Five Things I Learned in February

Can I just say that February was a doozy?!?

This is one reason why the blog has been so quiet and why I’m just now posting almost halfway through March.

February has been busy, rainy and left me parenting solo for two weeks while The Hubs was in Israel. Yes, Israel. Israel as in 10 hours ahead, he was going to sleep while I was waking up, Israel.

I’m trying to get back into my writing groove and I’ll be honest. It’s been challenging.

When you put something off unintentionally (or intentionally) and then put it off, and put if off and put if off………you get the picture, it becomes so difficult to just bite the bullet and do “it”. It could be simple like a phone call or difficult like a hard conversation. Or it could be sitting my butt down and typing out a blog post.

I had some good reasons for being MIA, like my husband left the country for two weeks and I was feeling a tad overwhelmed. But now the excuses are gone and my fingers are tapping at the keyboard once more.

Ya, so February. Kinda nuts. But here’s what I’ve learned:

1.) Boys are gross. Between the not getting the pee in the toilet (I shared a toilet with H for 4 days due to some plumbing problems.  G-R-O-S-S.), the eating of the boogers, the blowing of the spit bubbles and the general licking of well, everything; it’s disgusting. This does not diminish my love for him in way at all; but it’s yucky just the same.

2.) Cooking is not my jam and that’s okay. And it’s only taken me 16 years to figure this out!! I have felt guilty and a subpar wife and mom for years because of my lack of creativity and general culinary skills. And here’s the thing…… I just don’t enjoy cooking that much. I still have to cook (My family still needs to eat.). And while I appreciate his help, The Hubs can’t make breakfast for dinner every night. But I’m going to give myself a much needed break in the guilt department and chalk it up to the fact that I’m better at other things. Cooking is not one of them. And that’s okay.

3.) Speaking of guilt,  I’m ready to throw my mommy guilt out the window. Who wants to join me? I haven’t perfected this way of thinking yet, but I’m working on it. As a matter of fact, I have a lot of thoughts bubbling up inside of me on this topic. So much so, that I’m working on another blog post about it right now. For now, let’s just say I find the mommy guilt to be exhausting and I’m tired of being tired.

4.) The Hubs and I have been trying to encourage our kids to try new things and step out of their comfort zones, even if (and when) they fail. I’m beginning to see that this is one of the best gifts we can give them. Lily played basketball for the first time this year. This was very much out of her comfort zone and I don’t know that basketball will even be her thing. But she tried something that was a little scary to her at first and found out she really enjoyed it.

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Here’s Lily’s team, The Fever, with Coach Mike. They came in first!!

 

She didn’t score a basket until the very last game. I knew that she may very well go the whole season and not score a single basket. I was just happy that she was out there moving and gaining confidence. Let me tell you, when she did score a basket (at the buzzer no less) I blubbered like a baby. A baby! I was emotionally drained for the rest of the day. Through all this, it’s also teaching me to step out of my comfort zone and try new things, too.

5.) Speaking of crying, am I’m going to cry and be a hot mess when my kids do sports? This world is so new to me and I don’t quite know how to handle all the feelings that come with your kids competing in sports. I did not grow up doing any sport really. I’ve realized that sports, as a parent, is emotionally exhausting!! I’m also coming to realize that my Saturdays are never going to be the same again. RIP lazy Saturday mornings.

As you can see, February had a lot going on. Now that spring is just around the corner I know life is going to get even busier. I’m praying that I will embrace the crazy and take time to savor the little moments and my people.

Hello, February!

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Hello, February with your cold mornings and wet days I see in the forecast; with your Valentine’s Day and barrage of candy!!! I’m looking forward to our ice skating days on Wednesdays, celebrating my 18th Valentine’s Day with The Hubs, and our cozy mornings around the school table (our kitchen table).

This month I will…….

>take time to really love my family by being fully present when I’m with them. That means not trying to get other stuff done when I’m spending time with them. Less multi-tasking; more playing.

>take time for me. That means more sleep and eating healthy. This also means Round 2 of the Whole30 because I tried last month and failed, horribly. I did complete the Whole30 successfully last May, though, and blogged a little about it here and here.

>read more and watch TV less. (Read about my 2017 Reading Challenge here.)Except for binge watching Frasier with The Hubs. I love Frasier and Niles. They are so lovable and pompous. Watching Frasier brings me joy.

