Monday, May 15, 2017

oh monday...

I am lying on my family room floor, eating Cheetos at 10:49 at night while I write this. THAT is the kind of Monday it has been: Cheetos at 10:49 on Monday night bad. The entire world was out to get me today, I'm 100% certain of that. And the thing that sucked most of all was that I woke up with a "determined to get it all done" attitude, ready to take on all the challenges and accomplish things left and right! And little by little, Monday tried to beat it out of me. Praise Jesus for amazing friends who text you encouragement before noon because the day has already made its way down the toilet by then!

Perhaps you noticed one key little word in the above paragraph (or maybe not. If you're like me you're reading this as you're waking up and things are still a big foggy.) The word is "tried." Yeah, that's right: tried! Monday did NOT take me down. It didn't finish me. I didn't give up but kept on keeping on (or whatever that phrase is...) You see, me and Mondays, we've been battling all school year long. I honestly have no idea why it is the way, but everything is an uphill battle on Monday; just a real struggle of a day! And today is our last Monday of the school year so I just think Monday decided to give me one last hurrah. 

But you know what, Monday?! I'm getting used to your crap and I'm a fighter! NO SURRENDERING TODAY!!

Now granted, I didn't handle all of today's garbage with patience and grace. Just ask my kids!! Any complaining was handle with absolute frustration and irritation 😳 and I'm pretty sure I just gave up on teaching my daughter Math today. And when I discovered that there was no ground coffee left for me to make a "Saving Grace Cup of Joe," I ran our booties to Sbux and got an expensive fattening, sugar-filled Salted (not really because the salt is seasonal *sigh*) Caramel Mocha Frappe. And when finding something for lunch became a hassle for everyone, I completely gave up and headed to McD's for all the unhealthy lunch choices. 

However!!!! We accomplished a TON of stuff that I could've just said "FORGET YOU, STUFF! I AM NOT IN THE MOOD!" That's right! We did school work. We purged half of the school room. We cleaned and did laundry and dishes and ran 25 errands...well it felt like 25, ok?! We had a healthy dinner and created and crafted together. And when the stupid stuff happened, like the low fuel light on my truck that came on in the middle of errands (ok, God, I'd be super grateful if you'd make the gas gauge in my truck just like the little old lady's bottle of oil: not overflowing, but just enough that I'd never run out...) I just added another errand to my "to do" list and "to did" it. 

I kicked Monday's butt and I deserve every single one of these Cheetos. I'm even gonna give myself props because these are the healthier Cheetos: no artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors! (Okay, that really only makes me feel a smidge better about my late night chip snacking.)

Friends: don't let your Monday (whatever that might be in your life) drag you down. Fight through it! Show 'em who's boss! And it's okay to keep it all balanced with some grace for yourself, ya know: like eating Cheetos at 10:49 at night. 😉

Tomorrow is a new day. ❤️

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

by the grace of God

A while back I had a wonderful gal leave me a voicemail about my blog. She blessed me with her words of encouragement and praised me for the job I was doing as a woman of God. She told me that as she read my blogs, she believed that I was more than surviving, I was thriving by the grace of God.

She's right, in one sense. I would be drowning in this whole wife/mom/woman thing if it weren't for God. But here I am, walking upright, striving to be who God wants me to be. I get laundry done and feed the people in this house who always seem to need to eat. I maintain a clean-ish house 😜 and my kids are decent at their math facts and reading skills. I've got amazing friends. And we live in the most wonderful neighborhood. And my truck still runs and most of my clothes don't have holes in them. So I get from one perspective, I'm thriving!

But that's not how it feels. Maybe it's just me, but usually I feel like I'm floundering. I could be doing everything a whole lot better than I do. I could be disappointing a lot less people. I could be a better wife and mom who knows how to get every stain out of all articles of clothing and who can cook healthy things and make them taste amazing so my while family will love every meal. I could be better at responding to emails and texts and messages. I could take more time to send out birthday cards and to make more phone calls to friends. I could be making better choices on how to spend our money or on how to educate our kids. I could...I should...😕

Mental picture time:

I am not sitting in a beautiful sail boat with a giant smile on my face and the wind blowing through my hair as the sun shines down on my skin.

