Thursday, June 27, 2013


It is truly amazing to know that, as a mama, some of the deepest life lessons I am learning are taught by someone who fits snugly in the crook of my right arm. I love to read books by great thinkers and historians but wow, the wisdom and truths that comes from a little girl who can't even say "mama"...a little girl whose feet are smaller than my credit card...are often more piercing and more powerful than even the greatest of these.

I diligently study my daughter as she grows and learns, soaking in each new experience. One thing that has become apparent to me is her ability to take on new experiences with gusto. She's simply not afraid. Recently, I saw this play out in our community swimming pool. We've been going to a mom-and-tot swim class and my little one is the youngest in the class at six-months-old. I would think that as the younger one she would hold back, cling to me, and balk at the new experiences (I mean, I don't think I would like it if somebody dunked me under the water when I wasn't prepared for it). But she doesn't. She takes in every moment and doesn't seem to think twice about engaging in the new senses and skills I am thrusting upon her. She even seems to enjoy them.

I watch her willingness to try new things and I think "what if I lived life like that?" What if I put away the fears? Of failure. Of rejection. Of embarrassment. Of loss. Of loneliness. Of being not-good-enough. Of missing-the-mark and being shoved aside. What if I lived fearlessly? If I imagine that life for a moment, there is so much possibility! If I don't worry whether or not I am a "good enough" wife, I will probably end up being a better one. If I don't anxiously brood about how to protect my children from every possible thing that could go wrong, I will probably be a more peaceful and involved mom. If I don't wonder what my friends think of me and whether I am somebody worth being friends with, I will probably be more able to be the friend I want to be.

How often fear holds me back from living the life I desire! How often I let it. If I would hold my breath and take the plunge, like my daughter, I know that I would be a better version of me. I would be less stressed-out, tight-lipped, anxious...if I would trust. And live courageously. And stop worrying about my tomorrows and my next months and even my ten-minutes-from-nows. They'll get here either way. The question is, will I be who I want to be in them? Will I actually experience them? Or will I be caught up in the "what ifs"?

If my baby girl lived her little life with "what ifs" she would never learn to crawl. Or walk. Or talk. Or laugh. Or hug. Or love. I need to take a lesson from her playbook and take the plunge into life, reveling in each new moment and experience. Fearlessly.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The List...

I am mourning the loss of the post I spent two hours working on this morning. I thought about never blogging again and threw a mini mental temper tantrum. I ranted the injustice of my brilliant thoughts not making it off home base. I sighed (a lot...apparently I thought maybe enough sighs would bring it back) and was graciously comforted by my husband (who really has better things to do than encourage a wife who is distraught over something as trivial as losing a blog post...but he loves me so he comforted anyway). And then I finally thought c'est la vie. (I know, it took me a little while and a lot of unnecessary mental drama to get there...but I got there).

So here I am with my summer list. You'll be happy to know that in the spirit of this being my second go of it, I have shortened my list from long-and-drawn-out to short-and-sweet. Well shortish. (BTW, since June is almost over I picked goals that I have already started on, so as not to set myself up for failure. I don't think it's cheating since I am starting this endeavor with only six days to go!)

1. Start meal-planning. I recently started using emeals to help me with this goal (thanks mom & dad!). Check the program out here.
2. Work on a budget. Notice I said work on, not complete. I have started one and its a good feeling to (start to) get some mastery over our money.
3. Join a mom-and-tot swim class. I am happy to report that I actually did sign up (the last day possible) for a mom-and-tot swim class, and other than two misses due to inclement weather (one being today), baby-love and I have splashed about in the pool each morning since!

1. Celebrate the 4th. This might be a bit "duh" but my goal is to plan a barbeque, make a fun dessert, and keep a celebratory spirit!
2. Go Camping. Just a one-night excursion nearby to start.
3. Have an actual date with my husband. I know, I know...I should be going on dates all the time! But we haven't been on an actual planned-out, dress-up, open-the-car-door date since before our baby-love was born. So I'm really excited about this one!

