A tired mom looks to Him to power through

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I’m blessed to have retired parents and friends. In watching them, I’m more and more convinced that I don’t want to wait another 30 years to do what they do now. While I’m pretty sure a full time career is still in my long term future, there are 5 little things I can do now:

1. Think of others and act on it – even in little ways: This weekend I was so tickled to get a note from my mom. She cut out an article from a newspaper about a Cubs player and how he, his wife, and 3 kids make their Christian walk, marriage, career, and family work. She saw it, knew I’d like it, and sent it to me. I love that. I don’t need to wait till I “have more time” to actively encourage people. I have 15 minutes and $.48 for a stamp now. This – and chicken and dumplings. My Mother in law who is almost at retirement ūüėÄ has a knack for filling Tupperware with meals that make our life easier. Never underestimate the beauty of spaghetti or chicken and dumplings!

2. Deeply value 1 day at a time: Maybe it’s the maturity and the wisdom birthed through trials and persevering. Or the simple fact that they see more people dying to remind them how temporary this earthly gig is. Retired people appreciate each day. Each outing. Each smile, conversation and hug they exchange is a big deal. I used to romanticize that if you retire “right,” then you have a rite of passage to pick up and travel to far away lands, take exotic adventures, and savor the unordinary. ¬†My parents delight in a daily trip to the YMCA to exercise, their local McDonalds for coffee, and relish sales at their neighborhood market. This is beautiful to me. This is just as “right.” This summer, I’ve spent more time counting the simple blessings and less time wondering if I’m doing summer right. Have my kids been encouraged, nurtured, stretched, blessed with fun family memories? I think so, but I’m not stressing on it. Instead, I’m taking joy in us watering our flowers, reading to them, admiring the blue of their eyes, and delighting in fresh tomatoes from the garden. ¬†Let’s be honest, ¬†they may also have eaten too much junk food, watched too much television, and slept late. I’m okay with it. ¬†I’m trying to initiate devotion to my husband now. Don’t wait till you have an empty nest to give that extra love tap or lingering ¬†kiss. Do it now. We burst out laughing the other day when our 4 year old remarked that Mommy and Daddy are married a lot. We are not sure what that means exactly but are taking it as a good thing.

3. Don’t do Guilt: Make the best, prayerful decision you can. Have you noticed that older people have a little extra spunk about them? They make a decision and kindly don’t give two flying figs about whether you agree to it or not. Sure, I like to keep the peace, but I don’t want to take an entire lifetime to bury people pleasing. Be genuine, do what you want with God in mind, and leave it at that. Some people will get you, some will not. Don’t do Guilt.

4. Stewardship is a priority: Maybe it is the finite reality of a set income, maybe the remnants of good spending to help them get to retirement, but these people know their money. They know what they have, ¬†where it goes, how much wiggle room they have, and what to avoid. It is such a shame that younger people get so caught up in earning money that they simultaneously have very little idea where their hard earned ¬†money goes. ¬†Or they focus on big toys that in reality, continually take big money to sustain. How true it is that godliness with contentment is great gain! And this requires an attitude adjustment, not a PhD. ¬†I wish I was excited about all the fine print on the glossy 401k brochures, but I’m not. It may as well be a different language to me. The more I medidtate on this topic, ¬†the more I see that stewardship is not an all or nothing situation in that you are really awesome at it or not. ¬†There is value, quite literally, in each good, small decision. Good, small, daily decisions over the next 30 years will lead to retirement. (Even if I don’t understand the 401(k) conversations).

5. Rest is not a 4 letter word: Older people don’t feel a need to justify rest. Rhythms of rest look different to each family, and for each season of life. The more I think and pray about what works in our house, rest keeps coming ¬†up on the radar. Life is too precious to spend the next 30 years wondering if taking a nap, declining an invite, or scheduling for health is okay.


Our garage currently holds several containers of recyclables, yard sale items (for like the past 8 months) and a couple of dead things that smell really, really badly.

The dead things are part of a happy memory. ¬† We took a family getaway to the seaside and couldn’t help but pick up too many sea shells and a couple of sea creatures – heroic almost, the way we scooped up that little crab while the birds circled over it.

Who balances a sand bucket between her feet filled with sea things, original sea water and sand  for a 6+ hr ride home in a too stuffed Honda Civic and two little kids?