Nope. I'm in a life preserver, bobbing along with the waves, exhausted and wet with sunburned cheeks and dried out lips. 

I'm surviving. 

But let me tell you what surviving means to me. 
A survivor is someone who has made it through difficult times and has come out stronger on the other side. A survivor is someone who lives in gratitude because of what they have been through. A survivor doesn't give up. A survivor can face the next trial with determination and confidence because they can look back and see what they already lived through. 

Yes, because of God, I am alive and thriving.
But because of God, I am also a survivor.

I know I'm in good company when I say I'm surviving by the grace of God.

Can I get a Hallelujah?!


Monday, April 24, 2017

sucky parenting

Ok, people, I seriously suck. 
I am the worst mom ever.
Once again I had to apologize to my daughter for saying something hurtful to her.
I didn't yell at her (yay, me!)
I just wasn't very thoughtful in my comment to her and watched her expression sink as we walked up to church. YES!! AS WE WALKED UP TO CHURCH!! For reals: I hurt my kid's feelings on the way to church. Not even at home before church or in the car on the way to church. No. Literally 10 yards from the front door of church, I stomped on my kid's feelings. I told you: worst mom ever!

I stood through worship just contemplating how to resolve this. I had a long time to contemplate because our worship lasts a while and we stand the whole time. I need to stop wearing high heels to church...

As soon as we sat down and our pastor came to the front of the stage, I grabbed a pencil and wrote an apology to my daughter. Who, in turn, grabbed the pencil from me and wrote an apology back to me!! 

Ok. In reality, it's not that amazing that my kiddo apologized to me. Let me explain why this seemingly rare phenomenon happens pretty regularly in our house.

Turns out that I suck at parenting, which I have already illustrated at the beginning of this post. I am constantly saying and doing stuff that is well below the standard of parenting that I set for myself before I had kids. Which was ridiculous when I set it, but still: I'm not perfect. I do dumb things. I make mistakes. I swallow my pride. And then I apologize.

I apologize. A lot. I am setting a good and frequent example of what apologizing should look like. Because I have to do it often. 

You know what they say about teaching your children: they learn from your actions much more than from you telling them what to do. "Actions speak louder than words." Model the behavior that you want your children to follow. Well I am modeling the whole apologizing thing like a CHAMP!! 

So the bonus of being an imperfect and sucky parent is that my children are getting a front row seat in how to apologize. 

I guess I'll take it. 


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

no more rain, please

My Momma reminded me last night: When it rains, it pours!

Well I, for one, am freaking tired of the rain, both literal and figurative!! 

Usually, when it's pouring rain here at our house, it's because the devil is trying to "rain on our parade." (See what I did there?!) It's as though he sees the good that is trying to be accomplished and he is setting up blockades left and right. Let me tell you, it's exHAUSTing!

For the past couple of months, I've been trying to figure out what God is trying to tell me. Now I'm not so convinced that it's God but rather the devil trying to get in the way of some major stuff that God's got coming down the way.

There have been days over the past couple of months when I have wanted to just give up on some passions that God has put on my heart. It'd be easier that way. But I keep plugging away, even in small pieces, knowing that there's a purpose for it all.

And now that I realize that the devil is standing in the way, I'm just going to work harder.
Did you hear that, Satan? I'M JUST GONNA WORK HARDER!! SO THERE!!

I looked at my weather app for this week and I see no rain in the forecast. As a matter of fact, tomorrow it should be sunny all. day. long. And, I don't know about you, but I am in desperate need of some sunshine! ☀️

But, just in case it rains, I've got an adorable pair of polka dotted rain boots and a pink umbrella from my friend and a great, big God to back me up so I am prepared. 
Did you hear that too, Satan?! I AM PREPARED!!

