Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Try, Try Again

Sooo, I didn't end up making the midnight bedtime. And I'm behind again tonight. Quite tired, actually. So I should be making more of an effort here! I think I crashed so hard last night that I don't even remember Jared waking me up (as we agreed upon for our Bible reading...the one that didn't happen this morning.) I was zonked! Not sure of the actual definition of *zonked* but I think it means super tired or out of I'm using it as such. Just to be clear. ;)

BUT...I'm going to try again!! I am hereby leaving computer work unattended for tonight. I hate this, but it's a start to accomplishing my goals of better physical & spiritual health. Gotta start somewhere, which means gotta let go of something. For now.

I'm reminded of this great e-book on called "Maximize Your Mornings" (which I am obviously no expert on...but feel this strong need & desire to get onboard. I've started it a few times but get sidetracked so quickly!) Anyway, good stuff. I know that to reach those goals I mentioned, I reeeally need to start my day off with God, setting myself & my kiddos up for encouragement and for Spirit-work. Hey, gotta preach it to myself!

And so I say goodnight. {and this is me hoping to have better results with morning wake-up.}

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year, New Me: Little Things can have Big Rewards!

Yeah, it's been a long time since I wrote. But...starting fresh this year. I know, I know, typical New Year's resolution stuff. Usually just end up with disillusioned & disappointed. But this time, I'm starting small. Thinking small {but SMART!} It's just that I have this tendency to dream sUpEr BIG and get totally overwhelmed & then get mad at myself for not being able to keep the dream alive once I wake up, you know, back in the reality of kids & a husband & a house & jobs & everything that they bring.

So I'm dreaming small now. Little things with long-term payoff... Like better physical & spiritual health. Thus, my first two resolutions:

1) One small task is going to bed at a decent hour.
I'm starting with midnight-ish. So I better get moving! Next week, I'll aim for 11-ish.

The earlier bedtime goal is required to meet another small goal.
2) I can rise & shine with hubby at 5:30 a.m. for Bible time together.
This is something we haven't done in a looong time. I've wanted to, but neither of us made it a priority. Ready for this step in the right direction! Wish me luck...and stick-to-it-iveness!

And that's all for now. More tomorrow :)


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Freezer Cooking Day!

Meet my wonderful friends. We decided to try a Freezer Cooking Day today (also known as Once A Month Cooking). This is us at 9:24 a.m.

Chelsea, Melissa & Me - looking chipper in our new fLiRtY aprons!!! (thanks Melissa for an awesome Mom's Day gift!) and don't we look ready to COOK?

And this is my freezer at 9:24 a.m. (empty! except for a few ingredients needed for the day. I cleared it out to make room for the 120 meals we made. *YES* I said 120 meals...well, about that - 40 meals each or so. And we did it all in one day.)

These are some of the groceries that have overrun Melissa's house for the past few weeks. She was our designated shopper (and coupon QUeeN!) and menu-planner. Thanks to her shopping savvy, we made all these meals for a grand total of about $100 each.

This is Melissa multi-tasking. (She's calling her mom for some tips on the lasagna!) Such talent. Okay, she's amazing! Did I mention, she planned the whole day too, right down to the last onion?

This is the last onion. :)

And this is Chelsea. She's amazing too! Not only did she chop most of the onions, she also mastered the "stuffing of the pork chops"! She may never want to look at another pork chop ever again...

And this is me, dicing strawberries for the delicious Strawberry Muffins and Berry Breakfast Burritos. We split the tasks into stovetop, baking, and assembly (and we shared dirty dish duty - there were a lot of dirty dishes.)

And there was a lot of trash. About 4 & a half bags of trash (at least the trash bags are can find them at Menard's.) Who knew a month's worth of cooking would produce a month's worth of trash in one day?

Anyway, back to the cooking! We brought in card tables for extra prep space, with coolers below for extra cool storage space. Here you see our delicious Strawberry Muffins (left) I mentioned, along with some chicken (in back) for our Chicken Pot Pies, and some stubborn frozen pork (middle) for our Crock Pot Pulled Pork, and all the fixings (right) for our Chicken & Rice Casserole. Just to name a few...

