Wednesday, October 19, 2011

10 things Disney taught me...

I'm BACK!  The last few weeks have been ca-razy!  Two weeks ago we were at Disney World.. you may be looking at your calendar thinking, well it's been 3 weeks, where has she been? Let me just tell you..I forgot how much work a vacation is!  A BIG, 5 membered vacation is in a word...HARD WORK (ok, so 2 words)!  The week before we went I was packing and cleaning and packing some more.  The week after we got back, I was dead tired!  We went and went the entire time we were there.  So much so, that two of the 3 kids came home with colds. (nice) 1/2 weeks later, I finally feel like I am caught up (well, that's what I'm telling myself anyway) and I would like to share a bit of my "travel" to Disney wisdom with you!  The trip overall was phenomenal!  I can say, though, after getting three kids and myself and Daddy Monkey through post 9-11 security, I felt we actually needed a Musical moment where we burst into our theme song while putting on our tennis shoes and frantically chasing a non strapped in Liam through the terminal...hey hey we're the monkeys...the craziest people get the gist.  After being back now for a few weeks, and having time to digest all that happened in the wonderful world of Disney, I thought the BEST way to let you glean from what I learned at Disney would be to make a top 10 list!  (I figured another Disney "guidebook" was a bit too much!)  So, here we go...

 1.  One year olds do not like waiting in line!  (make note of Daddy Monkey's face)

2.  It is not a good idea to dump the popcorn in the floor of the stroller, even IF the baby is able to feed themselves after doing so! (guess whose idea THIS was..I'll give ya a hint..he's a man)

3.  Those are NOT costumes in the parade!  They are the REAL characters! ~per Aidan

4.  One should never conform! 
(While others shiver in fear from the appearance of Darth Vader, Aidan looks on in excitement!)

5.  Mickey souvenirs are not the ONLY dark force at work at Disney World! 

6.  Naps are very important.  Take it when you can get it!
7.  One must search, but you CAN find food that isn't shaped like Mickey Mouse at Disney!

8.  Always give up your seat for a lady.  (Britton is standing because he had just surrendered his seat to a lady..all at his own will)

9.  Vacations are the perfect place to build on relationships!

and last but NOT least...10.  even boys like princesses (especially if they are a TRUE prince)

me and my 4 Prince's (oh, and Belle)

-A vacation that I will never forget!  Love you Monkeys!!

Momma Monkey

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Ultimate ESPRESSO

Had a startling realization yesterday.  For the last week, I have found myself to be VERY grumpy and irritable.  Things that normally roll right off my back, really hurt me and things that are normally ignorable have driven me up a wall!  Major grumpy mode.
Yesterday, I was sitting in church and had this sudden thought....for the past two weeks, things have been so hectic..actually, scratch that..since the first day of school this school year, things have been NUTS...Getting three up, dressed, fed, teeth brushed, driven to school, then home to chase a one year old, who amazingly enough, can wreak more destruction than the other two combined, has made me have this undesirable urge to SLEEP!  Whenever I sit still for too long, I am out.  Eyes close, head bobbing..the whole kit n caboodle!  This new love and desire for sleep, has caused me to do one thing and I believe that this could be the cause for is my extremely grumpy mood (no comments hubby, please)..This new schedule (as opposed to the laid back philosophy we adopted over the summer) has caused me to oversleep and miss my daily quiet time.  That wonderful time that this summer, I spent on my deck or in my chair reading, talking and listening to Him hasn't been happening.  That precious time where I enjoy his presence....I've been missing it.  No time in His journal writing...Insert grump-ola here!   
It is just like when I haven't seen my kids or my husband for a substantial period of time. I have noticed that if I have to go more than 24-48 hours away from my kids, I am always so eager to have them back with see their smiling face...hear their raucous giggles.  And, if by some chance, I am not able to see them for longer than 48 hours, I get a wee bit grumpy (as Aidan would say).  And, now, I notice, the same holds true for my Abba...I haven't gotten to speak to him (my fault) or sit and enjoy his presence (my fault again) consistently since school started...and man is my attitude showing it!  Grouchy McGroucherson party of one!

(did I mention I've been grouchy?)

