Monday, September 8, 2014

Are You Listening to God?

Grab a cup of coffee; I have a story for you...you will think it's funny, however, it took me some time before I laughed.  I do believe this is my best "blonder than she pays to be" moment yet to date, to put it in Beth Moore terms. 
 
I was scheduled for a class in Sioux Falls and my husband gave up precious hunting time to accompany me. We drove the 5 ½ hour trek; we left home around 3pm and arrived about 8:30pm.  That always seems like such a long ride, and we were glad when we finally reached our destination. 
 
There was a bit of confusion on the face of the hotel clerk as he searched for our reservation.  His reply stopped my heart, “Your reservations are for NEXT SUNDAY”..... I dug in my purse...to my horror, the conference registration confirmed his words.  
 
My husband tried to comprehend our predicament “So, we just drove 300 miles for nothing?"  My reply was a disbelieving nod; how could I have mixed up the dates?  I felt sick to my stomach. 


“You mean I could have gone hunting?” the ramifications were setting into Jeff’s mind.  Again, all I could do was nod. 
 
So..... we got back in the car and drove 5.5 hours once again and arrived home around 2 am.  Jeff never said another word about it.  (He's a good man, I tell you!)


Needless to say, I am not laughing yet and neither is Jeff but he does says there’s never a dull moment with me around.  It's ok, you can laugh, I know I will in time...

Two of my friends told me “There must be a reason, or the Holy Spirit wouldn’t have let you do it”… I would love to believe this, to believe that I am merely a pharmaceutical outlet helping God with His laughter-is-good-medicine ministry by supplying the world with chuckles. 


But, my mind can’t help but wonder if the Holy Spirit didn’t try to tell me.  Warn me.  Even just get me to look at my calendar….. If He did, why did I not listen? Why did I not hear?  What else was my mind so focused on? What was drowning out His voice?

I know driving 600 miles round trip for nothing is not a tragedy, but there is a deeper question lurking in my heart: have I missed God’s leading on truly important things just because I wasn’t listening?  Its definitely something to think on as I tune in to Him.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Back To School With A Bang



The air is cooler in the mornings now.

Can you feel it?  Fall is approaching. It’s in the air. And it’s bittersweet. I love the cool freshness of fall, but I hate to see school start and the busyness of life begin again.

Where did the lazy days of summer go? It’s been a full summer.  Filled with to-do’s and projects and trips and packed with lots of fun and sun as the days flew by. 

As summer turns to fall may we not let the busy life eat up our days and good intentions. 

What are your goals for this school year?  What do you want your kids to learn? How do you want them to grow?

I’m not talking math or phonics.  I’m talking character. Character is built in the midst of solving story problems and learning spelling words. It is grown while we carpool or homeschool.

What is your purpose for this school year? What goals will encompass the day in day out routine of your Monday through Friday?  The time will go quickly, and more so each year, you know.

How many “back to schools” do you have left, anyway? Whether it is 12 or 2, they’re running out.

Are those young ones in your care learning the character that you want to see in their lives as adults? Don’t miss the opportunities during the morning rush to get ready, or the after school homework, or the extra-curricular activities or the weekends. Use those opportunities to teach.

Without goals this school year will be just like any other year- surviving daily grind and hoping for good grades.

But they need more. More than passing 2nd grade, more knowing the 50 states, more than graduating.

They need character. They need to know how to love others. How to be kind. How to work hard. And how to enjoy learning.

What will it be? Will it be learning patience? Or kindness? Or joy? Or thankfulness? Pray about it. So as you shop for new pencils and notebooks and crayons, remember to choose some fresh goals for the year as well.

Make a plan of action to do more this school year. More than just reading writing and arithmetic.

Who your children are is what will matter when there are no more school days left in your home.


Thank you to my friend, DeDee for the photo above!

 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Mamas Under The Influence


Summer, wonderful summer – when the kids are home all day, swimming, bike riding, and outdoor play fill the days. It’s the middle of summer and what better time to share a few laughs with other mamas! These days are full and also a bit exhausting… which is usually when my list grows. My list of Mama stories.

We could compile a ginormous list of stories, us Mamas.  We each have our own stack and laugh together as we swap our latest … while husbands just shake their heads in amazement at the things we do under the influence of “Mommy Brain”.

