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A Zombie Story

I have been working for a while on this other blog… I have been sick a lot this year, and we finally found out I have a tumor.  Yikes.  But it turns out I will be able to avoid surgery.  Hooray!

For anyone who is interested, please follow the link below to my quirky, fun-loving, authentic blog on the subject.  Thank you for reading friends.

HelloTumor.wordpress.com

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Pioneer Life: Part One

Once upon a time, I knew a brave woman who lived a pioneer lifestyle in many ways (God rest her soul).  She told me I would have hated it.  Maybe she was right.  I disliked her for saying it, anyhow.  Part of me wrestled with the fact that she may be right:  about the life being hard, or me not having what it took.  I wasn’t sure which she meant, and I was too afraid to ask.  Maybe both!

I have come to believe that we are all potential pioneers, if we have the guts to wake up and look at life with a new set of eyes… then, to stay awake! and press in to that pioneer mindset.

For the past year and three months my family has been embarking on an incredible set of adventures.  I will tell more later about how and why, and what spearheaded each part of it.  Some of the story is powerful and moving to myself — a “Thin Space” even, when I look back, though I could not have told you that in the middle of it.  From health and wealth to hearth and home, we have been working like true pioneers, walking foot by painful foot, or heaving our hungry hearts and harshly hewn wagons over wintry ruts and winding rivers.

Did I hate it?  Oh yes, certainly, parts of it.  Was it worth it?  Oh… my…. a resounding and reverent “Yes!”

After this intro I will share with you an adventure both life-giving and life-taking.  An ongoing journey that is most incredibly God-centering.  I am humbled, yet more built up than ever.  The shallow parts of me that remain have been drained and dredged out into deeper pools which are being refilled, and I know God is not done yet.  I may yet be a reservoir someday.  I dance in thankfulness and rejuvenated hope.

More to come… and apologies (kind of) for the long wait between posts….

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Well-Worded Advice

God has seen fit to bless me with a five-year-strong marriage and three beautiful children.

Along with these areas of great blessing, I have had moments of great need — for support, prayer, help, and advice.  Over time, I have found the more incredible words from friends and my heavenly Father building up into beautiful inner dialogues, sometimes battling or encroaching upon my more negative dialogues, even eradicating them, but always consistently energizing me and keeping me going.  Praise God.  These words are as refreshing as a Texas water canal, filled to the brim, gushing into a vivid-green rice field in the middle of our dry, reddish-brown countryside.

Let me share with you some of these reverberating cheers of my soul.

My Mother-in-law: “Leave the crumbs where they are.”  She said this right after my toddler son dumped something all over the floor.  We were all having to walk all over it while trying to serve dinner.  I loved her for that grace, that kindness, and that relaxed attitude about the mess.  I try to extend it to myself when I have chunks of food on the floor, etc. and have so many other things to do…

Our marriage mentors: “Intimacy is not the icing on the cake, but rather the yeast.  And intimacy is not so much about a goal, but about being together.”  How much effort and stress that has saved me in the past few years!  I could say the idea of being together applies to any activity I am doing with my husband, or my kids!  The goal is being together, not just to do whatever activity I have planned.  It helps me to keep that in mind!

My sister in Christ: “One thing I wish someone had told me when I was a new mom… take 5 minutes every so often, and stop, and rest, and breathe.  It’s okay, and the kids will be fine.  I flew around everywhere trying to take care of everything.”  Enough said, right?

The Lord (direct tap): “Trust me.  And ask me first when you don’t know what to do.  I will help you.”  More recently, he also told me “It IS good enough, and so are you.”  I have this posted above my sink now.  Thanks God, for taking my inabilities and making things happen supernaturally.

The Lord (through Scripture): “You are blessed beyond the curse!”  In frustrating, hormonal, or tired moments as a parent, spouse, or woman (pregnant or not), this speaks to me deeply!  2 Corinthians 4:16-18 — “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Blessings, Friends.  Thanks for reading!

Rehearsing the Good

Being content with what you have is a very tricky thing.  All too often, I try to “beat myself into submission” by saying: Darn it, won’t you ever be happy? or  Hey you selfish whining $@#%!*, just take what you’ve got.  or You got what you wanted, now you aren’t happy?  Be thankful!  What’s it going to take?!?  You’ll never be satisfied, will you!

There is a possible chance of needing an attitude adjustment.    But more and more, I choose to look to God about it all.  He is much fairer than I am.  (I actually told my whole “inner dialogue” above to “Shut up!” the other day and it was nice.)

