Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Where Have I Been?

I've been here...
in my garden. (You can't see 1/2 of it)

And when you have a big garden you have to do something with all it produces.  So I've been here too...
in my kitchen.  This day I was canning pickles.

And here...
at VBS with my kids (plus helping and teaching the 12 preschool/kindergarten kids!) last week.

And here...
baling hay yesterday.  My husband was on the rack and our two boys were in the tractor cab with me.

And working on this...
ReNEWed Life Women's Event.

I help plan and organize this women's conference coming up on Saturday, August 10th.  This year, I will also be sharing my testimony that day.  Prayers are much appreciated!

Add in all the responsibilities of a wife and mom and the busyness of summer. Plus a couple of visits from my Indiana family.  Before long we will begin a new year of MOPS and homeschool.  My how time flies!

Life is full.  I am blessed and thankful.  God is good...all  the  time.  When I have time to sit down and write I will.  In the mean time, I will savor these moments and try to remember what He's teaching me through them.  Will you do the same?

"So I decided that there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work.  Then I realized this pleasure is from the hand of God.  For who can eat or enjoy anything apart from Him?"
Ecclesiastes 2:24-25

Friday, July 19, 2013

Teachable Moments ~ Learning Together

He was stomping his feet, head back, crying at full octane when I picked him up and headed out the door of the chiropractor's office.  People staring and one lady giving me advice.  Ugh!

I asked myself, "What happened?"  The first two times I took my boys to the chiropractor with me they sat so nice, they played in the little corner of toys provided for them as the doctor adjusted me.  They didn't argue.  They weren't loud.  I was so proud of them.  But today was a new day.  A frustrating day.  An embarrassing one.

It is times like these when I hear the words of friends with grown children, "These are the best days of your life" play in the back of my head.  And, although I'm certain that these days when our children are little is a time to cherish, I'm equally as certain that there are a few details my friends have forgotten over time.  Ha! :-)

Noah was still wailing when we got outside.  There, on the sidewalk, we had a talk about how his (and big brother's) behavior was unacceptable and the consequences of such actions (in 3 year old terms, of course).  He calmed down.

By the time we crossed the street and headed into the grocery store he was fine.  In fact, he and his brother were as good as gold as I shopped.  We picked up just a few items and headed to the counter.  The cashier commented on their cute, blond curls and asked if my "good little boys" could have a sucker.  They politely said, "Thank you" for their free treat as we headed out the door as the cashier commented on their manners.

Oh my!  In mere minutes I went from looking like an incompetent mom to a grand one.

A few years ago, when my oldest was the youngest one's age, I would have been mortified when such a breakdown (like the one in the chiropractor) took place.  I would have felt terrible about my mothering skills and the behavior of my child.  In turn, I would have patted myself on the back when my child behaved well.  Those things did cross my mind, but this day I refused to let my mind and feelings go there.  Yes, I was embarrassed in the chiropractor's office (who wouldn't be, right?) and I was pleased when they "got it right" in the grocery store.  But I have learned, even though it's not easy, that I have to separate my identity not only from my child's behavior, but from what other people think of me...and even what they think of my children.

I know the truth.  I know that I love my sons and am trying to teach them rightly.  I know that my boys aren't bad boys.  I know they're just learning and it's my job to teach them.  Much like I'm leaning and it's God's job to teach me.  I know that God loves imperfect me and my imperfect kids.  He sees it all.  He knows our hearts.  And He's the One that we answer to.    

I also know that I love my kids too much to let behavior like that go.  So I ceased the teachable moment and chalked it up to experience, for my sons and myself.  And I thanked God for opportunities like this to see how He is teaching and growing us.

What I learned came in handy a week later when my little boy was running through the grocery store, just seconds after I told him not to, and knocked over a display of hot sauce...only feet away from the owner of the store.  Sigh.  It's an ongoing process, friends.

Now I'm praying they will behave the next time we go to the chiropractor! ;)  If not, I know God will remind us of this lesson or teach all of us a new one.

"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."  
Proverbs 22:6
(What a comfort to know this Truth!)

Look at those sweet, little, dirty faces!
Thankful we are learning together!
Today I am joining Jill Savage for the Third Thursday Blog Hop.  Okay, so it's Friday.  Better late than never, right?!  ;-)
Click on the link below to check out what others had to say about today's topic,
"No More Perfect Kids".

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What Is Your Story?

Me, my Siblings and Mom
I love how each of us have our own unique sphere of influence.  All of us have a unique story, maybe similar to another's story, but never identical.  I love how God uses the circumstances of our lives, and the people in it, to influence us.  How we learn and grow and change.  Then, if we're brave enough, we can share our experience with others...so that they too can praise God for all He's done

That's just what my big (little) sister is doing (I call her that because although she's my older sister, she's smaller than me, as you can see in the picture above).  My sister, Deena, started her own blog.  She has quite a story.  And I'm sooo proud of her for stepping out to share it!

Go check out Deena's first blog post here!  Leave her an encouraging comment.  Be blessed!  :)

Remember if you have been saved by God's redeeming grace YOU have a story too!  So, what is your story?  It may not be like Deena's or mine.  But it's your story and it matters.  Share it.  See what God will do!

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.  Romans 8:28

Friday, July 12, 2013

Finding Joy in the Present

The present is a hard place to live in sometimes.  It's all too easy it seems to get wrapped up in the past.  The mistakes, the fumbles, even the triumphs.  Even though we can't go back.  Then, it's the future that we're often longing for, planning for and looking ahead at.  Even though we really have no idea what it will bring.

But the present, well, it's here.  It's here in the midst of today's to-do list.  It's here in reality.  It's here now. And we mostly rush through it.  Busy.  Preoccupied.  Often overlooking the beauty in it.  Thinking that tomorrow we will have time to enjoy today.  Unfortunately, that tomorrow seems to never come.

My lillies: one beauty in today
Where is the joy in the present?  It's here, waiting to be recognized.  We can rush right past it.

I'd prefer to live fully in the moment I am given.  This one.  To live life with my eyes wide open.  Aware.  Thankful.  Joyful in the "now" of my life story.

I can't change the past.  I can't determine the future.  But I can choose to entrust both of them to the One Who made me.  I can also choose to thank Him for the gift of the present, no matter what my circumstances or agenda for the day, by living fully in it.

Will you join me, friend?

"This is the day the LORD has made.  We will rejoice and be glad in it." 
 Psalm 118:24

“I don't really want more time; I just want enough time. Time to breathe deep and time to see real and time to laugh long, time to give You glory and rest deep and sing joy and just enough time in a day not to feel hounded, pressed, driven, or wild to get it all done-yesterday.”  ― Ann Voskamp

Today I'm joining Lisa-Jo Baker for 5 Minute Friday.
This is when I "just write without worrying if it's just right or not.  For five minutes flat with not editing, tweaking, or self-critiquing." 
Today's word:  Present.
Click the link above to see what others had to write on this same topic.