Studying "Feminine Appeal" (Carolyn Mahaney) – new series

Seven Virtues
A couple years ago, a friend sent me a book.  She wrote something sweet in the cover.  She knew it would make me mad (the book, not her note).  It did.  I needed it to make me mad.  I needed to have that talk with God and with myself.  It changed me for the better.
Then all this stuff happened.  Layoff. Move. Pregnancy. Foreclosure Pending. Big stuff to me.
I realized what was important when I read this book the first time.  I lost sight of it again when all this stuff happened.
Starting next Sunday I will be reading it again, and posting about it here.  I would LOVE for a few of my readers to join me.  The first time I read it I didn’t work through the discussion questions and might very well avoid them this time if I’m not held accountable for doing them.
Oh yea… the book 🙂
Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother  by Carolyn Mahaney
It is nine chapters. Nine weeks. If you want to know what chapter stung me the most, you’ll have to join me.

New Year…Same goals, new attitude

the go to place for mom bloggers!
**This post is in participation with the Bloggy Moms Writer’s Workshop. This week’s theme is New Years Resolutions**
It seems every year at this time, I write out the same list again:

  • eat better
  • exercise
  • budget better
  • clean better
  • cook better
  • learn blog design
  • learn graphic design
  • sew better
  • blog better
  • blah
  • blah
  • blah

The goals haven’t changed.  They won’t change until I reach them. The plan hasn’t much changed either.  Many of my goals only have one way to reach them (usually involving time, commitment and lots of effort).
What will be different? My attitude.
It’s bad when you KNOW what attitude you are supposed to have and how to maintain it but you don’t follow through.
I know that the BEST me is the me God designed me to be.  I used to think that “me” was supposed to be an accountant, since I was a great accountant.  I am NOT supposed to be an accountant.  God had other plans.
In 2011 I hope to change my attitude by starting all things with God, and leaving them up to God, the easy things and the hard things.
Maybe He didn’t make me to be a great cook, because He made me to be writer instead.  Maybe He didn’t make me to be a great blog designer or graphics designer because He needs me for something I’ve never even considered yet.
I feel like I’m failing at everything I’m trying to accomplish.  I’m falling short of even being “good” at anything: wife, mom, exerciser, blogger, teacher, crafter, chief, cook and bottle washer.
I feel like I’m failing because I keep doing things in my own strength.  This year I want to remember to pray, seek His Word, and do things in HIS strength and not my own.
It is a bit exciting to think of who I might become by next December…if I can keep myself out of my own way.

No Time for Tears

I will forever be amazed when I see God’s hand at work in my life.  I love looking back and seeing how His perfect plans heal my heart.
As a freshman in college, I dreaded the fall season.  School would begin.  The warm weather would fade away.
Quiet lonely nights gave me time to wallow in painful memories.  My first experience with death had been in the fall.  I was fifteen and I took it hard. My best lost her battle with cancer the fall of our senior year.  She had just been awarded an Honorable Diploma.  We knew it was happening, but that didn’t help with the pain.
I moved away from my first real group of friends in the fall.  I lost my first job in the fall.  For years, those three months stood for nothing but heartache and disappointment.
And then…
God.
I met the man that would make me “Mrs. B” in October.
Our first child was born in October.
Our second child joined our little family in September.
Our sweet number three arrived late in August, technically still summertime; however, her birthday serves as a catalyst for the months of madness ahead of me.
God’s sweet and perfect plan but blessings upon blessings in the fall, like a great salve on old wounds.  The season now passes so quickly for me; I almost miss it entirely.

This Little Light of Mine

I am again amazed and left teary over how God can take a perfectly boring moment and turn it into something overwhelmingly beautiful.

Taderbug and I were in my car, returning from a rather dull trip to the grocery store.  After an eventful weekend, I was exhausted and cranky.  My knees hurt for inexplicable reasons and I knew I was returning to a still very trashed home.  I was very pouty.  Taderbug was not. Despite her injury she was quite chipper, as long as I stayed nearby.

