Thursday, January 31, 2008

My Buddies

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My buddies: Laugh together, play trains together (although Simon prefers cars!), get in trouble together, make messes together... LOVE being together.

And yet they can be so different...

One wants to do everything on his own. "I do it" he tells me. Fits come when I try to help him, even when he can't do it himself.

The other wants me to do everything for him, even walking sometimes ("Carry me mommy") and throws fits when I don't.

One is quick to help and even sings the "clean up" song.

The other is quick to say "no."

They both make me laugh... and cry.

I am so thankful for my buddies!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

She Speaks Writer's Conference

I have recently discovered Lysa TerKeurst's blog. I think you would enjoy it. It has been an encouragement to me (including some laugh out loud posts!). Tuesday's post got me excited!

Every year Proverbs 31 Ministries hosts a conference for women called She Speaks. I have heard about She Speaks through my involvement with Hearts at Home and have always been intrigued. It is geared towards women who wish to partner with God through speaking, writing and/or women's ministries. I would love to go and Lysa is hosting a major giveaway on her blog - a scholarship covering all conference expenses (except travel) to She Speaks!

Why do I want to go? I'm glad you asked...

Reason #1 When I was young I wanted to be an author. It is a dream that has resurfaced in the past two years (thanks to the gentle prodding of a good friend). I am slowly moving down this path of writing. I hope that through writing, God can use me to minister to others. I have had a few articles published and want to grow as a writer. I want to learn more about publishing and how to maneuever effectively in this industry. The opportunity to attend She Speaks would be a huge step towards pursuing this dream.

Reason #2 My blog is one of my ministries - a way to encourage, connect, and share life with other moms. I want to learn how to expand this ministry and do it more effectively.

Reason #3 I live in a house with 4 children. The oldest is 4 1/2. I NEED a vacation. A weekend spent with other women pursuing God's call on their lives sounds GLORIOUS!

Thank you Lysa and friends for giving me a shot at attending She Speaks. I hope I see you there!

And the winner is...


Let me know which book you want. Thanks for your comments everyone! I am hoping to have another book giveaway in the next few weeks so stay tuned.

Happy Blogging,

Friday, January 25, 2008

A Good Reminder

I have been trying to accomplish things today. So, I let my kids play somewhat unsupervised. They in turn make messes and I get upset. During their quiet time today, I read the following quote from Rattled, Surviving your Baby's First Year Without Losing your Cool by Trish Berg. It struck a chord and was a reminder I needed.

On one particularly busy day, I was trying to get supper prepared, and I practically pierced my big toe on a Polly Pocket doll. I was already grumpy--I'd had little sleep the night before because baby Riley decided to throw an all-night slumber party. As pain shot through my foot, I shouted at Sydney, "Pick up your things and put them away!"

Sydney looked up at me with tears in her big blue eyes. "Mommy," she whimpered, "I was waiting for you to play with me."

Bam. Shot fired. Direct hit to my heart.

I sank down onto the cold kitchen linoleum and suddenly realized how selfish I had been that day. I hadn't spent a single minute playing with Sydney. I was checking off my to-do list in battle mode, fighting alien interference with my agenda. In the blink of an eye, I suddenly understood how this was affecting my daughter.

I held out my arms, and Sydney crawled up into my lap to snuggle. She put her skinny arms around my neck, squeezed as tightly as she could, and cried. "I'm sorry, Mommy. I'll pick them up."

Bam. Second shot fired. Now the guilt was sinking in.

So I did what any alien mom would do. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and held on tight. Sydney whispered, "Mommy, will you play Polly with me?"

My heart melted. I had been running so fast, keeping up such a pace, t hat I had forgotten who I was. I may be a neatnik at heart, but God made me a mom.

In that moment, I let go of my agenda. Cleaning the house was not as important as spending time with Sydney. I hugged her tight and told her I loved her. Then we sat in the middle of the kitchen and played Polly Pocket."

100 Posts!

To My Dear Blogging Buddies:
This post is my 100th post since joining the blog world! This may not be exciting news to you, but since 100 is such a nice round number, I thought it would be fun to celebrate! So, I am going to do another giveaway! The winner will get to pick one Hearts at Home book as their prize. To view the titles go here.

To enter the drawing, leave a comment stating your favorite thing about blogging by midnight on Monday January 28th!

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Interview with a Mom - Marla

Today I have a very special "Interview with a Mom" to share with you - an interview with my mom!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

I have been married to Gary for almost 31 years; have three grown daughters, two of whom are married with children, giving me 7 grandchildren. They all live close, so I have the luxury of being involved in their lives. I help at our ministry, LifeSong for Orphans a couple days a week, and try to be available to baby-sit grandkids. I think I am busier now than ever, wearing more hats than I did as a young mom. That is okay for the most part, but once in a while, when I become overwhelmed with the busyness, I am grateful to be able to go to Florida with Gary for a few days!

Why do you love being a mom?

I always wanted to be a mom. Being a mom gave me purpose, something I struggled to find after my girls were raised. There were so many times when I did things wrong and I often felt inadequate (usually when I compared myself to other really great moms), but I never, never considered my job as a stay-at-home mother unimportant or worthless. I knew that I was raising children who would hopefully grow up to love the Lord and who could make a difference in the world.

What has been the most challenging part about being a mom for you?

Being consistent. I always said that the only thing I was consistent at was being inconsistent.

If you could go back in time and change one thing about the way you parented what would it be?

Well, this is the thing... when the girls were still at home, I would have said something like, “I wish I had taught a better work ethic.” But now they are young women who all seem to have found their niche, and are actually doing more purposeful things than I did at their ages. So I just thank God for his mercy in spite of my lack.

How did you keep your husband first in the midst of mothering?

