I love hanging out with newlyweds. They are so cute and in love. I think that people who have been married a while tend to dismiss that desire to serve each other, forgive each other, and be intentional about having a good marriage. They adapt the attitude of “Oh, just wait! Once you experience the real world of marriage, you won’t be like this!” That cynicism and jaded response seems justified. It is absolutely true that the cute couple in early wedded bliss has no way of knowing what is ahead. They haven’t seen the worst of their spouse yet. They haven’t been hurt by the one who is supposed to love them the most. They haven’t been exhausted with young babies, or in the throes of foreclosure on their home. They haven’t experienced the stress of a move or job loss or infertility.
I posted this on Dec. 3rd last year. It’s still as poignant today as it was then, so I thought I’d share…
Yesterday I was speaking with a friend who said ” I can’t believe we’re already behind on day 3 of Advent!” It got me thinking about the pressure we put on ourselves to do this Mom thing perfectly — I feel like if I don’t get all 24 days of Advent in, make Christmas cookies, volunteer places, and create a truly magical time of traditions for my family, I’m a failure. After all, I scoured Pinterest for hours on end, created projects in lunch bags so they would be ready in advance, made lists of traditions for my kids to look back on with fondness, had big plans to be the most amazing mom ever. But I constantly fight the feeling that I’m a failure –
* I had great plans and didn’t follow through.
* I’m impatient instead of staring in wonder with my kids at some magical Christmas thing.
* I yelled at them when we were trying to make a perfect family memory.
* I missed days in my Advent bible reading plan
……and the list goes on and on. Sometimes it’s enough to make me want to throw in the towel! But then I remembered that the Bible calls Satan The Accuser. That’s a name for our adversary that I should probably learn this Advent season. The devil not only comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but to accuse. Rev 12:10 says: Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.”
So I think that these feelings of inadequacy aren’t God’s disappointment in me — it’s the accuser telling me I’m not good enough. I think it also has to do with what my expectations are. When I don’t meet them, I am disappointed in all I didn’t do, instead of celebrating the memories we made and the things we DID get done! So I decided to change my expectations. This is what I decided. During the Christmas season, an amazing mom:
* Proactively works at keeping the Christmas season focused on preparing her family’s hearts for the coming King.
* Tries diligently to stare in wonderment with her kids whenever she can.
* Apologizes and shows her children how God desires us to reconcile relationships when she sins in anger by yelling at them.
* Misses days of her Advent Bible readings, but models to her children what it looks like to pick back up and not allow a setback to keep her on the sidelines permanently.
…because my little girl is going to be a Mom someday and I want her to know that every time she refocuses her family’s hearts on the King who reigns within them, it’s a victory.
So if I don’t cover all 24 names of Jesus, do every amazing tradition on my gigantic list, make all 24 ornaments for the Truth in Tinsel–if I don’t even do half of that, the ones I DID still make my God proud!
Are you ever in need of stocking stuffers, or an inexpensive game to give as a family gift? I try to keep a few games in my purse and car so that when we’re in a restaurant or waiting room, we have something that we can play to keep our minds busy and our hands occupied. When your bag is stocked with goodies like these, it’s much easier to say no to electronics and yes to interacting with real, live people! Here’s a few of our top picks.
I love My husband’s grandparents. I met Ryan when I was 18. That same year my grandma died, and my grandfather followed his bride 5 years later. Ryan’s grandparents have treated me like I’m their own granddaughter.
His family is very close. Each Fourth of July the entire extended family camps together. Over Christmas, we rent a lodge so that all 25-30 people can be together for a few days. Grandma quilts and chats away with everyone while grandpa sits in the chair out of the way and just looks at his family and smiles.
Today I had a practically perfect day. It began at the Magical Theater (appropriate name for a magical day!). We saw James and the Giant Peach with friends. The 285 seat theater was so intimate and cozy. I love the exposed brick and rough edges. I love sitting so close to the actors. I love feeling the thrill of live theater. It never gets old and I want to instill that passion in my kids.