1. Try my hand at fishing. It's true, I have never ever been fishing. (I was deprived of this experience as a child and revel in reminding my dad of that fact as often as possible). Now that I am a resident of one of the hunter-gatherer states I think I should probably remedy that!
2. Help the hubs get his classroom ready for the next school year. Just all the usual new-year teacher stuff...set up the classroom, maybe make something fun for the students, whatever he needs a hand with I'm in!
3. Check out a nearby ghost town. A hobby the hubs and I to see all the old structures and think about the history.

1. Start a Bible study. My goal is to start a mom-and-kid friendly Bible study where kids can play, moms can chat, and we can all grow and learn!
2. Have a "goodbye summer" picnic. I never think about the transition from summer to fall, but each season has so much to celebrate! Saturday, September 21st is the last day of summer and I want to end it with a celebration! Who knows, maybe it will become a family tradition!
3. Celebrate my husband's 30th Birthday well. I have great intentions, but my put-off-today-what-you-can-do-tomorrow nature often leaves great intentions shriveled on the floor. This year, I want my husband to feel celebrated and loved as he steps into a new decade!

There you have it. My summer list. It certainly isn't everything I want to do, but its a good start! If I can fit in walking 100 miles, reading at least 3 books, finishing (and by finishing I mean starting) my "beach ball" project for baby-love, trying to get to church at least 3 out of every 4 Sundays, and investing intentionally in my relationships I will be all set. And of course, with all these things the most important is to find joy in each day and love my family well. So here's to an intentionally-lived summer!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Just Do It!

 I am addicted to lists. There should be a self-help program for people like me. I mean, I'm not talking about just a little list here or there. I'm talking about madly-in-love-I-get-butterflies-when-I-see-a-good-list kind of infatuated. (I might have hesitated admitting that last bit about butterflies due to embarrassment over my obsession...but I decided to keep it real). In fact, the majority of the time I get "lost" when I'm on the internet (you know what I mean, the "5 minutes" you were going to hop on turns into...well, lets just say way too long) is because I have been dragged from one list to another. Pinterest is no help, that thing ropes you in and doesn't let go. Did you like that list of Top-25-Books-To-Read-In-2013? Well how about seventy-five more? And two hours later I am trudging along with like thirteen pages open trying to soak it all in. Oh my.

Anyway, this morning (after a bout of list-mania last night) I was thinking about all of the "summer-fun" ideas I had seen on various lists I came across. There are just so many I want to do! I not only want to experience them, but I want to pull out that Sharpie and start crossing things off! (Because as every list-lover knows, the thrill of crossing something off of the list is something akin to euphoria). The problem is, along with my list-addiction problem I have another. Procrastination. So I might have great ideas of what I want to accomplish (today, this week, this month, this year) but the truth is that if I don't have a plan, a lot of times it doesn't happen.

So I came up with a plan! I will pick three non-negotiables to do each month of summer. They will be things I have wanted to do or planned to do but haven't actually done. Along with my "non-negotiables" I will pick between three and five extras to do each month if time allows. And lucky have a part to play in this endeavor! You will be my accountability to said list! Each time I accomplish a summer goal I will "cross it off" by letting you know it got done. (Nerd alert: I am so excited about this I almost can't sit still...that's when you know you might be a little too over-the-top about list-making). So procrastination, take that! You don't stand a chance against my millions (okay, tens) of faithful readers!

June is almost over so I'd better get cracking! Tomorrow's post will be my list, and I would love to hear your summer "bucket lists" as well...along with what you have actually accomplished so far! Happy Monday!

Today is Monday so I am linking up with The Better Mom for "Better Mom Mondays"! You can get to her site by clicking here!  

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Confessions of an Imperfect Mom

I have a confession to make. I am a bit of a perfectionist. Let's say I'm a recovering perfectionist...that sounds a little more optimistic. The thing is, I didn't start out as a perfectionist. As a kid I had the messiest room this side of anywhere and my mom probably still mumbles something akin to "Pick that mess up now...that's the last time I'm telling you!" in her sleep. I'm not exactly sure when it happened, but somewhere around the time my high school boyfriend started teasing me for my pressing need to have all the sugar packets facing in the same direction at a restaurant, I realized I might be a little too cozy with needing things "just so".