Going to bed now. 
Tomorrow's gonna be a bright, sunshiny day. 💛


Sunday, April 16, 2017

groovin' old guy

We went to church this morning and we sat near the back. Our kids like to sit with us in church instead of going to the children's program which means we sit near the back just in case they get too wiggly or drop a container full of Legos during the service and distract everyone around us. #truestory #completelyembarassedmom #Legosdonotcometochurchanymore 

This morning we sat behind an elderly couple, probably in their late 80's. (We stand for much of the first part of the service because we start out by worshiping together. The music we sing is "loud worship" or at least that's what I call it. There's probably a minimum of 8 people on stage at one time leading or ship. They provide ear plugs as you walk in! So yes, loud.) As we were singing, I kept getting distracted by the elderly gentleman because he was groovin'! He was beebopping back and forth and completely enjoying his time of worship. At one point my husband caught my eye and with a big grin he nodded to the gentleman who was just so stinkin adorable in his worship!!

And it got me thinking: church should be a joy! (I know; seems like common sense but let me tell you, people, this has been a STRUG-GLE for me.)

I don't know about you, but when I think of God designing a worship service at His church, I think the entire event would be a joyous one!! Hearts would be overflowing with gratitude and people would be happy to be there, right?

One of the things I find so impressive about our church is how our pastor can reach so many people at different levels of faith simply by speaking truth. He is not judgmental, but he also doesn't shy away from Biblical truths. He talks about hard issues but it's  not saturated with condemnation. It is a joy to be in church, listening to our pastor challenge us and hearing truth that we need to hear! I don't walk out of there feeling like a horrible person, but I am more aware each time I leave church of things I need to work on or change. 

It's easy to criticize a church that is "entertaining" or whose worship set has lights and a smoke machine. I used to call our church a "seeker friendly" church whose goal was to reach those who don't go to church regularly. They played up to those outside the church, trying to attract them. I didn't think that was necessarily a bad thing, but it just wasn't necessary for us "Hardcore Christians!" 😜

But the longer I'm there, the more I realize that it is just as much for me as it is for someone who has never been to church. My family, all 4 of us, walk into church with expectant hearts, happy to be there, ready to participate, to listen and learn, to enjoy our time with God! It has taken a long time for us to get there.

Anybody else wanna come with me to church? We'll save you seats!
We'll be the family sitting behind the grooving old guy!


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

worriment and fruit

Today, while making dinner, I had the most fantastic realization! So fantastic that the emotions welled up inside of me and I nearly started to cry! But I had also been cutting onions so... 😢

But it wasn't the onions. It was my daughter. She was in the next room over (which in my house is really just  sorta a continuation of the room I was in - it's all very open) and she was doing Yoga, following a YouTube instructional video. I don't know what brought this on. I'd like to say that it was because of my amazing Yoga-ing example, but it's not. I don't do Yoga. But I looked at her and was a little overwhelmed with pride mixed with hope! 

Let me explain where this all stems from. As a homeschooling mom (and I'm sure moms who don't homeschool their kids struggle with this too. I'm just going to relate it from my homeschool perspective because that's where I live!) I am constantly wondering if I'm doing a good job with my kids. I live in a constant state of shortcomings. Just ask my Education Specialist. Every time she meets with me, she has to spend half of her time encouraging and boosting my downtrodden heart and soul! Poor Amy!!

So not only am I worried about their academics, but their social growth as well (because that is the BIGGEST stigma I still fight and I work hard to make sure my kids do not fall into that stigma. Socialization: I stick my tongue out to all of you who think homeschoolers are not socialized. Spend 5 minutes with my kids and you'll find they are socialized just fine! They will interact with almost anyone at any age!!) I also worry about how responsible they are becoming and if I have them in enough activities or too many activities or in the right activities. And if I'm teaching them how to deal with life and their future in the right way and if they are building a relationship with God and, and, and...