This girl.

I know, that’s a little different. ¬†And now each time I walk out to our garage, I almost gag and smile. ¬†Truthfully, the pursuit of the now dead things was academic at the core – a science teacher friend asked for something cool to show her students when school is back in session. ¬†Who doesn’t want to dissect a crab, a shrimp,and whatever else that thing was?

Rhythm at is simplest definition is ¬†a strong, repeated pattern. Sometimes we don’t feel strong and even though we feel life moving – sometimes with us, sometimes without -we don’t recognize the pattern. ¬†Maybe we are not meant to right now.

I recently applied for credit in which the lender asked me, if I could remember, why I was 30 days late on a payment back in 2013? ¬†Well, let’s see, I’m chalking that one up to the fact that I had a baby that year. ¬†Then she asked me the same for 2014. ¬†I chalked that up to the first full year where I learned how to mother two babies at once and not one. ¬†So many long days of those short ¬†years where I didn’t know my rhythm.

It was there, we were there, I couldn’t always discern it in the moment. ¬†Figuring out the pattern of motherhood is a puzzling pursuit: I’ve now decided -Beats me. ¬†I just sway with it.

Each foray into the garage reminds me that each family has its rhythm – its movement and beat and atmosphere that defines us. ¬†Not every minute of every moment is a happy one. ¬†We won’t always understand the rhythm of ours or other families – and that’s okay. ¬†We don’t have to. ¬†Respect is an admirable goal, to always like or appreciate, perhaps just not realistic.

And sometimes we settle into a routine and sometimes we find new ones. ¬† I’ve stood by breathless as I’ve watched women, younger and older, bravely pursue their new rhythms after illness, divorce, death.

This Holiday as we enjoy our family times, my eyes and ears are keener to the rhythms that sustain us.  I am grateful for each quiet moment where I can glimpse and value each simple beat of life and love repeating.


“She lives the poetry that she cannot write” – Oscar Wilde

I am 110% sure there is a book inside of me.  I am a little fuzzy on the details of when and how I will write the thing.  I suppose I am, in a not so literal sense, pregnant with this idea that also comes with an indefinite gestation period.  Little by little it grows inside, forming, developing, maturing, and someday it will come out.

I often wonder, as “pregnant” as I am with this thing, what is keeping me from actually doing it. ¬†What causes me to wistfully tilt my head to the side and sigh when people ask “how’s the writing, working on anything now?”

And then I read the above Oscar Wilde quote and it clicked.  I am so in the process of living right now.  I am living out the very topics that fascinate me and inspire me to write РGod, marriage, children, career, friendship, achievement, rest, crafting, wine and tea drinking, bubble bathing, scrap-booking.  All the things that arrest my attention and keep me from my keyboard РI am living them now and therefore can not also as readily process and formulate and communicate.

My daily life is its own beautiful (and not so beautiful) grace filled prose.  I simply can not be both my own protagonist and narrator.  Not right now.

We constantly choose with a finite amount of time what occupies our hours. ¬†We continually asses what we want to do now. ¬†And what we want to do someday. ¬†It’s really hard to both fight the battle and report from the trenches. ¬†There is simply no shortcut to perspective.

But the day is coming.  And so my hope is not deferred, my hope is in embracing the now.  I am faithful for the future.

Someday, I would love to write everyday.   I would also love to make an awesome homemade potato salad.  I would love to learn how to knit.   I would love to raise children that simultaneously love God, have clean underwear, and subside off more than hot dogs!

She cannot write Рright now.  Because she is living it.  So I trust.  I trust in this living and I trust that in time, this living gives birth to more.

 

 

 

 


Adulting is hard, this we know.¬† It’s the reason we stash away cute little bottles of Moscato and Dove chocolates, fantasize about sleeping for an entire day,¬†and huddle over a little plastic table¬† commiserating with a girl friend at Monkey Joe’s.

There are 4 things that I figure are pretty darn motherly and responsible which are totally missed by our sweet cherubs.  In fact, during some moments, I wonder if our 6 year old, who I really am fond of and adore, may let her head spin all the way around, inviting a darker being to emerge.

In honor of this week where we Georgians go back to school and routines start up again Рjust when do mine find me wicked?