Like leaving the stroller in the road after forgetting to load it into the van - and then driving away….putting the milk away in the cabinet and the cereal in the fridge…stocking up at a meat sale and forgetting it all in the trunk – all day – in August…or paying for your groceries and not realizing until 4 hours later you never brought them home.

Those just are a few of mine, I’d love to hear your stories!
So take some time, sit down with an iced latte and visit a bit with us! What have you done under the influence? Laughing together is so rejuvenating! Share your stories in the comments below! Happy Summer Day!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Is There Anything Sweeter?



Call me Grandma …again! {squeal!}

We welcomed Little Miss Allison Grace into this world just 2 weeks ago. That makes 4 granddaughters! (you can read about the others here, here and here.) Let the tea parties begin! (And she already has her pinky ready!)

Is there anything sweeter than a newborn baby? So cuddly. So new. So precious!

Her whole life is ahead of her. And  I wonder what her personality will be like. I wonder if she will be adventurous or cautious? Boisterous or quiet?  Silly or serious?

I wonder what God has planned for this little life that I hold in my arms. What does the Father want for her? What does He have for her to do? What has he designed her for?

I pray she will love Him with all her heart. I pray she will reflect His love to others.

That is your prayer for your little ones, I know.

The days of Mamahood are filled with many tasks. I know you are tired. And busy.  Diapers, dishes, dusting, all are important and must get done, but don’t forget to sit and cherish the time.  It’s one thing that won’t wait. Soon that time will be gone.

Those little ones, they won’t be little for long. Soon they won’t want to sit on your lap. And soon they will be off to activities and jobs and college.

So sit and cuddle them now. Pray over them. Pray with them. Love on them. Take time today to cuddle each of your children and pray for their futures. I wonder… what does the Father have planned for them?

Monday, July 14, 2014

4 Things Every Mama Needs To Do


 

Eight and a half months pregnant with our first baby, I moved 1000 miles away and in with family friends so I could be closer to my Knight while he would be in training for a few months in DC.  After being there just 2 days, I went into labor- 2 weeks early- while my Knight was still in Texas, waiting to board an airplane to join me. And so, long story short, I had our first born son without him.

I remember holding that precious little one afterwards.  There are no words to express the emotions that surge through a new mom.  Wonder. Love. Exhaustion. Love. Love. And even more Love. And awe.

Then it hit me. This little guy was solely dependent on us! The heavy thought settled in.  What are we doing? What were we thinking? We don’t know what we’re doing! We are responsible for this child 24 hours a day – we can’t drop him off with his parents – we ARE his parents!  Do we even know enough to keep him alive? I had taken care of my 21 nieces and nephews countless times, but this was different. This child was mine. I was his mom. And so my mama-journey began.

I wanted to do this mama-thing well. This little life was placed in my care and I had the awesome responsibility to direct how he would see life. To shape his views and beliefs. To point him to the Savior.

I read every mom book I could find, attended retreats and went faithfully to both women’s bible study and church. It sparked in me a desire to do well. To do good…then better…then best.  As Elisabeth George puts it, “Good, better, best. Never let it rest, until your good is better and your better, best.”

4 Things Every Mama Needs To Do:

1. Pray. Then pray some more. Ask God to grow you to be a godly mama. This is not something you can do on your own. You need the Spirit’s leading and teaching.

2. Faithfully attend church. Make a commitment to be there. Being spiritually fed on a regular basis is so valuable to every area of your life, especially as a mama!

3. Join a bible study. Get involved in a group and study the word with other women (or couples). Small groups are where friendships are made and application is turned into action.

4. Read books and blogs that inspire you to be a better mom. This is an avenue to be mentored daily, right alongside messes and mayhem, without even leaving your home.

So what about you? How did your mama-journey begin?  What emotions filled you as you held your firstborn? What do you do that helps you in your mama-journey?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

You Don't Have Time To Not Have Time


 


“I wish my kids were older so we could do more things together.”