This month I will not…….

>put things in my body that make me feel like crap. No cheesy enchiladas and refried beans. Lesson learned! That was a horrible night.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    >listen to the negative thoughts that tell me I cannot do something. I will shut them up, shove them aside and do the hard stuff.

>let the rainy days keep us from getting outside. At the same time, I’ll use some of those rainy days as an excuse to cuddle on the couch with my kiddos or maybe watch a few more episodes of Frasier.

What are your February goals?

 

 

Flabby Arms and Taco Salad

Ok, truth here. My first couple weeks of 2017 were not my favorite. I felt tired, impatient, was dragging my feet to start school with the kids, and feeling a general malaise.

There was non-stop rain. Kids and pups had been underfoot 24/7. My patience wore thin.

And then people started to get sick. Blurg!

The whole family, but especially The Hubs and I, had started a plan to eat better. We’d begun to cut out sugar, carbs and soda (Soda gets it’s own category because we are kind of addicted to Pepsi and Mountain Dew.) So my body pretty much revolted against me because I refused to give it all the things it was craving.

I had not been crushing my New Year’s goals like I envisioned. (Good thing it’s only January. There’s time to turn things around, right?)

I wish I was a glass half- full kind of girl. I tend to lean towards the half-empty crowd. I’m working on that. As I said in my previous post, God and I are working on the Worrier that is me!

As you can see, I was already in a funk. I was a prime candidate for negative thoughts and worry to take root.

But one night, a couple of weeks into the new year, God taught me a great lesson about Worry and how our thoughts are so powerful. And it all happened during the 5 minutes it took to brown hamburger meat for a taco salad.

I usually crave a quiet house because I hardly ever have one. Completing thoughts just isn’t a regular occurrence these days. I’m often grasping for simple words like “knife” and “shoe.” I just end up calling everything a “thingie” and somehow the kids and The Hubs know what I’m talking about.

But sometimes, when I do get those quiets moments, they lead to no good. You know those moments. The ones in the shower (That’s where all my most brilliant and worst thoughts occur.) or while I’m folding clothes in the garage. (And no one has figured out where I am yet.) That night my quiet moment happened while I was browning meat for taco salad.

Everyone was occupied (H had fallen asleep on the couch.) and I was happily standing at the stove browning away. As I vigorously whisked my wooden spoon, I noticed how much my arm flesh jiggled. I was taken aback and little disgusted.

“Geeze, my arms are jiggly. I really need to work on that.” Note to Self. “I’m just barely getting started on this healthy eating thing and now I have to work in an arm workout?!?  I can’t even remember the last time I walked around the block. Ugh…. I have so much to do to get healthier!! I’m never going to be able to do this.”

See what I did there? My thoughts spiraled into that deep, dark, defeated place in about 30 seconds.

I then whispered to myself, “Take it one day at a time. One meal at a time. Forget the jiggly arms, for now.”

But it didn’t end with the Jiggly Arms. Then my mind jumped to Little H.

He’d been having a tough time in Sunday School the past couple of weeks. This is not our first rodeo in having “tough days”. We’ve  had lots of “tough days” at Sunday School, Awanas, Target, you name it. But he’d been doing so much better at church. Our first week back at our church’s weekly club for kids (Awanas) was that night.

Inner monologue number two.

“What is going on now? Why won’t he just listen? We are going back to Awanas for the first time after a long break. Maybe I should talk to his teacher and let her know he’s been struggling. He’s been so tired and taking extra naps lately. Is he growing? Is he coming down with something? Should I give the teachers a heads up?”

This is 4 min. and 30 seconds into browning the meat.

I had a choice at that moment: To let the worry take over and try to fix things myself (Just like I had a choice to let the negative thoughts about my arm flesh discourage me from my eating plan.) or to not worry and take things as they came.

Don’t borrow tomorrow’s worry.

Don’t go down that road of “The Worst Is Bound To Happen.”

Maybe H will have a bad night. But maybe he won’t!

I commanded my thoughts to not assume the worst. Yes, I said Commanded. I told the Worrier in me to not try to fix something that hadn’t even broken yet.

I decided to not jump in and talk to his teacher. I just prayed that God would give him a great night or give The Hubs and I wisdom if he didn’t.

