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I saw this photo on my instagram a few days ago, and this morning when I woke up tired I remembered what I had read:

joyprouty: 3:30am. stopped working to go to sleep and at that same moment the baby woke up to feed. i’ve learned a lot in the last three months of living on the road. the biggest perhaps is that the thing that creates the most bitterness in my heart is my feelings of entitlement towards things… such as a full night’s rest, or a bed/room/space/time of my own. somewhere in the back of my mind I harbor bitterness for the lack of sleep/neediness of children/the daily grind but it is just because I somewhere along the line decided I was entitled to the nature of my life as it was previously and then I grow bitter because the two lives don’t match up. trying to learn to be more grateful these days. choosing continually to let the expectations go. even if it means I don’t sleep. because that just means I have a baby in my arms healthy enough to cry to express her needs. I trust God will give me the strength to serve my family tomorrow because he trusted me enough to make me a mother. I choose to see His gifts instead of my useless bitterness. that is all for my wee morning hours deep thoughts. ;). hugs to the night mamas out there in the dark illuminated by the glow of their iPhones alongside me. 😉

Usually, when I don’t get the sleep I needed and it’s out of my control, even without being resentful of anyone, I get imbued w this great sense that some sort of compensation is expected, required, that I be given extra time to rest, without kids and to let myself slack off a bit around the house etc, because I’m so tired. Then of course when reality and my ideal don’t line up,
I get even more frustrated and angry.
It’s the tired days that almost always leave me frustrated and further from God because then it’s all about me.

Just because I’m tired from being up in the night, doesn’t give me any right to special treatment… ( during that day)

This has been my single biggest hang up that makes for what feels like a bad day. Joy, thank you so much for articulating this so clearly, so I can recognize it and start to change my ways!

There are many days when I start to feel so frazzled from the constant barrage of kid requests and complaints, and I hear it in my voice, that I am not being so patient or kind anymore, and I know I NEED a break, but still I don’t always get it- and yes that leads to more frustration and anger as well.

So, today, any day, maybe God will grant me rest or maybe not, not today, maybe He’ll provide in other ways. Either way, I will give thanks.

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A middle of the week challenge from Ann, that I extend to you:

When Monday gets caught in your teeth like a piece of spinach, the crazy thing is you could dare to laugh — it gets things unstuck.

You could — you could dare not to take yourself so seriously; dare to take yourself as Beloved.

Dare to not to give yourself a lecture, but dare to give yourself grace. His Grace is always the most amazing of all.

So go ahead — Dare to be brilliant — just seek the light in everything. Dare to believe joy is revolutionary: it goes straight against the way this dark world spins. Light is always a radical thing in a dark world.

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A beautiful blog post for us Mothers of little ones 🙂 Boy can I relate…

From MomHeart Online, http://www.momheart.org/2013/04/he-gently-leads-those-with-young/ , April 18, 2013 by Misty Krasawski

William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Rest

Being a mom can be exhausting. However bucolic this picture may be, it depicts a sad truth, I assure you–the child is the one sleeping, but it’s the mama who’s the tired-est!

Waking up means it’s time to make breakfast. Then we have to make sure chores get done, teeth get brushed, beds are made. Math to guide little ones through. Soccer games to play chauffer for. Groceries don’t magically appear in the cabinets (would someone please work on that??) and laundry doesn’t disappear from baskets. And so a mom works … from son up to son down, as I’ve read (and it’s the same for mamas of girls!)

But that’s just the practical “stuff.” Then there are the nebulous things that keep us aflutter … worries over a pregnancy, an infant’s delayed development, rising teenage angst. There’s the sleepless nights worrying over the young adult gone astray, the friendship that seems to sour too easily, the bills mounting on our desks. Add a bit of social pressure, a few ministry “opportunities,” and one more news report to worry over and the pile can crush a tender heart.

Do you ever feel like you’ve got to pile up some bricks of your own? Steel your heart against possible calamity? Toughen up so that friend can’t hurt you again? Stop expecting so much and start being more realistic? Ever want to just pile the blankets over your head and not face another day?

Me, too.

And God?? He knows.

The One who wept at His friend’s grave, even though He knew He would raise him from the dead moments later; the One who was “a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief,” He understands the pain of a sin-infested world. Came to live here in it, to breathe the air of it, to feel betrayal and disappointment and hunger and to lay down His life over it all.