While I no longer fret over sugar packet arrangements, the tendency towards feeling the need to be faultless still hangs around. To the unattuned eye these perfectionistic tendencies would probably not be apparent. I have the home of any normal parent of young kids. There are baby toys spread from hither to yon, dishes are in the sink as we speak (because I am currently avoiding them like the plague), and if you happen to sit down on my couch you will probably rise with dog hair stuck to your rear end...or maybe it will be baby spit up. It's really a toss up.

My point is, the need for things to be "just so" doesn't run through every area of my life. Like most perfectionists, I prefer to focus on a few things to be persnickety about. Unfortunately, the majority of
the time, my focus is Call it egocentric (because it is) but the one thing I want to be perfectly perfect all the time is me. I want to be the perfect wife. I want to be the perfect mom. I want my attitude to be perfect. I want my words to be perfect. I can give myself all the "self-talk" I want, but at the end of the day when I don't live up to those lofty standards I set for myself, that big red marker comes out and I give myself an "F".

Lately I have been thinking about how I want my daughter to view herself as she grows up. Like any good mom, I want her to have self-confidence. I want her to be a kind person. I want her to make healthy choices and I want her to love Jesus with all her might. But I also want her to have grace for herself when she fails. And I want her to be able to laugh when she makes a mistake. And I want her to know that she is loved no matter what. There will never be a big red "F" for her. Because each failure is a lesson, and through each failure we have an opportunity to grow.

The thing is (you know what's coming) if I want those things for her, I have to be the example. I have to be an example of kindness and graciousness both towards others and towards myself. I have to
show her that mistakes are opportunities to grow, and that when we fall we get back up and dust ourselves off. I will never be a perfect mom, no matter how bad I want to and no matter how hard I try. I need to be okay with that. I need to remember that most of what I teach my daughter won't be with my mouth, it will be with my actions. When I fall, how do I get back up? And what path do I take from that point? She will be watching. And my heart's hope is that when she falls, instead of finding me laying there in the dirt unwilling to rise, she will see me standing with an outstretched hand, ready to help her up. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Love Must Be Sincere

Do you ever have those moments when you are reading the Bible and something just pops out and hits you smack dab in the middle of your forehead? Welcome to my morning. As I was minding my own business, perusing Romans 12 all of a sudden I read love must be sincere. And the thing is, this shouldn't really shock me. It shouldn't cause me to want to reread it six times. Because I think I am pretty good at the whole love thing. I love my family, I love my friends, and I even love lots of people I barely know! I mean, in my humble opinion I've got this love thing down. Only obviously, I don't. Because if I did, I don't think this verse would be haunting me.

So here I am, rethinking my thoughts on love and my actions on love. And there it is. In my heart I feel love for many, many people. I so badly want others to know that they are loved. But what do I do about it? Because love isn't just a thought or a feeling. It has to be lived out sincerely. It means getting messy and uncomfortable and sacrificing things you don't want to sacrifice. In my marriage maybe it means sacrificing the need to be right all the time. In my relationship with my daughter it means holding her in the middle of the night while she cries and whispering words of comfort instead of getting frustrated that she just won't sleep. In my friendships it means making sure I pursue my friends and maybe it means being there for them even when its not convenient for me. In my run-ins with strangers maybe it means starting up a conversation even when it feels awkward. Or maybe it means actually looking the guy with the Will Work for Food sign in the eye and seeing him as a real person. Or maybe it means being gracious with the crabby woman at the checkout line because I don't really know what kind of day she is having, and I can either make it better or worse.

