Thursday, July 13, 2017

Survival: Expiring Soon

Survival: Expiring Soon

Having a baby changes everything…. DUH!  As if we didn’t all know THAT one!  There is a specified length of time after having a baby that I affectionately refer to as “survival.”  For twins, that allotted time of survival is at least a year!  The goals of life include only the very basics: breathing, feeding the babies and hopefully mama too and at some point there is some amount of sleep going on (though much less than desired).  However, for a singleton, that survival time is only “allowed” to be about 4-6 months. 

                …… SIDE NOTE…. Having our 5 kids in the house…. I feel like survival mode may last for the next 18 years…. But that’s for another post….

So, here we are.  Five months post-partum and survival mode is soon expiring.  You see, this mode of operation is much easier when there aren’t other children to take care of.  During survival mode, schedules fluctuate, meals get a little junkier, the house gets a little more cluttered, discipline goes down the drain (with your energy level) and days of quality activity or accomplishments are few and far between. 

Last night, I made a decision.  I’m going to transition from a night owl to a morning person.  If you know me at all, you know that I can easily stay up until 2:00am and wake and function the next morning with no problems.  (However, this usually means I’m waking up about 8:00am…with my children #truth).  Midnight is ‘early’ for me and 10:00pm seems like the bedtime of a preschooler, BUT…… That’s what I’ve decided.

I’m kind of an extreme person.  (GASP)  I have the goal of waking up sometime before 5:00, but saying 4:30 still seems to early, so I’m not going to say that out loud yet. 

In a house full of children, the quiet is hard to come by.  I either have to stay up late or get up early. Those are the options. 

DAY 1:  Woke up at 5:45.  Folded Laundry.  Took a 10 minute power walk on the treadmill (This was not for exercise sake, don’t worry… this was just to get the blood pumping).  Showered. Make-up. Wrote thank you cards…. All by 6:30. Sounds good, right?! 

HAHAHAHAHA!  Jokes on me!  This little list doesn’t include that the three year old needed assistance to the bathroom two times during this time, then needed his “potty candy” (aka chocolate chip for using the bathroom).  Oh yeah, his blankets needed fixed too (eye roll here).  Riiiiiiii-gggghhhhhhtttttt.  And the baby woke up three times. 

This plan doesn’t seem to be going as well as hoped.  A morning of quiet, peacefulness and productivity doesn’t seem to be anywhere in sight, no matter how much I desire it. 

Back to the drawing board (probably at midnight) 😊

Friday, June 30, 2017

Little Moments Create A Lifetime of Memories

Father's Day.  A day that has become difficult for me with each passing year without my own father with which to celebrate.  It's a day of mixed emotion.  A day that I'm thankful that my children were blessed with an involved and loving Daddy, but also a day that I miss mine more that I'd like to.

This year was uniquely special  as we spent Father's Day with extra family.

I decided that since it was Father's Day, we could go around and share some of our favorite memories of our Fathers.  The answers surprised me.

Unfortunately I don't remember the details.  BUT.... I remember sitting there listening to the answers of all of the people gathered around our table.  From the young child to the Grandmas & Grandpas, the theme was consistent.  TIME . SIMPLICITY.

Several responses included a fishing trip.  Who knew fishing was so magical? But even my own favorite memories consisted of fishing trips with my dad.

I wrote a post on this several years back right after my dad died.  It's never these huge moments, the scrapbook worthy adventures, the several thousand dollars worth of plane tickets or miles traveled across a sea... It's the simple, daily ordinary things that become extraordinarily priceless over the years.

So, slow down mama.  Sit down.  Cuddle.  Read the Book.  Dance.  Sing the song.  Color.  Bake the cookies.  Take the walk.  Ride the Bike.  Be a Kid.  Laugh.  Smile.... For those moments that seem mundane today, will be the memories etched into your child's memory for a lifetime to come....

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Who Am I?


Our Pastor often reminds us that, for the most part, women change and men don't.  As a woman, and a married woman at that, I can tell you that this certainly seems to be the truth. 
 (And ladies, I'm not just talking about physical changes, though, obviously that happens too ... insert big sigh and eye roll right about here!)
When I look back at who I was so many ages ago, and see little of that girl left inside of me, I feel disappointed.  Disappointed for what I once was and am no longer.  Disappointed in what I have yet to become.  Did you know that the first time my (not then) husband and I met, I was in a winter wet suit, no make up, salty hair and a smile on my face, happy to be sitting on my board in the ocean?  THAT girl!  THAT girl was a bit of a "tom boy," confident, full of life and ready for the next adventure.  THAT girl surfed overhead waves on our honeymoon, knew how to skateboard, wasn't afraid to get dirty and almost knew how to enjoy life.