 

I heard her make some comment about waving to a little girl.  I’ll admit I was only half listening.  Then she said something again, so I looked up and to my left at the little girl in the truck next to us.  Her blonde head was laying against the window.  Her face looked sad and tired.  She may have just been bored, I couldn’t be sure.  Then she picked up her head and smiled at me.  I smiled back and looked to my right to see my Taderbug (yes, I had her in the front seat…shoot me.) smiling and waving at the girl.   We ended up switching lanes and the girl and her father (I’m assuming that was her dad) were soon on our right.  The girl now twisting and turning in her seat to smile and wave at my Tader.   Then I saw the man smile.  Then it was our turn and they drove away.

Tader went on and on about her new friend.  That is when I heard the voice in my head. The voice that explained what just happened and put it upon my heart to tell my daughter immediately.

“Tader” I said. “Did you know that God just used you? That you were just His Little Light?  That you just shared God with that little girl?”

Her face lit up.  She was so excited to think that God’s love had been shared by her without her even ‘doing it on purpose’.  How just by being nice, and having love in her heart and spreading it that she was sharing God with others…. since God is Love.  Her little light, sitting my car, shone so bright that day that the little girl couldn’t help but take notice.  Like a hot flame it spread from my Tader, to the girl, to me, back to the girl, and to her dad. 

As I laid in bed that night, holding my little Peanut with Tader curled up behind me, I thought of all the times I set out in a fabulous mood only to have  a random person snuff out my light.  Maybe they said something snarky. Maybe they just gave a nasty look or I overheard them saying something negative to another person.  Either way, they snuffed my light, burst my bubble, rained on my parade without even knowing it.  Then I thought of how often I must be snuffing out candles. 

How many times does my snarky comment about someone or something trigger “yea me too” snarky comments from my friends.  While I feel validated and like a big group hug is going on, I know in my heart I am just spreading around negativity like it was the swine flu.  Any negativity in my heart is taking up valuable space that COULD be filled with Love. 

Yesterday, I decided to do my best to be a light.  To be like my Taderbug.

It was SO UNBELIEVABLY HARD.  I guess I’m very used to whipping off a remark or two to vent or just be funny. I tried to stop and think before I tweeted.  I had to bite my tongue when my husband came home and was unable to take over for a bit so I could have a break.  I had to focus on my words and my expressions and NOT give in to saying what would make me feel better for the moment.

If I’m being whiny, fussy, cranky, judgmental, snarky, rough, rude, ‘too busy’, and inconsiderate of others than I am NOT being a light in this world.  My job is not to be a super mom, or a great blogger, or a hot wife, an avid reader, a frugal shopper…. my JOB is to be a Light to the world.  The rest comes along on its own.

Halloween Horror

I struggled with what to title this post.  So many good titles.
Take a moment to check the pics in my last post.  Seem my purty little mermaid?
Cute huh.
Not this morning.
This morning her mouth is swollen, her tongue is swollen, she is developing two black eyes and her nose is so tender  I can’t even wipe away the snot.
Her head is laying on my chest, with a new prefold cloth diaper between us to catch the drool as she can’t close her mouth to make suction to swallow without pain.
She can’t even eat a popsicle. She has had no food since lunchtime yesterday, where she didn’t really eat lunch, just some light snacks.  She only drinks to wash down the nasty antibiotic they gave her.
Yesterday morning, my mom and Taderbug (the lil mermaid) went to sit on the back deck.  They wanted to take Peanut with them, so we moved his jumpy seat onto the deck.  Tader came in a bit later to fetch her umbrella.  She wanted to hold it up to keep the sun out of his eyes.  She returned a few minutes later crying.
“I’m a bad sister” she said. “My umbrella is broke and I can’t even keep the sun out of my little brother’s eyes!”
It was heartbreaking. Seeing her standing there judging herself poorly over something so silly and simple.  So I did what I would imagine any mom would do. I went outside and opened the big patio table umbrella to block the sun from Peanut’s eyes.  There were not giant wind gusts.  Yet thinking back on it there was that brief moment when I thought “this may not be a good idea”.
Mom had the same thought.  When hubby arrived home from work (oddly 4 hours early) he had the same thought.  We all ignored it.
UPS arrived with Doodlebug’s birthday present Spy Gear and I sent them all out to play.  Moments later we heard the scream, and saw Tader walk in the back door with blood gushing from her mouth.  The inside looking like it had been in a blender.  One tooth swallowed. Two about to fall out into her hand.  The umbrella had taken flight, and just as the girls were coming around the side of the house, running and giggling, the umbrella landed – the steel spoke landing in Tader’s mouth.
The post could get terribly long and boring with more details so I’ll cut to the amazing part.  This happened on Friday.
On Saturday she went Trunk or Treating and on a hayride with her sisters:


That night she had birthday cake with her sister (aka Taylor Swift).
And on Sunday, not only did she trick or treat, but she ate pizza.
This could have been so much worse.  It could have been her eye.  It could have been permanent teeth.  Things could have been irreparably broken.  God was there with her.  I know that for sure.  He was with me, keeping me calm while I drove us to the hospital, hubby fussing from the back seat.  He was with my mom, who cannot handle any type of bodily fluid, as she did her best to clean the floor and the door and the carpet.

The ever growing to do list.

Hey ya’ll.  I know, this is supposed to be a post of one of my great grandma’s recipes.
Unfortunately, I’ve been a bit depressed lately (there.isaidit.)  Nothing harsh like before.  I can just feel the spiral beneath me ready to suck me in and during a couple of real good cryfest-pittyparties it almost got me.
Hubby has been sent out of town for work almost every week for two months.  He goes again next week.  I have in laws visiting this weekend and my mom visiting next weekend because our oldest daughter turns 9 on Halloween.
My house is a wreck.  My toddler is a whirling dervish. My attitude is quite frankly just bad.
The good news is, my house can be cleaned, I’ve lost 5 lbs and started the couch to 5k, and I have a couple of orders to complete. Hubby will be home all day today and his parents will take the big kids out tomorrow to give me a little break (aka time to work).
We are supposed to go see a car salesman today about a bigger vehicle.  I’m praying hard that we will make the correct choice here.  Every time I ask for guidance I get an answer, conflicting answers.  I know this is because there is an outcome I want and things are being filtered through those desires. Right now I’m feeling like it might be a waste of our time.
I got in some new fabrics AND new PUL so I’m looking forward to getting some more bibs made!  I’m also considering making one of each of my items as a matching set to list together.  Guess I should probably finish the Halloween costumes first huh?

Count them one by one…

Not the kids. I already know how many of them there are.
They qualify for this list, but they are obvious additions.
I’m trying to be more specific for today….because I’ve been a bit of a downer lately….feeling “crispy” as my friend Sunday would put it.
I feel the need to remind myself of the little things I have been blessed with today.
In no particular order:

  1. I instant messaged hubby that I didn’t know what to fix for dinner and he read between the lines and picked up my favorite ‘tv dinner’….and cooked it for me….and served it to me…..and then made chocolate chip cookies.
  2. He did all this while recovering from a severe sinus infection, after working all day, and knowing he had to go to work again tonight at 1 am.
  3. Each of my children smiled at me this morning when they first saw me.
  4. Our troubles with the old house (can’t make payments, renters left, need to short sale etc.) may provide us an opportunity to help my mom out of an abusive relationship, even if it’s only for a short while.
  5. Even though I’m sweaty right now (not in a good way either), it’s because the sun shone today.
  6. If I really wanted to I have air conditioning that I could turn on, a lot of people in hotter places don’t have that option.
  7. I may be behind on my blog reading but I can read, and the fact that my reader is full of posts means I have lots of bloggy friends out there writing great, helpful, frugal, inspirational and funny things….and sharing them with me.
  8. It also means I can read.
  9. I have TONS of laundry. I have been blessed that my friends, family and hubby’s job that has donated, shared and bought plenty of clothes for all of us.
  10. Our tiny house. Ok, it’s not tiny, but it seems that way to us.  There is no where to hide, to get away, or to have alone time.  While at this ‘crispy’ moment this doesn’t feel so much like a blessing I know that it is.  It means we can’t hide….I get to see hubby and the kids get to see me and I get to see them and hubby gets to see us.  We see and hear and talk and share and hug and sit close and laugh at how loud Daddy snores because there is no way to NOT be present.

