Work Hard Work

It’s been a long time since I was a little kid, and even longer since I tried to pull a fast one on my parents.  Unfortunately, I did try to sneak a few things past my parents once or twice. (Wink, wink!) As you know I have three boys and two girls and my middle son is my payback!! This little cutie is only in the first grade, but he never seems to tire of trying to sneak things past me.

I recently followed my God given motherly intuition about something that I felt was odd, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was. It’s a very long story, but to make it shorter I will say it basically boils down to him leaving out some key parts of the truth to me about his school work and I found out everything after some mom investigation skills. Okay, I called the teacher and got his little brother to spill the beans!

Anyway as I was talking to his teacher we came to the conclusion that Daniel, my middle son, wants to do a better job with his school work, but he hasn’t made the correlation yet between hard work and success. Thankfully, he’s seven so he still has time to figure these things out, but it made me think about myself.

When do we actually grasp the concept of hard work paying off? How old were you when you made the connection that if you worked hard for something or to learn something that it would get you to where you wanted to go in life? I think for me it happened kinda late, I was a junior in high school and my Mom had just died and I felt like I had been abandon, like I had no home. All of a sudden going to college and paying for it, became a huge priority for me. Sadly, prior to that college was definitely an option, but I had no real sense of urgency about applying to different schools. I was just so focused on having fun that I wasn’t thinking of having a future.

I think that what bothers me the most about my son goofing off is that I don’t want him to be like me. I want all of my children to be better than I was. I think of all the things that caused me pain or all the times I made mistakes, and I want my children to avoid the landmines that I stepped on.  I hope that I’m a living example of a hard working human being. I want them to look at my husband and me and strive to be better than us.

What’s your concept of hard work paying off? I want to hear when you decided to work hard for something that you really wanted and it paid off for you.

Happy New Year

Hello Friends,

I thank God that you all were blessed to see another year! What a true blessing it is to know that we get another year to start over, reinvent ourselves, or continue down the path that we have already chosen. I have had a super busy holiday season and honestly I kind of feel relieved that it’s over! I know that’s such a cray thing to say, but when it comes to the holidays I tend to stretch myself a little thin.

One thing that I had to keep telling myself was, “This is not about you, it’s about Jesus.”

I kept wanting to get the perfect gift and the perfect ugly sweater,(which I ended up not even going to the ugly sweater party by the way.) I wanted to cook the perfect holiday meal and I was putting a lot of unnecessary stress on myself. Even though I seem to know that the holidays should be a time for us, my family and I, to spend together just enjoying one another’s company, I always seem to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of getting things that I get bogged down.

I had to sit my self down and have a little talk with the woman in the mirror. I told her she was being crazy and she needed to take a step back. I had to try and re-center myself before I completely lost sight of what the holidays were truly about. I know I can’t be the only one out there who goes overboard with the holiday hoopla…right? I decided that this next Christmas season, 2017, I will do a much better job remembering the real reason for the season.

I know some people truly dislike making new year’s resolution, but I am not one of them! I would like to hear what you guys are resolving to do differently or what you want to keep doing in 2017. I’ll go first. This year I plan to focus more of my time and energy on taking better care of myself. I put all six family members before myself so much that I don’t even know if I can stop! I admit that I have not been doing things for myself that I really should be doing on a daily basis like working out, eating more healthfully and the list goes on and on.

Alright now that I have told you one of mine I want to hear yours. Just leave me one thing that you would like to try or continue in this new year. Thanks for stopping by and welcome back to my blog. I pray that 2017 be a prosperous and blessed year for you and your family!

Empathy Doesn’t Grow on Trees

I have mentioned to you guys how busy I’ve been lately and I mentioned in my last few blogs how pressed I feel, but some how I still managed to get into a very familiar roe with my hubby over, of all things, whose more exhausted.

Now I know a lot you ladies who read my blog are working moms, and many of you have husbands so I bet this argument sounds quite familiar to you too. We were sitting on the couch, he had just gotten home from work and I was in the middle of a very long day with our five children. We were both tired and hungry and my husband turned to me and said, “What’s for dinner? I don’t smell anything?” That my friends was the start of our very own Cuban Missile Crisis! We got into this back and forth debate about who had the more difficult job and who’s life was full of more work. We were both trying to convince each other that our day was longer, more difficult and more exhausting than the other person’s day. After about ten minutes I finally relented and decided to let the kids eat whatever they could find.