I’ve heard many people lament lately that their children aren’t being taught how to write in cursive. Some say it’s really sad. Others don’t care. I think it’s tragic that something like writing in cursive could become extinct. My mother in law used to work in an inner city school, and she said that the students were unable to read the comments on their papers, because she wrote in cursive! Continue reading
On Father’s Day, I wanted to take the perfect picture of my husband and our 3 perfect children. That should have been my first clue that things would not turn out the way I anticipated, because I’ve never met 3 perfect children! So we trooped out back and began taking shots. While my big kids were cooperative, my littlest would not smile. So I began asking, then threatening, then raising my voice…you know the drill. “Let’s just get this done so we can move on and enjoy the day!” My hubby, meanwhile, thought it was a good idea to tickle him to bring the giggles out. Better idea! While he was tickling, I thought I’d grab a couple shots. Wouldn’t you know that those pictures were the best ones. I was thinking afterward that I tend to view life a little like that. Let’s get through this homeschool curriculum so we can enjoy the rest of the day, let’s clean this up so we can go have fun, and the list goes on and on. But this day, I was reminded that the joy isn’t necessarily in the destination. It’s in the journey.
I am tending a gigantic garden this year and anticipating the summer harvest! I have to say, though, that last year I was not in this same place. I planted a handful of things in my garden, and most of these plants were a gift from a friend. While I knew my garden would not be my source for summer produce, I had heard that a CSA could be. CSA stands for community supported agriculture. Here in the Northeastern Ohio area, we have a great one called Fresh Fork Market. I loved it because it works with over 75 local growers, creameries, butchers, granaries and pasta makers. Because of this, we were able to receive local meat, milk, butter, pasta, grains, cheese and produce. The owner is passionate about chemical free produce, grass fed beef/milk/butter, pastured chicken and pork and the freshest, healthiest local ingredients.
Yesterday I had a friend post this on Facebook:
“So I’m at the post office, and a girl is ahead of me is all excited mailing off forms to her college. She just graduated from a local school she was saying. She turns and asks where do I put the stamp on this envelope? Really??? She was serious. Hmmmm.”
My response was “don’t people have Pen Pals anymore?” Maybe it’s just me because I have lots of family and friends that live out of state, but I love that my kids have learned to write letters/thank you notes, address envelopes, and put stamps on all by themselves! Granted, we don’t do it nearly enough, but they are pretty adept at the whole envelope thing. So that got me thinking about something I saw on Pinterest (which, if you knew me in person, you would hear me say multiple times throughout the day!). I found a super cool blog that had tons of ideas for all of these unusual things you could mail, as long as they are 13oz or less. So I now have a renewed commitment to be more intentional about making my kids write to their friends and family. I will not have a daughter heading to college who doesn’t know how to mail something! I’m off to go buy some stamps!
Ever since I was a child people would remark, “you get excited easily” or “it doesn’t take much to make you happy”. I can’t say they always meant it positively. Sometimes they said it in sort of a condescending, snide way as if that joyful attitude was irritating. As I got older, I saw that people would get excited over huge things, but those little reasons for happiness went by the wayside in the hustle and bustle of life.
I remember my grandma saying “Take joy in the little things in life, because the big things don’t come along very often!” As I learn how to be content in all situations, I have really taken my grandma’s advice to heart. I don’t want to feel happiness only when we’re going on a big family vacation or buying a new house or entering summer vacation. Life is not a string of monotony, broken up by occasional drops of sunshine. It’s more like finding peace and joy in everyday life…and occasionally there’s a mountaintop experience that is just spectacular! But it’s not what we live for. If we open our eyes and see what God is doing in our lives each day, we can find all the little reasons to be excited and happy and joyful.
*Photo taken by Amy Peterson Photography, Clarkston Michigan