Do I do these things? Sometimes. But do I do them with sincerity? Not always. And there is a
difference. Ask any mom whose teenage daughter says "Well soo-rry!" if they felt the contrition from those sarcastic words. (I know, I used to be that sulky, snarky teenage daughter...sorry mom!) So here's to doing the hard thing. Putting others above ourselves and making sacrifices out of love, without feeling like a martyr and holding onto hidden resentment on the inside. Here's to making sure our love is evident and sincere. To our spouses. To our children. To our friends. And to our world. In the end, we will either be remembered for our love or for our selfishness. Its our choice.

Today I am linking up with Rachel Wojnarowski for Whimsical Wednesdays! You can get to her blog by clicking here!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Faith, Love, and Ice Cream

I eat way too much ice cream in the summertime. I'm not sure what it is...because the rest of the year I'm fine with a little bit here or there, but summer comes and look out Albertsons because I am going to buy your two-for-five-dollar Tillamook gallons out of stock! I might need to buy a bigger freezer to hold all of that sticky melty summertime goodness.

Ice cream is quintessential summertime to me. (Well, really in my mind it would be me making homemade ice cream in a beach house with my kids...possibly while wearing an apron. But reality says where's the nearest store with ice cream on sale!?) Anyway, I digress. Ice cream, sunscreen, and beaches are my symbols of the lazy days of summer. And now that I am a parent, the laughter of kids down the street playing in their kiddy pool makes my heart sing as well. I know, sappy but true.

There's something else I love about ice cream. I usually eat it with somebody else. Now, I know I might be over-thinking this ice cream thing, but bear with me. What desserts are most often shared between two? cream sundaes or banana splits. Duh! (I am somewhat of a resident expert because I work at a coffee/ice cream "frozen yogurt" me on this). Also, what melts your heart more than seeing a little kid taking a big lick off of mama or daddy's cone? Cutest kodak moments ever. Ice cream is like a community event. Which this people-oriented-please-please-share-a-bite-of-that-with-me person absolutely loves.

 So on those days when life gets you so frazzled you're afraid you might just blow a fuse, try this. Take a breath, find a friend (or spouse or child), and share a bowl of ice cream. I promise you, life will seem just a little bit brighter.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Enjoying my Todays

I am the kind of person who is always looking for a way to challenge myself to grow; I never want to become complacent or stagnant where I am at. This has its positives to be sure. I am often venturing into new territories and experiencing new things. I delight in challenging the status quo and find richness in discovering a better way to do something. There are drawbacks to this personality trait too, though. Sometimes I get so focused on the next destination that I don't enjoy the scenery I am currently traveling through.

Never has this been more apparent than through the new experience of raising my little one. Six months has past since she made her appearance into this crazy world and it has been an incredible journey. Yet, so many times I have found myself waiting for "the next big thing". It's not that I haven't enjoyed who she is in each moment, I just get so excited for the firsts...that first time she really saw me...indescribable. The first time she smiled at me...I can't even explain the sensation. I have invested hours upon hours into researching what comes next, how I can interact with her better, what games and activities are "age appropriate" and I have amassed tons of great information. But through all of this focus on how to help with the next moment, I fear I am not fully engaged in this moment.

The lesson I am learning is that the cliche I keep hearing from the older generation is true. The days are long, but the years are short. Some days I look at the clock and wonder why isn't naptime coming faster! Yet in six months my little girl has learned and experienced hundreds of new things. She has had so many firsts, and I want to hold each one in my heart and experience it to the fullest. I look towards the future and am excited for the day she can share an ice cream cone with her daddy, ride a pony, and run into my arms for a hug. But I need to put the brakes on a bit, slow it down, and enjoy the moments. (Even the ones that are tough to those completely indescribable diapers when she first started solid food. Oh. My. Word.  I didn't actually think anything could smell that bad.)
Who me? Smell bad? No way!

Because I am a planner and have an affinity for lists, I have picked three ways I will practice engaging in the present moment.
1. I will take two hours a day of "technology free" time with my daughter. It may not be two hours in a row...maybe two one-hour chunks or four half-hour chunks, but I will keep the cell phone put away, the computer and television off, and focus on simply interacting with her.

