Here is the link to my Thursday post in the Greeley Tribune. Thanks for reading and sharing if you choose–I appreciate it!
When the girls start preschool, I’ll be so much happier.
When we decide to have another baby and the count down to going back to work starts, I’ll be so much happier.
When we have a bigger backyard, I’ll be so much happier.
When I finally make some money on my writing, I’ll be so much happier.
When I’m more organized and my junk drawer will finally close, I’ll be so much happier.
When I figure out how to be on time everywhere, I’ll be so much happier.
When I can go to the gym five days a week, I’ll be so much happier.
When I finally have a freezer full of Pinterest-inspired crock pot meals, I’ll be so much happier.
When my girls are fully potty-trained, I’ll be so much happier. (This one turned out to be semi-true! Ha!)
These are just a sampling of my thoughts which seem to always linger in the back of my mind. However, a week or so after my prayer for God to change my attitude (see A Mama’s Heart on Fire and The Best Day Ever), I realized how much I have been waiting for a non-existent, ideal world for my happiness instead of celebrating and finding peace in the season God has given me today.
Is my life perfect now? A few months ago I would have laughed hysterically at that question and answered with a big NO, but now I can see that while it’s not perfect by any worldly standards, it’s the perfect place which God has chosen for me to be right now. Today, in this messy and chaotic season of my life, is exactly where I’m supposed to be. It’s absolutely perfect by God’s standard, and that is the only standard that matters.
I am sad for the time I have lost in adjusting to and wishing away this season; however, I’m not going to lose any more time by hanging on to regrets. I’m ready to be content and even joyful in this exact season of my life instead of always waiting for something to change, an I believe it’s a huge step in living a joyful, heart-on-fire-for-God life.
Psalms 118: 24
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
I wish I had a list next for 10 Ways to Find Joy Today, but I’m only on the beginning of my journey and have so much to learn. I will say, though, that earnest prayer for God to show you how to change your attitude is an amazing way to start. He just needs an invitation from a willing heart!
Do you find yourself waiting on the future to be happy? Do you have any wisdom to share on finding joy in the current season of your life? I love hearing from you–it reminds me I’m not alone in the deep end!
Potty training twins has most likely shortened my life by approximately 10 years, give or take a few decades. The chaos and stress of it all was not something I was prepared for by any means, and I have written the following training guide to help any parents of multiples to be ready to tackle the job.
- Bring two puppies, preferably thirsty ones with small bladders, into your home. Follow them around the house with a cleaning rag and some cleaners for both your carpet and couches. Do this for 10-12 hours a day. Between cleaning up the messes, sit with them outside for 10 minutes every hour, begging them to potty like big dogs.
- Borrow a feces-throwing monkey to join in the fun at least once a day, preferably during a time when you are trying to get something done. Practice cooking dinner or making phone calls and then frantically dropping everything at the first whiff of monkey poo. Continue to clean up after the puppies at the same time.
- Find a screeching parrot or small child who will loudly scream, “I went potty!” at a startling volume and ear-piercing tone each time one of the puppies or the monkey has an accident. Train the child or parrot to continue to scream until the entire mess is cleaned.
- Buy three large chickens, preferably ones which can wear a pair of toddler panties, and turn them loose in your house. Four times a day, practice chasing the chickens and putting toddler panties on them while cleaning up after the puppies and the monkey. (I suggest three chickens so that when you are only chasing two toddlers, it will feel somewhat easier.)
- Have someone walk around your house with a cup of water, spilling a little bit in several different places on your carpet or floors. Walk around barefoot while trying to accomplish another task, like picking up the house or running the vacuum, and see if you can find and clean up all of the surprise wet spots you feel with your feet.
- Buy some small stickers like the kind with which you might reward your future potty training twins, and stick at least four entire pages all over your clothes, furniture, sheets and walls. Make sure to put a few in unexpected places like your husband’s work shirt for extra realistic surprises.
- Do three additional loads of laundry a day.
- Stay home for one full week with the puppies, monkey, chickens and screeching child or parrot until you either lose your mind or the puppies start using the potty successfully at least half of the time.