God sent me my husband, perfectly created for my chaotic personality.  Then God sent us four adorable and different children.  I pray that I can glean from the trials of today the lessons He is showing me.   Apparently when it comes to lessons in patience and mercy I am a slow learner. 🙂

Even I am a child…

God Lessons
Image by Avagirl_Taderdoodles via Flickr

Yesterday was a bad day that just seemed to get worse.  I’ll leave out the minor details but in the end I actually told my mom that I wouldn’t even pray for God’s help because He was to Holy to have a miserable whining defeated person like me and my attitude come before Him.  I had no desire to waste His time as I had no energy, desire, or motivation to DO anything to make it better and if I asked Him to make it better, He would and then I’d have to DO something.  (it made sense to me at the time)
I just wanted to lay there on my bed and cry, and I did. David even surprised me by coming home early  and after he laid on the bed next to me making me laugh and whining about how tired and sore he was he got up and came downstairs to fix supper.  I could hear the girls fighting and Bubbagirl crying and him banging pots and pans around (he fixed a boxed chinese food dinner) and yet he never came asking for help and I never heard him yell at them (which by itself is odd to say the least).   I even snuck in a shower, almost all by myself (the big girls did come up twice, behind his back, for referree-ing)
After some apologies, to God, I prayed last night that even if He could not give me sleep, as in lots of hours of it, would He please make what little sleep I could get be refreshing…  and that’s the word I used… REFRESHING… I’ll take one hour over eight if the ONE hour makes me feel better.  Nothing sucks like getting 8 hours of crappy sleep.  I guess to test me He made sure Doodlebug and Taderbug had me get up at least 5 times (it was getting close to 11pm) for medicine, water, lights, ‘i cant sleep’, blah blah blah…. And I woke up at least twice to pee, and then again with my Bubbagirl.
At 6 am I woke up out of nowhere.  I tried to lay back down, but Doodlebug called out for me, and by the time I made it in her room she was back to sleep…  I got the signal loud and clear that He wanted me to get up. So I did. Coffee is made, kitchen is cleaned up from Mr. B’s cooking last night and while I am still stuffy, and I won’t be singing out loud in the car, I do feel REFRESHED.  I feel I can drive without swerving, and I can speak to my kids with a nicer tone in my voice.
I behaved like a child yesterday toward God and yet He still let me crawl up into His mighty lap and find rest.
***This morning’s Daily Focus From AOP (an email I receive daily) was more evidence of God’s provision and offered some insight into hubby’s early arrival yesterday…  you can read it here.***

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My #sixty60 recap, a day late


I’m going to totally blame my delay on this crazy attack of tree pollen allergies in my house. Like a good sinner I want to avoid pinning any of the fault on myself *giggling*.
Actually, we have been covered in the yellow junk and for the first time in my LIFE I am experiencing what many of you battle all the time – allergies. I do not envy any of you who have to deal with this year round. I feel like I’ve been hit by a Mack truck. It is still a sad excuse for not writing up a simple post; especially since I’ve had an answer to these questions since the weekend.
* What’s been the most challenging aspect of the 60/60 challenge this week?
This week was going pretty well. From my last post you may remember that I was also participating in a Reading my Bible in 90 Days challenge. I was caught up (even though the repetition was really – really – wearing on me. I may not have been hitting my ‘every 60 minute’ mark but I was reconnecting a LOT during each day. That’s because my kids were making me crazy, so I was praying on a very regular basis, that He would help me not bite their little heads off. I so wish that I were joking with that remark. I am not.
So, my biggest challenge, was focusing on seeking what God wanted from me, what God’s will was for me, and not just spending every hour asking Him to keep me sane. See, I knew what He was doing…. and I did NOT want to hear it.
* What do you think God is trying to do in your life right now?
Boy how I don’t want this actually in writing… but here goes:
He is reminding me that QUALITY of life is more important than the quantity of things in your life.
and
He is reminding me, through the imperfections of my children, that I am still imperfect….where did I think they got it from.

*What sin(s) have you been conscious of this week?