I would like to think that I won because he ended up cooking dinner, but I think it would be more accurate to say that everybody won because we all ate a hot meal. The thing is we seem to be competing for worst day ever more and more these days. I don’t know why that is, maybe because we’re both tired parents, or possibly because we both want empathy from the other person.

Everyone wants to feel valued and appreciated, we all want to feel like our spouse understands how important our role is to the way our family functions. Yet, the question that I have to ask  myself is why do I feel the need to have my husband validate my worth as a wife and mother by always acknowledging that I have the harder job, or do the most work?  More and more I crave empathy from him and I think he needs that from me too. I want my husband to let me know that he understands how difficult it is for me to do the things that I’m doing day in and day out, and if he doesn’t I start to feel like maybe he doesn’t appreciate me enough. Even as I’m writing this I’m wondering does he need that same thing from me as well.

Although we’ve only been married for eleven years I think I have discovered that we both need a lot of the same things. The trick of the enemy seems to be isolation, and to divide and conquer. If he can convince you that you are all alone and that no one else is going through what you’re experiencing, and if he can divide us and make us think that the other person doesn’t want to understand what you’re going through, then our relationship will be in serious trouble.

The bible talks about two being better than one and how important it is that what God brings together not being separated. Unfortunately, not showing enough empathy and compassion for our husbands or wives(if you’re a guy) can really harm your relationship. After a long hard day, I don’t always feel like making sure my husband feels like I understand how hard his day was and that I care about his issues just as much as my own, but that’s how good marriages become great marriages. Love is long suffering and very compassionate. When you love someone you show them by freely giving your compassion and your listening ear.

Having said all that you guys know that I’m not a perfect wife or anything like that, but I am open to growing and learning new things. How about sharing some of your best advice in the comment section. I would love to know how you guys handle empathy and compassion in your relationships. Thanks for stopping by.

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

If by any chance you are a control freak like me then you might be able to relate to my topic sentence. I don’t know why but I always seem to get hung up on the little things that won’t mean anything to me five years from now. The crazy thing about obsessing over the small things is it can rob you of enjoying everything else. You really do magnify what you focus on, and when you only notice things that went wrong you don’t celebrate everything that went right.

When I focus on all the tiny little things that did not happen the way that I planned, I tend to ignore all the many things that are perfectly fine. Without fail, if a hundred things go well, but ten things don’t my day is ruined! I came to this conclusion about myself because I’ve been really worried about a whole list of things lately and most of them are small.

I was cleaning my bathroom today and thinking about all the things that I’m worried about and I decided to take that opportunity to pray and talk to God about everything that was on my mind. As I began to fire things off one by one I couldn’t help but notice that I sounded like I was whining. I also felt like all the things that I was naming were all just so insignificant.

I feel like I am sabotaging my own chance at satisfaction sometimes, because I always seem to find the negative, or a tiny little unimportant detail and lock in on it like a missile.

Of course I’m not just discovering this about myself, I have known this for a long while, but I think I’m just now mature enough to realize that I need to make a change. It’s kind of like I just woke up one day and decided that I wanted to stop stressing over things that simply don’t matter that much.

The major question is, how can I do that? How can I go from worrying about every little thing to trusting that all things are working together for my good and that the God I serve is Lord, even over the details of my life? Friends, I could give you all the verses that I’ve ever read, but I think the simple truth is it’s a daily commitment to die to my flesh. Each day I have to make the decision to trust God with my obsession over details of my life. I’m a recovering/ struggling/ ex-control freak, so as you can imagine this is a true battle for me at times.

I will say that I find a lot of security in the thought that I can truly come to God and cast all my cares upon him, leave them there and forget them. I love that God doesn’t want us to be burdened and heavy with worry. God wants us to trust him with all the details and all the planning of our life. As difficult as it is for me I realize that my way is not working. I’ve done it this way for so many years and it’s never delivered me from trouble. Worrying about the problem has never actually solved anything. It’s so hard though guys!!! Trying to break bad habits is extremely hard, but in the case very necessary!