I wish you the best of luck with potty training your twins. Do not ask me for advice. Although my twins are more or less potty trained now (thank you, Lord), we survived only by the skin on our teeth. I have nothing to offer except the above mentioned list and an extra chicken.
The cold seemed never ending. Sub-zero temps for days on end, and too much snow on the ground to go to the park even when the temperatures started to creep back up toward freezing.
Then my sweet girls both caught some kind of little cold. Nothing serious, but enough snot and germy-ness to warrant cancelling our play dates and keeping us inside the house for a week.
It was a recipe for major crankiness and tension, and it made me question very seriously why in the world I wanted to be a stay-at-home mama. Everything, from dishes to laundry to diapers to vacuuming, seemed to make me angry.
In the midst of a bitter moment, I thought, “Who wants to live this way? No one wants to be grouchy for the next 50 (hopefully longer!) years, and no one wants to be around someone who is always in a terrible mood.”
I prayed with a heavy heart for some way to help with my attitude, for me to find a way to make peace with every day life.
God was listening. The first moment of clarity came only 12 hours after my prayer for a change of heart.
The next morning, we pulled up to the grocery store, and I was dreading the trip. I was cranky (imagine that?!) and resenting the fact that I had to take both kids to shop again because I wasn’t organized enough to go alone this past weekend.
“Look, Mama, isn’t the grocery store beautiful?” one of my munchkins piped up from the backseat. “The grocery store is SO beautiful!”
Her words gripped my heart as I smiled and agreed with her and fought back tears. Of course the grocery store was beautiful–why couldn’t I see it? Isn’t everything around us, no matter how bland and boring, truly beautiful simply because we are alive to see it?
I felt the sunshine immediately start to break through the angry clouds in my mind as her childlike joy rubbed off on me. My bitterness started to melt as I realized how it’s all about perspective and choosing to see life’s chores and drudgeries with a joyful heart. We are SURROUNDED by beauty, breath-taking, awe-inspiring beauty, every day, but we have to look for it with a genuine heart on fire to see what God has put in our lives.
“Thank you, Lord,” I thought as we walked into the store.
Then He did it AGAIN.
“This is the best day EVER!” my sweet munchkin yelled out in the grocery cart as we went down the first aisle. She was beaming, smiling from ear to ear, and she yelled it out again. This time her twin sister joined her.
“This is the best day EVER!” they squealed with giggles and smiles.
This time, I choked back the tears and watched with amazement at the sight of God answering my prayers through my two precious babies.
“You’re right, girls. This is the best day ever!” I said with a smile, and I’ll tell you, those words are impossible to say without wanting to skip, laugh and dance around. A grocery store trip with my girls which started as a chore turned into a truly joyful moment with my kids.
It’s all about perspective and choice. If we choose to find beauty and true joy every day by looking at life with a pure, fire-filled heart, God is putting it out there for us.
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
This is going on a post-it in my kitchen where I can see it every evening when I do the last of the picking up and dishes for the day, the time when I am most vulnerable to bitterness and anger.
So here’s to being given another day, no matter what ups and downs it brings. Embrace it, look for the beauty God has placed before you, and make it the best day ever.
The past few weeks I have been struggling immensely with finding peace, finding joy and finding my purpose.
Staying home with my girls is what I know I’m supposed to do and what I know is best for our family, and ninety percent of the time it’s where my heart is, too.
It’s on those other 10 percent of the days when I struggle, though, and it seems like I had a long string of those tough days thanks to sick babies and bitterly cold weather which left us all cooped up and on top of one another with a little too much togetherness.
Lots of prayers, tears and listening to God has given me an amazing clarity about it all, and this is the first of a series of blog posts about having a heart on fire for God even when you’re drowning in the deep end with taking care of your family and yourself. (I hope all moms, stay at home and working, can find some encouragement because I think we are all in the deep end with our every day lives.)
Let me share this with you first, though. I have never seen myself as someone who should share her spiritual journey. Although I am passionate about serving my Lord, I feel like my journey isn’t one which will be the basis for a book on how to be close to God. It is so hard for me to make time to read my Bible or complete a Bible study or do all of those “things” I feel like define a strong relationship with our God, and I don’t feel worthy to share anything about my spiritual life with others because I feel like I have so much growing left to do.
