Saturday, November 15, 2014

Even Rome Wasn't Built in a Day

  I'm very ambitious lately..  I'm unsure why.  Perhaps a boost of self-confidence?  I know that the time I've been spending with my Heavenly father, albeit not even close to long enough, has changed my heart incredibly over the past few weeks.  I'm giving him less than I should, but I'm giving him some, and its amazing to see how life changing it is just to give him anything.  He truly is a wonderful God, and if you give him an inch he returns a mile.  I love him, so much.
  I've got lots of 'to do' lists...  things I want to accomplish lately.  I have tons of books that I'm determined to read, several goals in home schooling that I want to conquer.  I want to build up my children, create a peaceful, loving home.  I want to write with a passion that I've never had before.  I want to be determined to stick to my weight loss goals and be successful in them.  I feel for the first time like I can do all these things, like my insecurities are being stripped away with every prayer that I send up.  I feel like I've spent years dragging my feet, just kind of making it in life..  and I finally have a renewed sense of peace and passion for the life that I'm living, and I want to live it fully and intentionally...  every ounce of me yearns to live.  But- I'm a bit overwhelmed.
  I just have to keep reminding myself..  Rome was not built in a day.  Its amazing to be passionate about life..  no matter how 'small' your life may seem to others, if it feels 'big' to you, significant...  that's amazing- because it is, each life is important in the eyes of a creator.  If it feels that way, then you know the joy that I feel right now.  However, its easy to try to spin several plates at one time, and the fear of spinning plates is that if you don't take it slowly, they will come crashing down.
  Its okay to take baby steps.
  I feel like we are finding our 'groove' in home schooling.  (If you're a new reader (I have some of those!  YAY!) here is our home school journey, and why this year is so different for us... )  I feel like I am finally gaining confidence in myself and becoming excited about it, but there are still some things that are just not working.  I feel frustrated to be so far into the year and still be struggling with some things, and knowing that some things I was excited about are just now being introduced...  but I have to give myself (and my children!) grace enough to know that its okay to take baby steps...  that one day we will be great at this, but we've only been doing it all together for a few months now, and its okay to learn together what works best.  I intend for them to be home with me for the long haul.  Its easy to go into home schooling assuming you should have it all figured out, but its okay not too.  It's really okay.
   I have a renewed sense of love for my home!  Sarah's book, Desperate has changed my heart and given me new perspective on my home.  The kids finally have assigned, sorted chores..  we light candles and play soft music at dinnertime...  (I've become mildly obsessed with candles, thanks to Sally lol...) we have had some wonderful evenings and its fun to take time to try and learn to 'love' your home into a place of peace and comfort rather than just to clean it up.. (SO very excited about the 31 Days to Clean challenge!)  but sometimes, its still a mess.  This morning, the dishes are still in the sink, despite my best efforts never to leave them there...  (I don't have a dishwasher..  *crying*)  but you know, that's still okay.  The dishes aren't done because I chose spending some time with my husband last night since the kiddos were crashed..  so I don't feel bad, and dishes will be on my morning list..  but that's okay too.  That doesn't make me a failure.
  I believe it hit me when I was looking online at the weight watchers website.  I was taking down recipes one by one and trying to create a weight watchers cookbook.  I was frustrated because I had already spent a great deal of time on the computer making some things for our history lesson, and I just wanted to cook and spend time with my children.  The more I wrote down recipes, the more overwhelmed I became.  Was it really necessary to spend that much time and effort into a snack?  Was it really that important to make every single thing from scratch?   I was ready to throw in the towel.  Afterall, that's why I've been dragging my feet so long to actually start committing to the weight watchers plan, I felt like I needed all my ducks in a row, all my groceries purchased and this pretty little PDF cookbook on my counter.  I've missed out on a month of weight watchers trying to get that done 'first', with my , "I'll get started tomorrow" attitude.
  I prayed, I was overwhelmed..  when I spend too much time on the computer I become snappy with my kids.  My big dinner for last night was going to consist of Bob Evans potatoes because I needed to get this done so I could begin my weight watchers regime, and it just looked SO hard!  My answer..  swift and direct..  "Stop."
   It was resounding.  It stopped me dead in my tracks.  This wasn't working..  my large printed cookbook, my intensive meal plans, it wasn't working, it always gave way to 'quick fixes' that ended up far worse than what I orginally planned, and until then, I had no idea why!
  Because Rome wasn't built in a day..  neither am I, my house, my home school, my weight loss..  nothing happens instantly, it takes time.
  I was tired of pouring endlessly over recipes before I made an extensive meal plan that always got thrown to the wayside because sometimes, I just don't have time to make extravagant meals..  so I did what I should have done to begin with..  I started taking baby steps.
  I chose about two new recipes, and decided that was all the new that I should attempt this month.  I put in my old 'staple' recipes...  about ten things that I'm really good at, that  my family really enjoys..  and surprisingly, the points weren't so bad!  Even better, I found some ways to make those recipes a little bit healthier!  As if that wasn't the greatest moment ever- I went to the dinner table, and my son ate all of the steamed brocolli off of his plate!!  (Hudson is and incredibly picky eater, and we are tirelessly working that out of him- its a struggle!)
   So once again, I'm no longer overwhelmed, but incredibly excited!  Rather than printing pages and pages of recipes that I had to learn all of, I made a cheat sheet of things that I know how to make like the back of my hand.  Rather than spending an hour making some sort of greek yogurt infused pastry...  I'll just eat my yoplait or granola bar, because the points are the same, but the time is not.  Every now and then I'll try something new, and if its a hit, it'll go on that staple list with the others.  I have to remember, I wasn't raised cooking..  everything I've learned I've learned in my adulthood, so the fact that I can bake a cake from scratch on a weekday is pretty significant for me.  It may not be tiramasu, but its still more than I could make two years ago.
   I spent far too much time in my life beating myself up for the things I didn't know how to do.  For thinking I was a failure because I wasn't 'Susie homemaker'.  God sent people in my life that encouraged me to be who I was, not who I thought I needed to be, and that has impacted my life more than they will ever know.  God made you the way he made you, for his purpose.  It won't do you any good to try and be someone else, because he knew who you were when he put you in the family that he did, and that's who they need.  I'm the perfect cook of this home, even if I have to call and ask my Daddy how to tell when the ham is done.  I'm the perfect Mom for my kids, even if they fell asleep before I could do devotion with them last night.  And I'm the perfect 'preachers wife' for my husband, even if I did have to google this bible verse.  :)  Thanks for reading!

Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.




Thursday, November 13, 2014

Playtime

   I love these little people... these little moments..  and their favorite things...














Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Finding my Quiet Time

Psalm 5:3 In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
    in the morning I lay my requests before you
    and wait expectantly. 

   Having 'Quiet Time' with God has been something I've been convicted of for years.  It was one of those things I filed away in my mind, something that I wanted to do, but never truly made a priority in my heart.  For years, I just assumed I would never get quiet time, and stopped trying to pursue it.
  I believe with all of my heart that God can use every season of your life to shape your heart, to mold and work through the hard parts of your life so that you can be usable to him in every aspect.  It's been clear to me for sometime now that motherhood is Gods greatest calling on my life, and the calling in which he will shape, break, and mold me the most in my walk on this earth.  I've learned so much from motherhood that I know I could not have learned any other way in my life..  he has changed me so completely from the inside out through my endeavors of being a Mommy.  This is how he choose to work through me, and I'm SO grateful that he did, because I can't imagine a better way to grow.
   Motherhood has challenged every aspect of my life.  From the physically and emotionally demanding aspects, to being the greatest challenge to my spiritual life, forcing me to accept that I am in no way, shape or form in control of this life- and that I must learn to hand it to God.  I must accept that he's got control of this and that he knows what he's doing.  That is difficult for me, who by nature is a complete control freak.  It's hard for me to let go and let God, but through motherhood, he's teaching me this.
   I'm desperate.  Not in the 'crying on the floor' way....  (although we have experienced bouts of that from time to time...)  I'm desperate in a way that I desire to allow God to shine through me and touch the hearts of my family and all of those who I contact with.  I'm desperate because I have failed at that SO many times in my life.  All I want is to learn to allow God the reigns, and I've discovered just how essential quiet time is to accomplish that.  There's no way I can 'hit the ground running', without meeting with God, speaking to him, reading his word and just talking to him about the day...  and come out successful in, well..  anything that I do that day.  I have discovered that my lack of quiet time leaves me frustrated and seeking just some time to breathe all day long.  It's bad for me, its bad for my children, and its especially bad for my heart.  When you have four kids and you so desperately want to seek each of their hearts, which are completely different- whole heartedly, you first have to get your heart in the right place.
   If there is one thing I've learned in my lifetime about relationships, it is that they don't work automatically.  They don't grow on their own.  Any type of relationship, whether it be with your children, your spouse or your friends requires care.  It requires time and nurture.  Nothing is going to 'just happen'...  if we don't dedicate time to our relationships, they fall by the wayside.  Our relationship with God is no different.  We must take time out of our day to meet with him and nurture that relationship if we ever expect it to grow.
  The thing about that is- when?  My days are filled with so much, school, cleaning, playing...  just spending time with my family.  My nights are reserved to spend time with my husband, read books and relax.  The absolute only time in this season of my life that I could spend with God, is early in the morning...  and I'll tell you this- I'm not, by nature, a morning person!
   Someone once told me that it was best to spend the first part of your day with the one who created it.  That was amazing, and has impacted me so much!
  So my newest endeavor is simply that...  to get up a little earlier, and seek some time with God before I begin my day.  To talk to him, read his word, read devotions..  whatever brings me closer to his heart, before I do anything else.  To get my heart in the right place before I give it to my babes.  To make certain my life is balanced, and my relationship with God does not wax cold...  because its from that relationship that all the other things in my life flows.
  I'm starting small, waking up 15 minutes earlier.  It's been hard, especially since I'm lately trying to stay away from massive amounts of caffeine...  (decaf coffee is still my friend).  So far 15 minutes has not broken me!  15 minutes for a couple of days, then add 15 more, allow your body to adjust for a few days, then go 15 more!  So far, for me it is working.  I'm normally up about an hour and a half earlier than normal, which gives me that much time to spend with God before I get to hear the pitter patter of sleepy little feet come around the corner.  It has blessed me so much to be able to spend that time with God.  Before when I heard those little feet a few minutes into my devotion time, I was frustrated with them...  now I'm happy to hear them, blessed to know that God has given me those children, and ready to spend the rest of the day with them!
  God is so good!!