  1. Flossing and brushing the teeth:¬† I’m on the bandwagon,¬†friends!¬† Healthy gums are happy gums! I met a dental hygienist who converted me¬†– and that enthusiasm has not yet spread throughout our entire household.¬†¬†I know it is inconvenient of me, as your mother, to ask you to push pause on your extremely busy life to keep your mouth open an extra 5 minutes.¬† We’ll get thru this.
  2. Brushing of the hair: Yes.¬† We have heard of tangle spray.¬† We currently own 3 bottles.¬† Yet, why, each night, do I feel like we are reenacting that particularly poignant scene from that 80’s movie, Mommie Dearest?¬† I promise: no wire hangars, and yet, from the squeals, you would think differently.
  3. Encouraging you to wear your shoes on the right feet.¬† I know, there used to be a time where I really didn’t care if you were wearing shoes at all.¬† But I’m maturing.¬† Help me help you.¬† You walk funny¬†because your feet are totally confused!
  4. Bathing/Changing clothes: Again, see point 3, in the beginning, we both smelled like milk, charming at first, and then too tiresome to care.¬† There wasn’t energy to sweat the small stuff, and bathing was small.¬† And then you crawled and toddled through germ land which was pretty¬†gross so we bathed you frequently.¬† Now, you can shower – like by yourself.¬† I promise I am not asking you to solve the world’s problems, I’m just asking you to shower, just gently reminding you that clean underwear is NOT overrated.

Press on.¬† Pick your battles.¬† Hold Tight.¬† Rest confidently in your priorities.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† We have this,¬†Friends.¬† I say these things to myself as I tuck in each night.¬† And I reassure myself.¬† It’s not like I’m¬†Cruella De Vil.¬† There are no cute little¬†puppies¬†smuggled¬†away in¬†obscure places.¬†¬†Dental floss – maybe – but no smuggled puppies.

 


Happily exhausted.

Ask any adult that has logged a week at VBS and that about sums it up.

I grew up in rural New York State, not attending church on a regular basis.¬† It wasn’t until¬†my 30s when¬† I started having my own kids¬†that I even knew what Vacation Bible School ¬†is.¬†¬† And in the South, churches get down! Themed curriculum, scripts, materials lists, treats, discussions, it is no small thing.

We had a lot of fun helping with games this week, and in reflecting upon what I learned, it got kind of deep.¬† I thought I was walking into a refresher course on “Jesus loves me, this I know,” and my heart was so encouraged beyond.

I cherish opportunities where I get to see our kids bonding with our adult friends at church.¬† They need to¬†be challenged and have fun and laugh and be pushed out of their comfort zones by adults other than Dad and I.¬† ¬† They¬† won’t be good at everything in life (who is?) but they can experience that our joy comes not from how well we do things,¬†but from who We are in Him.¬† The more people that can live out this¬†concept¬†with them, now, when they are young and impressionable, the better.

If you want to¬†serve God’s Kingdom, He will find you.¬† The last few years with two little kids and two working parents have seen many a daunting Sunday morning.¬† The Spirit is willing, the body is weak, and that body wants to stay in bed.¬† More times than not, we get there, but walking in wearily, I often don’t feel like I am contributing much to the¬†Body. ¬†Can I help God’s Kingdom by balancing a wet sponge on my head at 7p on a Tuesday night with¬†¬†a passel of¬† laughing 5th graders? YES! Church activities like VBS provide an opportunity to serve when the ‘usual’ times to serve seem tough.

Kids watch what we rearrange our schedules for, and for what we are willing to be inconvenienced.¬† I’ll be real:¬† for a lot of us, a week of VBS was not very practical.¬† It¬†meant 5 consecutive 14 hours days, leaving the house early for work and going right to the church and getting home late.¬† It was a week of eating dinner¬†late and more fast food than normal and my already minimal housecleaning routine was totally jacked.¬† Our kids stayed up¬†late, went to bed without baths when they were grimy, and were really tired in the mornings.¬† But you know what?¬† Having¬†VBS this week stretched me to see that their spiritual growth is more important than a death grip on my so called schedule and my so called comfort.¬†Their memories, their conversations in the car ride home, their night time prayers ‘thanking God that they got to go to church camp’ were all confirmations that¬†tweaks to the schedule for the right activities are totally worth it.¬†¬†¬† Kids are watching how we spend our time and¬†for what¬†we make our schedules flexible to accommodate.