We managed to get it all (well, mostly) done in about 10 hours. (That means a lot to me, because it normally takes me at least an hour per meal - and now after 10 hours, I have 40 meals! Just have to pop 'em in the oven at breakfast or lunch or supper time.) Plus, I'd rather spend 10 hours in the kitchen with friends than 40 hours throughout the month, on my own & frazzled at suppertime. I think I love this whole freezer cooking idea.

This is my (indoor) freezer at 7:14 p.m. Stuffed to the gills, ExpLoDinG with FOOD! (Outdoor freezer is holding some too!) I feel so accomplished. :) At the end of the day, we divided it all up and pitched in for clean-up. (I love my friends!)

But I must say, I'm pooped! And so are my friends. This is us at 7:14 p.m.

Now that I've had time to rest my aching feet...and back...and hands... (We joked that we sound like old ladies...) I am really looking forward to blessing my family with a freezer full of meals and a less stressful mealtime!

Mealtime gameplan + easy-fix food = less stress = happy mommy.

I like it. Let's hope my family likes it too!

Friday, April 23, 2010

My Un-Green Thumb

Well, I'm thinking of trying my hand at gardening this year. We've had a fun start, me & the kids: pulling/digging weeds, planting bulbs (47 in one afternoon) and watering the new plants...well, I use "watering" loosely, as E&E have actually been using the watering can as their personal swimming hole. They have been sharing the love with mommy too, bringing water to my legs and neck and smearing it on...I told them I'll just pretend I'm at the beach. :) Anyway, Ethan loves to push the wheelbarrow that's "just his size" - and it holds all of the kids' garden tools and any toys that happen to join us.

My little helpers' garden tools

The thought of gardening is so exciting to me! I love, love, love flowers. My un-green thumb, however, has sabotaged many gardening ventures till now. Most of my past attempts at keeping green things alive have been blunders, flops, failures...but I'm optimistic. (Thanks to some hardy perennials in our landscaping beds, planted 2 years ago and still going strong.) With those as a visual pat-on-the-back, I'm determined to try again with a new philosophy - God makes things grow, not me. Yes, I will have to put in a little effort for planting and tending (which I'll hopefully remember...maybe if I set a daily/weekly reminder on my phone?) But it's really not about me or my abilities at all. (Thank goodness.)

Our landscaping visual "pat-on-the-back" :)

Hopefully, in the next few weeks, we'll see several lilies (Strawberry Fields Forever, Stargazer and Oriental "Lake Carey"), Gladiolus, Lily of the Valley, Cannas, Aquilegia (hummingbird flowers), "Lucky Number" Dahlias, and Freesias start to bloom. We've been enjoying Clematis, Rhododendron, and Creeping Phlox for a few weeks now. Even my Azaleas are starting to show some color. So exciting! Here are some pics of my pretty blooms:

I'm feeling successful so far. Soooo, at some point, I'm even hoping to try out a strawberry plant and a few vegetables too...maybe square-foot gardening. Will it work out??? Like I said, I'm optimistic.

On that note, I believe that my optimism (aka hope) is part of why this whole gardening process appeals to me (a self-professed control freak). It allows me to experience faith, because I CAN'T CONTROL IT! I can hope for it, and I can take it so far, but only God can make the flowers bloom. And that gives me peace somehow.

I am so glad to see God's amazing creation and watch Him sustain life on our planet. Each new bloom is a miracle of life! I am doubly blessed to be able to share this beauty with my own little miracles...our small garden is providing yet another opportunity to teach them about God's design, and about our responsibility in caring for His creation. And as we watch our garden bloom, I get to watch my babies bloom too!

My children are my own little seedlings, and while I hope on their behalf and tend them as best I can, it will be God who makes them bloom. I am encouraged by Philippians 1:6, which says, "...he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." And as I work with the soil, my faith is being strengthened for my daily task as a mother, because I am not the one in control. And, again, that gives me peace.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Green Scissors

So Ethan got a pair of green safety scissors a few weeks ago. He's been begging me to use them anytime scissors are called for - snipping tags off of new clothes, cutting open packages, doing crafts, etc. On top of the fact that scissor skills have been his big accomplishment at preschool, these scissors are not only "just his size," but they are also GREEN! BTW, This child is obsessive about the color green, (and I'll confess to aiding the obsession by buying green clothes, shoes, toys, paint for his room, cups, underwear, everything's cute and it makes him happy, right?)

