Monday, February 25, 2013

Rest for the Weary...

We all need rest.  We all need time away, whether it's at a fancy hotel or within the quiet walls of our own bathroom.  As a mother to my three precious girls, whom I am with all day every day, I needed rest.  How blessed I was to receive such a gift this past weekend!  

Tara and I met over nine years ago on little Danritch Drive in Richfield, North Carolina.  We immediately shared a bond as sisters in Christ, but within the year became first time mothers to our sweet little girls.  We took many walks together down that single street to the cow pastures and back to the highway.  We shared lunches in each others homes, learning simple recipes, and trying to figure this whole mothering thing out. During that year, she shared with me a book that has encouraged me time and time again.  Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson was the first of many inspiring books that has revitalized me to be the mother God desires me to be.  

Nine years later, Tara and I have both moved away, had more babies, endured struggles, yet by God's grace, have continued on in our desire to train and guide our children within the walls of our homes.  It is only by His grace! (and the support of our wonderful husbands!)  

Hearing one of our mentors, Sally Clarkson, was truly a treat this weekend!  By Saturday afternoon, I felt as though a high-powered fire hose of wisdom had been sprayed at me, unable to really take it all in. We were encouraged to discover the values of heartfelt discipline, to raise our children in grace and truth, to look for the beauty in the midst of chaos, to wake up to this awesome calling of being mothers, to plant the seeds of our children and not just throw them into the wind, and the notes go on and on.

Coming home, I felt exhausted, yet rejuvenated.  There were no feelings of guilt or changing the game plan of parenting.  I only felt encouragement and the renewed desire to keep on going.  Obviously, the weekend shed light on areas in need of improvement, but through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and many godly women, it also gave specific ways to fulfill these challenging areas.  I would highly recommend going to a Mom Heart Conference if the opportunity arises.  But if that's not possible, then somehow retreat and take some time to be still before our Lord for He, and only He can truly give rest to the soul.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Sweet Valentine's Day...

Valentine's Day has always been one of my favorite holidays.  I have vivid memories as a child (in boarding school) getting a package in the mail every February with a card from my parents and a chocolate heart.  I would savor that heart over the entire week of Valentine's Day.  I remember another Valentine's Day, sweet sixteen, yet not so sweet when my boyfriend broke up with me three days later.  Heartbroken!  One year, I received (from that same boyfriend!) the biggest stuffed white gorilla holding a giant Hershey kiss and a bouquet of red roses.  I am sure I blushed...  Since then, Valentine's Day has held many more memories.

Last year, I posted about giving my husband the 12 days of Valentine's.  It was so much fun!  But to be honest, this year I cheated and found on Pinterest (of course!) some printable tags for the 14 days of Valentine's.  Here is her link and a glimpse of a couple of the Valentines that I surprised my hubbie with from February 1 through Valentine's Day.  Most of the items I found at the Dollar Tree.  The bouncy balls were a God-send the morning he found them, entertaining our girls for a good hour downstairs while I madly threw together the Valentine cards needing to be mailed to out-of-town family.  The cupcake was free from GiGi's Cupcakes (used the free Thursday code!  Woo hoo!)  My card to him was also found on Pinterest, but adapted to the dying scrapbooker in me.  He is always so appreciative of anything I make for him and saves all of his cards in a box, which makes it worth anytime I spend on them

The girls made simple valentines from blank white cards, foam bookmarks (both from a previous year's leftovers), and the printable glow stick idea from Pinterest.  The glow sticks were perfect this year since my 8 year old has become very conscientious about what boys think.  Great valentine for boys or girls!  On the other hand, Naomi, my six year old, could not understand why someone would give her a Star Wars valentine.  "I don't even like Star Wars, Mommy!"  The day before Valentine's, they made their cards for their daddy by stamping with pencil erasers, thanks to.... Pinterest.  I know I should really give it a break.  

I'm coming to realize that my expectations of these holidays are affecting my girls more and more.  Chloe was so upset when she realized that Daddy had to work on Valentine's Day, the mail lady had to work on Valentine's Day, and we had to do school work on Valentine's Day.  What is the world coming to?  

Favorite parts of the day:
  • Their giddy excitement of their simple gifts
  • Heart shaped doughnuts given by a friend 
  • The girls giving each other a gift, picked out at the dollar store
  • Visiting & giving cards to the residents of our local retirement home 
  • Lunch with Marty and my surprise rose bush
  • A lovely cup of coffee while reading Valentine books with my girls
  • Supper as a family with heart bread from Stick Boy Bakery
  • Movie at home with my dearest & best friend

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Four P's...

One of the many blessings that I have in my life is my godly husband. It's become a rare treat for me to be able to join him as he teaches our youth ministry on Wednesday nights.  Last night was one of those times... 

He's been teaching through Colossians, one of my favorites.  He focused on the last passage of chapter 1, verses 24 through 29.  It begins with the words, "Now I rejoice in my sufferings..."  Marty reminded us of Paul's specific sufferings in II Corinthians 11, in which Paul received near death beating (times five!), imprisonment, being stoned, shipwrecked, and the list goes on.  

Yet I complain when I run out of coffee creamer and have to drive to Food Lion (two minutes from my house)!  Life sure is hard!  But seriously, it was a great reminder last night that my life really is not as hard as I make it seem.  But when struggles do come that truly seem hard because I am weak, I can rejoice because my God is so much bigger than my struggles and little me.  The four P's that Marty brought out from the passage can be consolidated into this one sentence, "He has PLACED you where you are for a PURPOSE to PROCLAIM His POWER."  

Even as a stay-at-home mom, when I wonder what difference will I make in my life, God reminds me that He has placed me in my home with my family... in my neighborhood... in my church... in my homeschool group... in my city..., for a purpose, not for my benefit or glory, but so that God's power will be displayed and proclaimed.