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!

Nov 202015
 


It had been a long time since I felt safe, too long, maybe even a lifetime, and then I was wrapped up in blankets on a hard mattress being checked every 20 mins through a little window on the door and all I did was sleep. It was a Friday when I went in. A Friday morning and I never felt safer because like the character, Spencer, says on Pretty Little Liars, “I feel safe here. Those bars don’t just keep you from getting out, they keep other people from getting in.”

He wouldn’t be getting in. He wouldn’t be torturing me, raping me. My thoughts were my own and I could do whatever I wanted and what I wanted was to rest. It was the Monday morning when I walked out the doors. I had slept the entire time, other than a few showers. They were worried because I wasn’t eating. I wasn’t eating because I was tired. Oh so very tired.

I never knew how much stress I had been under all of those years until the pressure was alleviated for those brief moments and honestly, I didn’t want to go home and out of my safe cocoon.

Years later and I still struggle to feel safe. I still crave those moments of reprieve that I had experienced. The weight of the world off my shoulder and no one to walk by my window to steal me in the night, no one to kill me like he has promised.

I didn’t know then that I would spiral down into an abyss that I would barely survive, I didn’t know that the god who I had believed was the reason for my abuse was the one who would reach down deep into the pits of my own hell and offer me a saving hand. I didn’t know to not be afraid of the light because the darkness was all that I knew.

Almost 11 years later and I still struggle with feeling safe. With being me. With not panicking at every dog bark or knock in the night. I have come out of hiding and I have placed my trust in the God that saves because this is the only way for me to actually have a life and I try to focus on the Word of God, the Words that tell me to not worry about tomorrow.

So each day when I feel myself falling into worry or panic or stress I have to treat myself like I am a toddler and give it back to God and if I have to do that 1000 times a day I will because if I don’t I am giving evil a foothold on my life and we all know that one step leads to the next and I would rather be making godly steps then allowing Satan to step all over me.

It will be my heel to crush his skull and not him who stomps me down.

27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
~Matthew 6:27~

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Unwrapping the Names of Jesus: An Advent Devotional by Five Minute Friday Friend Asheritah CiuCiu!! Available NOW!!

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Nov 192015
 

I didn’t just dwell on the past, I lived there, for years and years and even more years and sometimes when I am not careful to be present my mind slips right on back into the black and abusive abyss, haunting my thoughts both day and night.

There is no one way to move forward though, no way to get over the PTSD. I take meds, a LOT of meds. I have actually posted pictures of my meds on Instagram because of how disgusted I am in having to take them, but they are what allows for me to be focused enough on the present and the future that I can actually live with my past. They free me from the phantom chains and release me into the loving arms of God.

For a long time I would dwell on the fact that suicide attempts never worked and “God never wanted me back” or “God won’t even take me, nobody wants me”. Somewhere along the jagged, slippery road I have realized that He is the only One who ALWAYS wants me. ALWAYS loves me. Even at my worst. Even when I have sat there bleeding out and overdosed He breathed life into my lungs and told me it wasn’t my time and He planted seeds of purpose that the meds have allowed to finally grow!

I was raised Catholic. I always had at least a Bible or two around and I had read through it in it’s entirety several times before I was done middle school. Yet, I didn’t dwell on the words or let the Word dwell in me. I didn’t allow God’s love to flow into me even though I had accepted Him as my Lord and Saviour. I knew the words on the pages, and the pages knew me, but we had little connection.

I look back now and I see that hell on earth and I know without a doubt that had I not went through all of that I wouldn’t be where I am spiritually today. I wouldn’t be blessed to be able to say “I understand”. I wouldn’t be able to listen with an emphatic ear or pray from my heart words that bring a world of welled up tears.

I have felt like Job and even used Job 3 as a suicide note. You see how distorted the Bible can become in the mind of someone who is completely undone? Now I feel more like those who were in the lineage of Jesus, right back to Genesis –the Beginning. Where polygamy and sin ultimately led to David and from the stump of Jesse we received Jesus!! I feel like that, like all of my ugly-sin is sending out shoots and new life and growth.

I am not healed, but I am whole.

When I feel like my life is less than, I know that God will use those moments to give me a more than opportunity. Will I go down in some great book centuries old? Not likely, BUT that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t turn life around and be an example to the people I interact with and impact every day.

I will not only dwell in His home forever, but forever He will dwell in me!

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