Jan 302016
 

I woke up this morning and within an hour I had made tea, had a banana, washed the dishes from yesterday (wasn’t feeling well) and put them away, moved everything off the counter and wiped it down, cleaned the stove top, changed the trash bag and swept the floor and was working up a little bit of a sweat.

My muscles started to scream at me for water. I drank 32 ounces within a few seconds and remembered that I keep forgetting about me.

More importantly though, where was God?

As I guzzled water down fast the thought that God was searching for me when I wasn’t seeking Him was crossing my mind. Then, the words, “man cannot live off bread alone” slid into my head rapidly followed by fueling my aching soul with water from God’s well instead of my own.

It was definitely one of those moments where you are like “okay God, I am listening, I get the point. Slow down, take care of myself physically AND spiritually!”

As mama’s we forget to take care of ourselves and as children of God we tend to put our Bible studies at the end of our to-do lists instead of as part of our daily routine.

I have been studying the book of Ruth with Hello Mornings the past few weeks and it has been great, but today is Saturday and there was no reading for today, but God beckoned me anyway.

“Make ME a habit. Not a chore!”

So, I am going to focus on giving God the best of my day instead of fitting Him in.

How do you keep His Word on your tongue and have you heard God speak to you without any doubt before?

Jan 212016
 

I had everything pulled off the counter and was wiping the far-to-reach corners of the backsplash while standing on a stood (short person problems) while she sat and talked to me from the table. I had planned to start dinner and then go sit down and hang out on the internet. Maybe watch some YouTube videos or scroll through social media, but instead I grabbed a rag and had started to scrub and before too long the counter was clean and even the crumb trays on the toaster had been wiped to a shimmering shine.

She talked and I talked back. We talked about school, how she finished her homework in her gym class because she can’t participate because of her knees, we talked about boys and “ships” and girls and their “ships” and all of that stuff. She showed me a few videos of what she found fun today and talked about her best friend not using his phone today while on the school bus so he could actually talk to him.

Yeah, I was present. I was present for the moments that make memories. I don’t want to be remembered for napping all the time and for being on my computer when I am conscious. I want to be present. I want to be the one that the kids talk to while dinner is being prepared. I want to help with their homework and learn about their interests.

It fascinates me that social media has given us this amazing gateway to be connected and yet we are excruciatingly disconnected from the ones that mean the most. I am not one who has their phone in their hand or beside them at all times. I don’t even have a phone. But, that’s not the point. I have spent so much time being depressed and hiding out, hiding behind the screen and fostering relationships with people I will likely never meet that I am guilty of neglecting the ones who sit right in front of me.

And while Jesus was The Gift, the ultimate Present. It was his presence that gave us redeeming grace. What would Jesus do? He would sit in the kitchen and talk over chores or leave the chores to wait. He wouldn’t say the internet is bad, but he would likely say real life is better.

Blessed be the name of the Lord!

Jan 202016
 

Standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes while my girl reads to me the lost chapter she is writing for The Giver for her English class and I can’t help but think how much like me she really is. Only, this sweet child doesn’t know how to type very well and is growing increasingly frustrated because her typing isn’t able to stay caught up to the story in her head, giving her a case of writers’ block, which, I am definitely familiar with. I put the last dish to dry and wiped my hands and went and sat beside her at the table and read what she had, her paragraph cut short mid-way through and her having no clue where she was going with that thought because typing had hindered her.

I lean in close and she pushes her computer over to me and the story springs back to life, only this time my fingers are the ones bouncing up and down off the keys and she says to me with a bit of amazement in her voice “how do you type like that?” and she leans down real close with her face nearly on the table and her eyes staring horizontal across my fingers as they tap away and she watches me type, like she had never seen me do it in the 13 years she has walked this jagged line.

Within a few minutes her story is complete and she is proof-reading it, looking for spelling and grammar mistakes before I transfer it to my computer where software will do that. She edited away like she had done it a thousand times and deleted the odd sentence or paragraph that didn’t really make much sense and then I transferred it over to my laptop for a run through the software and to print.

I have been doing a lot of dishes lately. Yeah I know, I am a mom and that’s what we all say. But really, my mom normally does the washing up but I have been doing it the past month or so. There are a couple of reasons, one being that I really hate having dirty dishes in the sink and beggars can’t be choosers… I absolutely hate having to clean the sink to grab a glass of water or to fill the kettle but a family of five does that to you, even with a dishwasher, so I have been purposing to stay on top of the dishes just so I can save my sanity.

