Friday, October 29, 2010

Embarassing Moment of Grace

What is your most embarrassing moment? There usually are not too many scenarios running through my mind in answer to this question. It’s not that I don’t have embarrassing moments. I think I simply choose to wipe the moment from my memory as soon as possible.

There was the one time in grade school that I slipped on a french fry in the lunch room. A moment I am certain no one else remembers but one where I was embarrassed nonetheless. Then there was the time I was pregnant eating at a restaurant with my husband. While I had used the bathroom earlier in the visit, I decided to use the facilities one more time before we left. (After all, bathrooms are a woman’s best friend during a pregnancy.) While I thought things looked odd as I entered the bathroom, it took a good long moment of staring into the bathroom mirror before I noticed the urinals and thanked God there was no one in the men’s bathroom as I attempted to quickly and discreetly exit. That one certainly has engrained itself into my memory. Silly little mishaps you’d like to keep under your hat. Nothing comes close to the one I did this week.

I suppose it was bound to happen at some point. I’m always trying to juggle too much as I’m attempting to leave the house. Too ease the stress of getting out the door, I will get all the girls in the van, load up everything we need to go along with us for the ride and walk into the house one more time to make certain I haven’t forgot anything. I then walk out, open the garage door, get in the vehicle and leave with all three girls throwing questions (or whining) at me. Wednesday night was no different. The girls all loaded into the van. I questioned my older ones as to whether or not they had all their belongings that were needed for the evening. I made certain to have diapers, wipes and all the necessary equipment for my 2-year-old. As I made one last trip into the house before leaving, I shot up a prayer for God to help me remember everything I needed. Grabbing my shoes, I opened the garage door and hopped into the van. My 5-year-old was informing me how her belly was thirsty as I was backing out and CRUNCH!

I still close my eyes in disbelief. I probably should have clarified that prayer to God to help me remember EVERYTHING. While I certainly did open the garage door, I opened the door on my husband’s side - not mine. I backed up right into the garage door. Fabulous. Downright stupid. Who does that? (Actually, I’m finding more people than one would realize which is comforting to a point.)

I’m grateful in this moment that I did not yell at my middle child for asking questions while I was trying to drive or blame my oldest for dawdling up until that point. I didn’t lose it with my 2-year-old because of her whining and crying (which I’m not even 100% certain she was doing at that moment). Point is, God kept me from permanently memorializing this moment with fire from my tongue. That is a HUGE victory.

I’m grateful for my husband’s response and I am working to replay it over and over in my mind in attempts to better my reactions to him in mindless situations of much less magnitude on his part. (I’m also hoping it will just naturally play back before he can rightfully pull it out of his back pocket, too, of course. After all, that is where he told me he is putting this moment.) His response was, “I know you are stressed out.” He was willing to miss his geek meeting to come home (thankfully, he didn’t need to). He brought me comfort by informing me this was something insurance should cover. He didn’t respond in any way, shape or form, the way I would have should the tables have been turned.

My husband extended grace. He did not yell at me or remind me of how he was going to have to miss a meeting to help me with my stupidity. He offered complete and total grace. Unmerited. Undeserved. He gave me a little piece of God. That’s why I love this man. He allows God to flow through him. I have so much to learn from him and so much to learn from God. I have a long way to go to reflect this love and grace. Each day I’m learning. Each day I am forever grateful. And today, I am a little more humble as well.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Soup for my Soul

Today I literally experienced "Chicken Soup for the Soul". A dear friend, knowing that I've been battling a sinus infection, surprised me with a bowl of soup (along with a yummy roll) and tea from Panera. While this truly was refreshing to my throat and stuffy head, it was most refreshing to my soul.

This unexpected act of kindness reminded me of the gift from another friend who stopped by last week with a piece of pie and card just to remind me that I have a support system surrounding me. Another friend gives me phone calls and another sends reminders on Facebook that I am receiving thoughts and prayers.

These past couple of weeks have been exhausting with nonstop commitments, a husband working tiresome overtime and a bug that leaves my head in the clouds. Friends and family stepped up to fill my husband's shoes as he worked through most of Jaycie's birthday party. My mom shows up weekly to give me a day "off" and I always know help is just a phone call away.

Dear friends and family, I may not be wonderful these days at saying "thank you" but I am grateful to have all of you in my life. We will soon be entering a month set aside for gratitude. You are high on that list. Thank you for all that you do.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Happy 5th Birthday, Jaycie Mariah!

5 years ago, my husband was traveling about 90% of the time for work. He would often leave on a Sunday afternoon or Monday morning only to return on a Friday night or Saturday morning. It was a rough season of life that we persevered through. During this season, our daughter, Jaycie Mariah, was born. We’ve been through the deaths of our dads since that time and trudged through a lot of darkness. Jaycie has filled our lives with much joy and gives us one more reason to wake up each morning and face this world.