But back to the scissors.

We were planning to open a couple of race car packages, and so Ethan says, "I know what we should use..." and out come the green scissors, which he loves! I see him carrying the scissors with proper safety measures: cutting end tucked safely in palm, walking not running, meticulously CAREFUL. (They're safety scissors, on top of that!) In the meantime, I am distracted by little sister who is ready for breakfast. I put her in the highchair and give her some grub. Then, I look back at Ethan - standing with green scissors in hand, over my new gingham kitchen towel (straight from a cute boutique just a couple of weeks ago) which has been hanging nicely on the oven handle. Needless to say, I scream.

"ETHAN! NOOO! What are you doing???" Yank scissors from hand. Slap scissors on counter. Breathe.

I turn around to the saddest little eyes, welling up with tears. "I don't want my scissors any-mo," he proclaims, accompanied by sorrowful cries. Man, did I feel like a bad mom. All that over a little towel?

After apologizing for yelling and making the excuse that the towel was my favorite, I explained that we don't cut things around the house, only paper. I told him I knew he loved his green scissors, and that he would be able to use them again, but only to cut paper. "I don't want to cut any-sing," he said. My heart sank. I had overreacted and crushed his little spirit. Kneeling down, I pulled him into my arms and told him it was okay, it was no big deal, we would forget about the silly towel. "Do we have to swowe it away?" he asked. I had to smile - even in his grief, he was thinking about me. He was concerned about my feelings at the "loss" of the towel, and I was touched. I wiped the tears still streaming down his cheeks and told him that we would keep the towel and it would be alright. I think he asked if we could tape it...

Sweet, yes. Tape, oh no, not another office supply...Who knows what kind of sticky situation he could get into with tape! :)

Based on the green scissors incident, I have come away with two challenges for myself: 1)Do not overreact! (I tend to do this especially when I am in a hurry or feeling stressed, and I MUST get this under control) and 2)Gently give guidance as I cultivate my children's skills and talents as they are easily crushed.

It has been on my heart for some time to foster a gentle & quiet spirit, described in 1 Peter 3:4. And seeing how my ugliness hurt my child reminds me of the importance of shaping my attitude to be more like that of Christ, who demonstrated humility and readiness to forgive even in the most trying situations. Also 1 Corinthians 13:5 says that love is not easily angered. Am I living in a way that speaks love (as God describes it) to my family? And as if that wasn't clear enouggh, Colossians 3:21 and Ephesians 6:4 spell out that a parent's role is to encourage and not to crush. On top of it all, I have a God who has been so patient and forgiving with me; how could I not show the same love and patience to my children for simple mistakes? So the challenge is on...Thank goodness He's still working on me!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Nothing Can Separate You From My Love

"I don't like you anymore!"

OUCH - Hard words to hear from my three-year-old son, Ethan. I knew it would inevitably happen at some point...but as he told me this for the first time earlier tonight after receiving a spanking for disobeying Mommy, I was crushed. Was this the same boy who, that very same day, brought me flower after flower to tell me he loved me and to make me feel special ("feshal" as he says it)??? The same boy who gives me triple kisses every day and night because he's "so glad God gave me to him and Evie as his mommy"???
Trying not to let the shock show on my face, I replied softly, "Ethan, I'm sorry you feel that way right now, but no matter what you say or do, I will always love you very much." And I walked across the room to sit down (and feel sad that this day had arrived so soon!)
He repeated himself several times, in between his tears, and then looking up, he noticed that I had walked away. He asked me, "Mommy, why are you going over there?" I had to tell him that his words hurt Mommy, because they are not kind words you say to someone you love. And I had left so I wouldn't hear those words anymore.
Sensing he was ready to resolve our conflict, I asked why he had said he didn't like me, and he told me that he didn't like spankings and I had hurt his feelings by spanking him. "Spankins make me sad," he said.
"It makes me sad to have to spank you, too, Buddy," I responded. As usual, I followed up with the reasoning that his spanking was his choice, and by disobeying Mommy, he was choosing to have a spanking (as the known punishment for disobedience in our house).

With that, the exchange was over. I was loved, and liked, again.