2. I will be intentional about enjoying simple things. I will spend time each day purposefully enjoying an unhurried moment. Maybe I will step outside for a few breaths of fresh air and focus on the slight breeze, the sound of kids playing down the street, and the warmth of the ground beneath my feet. Maybe I will close my eyes for a moment as I hug my little girl and listen to her heartbeat as I feel her little hands clench my arm. I will take these moments to thank God, once again, for the gifts he has given me.

Bedtime Music with Daddy!
3. I will enjoy engaging in the bedtime routine with my daughter. It can be easy to want to rush through my daughter's bedtime routine so I can have a few hours to do "baby free" activities. However, the days I really engage with my little one at bedtime are the days I feel like I ended well. My husband and I have started having music time right before bed with our daughter. After I feed her and she gets her jammies on, my husband brings out his guitar and plays some songs. I hold her in my lap and we listen to daddy make music. Then we kiss her goodnight and put her to bed. It is a precious routine that could so easily be forgone for other "important" activities (like catching up on our favorite television show). What could be more important than establishing these rituals with our baby girl and enjoying family time together?

So, I may be a dreamer forever, looking for ways to better the tomorrows and be the best I can be. But that doesn't mean I can't live fully in my todays. My goal as a wife, a mama, and a follower of Jesus is to enjoy my todays and live as fully as I possibly can in each one.. Each day with my baby girl is a new today, and I don't want to waste any of them.

 (Today I am linking up with Better Mom Mondays! Feel free to get to her blog by clicking here!)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Waverly Recap...First Six Months!

We are coming up on six months as parents of our baby girl! I can't believe how time has flown (though that could be because for the first two months I was in shock, followed closely by a month of feeling like I was seriously losing my mind). It has been a whirlwind, and yet I am in awe at how much our munchkin has learned and grown in the past six months.

Month One: Her favorite toy was...well lets just face it, it was my boob. Couldn't get enough of it. (Side note: When lactation consultants tell you that breastfeeding shouldn't hurt, they are LYING. I am now broken-in and can see where they are coming from because it doesn't hurt anymore. But on day two of mommyhood, when you come in to my hospital room and I tell you it hurts...DON'T tell me it shouldn't! Instead, tell me that Lanolin is an amazing invention and I should probably buy stock in it. Tell me that pain is normal because my boobs are in shock from being so overworked. Tell me that in a few weeks it won't be so agonizing so I don't think I have to go a year with this pain. Okay, end of rant.) Her favorite game was sleeping. If you are a parent this could possibly be your favorite game too. I, in my neurosis, wondered if I was being interactive enough with her and Googled games to play with your baby. It turns out that when babies are a month old they don't really care to play peek-a-boo...they would prefer a boob and a bed. (Sounds like some men I know...)
Sassy's GoGo Bugs

Month Two: Her favorite toy was Sassy Go Go Bugs. We hung them on her carseat and she would stare at them intently. In fact, her first smile was not directed towards the woman who woke every two hours to feed her (that would be me). Oh no, her first smile was at the bugs. Because they went through hours of pain to bring you into this world. (I have received many smiles since then, and am no longer bitter towards the winged creatures.) Her favorite game was probably watching me try to schedule play time while she was still partial to sleeping. Though, she did seem to enjoy me singing to her and reading to her...probably because she could just lie there and be comfortable while I danced around like a lunatic.

Created by: Priddy Books
Month Three: Her favorite toy was probably a tie between her stuffed bear with bee wings and her Fuzzy Bee & Friends cloth book created by 'Priddy Books". She really liked to chew on her bear, but would often get fuzz in her mouth and I think that might have been annoying if it was me. She didn't seemed too bothered by it though. Her Fuzzy Bee book is probably my favorite of her toys. It keeps her very occupied with lots of things to grab and chew. She has gotten a ton of use out of it and it is now my standard baby shower gift because I think every child needs one! Her favorite game was having me pull her from laying down to a sitting position. Over and over and over...