Jaycie is our inquisitive one. She asks question after question after question. The questions don’t stop until she has an answer that satisfies her curiosity. I have decided that Jaycie’s lack of verbal communication with others is due to this analytical brain of hers. Her brain is simply too busy working in the thought department to cooperate with her tongue. We have seen progress over this past year, however. When she is greeted, we have established a bare minimum of a wave to acknowledge the greeting and she has risen to the occasion. Ditto on the farewell. We’re currently working on thank you.

Jaycie just needs a moment to process her thoughts. She takes a bit of time to warm up in situations and we often find ourselves needing to steal hugs and give her encouragement to warm up. We try to talk to her about how things are going to play out before she is put in the situation. We are learning that one-on-one time with Jaycie is priceless and we are working to fit that more into our schedules.

Jaycie loves princesses. We have watched Princess and the Frog more times this year than I can count. Tinkerbell and Peter Pan have been high on that list as well. She loves matching/memory games, puzzles and computer time. She enjoys playing with her big sister, making crafts and reading stories. Jaycie enjoys jumping, running and swinging. Jaycie can swing for hours. She is really quite skilled at pumping those legs. She enjoys having tea parties and playing house.

One can often find our daughter helping in the kitchen. If she is not helping me with the baking or cooking, she is watching to learn how everything works. She loves to help load and unload the dishwasher and enjoys being given any responsibilities that help her feel important.

Weekend trips are highly anticipated by our daughter and our recent trip to Starved Rock with Rod’s family took Jaycie from being somewhat of a mute at preschool to a “Chatty Cathy”. Jaycie likes to have sleepovers with her Grandma and her Grams. She has fun playing with all of her cousins and can actually get quite loud when she is excited. While Jaycie is uncertain in different situations, once she warms up and finds her comfort zone, she is quite the character.

Our 5-year-old little girl loves to scream an ear piercing squeal at the top of her lungs when she is having fun. It is quite unsettling when we are having a conversation but this is the other side of Jaycie. She is full of life. She enjoys being silly and informed me the other day that the reason she likes her boy cousins is because “boy cousins are so silly”. Since Jaycie was a little girl, her expressions were of a wide variety. There may be the makings of an actress in this little girl because she has worked those facial expressions to her advantage. Jaycie loves to tell jokes such as “Why did the chicken cross the road? Because it wanted to be red.” She loves to laugh and connects quickly with anyone that can assist her in this endeavor.

I truly look forward to getting to know Jaycie better and better each year. She is one of the greatest gifts given to me by God.

My Dearest Jaycie,

This year, in particular, I want you to know how very much your daddy loves you. It broke him to have to travel so much when you were little. This weekend he had to go in to the office on your birthday (one of the very things he wanted to avoid by taking this job). He skipped church in hopes that he wouldn’t have to miss your party. When his boss told him he had to put in more hours which would mean working through your party, your daddy persuaded his boss to allow him to get home to celebrate with you. He came home to be with you on your birthday. He was here to sing your birthday song and watch you blow out your candles. He was here to see you open presents. You were surrounded with blessing upon blessing of friends and family as we celebrated your birthday today but nothing was as special as your daddy’s presence. I know it broke him again today that he could not share your entire special day at home with you. You have a daddy that sacrifices himself daily for you, Jay. Day in and day out he goes to work to provide for you. After putting in many long hours each day, he comes home to have dinner with us and reads you a story and prays with you every night. A daddy like yours is a rare treasure. I pray you will find security in this love. Even more so, I pray you will know the security found in God’s love. Our love will never compare with the love God has for you. Our sacrifices are small in comparison to the sacrifice Christ made for you on the cross. Happy 5th Birthday, JayJay. You do our hearts good.



Saturday, October 16, 2010

Extended Grace

Another good post today over at Chatting at the Sky. It's a reminder to me that I need to be plugged in to The Power Source. I can't go every day without fuel. It's just another way that He is reminding me to keep my eyes on Him. Everything else is just not quite as important. I'm working on keeping things in perspective these days. It makes it a little easier to extend and accept grace. This post is a good reminder where I should always start.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


This post at Remodeling this Life was inspiration to me today.

My friend tell me I am too hard on myself. I am always looking at where I strive to be and seeing how short I fall. It is difficult not to get discouraged and throw in the towel all together. Whether it is weight loss, exercise, motherhood or the pursuit of my dreams. I need to remember what Emily says in her post: "I aim for being better than yesterday, not as good as tomorrow."