A week of VBS takes a village.  I am so glad to have been a part of one.  It was designed to bless the young ones, but I think it did a lot of good for adult hearts too!

 


Public toilets: freaking out First World Parents of little ones for decades.¬† I was recently in a bathroom of a local restaurant when I heard the all too familiar sounds:¬†A gasp.¬† A shrieking wail of disgust followed by minor hyperventilating.¬† “OH MY GOD! DON’T TOUCH THAT! OR THAT! OR GET TOO CLOSE! YOU. ARE. TOO. CLOSE!” You might think there was a Hazmat team scouring for Ebola,¬†¬†but no, it is merely the curious pre-schooler tracing the outline of the¬†toilet seat,¬†enthralled with the flush handle.¬† He has found that if the¬†toilet paper holder is the shiny metal kind, he can stand there for days and make funny faces reflect back at him.¬† And the more you tell him not¬†to look,¬† not¬†take too long, to do his business and get out, the more he wants to stay a while.¬† Mom, here is a painful truth – public toilets are actually pretty cool things.¬† They are different than the toilets at home, thereby making them new and wonderful.¬† Automatic flushers?! Oh My!

I remember when our first born was about 18 months, and it was summer and I was feeling a little summery confused – were we supposed to make magical family memories by taking beautiful vacations, isn’t that what people did?¬† Particularly since my sweet¬†hubby is¬†a school teacher and¬†has¬†a few extra¬†days off, I tend to feel a weird pressure each summer, ¬†like seriously,¬†WE GOTTA MAKE THIS COUNT!! That particular week I was lamenting a trip¬†to Disney World.¬† We had stopped into Walmart for a late night diaper/beer run ( don’t judge, it happens).¬†¬†Our daughter¬† followed me into the¬†bathroom and behold: the automatic flusher.¬† Glorious.¬† It turned out we did not need to smooze with Mickey Mouse, ¬†that snarky Walmart toilet was entertainment enough! (We are still planning that family trip to Disney, when we have older children and less debt – employing that ‘everything beautiful in its own time’ concept :))

The point is, public restrooms and indoor plumbing in general are incredibly cool luxuries.  While we sit in our multiple square footage abodes in comfy clothes and full bellies, there are children who do not have access to fresh water nor know what an indoor toilet is.

While I trust there are dangerous germs lurking there, and I do not encourage my child to lick the toilet, I want my kids to appreciate them, to marvel at them, to not take them for granted.  We are so ridiculously rich to be able to poop inside!

It is¬†about to be summer again, and a few days ago, I’ll admit I was feeling summery confused.¬† This time it was for summer camps.¬† In about a week we were¬†covered with several summer camp options.¬†¬†Our oldest is 6,¬†and yet I realized that we could quickly spend more money in summer camps than we do our mortgage!¬† Apparently it is a booming business.¬† Should we sign her up for math camp?¬†¬†(My hubby is a math teacher, it sounds like a good thing to do.)¬† Latin?¬† Jeopardy Junior training?¬† I do get secretly competitive watching the National Spelling Bee, it can never be too early¬†to teach her to purse her lips, wrinkle her nose and ask for the language of origin.¬† Or, she seems to like soccer, maybe soccer camp?

And then, I am reminded of the toilet.  And I see how much our kid has, even on our seemingly humble starter home, and middle class income.  And I feel peace with deciding on one week of camp, and swimming lessons, and leaving plenty of unscheduled time for rest, extra trips to the library, cloud gazing,  and laughter.

Our kids don’t need more and more, they need us to help them appreciate what they already have.¬† The next time we are at Target and our kids see something they have to have, lets remind them of the toilet.¬† Let’s genuinely take the time to explain that that they¬†don’t precariously squat over a hole in the ground.

And this summer?¬† Simple is okay.¬† Leave a little extra wiggle room in the calendar for exploration and creativity…you never know, it may just be fun to take apart something, really learn how it works.

It may be that this summer is for the crapper -you know, really check how that cool toilet works!

 

 

 


I know, you didn’t thank me yet.

But someday I would like to think it’s coming.

The deeply reflective wave of gratitude that will come over you as you remember your childhood.

That annoying little brother?¬† You are welcome! He helped you –

Personalize forgiveness –¬†THIS is what Jesus meant by 70 times 7.¬† Or more.