Looking back at the evening, I realized that even in his sadness, he needed to know that I was nearby. He needed that reassurance that what I said was true - I would always love him no matter what. Feeling hurt and vulnerable, he lashed out with words that hit me in the chest - straight to the heart. But even when he "didn't like me anymore," he still needed to know that I was there and listening, and that neither distance nor punishment could separate him from my love.

Going Deeper...
It seems to me that a mother's love is a reflection of God's love, as it is written in Romans 8:35-39.
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?...I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Just like a child, we too need to know that God is there and listening, and that He will always love us no matter what. The Word is clear about the Father's love, so if you're feeling distant from God, check it out and find resolution and reassurance.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wow! Is It That Late Already?

I seem to get sucked into projects far too easily...Tonight it was organizing meeting notes for Camp Wabashi, but it very well could have been Sonshine School director's duties, or Bible class prep work - I stay up afterhours for them all...

What can I say? I'm in the zone, and all else (including sleep) falls to the wayside. Yes, sleep (as this crazy late hour suggests), play, human interaction, and of course housework. It's like I just forget them all. For the record, housework seems to be at the top of my list for things I'm willing to neglect for the sake of a new project. But neglecting sleep, it's just because night is the only quiet time in this house - I actually enjoy sleep. However, I think I thrive on "project adrenaline." I just keep going. I even feel a little depressed, no that's not the word, disconnected maybe, or just unsuccessful perhaps, when I don't have another project to tackle.

While I love being a stay-at-home mom, I miss that connection to the outside adult world - I miss being patted on the back for a job well done, or being challenged by a new situation, or developing a different side of me. And the projects, unending and somewhat disruptive to the life that my husband would like to live, well, the projects fill in the gaps and provide that connection that I sometimes feel is missing from my child-oriented lifestyle.

I feel a little silly admitting these feelings, because I know I am very blessed to be able to stay home with my babies - and I wouldn't want it any other way.

While I may not get a pat on the back, I will most definitely get a slobbery kiss everyday for a mommy moment well done. And I am certainly challenged each patience and kindness, and in on-the-spot parenting situations, like what is that brown lump on the bathroom floor? (Ha ha ha, I'm potty-training my son, can you tell?) I guess I'm even developing a different side of me - the nurturing side and maybe the cleaning side a little (I didn't know that side of me existed!) If I think about it, I do have adult connection each week too, with morning playdays and evening outings for exercise or pampering or time with girlfriends. Sometimes I just need a reminder, a reality check. I am blessed and my reality is pretty good. Yes, upon reflection, there's nothing missing...well, except sleep!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008



One in my arms cuddled up under a blanket, such a sweet expression on her tiny face. The other, a big boy in his own chair, slowly nodding until his heavy eyes gave up. 15 minutes of Barney & Friends did the trick. Even I caught a few winks - unintentional, but nice just the same. What mom couldn't use a little nap now and again? (Okay, every day, sometimes twice a day. I'll take what I can get.)

Anyway, now it's naptime, or as I like to think of it, me-time. Sometimes, me-time means dishes or laundry, a quick read or TV show, or - Hallelujah! - a shower all by myself. For today's me-time, I chose to just watch and listen to the peace in the house. The living room's actually clean. Ahhh. I have the two most precious gifts right here beside me, content and warm and loved. Ahhh. It feels really good.

Especially compared to the craziness outside the house today, with such a momentous decision before our country as it is Election Day.

But inside the house, it feels like peace.

Oh wait, I hear the call. Naptime's over a little too soon. "Mommy?" Such a soft little voice. He's up and out of the chair now. Walking to me with diaper sagging and arms held up high.

"Did you have a good rest?" I whisper in his ear like always.

Blue eyes sparkle as he replies, "Uh-huh." I get a hug, a kiss and a grin.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Beginning

There's something quite exciting - almost magical - about sitting here with the blank page, ready to begin this expression of my life.

In journaling here, I hope to open a window from my world to the space beyond and share the moments and thoughts that are both inspired and inspiring. From this window, I also hope to feel the fresh breeze brought by moments like mine, happening out there somewhere in the sunshine or in the storm.

Moments with which I can relate and connect.

Moments that bring emotion, that energize and encourage.

Moments that must be captured, touched, and clung to...forever or only for awhile.

Through these moments, I hope to learn and grow, to challenge and be challenged, to feel and share and liberate and savor and understand what it is to really live. To live inspired.

Welcome to my window.