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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Patience Pays

Somehow I knew when I married this man of mine that life was going to get... adventurous. Complicated, crazy, wild- those words come to mind too but adventurous is so much nicer.
We've been living in beautiful Kentucky now for a year. It is time to put down some roots, sooooooo...

We've pulled the RV out to a farm! Now I have to confess: this photo is not MY farm. It's a lovely local barn. I have a thing for barns. My farm is still "cooking," so to speak.  We have to develop a road, build a barn, purchase livestock and equipment. My son and I are going to be very busy trying to get a good start before cold winter sets in. 

Patience has paid off, my dear friends. We have a beautiful site in which to live, kind neighbors, and a grand adventure ahead of us. This year has taught me so many things. I've learned to do a lot more with a lot less. I've learned that patience is more of endurance than it is "putting up with." I've especially learned that love indeed NEVER fails.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Little Homesick

I need to get this off my chest.  You'll be my sounding board, won't you? I miss writing. I miss having the time to process all my ideas. I miss being able to finish a project. I miss my sewing machine. I miss bubble baths. I REALLY miss bubble baths. BAD.  Real bad. Wait... give me a second, I might just cry over the whole bubble bath thing...

Ok, I'm better. Where was I? Missing things: my family, my old home, my friends... Moving from Mississippi to Kentucky has been a great opportunity for my family.  My husband's job is tons less stressful. We see him so much more now. Big plus! He has regular hours which is a huge blessing for us. South Eastern KY is so beautiful! Our town is clean, friendly, slower-paced- lovely in every way. Even though we are temporarily living in our RV (shower only, no tub) God has given us a special grace to deal with the close quarters for the past nine months. There's been a learning curve that's for sure but on the whole, life has been just charming.  

Still, there's a nagging little longing for the people back home. A nagging for closet space. A nagging for my jacuzzi tub. A nagging for time to myself. I remind myself that these things will come.  Our house in MS will sell.  We will find the perfect spot here to build.  My folks will visit next month. One day my boy will be grown and I will have too much time and long for the days when he demanded all my time and attention.

How complex God has made us with the ability to feel and balance so many emotions! Gratitude for the many blessings here counter-balance the homesick blues there. We attend an awesome Church.  I've settled into a MOPS group.  We have made so many dear friends in a short time. Ah yes, life is good...

Still, I really want a bubble bath.

Monday, January 28, 2013

My Life Verse

The Lord settles me in my home and makes me to be 
a JOYFUL mother of children.
Praise to the Lord!
(Psalms 113:9)

This has been my mantra for the past several years. I cannot even count the number of times I have recited it. I used to confess it before I even met my husband in a faith-goal sort of way. After we were married and conception became a challenge I clung to this verse as desperate promise. Now I say it as a thankful prayer and reminder- especially on the tough mommy days.

Do you have a life verse? Do you use scripture to keep you focused? Please share!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

God's Love

Do you know that God loves you? I mean, really, really, really loves you.  It’s a given for most Christians, right? The whole John 3:16 thing- EVERYone knows it.  Even non-believers at football games know it. It’s probably the most memorized verse in the whole Bible. It’s the foundation of every believer’s salvation. But you know what? I’ve walked this earth for 43 years and I’m just now beginning to understand that God loves ME- me, as an individual. Sounds a little weird, huh?Heart Rocks by LN
Heart Rocks by LN
I knew God loved me in the sense of John 3:16. I knew he loved me as a part of this world He created, a part of all mankind, as a part of His Church. I always felt though like He loved me because He HAD to, as a parental obligation. I figured He probably didn’t like me very much. I thought He had to be perpetually disappointed in me because of past stupid decisions, common mistakes, a sassy attitude, and multiple failures.  He couldn’t possibly LIKE me. He knows everything. He knows my heart. He knows my secrets. He knows I don’t measure up. How could He possibly like me?

Now you might think that this is crazy. It is. It is TOTALLY crazy. That’s what happens after years of comparing myself to others, after years of self-imposed condemnation, years of listening to the lies of the enemy. Know what’s even crazier? What that kind of thinking leads to: a life of trying to be worthy of salvation. It’s the complete antithesis of grace and mercy! It is a never ending striving to obtain the unobtainable. It’s a life void of the very peace and joy that Christ died to give us. The life His resurrection promises is ours.

