Monday, November 23, 2009

Incompatibility

My husband and I have decided that we are totally incompatible. When we really think about it, we wonder what it was that actually brought us together. The world would have told us that we wouldn't make it. Actually, many people didn't think it was a good idea for us to get married. After all, I was only 18.

So, what is it that has kept us together? I mean really... he is the total definition of a geek (and proud of it). (For Rod's birthday I had a lapse of judgment and bought him his long-coveted velcro shoes. It's not bad enough that he's seven years older than me. Now he reminds me of his grandpa!) I may not be Ms. Popularity, but I was able to at least hang with the popular crowd at times. He enjoys the history channel and science fiction. I enjoy a good romance and a lot of reality. Rod is a task-oriented person. He has to be intentional to think about the relationships involved. I am relationship oriented. If there is a relationship to focus on, the task on hand can wait. Give Rod a quiet evening at home and he'll thrive. Give me a group of friends to have quality time with and my tank is full. He could stay up all night while I'm an early to bed early to rise person. So, why exactly are we together?

Here's one thing I know. When I was dating Rod, I remember that we could talk about anything for long periods of time. We had fun doing whatever it was that we were doing. Rod is so light-hearted that he knows how to enjoy the moment. And it's always good clean fun. Of course, now he attempts to have fun and I just give him an evil glare. And if he really pushes it, watch out - there's a schedule to be kept and someone has to be the responsible one (that would be me).

The main thing that attracted me to Rod and still makes my heart overflow with love for him after all these years is that He is a man who loves God and desires to live his life according to God's rules. He puts God first. I'm second on the list and the girls follow in line. He also knows people are important and steps out of his comfort zone to form relationships. I have never known a man to desire to live for God more. I am totally turned on by this man who's heart is after God.

My husband and I are a good team. He knows me and loves me despite my flaws, he encourages to be myself and become more of the person God desires me to be. He and I are in agreement on the big things and we are one when it comes to raising the kids. Where he has flaws, I have strengths. Where I am lacking, he completes me. We fill each others gaps.

There's history built over 13 plus years that can never be traded in. I love that he is willing to work through our problems. He doesn't pretend they don't exist and in the beginning of our marriage when I was overly selfish and immature, he loved me despite it all and begged to God for the change we desperately needed.

There is so much I could say about my husband but it all ends in this: God gave me a gift and I am forever grateful. I could have never dreamed life would be what it is today simply because I married this man.

Lord, thank you for my husband. Thank you for the life we share together and the three little girls you've created from the two of us. Thank you for the love you've built between us. I am so anxious to see what the future holds for us. Bless him for desiring to follow you. Thank you for knowing what I needed long before I ever did.

Rod, I love you and thank God for you constantly!

Thankful for the pain

When Rod and I were away for our marriage conference, we decided to take advantage of the time to ourselves and do a little shopping. I know that the world has been pushing Christmas ahead of Thanksgiving for quite some time now. Because of that, I have trained myself to just ignore the Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving. What I was not prepared for was the Christmas music in so many stores and what that would do to my heart.

There were a couple of times where we had to leave the specific store we were in because my heart could not take the twisting feeling the music left me with. The holidays hold such special memories for me. My dad took time to make them special and I suppose that I connect my dad with the holidays so much because that was were he really, intentionally, made time for our family. Although he was identified as a family man, he worked long, hard hours to provide for us. Christmas was different. I suppose that's why my heart has yet to figure out the holidays without him.

I found myself in tears numerous times throughout the conference we attended. At one point, the speaker spoke of a gift his daughter had given him. It was a picture of herself as a toddler where she wrote him a letter. This sounded exactly like something I would have given to my dad for one simple reason: It would have made him cry. That was always my sign of a good gift. His tears were thanks for me.