I want to hear from you guys on what you do to keep yourself from obsessing over the small stuff? How do you eliminate the worry so that you can enjoy the things that do turn out right? Share with me how you break free from worrying about things that shouldn’t matter? Do you have any tips on ways to deal with giving up control and trusting God.

 

Sometimes you have to go slow to go Fast

If you know me personally then you know how impatient I can be, I always seem to be rushing off to some place or to do something. I have one of those personalities that won’t allow me to just sit still and enjoy a relaxing day at home. Typically whenever my friends call me I’m in the car or headed out the door. I often joke that I have an internal clock that’s always telling me I’m running late. I think because of this God paired me with a man who is never ever in a hurry to go any where or do anything! No matter if he’s running late by a whole day he’s not going to rush. It drives me absolutely crazy!! However, If I’m being honest he rarely forgets anything and he makes fewer mistakes than I do.

I can’t remember where I heard this from but, someone once said, “sometimes you have to go slow to go fast.” The first time I heard that it was like a lightbulb came on in my head. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to slow down so that I didn’t make careless mistakes or forget something. I was rushing around the house the other day, trying to get out the house quickly when it dawned on me, “why am I rushing?” Once I heard that thought ring out in my head I stopped and really asked myself why was I trying to leave in such a hurry?

Well friends, every since that day I have been questioning my own heart and my reasons for rushing all the time. That has lead me to try and slow down and make sure that I’m enjoying my life, and really living my life everyday. The more I thought about it the more I began to see that this wasn’t just one area of my life that I was racing through, but in several areas. I have the hardest time waiting on the Lord. I always seem to want things right now. If I pray and my prayers don’t get answered immediately I start to think that God isn’t going to answer my prayers.

When I read about Job, Joseph, or David I’m always in awe of how well they waited on the Lord to deliver them. Since I’m being open and honest with you all I feel as though I can tell you that I have not mastered the art of waiting with joy. I have a list of things that I’m praying for and a list of things that I’m, “waiting on God,” to do in my life.

It is a lesson that I am continually learning. It’s a lesson that I never seem to learn so well that I can move on to the next lesson. I do not have a check list of things that I have mastered or conquered for good. It would be more accurate to say that I am ever coming into the knowledge of the truth, whether it be about myself or about God.

I’m curious to know do you all have anything that you seem to always be learning? Any life lessons or hard truths that you have to own up to time and time again? Don’t be ashamed to share something that you struggle with, we’re all here to help! Let me hear about it in the comment section!

The Non-Social Media

I must confess to you that I am one of those people who just did not take to social media right away. I did not trust the whole, post your pictures and share them with people. I actually was really turned off by the idea of allowing tons and tons of people into my personal life. I was getting so much grief from certain friends and family members about not being apart of the social world, that it started to become a real hot button issue with me. It eventually got to the point that my husband and I had become divided on that subject. I was still firmly against it, and he had come around to the idea of having a social media presence.

Well, as life does, things changed and I had to embrace social media because I began to pursue a writing career and then I started blogging. It became a necessary step for me and it just kind of snowballed and pretty soon hubby jumped into the social media pool as well. Just as I had suspected there are good things about being social and bad things about being social over the internet. The things that I love most all include reconnecting with friends and family that I haven’t seen in ages! I love my family and I love that we get to be in each others lives again even if it’s only digitally right now. My husbands career means that we have to move around a lot ,so I love that I get to keep in touch with my old neighbors and friends from different walks of life.

Now for the things that I don’t like so much, the opinions of every idiot in the whole world! Yes, I said it, there idiots! I can not believe how mean, rude, cruel, and completely inappropriate some people can be to absolute strangers! The power of social media has connected the whole world, we are now only one click away from anyone. You would think that this would mean that people were being more social, but I think it’s had the exact opposite effect on me. I feel like social media has made me want to be less social! When I see the crazy things on my timeline that my so called friends have shared, liked or posted I instantly don’t want to socialize with them anymore. I think I actually liked some people better before I saw their 600 word rant against fill in the blank. (meaning it could be anything, because people are so angry these days and they love telling others.)