I pretty much just live in a state of constant worriment (if it's not a word, it should be!)😳

So today, as I watched my child choose to learn Yoga all on her own, and helped her learn how to use a sewing machine to create her vey first quilt (which, if any of you have attempted it, you know this takes incredible patience and attention to detail, both of which do not come naturally to my girl), and yesterday she cleaned up her atrociously gross bathroom counter and sinks WITHOUT BEING ASKED, I was overwhelmed. Because on top of that (and this might seem insignificant to you, but I think it's pretty awesome), my 8-year old made the perfect sunny-side up egg this morning and ate it, runny yolk and all! And he is already an incredible scrambled egg and omelet maker. And he eats green vegetables, including lima beans, avocados (which my kids will argue is a fruit), cucumbers, and his favorite: broccoli (You know how at Denny's you can get the Kids Grand Slam Breakfast and order any two sides? He gets broccoli...for breakfast...and eats it first! 😂) And he does his own laundry, from start to finish. Both kids do. 

People, I'm scratching the surface, but my point is this: my kids ARE turning into responsible people!! I AM preparing them for real life!! (My son may only eat eggs, but they're healthy so that's fine.) I am so proud of them. The constant hard work is paying off and there is hope that someday my children will be able to live on their own, be responsible, and be godly, contributing members of society! 

Praise Jesus! Hallelujah! 

That overwhelming feeling of pride and hope also gave me relief. I am not failing. I cannot tell you how much I need to hear that and see it. I am not failing. 

Final thoughts on this seemingly silly post on Yoga/quilting/cleaning/eggs/laundry post: 
Don't lose hope.
Don't give up.
The fruit is coming.
Keep striving, Mom and Dad.
The fruit is coming!


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

oh, Mexico...*sigh*

*Pre-blog note: I wrote this one about 3 weeks ago, on an airplane, coming home from Mexico, feeling great! Find the follow up on the bottom, which will explain while this beauty took a while to get posted...

This past week I once again experienced the incredibleness (not sure if that's a word but I'm sure I don't care) of women coming together to support each other. I am certain this world would only get better if we continue to build each other up and support and encourage each other, no matter how crazy life gets! 

(PS - this is not an anti-man post. This is just a pro-amazing-women-friends post.)

My husband and I had the opportunity to go on a fabulous vacation last week to Mexico. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Also known as "HEAVEN." Okay, not really but if you've been there, you can understand why I might feel that way. The weather was gorgeous and we were spoiled being right on the ocean, walking through nearly white sand, swimming in warm pools and eating delicioso foods. I should have gained 10 lbs!

But I didn't gain 10 lbs. Because it wasn't heaven. It was NEARLY heaven, but not during the 24 hours that I got sick and COULDN'T LEAVE MY ROOM! Talk about a raw deal, people! I lost it was kinda like heaven...kinda. You don't need any more details than that, just sayin. 

We were on vacation with 5 other couples, over half of them that I hadn't met before we met up in PV. I got along famously with these fantastic folks - lifelong friends for sure now. But let me tell you, when I got sick, after only knowing them for 1 day, those gals in the group stepped up and offered everything they could to help me. I had all the meds I needed to get me through that 24 hours and into the next few days so that I could recuperate and hang out with the crew for the remainder of our time together. 

And it wasn't just those phenomenal gals who cared for me, it was my gals from home and in my heart who were checking in on me and sympathizing from afar and encouraging me. And then my Momma, praying for me like only a mom does. ❤️ She was sending her words of wisdom from the time I told her that I was sick till I got ready to head home.

(And I have to plug my husband, even though he doesn't fall into the "woman" topic of this post - he took care of me and got me everything I needed the entire time I was sick. Go hubs!)

But women!! You are incredible people! Your hearts are beyond amazing, full of compassion. I would be lost and so lonely without the women who fill my soul and come to my rescue.
Do not underestimate yourselves, my friends!
Do not let anyone undervalue who you are, who you have been created to be!
God made women to play a crucial role, nay, many crucial roles in this world!
You are amazing.
You are necessary.
You are important.


*On returning home from this "nearly heavenly" trip, I managed to get sick for another 2 weeks off and on and let me just tell you: I do not have time for that monkey business and malarkey!! But I'll tell you this too: my gal pals came to my rescue and checked in on me and boosted my spirits all that while as well. I couldn't have survived the miserableness without the Gatorade deliveries and the positive spin on being sick: weight loss, a break from work, catching up on Netflix episodes, homeschooling from my bed in my pjs... I'm so grateful for those friends who can help me find a silver lining when I need it the most! Love you all!