At the end of the conference, we were to renew our vows to one another. Looking into Rod's eyes, I was already teared up. All the talk of weddings had me remembering my own and the very dear memories I hold so dear from the part my dad played in it. I did my best to renew my vows but I simply could not get out the words "in sickness and in health" through my tears. (Rod says he's in trouble should he get sick. And really, it's better than in our actual wedding ceremony when I never repeated the words where I take him to be my wedded husband. The preacher had given Rod two words at a time to repeat and expected me just to repeat the entire paragraph! That's all besides the point.)

I've come to a conclusion on my feelings for the loss of my dad. No, that doesn't mean I'm done hurting. It simply means that I'm choosing to be grateful that my dad's life is one to be missed. Many people don't leave an impact on those they've left behind. I'm thankful my dad did.

Thank you, Lord, for the pain in my heart because I lost someone I loved who loved me.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thankful intentions

There have been seasons of my life where I felt I pursued a lot of friendships. I would make phone calls, send letters, and find other ways to show my friends how much I desired their friendships. Oftentimes, I would be left frustrated that my pursuits were not acknowledged and I would assume that this meant that my friends did not desire the level of friendship I was interested in.

Today, I'm on the other end. I have a good amount of friends that are intentional in our friendship. They are the ones who place the phone call to me. I often find e-mails in my inbox just to let me know something specific and expressing thanks. Yesterday I received a card in the snail mail just letting me know my friend cared.

I'm frustrated with myself that I don't take the time for these little expressions anymore. I am constantly thinking about the fact that I should pick up the phone and arrange a get together. There are many many letters that I've written in my mind but never took the time to actually express to my friends through a letter or e-mail.

Lord, thank you for intentional friends. Thank you for the grace they offer me when I don't seem to return their friendship. Thank you that they understand this is just a season of my life. I'm struggling to find the balance and their friendships are more uplifting than they can possibly know. Bless my friends, Lord. Thank you so much for each one.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thanks for smiles

Everyone has days where they just simply don't feel like smiling. Bad things happen in this life and it can be hard to find a reason to smile. I remember a few times when I was younger, someone would tell me to smile or to "turn that frown upside down". Like life would all of a sudden be better simply because I smile. Sometimes life downright hurts and smiling is not natural.

Today I was remembering my dad and caught up in the emotion of it. I went to get Andelise out of her bed and she greeted me with a big smile. As I was smiling back at her, I thought about the power of a simple smile. It may not solve all of life's problems but it can certainly take my mind off of myself and move me out of my pity party if just simply for the moment.

Thank you, Lord, for the power of a simple smile. Thank you that my joy is not based on my circumstances. And thank you for the smiles given to me by others.

The joy of the Lord is my strength. - Nehemiah 8:10

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song. - Psalm 28:7

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Just spent

I feel spent. Reality set back in almost immediately when we got home Sunday night. Crying kids. Snotty noses. Full calendar. Lack of sleep. I am thankful that God is strong. I feel like crawling into a hole sometimes.

"We are glad whenever we are weak but You are strong; our prayer is for Your perfection." - 2 Corinthians 13:9

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Weekend to Remember

This past weekend, Rod & I took advantage of my mom's Christmas gift to us (from last year). She had given us a gift certificate for a FamilyLife Weekend to Remember marriage conference. She also paid for our hotel. (If you should ever attend a conference, it works best staying at the hotel as well.) In addition to both of these, she came to our house and stayed with the girls and took care of the dog. One of the best gifts we have ever received, hands down.

We took advantage of our time together and left Friday morning. The conference was in Arlington Heights, so we spent Friday shopping at Woodfield mall. For dinner we went to The Cheesecake Factory, of course. Friday night was the beginning of the conference. Saturday and Sunday morning we were treated to a complimentary breakfast buffet at the hotel (delicious too). The Sheraton also provided complimentary coffee, tea, water & pop for the breaks during the conference. We both agree it was the best marriage conference we've attended so far. (This is our third or fourth FamilyLife Weekend to Remember). Saturday night was left free for a required date night with your spouse and the conference ended Sunday around noon.