The problem that I have, and as a fellow momma, you may suffer from this do we do it? How do we get up...when we are dying to sleep for 30 more mins before we hit the ground running...(literally, remember I have a 1 year old!).  How do we keep our bodies from crashing...or nodding off during our quiet time? When life is all about schedules right!  And while I would like to say, "well, let me tell you", I cannot.  I, like all you other momma's, am going to just have to figure this one out myself.  But one thing is for order for me to be a happy momma, I am going to have to meet my Abba..every morning...without fail.  Perhaps, we aren't all that much UNLIKE the desciples in the garden...we too, wanna sleep, instead of conversing with Him.  hmmmm...However, he has told us...through David, that My(our) soul finds rest in God alone; my(our) salvation comes from Him.  He alone is my(our) rock and my(our) salvation; he is my(our) fortress, I(we) will never be shaken....though coffee is, huh, well, AWESOME...HE is my rock...I only truly find rest and feel rejuvenated when I am with Him...He is, in coffee terms, my quad venti whatever-ochino!
So, tomorrow morning...join in your spot, me in mine...and in spirit we will join Him...and thank Him for the energy to get through the day.  Whether your day involves corporate mergers, driving a tractor, serving food or chasing a one year old...we can do it...while we may get whispered prayer and he will rejuvenate us...
O God, you are my God 
earnestly I seek you;
My soul thirsts for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.  
And in meeting him...we will be hydrating.
Let's keep our souls hydrated...
My "spot"

Sunday, September 11, 2011

At the fire

There was a poem that was in a book that I absolutely adored as a young child.  I can still remember, so clearly, WHERE the book was located in the library at my elementary school.  Every week, during library, there were several of us who just hoped and prayed that our table got called first to go check out a book so we could get that book.  The book was Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein.  Still to this day, when I see my own copy of this beloved book my heart does a lil flip and I can't WAIT to open it and read.  Every time, as a child, and I was the lucky one who got to check the book out, would start the same way..I practically had it memorized, but still, I always started with page one.  Odd that I mentioned that you might think since it's a book and starting with page one is usually the way it is done.  However, Where the Sidewalk Ends is a book of poems.  Thus, there is no RIGHT place to start. Just open it up and take off!  My, personal, take off place was always the first poem....
"If you are a dreamer, come in.
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer,
For we have some flax golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!"

Come matter what. No matter what the situation. No matter if you like to dream, wish, hope, pray or matter what! Come in. 
I firmly believe I have always loved the idea of being loved for me.  I have always thought the idea of not having to live my life to prove myself, to make someone else happy, to be able to be open and honest about mistakes and not pretend they never occurred would be such a glorious way to live.  That instead of ignoring the 10,000 pound elephant in the room, ask it to sit beside you.  Not simply to be silently accepted..but to be matter what your situation, come in! A dream world, maybe. 
This poem always made me feel that no matter what I am like, brown hair, blue eyes, slightly frumpy...that I am alwyas welcome at Shel's fire.  He wants me to come in no matter what.  He wants to spin fun tales with me!  And after a giddy moment, all those years ago, I would dive face first into his book of flax golden tales! ***ahhhh***
Now, as an adult...I find I am still the same way.  My most treasured friendships are the ones where we can just be in the same room (or driveway) and not have to talk.  Oh, sure, we'll chat every now and then, but silence is ok too.  Complete acceptance.  Just being me.  As glorious as those friendships are, there is something in my life that is even more glorious (if you can imagine).  You see, I have a relationship with the King of Kings.  The most powerful being on the earth...heck, he created the world!  AND, he wants to be with me.  I don't have to confess my mistakes to him and hide my head and hope he still likes me, no...he knows everything already and he still wants to be near me.  No false pretenses, no expectations...just me being me...the me he made.  He knows I am prone to emotion...he's ok with that.  He knows I feel less than adequate, I'll give you the strength, He says.  He too, like Shel, wants me to sit by his fire.  He, too, wants to hear my dreams.  He, too, wants to tell me His plans for me.  But more importantly he, too, just wants to be with ME.  Maybe I'm different...maybe I'mt he only one in the world who feels that the idea of someone just telling me to come in so they can enjoy my presence for a bit is absolutely delightful...maybe.  Or, maybe you too, feel that someone accepting you as you are would be a breath of fresh air.  No pretenses. You just as you are!  Wrinkles? He loves 'em!  Gray hair? No problem!  Bed head...bad breath...none of that matters.  He just wants to meet your fire. 
True, unabashed, unconditional love...just you and Him.  Join his have some flax golden tales to spin! 
"My heart has heard you say, 'Come and talk with me.' And my heart responds, 'Lord, I am coming.'" Psalm 27:8 New Living Translation

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

We are ALL Jars of Clay

This morning my reading was in 2 Corinthians 4:1-7, which I would like to share...
Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God.  On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.  The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the Glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus sake.  For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.  But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." 