Month Four: Her favorite toy seemed to be her Infantino Baby Bugs that I usually had attached to her play mat. She really enjoyed sticking these lovelies in her mouth and chewing on their wings and such. They seemed to help her with teething pains. (By the way, does anybody find it odd that all of these toys are bug related? This was not intentional, they were just what she was drawn to. Ladies and gentlemen I think we have a future entomologist on our hands!) (FYI an entomologist is somebody who studies bugs...I just googled it.) 

O'Ball Rattle by Rhino
Month Five: At this point she has several toys that she really enjoys. She still likes all the aforementioned toys, but I would probably add her O'Ball Rattle by Rhino. Though she has enjoyed this toy for quite a while, she can now interact with it more. She also likes her Garanimals soft blocks as well as a more interactive and musical toy steering wheel. Oh, and lets not forget mommy's hair and daddy's goatee...both very enjoyable toys for pulling (oh joy). Her favorite game is having mommy or daddy bite on her side...the giggles are the BEST part of my day!

Month Six: Well, we aren't there yet...she will be six months tomorrow! But I'm sure sometime within the next month our gifted child will be reading Nietzsche and trading stocks. ...Or maybe she will still be seeing if she can still stick her whole hand in her mouth. Either way, I look forward to seeing what comes next! I never thought I would find such overwhelming joy in parenting. There is nothing I would rather be doing!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Getting Dust on Ya'

It is once again Wednesday which means am linking up with Rachel Wojnsroski for Whimsical Wednesdays! Feel free to pop on over to her site by clicking here.

I am a big fan of history, specifically history surrounding biblical times. I love to know the ins and outs of what went on back then; what people did, their living situations, cultural beliefs and practices, and how they impacted history. Because of all this, I must give you a nerd alert! You may end up with more information than you want and if you are not a nerd, you might not find the information as fascinating as I do. If you are up for the challenge of reading it anyway, than by all means read on!

I recently learned some fun facts about rabbis. Everyone knows Jewish men have the absolute coolest
Matisyahu...example of a great beard
beards ever.  If you don't believe me check out Matisyahu's (before he shaved it, sad day)! His beard is almost as cool as his music. ANYWAY, I digress. Other than their fantastic beards, you may not know much about rabbis. Rabbis were the ancient Jewish leaders that taught people about God and pondered biblical truths (specifically those found in the Torah, which is a name for the compilation of the first five books of the Bible). In order to be qualified as a "rabbi" they had to have disciples. These disciples were men (and possibly women) who followed them around and looked at their life as an example of how to live. Essentially, a disciple's goal was to be as much like their rabbi as they possibly could. Jesus was a rabbi, and his disciples were the men and women who followed him and desired to live as he lived and love as he loved.

Back in the days of the rabbis there was a book called the Mishnah, and it was basically a collection of a variety of rabbinical thoughts on God's word. One rabbi named Yose Ben Yoezer (imagine yelling that when you're mad at your child) wrote a piece in the Mishnah (not that you care, but it is in the Mishnah Avot 1:4) that is roughly translated, "Your house ought to be a meeting place for the sages, and to wrestle in the dust at their feet, and drink their words with thirst." In modern day this quote has gotten shortened to a phrase that I recently heard, and it stirred something inside me. That phrase is "May you be covered by the dust of your rabbi".

Something about that image gets me excited! It makes me want to raise my arm and yell, "ooh, ooh, pick me pllleeeasssee pick me!" I might be a bit overzealous in this, but if I'm going to have dust on me (and if you read my post yesterday you know that I am) than I want to make it Jesus' dust! Because essentially, he is my "rabbi" and I am his disciple. I want to sit at his feet and let the dust from his journey rub off onto me. I want to be that close. I want to smell the sweat (would it be considered holy sweat if it belongs to Jesus?) and I want to wrestle with his words and let them mold me into looking more like him.

I want to look like Jesus in the way I parent my children and love my husband. As I get his dust on me, I can learn to be loving and patient and kind. I can learn to discipline my kids with tenderness instead of in anger. I can learn to confront my husband with a gentle spirit instead of a spiteful one. I can learn to see the joy I am gifted every day and live each moment to the fullest. These are my desires, as I learn to live like my rabbi Jesus. Maybe it sounds corny to some, and I understand why some people don't "get it". But nothing sums up my relationship with Jesus more than having a desire to be covered in his dust. Because as I am, I know that I will rub off onto my family in a positive way. Maybe they will even get dusty.