It's amazing how getting away from all the day-to-day responsibilities can allow you to focus on your marriage and think, in general. We both walked away with so much we want to apply to make our marriage thrive.

Thank you, Lord, for a weekend away from responsibilities which allowed Rod and I to reexamine our marriage. Help our marriage grow to be that reflection of our relationship with you which you desire. And thanks, Mom, for such a thoughtful and generous gift!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thankful for Ordinary Moments

Many mornings as Rod leaves for work, the girls will wave goodbye from the front window. I've been working on showing Ande how blowing kisses works. Before he walked out the door for work the other day, he blew Andelise a kiss. She took her hand, covered MY mouth and blew him a kiss. Too sweet.

The other night, Nikelle and I watched an American Girl movie, Chrissa. The movie is about bullying and now Nikelle is on a bullying crusade. She's even doing a family report (totally her own idea).

At Cubbies last night, Jaycie reached over and held my hand during the Bible story. I cannot tell you how much I cherished that moment. Simply because I could.

Jaycie wrote her own name on her craft last night as well. I told her the letters and she wrote them. Celebrate! It was just so cool to see her reach a milestone like that.

Last night on the way home from AWANA, I looked back at my girls to see a big smile on my baby while she kicked her legs because her big sister, Jaycie, was holding her hand. Store that one away.

Nikelle has a math facts quiz this morning. Considering the fact that I didn't work on her flashcards with her once yesterday while she was home for Veteran's Day, we did them before catching the bus. While we walked to the bus we were finishing them up. We had about five easy facts left to do as the bus pulled up. I told her to hurry (as though it were a game) and she answered them and smiled as she jumped onto the bus. I gave her the thumbs up as she pulled away.

Thank you, Lord, for ordinary moments. I often overlook cherishing these moments. Thank you for reminding me they won't last forever. I am so grateful for my girls. Thank you for blessing my life in abundance!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day 2009


Today is a day set aside to remember the sacrifices so many have and continue to make for our freedom. I am so very grateful for each and every man and woman who gives so I can live in peace and freedom.

I specifically think of Rod's cousin, Thomas, at this time. It's interesting how a personal connection to the war can put it more to the forefront of your mind. We can live day in and day out without ever thinking about the sacrifices others make for us. When it is personal, however, it is a little more difficult to ignore.

Today also reminds me of the sacrifice we so easily overlook of what Christ did on the cross. When we think of those who sacrifice for us, He is the ultimate example and the reason we have life to begin with. And yet, it's so easy to go from day to day without ever acknowledging this gift.

Lord, thank you for being our ultimate example of sacrifice. Thank you that you tell us that "greater love have no man than this: that he lay down his life for his friend". Thank you for each and every person who has sacrificed for my freedom. Help us to always remember them. To give thanks and to live a life worthy of the sacrifices made for us. Protect our soldiers. Here at home and overseas. In particular, Lord, bring Thomas home to us safely.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My stupidity

I sometimes plan a trip to the grocery store and cut out coupons only to find myself at check-out without the coupons. (It's a good day if I've remembered to bring my wallet in.)

I often leave my keys in my front door after I let myself in.

The other day I blew a stop sign in our neighborhood. (Actually, I stopped. It was just that I was already 1/2 way through the intersection.)

I invited one of Nikelle's friend's to an activity the other day. I was actually complimenting myself on what a wonderful mother I was because I remembered when Nikelle didn't. Nikelle was kind enough to remind me that the activity wasn't until the following week.

Nikelle wanted to order a t-shirt from school. I told her we would. I found the order form on the desk the other day with the due date having well passed. Ditto on her cookie orders for the school fundraiser. (Good thing I hadn't asked anyone else to place an order.)

I really believe I am losing my mind. Things I never had patience for in other people are happening to me all the time. Forgetting appointments, missing deadlines, just one stupid thing after the other.