Friday, October 8, 2010


This comes from a blog entitled Chatting at the Sky. I just happened to start reading this blog and found God speaking to me in this:

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” - 2 Corinthians 5:17

Either it’s true, or it isn’t. And if it isn’t, then by all means, carry on. But if you believe it’s true, then you have every freedom to walk that way. It may not be easy and it may not come quick. But do not say that new is impossible. New things have come, indeed. What is keeping you from embracing them?

It always comes down to this: does my life match the lip service I give?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Forget it follow up

I went downstairs to face the smelly (possibly rust stained) laundry sitting in my washer. What I found made me fall in love with my husband all over again: piles of folded laundry and an empty washing machine!!! I do not believe that my love language is acts of service but this one starts my day off just right. Sometimes we stress because we are unwilling to face the problem. I did not want to put my focus on the laundry and truly was dreading what the consequences would be of my procrastination. Tackling the problem was a reminder of one of my many blessings.

And yes, mom, I did call him to tell him how much I appreciate him and love him.

Forget it

I have had no idea what day it is any day this week.

I lost my debit card. (My mom found it in my van.)

I've had a few emotional and mental breakdowns this week.

Exercise is foreign to me.

Healthy eating has been far from my mind.

Every moring, I wonder who was in my house messing it up during the night.

There has been a load of laundry sitting in my washer for two days now.

Whites - I hope the clothes aren't ruined.

5-year-olds are coming to celebrate my daughter's birthday next week.

I am not prepared.

I can't seem to learn the word "no".

I'm very angry... mainly at myself.

I told my daughter to "shut up" yesterday.

Stellar moment.

The hardest thing in life sometimes is simply to forgive myself.

I am attempting to live in light of grace despite my blaring failures.

"I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us." - Philippians 3:13-14

Friday, October 1, 2010

Creating Margins for Unscheduled Interruptions

I heard Jill Savage speak last weekend about leaving margin in your life. She opened a book to explain that it is the margins that allow us to read the words on the paper clearly and stress free.


I found myself wishing I had allowed some margin in my life this week. I really had thought I started to be intentional in this area. This week only emphasize how little I have changed. I have left no room for exercise or meal planning let alone thinking or resting. I certainly did not leave any room for the disturbances that came into play. I was at the end of my rope.

Earlier this week, my daughter attended an after school program for the first time where transportation home was to be provided. While I had just enjoyed a day with her at the Chicago Children’s Museum on her class field trip, I left her at school to attend “Camp Fitness” and was home in time to meet her at her appointed drop off time on the bus route. Knowing this was the first day of the bus route, my friend and I waited a good 15-20 minutes before contacting one another for assurance that both of our daughters were still together on the bus. As time continued to creep by without any sign of our children, I attempted to contact the school and the bus company. I was informed that “there was a hysterical child on the bus” they were attempting to deal with and the bus was running late but was assured that the driver was on his way again. Needless to say, as 40, 50 and 60 minutes rolled by without any sign of my daughter, tension began to rise. I was on the phone apologizing ahead of time for my tone of voice to the bus company as I cried that I wanted my daughter home and my nerves got the best of me just as her bus pulled up.

My daughter was thankfully oblivious to the depth of her tardiness. I struggled with giving the benefit of the doubt to the bus driver. And finding the positive twist in this scenario was next to impossible for me. My entire day was thrown off but the important thing was that my daughter was home safely.

It does something to you when you rely on complete strangers to transport your child to and from school. Ultimately, I know I am trusting God but there is some level of responsibility involved as a mother on my part. That responsibility found me on the phone the next day with my daughter’s school as well as the District’s transportation department. I found myself uneasy with agreeing to allow my daughter to take the bus again for the after school program but was pleased with the attention I was given from both offices.

This one fiasco in my day threw off my entire week. The amount of energy, emotion and brain power it took from me was not allotted in my week. I was drained and found myself only beginning to feel better after my daughter returned home safely today once again (late, but not nearly as disturbing). She was put on a different bus route and this bus driver actually apologized and attempted to explain to me the situation when she dropped my daughter off only 20 minutes late.

I am appreciative to each and every adult who invests in my daughter’s life each day. It was comforting to have my mom here already helping with the little ones so my focus could be on the situation with my oldest child. I’m thankful that I didn’t have anywhere I needed to be that day of the bus incident. I am so grateful for my friend who walks through these moments with me as our daughters grow up together. More than anything, I am indebted to my God who loves and cares about my daughter more than I could ever fully realize.

I need to create more margins into my day. I do not allow room for the unscheduled interruptions. I need to follow God’s example of utilizing a day of rest. I need to implement some positive change into my life and it needs to come sooner than later.