When it feels bad.

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus!

Why is my child crying? Because she wanted to get in the pool. And then she didn't anymore.
Why is my child crying? Because she wanted to get in the pool. And then she didn’t anymore.

Sometimes, I have a day that just goes wrong. The kids wake up WAY too early. I don’t have a minute to drink my coffee before it’s cold. J throws more of his breakfast on the floor than in his mouth. EK fights me putting on shoes for preschool (she wants the too-big dress-up ones). J goes down for his nap late, so I’m late picking EK up from preschool. No one wants the lunch I fixed for them. Hubby forgot to tell me he had plans all evening. Y’all know how it is. You feel like you’re trying, trying hard, at that. But then the more you try to fix things, the worse they get. Finally, you explode. Or you have a breakdown. Or both.

How about a few cliches you don’t want to hear: Don’t sweat the small stuff. You’ll look back on this and laugh. It always seems worse when you’re in the thick of it. Well, those don’t make anyone feel better. Why is it we always wait to ask for help till things are really bad? Why don’t I pray at the first sign of the day going awry, and ask for a change of heart?

Sometimes my pride, my desire for control in a situation prevents me from asking even the One who can help me most. I want to feel like I’m a great mom, so I try to do all the things myself. All. Of. The. Things. And then, when my healthy, baby-friendly muffins burn in the oven, my kids won’t go down for their naps, I miss my work out and we eat fast food for dinner, I feel like a failure. Not just any failure, an enormous failure, as a mom, as a wife, as the shadow of a normally happy, healthy, productive woman.

I forget to think about what went right. For instance, my kids are fed, clean and clothed, they’ve gotten to play and snuggle, and they’ve been loved on. Hubby came home safely, and kissed me when he walked in the door. I didn’t burn the house down and I even took a shower (am I right?!) so the day wasn’t a total waste.

Sometimes I also forget to give credit where it’s due, to thank Jesus for my family, our full (of chicken nuggets) bellies and smiling (from ridiculous exhaustion) faces, our home (a complete mess because we are so blessed with toys and time to play with them) and our love for each other. So I’ve made a resolution. Each day, I will give as many thanks as possible. I will intentionally thank the Lord for every single thing I can think of as I think of it. I will pray these things without ceasing. Gratitude can change a hard heart (guilty), change a sharp tongue (guilty again), and change an entire outlook from dim to bright. I will learn to rest in the gratitude for each blessing in my life. I will let my heart be changed.

I hope they are friends.

There are so many directions I could go when I talk about siblings, but I’ll start here: I’m already worried my kids won’t get along.

Actually, let’s not say worried so much as it’s already on my mind. What’s the key to your kids getting along? I know from experience it doesn’t just happen. Here’s the short version of my relationship with my brother: We’re almost 7 years apart, so I remember being an only child. He was cute as a baby, but started bugging me about the time he learned to walk (he followed me around because I was his favorite), and then didn’t stop it for… a long time. We were never in the same stage of life until he was in high school or so. Now that we are both adults, we get along much better, but still argue over stupid stuff sometimes – you know, like who knows more Harry Potter trivia and why it think it’s ridiculous that he would want a CAT of all things. I talk to him on the phone every few days, see him every couple of months, and truly enjoy his company. But did our parents somehow pull us out of the stage in which we just annoyed each other and magically thrust us into mutual appreciation of the other?

Braces and bowl cuts.
Braces and bowl cuts.

On the other hand, Hubby and his brothers have always been close. He says they fought about stuff, but it was only for a few minutes and they would be back to playing and snuggling again (thoughts on those Hsu boys acting like puppies here).

As for my kids, it seems that right now is the stage of J annoying EK ALL OF THE TIME. All he wants to do is be near her, play alongside her, or just watch her. Too bad all of those things make her unnecessarily frustrated. She gets to the point that if he crawls in her direction, she just screams. What is that about?! It just hurts my ears and makes J laugh all the more.

All I did was ask her to sit next to him for a picture.
All I did was ask her to sit next to him for a picture.