I was really beating myself up over this the other day. I know they say women lose brain cells with the birth of each child but this is getting a bit ridiculous. I had always said that I didn't want to be one of those moms that had so many children she couldn't use her brain anymore. Hello! This is now my world. "There was an old woman who lived in a shoe. She had so many children, she didn't know what to do..." I pray Rod continues to be employed, or I will uncannily be able to relate to this lady!

The other day I identified what is really going on. It's not that I have too many children. It isn't even that my calendar is too full. The problem is that I asked God for it. I asked God and He answered my prayer. I read somewhere that Christians are supposed to be humble (probably the Bible). Now I know that asking for humility is a lot like asking for patience. God is simply making certain I know what humility is.

Thank you, Lord, for humility. I know I tend to be a proud person. When I am continually doing stupid things, it's a little difficult to be filled up with pride. Continue to humble me, Lord. It reminds me that I am not the one in control. I have no choice but to lean on you and that is a good place to be.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Uncomfortable

I am officially uncomfortable in my comfy pants. I am well aware of the fact that I eat in response to almost any emotion. For some reason, I have yet to have my brain and mouth work together. I am fed up with feeling uncomfortable and that got me thinking this morning on the treadmill.

I am unhappy with the way I look and feel in the pants I am currently wearing. They are wearing out and I know I could look better and feel better about myself. My options are to start eating healthy and exercise so that I lose some weight and fit back into the wardrobe in my closet or purchase a wardrobe in a larger size. For me, purchasing even just one pair of pants that would allow me to feel better would be an invitation to continue my unhealthy eating habits. The other option HAS to happen. I HAVE to start eating healthy and exercising again. There is no other healthy way to lose weight.

This got me thinking about all the things that make me uncomfortable. Like the treadmill I was running on this morning. I'm not necessarily comfortable at this point in my exercise routine (probably because there is nothing routine about exercise in my life right now). At the same time, the discomfort I feel while I am exercising will help me shed these unwanted pounds. The end result will be a better body.

Then I started thinking about the many upcoming activities I have to attend and how some of them just make me downright squirmy with the discomfort I feel. It could be because I have to dress up and I'm not comfortable with that. Maybe it's just the people I'll be surrounded by who create discomfort for me. Whatever the reason, there are things in this life that make me uncomfortable. Usually I respond to this with avoidance or eating. This morning, I gave it to God. I prayed for each of the situations I could think of and asked Him to give me peace and prepare me for the moment.

Discomfort is a funny thing. We don't want to feel it but it can drive us to better things - healthy eating, better body, and a relationship with God.

Thank you, Lord, for the discomfort in my life. Being uncomfortable causes me to evaluate things. Help me as I work through the discomfort and make me more like You.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Thanks in parenting November 8th

We don't get much more beautiful than the weather God gave us today!

Nikelle's school had scheduled a fall walk for this afternoon and I had the privilege of taking her. It was a short walk to the library which was followed up by listening to some stories. The outing ended with a scavenger hunt for the kids. Everyone who completed the hunt received a prize. The normal junk prizes or a certificate for a free shake at Steak 'n Shake. I, of course, attempted to encourage Nikelle to go for the shake. However, she was insistent on choosing the plastic vampire teeth. There was no hesitation in making her choice despite my effort - until we left the library.

As we were walking back to the van with some friends, Nikelle informed me that she wanted a different prize. Normally I would not have gone for this. She made her choice and we left. Today, in particular, it was out of the question! Those plastic teeth had already been in her mouth. She reasoned that she would just wash them. Needless to say, I had one very unhappy 7-year-old.

Nikelle ran up ahead and my friend encouraged her daughters to catch up with Nikelle. My normally pokey daughter was able to rummage up some speed today to keep running ahead of her friends every time they would catch up with her. Enough was enough! I caught up with her and had a discussion which resulted in a very heartless apology and a lame goodbye.

As we got into the van, I was really at a loss for how to impress upon my daughter why I was so disheartened by the situation. I already had her writing a list of 20 things she was grateful for once we got home but I just didn't have any ideas as to how I could drive home my point further.