The meat was browned at this point and I was adding in the seasoning. I began to set the table and The Hubs gently woke up H and called Lily to dinner.

My mind and my thoughts are the most unruly part of me. They take me from  zero to  freaking out in about 30 seconds.

God has been challenging me to not let worry control me and take me down paths I have no business traveling.

I’m doing a Bible study called Loving God with All Your Mind by Elizabeth George. She talks about taking our thoughts captive. This is a proactive word- Captive. I am going after  and chasing down those unruly thoughts and putting them in their place. It takes effort. It takes work. And more often than not, I fail. But God is so good and His Word is so powerful.  It tells me to focus on what is true.

Philippians 4:8 Finally Brethren, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.

When I read this verse and then actually started to do what it said, I began to experience little victories in this struggle with worry. Most of what I fret over is not true and it’s definitely not lovely. And it wasn’t until I started doing this Bible study and really started to pay attention to my thoughts that I realized how much worry overwhelmed me. I’m an internalizer- big time. It so easy for me to pack those fears quietly down within me without even realizing I am doing it. I know I have so far to go; so I have to read and meditate on this verse often.

But that is how powerful God’s Word is. It sheds light on the dark places and gives us a way to be victorious, to make the right choices.

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You may ask, you got all this while standing at your stove for 5 minutes?? Well, the mind is a powerful thing!

And while my arms are still jiggling away, H did just fine that night at Awanas. He’s still five and  can give Tigger a run for his money. But he did just fine.

 

 

2017, What Changes Will You Bring?

It’s January 1st and the day is just about done. The lights are glowing on our tree with their perfect Christmas glow as only Christmas lights can do. The soft, yellow lights from my Christmas village remind me of how much I love this time of year.

Tomorrow, the decorations come down and the house will feel really empty.

I do love a new year, though. I love to declutter and start again. I love the hope of starting new and doing better. I like to set goals and make big plans. But, honestly, I get a little sad at the start of each new year, too. Excited and sad. It really is a mixed bag!

A new year means my kids get a little older. This is always really hard for me. It also means that I get a little OLDER. I tend to fight change. I usually like things the way they are.

Change is bound to happen, though. God has been teaching me a lot about embracing change lately.

I wasn’t even planning on doing a New Year’s post. One of my goals for this year is to write more and to write regularly. Not necessarily post more on the blog; but write more. I’ve been missing the joy of writing just to write. I’ve been wanting to write without feeling any pressure (which comes only from me) to make it a finished product.

But, today my husband posted something on face book and I knew immediately that I needed to do a New Year’s post. He wrote that New Years is always special for us because we got engaged on the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve in 1999/2000 and at midnight on New Year’s Even 2010/2011, I found out I was pregnant with Henry.

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Yes, I always remember that we got engaged on New Year’s Eve; but I hadn’t realized that 2 of my biggest life changes ever happened on New Year’s Eve.

Those events forever changed my life for the good.

Change, whether wanted or not, is important. While it can be wonderful and wanted; it can also be painful and unexpected. But we all need change. Staying the same and never moving is not a recipe for a happy life.

I get really reflective at the end of a year. I like to set goals for my new year and pick a word that I can focus on for the upcoming year. My word this year is BRAVE. (I’ll post more about that in the weeks to come.) As I reflect on 2016, I can see God changing a lot in me. I’ve been afraid to embrace those changes and He’s telling me to be brave and let go. God has brought new challenges into my life that I have no control over. But He’s in control. My biggest challenge is to not worry and to place every. single. need. at His feet.

Sometimes, being brave means not doing anything. Sometimes, it’s just letting God do his work. Not fighting it, but embracing it.

What will 2017 bring? I have no idea! Whatever sort of change comes in my life and my family’s life, my hope and prayer is to embrace it.

Good- bye, 2016. Welcome, 2017.

 

Happy Thanksgiving:: Eat Lots of Pie

I hope you know that today, you have so much to be grateful for. Your table may have an empty seat this year that was not empty last. Those harsh words or misunderstanding may be still be fresh in your memory. The reality of the bad news you just received may be ringing in your ears.

But, you are alive. You live in a beautiful (though flawed) world. You have a God who loves you so much He sent His to die on the cross for your sins. You have the hope of eternal life.

Life is good. Now go eat lots of pie.