Build up resilience.¬†I didn’t have time to read all of the trendy articles on building up resilience in you.¬† So sometimes I just put you in the same room as your brother, walked away, and told you to figure it out.¬† (Side note: problem solving will take you far in life, but different rules apply in the workforce, no wrestling!)

Get over it and Go again.  I know, he totally jacked up your beautiful creations.  That was wrong.  There were consequences.  And other beautiful results: you saw early on that there will be people who tear down.  People who act without consideration, rashly, and with no intent to see things from your perspective.  And you go back at it, regardless, and create the beauty you see again.  And again.

See Value in the Different:¬†I remember when you were in Kindergarten and you wrote in your journal that it would be nice for your brother to go back to wherever he came from so we didn’t have him.¬†¬†Your teachers laughed.¬† I was almost speechless.¬† But we talked about that even though he is very different from you, he is still family, and family are keepers.¬† Each keeper has value – even if their value is¬†different:¬†boogies, destruction, and crazy boy-ness and all.¬† Plus,¬†sometimes when we persevere to appreciate the value in the different, we become better people for it, and learn to like new things (like when Spiderman became your new favorite show!)

Create a unique -ness of you.  Your role as Big Sister is one of the biggest influences on your personality.  You are you because you grew up with him.

You’re welcome.

You’re welcome that I did not read your Kindergarten journal literally and take him back. (Besides the small detail that I would have a lot of explaining to do!) ūüôā

 

 

 


Are Genocide and Feminism appropriate concepts for a 6 year old?

This post poses more questions than answers.¬† And if nothing else tonight, I hope I fostered a safe place for our almost 6 year old to¬†have questions, because I am positively sure I don’t have all the answers.

We are on Spring Break.¬† I can say “we” because I’ve taken a couple of days off work to join in on the hiatus of usually hectic days.¬† Our daughter and I settled in to a little cuddle time a la Disney Movie.¬† It turned out to be more of a philosophy lesson.¬† I felt stretched, convicted, slightly nauseous truth be told.

I think the nauseous stems more from a gnawing fear of what if I can’t adequately equip her for the world we are raising her in?¬† (Insert deep breath here as it is not I that am to equip her, but God’s Word that has made that promise).¬†

And how do we help make God’s Word digestible?¬† For simple starters, we must return to it consistently.¬† Chew on it.¬† Ask questions, Seek.¬† God loves questions, He is not threatened by them.¬† And how our sweet daughter’s keen mind made questions tonight.¬† We watched the first part of the Prince of Egypt.

Ordinarily, if asked for my opinion, I would likely not advocate a conversation on genocide and feminism with a near 6 year old.  And then I had one tonight.

As we started the movie, I was on the receiving end of rich, deep, thought provoking questions that showed me how faith and reason are busy at work, even when we may not know it – like, “Mommy¬† –

  1. Isn’t it inappropriate to float a baby down a river?
  2. Would a bad guy really take all the babies and kill them?
  3. Why did the bad guy only take the boy babies?  Were the boy babies more important than the girl babies?
  4. Why didn’t Moses’ mommy have faith that God would help her take care of Moses and keep him?
  5. How come this movie has differences than the story I’ve heard?

Friends, I am on unfamiliar territory here.  I already joke that my kids are smarter than I.  Tonight confirms it.  Yet how exciting, how intellectually fantastic that we have a little girl who is interested in asking.  I said a little prayer and was given an immediate answer.  We turned off the movie, opened her kid version Bible and read the story together.  We answered a couple of her questions, but not all.  And somewhere in my type A personality brain, I will find peace with that, that there will be nights that we will not answer every question.

She is learning about non-fiction and fiction in her kindergarten class right now.¬† She likes organization and categorizing and for stuff to make sense.¬† In her mind, if it makes sense, if it could really happen, it is non-fiction, if it couldn’t really happen, it is fiction.¬† ¬†“Mommy, I don’t understand how that could happen, is the Bible fiction?”

Our¬†beautiful Daughter, we will share our convictions with you, and be with you each step, on your faith journey.¬† Your question is one for us to discover, explore, discuss, read about, and pray over, because the answer is too rich for us to simply tell you and you take it at face value.¬† We won’t simply tell you stuff, in hopes that our words will¬†lay out your path, because that is between you and Him.¬† He will and¬†His Words can.¬† This is your journey, and what an awesome opportunity and responsibility to see faith, along with reason and logic develop in your growing mind.