I am just an average mom who hates housework, isn’t very crafty, and has no shame about skipping a shower to snuggle a sick baby for a day or two. But I love God and my family with all of my heart, and I want to find a way to be on fire for my God every single day.
Through my feelings of inadequacy and struggles, God has been whispering to me to try, to listen, to share my journey and my struggles and sit back and see what He can do. So that’s what this new series, A Heart on Fire, will be about.
I’d love to have you join me on this journey. We all need a little more hope and joy each day!
Three seconds of distraction turned into two inches of sweet, soft baby hair on the floor, one big bald spot on my toddler and one extra nomination for parent of the year for this mama.
Before I tell you this tragic tale of texting and parenting, I will assure you NO toddlers were injured in the least bit during this incident–not a drop of blood or a single tear was shed by the child. I, on the other hand, did not fair as well. Watching a chunk of beautiful baby hair which took a whopping TWO years to grow is an absolute travesty which warrants a few tears. I digress.
We were all in the girls’ favorite place in the house, mama’s bathroom, while I was trying to get myself ready. I’d estimate I spent two-thirds of my time asking the girls to take this thing out of their nose and put this one back in the drawer and only one-third actually accomplishing anything. (After a year of this frustration, you’d think I’d have baby proofed my bathroom, but that would be too easy. I clearly prefer a parenting challenge.)
A text came in on my phone, and I grabbed it to fire off a quick reply. In the three seconds I was looking at the screen, one of the girls reached into a drawer and grabbed a tiny disposable trimming razor (which THANKFULLY had a plastic guard built around the blade).
She put the little trimmer up to her lovely head of not-so-much hair and said with a smile, “Look Mama, I can comb my hair like Ariel!”
Of course I looked up at this moment, gasped, and watched the most lovely lock of baby hair fall on the ground as she reached the tiny trimmer back up to her head.
Oh. My. Gosh.
Ninja-mom reflexes kicked in with a mix of horrid panic and thoughts of, “You just let your two year old shave her head!” as I threw the phone on the ground and grabbed the little trimmer.
We all three stared at the chunk of hair for a while. I was in tearful disbelief, and the girls were very insistent that mama should go to get the vacuum to clean up the mess.
The ironic part of it all is I had just glanced at an article about distracted parents and an increase in childhood injuries and thought to myself I was much better fit than all of those parents. Humble pie is not so great to swallow.
Luckily enough for my little lady, her hair color was pretty close to the color of my eyebrow defining pencil. No shame here. It was the least I could do to turn my epic parenting fail into a minor mishap.
Have your children ever gotten themselves into trouble while you were distracted? Please don’t let me think I’m alone in my shortcomings…
Here is the original link to this blog post on the Greeley Tribune.
I wish some days I was better at dwelling on the happy times with my family and kids–doesn’t it seem like the stresses and challenges get more of our attention than the cheerful moments? I know I am WAY more likely to fall on my knees in prayer and write a heart-felt blog post when I’m weary, but I know our God wants to hear from us often, not just when our hearts are aching for His love.
So after a relatively peaceful and happy weekend filled with minimal time outs, less snot and germs than the days before AND no one running away from me in a grocery store parking lot, I feel compelled to share this simple prayer of thanksgiving with you. My hope is to be able to find some encouragement by rereading this in the future on those days filled with tears and tantrums. Here’s to focusing on the positives!
My heart is full today. I look around and see my healthy children, hear their joyful giggles, smell their sweet strawberry shampoo (and only an occasional poopy diaper) and feel their warm little fingers squeezing my hand.
You made them so perfectly in your image, and you felt compelled to share them with me. You knew just what I needed to teach me the depth of your love for me, and grateful cannot even begin to describe my feelings.
I don’t deserve these sweet children of yours, God. You gave them to me out of your love and mercy, and I pray you can work through all of us as you help me to raise them.
Their smiles light up the room and warm my heart. Their laughter echoes throughout our house and in my mind. Help me not to forget these precious sights and sounds. Etch them on my heart so I can always remember the joy of small children on the days when I just don’t have the energy to keep going.
Remind me of the joy I feel today, and allow it to refresh and recharge my spirit for the days ahead.
Thank you, Lord, for showering me with blessings in such sweet, small packages.