is one of the cruelest wake ups ever. Let a girl sleep!

7. The food at WakeMed is not nearly as good as the food at REX ( just sayin...)

8.  Pretty flowers from sweet friends and family really do make you feel better! ( kit kats, chocolate covered pretzels, and cake pops might have also helped)

9. Nurses are torturers who force you to get up and walk and breathe deep when all you want to do is sleep. 

10. Holding out for the bigger room so your husband can actually have a bed pays off! 

11. Four days is way too long to be away from these sweet faces!

12. My husband is a rare find. He gives, provides, cares, and does. All without complaint or expectation. 

13. My family is a bunch of rock stars! They scooped up my boys and gladly loved and cared for them while I couldn't.

14. Modern medicine is fabulous and I'm super thankful for it ( I mean, they pulled my appendix out through my belly button! That's kinda amazing! I would post a picture of my belly button, but that might be a bit much)

15. And lastly, Thank you Jesus for making our bodies resilient little healers! 
( that's me. At home. Feeling better.)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I'm Dreaming of a White January 29th

My oldest has been begging for snow since the first Christmas cartoon aired back in December. Well, it finally came. Here is his take:

He may be slightly confused….

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I feel crappy, oh so crappy...

I have been sick. Like actually go to the doctor two days in a row sick. Yesterday, upon returning from the doctor ( again) I caught an unfortunate glimpse of myself in the mirror. Dirty, unbrushed hair, cracked lips, ashy hairy legs, and a greasy broken out face. Apparently wallowing in self pity and your bed isn't the best beauty routine.

Thankfully, I have a sweet husband who politely ignores the neanderthal beast that has replaced his wife. He has also done an excellent job of caring for both of our boys and even kept the house in respectable shape. He has unwittingly given himself away... I now know of his capabilities. I'm sure he will regret this later, but right now I owe him too big to use it against him. Pity.

Today I have finally started to feel a bit better. I can sip water without tearing up and I can stand without fear of falling over. I was even able to write a few coherent sentences here!

I guess that means it is time I locate a brush and a razor....

Sunday, January 19, 2014

I am weak but He is strong.

-You're not smart enough.

-You're not pretty enough.

-No one thinks you're funny/ clever/ interesting.

-You're just not that talented.

-You're too short.

-You're too fat.

-You're a crappy mom.

These are all lies I have heard. Lies I have believed. Lies that were born in my own mind then mumbled to the mirror. 

Many of us are guilty of trash talking our own reflection. We focus in on a perceived imperfection or weakness and magnify it to soul crushing proportions. 

But here is the beauty, my weakness does not matter in His strength. My imperfections are covered. My inabilities are reshaped and reimagined for His purposes. I must quiet my mind and instead search for the heart of my God. His Word assures me of His love, His plan, His continual work in me.

It is time to rewrite the lies and choose to see the blessings.....The work in me and through me.

-I am not the smartest person in the world, but I have a thirsty mind that can learn.

-I am not a super model, but I can reflect the beauty of my Savior.

-I am not the most interesting man/ woman in the world, but I have been given wonderful friends who love me and laugh with me.

-I am not freakishly talented at any particular thing, but I can use what talent I have been given to serve my Lord.

-The short thing....well, I really am short. Time to just come to grips with that one...

-I am not a size two, but I am healthy and physically able to accomplish all my Maker gives my hands to do.
-I am not uber mom, but I love my boys. As I study God's Word and spend time with my Heavenly Father He teaches me how I can love them more and better.

It turns out I am a person of weaknesses and imperfections, and that's okay.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

All I want is...

Reality. I've decided my generation and the following generations no longer live there. I recently became aware of an odd expectation that has taken root with the 20 somethings to early 30s. We have created a mythical creature in our minds. A unicorn of employment. A fantasy fueled by the internet, " realty tv", and those people moving to tropical islands on House Hunters International.

We are searching for The Perfect Job/Career/  It's really more of a life style....our prerequisites are the following:

We want to work the fewest amount of hours possible. In a perfect world we work from home ( our large eco friendly home with four bedrooms and a seperate office), and we log no more than 5 hours a day.

We want to make massive amounts of money- now. We do not work our way up, pay our dues, and earn a promotion. No, if we have the misfortune of not being our own boss then the boss we do have is supposed to immediately recognize our unmatched skill/ worthiness/ awesomeness and pay us accordingly ( even though we work minimal hours everyday. I guess we are just that good??).

We want to LOVE our jobs. We truly believe that if we are not passionate about it we shouldn't have to do it. The thought of simply working a job to provide is repulsive and unacceptable! We deserve fun, interesting, and " meaningful" work....and don't forget! This awesome job is on my schedule and pays top dollar ( if by chance it also benefits barefoot and hungry children in Myanmar even better!)

We are delusional. A few, small, select group has found success with this magical combo, but it is not the norm. It is not the average man's reality. Ask any small business owner and they will tell you they work looong hours. They worked hard to build their business and pay, and normally they do like, even love what they do, but it can still "feel" like a job.

 We have become lazy, spoiled, and greedy. Our demands for employment on our terms has revealed these truths.

Imagine previous generations, our parents, demanding short workdays, refusing jobs they didn't love, expecting top dollar as the newbie. It's laughable! And so are we.

So dream on my fellow millenials. But remember the real world requires real work. Work requires effort and time. Effort and time are eventually rewarded. And love....well, some may argue that love is optional.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Let's Start the New Year Right...

I've spent the last week contemplating this post. It is the obligatory New Year's post. My official recognition of the New Year, my formal goodbye to the former year, and my declarations of an improved me for 2014....where to begin??

It seems a bit daunting to encapsulate an entire year in a paragraph. I have struggled trying to put the joys of a new son, the blessings of healed loved ones,  and the encouragement of blooming friendships into words. My fingers hesitate over the keys as I attempt to share the disappointments of missed opportunities, the fear of unexpected change, the hurt inflicted by others, and the hurt I unintentionally inflicted on others. It was an eventful year. One I might choose to write about more in depth later. But, right now I'm more interested in the coming year.

My intentions for the year. I've never been a big maker or keeper of resolutions, but as I get older I realize the importance of setting realistic goals. I see the need to not just walk through my days letting what ever will be to occur, but I need to be intentional. I want to play an active role in my life. So I have come up with a short list of things I want to do, and areas where I know I can improve.

1. Choose to be present when interacting with my sons. Whether its playing, having conversations, or just snuggling I want to be truly locked in and engaged in the moment. I will set aside the distractions ( phone, chores, books) and focus on them.

2. Choose to be less angry. Angry while driving, angry while doing chores that no one else has seen the need to do, angry when every little detail of the day doesn't go my way. 

3. Choose restraint. Restraint with a fork... or debit card... or even words....

Basically my resolutions can be summed up like this....

I want my life to be marked by love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. These are characteristics that the Bible clearly states do not come naturally to a sinful heart like mine. These characteristics are cultivated by the Holy Spirit in my heart and life. They can only take shape when I choose to set aside my own selfish wants and desires and prayerfully seek the Lord. This is something my know it all/ move let me do it personality has struggled with implementing. 

So, goodbye old year, and welcome new year. I'm excited to see what you bring and how I will respond to it.