Monday, August 30, 2010

40 Reasons I love my husband on his 40th Birthday

1. Rod loves God whole-heartedly and desires to live for Him.

2. Rod has a contagious laugh.

3. Rod knows how to love selflessly.

4. Rod knows how to keep his priorities straight.

5. Rod is the best daddy in the world.

6. Rod is such a wonderful husband that I find myself praying that my girls will have husbands like their daddy one day.

7. Rod is a dedicated provider for our family.

8. Rod is a family man. He helps his mom and my mom without complaining.

9. Rod teaches me to be neighborly. He mows the lawn regularly for our next door neighbors in their time of need without batting an eye.

10. Rod has taught me to enjoy football but he is not overly consumed with sports.

11. Rod has taught me how to love a geek and be proud too.

12. Rod has taught me what it means to be a sports fan, not a fair weathered fan.

13. Rod loves science fiction and history but will gladly watch a chick flick with me.

14. Rod is my absolute favorite person to shop with. He just requires dinner or a movie be involved.

15. Rod has taught me to be responsible with money.

16. Rod has shown me that sometimes good enough is good enough.

17. Rod willingly gets carry-out so I don’t have to cook.

18. Rod works all day and sometimes at night but always does bedtime for the girls.

19. Rod is a fabulous example of a Christ-follower.

20. Rod steps up to help whenever he sees a need.

21. Rod has taught me the importance of being laid back.

22. Rod has shown me the importance of time alone.

23. Rod is full of wisdom. He is my go to man when I have questions.

24. Rod may not be the carpenter I was used to growing up with (every girls compares their husband to their daddy somehow) but he keeps our house in the condition it needs to be in.

25. Rod is actually more of an introvert, but he believes in building relationships.

26. Rod believes in me and encourages me to reach for my dreams even when I don’t believe in myself.

27. Rod is the reason I know about The Borg, JarJar Binks and Orcs.

28. Rod has taught me that what others think about me is not important.

29. Rod has taught me to enjoy the quiet.

30. Rod has taught me to enjoy bonfires while in awe of God’s creation.

31. Rod has taught me to laugh even in the midst of pain.

32. Rod is God’s tool to bring healing to my heart.

33. Rod was a huge comfort during my dad’s death. As he went through the loss of his own dad, he always comforted me by saying he couldn’t imagine losing his dad at the age my dad was.

34. Rod believes in family time – alone, with extended family and with friends.

35. Rod has the best dreams – when he isn’t grabbing my face in the middle of the night and terrifying me because of an “intruder”— it’s fun to listen to him retell them.

36. Rod enjoys family traditions – those we grew up with and forming our own.

37. Rod is the calm in our family.

38. Rod challenges me to be a better person.

39. Rod is my best friend.

40. The fact that this list could go on and on reminds me that I am blessed more than I could have ever imagined because he is mine.

Happy 40th birthday, Rod! I love you!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mom Connection Thursday, September 2nd

My daughter takes a lot of time to warm up to people. She plays the shy game and has a difficult time with trust. This is why I pay the money for her to have teenage life-guards from the local high school come to my brother’s pool and give her a half hour of one-on-one swimming lessons.

On this particular day, the lessons got pushed back from their originally scheduled time. Jaycie needed to be one of the first kids taking lessons so that I could get home in time for an appointment I had previously scheduled.

One of the usual lifeguards had a substitute. Upon seeing this, Jaycie immediately did a great job of “using her words” to inform me that she wanted to go with the lifeguard she was familiar with. When that lifeguard informed her that she should be going with the sub, Jaycie’s response should not have been a surprise to me.

I was stressed out that things were not playing out as I had expected they would. We needed to get Jaycie in the pool for her lessons right away or I would be late for my appointment. In an attempt to get her to quit yelling and cooperate, I used words that I wish I could take back.

It dawned on me a few words too late that I had the option to just go home. It was silly to pay money and force her to do lessons (which I really couldn’t do anyway), when the situation was not at all her fault.

Jaycie did end up taking lessons with the instructor she desired. My sister-in-law asked my niece to wait to have her lessons with the coveted lifeguard until after we left. Everything went smoothly from that point on.