I was convicted tonight of a couple different things – to not shy away from the awkward and the yuck.¬† A King a long time ago taking all the baby boys and throwing them into the river is not actually the stuff of warm and fluffy bedtime stories.¬†¬†¬†The world has awkward and yuck, more and more each day.¬† We can talk about it, you can ask about it, and we will ask about it, and we will read about it and pray about it.¬†¬† Also, I was convicted tonight that if I start something, be prepared for the questions, and honor the¬†questions.¬† I don’t need to feel a degree of worldly pressure to always have the answers,¬†God has shown me great truths lay at the end of seasons of seeking.

Certainly, we will pray for wisdom and discernment for good timing.  Certainly, we will take heart and find peace in the seeking, each little or big question along the way.

 

 


And so it is when ordinary moments turn into deep thoughts.

I grew up a feisty tomboy.¬† I viewed dresses as an insult to my character.¬†¬†Baby dolls?¬† Total waste of time.¬† There was a big wide,¬† world out there¬†and the quality of¬† my day was determined by how¬† much of that¬† world’s dirt I got under my finger nails.

Now I have a daughter and it’s fun.¬† She is a little more frilly and fru-fru than I, but I caught a glimpse of myself in her today that made me laugh.

It was field day.¬† Oh, we attended, we cheered.¬† I was like every¬†other slightly off her rocker mother who felt it necessary to¬†video-tape the dizzy bat spin.¬† What caught me off guard and made me smile, made me see that even though I’ve grown up, I’m still the¬†little me I was over 30 years ago?

Messy hair.  Wispy bangs, the wayward single braid that has no interest in laying straight down the back.

I’m just not the “bow” mom.¬† I love bow moms, don’t get me wrong.¬† I sincerely think they are cool.¬† And, ¬†I’m not just saying that ¬†in a polite condescending way that Southerners¬† say “bless their heart!” while¬†disdainfully rolling their¬†eyes. ¬†The Bow Moms have the strategic placement of a 5 inch bow in every possible matching color down to a science.¬† The other day, I tried.¬† I offered a bow in a matching hue, and our angel said “Great!” and very proudly and independently shoved it onto her head in a most unnatural position.¬† I just went with it.

So, Field. Day. I’m pretty sure we had an encounter with a Bow Mom.¬† There was no explicit evidence of bow, and I truly believe she acted in love.¬† She was a volunteer on the line, on hand to help ensure the littles stood still in a mannerly¬†fashion.¬† I looked over on a few occasions to see her intently trying to fix our daughter’s hair.¬† The wispy bangs, that wayward braid, somewhere in there was a barrette that was holding on for dear life.¬†¬† On instinct,¬† my husband and I found that whole “touching other children that aren’t your own” concept pretty weird.¬† I nor my daughter had ever met her.¬† I think our daughter’s hair situation was like, really bugging her.¬† I contemplated casually walking up and saying something, but held back, I was at a safe¬†proximity and could tell in her face that she was acting in tenderness, and truly wanting to help.

It was just so funny to me that in the several hundred thoughts that crossed my mind during field day today, not once did I think that I needed to fix a little girl’s hair.¬† I don’t consider myself a Feminist, but I am just a little more than okay with thinking outside the lines on how girls and boys are “supposed” to be.¬† I’m okay with a little girl who couldn’t care less on the status of her up do.

And I have my incredibly cool parents to thank.¬† Right around when I turned 5, my mom, late 40s, (aka, I’m a OOPS BABY) started graduate school and launched her career, reinventing herself from mom to 5 ¬†to career woman.¬† My Dad, a veteran real estate guy, ran the day to day household routines around meeting with clients,¬†including braiding my hair everyday into two symmetrical pig tails (Lord knows, I wasn’t going to do anything with it, and THE MAN CAN BRAID!), packing my lunch, and getting me to school.¬† As far as I know, I’m thinking he is the one that primarily grocery shopped, cooked dinner, and made sure there was a clean towel for when you got out of the shower.¬† I got to see how my parent’s support for each other remained consistent while their own career paths ebbed and flowed.¬† What a beautiful gift.¬† Looking back, my mom’s salary kept the bills paid when the closings were few and far between, and my Dad’s nurturing touch made me feel so loved that it didn’t occur to me to think about money, whether we had a lot of it or not.