This is especially hard with young kids, because a crying baby needs attending, even if you are in the middle of a conversation. I guess one thing I did was always go to bed when Gary did, even though many times I was just getting my second wind. And we would get away for a few days a couple times a year without the girls.

Share your favorite bible verse and why it means so much to you.

One of my favorites is Micah 6:8. “He hath showed thee O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” To me as a mother it means to do the best I can, to be understanding with my kids when the “best” doesn’t happen, and to realize who I am and that it is God who can bring it all together.

What do you like to listen to in your car (music, talk radio, nothing, etc.)?
I listen to the Moody affiliate almost all the time in the car. I really enjoy the speakers and the music they play. I do go through spurts of WGN talk radio, too, especially if the Cubs are playing, but it is usually Moody now.

How has your mom influenced your parenting?

She showed me how to serve my family, because she was always doing it. After I was married w/ children, she was usually available to keep the kids for a few days if we were traveling. Even though she worked, she hardly ever turned me down. Of course, she lived far enough away that I didn’t ask her except for when we were going on a trip. The circumstances are a little different with me living close to my kids, but I want to be available to them when they need me. I never realized how much Mom did for the family until I had one of my own, and I never realized how tiring it was for her to keep my children for extended stays, until I became a grandma.

Also, Mom never meddled so I try to keep my advice to my grown children to a minimum. (unless they ask, of course)

Share one good “mom tip” that you have learned over the years.

Because Gary played piano, I tried to get us all to sing together. Because of that, we actually did a few gigs! When Megan was 9, Jami was 7, and Leslie was 4, we started singing at nursing homes and ladies luncheons. So I guess my tip would be to find what your kids are good at, something you can enjoy together, and use it to bless others.

Do you have any parting advice for young moms?

First of all, I know that I am preaching to the choir. Most of you young mothers that read this are already doing wonderful jobs…I am witness to it. So I guess this really just serves as an encouragement to keep up the good work.

We reminded our kids often that the most important thing in life is serving the Lord. (Gary was especially good at this.) If we had done everything else right and neglected their spiritual lives, it would mean nothing, absolutely nothing. If you lead them to a lifelong relationship with God, all of the other training will fall into place. Of course, the best way to teach is by example. When they see how sold out you are to Jesus, they will desire that relationship, too.

One last thing….fill your home with laughter. Try to find humor even in disasters…it will help you to keep sane, and it will be a comfort to your kids.

Thanks for the encouragement Mom - I love you and have been so blessed by your example! I want to be like you when I grow up! :)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Truth or Dare

Jami's blog highlighting her wonderfully clean refrigerator gave me an idea (it may be a flop, but it's worth a try!). Let's play a little game of Truth or Dare.

If you choose Truth - leave a comment - What is the grossest thing you've ever found growing in your fridge.

If you choose Dare - post a picture on your blog of your fridge today - as is (just leave a comment with a link to your blog).

Let's play! I choose dare:

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Fits, Tantrums and the like

I've had it up to here (imagine me holding my hand waayyyy over my head) with fits, tantrums, emotional meltdowns, screaming children, etc., etc. ,etc.

Fits because:

* I did not turn the TV off immediately (and I mean within a nano second) after Thomas the Train is over

* I turned Thomas the Train off too soon and someone wanted to watch the credits (like they can even read!)

* Someone has 5 trains and the other only has 14

* Someone has 1 Thomas and the other wants all four

* I let him talk to Grandma on the phone before I let her

* They both want to sit on my lap

* He wants his diaper changed by the bed instead of where I am waiting with the wipes and diaper by the dresser

* He wants to be held

* They don't want to have quiet time

* She doesn't want him to sit by her, touch her, talk to her, be in the same room as her...

* He doesn't want him to see the book I am reading to all of them

* I didn't let him pick out the shirt, pants, socks himself

* I carried him up the steps and he wanted to walk

Can anyone else relate? Is there a way to diminish the tantrums or is it something that must simply be endured? If you have an answer, or even a suggestion, SPEAK, and earn my eternal gratitude!

I know it will end someday. And on the positive side, these many, many tantrums may teach me many life lessons like... patience? (I'm trying to find the silver lining.) Regardless, I have been blessed with 4 healthy children and I am thankful, even for the fits. I think!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A New Day

I always feel motivated this time of year. A new year, a new month, a new day. Bringing out a fresh calendar and making my new year's resolutions.

The problem is, my motivation can quickly morph into no motivation as cabin fever sets in and new year's resolutions get broken.

What changes that makes my motivation dwindle so much between January 1 and January 22? Really there is no difference between the days. Each is a new day. One just happens to be the first day of the year, but the day itself is no different. I am what changes, more specifically my attitude is what changes. I think if I could keep the "New Year" attitude everyday, I would get a lot done!

I need to remember what Miss Stacy told Anne of Green Gables, "Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it." So, even if I break my resolutions today, I can always begin again tomorrow. Every day is a fresh start and a clean slate. That is an attitude I want to have year round.

"The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.

Lamentations 3:22-23

My New Year's Resolutions

I have been debating about whether to post my new year's resolutions on this blog. I think I will. Even at the risk that some of them (number 2 specifically) may be broken before the end of the month (am I setting myself up for failure with that kind of thinking - maybe - but I am trying to be realistic). So without further adieu, here they are...

1. Put Kory first (Bible study girls think 2 month challenge - the rest of you can just wonder what that means! :) )

2. Read through the Bible in one year. This is the one I fear may be short-lived, but Our Daily Bread, which provides the schedule I am following says it can be done by committing only 20 minutes a day. If I look at it like that (20 minutes per day vs. 365 days in a row), it seems manageable.

That's it - just two. Will I keep them? I'll keep you posted...