I hope that soon, J will catch up a little and be able to play with EK rather than just grab what she’s holding. I hope she will learn to think he’s cute and fun instead of just being jealous and annoyed when he’s in the same room. I hope the moments of giggles about weird sounds they make and laughing about messes during dinner never stop. I hope they are close when they get in school, and share friends, and help each other out. I hope they have that undeniable bond of love and support, even when they disagree with each other. I hope they can encourage each other to be better people. I hope they are friends.

Run Away – From Running?

Time for a confession. I went a week and a half without going on a run.

YIKES! WHAT DID SHE SAY?!

Yes, I’m training for a 10K that’s happening at the end of this month, and I just went 10 days without running. In my defense, the weather played a part. Also in my defense, I worked out in different ways than running. So I wasn’t a total bum. I just didn’t run.

When I finally got back to it, I got in 3 miles that first day. I might have been able to go longer, but I didn’t get out there quickly enough, and J decided after the second mile he needed a nap in his own crib, so I headed home. Side note: I’d like to thank Jesus for finally ending the weird spitting rain that lasted for days, and not raising the temperature too much. It’s been lovely!

But I am committed. Well, re-committed. I am going to kick the snot out of this 10K if it kills me (it might). I’m going to try getting that run out of the way right after breakfast each day, which might be hard, because I am always guzzling coffee, and it makes it… uncomfortable… to run right after it. So here’s to a few more weeks of ONE cup of coffee before my run, and the rest after it! If I want more coffee, I have to run for it!

running_girl_no_words_decal

And on the note of running for coffee, I sometimes run to Lowe’s Foods near my house (the one on Robinhood) if I can think of a couple of things I can grab quickly and toss in the bottom of the stroller. They’ve just done a massive upgrade (that was super annoying while it was happening) including a little coffee shop right inside the door. I have now had their brewed coffee, plain espresso, and a flavored latte (pumpkin spice, of course). All were delicious, not to mention inexpensive and served with a smile; the baristas are wonderful! So if you live close by, pop in there for a warm drink while you shop!

Find a Quiet Moment

Recently, I’ve seen, heard, and read a lot about priorities, living intentionally, and focusing on what’s most important. Also recently, I wrote a post about how I felt like my word for this season of my life is “rest” (read about that here). These posts, articles, and conversations have really gotten my mind buzzing and my heart pondering.

It’s so easy to get priorities out of whack. It’s even easier when you’re busy; if, like me, you have kids (or pets, so I’m told) to worry about, a house to keep clean, laundry to do, you know the drill. It’s hard to wake up and say, “First things first: I’m going to have some quiet time. I’m sure the kids won’t mind if they don’t get clean diapers or breakfast till I’m finished.” Or if you have to be leave for work at 7:30 like I did (when you aren’t a morning person) it’s tough to get up earlier than you absolutely have to. Sure, if you happen to score a Double Nap (see my thoughts on that here) or if you can send them to school, the first obstacle is out of the way, right? Wrong. Your to-do list is probably a mile long, no matter what your situation.

So what do you do? I don’t know. I’m figuring that out as I go. I’m reaching down deep and searching my soul – and schedule – to add some more quiet time in. On the days that I manage to squeeze it in (especially in the morning) I’m in a better mood, I respond to people with a little more patience and understanding, and my thoughts are nearer to the Word.

So in the spirit of being more intentional about my time (which I will elaborate more on later for sure), I’m adding to my thoughts on “rest” being my word. I’m including “resting” each day in a quiet time… in prayer, in the Scriptures, in His presence. I want to have a few minutes at least to rest and listen for Him. It’s my desire to provide the Holy Spirit with the opportunity to make something amazing happen. If I’m not listening, who knows what I’ll miss hearing Him say.

Currently

I love linking up with Jenna at A Mama Collective and all the other fantastic gals for the Currently series. Here goes nothin’!

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Thinking about high school. I never really reminisce like this, but my ten-year reunion was this past weekend. I saw some great people I haven’t seen in years, and partied with some good friends (and teachers!) that I don’t get to see often. On the one hand, I love seeing people in person and looking into their eyes while we catch up. On the other hand, thank goodness for social media because otherwise I’d have reverted into my awkward, high school self because I wouldn’t have known anything about anyone’s life nowadays. It was actually easier because I knew a little bit and was able to make conversation. Anyway, it was a blast. I loved reconnecting with several people I never get to see.