Fast forward a few years ....

The day Asher and Nolan were born, a little piece of "that girl" died, but I blossomed to Mommy.

The day my dad died, a little piece of "that girl" died. 

 The day Ellie  was born, a little piece of "that girl"  died, but I was still Mommy. 

The day Riley was born, a little piece of  "that girl" died, but growing as a Mommy.  

The day our heavenly baby was born, a little piece of "that girl" died, but growing in the Lord. 

The day Lucas was born, a little piece of "that girl" died,but experienced God's faithfulness.   

Now, don't interpret that as my children ruined my life.  That is NOT what I'm saying, so stay with me.  NOT AT ALL! I wouldn't trade any or all of 'that girl' for my children!

Becoming a mama changes everything.  You learn to love a love that you didn't even know existed.  You are fiercely protective over your babies and want NO harm to come their way... physical, emotional, mental, spiritual or otherwise.  Your priorities shift.  Your desires shift.  Your heart is liable to burst into a thousand pieces at any moment.... And your stress level.... well.....

I feel sorry for my poor husband who probably barely recognizes me anymore... "That girl" that he married, has pretty much all gone away and what he's been left with, what my children have inherited for a mother... What I've become... doesn't even resemble her, not even a little.

I wish it were different, I wish I could be both the past and the present.  But one thing I have now that "that girl"didn't have... A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD.... and I'm pretty sure that might just be precious and valuable than the biggest wave I could ever surf.

Who am I now?  What am I now?
I am a wife to an extraordinarily hardworking man.  I am mommy to some amazing little ones.  I am daughter to a pretty crazy cool mom.  I am friend.  I am organizer, planner, thinker, cooker, researcher, cleaner, teacher, counselor, scheduler, worrier, list maker, activity coordinator, grocery shopper, errand runner, bargain hunter, inventory keeper...

Above all that, I am a child of God.  God, who has proven himself faithful in my life more than once.
And if I'm being embarrassingly honest... I'm a lot more than this....And not in a good way... I'm stressed.  I'm overwhelmed.  I want desperately for the 'idea' of my family to match the reality of my family.  I feel like I'm failing daily.  I often don't know which way is up.  I'm too "busy" (with stupid stuff) to love on my family in the ways that I really need to.   I have more guilt than I care to admit....

I know I am blessed beyond my greatest expectations, but somehow, I'm too busy drowning upstream to see the stream.  I want stay afloat for a few moments... To take in the metaphorical cool water, warm breeze, green trees, smooth rocks, chirping birds and the ease at which the stream flows.

So, in conclusion. Who Am I?  You know what, I don't think I know.  I don't think I'll become who I want to be, but through this exploratory writing I'm reminded of one thing.  I don't want to be who I want to be.  I want to be who the Lord wants me to be and what he wants and desires for me to be.  Now, my job is to stop setting my own path and prayerfully ask the Lord to clearly direct my route to who HE wants me to be.

Friday, January 22, 2016

What a Friend

I feel compelled to share something with you tonight…something that I think forever changed my relationship with the Lord.  Let me first say this… I believe in a very real Heaven and a very real Hell.  I believe that the Bible is God’s living word. I believe that I was born into this world a sinner.  (Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”)  I believe that God came down in the form of man, Jesus Christ, to die for the sins of the world, (“Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”) was crucified on a cross, buried and risen again.  I believe that there is no other way to Heaven, but through Jesus Christ.  (Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved”)

On January 15, 2007, in Wilmington North Carolina, at Peace Baptist Church, with Pastor Rudy Shepard, I confessed my sins and asked Jesus into my heart as my personal Savior.  My life was literally, forever changed.  Because of God’s promises, I now know that he has an eternal home for me in Heaven, a place better than I could dream of. 

I say all of that, to lead up to this.  I know many people “believe in God” and many people that do not.  When I think about what or who God is, it’s more than our brains can wrap our heads around…. But when I finally started to make God personal in my life, that’s when our relationship changed.  I do best when I compare my relationship with the Lord and the work that it requires to any ‘earthly’ relationship.  Relationships require communication and trust.  I speak to the Lord through prayer, and He speaks to me through His word. To me, God is not some strange creature lurking in the sky… He is so very real to me.  The more I pray and the more He hears and answers my prayers, the more real He becomes to me.  Every time I have an answered prayer, even when it’s not the answer I want, it still feels startlingly remarkable that HE would hear and answer my prayers.  Often times, it has been my answered prayers for the smallest of smalls, by which I have been the most astonished. 