And I am grateful He understands even the tenderness of a mom’s heart, and makes provision for us …

Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, in His arm He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.” ~Isaiah 40:11

He gently leads you, mama. His intention is to carry you, to tend to you and your children.

If the worries are mounting and your strength is ebbing, look to your Shepherd. He will cause you to lie down in green pastures. He leads beside still waters and restores your soul (Psalm 23). He longs to be your strength and your shield, and if you trust in Him your heart will be helped (Psalm 28:7). If you wait on Him, your strength will be renewed and you will not faint (Isaiah 40:31).

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 1:8 that at times in the ministry, he and his group were ”burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life.” So if you ever feel like that, mama? You’re in good company. What you’re walking through? It’s not because you’re doing something wrong. It’s because this is the broken place, and things are not as they were meant to be. Jesus assured us we would have tribulation … and heaven is not yet.

But it is coming.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. ”He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.” Revelation 21:4-7

Hangeth thou in there, sweet mama. Overcome by your faith. Rest in the Lord. And let Him gently lead.

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These words from a guest post on Ann’s Blog are still echoing in my soul and they are nurtuting humility and changing my worldview:

 

It’s no longer the bad news; it’s the best news in the world because it’s not that Jesus loves his bummer lambs more –

it’s just that they actually dare to believe it.

 

Now that it’s holy week epseically, more than simply choosing fiath, I’ve been daring to REALLY believe everything, that ALL OF IT  really happened.

 

An Except for context:

“Every now and then, an ewe will give birth to a lamb and immediately reject it. Sometimes the lamb is rejected because they are one of twins and the mother doesn’t have enough milk or she is old and frankly quite tired of the whole business. They call those lambs, bummer lambs. Unless the shepherd intervenes, that lamb will die.

So the shepherd will take that little lost one into his home and hand feed it from a bottle and keep it warm by the fire. He will wrap it up warm and hold it close enough to hear a heart beat. When the lamb is strong the shepherd will place it back in the field with the rest of the flock.

“Off you go now. You. can. do. this. I’m right here.”
The most beautiful sight to see is when the shepherd approaches his flock in the morning and calls them out, “Sheep, sheep, sheep!”
The first to run to him are the bummer lambs because they know his voice.

It’s not that they are more loved — it’s just that they believe it.

I am so grateful that Christ calls Himself the Good Shepherd.
“He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them,
and they follow him because they know his voice.”
John 10:3-4 (NLT)

In the most painful place in my life, hospitalized with severe clinical depression, I too learned the most profound lesson, we are loved because we are His – not because we can do tricks like seeing people approaching from behind!
Until the day I see Jesus face to face — I will be a bummer lamb.

It’s no longer the bad news; it’s the best news in the world because it’s not that Jesus loves his bummer lambs more –
it’s just that they actually dare to believe it.”

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More wisdom from Ann today: Service isn’t about being a doormat but about being a door for joy to walk through.

5 Things You Need to Know Before You Begin Your 2nd Term of Life

It felt like the second term to her.

Her 39 and him about 40, and the first half over, now the beginning of the second.

Or of the end — depending how you looked at it.

You don’t get to make up most of your story.

That’s what she thought at the stove over eggs, over all the cracked and broken things.

                       

You don’t get to make him love you like you want to be loved.

You don’t get to make him listen, or laugh, or get it, or hold you.

You don’t get to make the kids avoid bent fenders, busted hearts, and mangled dreams.

You don’t get to force your life like a pot of bulbs, and you might never get to be a missionary in the mountains of Tibet, or bring a baby home from Ethiopia, or fling open the door on the life you thought you’d always have.

 

She picked out a broken shell from the scrambled eggs.

And everything quietly brimmed and blurred a bit over a frying pan. She hoped it looked like it was all because of onions.

Why does pain always come back again and why do parents grow old and sick and kids grow up but not any wiser? Why does a woman marry a man expecting he’ll change — and why does a man marry a woman expecting she’ll never change?

Why does no one tell you that once you start labor over a child, you’ll never stop, and you always must remember to keep breathing?

 Why did she read and think and have questions at all and why was this being a woman hard and could she even say that out loud?

 

She scrambled the eggs.

She brushed away whatever was spilling and she scrambled the eggs.

And she took a deep breath and she smiled brave because this is how you answer His call.

 

You don’t get to make up most of your story. You get to make peace with it.