When I first read this..I had to research what the "jars of clay" comment see, to me, a person who LOVES pottery, I thought it meant a precious vessel and while we are indeed precious vessel's...that isn't exactly what theologians believe Paul is referring to.  Jars of clay are easily broken...they are frail, fallible.  We as humans, are frail..even fallible, but Jesus, God, trusts US with his message.  So, when we are in ministry whether it be in Zambia, China, our workplace or even in our homes with our little charges, we are entrusted with HIS message.  We do not lift ourselves up and say, "aren't we AWESOME!"  Quite the opposite, we lift Him up and say "isn't HE awesome!" We need to renounce secret and shameful ways.  We need to not be deceitful or distort the Word of God (to fit our own agendas!!)...we need to let the light shine in the darkness. 
This passage hit me between the eyes this I prepare for another season of Operation Christmas Child, I have to be sure my focus remains on HIM...not me...not the truck (and how many boxes are in it) but the Savior who has asked me, a frail, jar of clay, to pack a shoe box and pray for the child, sight unseen, who will receive it...and in doing so, share the light of Jesus with a dark world. 
I am reminded of a song that was popular when I was in High School, by a band named Audio Adrenaline and I will close with a portion of the song...perhaps the portion that tends to make me stop and re-evaluate my actions every time I hear it! 
I wanna be your hands, I wanna be your feet, I wanna go where you send me, go where you send me.  ~Audio Adrenaline

Monday, September 5, 2011

In the Shadow

While I was outside with Liam this afternoon, I thought it might be fun to put him in the wagon and give him a ride.  Aidan was never "into" the wagon the way Britton was so I have kinda gotten out of the habit of a child who enjoys a wagon ride.  Liam, who no doubt will continue to surprise me, LOVED it.  I believe he enjoyed it more than Britton used to, and that is saying a lot!  While we were taking our walk, I pointed out the pretty trees and I told him stories of what his brothers were like and how I met his daddy.  And he listened..yeah, yeah, I know he's only ONE...but he didn't try to jump out of the wagon which tells ME he loved my stories. (I would appreciate staying ignorant in my bliss, ok?!) So, during my version of how Daddy let Britton unroll all the toilet paper when HE was one & how we learned our lesson on that...I turned and looked at Liam.  He was sitting perfectly still in the wagon, smiling, with his eyes closed because the SUN was blinding him! (yeah, mother of the year, I am NOT), in being the AWESOME creative person I am, and forgetting that I have sunglasses for him, I decided to block the sun with my body/shadow and pull the wagon backwards.  Now you may be thinking that this is going to end in me tripping or in some other blooper-like fashion, but no....I was fairly graceful....but it was surprisingly difficult to keep him IN my shadow..b/c not only were we moving (me walking, pulling wagon) but he was rocking back and forth in the wagon as well.  It was during my battle at keeping him in my shadow that I had a thought...
I wonder, if it is as hard for the Lord to keep me in HIS shadow as it was for me to keep Liam in mine? Like a child, I am always moving...always thinking I got things UNDER CONTROL! Always leaving his side to see what's "out there".  THEN when things start to fall apart, I wonder where He is. When I can no longer "see" I figure it out and I run back to his side and promise never to leave again. For it is in His shadow that I find rest, safety, comfort, shelter.  And, while it was difficult for me to keep Liam in my shadow, I kept doing it...I never quit (well, till we were done, that is!) and our Abba is the same way.  He stays with me, and even follows my wiggles. WOW.  What a mighty God we serve!  So, the next time you're outside and you see your shadow, thank the maker of the shadow and thank Him for keeping you in His.

Psalm 17:8 Keep me as the apple of your eye, hide me in the shadow of your wings.  
(ok, so I so love that of his that!)

Psalm 36:7 How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.  

Psalm 57:1 Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings, until the disaster has passed.  

Isaiah 49:2a He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me.