I can teach and preach all I want, but if I don't live it out my words mean nothing. I know my children will not remember my words so much as my actions. So may I live like my rabbi as best I can each day, and may you be covered in the dust of the rabbi Jesus.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Is There Dirt On Your Face?

Some weeks seem so busy that I wonder if they are going to swallow me whole! This has been one of them, with both planned and unplanned events creeping up and pushing out my nice, scheduled routine. Because of this, I have not had more than five minutes to write in the past few days (let alone sleep or shower) and oh how I have missed you! It is a good thing we are meeting on here instead of in person however, I fear in person you might be scared away by my wacky bed-head and haven't-brushed-my-teeth-yet halitosis..not to mention the slightly crazed look of a mom with too little sleep. It is a scary thing.

All that being said, I have been reminded continuously the past few days that life is what you make it. I originally named my blog "Messy Faces, Happy Families" because I needed a reminder for myself that life gets messy, we get dirt on our faces, and we have to make the choice to enjoy the moments even when they don't come packaged with a pretty pink bow. The past few days have been some of those "messy faces" kind of days, and I have had to choose which path I am going to follow.

I can pick the path of frustration, getting caught up in wanting things to be different and getting mad-as-a-hornet (I could have just said mad, but really just wanted to use that phrase) or I can pick the path of acceptance, and take things as they come. I used to think that picking the path of acceptance was weak. I thought that it symbolized me rolling over and deciding not to care or work at things. I have learned that accepting the circumstances of life doesn't mean rolling over, it means finding a reason to be thankful for the moment and, if warranted, finding a way to change things.

This week there have been circumstances outside of my control. I wish I could tell you that I was able to let the wind blow over them as I laughed in acceptance. The truth is, I huffed and I puffed. I rolled my eyes and glared at my husband. I pointed fingers and threw up my hands. And yet, in the end, I looked at those around me and was reminded that no matter what situation we get tied up in, there is nobody I would rather do life with than my family.

So even on the days when our faces are messy (mine, especially) I would rather have a messy face in the midst of a life I love than have the pristine glow of somebody who doesn't engage with others or love fiercely. Because when we love and live and work and play together, we will get messy. Things won't always go our way, some days we will drive each other nuts, and our neatly packaged plans will unravel (as will our neatly packaged attitudes...let me assure you). But you know what? That's okay. Because when we have dirt on our faces, it means we are really living our lives. So how about you, do you get dirt on that face sometimes? Because mud masks are really in right now!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

I wish I may, I wish I might!

Fun fact about me, I love dandelions. I know, I know, they are a weed and ruin lawns. They pop up wherever they see fit and their puffs tickle your nose. It doesn't matter, I am enchanted with them. To me they represent hopes and wishes. They remind me to keep a childlike spirit and follow hard after my dreams.

The funny thing about dreams is that when they are ignored, they wilt. Sometimes they even die. Now, some dreams might need to fade into the background (like that dream I had about marrying one of the Backstreet Boys...sadly, I don't think it was meant to be) but many of our dreams continue to grow and emerge as we do. Those dreams often represent the core of who we are. When I was younger I used to dream of being a teacher or a nurse, and while I didn't ultimately become either of those, the dream of helping others and impacting lives in a positive way still thrives within me.

I have found that when I ignore my dreams and just trudge through life, it's not just my dreams that wilt. I wilt too. Because we were made to dream big. We are designed to chase after the impossible, often finding out in the process that it actually was possible. When we step outside of the status quo of our life things get exciting. Sometimes it gets uncomfortable, because anything outside our own paradigm can be scary, but it's also exhilarating. Anything is possible! The sky is the limit! All those things you believed when you were ten, you can believe again (except maybe that thing about Elvis coming back from the dead...I am not sure that is actually going to happen).