You don’t get to demand your life, like a given. You get to accept your life, like a gift.

Beginnings and middles, they are only yours to embrace, to unwrap like a gift.

But you get the endings. You always get the endings.

You get the endings and you get to make them a gift back to the Giver.

She told herself that, tucking falling strands behind her ear: Here wasn’t a glory to wrestle, but a grace to receive. Isn’t everything that is good always hard?

 

What if — She let herself be loved whatever way her Lord deemed best.

You’ve only accepted Christ as your Lord without reservation — as much as you have accepted your life as a gift without regret.

The ending of everything is always yours.

 

So she made the bed and she made his favorite omelet and service isn’t about being a doormat but about being a door for joy to walk through.

And there at the beginning of the second half — or whatever right then was right there in the kitchen — she stood in the light and opened her hand like a reception —

and made her life an inauguration of grace.

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I just stumbled onto this post through facebook, but these words have stuck with me.

 

“If all of life is either sacred or profane, the embarrassed and ashamed parts are where we have greeted the interruptions, the unexpected, the uninvited in a manner that is not sacred. They are the places where we’ve stumbled under the weight of the cross and instead of accepting the grace of the Savior, we’ve either tried to throw the cross from our shoulders or we’ve tried to carry it under our own strength.”

Elizabeth Foss : Hope for Fragmented Days

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jul 13

1. On tuesday this week, to simplify meal planning I chose to stay off the computer as my way of fasting. What do you do when you’re off the computer for the day? Clean and organize !!!

I went through our shoe closet which is usually blocked by a pile of shoes, mostly Daddy’s big ones that take up a ton of space. It’s always hard for the kids to put their shoes away trying to climb over the mountain, so I took all the shoes we don’t wear off the shelves and put them underneath the shoe rack, thereby leaving enough space for even DH to put a few pairs on the shelf. Ta daa!

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Then I went through baby’s clothes drawers and took out what was too small or just hadn’t and wasn’t likely to get worn, so they were no longer bursting. Finally, I went through the kids toys that were everywhere and took a bunch of them out of the living room again, so there was just a reasonable number that could fit into one moderate sized toybox, so the kids can easily put everything away. Then, inspired by the little prayer table they demonstrated at bible camp, I moved the workbench and tools back out to the shed and brought the prayer table in from the sunroom and set it back up again so it would be more accessible to my kids. They were already taking a greater interest in matters of faith from their first day at camp, especially with the little saint cards they were getting.

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Lastly, I had DH bring the train table in too, so they could use it more, as the sunroom is always too hot in the summer. Unfortunately, the table is hard because my almost 3 year old tends to break the track, and now if the baby gets up there he does too, and pretty soon they have no track left. They need some more practice building it up!

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2- Faith Notes

* CC Lesson 9 – Next Generation Mindset

-Science is becoming the new relgion, and we need to replace it with truth!

-Right now, very little of what is said in church ever leaves it, and is heard outside those 4 walls.

-How many children, grandchildren? have wandered away? As parents we have to equip them to pass on the message AND the mission… We need to teach them to reach others.

-If I’m not passing my faith on, then the fire of my faith will dwindle. It becomes more of a struggle.

Principle: Reach the world one person at a time – pick one person, and invest in them for 2 years. This is your timonthy. The goal is that after that time they will find their own timothy and continue with the mission. -If you want your timothy to have faith, send them out to tell others!

– We can’t shy away from ANYBODY, because it’s so important to get that door open to pass along the mission.

-If you do not reach out, the group/message/mission will die – always. Fostering Community alone is never enough. (this goes for more than just religion etc but for any group/cause)

-Churches especially, tend to focus on event–based evangelization – They have this speaker come in and talk to a large diverse group – that is only an addition mindset, This is a one-shot deal, sooner or they have to come back down the mountain… (w/e impact the speaker may have probably won’t last) we want multiplication: (I have to reach that person, and make sure they reach others)

-It is frustrating when you don’t succeed with a Timothy but we have to remember, ultimately, it’s all up to God. The seeds we plant, our time investing and waiting to see fruit etc- it’s an offering to the Lord!

-Don’t HIDE your faith around unbeleivers – Say it, LIVE IT!

-We have to have a heart for the lost, AND know how to REACH the lost. *We can’t just form our own little community while the rest of the world is going to hell!’