“I wish I had more time to spend with my kids.”
“If my kids weren’t so busy, we could do more things together.”
Ever feel this way? These are deceptive concepts. The truth is, you don’t have to wait until your kids are older to do things together. You do have time to spend with them. And you control your kids’ schedules, so if they are too busy, cut some activities out.
You only have about 18 years with each of your children. You simply don’t have time to wait. They will be grown and out the door while you are still wishing they were old enough to do things with.
You can start involving your children in daily family life at a very young age. When they are 1, they can help put away silverware after washing. Yes, it will take longer as you guide their little hands in putting away each piece. One. At. A . Time.
And, yes, that silverware will end up with tiny little fingerprints all over, but that’s ok. We’re not in a Martha Stewart competition here, girls.
We are raising the next generation and if we don’t engage them, someone else will. And no telling who or what that will be.
At 2 they can help sweep, rake, and bake right along side mommy and daddy.  When they are 3 they can learn which tool is which and help daddy work on the mower or find worms for fishing.
I came home one day to find my 7 year old using a circular saw and my 5 year old on the roof of the clubhouse. I panicked. Moms don’t like to see such things. But they were working on a project with Dad. He told me to go inside, they needed to learn to be men.
You know what? He was right. They needed to learn these things. They needed to spend time with their dad. How else would they learn? What better way to learn?
He could have waited until they were “old enough”. He could have built the clubhouse without them. He could have just wished it all. My heart would have felt better. But those boys would have lost out. Lost out on learning skills, lost out on time with their dad and lost out on learning the art of work ethic.
We spend time on many things. Which of those things can you involve your children in? Yard work, house work, golfing, crafting, collecting? The list is endless. They really aren’t too young, tailor the activity to involve them at any age.
Feeling they are too busy? Kids don’t need to be constantly going going going. They really don’t need to be involved in all the activities.
What they really need is relationships built with you. Cut some activities out, scale back and spend that time engaging them, share daily life with them and watch them grow.
You’ll be thankful you did.

(The photo above is my husband and firstborn back in the day.  He has been a dad who involves his kids in pretty much everything. And I love him even more for it!)


Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Battle Worth Fighting

    
photo courtesy of creativedoxphoto / freedigitalphotos.net

 July 4th. Oh, the fun memories attached to this holiday! Sparklers…watermelon…parades…swimming… We celebrate our freedom in many ways with family and friends. But our freedom was not won easily. Many lives were lost. Families were left mourning loved ones. It was a battle worth fighting, but it came with costs. Costs I’m thankful many were willing to pay.
     As Mamas, we fight a battle too. The battle for our children’s souls. The battle for our children’s freedom from the enemy’s control. It rages around us every day. This battle comes with costs. Floors left unswept…homes not decorated for each season… saying no to this committee and that opportunity…no time for yourself…. And you know in your heart, it’s worth it all.
     As you celebrate this weekend, celebrate the freedom we have in this great country because some were willing to fight for it.
     May you be renewed and refreshed to continue the battle you fight day in and day out. May your children one day celebrate their spiritual freedom because they had a Mama who was willing to pay the cost.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Because Mamas Need Hope


I’ve got exciting news! Much like my opening post for this blog it is with nervous anticipation that I announce to you… My first book is in the works!  This has been a dream for me since I can remember and now the time is right. 

I want this book to be an encouragement to young moms. Because being a mama is work! Hard work.! And it is easy to get frustrated with our husbands… our kids…our homes… and our lives. We often feel drained, discontent, distracted and as if we are drowning in a  never ending list of to-do’s. We need hope! Hope found in a vision to see the importance of our role.  

The value of our mama footprint on the hearts of our children is often overlooked in the hustle and bustle of daily life. We have approximately an 18 year window to influence and shape our children. And our Enemy knows he has those same 18 years as well. 

As Christian moms, these years are a call to action. A call to do more. More than just get through the day. A call to see our children through God’s eyes and to embrace mamahood with passion in the day-in day-out, milk-spilled-on-the-floor, dirty-diapers moments of life and leave a godly impression on our young ones that will last an eternity.

This book will explore the difference between being just a mom and being a godly mom who uses her influence in daily life to point her children’s hearts towards Christ.  Mamahood is more than just proper care and feeding of their little ones. It is about shaping young hearts and leading young souls.  

I know you are limited on both time and sleep and therefore attention span. So to give you the accomplished feeling of finishing a book before its time to plan a graduation open house, this book will purposely be shorter in length. Yay!

But this will be more than just a book. You will be able to engage other mamas through the book’s Facebook page (I’ll let you know when it’s up and running) and watch fun videos to inspire and encourage you as you pursue the mamavision - all right here at PursuingMore.com.