I find that with every horror story of how someone used social media to kidnap a child or rob someone’s house, I retreat. I pull back and heavily scrutinize anything before I post it to the internet, to be out in the world forever. On the one hand I think that could be the responsible thing to do, but on the other hand I don’t want to be afraid to share a picture of my baby swimming in the backyard kiddie pool. My husband, post more things about our family than I do, and that’s fine. I just feel the need to be more selective about what kinds of things I share about my family. I freak out a bit more than he does about stuff like that and I accept that.

Another thing that I don’t love about social media is when you feel obligated to like someone’s post because their your friend, but you disagree with what they’ve posted.

I’m curious to know how you guys feel about the allure of social media? How many friends do you have on social media that aren’t necessarily your friends in real life? How many friends do you have on social media that you don’t actually remember ever meeting? I know it can be tricky to decide if you want to hit the like button or not, so how do you decide whether you’re going to share, like and comment?

 

What a Life

I’ve been with my husband now for sixteen years, and we’ve been married for eleven years this June 18! During that time we have fallen in and out of like and love, but never at the same time. Our anniversary is coming up in a few weeks and honestly  we typically don’t really celebrate. Our lives have gotten to the point where their so full of “other stuff” that we never actually do anything for our anniversary. There was a time when we went out on dates more often and tried to plan couple time and things like that, and I hope we get back to that soon.

I think if someone would have come to me ten years ago and told me that my life would be like this, I would have turned and run the other way. I was so convinced that everything would go according to my plan that I would have never agreed to it! I’m so glad that we don’t know everything before we start out, or else we would never do anything. Can you imagine how many things we would never even attempt to try if God showed us all the hardship that we would encounter?

What kind of people would we be, if we had an option to know every little detail of our life before we made a decision? This is how I feel about love, marriage and motherhood. Marriage is so wonderful, in theory. The idea of having someone to spend every day with for the rest of our lives seems like a perfect idea, but when you begin to live that out you start to see the challenges that come along with being married.

Marriage is a lot of work and people often overlook that when their racing down the isle to say I do and head out on our honeymoon. We think that knowing how to co-exist with our spouse is just going to come naturally, but marriage is a lot of hard work. You have to learn how to put someone else first because that’s apart of loving one another. You don’t need to totally neglect yourself, but it is important to consider how your husband will feel before you buy that really expensive designer purse!

Marriage wasn’t the only area of my life that I had to really commit to grow in and get better at. When we first got married we had our first child right away and that was HARD! Not only was I learning how to be a wife, I was finding out all about newborns at the same time. Please don’t get me started on breastfeeding!! I thought it would be a piece of cake because it’s natural so it should just happen right away…right? Wrong! It didn’t take me long to discover that I was a much better parent before I had kids, and I didn’t know that everything that I thought I knew wasn’t even enough to fill a thimble!

Have I mentioned that those sweet little babies grow up over night, and I still can’t fill a cup with my knowledge of children. I always thought of myself as a very fun and creative person, but having children tested those beliefs. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mother to my children, but eleven years ago this life was not what I had in mind. I thought that I would have about three or four kids max, and a dog. I have five children and no dog, so there you go, mind blown.

I guess I just feel like reflecting on my married life because our anniversary is coming up soon and we feel like it’s just going to be another day. We have kids to see about and bills to pay and I guess celebrating our own holiday is just not as big of priority as it should be right now. I’m hoping that it’s just a phase we’re going through, and that one day we’ll be able to leave the kids at home and go on a real date and not have to pay the babysitter an arm and a leg. I’d love to hear any tips you all might have on how to create quality time with your husband when you don’t have a babysitter.

Share with me in the comments any tips and advice yo can share on love, marriage, and dating.

We all have a Choice

Today, I woke up late, and I left my jump drive at the FedEx store, and my baby has had three outfit changes today, due to blowout diapers! I’m waiting on something really important to come in the mail and as you might have guessed it’s not here yet! I have been having one of those days that just make me feel like I’m losing when I should be winning. It just so happened that my little sister called me not long after I walked through the door from picking up my children from school. As you might have guessed my sister and I are not just sisters, we’re best friends. It’s the best term I can use to describe our relationship, she is truly the friend that I grew up with who knows all about me and still loves me.