But you see something happened when I started doing the dishes. The girl child, she started sitting at the table while I do them. She comes out of her room and sits and chats, about everything and anything and that is the BEST REASON EVER to do dishes! She puts things away for me too which is also helpful, but praise the Good Lord for the 20 minutes a few times a day that she comes out and is simply with me. I enjoy our time together. I had no clue that we would grow our relationship over dirty dishes. Had I known, I would have started doing them more often a long time ago!

I am definitely a mom in the minority when it comes to having her kids do chores. They don’t have any designated chores. Why? Because they go to school from 8-4 and have homework when they get in and I don’t work outside the home and I would rather my children go to bed at a decent hour and worry less about chores and more about getting a good education, focusing on their grades. They help when they are asked and they often offer, which is fun because I get to see where they really enjoy doing things and where they don’t.

If my kids had chores I wouldn’t know that my son likes to work outside with my dad, especially when it comes to working on the tractor or anything with tools. I wouldn’t know that my daughter likes to cook, especially for me, and that she has a servants’ heart and takes great care in the things she prepares and how they look and taste, because once it becomes a chore, we treat it like a chore and school is a big enough chore for them right now and I absolutely love seeing what they have created or found while doing what they truly enjoy.

FYI my daughter is a bit OCD and does her own laundry on weekends and puts it away. Her bed is either completely unmade without a bottom sheet or made to the point you are scared to wrinkle it. My son is not a clean freak and is quite messy. He needs help cleaning his room and getting those types of things done because he has no clue how to even start, but if you say a wall needs built he’s in there like a dirty old sock (is that still a saying?) ready to help out!

I am so blessed to see some of the Proverbs 31 woman come out in me and to be able to, prayerfully, be a good influence to my children.

My daughter said tonight that her favorite song is inappropriate and my response was “sin is often easier, but it isn’t better.” I left her to think on that. Maybe we all need to think on that.

Jan 172016
 

Sitting at the dining table reading old Robert Munsch books with my daughter who is 13 and laughing at how silly the stories really are and enjoying the moments and having fun with crazy voices and her reading to me like she was 3 again instead of a young lady who found some old books while cleaning her room without needing to be asked.

I realize how much I miss her. I mean, I see her everyday. I see both the kids everyday, after all, I am their mom and we do live together, but we also live with my parents and in a lot of ways I often feel robbed of being “mom” so when these days come they are bittersweet, reminding me of the past and of what I am missing out on in the daily because we really are a family of five with 3 adults instead of a mama and her two kids.

It really is in the mundane that I find the most joy. So many people think I am boring. Maybe I am. No, I definitely am. The highlight of my day today was battling the cupboard to fit the mixing bowls in because my mom seems to be addicted to them and has like 30. It was mixing bowl Tetris here and when I couldn’t figure it out my daughter climbed up on the chair and took on the challenge until those bowls fit, and we laughed.

We laughed while I was on the floor cleaning behind the toilet. We laughed while dishes were being done. We laughed while eating dinner that my brother lovingly bought and brought over to us in the minus 40 cold. We laughed while sweeping when the pile got dropped after meticulously getting it all into the dust pan. We giggled while watching movies past bedtime and found that there simply is NO cupcake emoticon to be found, and my daughter pointed out that if you put a cup and a slice of cake together you get a cupcake.

So maybe, life isn’t perfect. No actually it definitely isn’t perfect. BUT, it is glorious and exactly how it should be. God is amazing and His presence is always known. I could have counted 1000 things today to add to my Joy Dare, my One Thousand Gifts.

I am blessed to be a mama. Blessed to have a bathroom to clean, laundry to do, dishes in the sink, too many bowls, and love beyond measure. Even that dog who talks back and argues over his need for a bone is a blessing that must be counted.

I am grateful for today, yesterday and for whatever tomorrow brings. And, when things need a little bit of color we have a purple vacuum upstairs and a pink one down, because life should be fun, regardless of what we are actually doing! God is good everyday and everyday God is good!!

