Friday, April 29, 2011

The Tension in the Becoming

I'm linking up with Five Minute On Fridays where we throw caution (editing, revising, and worrying) to the winds and just write for five minutes. Without wondering if it’s just right or not.

Today's Prompt: If I knew I could, I would....


If I knew I could, I would get up earlier than my children every day. I would run 2-5 miles. I would have my own time reading the Bible and praying. Then, I would start breakfast. I would greet each child as they awoke with a smile and a hug. They would feel great because their mama had started the day before them.

I would have had enough rest so that my temper would stay hidden inside of me forever. I would always be patient, always be kind. I would always be looking into every teachable moment and do it with grace. When they fuss and yell, I would always respond in the responsible manner never stooping to act like their age.

I would look them in the eye. They would always know that they are truly the most important people in my life. Never a doubt. I would still be fun and yet be on task for our duties for the day. I would embrace the moment always.

As I listen to my list, I hear myself sound like a perfect woman -- a perfect mama. For them, I wish I could be perfect so that they would have only good and no harm from me. But, alas, I am not perfect. And God calls me to delight in my weaknesses and in my insults for His power is perfected in weakness. (II Corinthians 12:9-10). And as they watch me walk out my imperfect life perhaps that is what gives them the most hope because they, too, will have to learn to walk their imperfect lives, too.


Welcome to those who have come to visit from Five Minutes on Fridays. And Hello to Friday's Company Girls at Rachel Anne's Home Sanctuary.

How about you? What would you do if you knew you could?

You can answer in your thoughts, the comments, or in a blog post and link up with the Five Minute on Friday folks.

It looks beautiful here after a week of storms, it is nice to see the sun. I'm off soon to pick up my runner's packet for the Country Music Half Marathon today. Woo-hoo. Hopefully the weather will be nice for the race tomorrow.

Have a wonderful Friday.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Unto the Hills by Billy Graham

"Discouragement stems from disbelief." Billy Graham describes some situations of how it looks when we are just not trusting God when we're in difficult circumstances. As he described some scenarios, I agreed wholeheartedly. I thought, "Yes, I totally see that in my friend. She just needs to believe God!"

And then, I got discouraged. I was feeling down and out as I wiped off the counter. Into my mind popped, "Discouragement stems from disbelief." Wow. The thought hit me like a ton of bricks when it was aimed at me. I couldn't see what I wasn't believing God for. I don't remember what I was discouraged about now but I sure remember the conviction that came when this little thought popped into my head.

It wasn't apparent to me what I wasn't trusting God for in my own situation but it sure was easy to see it in someone else. So, I asked the Lord to show me where I wasn't trusting Him. "Help me in my unbelief."

This is just one example of how I am enjoying the devotional Unto the Hills by Billy Graham that has been re-released for a new generation of believers. The tone is calm, steady and soothing even though at times it is convicting. The format starts with a Bible verse written in full at the top. There is an anecdote or some thoughts on the subject, many times with additional Bible verses in the main text. Each day's entry concludes with a prayer. I have particularly enjoyed the prayers at the end of each entry.

As an interesting aside, I actually like to look up the verses in my own Bible rather than having them printed out for me. I look them up and write them down in a notebook. Often, I will read and write some of the surrounding verses as well. I usually do this before I read the entry for the day. Often I am encouraged by something that the author has to say but I do enjoy the direct time with God, too.

I highly recommend this devotional to others, especially for those seeking a guide for daily Bible readings.

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How about you? Have you ever used this devotional or another that you would recommend to others?

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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I am also linking up with Jen at Finding Heaven for the weekly Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood.
Welcome if you are visiting from there.
If you're not visiting from there you should click on over and visit them.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He has risen, just as He said

"The angel said to the women, 'Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples. " Matthew 28: 5-7a

Happy Easter to you and yours.


Monday, April 18, 2011

The release program has begun

A few weeks ago, the oldest rode his bike to the store to buy 1/4 inch rope. The release program has begun. His cheeks were glowing. He was so excited to have ventured forth. Found his way -- back and forth.

As a mom the what-ifs creep in: what-if someone snatched him. What if he got injured? What if he got lost? What if a dog attacked him? Was it the right decision to let him go?

But yet, I, too am in danger every time I venture forth: what if someone snatched me, what if a dog bit me? What if I was in an accident? I, too, venture forth in a myriad of horrible possibilities every day. Usually they don't happen.

When I voice my fear or what I've done to other moms, we share the most, worst awful horrible story that has ever happened to us or our neighbor or that we have read about. And that feeds my fear.

But, truly, one day he needs to live on his own and be the protector of the weak. Oh, I know he is young. But I also know that when I was his age, I biked and biked and biked all over. I loved the exhilaration. It was good for my imagination, my exercise, my sense of direction, my independence.

And so it is good for his imagination, his exercise, his sense of direction, his independence.

We are beginning the release. After all, we are raising adults not children.

How about any of you? Do you have any release tips from your own parenting or your own growing up years? I am all ears!

Jen @ Finding Heaven for Soli Deo Sisterhood. Come and join the encouragement.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tips from the Trenches: On Toilet Paper


A little tip from the trenches today. In an effort to be more frugal and also because some folks gave us some toilet paper, I decided to no longer be married to one brand of toilet paper. I listened to the frugal folks. They say, "Buy what's on sale; buy generic; don't be loyal to brands."

So I did just that. I switched to a cheaper brand.

Not only did I get less expensive toilet paper, I also received some great, new parenting advice through the experience. I haven't seen it in any parenting books or expert columns and certainly not upon the frugal blogs that gave the tip about not being loyal to brands. I understood that brand loyalty gets you in trouble with the frugal bottom line.

I have a problem, though. The great parenting advice and the frugal advice have a conflict.