So what is it? What are those dreams that have been hiding in your closet behind that hideous orange coat you will NEVER wear? Pull them out, dust them off, and take heart. Dreams can come true. That marriage that is on the rocks? It can be restored. The mom you want to be, but feel you often fall short of? You can be that mom. The financial pinch you feel each month as the paycheck dwindles? It can be eased.

Whatever dreams you may have, however big or outlandish they may be, one thing is going to get the ball rolling on having them come true. You. You have to blow that dandelion to make the wish come true. You have to take a step in the direction of your dream to see it start to unfold. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. So what step are you going to take? What dream is waiting for you to set it in motion? I promise, when you revive a dream that God has placed in your heart and begin to live it out, you will find that the parts of you that are cracked and dry will begin to become revived as well. Try it and see for yourself, what do you have to lose?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Kind of Mom I Want to Be

Today I am linking up with Rachel Wojo for Whimsical Wednesdays! I am often encouraged by her words of wisdom and passionate love for God. You can get to her blog by clicking here

Monday, June 3, 2013

Stinky or Sweet? You Choose!

 Sometimes my attitude just stinks! I mean, I have changed quite a few gag-worthy diapers in my five-and-a-half months as a parent, and I'm sure there will be MANY more to come (if what I hear is accurate, it will just get worse...oh joy) but I digress. My stinky attitude is far worse than any poopy diaper I may encounter. When I have a bad attitude, it tends to stink up the whole room. It doesn't just affect me, it affects my spouse, my kids, and even the innocent bystanders who happen to be waiting in line in front of me at Walmart or handing me my change at Starbucks.

Its like the pay-it-forward affect, only opposite. Instead of encouraging others to do good deeds and spread joy, I infect them with grumpiness and send them out to infect others around them. It is not exactly how I want to portray Jesus, because I'm pretty sure he didn't have that kind of attitude. And it is not how I want to portray myself either, because I think of myself as a fun-loving and positive person most of the time. But bad attitudes tend to override whatever good we think we are doing, and not only make others crinkle up their nose but lessen our ability to do the good we want to do.

I want my attitude to submit to me, not the other way around. So I have to make that choice, when I feel grumpiness sneaking up on me, to see the glass half-full and be thankful in all things. Because I find that when I drown my bad attitude with thankfulness it usually can't survive. I might have to keep doing this all day, but in the end the work is worth it because not only does my family and community win, but I win too. Because who wants to be covered in the stink of their own bad attitude all day? I, for one, would rather be sweetened by a thankful spirit.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Randomness Abounds

Happy June! I had big plans for this post, but since it is almost eleven in the evening and I am just now getting to it...the balloon has deflated. Instead of having to think about how to make this post both witty and insightful (far too much work for this time of night) I have decided to leave you with some of my favorite things.

Favorite Book: Well the cliche answer is the Bible, and that would be number one. However, my other favorite books rotate depending on my mood. Currently two of my current faves would be Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks and The Resolutions for Women by Priscilla Shirer

Favorite Quote: "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." ~Albert Einstein

Favorite Historical Person: There are so many historical people I think are fascinating. Nancy Reagan comes to mind currently though, I read an I Love You Ronnie: The Letters of Ronald Reagan to Nancy Reagan and got a glimpse into her life that made me think she would be a fascinating and influential person to have met.
autobiography by her called

Favorite Color: Yellow. It reminds me of happiness, sunshine, and honey bees. It just brings me joy!

Favorite Cliche: Stop and smell the roses. (Followed closely by: "Lord willin' and the creek don't rise" just because it makes me smile)

Favorite Time of Day: Right now...because it means I get to put my head on the pillow and not do anything.  Usually I would say mornings...late mornings, because that is when my baby girl is the most fun. But since you caught me at almost midnight and my eyes are bleary, I will say now is my favorite time and goodnight! :)
So Lord willin' and the creek don't rise, I will talk to you all again soon! Until then, have yourselves a boot-slappin good time! (And I am entirely too tired to keep going if I want to remain in your good graces, so goodnight!)