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever be able to speak words without regretting them. I wish I could constantly use words that build up instead of tear down. That is why I am very excited to hear about The Power of a Positive Mom in our Mom's group this year.

Mom Connection is welcoming moms of every age! Women expecting their first child all the way through women who proudly claim the title of “grandma” will benefit from this year’s topics (encouragement, prayer, gratitude, relationships, examples, moral standards, love and forgiveness). We are excited to see new relationships form, mentoring relationships established and friendships expanded upon. Most importantly, we are excited to see how each of us will personally grow in our individual relationships with God. We will be meeting at Channahon Junior High School on the first Thursday of every month from 6:45-8:45 pm. A meeting for those who want to go deeper will be at Tristi Carlson’s on the third Thursday of every month.

If you are a mom in the area looking to connect, come out and join us. Contact me with any questions.

"A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands."
— Proverbs 14:1

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Another day in the Life of a Mom

My house is a complete disaster. My counters are covered. My floors are a mess. Laundry is piling up. It is overwhelming. I have a 2nd birthday party for my daughter is three days. There is a lot to do. My mind races with the responsibilities that are quickly approaching in the next few days. I do not even know where to begin.

Just as I was beginning to truly get started with all the mounting chores, my daughter (who is just shy of 5-years-old) came over to me and said, “Mommy, I like when I am down here with just me and you.” This daughter of mine is shy and has a difficult time expressing her feelings in any way outside of whining. These words are ones I will cherish. When she followed this comment up with, “I want to sit in your lap,” it didn’t take much time for me to scoop her up and sit with her on my lap as we watched her chosen movie.

I sat there with her snuggled up next to me, my mind searching. I could not recall the last memory of a moment like this. I do not take time for important moments like these often enough.

The moment is over. My daughter’s stomach started beckoning for breakfast. I hear the baby calling on the monitor and I will now start working to check items off my list.

Just another day in the life of a mom with a moment I will forever cherish in my heart.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My Mommy Mind

As a mom, I find my mind screaming for some time to think. Just some relaxing, quiet time where I can think about the next thing on my agenda and actually have brain enough to accomplish it. Caffine, sugar, sleep, exercise... I'll attempt to utilize any of these to assist me in my goal... but to no avail. Even now, as I work to sort through the spin cycle of my brain, my children are interrupting me begging for things or needing assistance. As a mom, my mind needs a break. On the other hand, it never really receives the opportunitity to work.

I'm exhausted all the time simply because my mind is on overload. I long for the moment where I am not needed to assist at mealtime, wipe any bottoms or help anyone get dressed. At the same time, I realize I will miss these moments when they are gone.

Once again, my mind is a whirlwind of activity - desiring to live in this moment but not forget about the ones to come. I work to accomplish today's to do list with my hope in the future.

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." - Matthew 11:28-30

Friday, August 13, 2010

Good Intentions or Reality

"The more people you inform of your intentions, the greater the chances those intentions will become reality." This isn't some great quote. Just something I believe.

I told myself that I would get on the treadmill Friday after dropping the girls off at my mother-in-law's. When I got home, however, I wanted to finish a book I was reading and then played around with looking into pursuing some dreams. I responded to a couple of messages from some friends informing them of how my day was playing out and that I needed to get on the treadmill. When the next moment of decision came as to what to do next, it was clear in my mind that exercise was the choice. Afterall, it is very likely once you inform friends of your intentions, they will check up on you as to your follow through.

In the Bible, Hebrews 10:24 says, "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds". 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says to, "…encourage one another and build each other up…".

I always think I come up with such brilliant thoughts until I realize they are straight from the Bible. Today I have full intentions of getting on the treadmill after church. Feel free to check up on me to see if my intentions became a reality. Having people check up on me keeps me accountable and inspires me to follow through.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

In Search of Rest

Vacation is defined as "a period of time devoted to pleasure, rest or relaxation." My husband and I set off with our three little girls (and his mom) for an extended weekend away in a search of such a time as this.

I was to meet my husband at his mom's house (a half way point from his office) to pick them both up and start out on our vacation. When the usual 25 minute trip took me almost an hour, I was determined to stay positive and hope this beginning was not indicative of the rest of our weekend away.