Pulling out of the parking lot, Nikelle noticed her friends rolling down the hill. She begged for me to go back so she could play with them. I received the lovely gift of tears and sobbing the entire way home. There was even a dramatic production of overexaggeration with how "I'll never get to play there again", "I'll never have anymore fun", and "God gives me second chances".

I could continue with the story but it really isn't necessary. Today I am thankful for natural consequences. The fact that Nikelle missed out on playing with her friends was the natural consequence to her choice to be ungrateful and crabby.

Thank you, Lord, for natural consequences. Thank you that when I really don't know how to be a parent, you are always at work. Fill each of us in this house with gratitude, Lord. We have so very much. And thank you that Nikelle's list of 20 things she was thankful for was stretched to 22.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Thankful for these moments 11-7-09

Yesterday we spent some time attempting to teach Nikelle how to ride her bike. I have a feeling that this is going to be a long process. I went up and down our street with her one time and was overly frustrated right off the bat. Rod did much better on his turn with her. How exactly does one person teach another how to balance? I really don't have any idea. I just gave her the best instructions I could and attempted to encourage her. Prayed and breathed.

This morning we had a family picture taken and then spent some time walking around the mall. Pictures went well. I was fairly pleased and it was just nice to spend the time together as a family.

Zing Zang Zoom! was this afternoon as we experienced The Greatest Show on Earth. We bought circus tickets for Jaycie's birthday for our family to enjoy. My mom stayed at the house with the baby. It was so fun to watch the girls enjoy the Circus and just spend time with them where we weren't outnumbered.

Thank you, God, for family moments. I often overlook them and forget to be intentional about scheduling them in. There are few greater joys in life than the moments I share with my husband and my girls.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Thanks for investing in my child 11-6-09

Today was parent/teacher conferences. Nikelle's teacher made a point of commenting on what a sweet and caring kid my daughter is. She also had a specific story to share about the fact that Nikelle overcame a fear by petting an alligator during the cold-blooded animals unit and how impressed she was. Jaycie's teacher encouraged me that for our "3-year-old friends", Jaycie is really taking those steps to grow into the stage she should be at. I am so grateful for the people who invest in my children's lives every day/week. From their school teachers to the nursery workers at church.

Thank you, Lord, for each and every person who plays a part in my children's lives. Thank you for the time and energy they give. Most importantly, thank you for showing me that they care about my kids personally.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

An Overabundance of Thanks November 5th

The amount of laundry in this house is insane! I will spend the entire day just putting a new load in the washer, switching it to the dryer, folding the clothes and starting the process over and over again. Not to mention the fact that I still actually have to put the clothes away at some point so that we are not rummaging for clothes in the laundry baskets every morning. Yesterday as I was putting clothes away, I was once again overwhelmed with the amount of clothing we have for each girl. No wonder the laundry is never ending!

The dishes continually pile up. I will work hard to keep the kitchen clean and allow myself to relax because of it. I can honestly feel the tension leave my neck and shoulders and as I sit to enjoy my clean kitchen. That's when I realize there are dishes all over the counters again! How exactly does this happen?

It's easy to get frustrated with the amount of housework I face each day. There are always messes to pick up. I will find myself focusing on cleaning one room, happy the kids are playing nicely in another. Once I feel that satisfied feeling of a job well done, it is quickly deflated by finding the girls and realizing the hurricane has hit! I get to clean up after the kids numerous times every day.

It's difficult to remember that there are many people out there longing for warm enough clothes for the season. There is the population who longs for a nutritious meal not caring what it is served on. And there are many people who cry to God just to have one child to call their own. I need to remember that I am truly blessed.