Frugal says: Buy what's on sale.

The pretty azaleas in our front yard.

Great parenting advices says: Don't switch toilet paper brands if you have kids.

We have used a brand that is quite thin. For years. I have four children.

I switched to a thicker, softer toilet paper. It was cheaper but the frugal skeptic in me wondered if it would last as long because it was thicker.

Did I mention that I have kids?

They didn't make an adjustment to how much toilet paper they were using.

A plunger now lives next to the toilet.

Do I need to say more?

I am brand loyal again to the original toilet paper that I used to buy and the plunger still lives next to the toilet.

The things they didn't tell me at my baby showers! Don't switch toilet paper if you have kids.

But now I know. And so do you!

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I am linking up with Leila & Rosie at Like Mother, Like Daughter today. It is a favorite blog of mine and is on my sidebar. Leila is a homeschooling mother of eight (she has launched 7) with practical, real advice.

Welcome to any visitors from Like Mother, Like Daughter and to all who stop by today. Thanks for reading.

The link-up is suppose to be more pictures of happy, pretty, funny, real and not necessarily words. But, we don't have a digital camera so time sensitive photos that tie-in into my blog posts just can't happen easily. But I thought that this story would tie into being real and funny. I did add a picture of the azaleas in our front yard from last spring. But that same bush is blooming right now!

I hope you enjoy linking up and enjoying other stories of pretty, happy, funny, real. Come and join us!

Also linking up with the Coffee Company girls at Home Sanctuary. I truly enjoy the camaraderie from this group!

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And to tie back into my blog post:

How about you? Do you have any tips from the trenches of life?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

My new friend, Morning

I am becoming friends with Morning. There was a time when we were enemies.

For many years, duty demanded that I get up. The alarm went off. I went through the motions and then I took off for the day. Then, the days of little ones surrounded me. Their hungry bellies compelled me to get up and feed them.

But, I have always delighted in the night time hours -- anytime after 9 p.m. During high school, I stayed up late reading. Then came college when I stayed up late talking & talking & talking. Most of my closest friends in college were made during those late night talks.

Over the years of parenting, I have realized that my late night tendencies and my Morning avoidance were a detriment to mothering well. So there has been a lot of angst and push and pull to get up earlier.

There have been bouts of pushing myself to get up earlier, no matter what. I just need to do this. But, after a couple of months of getting up earlier and only rarely going to bed earlier, I would crash and burn, usually punctuated by sickness.

I would feel so much guilt. I began to set up Morning (as in getting-up-early-in-the-morning) as an idol, a cure-all for all of my failings & down-falls. There was too much pressure on Morning to deliver me from all of my short-comings.

Most of the time, I would get rolling slowly in the morning. When the expectations of the day and the reality of the day would come crashing in on me, I would feel guilty for sleeping in. I would lose my temper easily with my children.

Resolved to do better, I would get up early the next day. And lo, and behold, I was still be quick to lose my temper with my children.

Getting up early didn't solve all my problems!

I was in a lose-lose situation.

I had to get out of thinking that Morning would save me. No, Jesus saved me. Getting up early in the morning would not solve all my problems.

So, oddly enough, the first real step in becoming true friends with Morning was avoiding her, ignoring her. Don't look at the clock. Just get up and do your routine. No pressure.

Then, as time went on. I saw the need to get going earlier. The need to lead the children. When I went to bed earlier, sometimes I awoke on my own. Most of the time, I don't.

Finally, Morning and I have made peace.

I am not seeking to save my soul (or my parenting) via Morning. I don't hate Morning anymore. I have even liked Mornings on certain days!

What a shocking thing to say! What? Me, the night owl? Known for keeping crazy, late hours? How could I like Morning!?! (It was just as shocking for me to say: I like cooking but that is another story related to the one HERE.)

Morning and I now have a few wonderful shared moments together. Not a lot. But a few. And I found out that I like her!

This, this Morning that I have hated so long. I like her. She forgives me when I stay away for days and days. Just as happy to see me as if I had been there every day.

She is nice like that.

What does this look like? Probably on the outside about the same as it did before. Some days I get up and get going. Some days I snooze the alarm again and again. There are days I have even slept through my alarm. But, occasionally I wake before the alarm and have a beautiful time with Morning.

I have made peace with Morning.

We're in the early stages of building a friendship. I don't know that Morning & I will ever be kindred spirits. But at least we are becoming friends. And I think I like it.

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How about you? Are you friends with Morning?

Friday, April 1, 2011

A few of my favorite things

A few of my favorite things: sunshiny days, my four children smiling, dancing with my husband in the kitchen, a full refrigerator. These are just a few of my favorite things.

Unplanned days, birds singing, the sunset over a lake.

Great conversation with old friends that really know you. Music that inspires me to create something of my own. That stirs the creativity in me.

New friends. Discovering new stories. Bible studies. Flowers. Easy going friends with loving expectations of me (which means that I can meet them. )

Being finished with a hard thing. The sweet, reward after a hard labor -- whether it is the end of a run, finishing teaching a lesson, or making that difficult phone call.

Cozy blankets on a cool day. Iced coffee in the shade on a hot day.

Digging deep into the Bible, sharing what God is teaching us day by day. These are a few of my favorite things. This topic: a few of my favorite things causes me to write in fragments & not sentences.

Pens, pencils. Time to think. A slow, leisurely pace with no missed deadlines.

Moments where I am all in the moment of where I am. Not thinking about tomorrow or yesterday. When I fully live in the moment, that is definitely a favorite thing.

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This is part of the Gypsy Mama's Five Minutes on Friday -- to write for five minutes where it doesn't need to be right. I thought I had time for at least that this week.

Also linking up with Rachel Anne at Home Sanctuary for Company Girl Coffee.

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What are some of your favorite things?

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