His forgiveness, mercy and grace mean that He loves ME- and YOU just the way we are. Do you love your children? Of course! We love them even when they are not, gasp, perfect. He loves us, knowing we will never, ever be perfect.  When we are at our very worst, He loves us.
               

For the past year, God has been showing me and teaching me at virtually every turn that HE loves me. Yes, even me.  It is such a relief to know that I can stop trying to earn His affection! This revelation has birthed an even greater love that I have in my heart for others. What freedom! What joy! What true gospel- good news!

Have you ever struggled with false guilt? Do you compare yourself to other Godly women? Have you ever felt unworthy of His love? Well just stop it right now! I mean right now.  Want to learn more? Need encouragement? Check out these resources:
                

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What To Do When You're Hanging On

Today as I write this, I am sitting at Starbucks enjoying a latte and a kid-free morning thanks to the Mothers Day Out program at the First Baptist Church.  Big deal, right? Well...it is for me. TOTALLY new experience. I feel so hip and cool: writing, sipping coffee, grooving to Muddy Waters. (Thank you, Starbucks for making this Mississippi girl feel right at home with the blues. Someone must have told you I was coming.)

It's funny, listening to blues music when everything in my body screams "happy, happy, happy!" Metaphorically speaking, I'm finally enjoying some warm sunshine after a long, very cold rain. You know how sometimes you feel like you are hanging on by a thread? For a long time? You get weary. You get gloomy. You're tempted to give up hope. Everything gets a little gray. I just left that place, so I know how you feel.

I'm so glad that I didn't give in to those feelings. Yeah, some days I switched to auto-pilot... Plastered on the smile anyway. You know the drill. After a long time, though it begins to feel like it will never get better. For my family it was a series of tough-break circumstances. Maybe in your case it's an illness, job loss, divorce, or crisis of another sort. I don't know what the event is but I do know that nothing last forever. Cliche' but true. Sometimes it just takes a while. What do you do in the mean time? I'll share what helped me:

  • Press in to scripture. Let God comfort you. Let Him guide you. Let Him love you through it.
  • Lean in to trusted friends. It's okay to let others see you in your not so perfect state.
  • Smile anyway. I read in a medical magazine that smiling and laughing can improve a blue mood
  • Take a gratitude inventory. Really count your blessings. Be mindful in your everyday moments
  • Reach out to someone else needing help. Practice hospitality, sharing, and encouraging others
  • Objectively evaluate your circumstance. Change what you can and pray through the rest.
Don't give up - just hang on a little longer!

Sometimes things get a little worse it seems before they get better. It did for us. God rewards the faithful, though, so keep on. I am pleased to say that the series of troubles is over for the moment. My family is enjoying a reprieve from spiritual and physical battles. My husband has accepted a career change that included a relocation to Kentucky.

Everything seems so new and fresh (and 15 degrees cooler). We have been blessed with a small town in the mountains full of friendly people. Autumn is bringing crisp air, changing colors, and a whole new beginning for us. I'll post more about our adventure in getting here later.

Right now, I want to pray for you. "Father, I want to lift up this reader to you. You know what they are going through and you know exactly what they need. Bless them with, strength, direction, and endurance. Let them experience Your presence and fullness of joy. In Jesus' name, Amen"

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Why I'm a MOPS Mommy

Years ago, I gave birth to the wildest adventure I've ever known: my precious son. I have been perpetually tired since the day he was born. I laugh, I cry, I nap. Some of you know what I'm talking about. Just saying the word "boys" makes you tired. Now I'm not saying girls are easy, I'm just saying that boys are...wide open, loud, non-stop, 90mph whirlwinds of sticky, smelling, bug-collecting, stomping, free-for-all, stop every now and then to kiss you then drive you up the wall, buckets of joy.

He came early and had to be nursed or fed every 2-3 hrs. By the time I nursed, diapered, swaddled, pumped, cleaned everything, and set up for the next round it was time to do it all over again. Ya'll remember those first moths of sleep deprivation. I was tired all the time. Exhausted, really. Even though my doctor said it is harder for moms to bounce back when they are "older first timers" I was still beating myself up a little about it. I wanted so badly to enjoy every second. I figured, I'll rest later. Later came and he was crawling, then walking, then running! You get the picture.