When we don’t talk with our friends, we feel a bit disconnected with them.  Likewise, when we don’t talk with the Lord (pray and read His word), we feel disconnected with Him.  When we do something that we know pleases our friends, it brings both parties happiness.  Likewise, when we do something that is pleasing to the Lord, it brings us both “happiness.”  When we do wrong to our friends and don’t deal with our problems, it causes distance and discord in the friendship.  Likewise, when we don’t humble ourselves and confess and recognize our wrongdoings (aka sins), we put up a wall in our relationship with the Lord, putting it on hold, if you will.  The more we spend time with our friends and enjoy their company, the more time we want to spend with them.  Likewise, the more time with spend with the Lord and feel His presence, the more you want that in your life just as much as you can get it.  When our friends help us through difficult times, it builds trust in the relationship.  When the Lord holds our hand through times that we know we would not be capable of getting through without Him, it gives us assurance and trust that He will do it again.  When a friend keeps a promise, we trust them.  Likewise, when the Lord keeps His promises EVERY SINGLE TIME, we grow our faith in Him.  

You see, to me, the Lord is not some mystical creature in the sky.  He is my Savior and dare I say “friend” who walks beside me everyday. 

I have been saved for almost exactly nine years and it is only in the last year that I learned just how personal the Lord can be in my life. 

I pray that everybody who reads this would soon come to know the Lord as their personal Savior, if they don’t already.  I don’t say this to shove something down your throat.  I say this, because I want to share with others the amazing things that the Lord has done in my life. 

If we started some amazing diet and got great results, we’d share them with each other.  If there is a big sale going on, we’d tell each other about it.  If there is a cure or some ailment we’re having, we’d tell one another.  So, why would I not tell you what an amazing thing the Lord has done in my life and what He can do in yours!?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Cleaning Schedule Tips... As requested

From a very early age, I enjoyed organization, systems, schedules, color coordination, filing, plans, charts and tables…to a fault.  It has helped me in many ways, but because I rely so heavily on these things, I often feel lost without them.

Recently, I have been specifically asked about my cleaning schedule and how I do that.  First, let me tell you WHY I do this.  I am that person that if I don’t have a checklist I will wander around and NEVER stop moving or working.  I am “busy” by nature (no matter how much I try to stop.)  Having a cleaning schedule (and a daily schedule in general), as silly and militant as it may seem to some, actually helps me be more productive with my time and the MAIN GOAL is that I know exactly what I need to accomplish, when, so that I have more time to sit down with my kids. 

When it was just the boys, I spent much of the day in their face, on the floor, playing with them, reading to them, laughing with them, dancing with them.  Somehow, somewhere between kid number two and kid number four, I lost this time and routine of playing with my kids so constantly.  I am often guilt ridden at the end of the day, regretful that I didn’t spend more quality time with them.  It’s like those posters say, a child is not going to remember how clean their house was when they are grown.

With that in mind, my husband and I are both clean people and appreciate cleanliness and organization.  I know our house would not function happily if I let all of the housework go and spent all day every day with my kids, in their face.  I may have happy kids, but my husband and I might go a little crazy.

So, what’s a cleaning schedule you say?  It is an outlined schedule of cleaning that needs to happen daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly (seasonally).  Gone are the days, before children, of taking your Saturday to fully clean your house from top to bottom.  There aren’t enough hours in the day – especially with four little ones running around – to accomplish all of my cleaning in one day.  So, I clean a little at a time, a concept a friend taught me shortly after I had the boys.  As long as I know it is getting accomplished, even if it’s just a little at a time, each day, then each day I can clean and then---- STOP for that day and go be with my family!  (At least that’s how it’s supposed to work, but I am also that person that will create a to do list for tomorrow and then do everything on it that night --- see busy by nature.) 

Here are the simple steps I use
1.    Make a master cleaning list, with no certain order to it.  This is basically just your draft of everything that YOU think needs to be done in YOUR house to YOUR standard of cleanliness. 
2.    Begin to put some organization to this list.  Some people choose to organize this by room or by the chore itself.  For example, you may do all of your windows on one day or you may instead have a room by room list (which I am currently trying) and you would do the windows of each room on that rooms day. 
3.    Once you figure out how you would like to organize it to meet your needs, you can begin assigning items to each day of the week, spreading it out evenly throughout the week so that you can do a little each day and get on with the rest of your life. 