Anyway, when I find myself in the mindset of complaining, I am learning to stop trying to discipline myself, and turn to God for “disciplining” me as he sees fit.  He promises to do the work in me to change me, right?  After all, I am unable to attain perfection.  But amazingly enough, he is so quick to respond with love and not impatience.  So unlike many of my earthly authorities, so unlike myself… but then, that’s what makes him so amazing.  How much more perfect could he get?

So… when I turned to him about my messy house and my frustration (still) with the “new normal” and wanting things “better,” I found my Daddy-God ready to sit me on his knee and… well, confirm my frustration: “Poor Baby,” he says… and then he shows me how to have a contented heart anyway.  Here’s what came out of it.

1) What I think I have: A very messy house.

What I really have: 1) Two really big projects going on that will help my family.  2) Two beautiful children. 

  

2 ) What I think I have: Dark circles around my eyes, hair not done, no energy or time to do makeup.

What I really have: Children that know I love them and love playing with me (and taking pictures together).

 

3) What I think I have: Trash and clutter all over the place.

What I really have: Tokens of God’s provision (including receipts for gas and bags from fast-food meals we were able to buy during a trip to the country) and our family’s love (belated Christmas gifts), as well as the blessing of enough energy to clean out the car.

4) What I think I have: A cluttered desk after I worked so hard last week to organize it.

What I really have: A reminder of my husband treating me with Starbucks, after I did his chores so he could go to bed early.

5) What I think I have: An unmade bed.

What I really have: A comfy mattress my husband bought in our first year of marriage, and a reminder of a good snuggle this morning.  

6) What I think I have: Messy changing station.

What I really have: DISPOSABLE DIAPERS!  What a gift!

7) What I think I have: A big pile of mess needing attention after our trip to the country. SIGH…

What I really have: Treasured tools my husband used to take down a giant wild boar that will fill our freezer with enough meat for months.

8) What I think I have: Filthy dishes piled up beyond reason.

What I really have: Filthy dishes piled up for a perfect reason: family needing us.

9) What I think I have: An unexciting meal.

What I really have: The pot that Grandmother Moore gave me at my wedding shower, making a very healthy chicken soup that we need due to cold and flu season.

10) What I think I have: A neglected, overgrown yard that needs our attention.

What I really have: A (neglected-for-a-darn-good-reason) yard which is overgrown due to all the RAIN!  Thanks God, for the RAIN, after months of drought!

  

So…. dear readers, I guess you might see where I am going with this.  I think I feel like all these things define how well I am doing as a wife and mom.  It’s as though all I see when I look around me, is failure, failure, failure.

But I am slowly learning, on my Daddy-God’s knee, how to rehearse the good things and not the bad things.  (This is something I’ve learned about lately at my women’s Bible study).  This is not a pushing down of my sorrows or hurts, though.  God merely helps me to address them appropriately, all with a good sort of snuggle with that ever-present Spirit of His.  The result is a favorable and uplifting slant of the “Truth” rather than a discouraging, downcast and condemning one.

Thoughts?  …and thanks for reading, Friends.

Delight in all my Labor

It is easy for me to forget in the daily grind that I am cherished.  Treasured.  God’s special girl.  A princess in the kingdom.

We’re not talking “positive self talk” here.  We’re talking true healing from the frustrating day yesterday, and knowing (and feeling) the tender heart with which God views all my mistakes, trials, and heartaches.

My husband has taught me this phrase: “PROGRESS, not perfection.”  I love it, but it is hard to really step into sometimes.  I do want to be good at my job, my life, you name it.  So, when even PROGRESS seems unattainable, I can be easily and understandably…. erhm…. emotionally constipated or… erhm… runny.  Either one.  Ha!

What I am realizing is that this enemy of my heart works to not only steal my self-worth, he also seeks to steal the joy in my work with this mentality.  I am suddenly just working away for nothing, not appreciated, not worth being appreciated.  The voices start saying: You should never have signed up for this.  You made a big mistake, and you will pay for it for the rest of your life (if you want to be a good wife and mother by not quitting).  

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Look at the mistake you made.  You shouldn’t share about that with anyone.  They will just look at you sidewise and not want to be your friend.

Then I start filling in: I should quit — to be rebellious against all these voices!

or

I must never make that mistake again.  Let me be as hard on myself as I can so I will learn this time.

These are all tricks of the enemy of our souls!  I know God wants me to just rest in the identity HE has created for me…. it’s all there, in the Scriptures.

I am beautiful.

I am His treasure.

I am His bride.

I am not alone.

There is joy for my work today.

There is new mercy and grace for every mistake I make.

…It just goes on!

Ecclesiastes 2:10b — “My heart took delight in all my labor,  and this was the reward for all my toil.”  Even though the purpose of everything is to know and be known by God, and is meaningless otherwise, I seek to rest in His perspective of today.  I choose to look to Him for the joy and delight in all my labor… as a friend, mother, wife, homemaker (I loved seeing that on our IRS return!), and daughter of the King.