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Sticky Doors:: We All Have Them

 

It’s been a rainy day. It’s quiet and dark in my little writing space. Just the light from my bedside lamp and the gray of late afternoon through my bedroom window.

The only way I can get away to write these days without leaving the house is shutting the door to my bedroom and having a hard and fast rule of “Don’t bother me.” That goes for everyone, even The Hubs.

Once a week. That’s all I ask.

Just one afternoon. And half the time I don’t even get that.

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That’s okay, though. These are the days of being busy with my family, in a good way. Oh, and it’s never really quiet. Except for the very rare occasion that everyone is gone, there is always a low hum of background noise. Muffled through my closed door I hear the T.V., the fridge opening and closing, puppy paws pacing up and down the hallway and that sweet high pitched voice of Little H.

There is no ideal situation for me to write. If I wait for the just the right circumstances, it will never happen. So I take my glorious two hours and then panic.

What if I can’t get out all the ideas that have been bounding around in my brain all week? That great opening sentence for a blog post……what was that again? If I don’t type it out, I’ll forget it. Then it will be lost forever, somewhere in the murky depths of my mommy brain.

Today, though, my thoughts keep coming back to- my sticky doors. Yes. I said sticky doors.

We bought this house in May and moved in June. We repainted, refloored, sanded and knocked down walls. (Okay, one wall. One half wall.) We scraped ceilings and textured. We took every door off it’s hinges to paint them.

3 things happened:

1.) We forgot to take one door down completely. It’s the only brown door in our hallway with 4 other white doors.

2.) Because we were in an extreme time crunch one of the doors, didn’t get a second coat of paint. And it shows.

3.) Our bedroom door sticks, terribly. And I’m wondering if in our haste, we didn’t put the doors back in their proper door frames. Now that the weather has changed, the door has swelled and it’s even worse. It’s painfully loud each an every time we open or close it.

And……

It wasn’t until about a month ago that we realized the hallway bathroom did not have a lock! I mean, seriously? How did we miss that? Right before we had our Open House, we had a bbq and a friend asked me to guard the door while she went to the bathroom. I was puzzled as to why she would ask me to do this. That’s when I discovered we had no lock on the knob.

This was not our first gathering of friends or family at the new place.We had had several of them. No one of ever mentioned it to us. I’m sure they all assumed that we knew.

There is still no lock on the bathroom door and now the door doesn’t latch closed at all. I discovered that this week after I’ve berated my kids about leaving the bathroom door open. Open bathroom door= puppies in the bathroom= toilet paper from the garbage can all over the floor and puppies drinking out of the toilet.

I’m sure they weren’t remembering to close the door but the dogs can simply push the door open with their noses. They know where the sweet toilet water is and they’ll do anything to get it!

This house, like everything else in life, is a work in progress.

It will never be “finished”. Can I get an AMEN homeowners?

When I wait for things to be finished (or what I think will be better) to be happy; happy I will never be.

I’m shooting for contentment in the moment, in the process, in the journey.

My house and it’s sticky doors are a reminder to me that life will always have a sticky door or two. What I don’t want to do is let my sticky doors distract me from all the other great things about our house. I don’t want to let certain circumstances in my life or hard relationships distract me or detract from the things and people that bring me joy.

So, here’s to sticky doors and a trip to Home Depot to buy a new knob for the bathroom door, with a lock!

*I actually wrote this post a couple of weeks ago and I’m so glad to report that we did put a lock on the bathroom door. The door closes shut so our toilet is no longer another water bowl for the puppies. Thank goodness!!

 

Choosing Between Good and Best

I was browsing through some old posts of mine. I stumbled upon this post and wanted to share it again here. It’s from a year ago when I wrote and posted every day in October as part of a writing challenge. My theme for the month was My Best Yes. 

It’s funny how my very own words were the ones that convicted me. It’s so easy to get off track and fall back into bad habits and practices.

I’ve been feeling a bit like a chicken with my head cut off these days, running from here to there and everywhere in between. I’ve been doing a lot of good things, fun things. But some of the most important things have been falling through the cracks.

Time to get back on track. Maybe say “no” to things that are good, but just not the best for me or my family right now. And then there are commitments and activities that are just part of our lives right now. It’s a season we are in. How is my attitude while I’m doing them, though? The right attitude can make all the difference.

Here’s to making some Best Yes decisions!

You can click the link below and read the post.

A Tale of Two Sisters