Hoping these offer you some comfort and serve as a reminder just awesome his shadow is!
Liam, in the shadow of the house!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Moment of Glory

Princess Kate
As I'm sure you've noticed by now, I am quite taken with the idea of momma's sticking together...and in doing so, we will end the Momma-wars that have been occurring since the beginning of time...Sarah/Hagar, Rachel/Leah... I firmly believe, that if we join together not only as believers but as honest women, momma's, we will be a force to be reckoned with.  A force for Him.
So, today, I come to you as a Momma..and ask all you momma's & future momma's to join with me in lifting up a little girl named Kate.  You see, Kate was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). Kate's Momma and daddy were given 4 options: abortion, compassionate care only, a series of 3 corrective surgeries or a heart transplant.
Kate is almost 3 and today, she is having another heart surgery.  Kate is a bubbly little girl who believes in princesses and fairy tales but most importantly she believes in Jesus.
Several weeks ago, Kate started showing some distress over having this surgery...she's a smart one, she knew what was coming..and her momma started lifting her up and asking God to give Kate a peace about what was to take place in the coming weeks.  Not too long after, Kate began talking and playing with an imaginary friend named Jeffie.  Kate was adament that the friends name was Jeffie and not Jessie or any other name that she might have heard on tv or in a storybook.  Not sure where Kate heard the name, the family was a bit baffled.  However, as time went on, Jeffie became a "member" of their family, as Kate had him with her at all times.  A couple of weeks ago, Kate's Momma shared with those following Kate's story that a friend of Momma had looked up the meaning of the name means peace.  *gulp* While writing this I am still speechless over this revelation...this display of God's great love for us...his love for Kate.   My hubs asked me, as I shared the meaning of Jeffie with him, do you think it's an angel? And I have no doubt that God sent an angel of angel named Jeffie.
Now, as I've shared in previous posts, God is teaching me a lot about doing things for HIS glory.  How, things occur in our lives and when they do..we should seek His glory in them...if we can't find it, ASK Him to reveal it to us...You see these things that are occurring to Kate are not punishment or a curse, if you are just more evidence to the fact that we are humans.  We are flesh & bone...however, we are blessed by a God who loves us, an Abba who will hold us, console us...send angels to give us peace.  And, through Kate's experiences, we are seeing His glory.  These trials that Kate's Momma and daddy and even brothers are experiencing are showing His glory to the world, to those of us who are blessed to hear it...or blessed to witness it with our own eyes.  
John 17:1 (Jesus speaking to God and I have added Kate's name in...)
Father, the time has come.  Glorify your Kate (Son), that your Kate (Son) may glorify you.
The nurses, doctors...all will see His Glory today...

Oh, but it is not enough for us to SEE His glory and do nothing...we could see it, hear the story of Kate & Jeffie and say ooh that gave me chills, maybe wipe a tear or two....and then go on with life as a busy Momma.  No, you see that would be the equivalent of a singer whose voice is straight from the heavens, singing in an empty building...we need to not only see God's glory...but to also praise him for it.  To see it for what it is.  An example of the way He loves us.  John Piper said, "God is glorified not ONLY by his glories being seen, but by it's being rejoiced in." Rejoice...rejoice that God's glory has been revealed in Kate...rejoice that it will continue to be revealed in Kate...through her surgery, her family's willingness to share their walk through this experience, through her friend Jeffie, through her example that God exists.
So, if you're reading this..take a moment to spend time with your Abba, your daddy.  And praise him for the love he has for you...your kids...and all other Momma's kids out there.  And as Momma's, join with me and let's lift up a fellow Momma...Kate's Momma...that Jeffie sits with her and holds her hand while her baby is in surgery and while her baby heals and through it all, the WORLD may see His glory!
Psalms 43:4 Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my exceeding joy; and upon the lyre (a stringed instrument) I shall praise you, O God, My God.  


Monday, August 29, 2011

Mundane, Fundane....Mothering is HARD..