We started talking and of course she could hear in my vice that I was irritated and frustrated about something. However, as we began to talk it came out that I was actually worried about one thing and it was spilling over into everything else. isn’t it funny how we allow the little foxes to spoil the vines? Once it came out what I was truly irritated about I immediately felt silly for allowing that little thing to bother me all day.

My sister, in her infinite wisdom, listen to me complain and then she said to me, “You just have to chose to be happy no matter what because you do have a choice you know.” I thought wow, she’s right I can choose to be happy instead of frustrated. We talked about it a little more and it all made sense to me. Not only did it make sense to me it  inspired me to want to do it right away. Why spend another second being upset about things that are only temporary or beyond my control?

One thing led to another and we moved from topic to another until we each had to get off the phone and go be wives and mothers respectively. Nevertheless, he words about having to chose to be happy no matter what the circumstances kept ringing in my ears. I want to have that, I want joy that is so accessible to me that I can make the decision that no matter how my day. Then it dawned on me that in the presence of the Lord is the fullness of joy.(pssalms16:11) I started thinking about scriptures that made me feel happy and that lifted my spirits when I was feeling down.

I opened my mouth and just started thanking God for all the many blessings He’s given me and I started to feel better. When I focus on all the good things, all the blessings and the incredible opportunities that God has given me and my family it’s impossible for me to feel like I’m having a bad day.

My sister helped me to see that whatever you focus on is what you magnify. Spending all day choosing to magnify the problems instead of the problem solver only make me conscious of my issues and not the fact that even when I’m having a bad day I still have more than enough to be thankful for today.

I’m sure you guys have days like me where you only want to complain about how nothing is going your way? Those days seem to come in groups don’t they, sometimes you’ll have a whole week that just seems to be awful, but then you have good days when yo feel on top of the world. How do you guys handle the ups and the downs of life? What are your favorite scriptures to speak in tough times and hard days? Let me know in the comments!

Giving Birth to Faith

I, like many other Moms, remember very clearly each time I gave birth. Those are moments that you just never forget, and surprisingly you don’t remember them with pain, but joy and laughter. I still remember when I went into labor with my oldest son, I was young and pretty nervous about the whole process. My husband was working at night, and I wasn’t sleeping well because I was hugely pregnant, and a full week and six days past my due date. To say that I was ready to finally meet my baby boy was a huge understatement! I had been doing every old wives tale known to man to induce labor, but nothing was working for us.

I guess because I was already feeling exhausted and anxious to meet my baby, I had already been to the hospital about three times, told I wasn’t I labor and sent home. You ladies know there is nothing worse than hearing that you are not in labor , and then sent home to continue the wait. Of course I finally did go into labor and a mere thirteen hours later I was holding my seven pound, eleven ounce baby boy in my arms. All three of us were just physically and emotionally spent. Our overall feelings were fear, and uncertainty. We didn’t know if we could be good parents, we didn’t know if we had every baby item that we needed to have a happy baby, we just had so many unknowns!

With each delivery I leaned more about what I wanted to experience while in labor.  I began to be more specific with my prayers and daily confessions to God. By the time I became pregnant with my fourth child, I knew exactly what I wanted and the most important thing that I was believing God for was to have a drug-free, and pain-free delivery in less than two hours! Now you may laugh, or find those things unbelievable, but that’s exactly what God did for me! I know that it may seem hard to believe but our God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we could ever ask or think…(Eph.3:20).  I remember after I delivered my baby the Mid-wife, who missed my labor because it happen so quickly, and the Nurses coming in to talk with me and find out what I had done to have that type of labor and delivery. They literally could not believe that I could deliver a baby with no drugs, and seemingly very little to no pain. I wouldn’t have believed it either if I had not been there to experience it.

However, the most important thing that I had that night was more confidence and faith in the Word of God.  Appropriately enough, we named our son Paul. Which means a Dynamo of faith and energy. I feel like that’s exactly what happen the minute I gave birth to my amazing son, I gained so much faith in God and so much more confidence in the power of prayer.  I always tell people that when I had my fourth child that was my absolute best birth ever, because it was exactly what I prayed for.  I really focused on praying the Word over my body and believing that I had already received the things that I prayed for when I asked for them.(Mark11:24)

I let the word get deep down into my heart, to the point that I was convinced that I would have what I asked for from God. I think if we’re all honest for a moment, we’ve all had times in our lives when we have gone through immense discomfort that birthed out a  whole new level of Faith in our lives. I used my birth stories as an example of a time when I was able to triumph over fear because of faith. I bet if you look back at certain times in your own life you can see how your faith grew through adversity as well.