 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Conference Prep


Just one month and its off to Speak Up I go! I am so excited to be attending my very first writer’s conference! *squeal!*

So, first things first. What to wear. Every girl knows that is the first obstacle to overcome. I decided on a maxi dress and little jacket, trouser jeans and a nice flowy top, a maxi skirt and awesome Aztec top. There. Decided. Doesn’t that feel good, like a weight lifted off?

You see, we are downsizing and moving into a smaller house. A fixer-upper. And we are fixing it up as we go. While we move into it. Can you say messy?
So packing my suitcase early is essential. What if my clothes are packed and stored and I can’t get to them? Yikes! Who knows what I would have to wear to the conference!

So, my daughter suggested I pack early and stash my luggage at her house for safe keeping so I know right where to find it when it is time for my road trip.

Good idea. One item off the check list and on to the next. Preparing my one-sheet. A.K.A. the sheet I will hand to publishers with info on my book and me.
Did I mention that I'm writing a book?

This is the hard part. It makes my heart stop. It causes my fingers to freeze on the keyboard. What-ifs flood my mind.

What if my book sounds lame?

What if it doesn’t make sense?

What if they don’t like my idea?

What if I can’t express it well?

Ugh! All these what-ifs exhaust me. I need a coffee break. And a nap. But, no. I must keep writing. I can do this. Not because I am good at it, but because I know I have been called to write and He has given me everything I need to do it. Focusing on what-ifs only distracts me and keeps me from doing what I know I need to do. Which is what I actually do want to do.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Downsizing, Dave & Digging In



Ever feel like your life is a whirlwind? Like the merry-go-round just won’t stop to let you catch your breath? Me too. We are on a mission lately and I haven’t spent my regular time in the word. Or in prayer. Or writing. And my soul feels it.

And so, now at 4:30 am, I am up to stop the cycle. When life just won’t give you the time to do the important things, get up earlier. Right? Right.

So what is the mission we are on lately, you ask? We are downsizing to a smaller house. And a smaller mortgage. Much smaller. We purchased a home in March with the intention of giving it some much needed TLC and then renting it out. Good plan.

Then Dave started talking.  (Not audibly to us. In our heads.) He brought up the whole subject, so I am calling the “new” house Dave’s House. If you don’t know Dave, I highly recommend you check out his website, radio show and books. But I must warn you. He is likely to disrupt the comfortable parts of your world. For a while. And that’s ok because it ends you in an even more comfortable life later.

We downsized just two years ago to a smaller home when we were down to just one kid left at home. We like our home. It is roomy and more than enough space for the two of us now that we have an empty nest. We like our back yard, and our extra lot and the way we have fixed up the house suits us well. We are comfortable.

But what if we could sacrifice some comfortable. Sacrifice some time and elbow grease. And live like no one else? We have been Dave-ing it for 5 years or so now. We no longer have vehicle payments. Or payments of any kind. Except for a mortgage. Make that two mortgages right now. But what if we could eliminate those altogether? Our dreams of serving (the real mission) could expand. That makes my soul sing.

And so, here we are. Working on downsizing. Again. Tossing out the things we can live without. Digging in and cleaning out closets. Buttoning up our current house to place on the market. And preparing Dave’s house to live in it. Every spare minute is spent preparing.

At times I am tired physically. It would be so much easier to just stay put. At times I want to whine. I will miss this house. I don’t like Dave’s House as much. The rooms are smaller…the kitchen is smaller…it is closer to neighbors and I like the privacy we currently have.

But this is good for me. God doesn’t call me to live my life here in comfort. His plan for me isn’t to have a nice home and a relaxing life. I am called to serve. To give. To go and tell. When he sent the disciples out two by two He instructed them to take nothing with them. No extra clothing. No money. Nothing.

In a have-it-all me-first world, we are called not to have-it-all but to serve. To live mission-minded. Our life here is only temporary, just a vapor. It is so easy to get wrapped up in life here on this planet and lose sight of the life we are called to live. Lose sight of the real life we will spend in eternity.

As I catch my breath in these wee hours, I am re-energized and refocused as I continue our mission. So we can continue our real mission.

So, how are you living the mission. The real mission?