Little-boy wrangling, family obligations, home keeping, Church obligations...the world kept spinning while I grew more and more tired. I felt old. I felt worn out. Did I say I felt, old? Old. Really, really old. I felt a little awkward at library day- the other moms were SO much younger than me. I didn't know it at the time but I had let myself get withdrawn and just a tad bit depressed.

Then it happened. One of the other moms at library day invited me to a Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) meeting. Yeah right... a room full of barbie dolls half my age with their perfect little outfits and their perfect little children with no stains or sticky stuff. I was not interested. No way. It seemed like just one more thing to make me feel pressured and inadequate. Since I told her I would think about it, I did. My son is virtually an only child (his teen-age half-siblings no longer live with us) and a homeschooler, I thought being around other kids his age would be good for him. I went for him.

The kids were downstairs and the moms were upstairs at a local church. I felt so insecure. They were all a good bit younger. The voices in my head were saying I wouldn't fit in but they were so sweet. Everyone was so friendly. Over the next few meetings, I realized they weren't perfect little moms. Nope, not at all.  They had in-a-hurry pony tails, tired eyes and yucky stains too. The screaming from the children's area assured me their kids weren't perfect little tikes either. They were...like me. They were a lot like me. That was two years ago.

Since then, I have developed friendships with some of the most beautiful, caring ladies on the planet. We have laughed, cried, played, and learned together. My son has playmates and playdates galore. This fall I will be assuming a small leadership position within the group. I am so excited to attend the international convention in August.

I am still tired. Are you kidding? The older he gets, the faster and stronger he gets! I am no longer isolated. I am not withdrawn. I know I'm not alone. As women, we are as diverse and unique as we can be. As moms, though, we share the same joys and struggles. We understand each other. We have a sisterhood that strengthens us.

MOPS, is an international organization dedicated to supporting, nurturing, educating, and empowering moms through community building. Their mission statement reads, "MOPS International exists to encourage, equip and develop every mother of preschoolers to realize her potential as a woman, mother and leader in the name of Jesus Christ."  There are local chapters virtually everywhere. Their web page has a group locator and super resources for every single kind of mom. Even the old and tired ones, like me.

I encourage  you to give it a try. You may be busy, you may be shy, but you just may change your life!  Are you a part of a MOPS group? Have you thought it wasn't for you? Why? Share your stories with me. Moms don't let other moms mother alone (yeah, I had to work in the slogan somehow).

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Feeling...crunchy?

Do you ever have days when you feel like this?

You know, the kind of day that overwhelms you. One that makes you feel attacked. Consumed. Crunched on. Maybe it's a week, a month or even a season. Do you ever feel like circumstances are chewing you up and spitting you out?

I've been going through one of those seasons lately. It seems like stress and challenges are coming from every direction. Some days my husband and I look at each other with the "how much more can we possibly take?" look. While this is season is not yet over, I have learned a few things going through this difficult time.


  • Some things are just plain out of my control. Can't fix it, can't eliminate it, can't do squat about it. I can; however, PRAY. I can pray for grace to accept it, mercy to deal with my frustrations, peace to let go of trying to control it, strength to endure it, and patience until it gets better.
  • Complaining only makes it worse. Sure its good to vent every now and then but getting stuck in an ungrateful, grumbling attitude is what got the Hebrew children stuck in the wilderness for forty years. I do not want to get stuck here! I want to move on to better times. I have to purpose my speech and my attitude to be one that God can bless.
  • It won't last forever. Circumstances always change. Life never stands still. I will get through it. One step in front of the other and one day at a time, I will move through this season on to the next.  
  • Take care of myself in the meantime. Eat nutritiously. Get adequate sleep. Read uplifting spiritual material. Limit negative influences (TV, gossip, etc.) when possible. I must treat my body and mind well if I expect it to carry me through seasons of trial. 
  • Lighten up. Laugh. Be silly. Count my blessings. Appreciate the love and beauty in each moment. Sometimes I just have to get out of my head and into the present moment. I can enjoy life even when it is trying. I just have to look and try a little harder in the difficult days.  
How do you cope with difficult times? What are some of the ways you keep yourself from sinking into despair? Do you laugh in the face of adversity or do you grit your teeth and bear it? Share with me. Lets grow together.