Sometimes we need adversity to challenge us, because it causes us to strengthen our faith. Tough times can really cause us to step up our prayer life, or spend more time with God, reading his Word. Trials can even lead to speaking His promises over our lives more. Hopefully, that is not the only thing that can motivate us to grow in our spiritual lives because that’s not ideal either.

I hope this blog post has helped to jog your memory of all the times that God has done just what He said He would do in your own life. Feel free to share with me how you have grown in faith and given birth to a deeper relationship with God!

Forgive and Forget

Have you ever heard of the expression, “forgive, but don’t forget?” I grew up hearing my Dad say forgive and forget, but as I got older I became one of those people who believed that I could forgive without forgetting. Life and people can hurt you and disappointments can dim your joy, and just like that you’ve become bitter and not better. I’m the type of person who feels deeply and that can sometimes mean that my feelings get hurt. When that happens, my first instinct is to protect myself.  For me protection is never allowing myself to completely forget what someone did to hurt me, so that I never allow that to happen again. Unfortunately, that’s not the way of the Lord, so that’s not the best way for us as his children.

Jeremiah 31:34 says “…for I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sin no more.” This scripture is just one of many that tells you how we should forgive. When we forgive someone who has hurt us, we must forget what the offense was and remember it no more. I unconsciously sigh every time I hear this part, but it’s the honest truth and I’m glad to hear it. This is really the part that I struggle with because you have to remember it no more, like forget it forever…permanently! (questionable struggle face)

Now what typically happens to me is, some one will do something that really hurts me, or offends me and instead of confronting that person, I will just avoid them and move on with my life. Eventually, I will forget about the person and what they did to offend me. Until one day when that person comes back into my life, or however the situation unfolds. If you have not truly forgiven that person and moved on from the pain of that betrayal/offense, then you will not be able to respond in love. I have found that I can’t move on with my life and truly heal if I don’t let go of the memory of what hurt me.

I use to feel like if I hold on to that pain, or that betrayal I will never allow the same thing to happen to me twice. Yet, the reality is I just press pause on my life and stay right there in that moment and become poisoned by the memory as it slowly turns to bitterness. I become a prisoner of that transgression or sin of my own accord. I got tired of feeling like I would always be hurt or angry with something that happen in the past. I got tired of a part of the past continuously being present with me, I became feed up with myself.   As I’ve mentioned before, I decided recently to make a real effort to change some of my bad habits  and personality  flaws that seem to cling to me even though I know their wrong.

I decided that I wanted to practice letting things go when I’m offended by anyone, so not only can I be forgiven by God, but so that I can stop being weighed down by all that negativity. It’s a very hard thing to carry around that much negativity and still be a happy person. I grew tired of struggling so much to have a positive attitude and walk in love to everyone I met, while simultaneously  carrying around all these memories from past offenses that I thought I could forgive but not forget. I was confronted with the truth of what it actually means to hold something against someone. It’s more than just holding a grudge, it’s a rottenness to your bones. Trying to forgive someone completely  without throwing their sins into the sea, is like trying to separate water from wet! It’s just not possible!

Since I have become more intentional about not holding on to the pain of the things that offended me, or hurt me, I feel so much better. It’s like one day a little light turned on and I realized that I have to trust God be the one to protect my heart. I see now that God is so much better at dealing with broken pieces and broken people than I am. I know that I can trust God enough to give him my pain and my anger. He can deal with it much better than me.  He never wanted me to hold on to every grievance caused by offense in my heart.

Let’s be real here, changing your bad habits does not happen over night and it can seem almost impossible; nevertheless, change is good. There should always be some area in our life that we can expand, improve and mature upon. What areas in your life can you make positive changes? Are yo like me and struggle with forgetting when you forgive? Let’s open up and share some tips that help you to make changes that help you to grow in the right direction!