Overshadowed by Grace

‘…the power of the Most High will overshadow you… For nothing will be impossible with God.’ 
— from Luke1:34-37 (one of my Christmas/Advent readings)

After having my first baby, there came a season of  mental “re-training” — I had to realize that it wasn’t going to be so hard anymore to do things.  My body and brain started coming back, and I had to relearn how to use them in a non-pregnant way.  Anyone hear me on this?

With my first post-partum, I had no idea this issue even existed.  I just did not remember anymore what it felt like to be interested in cleaning, or maintaining some chore. I didn’t know it could be easy anymore to flirt with my husband.  There was no hope for our front porch or any other area which I had signed up to take care of in our married life.

Granted, that is not everyone’s pregnancy story (I don’t want to scare people away from having kids).  Nevertheless I think Snow White’s brain made a much faster return-to-normalcy after her coma than mine did.

It cracks me up: there were moments upon moments of “Aha!  It only took me five minutes to _________, and I’m not exhausted!”   Make some tea, put dishes away, clean an area, play with my child, whatever.  You name it.

So, the second-pregnancy-around, I came prepared.  (I thought.)  I talked myself through decisions to stop caring about my shaved legs by saying: “In a few months, I will do that again, but for now I won’t worry about it.”  I knew that I would return from the ride and eventually be myself again.

Uh…. yeah….. I forgot that this time I would have: “Two!  Two precious angels!  Ah – Ah – Ah!”  (Please tell me you get that reference.)  It’s not that I’m complaining.  I actually, if anything, would complain that I can’t seem to get over the change to two toddler/babies and keep smacking my head like a moron into the wall of “what I WANT to do.”  Again, anyone hear me on this?  I know I’m not alone or stupid in this, but dang.

So… here we are…. seven months in and I am finally getting some progress on my mental switch.  Anyway…. here’s to learning to taking it EVEN EASIER on myself and accepting the new normal.  My Father-God seems to know just how to embrace me in it, too.  I have to work a little at listening to His Voice instead of the inner-critical one that likes to play on me.

So… Proud-a-me?  Yes.

Is progress really that important?  Not always, no, not really.

Is it perfect?  Definitely not!

Is it still good?  Hell-to-the-yeah.

So, thanks, Lord, for helping through this next reprocessing/readjusting phase.  Thanks for helping me figure out the new normal.  And thanks for friends and family (and an amazing husband) who help and encourage along the way.  Help me to rest fully in Your overshadowing grace and love and excitement about my life!

Thanks for reading, Friends.

A Good Plan

People have often said to me “I don’t know how you do it,”  with a wide-eyed look at my two-under-two as though I have a brave — or insane — spirit.  I used to do the same thing.  I used to think it was all about having easy pregnancies — the lucky — or insane? — ones who enjoy pregnancy are the ones who are brave enough to keep going.  HA.

I definitely have my moments where I just want to scream and cry.  I love having children, and they are so beautiful to me, but when they bounce back and forth on who is screeching or fussing, or when they won’t go to sleep, or when they must have MAMA… I can feel a little too spread thin and too tired and… how does that line in the book ‘Captivating’ go?  “Too much and not enough, all at the same time.”  Something like that.  My emotions and needs are too much for me to handle, and I am not enough.

Bless her heart...

So as I have gone forward into the fray, I have asked God more and more how to handle these moments.  I have gotten prayer… it’s been a good journey and an exciting one too.

I find there is always one card I can have in my back pocket.  Say I can’t think or I can only cry or I just want to sleep… as happens as a Mommy, especially one who is still not quite fully recovered from pregnancy/birth: I can pray.

When all the ideas on the web and all the Scriptures in the Word and all the great advice FAILS to come to mind, because, let’s face it, MY MIND IS TIRED and refuses to cooperate a lot of the time, I am learning to sit back, relax, let the children scream or fuss or myself be overwhelmed or whatever it is, for a moment, and start to pray.  I go “God, I don’t know what to do.  HELP!”  In the words of Joyce Meyer, “I am such a mess! HELP!”  And I wait.  I don’t act until I hear from him.

It works.

Inevitably, a few moments may pass or a split second, but God shows me the next step.  It’s amazing.  I can calmly try that, and sometimes I have to repeat the process.  Other times, I find myself crying first before I can try anything.  But it works.  God clears up my heart, and fills in the blanks so I am no longer “too much and not enough at the same time.”  He heals my hungry heart for that moment, and walks (or carries) me through it.

It’s amazing.  You should try it.  I bet it doesn’t work for only new Mommies.

Thanks for reading, Friends.

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