Jan 072016
 

We have a lot of firsts in life and we don’t even realize it until we are thinking back. It’s amazing how our memories work, especially once you’re a mama. A ton of firsts that bring you so much joy and worry. The kids went back to school this week and my daughter has been falling asleep after getting home. I have been doing her hair while she is half conscious and her not remembering in the morning. It cracks me up and even though she is 13 this is a first for her. I suppose she partied too hard on her break and by party I mean she stayed up way too late chatting (I have no clue where she may have got that from).

She does a lot of the cooking now which is nice and we get to spend more time together in the kitchen. It reminds me of when she was a toddler standing on a chair to help me, only now I am often sitting in a chair while she does her thing and we talk. First boyfriends, first breakups, first real love for music, a ton of firsts this year and it in a lot of ways breaks my heart that she is maturing so quickly before my eyes. She will be traveling to Toronto for her school trip just before her 14th birthday and I am thinking to myself “does she even know how to cross the road and look without me reminding her?”

I am definitely NOT a helicopter mom but we live on 90 acres and she doesn’t do a whole lot of road crossing, she has never even been to a city so the Toronto thing has me anxious even though I went on the same trip at the same age. Somehow I was more mature than she is back then, right?

I suppose in the next week I will have to go out for the first time since December 23rd and pick up some groceries because we are seriously running low on everything. Tonight was a choice of boxed mac and cheese and soup, naturally we went for the mac and cheese, while my son had a sandwich that he announced did not have enough lettuce and then proceeded to add about two inches of the leafy green. Cracks me up to see him all over vegetables when it was like a minute ago that I was bribing him to eat.

A ton of firsts on this mama’s heart as we enter the new year and I am excited to experience even more! I think we forget once our child learns to talk and walk and eat that there are a billion firsts yet to come. I am happily surprised every day, though, I must admit, I would prefer if they slowed down on the aging thing!

Dec 112015
 

Yeah my mom has some flaws, but you know what, as her child I see right through them all or maybe it is because the good outweighs those negative little things. She is beautiful and takes great care of herself, she cares for me and my children and even took my kids and raised them as her own when I found myself a teen mom leaving an abusive relationship. Now we all live together as a family of five and it definitely has it’s challenges like that one bathroom thing we have going on!

Yet every night she puts dinner on the table and every day she gets up and puts the kids on the bus for school. She takes care of my daughter’s dog who is hooked to her when my daughter goes to school, she spends money on clothing and school supplies and a billion things more and she doesn’t have to do any of that but because she is a mom she embraces it all and raises little stink.

She is an awesome wife to my dad and they have a stay at home date night each weekend and always have which is so sweet. They poor a glass of wine and watch TV together and chat and don’t let anyone else come in and interrupt them, it clearly keeps the relationship alive.

We grocery shop together each week and have that girl time hanging out and chatting about life. She has been an inspiration to me and is so precious to me. I see so many ladies online who are my age or so and their parents are struggling with health and even passing and I feel so blessed to have parents who are relatively young in comparison. Both being in their 50’s gives them the energy to keep up and to keep them relatable.

This whole entire family journey has been insane but my mom has been my rock through it all, even when I was covered in darkness to the point I couldn’t see God she would remind me why I needed to live and who I needed to live for.

Maybe she will read this, maybe she won’t but I thought it was worth writing about the beautiful woman sitting across from me right now, as she cuddles the Buddy-dog!

Looking for a gift for a mother in your life? Maybe for yourself?

This is the best book I have read about being a mom because Lisa-Jo is raw and honest and isn’t trying to glamourize a thing!

Surprised by Motherhood

A lawyer with a well-stamped passport and a passion for human rights, Lisa-Jo Baker never wanted to be a mom. And then she had kids. Having lost her own mother to cancer as a teenager, Lisa-Jo felt lost on her journey to womanhood and wholly unprepared to raise children.

Surprised by Motherhood is Lisa-Jo’s story of becoming and being a mom, and in the process, discovering that all the “what to expect” and “how to” books in the world can never truly prepare you for the sheer exhilaration, joy, and terrifying love that accompanies motherhood.

Set partly in South Africa and partly in the US (with a slight detour to Ukraine along the way), Surprised by Motherhood is a poignant memoir of one woman’s dawning realization that being a mom isn’t about being perfect―it’s about being present.