Listening to Kari Jobe singing “Forever” by Bethel Music. Here’s the link for my favorite video:

This song (we actually talked about in our worship team meeting last week) is a perfect example of a great worship song. Structurally, dynamically, lyrically, and just in the open-ended nature and worship opportunity that the song creates. One of my favorite things is that it all starts with a reflection on the cross. In short, I am digging it.

Thankful for Hubby. I’m always thankful for him, but I’m in a season right now of really appreciating the way he loves me well, the love he has (and shows!) for our kids, and the commitment he has to our family. He is an excellent man, folks.

Loving the fact that TV has started back up for the fall. I know that’s a silly thing, but I am so happy!

Enjoying  my new small groups. Hubby and I are a part of a community group that meets every other Sunday. Six couples, all in different stages of life, and I love it. Such fun people! I’m also in a new women’s small group on Thursday mornings. The gals I got linked with are great, different ages/walks of life, some I know and some I don’t yet. It’s already been fun, and we’ve only met twice! Yay for beginning this year full of great new relationships!

Doing life with my mama friends these past couple of months has been awesome. For instance, this morning, my friend Steph popped in for a cup of coffee after dropping her son off at preschool. We just visited, chatted and watched the kids play. I love being so close to her (geographically and as friends) that she can pop over while I’m still in my pajamas and we can just drink coffee and be.

Join the link up party! What are you up to Currently?

Your Mercies Are New Every Morning

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Fall has always felt like a new beginning for me. That’s partially because it’s been linked to the start of a new school year, but it’s also because of the change that happens. We move from hot and sunny and stifling and dry into a cooler, more pleasant few months. I don’t like frigid cold, but I appreciate the brisk, crisp fall air. I like sunny days that are also chilly. I like always having a warm drink in my biggest mug. I also like the layers and scarves and boots of my fall wardrobe. I digress.

Since it’s fall, and I am overcome with a feeling of fresh start, there’s a verse that has been on my heart recently. My women’s small group used it as their memory verse a couple of weeks ago.

Lamentations 3:22-23: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

His mercies are new every morning. How beautiful is that idea? Whatever you did yesterday, or didn’t do yesterday, you have a clean slate each morning. Bring your messes to The Lord and be redeemed, because He is bigger than your mess.

As an (extremely) imperfect woman, wife, mother, and friend, I find great joy in knowing that He has overcome my sins and my failures. His plan for me is bigger and better than the lunch date I forgot about, the laundry I didn’t do, and the unkind words I have spoken to Hubby. In I Peter we are reminded to love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. I am thankful for a Father who loves me deeply and perfectly. I am thankful for perfect example of love to serve as a model for the love that I should give to others.

One Word To Breathe

I got this idea from Sasha over at MomLife Now. (I love her blog!!) She asked if you had one word to breathe – to breathe in and breathe out all day long – what would it be? Hers was “content”. I think I can relate, and my word (my interpretation of it anyway) is similar. After a few minutes’ thought, I decided on “rest”.

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I feel like my life can get so crazy. It can be busy even when by all accounts it shouldn’t be. I can really get bogged down by the everyday stuff that doesn’t matter in the long run. I am often easily frustrated and not so easily soothed. So the word “rest” has so much meaning for me.

Rest obviously has its physical connotations. But I also believe the thought should be applied to every aspect of your life. For me, in this moment, I do want to remember to rest physically. But I also need to rest spiritually in the place where the Lord has me. I need to rest at this moment in my kids’ lives, and appreciate the stages they are in currently (however much I wish they’d go back a little or forward a little). I need to rest in the openness of my schedule and my moments that aren’t contracted out to anyone else’s to-do list.

Wherever you are in life, whatever stage you’re in, job you go to, relationship you value, rest in it. Rest in that place and time with those people. Find a moment to calm your mind, and rest in it. Where is it that you’re resting right now?

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