Our 4-hour trip to our destination went amazingly smooth. Only stopping once to use the bathroom and get dinner for the kids, the whining kept to a minimum and we got to our hotel at a decent hour. I thought to myself that I was glad I didn't get all bent out of shape with the detours and traffic that delayed my arrival to my mother-in-law's. What a fabulous start to our weekend!

We unpacked the van and assured the girls that we would swim in the morning. A full night of rest would give us all a good start to our vacation. Settling down to a movie, everyone went to sleep in hopes that this time of rest would lead to pleasure and relaxation tomorrow.

When our 8-year-old woke us up in the middle of the night to announce that her tummy hurt, I jumped out of bed informing my husband he needed to care for the now crying 23-month-old as I could not be in two places at once. Thankfully we had a two-bedroom suite and my husband and the baby were able to get back to sleep. I did my best to allow my mother-in-law and 4 1/2-year-old to sleep even though the bed they were in was right next to the bathroom.

I listened to my daughter's account of attempting to soothe herself prior to waking us up. Her belly just would not stop hurting. I filled the bathtub and encouraged her to think about floating on her back in an attempt to relax her. She complained of a headache and I gave her some Tylenol in hopes that the pain would diminish and we could both rest again. She decided she wanted to try to sleep again but wanted me with her. We laid down for a little while until she informed me her belly hurt too much again.

After conveniently placing the garbage can next to the bed "just in case", I went to grab my shoes so we could walk around the hotel. It was in that moment that I heard her belly erupt. She did her best to get it all into the garbage can (a difficult task in the dark). I knew I had a mess to clean as I ran to her and found my feet in wet carpet next to her.

Thankful that I left the bathtub filled, I got her into the bathroom and cleaned her up. I did the best I could to clean up the carpet while attempting to let the others in the room sleep. My mind was calculating the hours until morning when the maid service would be available. There wouldn't even be any assistance from the front desk until well into the morning. Once it seemed my daughter's stomach settled a bit, I asked my mother-in-law to keep an eye on her as I attempted to rid our room of the stench by getting the garbage outside.

I sat on the bathroom floor close to the ceramic bowl with my daughter. I was so thankful my mother-in-law had paid for the hotel so we weren't camping as originally planned. It was about 2 hours later my daughter's belly finally relaxed enough for her to fall asleep on the bathroom floor with her head on the pillow in the hallway.

Sitting next to my daughter, I found myself asking God to heal her little body so we could enjoy our vacation. That thought was followed up immediately with the gratitude that I have for the blessing of healthy kids. My mind went to my dad's battle with cancer and the slight glimpse I now have into what it must be like to care for a child with something that does not disappear in 24 hours or a few short days. As I still asked God for a healthy family to enjoy our weekend away, I knew this was a moment I was faced with a choice. I could succumb to worry or not. My mind wanted to determine if this was some bad food or the flu. I could not help but wonder if this was going to pass through everyone else during our vacation. How would things play out? I knew it was my choice as to whether or not I would allow my mind to worry about the future or simply give it over to God.

As I stroked my daughter's hair and watched her breathing even out, I prayed for her heart. I asked God to bring her to a point in her life where she loves Him whole-heartedly. My request of God was that she would understand that following God's laws is all in response to first loving Him which is in response to His first loving us. I prayed for her friendships and her future. As I prayed, I realized I was making my choice. I would not worry. God may not answer my prayer for the weekend full of pleasure, rest and relaxation, but God could calm my heart.

It was a moment where I met God. There in the hallway sitting next to my little girl curled up on the bathroom floor, in front of the toilet, I communed with God. As I cared for my little girl, I knew a peace of God caring for me. A peace found only in God. A peace I didn't even know I needed to be in search of.

I didn't get much sleep that night but I experienced rest for my heart. In the morning, my husband went out and got Saltines and PeptoBismol. A few hours later, we were in the pool swimming and enjoying our day.

As I woke up to thunderstorms the next morning when we were hoping to catch a parade, I knew I was faced with the choice again. It does no good to worry. And as I watched the parade with my family and later enjoyed the beach, I knew worrying would have simply been wasting a lot of precious time.