Simple as that, right?  J  .

Here’s a little more information about what I do. 

I have small things that are done daily, like sweeping the floor, vacuuming, wiping counter-tops, emptying trash and laundry.  (I also have a laundry schedule.  I do at least one load of laundry EVERY day, otherwise I would spend a lot of time in one day on laundry.  (Just in case you were interested to see – Sunday bath towels and kitchen towels, Monday – baby/toddler bedding, Tuesday – kitchen towels, Wednesday – bath towels, Thursday – Guest bedding (if needed), kitchen towels, Friday – Master Bedding, Saturday – boys bedding.  And then a regular load of clothes each day as well.)

Then  I have weekly cleaning that is done in each room.  The rooms are assigned a day to clean them.  Weekly room by room cleaning includes things like – dust furniture, mop floors, wipe down light fixtures and ceiling fans, clean baseboards and doors/frames, vacuum furniture, move large furniture to vacuum underneath it. 

Then there is monthly cleaning room by room.  Each room is assigned a certain week for it to be deep cleaned. 

I am currently in the process of trying to figure out how much time this takes and move some things around as I can.  I also like to play a childish game with myself and set the timer so I can race the clock. 

In the past I have done really well with having a “cleaning/chore” time during the day and only allow myself the amount of time I have allotted and then STOPPING. So you see where the racing of the clock comes in to play. 

I really love efficiency – and like I said, to a fault sometimes.  So, I’m sharing this with you, because some of you have asked.  I’m hoping you can take from it what may be helpful to you and leave the rest.  We are all different people with different families and different needs.  What works for some may not work for others and that is okay. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Corrupt Communication to Edification

This past Sunday, a message was preached at church that resonated with me in many ways. 


II Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”


The part I wanted to focus on is, “and seek my face.”  This means to be constantly aware of God.  As our Pastor mentioned, how many OTHER things are we aware of and focused on during the day, leaving little time and thought for God and Godly Things.  An illustration was given how we will often google something before we open our Bibles or seek Him in prayer.   I have (just in the past couple of days) made more of a point to seek answers in His word, which is how I ended up writing this blurp.


My question is this.  If somebody hurts your feelings or a situation has made you upset, is it wrong to tell somebody else about it?  Where is the line between sharing your feelings and speaking badly of another. 


Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”


It seems as though my question has been answered, yes? 


The next part of the message after Seeking His Face was to Turn from Your Wicked Ways…This is the part that I’m sure many of us deal with.  I don’t know what the next step is.  I don’t know how to share my feelings that may involve an interaction with somebody else and do what I think the Bible is telling me.  Do I bottle the feelings?  Put them away?  (So against my personality) 


My intent in writing this is to share what I have only just tonight realized.  And also, for my friends to hold me accountable.  I think my tounge could stand to take a leave of absence or something. 


My goal and prayer is that my mouth would use more words for


“the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers”

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Peace & Perspective

            Last Sunday, our Pastor preached a sermon on Peace in the Home.  I, the mom of four little ones and wife to a hard working husband, was immediately convicted.  I began scribbling as many notes as I could, trying to soak it all in, because I knew I needed this message…for our family, I needed this message.

Colossians 3:15 says “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…” 

Although the messages was about Peace, what I’m about to write about is on something a little different.  Keeping with the theme of my blog, PERSPECTIVE, I would like tell you about how my perspective effected my peace. 

The night after that sermon I prayed that the Lord would help me do the things that I needed to do to have Peace in our home; to have a home that my husband would be eager to arrive to (despite four little … noisy… ones); to have a home that people would feel peaceful in, to have a home that I would feel peaceful in, but above all to have a peaceful home because sometimes it’s hard to hear the Lord in the chaos. 

And the next day…. Was better….. A little quieter, a little calmer, a little happier, a little more joyful. I don’t know that we arrived at PEACEFUL in 24 hours, but I do know that there was more peace in our home that day than there had been in a long time. 

Naysayers could say that I just shifted my perspective and decided that things were going to be better.  And while all of that may be true, I believe that the Lord answered my prayer and knew my heart and guided me through the day. 

The perspective that did change was ME LOOKING FOR THE LORD.  It’s easy to think things are good and give myself credit…. But what I’d much prefer is to listen for the Lord answering my prayers and recognizing His blessings in our lives daily. 

So, in all of that, my point is this.  When I am looking for the Lord to hear and answer my prayers, it’s amazing what He does!