Today, just for kicks, I checked out the standings for the Parent's Magazine Best Blog awards...I had to chuckle when I saw over 250 blogs in my category. (wow)..Anywho, being a blog enthusiast, I perused through a few of the blogs.  While doing so, I noticed something that got me to thinking...MOST of the topics of the blogs nominated are blogs about how to be a GOOD mom.  While there are also several home schooling blogs and blogs on adoption, crafting, cooking...The majority of the blogs are blogs showing you how "Sally" does THIS and you should too!  As I was reading a few of these blogs that promise to make me, not a GOOD but a BETTER Momma, I was reminded of something that I have struggled with as a stay at home momma.  You see, I have always said I am a reluctant stay at home mom.  I am only home because God has told me to be there.  It is not exactly something I long to do.  I have always loved working and have even given it a shot at one time, at which I QUICKLY learned I am not cut out to be both a working momma and a good momma...Many of you mommas out there ARE good working momma's and man do I envy you.  But, I digress.  Being home, a bit reluctantly, I feel like I am constantly pressuring myself to be BETTER!  And seeing how many blogs are out there telling us how to be better confirm my suspicions that I am not alone! 
As I was looking at the blog topics ( trying not to panic)...and perusing a few of the blogs themselves, I couldn't help but think about how stressful parenting is.  And we momma's are so hard on each other AND ourselves.  If you don't nurse you're a bad momma..if you DO nurse you're a bad momma...if you send your kids to public vs vs homeschool...uniforms vs store bought clothes...Target brand vs Wal-Mart.  The judgements and looks of disappointment come at us from EVERY angle...even from our very own mirrors.
When I think of parenting my sons, if I give it too much thought, I will send myself straight into a panic attack.  Am I strict enough, am I too strict? Do I cuddle enough, do I cuddle so much they're gonna be "momma's boys"?  If I pop a frozen pizza in the oven am I feeding them too many preservatives? And by the time the 20 seconds of contemplation are over I have broken out into a sweat and am frantically reaching for my Starbucks to calm me down!  Why, exactly, do we do this to ourselves? Why are we frantically scouring the web looking for a blog to tell us how to be better momma's?  Why can't we all just..well, to risk sounding goofy...WHY CANT WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?!  or most importantly why can't we accept that WE are who God entrusted with our children...We are THEIR perfect parent..just the way we are!  Why do we have to judge each other? I've said it before but I firmly believe that we momma's gotta stick together.  It's a harsh world out there...a world that desires to educate our children waaaaaaay sooner than they (or we) are ready for.  We need to join together...form a barrier if you will.  Momma's against THEM...not Momma's against Momma's.
You see, we ALL love our offspring.  Instead of torturing each other with these Mommy wars, we should be offering support.  Find a mentor-Momma or better yet, BE a mentor momma!  I am a lucky Momma in that I have a dear friend who has launched 2 children into adult-hood and is always willing to listen to me rant about the latest stain on my carpet...she doesn't *tsk* *tsk* at me and say, "enjoy 'em while they're young" (I do NOT wanna hear that right now!!! I have a huge purple circle in the middle of my living room!!!!!!!).  No, instead, she giggles and says hang in there, here's what I used to get grape juice stains out of tan carpet.  She calls occasionally just to say "hey" and occasionally we meet for coffee (whenever my carpet stains will allow it).  She is my mentor-mom.  She is a MOM who mentors ME...she's been in the trenches..our personalities are similar and she passes no judgment because well, to be frank...we're honest with each other...parenting, particularly MOTHERING is flippin' hard work & she offers me sound, biblical advice...she isn't worried about me warping the children...she remembers all to well what it's like...and she shares those experiences...she doesn't sit on 'em and pray no one knows she struggled. If she DID hide her struggles...they would all be for naught.  Instead, she is using them to HELP me!   
As Momma's, we should be willing to tell our fellow momma's how "Johnny" (or Aidan) wouldn't stop yelling BANANA at the top of his lungs last night in the bathtub and you felt like you were losing your mind! And as the listening momma..we should shake our heads and say oh yeah, that stinks, man I've been there..giggle with the sharing momma then offer to buy her a coffee, or tea, whatever her passion!
Let's remove the stress of "perfect" parenting and just admit we are all doing the best we can and while all the parenting books/blogs tell us to do it this way or that way and we better count the calories or our kids will be fat or they will be warped or ax murderers or WHATEVER, we should just KNOW that our kids will be fine...because we are giving them a solid foundation...we are showing them the Love our Heavenly Father shows us...and we are GOOD Momma's!  And, just possibly, the next time your "Johnny" (or Aidan) screams banana at the top of his lungs in the bathtub...step outta the room, take a deep breath, head back in (like a soldier going into battle) and match his "banana" with a yelled SPLIT of your own & maybe even listen closely.  You may be surprised to hear the joy that Little Johnny (or Aidan) is experiencing during bath time!  Psalms 51:8a "Make me to hear joy and gladness." (even if it is to the detriment of your eardrums!)

Don't forget to giggle during the mundane of Mommy-hood...Genesis 21:6 Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me." 
If I could sit down with you and a cup of coffee...I guarantee we would giggle our way through Mommy-hood...because it's just more FUN that way! 
Precisely 2 minutes before the juice stain appeared

Me (makeup less) and my oldest Britton

My hairstylist, Aidan, (he seems to LOVE giving me gray hairs)..well, being Aidan

Giving his 1 year old brother a ride...DOWN A HILL! (I feel my hair changing color just looking at this)