Dec 092015
 

You ever have one of those weeks that feels sooo long and then you realize it is only Wednesday and you have 2 days plus the weekend to get through!? Yeah, that’s me right now.

Grace…

The weather here has been amazing, seriously above freezing all winter so far which is a far cry from our near minus 40 wind-chills that are the Canadian normal. Today, I actually wore a denim jacket with a tee and I have only had to wear my leggings a few times under my skirt. Also, driving is sooo weird because in the winter I am used to snow packed roads and ice that I naturally drive slower. In the summer months I use cruise control so I don’t speed but I never use it in the winter because of the risk of ice so I feel like I am flying!!!

Monday was a nice day. I was able to play a bit of Bible study catch up. I decided to begin reading through the Bible chronologically through Bible Gateway this month and it has been fun and wonderful and a little insane. You see, I decided to start it now instead of in the new year because this is the busiest time of the year with kids and school and shopping and baking and cooking and simply adulting. Whew, that alone made me tired!! BUT I figured if I can stay on track while being uber busy then there is no reason why I can’t continue when life slows down.
No excuses!!

But the past two days have been insane. Yesterday started out with grocery shopping and picking up some Christmas presents. Going easy on the Christmas presents this year as the budget simply doesn’t allow for too much, and frankly, I am tired of the kids acting like we live in a disposable world where money grows on trees. This is Canada, our money is PLASTIC!!

Got home shortly after 1pm yesterday and was carrying things in when the phone rang and the caller ID said it was the Pope AKA school. I swiftly answered and the school principal was on the other line and seemed to be upset. Never a good thing.

She told me my son was okay. Also not the best way to start a conversation but you know how it goes, especially if you’re a boy mom!

I had to rush to the school and pick up my not so little man who had taken the stick of a slap shot to the eye while playing hockey with his friends. He was literally covered in blood and they had his head wrapped in gauze and he looked like a bloody pirate who had just been to war. It made me laugh and for some reason sort of reminded me of ninja turtles. Maybe this is because I am CPR trained to a fairly high level and I knew that because his vision was okay and that he didn’t lose consciousness that he was most likely alright.

We went to the hospital just to be safe and amazingly, or maybe miraculously, we were in and out within an hour! He needed two stitches but another doctor who had seen the chart was excited to see what a slap shot to the eye looked like and popped in before the stitches were done and announced that he would like to try glue. After hearing the two different doctors speaking rather heated in the hallway about potentially gluing his eye shut I knew we were getting glue which is always the best choice when possible because it tends to leave a much smaller scar (and seals the wound so it stays sterile!)

My boy got glued up and then some tape for added measure and we came home and washed those bloody clothes and I sent him to lay down because he was starting to swell.

He was fine, extremely super mild concussion diagnosed for precautionary reasons since it was impact to the head even though he has no symptoms.

Is it Friday YET?

Today, Wednesday, I woke up to pain. My back was on fire and I felt like a wishbone being eagerly torn apart in my lower back. My head was pounding and let’s be real, I felt like I had a hangover except I didn’t go to the party.

Paced around a lot and switched positions a billion times before having to get dressed and go get my daughter from school to bring to the dentist. Somehow in my pain this sweet child of mine managed to talk me into giving her 50 dollars so she can buy a new used phone from a friend. If 50 dollars would make the nagging stop for my poor head it was a great price. Plus, she offered to make dinner which was a complete bonus.

So, now this mama is feeling tired and it’s only 7pm. I haven’t even had a shower yet today and my head is seriously going to explode. Perhaps this is what happens as we age, we get migraines because all that knowledge makes our brains grow or something… Sounds scientific if I use words like cerebral cortex and neural, right?

And then reality smacks me in the face and I realize that it really is only Wednesday and that tomorrow my son has a presentation at school that I have to attend and I still need to pick up some things for the stockings while all I want to do is hibernate and enjoy my green grassed-winter.

So, for now I am going to jump off of here and over to Bible Gateway so I can read some scripture, pull out my Bible so I can highlight and take notes and chill out with God, because He has this.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
~John 15:5,8~

On the hunt for a book for moms of boys? Praying for Boys by MOBS co-founder Brooke McGlothlin has been with me since I was a part of its launch team a year or two ago. A great gift for any mom or mom to be and especially great for a mom of boys!

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