-There will be more failures than successes, but the successes shine brighter than the failures.

* As a result of Courageous Catholic, I’ve been reflecting a lot on my faith journey and my personal testimony lately: That moment of conversion – it’s like tripping into grace, stumbling into truth, and falling into Love.

* We watched God of Wonders together as part of date night. I know he finds cool facts about nature/animals interesting too, and there were lots of them in the movie. Sadly by the end we were both falling asleep, but I know DH was still listening, because he complained about being preached at. However, it wasn’t in a preachy way, the speaker was speaking with such heart… Anyway, if DH had never heard the gospel spelled out before then, he did now. I didn’t expect a major transformation, I just want him to start thinking… And he did. And we had a bit of friendly – peaceful – discussion 🙂 I also discovered that his (recently decided) favorite animal is an octopus 🙂

* Two small reflections while praying in the back yard:
‘Man can not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’ – Lord, help me live full on every word that comes from your mouth. Awake my soul to live full this moment.

‘This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased’ – As I prayed for hubby, ‘Lord let me see him through your eyes, please reveal to me areas in which I am not respecting him, show me how I can change…’ I heard God remind me, ‘Charles is my beloved son.’ He’s God’s beloved too, and when I hurt him, it hurts God!

* ‘Stress isn’t a situation. Stress is a state of mind.’ – when you’re in need of a bit of real stress relief

3. My best friend is scheduled to be induced this week and as I was having my reflective drive home with God from Courageous Catholic on tuesday night, I thought back to when my best friend first told me she was pregnant, back when other options were on the table and she was very scared, and now to have come this far, I was filled with great hope and joy for her. In a matter of days, we will see the fulfillment of 9 months of work and waiting. The fulfillment of a baby SAVED. 😀
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4. The kids and I have spent the week at bible camp. I only brought my middle kid on day last year but he enjoyed it as much as my oldest if not more, so I knew even though he was well under the age range, that he would be doing everything with his brother, so I enrolled them both. They made crafts, and sang songs and ate snacks and played games, and learned about the faith.

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Music
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As usual, whenever I was watching my big kid was above singing along or doing actions, but the little one liked it and I discovered BOTH had a favorite song, and it was my favorite too. I catch them singing it from time to time, and it’s really cute.

Crafts

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Games

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Snack
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Faith
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The first day they brought home a prayer calender, and they were instructed to write one person’s name that they wanted to pray for each day. I sat down with my kids and my big kid told me people he wanted to pray for, and we filled it in together I was so proud of him! AND, we’ve been praying it every night since, and we will probably just go back to the beginning when we run out. Either that, or I can find and print a new one out.
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This year they had a Mom’s room for parents with really little kids who wanted to stay at the camp for their children.
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I got to know the other moms well and had some great fellowship time with them, but we also used that time to go through the theology of the body DVDs. I had been to the talks in the fall and a lot of it was familiar, but there was a bit more detail and it is always good to hear things a second time (and a third and a fourth… ) As a result I left my big kids most of the time, and let them go around with the other kids and the camp leaders without me. I think without me right there they probably paid a little more attention, but I can’t be sure since I wasn’t there to see it!
I always sat in on the faith session though, so I would know what they were learning and could reinforce, probe and explain things better in the future. I was torn between wanting to spend time with my kids and with the moms. I usually did their craft with them then disappeared again till the last session.

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5. Last Sunday I made up behavior cards for the kids for church. I was tired of them acting out despite consistently imposing consequences when they don’t behave and thought maybe it would be smoother if they had a clear understanding of just what was expected of them, especialy my big kid. So I made them each a little card with my 3 rules: try to sit up (not lay down, crawl on the floor), be quiet, and most important, they have to listen when mummy or daddy asks them to do something, or to stop. They have to obey. I drew the little pictures for them to help them remember, and explained the rules with the pictures ahead of time. It was one of the easiest times in church with them yet, but I do have a feeling the novelty will wear off.
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6. I have been keeping up with the monthly photo challenge, but have only been putting them up on facebook so far. UPDATE: You can find the first week of pictures here: A Photo A Day- July 1-8

7. I found this post via a facebook mom’s blog ring, but as I was reading it I kept thinking this sounds just like something Ann Voskamp would write! Sure enough, when I checked it was hers, and as always it’s a really inspiring and uplifitng read: When Mothering’s Making You a Touch Crazy?

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