By pointing it out in my daughter, God has shown me that I tend to try to ‘improve’ upon His commands. I try to do them in MY time, or I put it off because I think it’ll work better if I do it THIS way, or on THIS day instead of RIGHT NOW.
My daughter does this. Drives me nuts. Everything from being asked to load the dishwasher to taking a bath. Part of my frustration is that I’m a total control freak sometimes and I can’t figure out WHY she can’t just do it my way. Why does she have to make so much noise, why doesn’t she start here instead of there, why doesn’t she see how EASY it would be if she just followed MY directions? (hmmmm, hey Lisa…. ever wonder how many times God watched you do it the HARD way because YOU thought it would be better that way? Did He yell at you? Did He stand over you and ask you WHY YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO DO THAT? No, He didn’t. He was patient. He let you do it your way. When it all fell apart and you hit the ‘consequences’ He stepped in and helped you anyway. When was the last time YOU did that Lisa? Yea, think on that)
*What are you learning about yourself through the challenge?
My children were not born acting this way. They each behave differently because I was at a different place in my OWN maturity when they were born. My parenting styles, my own behaviors, and my tendencies were different eight years ago. Doodlebug behaves EXACTLY how I did eight years ago. Taderbug is very much a duplicate of my behaviors from five years ago. Precious Bubbagirl, well, she is more like I am now. If I want my children to behave differently, then I need to model that. I also need to be patient while they readjust, buck the system, rebel, and change. While they are working on that, I need to readjust my attitude towards my Father, quit rebelling, and make a change.
There have been times when I let it go, and gave the control to God. Normally it was just for that particular situation but I gave up trying to control things. Go figure, but God handled it. Why can’t I seem to let Him do that on a daily basis with all the little things in my life?
**click the button at the top of this post to see what other #sixty60 participants are learning**
The post is brought to you by lekhonee v0.7

My first #sixty60 update, Reconnecting with God is Good!

What’s been the most challenging aspect of the #sixty60 challenge this week?

The first day, by mid afternoon, I felt I was being insincere and repetitious.  It was totally my fault as I had not really planned or prepared in advance for ways to reconnect when there wasn’t time to really sit quietly.  So Monday morning, I scrolled through some email devotionals and found some Bible verses that touched me and wrote them on note cards.  I decided to start the “Bible in 90 Days” Challenge, even though the group session was done, I grabbed the schedule and am reading on my own.  This gives me something specific to do , to reconnect with God’s Word, during moments when I do have some quiet.   I haven’t set my timer, YET.  Focusing on the top of the hour has worked okay with the exception of the weekend, when we had company here.  I did start to notice after a few days that even if I wasn’t stopping to connect, I was bringing God up in conversations with others more often, seemingly helping them to connect.

What do you think God is trying to do in your life right now?

There are big changes on the horizon for us.  A new baby in about nine weeks.  Our current lease will be up.  Our old home mortgage is in loan modification (because we can’t pay rent and the payment) and we recently heard that our renters there may be leaving – soon.  There are job changes (positive ones!) and extended family issues.  This past week I really felt that God was reminding me that He has it covered.  He will provide.  It will be okay (even if it’s hard). 

Psalm 37:23-24  “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.

I am, unfortunately, a control freak.  I had learned to let that go some time back and it felt good.  With this pregnancy, and my exhaustion, I am attempting to get ‘control’ again – of everything -  as if things being done my way would somehow be easier for me.  This upcoming week, I hope to work on letting that go.  Lay it at the feet of my Lord, and trust in His plan, His way, His word, and His provision. 

What sin(s) have you been conscious of this week?

I am angry.  I speak harshly.  I am selfish.  I still have my “Pet Sin Rock” in my pocket, his name is Envy.  I preach respect, and mercy and yet lose myself regularly and become mean and judgmental. 

What are you learning about yourself through the challenge?

Shutting up is a wonderful thing.  The ability to bite my tongue is a blessing I have yet to receive.  If I don’t like the way others are treating me, take a moment to look at how I treated someone else.  If I don’t want my kids to roll their eyes, or look at the television when I’m speaking to them, then maybe I need to take note of what I’m doing and where my eyes are looking when they are speaking to me.  I am far from the Biblical wife and mother, there is much work to be done.  I pray that this week I can open myself up again and allow God to be at work in my heart.