Sometimes my hubby and I like to relax and dream crazy dreams.  Sometimes those dreams include him being a stay at home, homeschooling Dad that takes our two to space camp for a week.  (of course, in those scenarios, he would still coach, because he is a coach and will always be a coach. :))

I was reminded today that it is so important to be comfortable in your own skin.¬† Even if your own skin includes slightly jacked up hair.¬† Even if your own skin goes against the grain, if it makes some people wonder, if your just not exactly what they expected you to be, or even their “cup of tea.”¬† That’s okay.¬† And, when we are¬†comfortable in our own skin, we can see the true beauty in others.¬† I¬†will not feel threatened or oddly challenged by the Bow Mom.¬† I can love her as she embraces¬†comfort in her skin,¬†5 inch bows, perfectly placed hair¬†and all.

 

 

 

 


I’m in a season of investing and I’m exhausted.¬† A brief stint solo to a Caribbean Island¬† sounds really good right now.

I’m not dabbling in stocks and bonds and watching with¬†bated breath as my 401k grows.¬† With all due respect to the stock market types who get¬†it, I still don’t get it.¬† Someday I will, maybe.

I’m engaged in a type of investing where sometimes the return is REALLY hard to see.¬† My investing runs off different ratios of coffee, Bible, prayer, cries of desperation and girlfriends and a husband that graciously remind it will be okay when I do downright lose it.¬†¬†My investing involves deep discernment and contentment and gratitude to understand what this season means for me right now:

This is not my season to have sparkling clean baseboards.¬† I do fantasize about¬†that.¬† That’s not weird at all, is it?¬† I¬†also fantasize about ¬†coming home to NOT A MOUNTAIN¬†OF LAUNDRY, and someone has magically redone all the flooring in our house.

This is not my season to say yes to every opportunity.¬† I wish you could witness the patient and kind manner in which my hubby gently assured me that I am¬†NOT called to be our almost 6 year old’s Soccer Team Mom this season.¬† Could I do it? Probably.¬† Could I do it well?¬† Doubtful.¬† Would I end up as a demon possessed poltergeist flinging Capri Sun and¬†orange slices while our almost 3 year old takes off running to the parking lot?¬†¬†Probable.¬† Not my season…(My first hint should have been that when I prayed about it, the number one item on my agenda of being the Soccer Team Mom, was to go on a mission and find another woman to delegate it to.¬†¬† LOL!)

This is not my season to stress every aspect of life.¬† Being a working mom means I pray to discern the priorities and aim for the priorities.¬† Loving my hubby and kids are a priority, spending time with God is a priority,¬†good stewardship is¬†a priority.¬† Everything else either happens or not, not a life deal breaker.¬† That means we may eat left overs or carry out and my kids may not get a bath per the proposed schedule.¬† This means our carpets are well, we won’t even go there.

Love means we discipline when it would so much easier to hail a cab to somewhere else.¬† For the past 6 months, we’ve had a 5th member of the family – the spanking spoon.¬† Whether you are pro-spanking or not, a deeper resolve to discipline more consistently is paying off for our wild stallion little boy.¬† This is my hardest area of investing, the daily decision to put one foot forward every minute with a combined focus of grace, discipline, love.¬† It seems so much easier at times to just give full vent to my frustration and claim temporary insanity.¬† Just sayin’.

I’m investing with a hopeful forecast that it will pay off with children that are wildly in love with God,¬†responsible, hard working,¬†and overflowing with love.¬† They won’t be perfect which is actually just fine because I’m not either.¬† Perfection is a foolhardy pursuit.¬† Instead, I pray to weigh my words and heart’s motives with wisdom as my scale, ¬†and then leave¬†LOTS OF ROOM FOR GRACE.

This type of investing takes a commitment to persevere.¬† Just keep going.¬† We don’t often get monthly or quarterly statements for our parenting like we do financial stuff. But don’t be afraid to ask for input from people you admire and respect.¬† When we¬†are in the trenches of investing, sometimes we need the reassurance of people of just how fantastically wonderful and a gift from God our kids are.¬† Sometimes we need that¬† little extra¬†boost that this investing is absolutely, undeniably, unequivocally worth it.