Thank you, Lord, for an overabundance of everything. Thank you that we are not in need or even in want. Thank you that you have surrounded us with so many people who shower us with gifts. Thank you for so many clothes it doesn't matter if I skip out on doing laundry for the week. Thank you that we have ample food to eat and the dishes to eat them off of. Thank you for the blessing of three little girls to take care of, even when I am losing my mind. Thank you, Lord, that I really have no idea what it is like to be in need or in want. I am truly grateful for all of your blessings.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Thankful for my parents 11-4-09


The girls are asking me how many more days until Christmas. More than ever, I just want them to enjoy today. If we jump to Christmas we miss so much. Thanksgiving is overlooked. And yet, that honestly isn’t even my biggest problem with the question they raise.

I was dreading the start of November this year. I suppose it is partly because I am not allowed the distraction of a newborn this year. This year, the holidays are just creating heartache within me. The holidays make me think of my dad. I miss him terribly. His absence is always evident in my life. Starting with the harvest, however, there has just been a blaring reminder that he is gone.

So, what do I do with this gloomy cloud that hangs over my head? Can I just pretend everything is hunky dory? Can I choose to just ignore them? I’d probably just crawl back into bed and stay there if I didn‘t have three little girls relying on me. Rather than allow depression to take over my life, I have to find things to be thankful for. Gratitude can carry my heart a long way.

I am so blessed to have been given parents who raised me to know God at an early age. My parents gave me many childhood memories that I am able to cherish and recall with fondness. Family was a priority to my parents. And I can point out many scenarios which remind me that my parents not only loved God, they loved one another. I am grateful that I was raised with protection and innocence. I was taught a strong work ethic. I was taught that this world is not all there is. I am able to look much further than the here and now. At the same time, I was taught to enjoy the day we are given. My parents taught me so much. Most of all, how very much God loves me, how very much I was (am) loved and how important it is to love in return.

Thank you, Mom, for raising me to love God. Thank you, God, for a mom and dad who I can give thanks for. And Lord, let my dad know I’m thankful for him, too. I miss him, in particular, this time of year.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Thankful for the Sunshine 11/3/09

It seems so easy to get down and discouraged these days. There is a lot we could be negative about. So many people are sick. There is trouble all over the world. That's why November is a great month! We are reminded to give thanks. Something we should do every day but especially in November. We have an abundance to be thankful for!!

Lord, thank you so much for the sunshine. I really enjoy the rain and cloudy days as well. The sunshine these past two days has really lifted my spirit. Thank you!

Monday, November 2, 2009

November 2nd Thankful for




I love the beautiful colors of Autumn. As I look at the colorful leaves in the trees and on the ground, it reminds me that the earth is God’s canvas. I am simply amazed at the beauty God places all around us. From my beautiful little girls to the numerous colors of the changing season. I am in awe over our Creator.

Lord, thank you for opening my eyes to the beauty all around me. Thank you for giving us so much to be in awe of.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Giving Thanks - November 1st

This morning, my baby girl decided that she no longer will sit in the baby seat for the bath tub. With each day, she is deciding that she wants a little more freedom. My baby isn't a baby anymore.

For Jaycie's birthday this past month, my mom bought her a book entitled "Llama Llama misses Momma". It's a story about a little llama who goes to school and doesn't want to play because he misses his momma. Bottom line is that Llama Llama can love his Momma and school, too. After we read the book to Jaycie, she responded, "I don't miss you."

I watched out the window the other day as Nikelle got home from school. She exited the bus and stood at the corner waving to her friends until the bus pulled away. Then she turned toward the house and began to walk home. Prior to this moment, the bus had come early and I wasn't out there to meet her. She simply walked down the street by herself and let herself in with the garage code. Since then, she has informed me that she likes to get off the bus by herself unless it is raining.

When did my girls grow up so fast?

This morning I was reading through an old prayer journal of mine where I asked God for a memory that would last a lifetime. It was the Reindeer Run in December of 2006 that my dad ran with me. In that moment, I had no idea that two short months later, my dad would be diagnosed with cancer that took his life.

Thank you, Lord, for memories. Thank you that as my girls grow up as quickly as I blink, I can cherish moments in my heart from the past. Thank you that although my dad may no longer be here with me on this earth, you allowed me moments to treasure for a lifetime.