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Things to be thankful for

Originally taken from Ann Landers’ 11/22/01 column. Re-published at Revive Our Hearts.

 

  • Be thankful for the clothes that fit a little too snug, because it means you have enough to eat.
  • Be thankful for the mess you clean up after a party, because it means you have been surrounded by friends.
  • Be thankful for the taxes you pay, because it means you’re employed.
  • Be thankful that your lawn needs mowing and your windows need fixing, because it means you have a home.
  • Be thankful for your heating bill, because it means you are warm.
  • Be thankful for the laundry, because it means you have clothes to wear.
  • Be thankful for the space you find at the far end of the parking lot, because it means you can walk.
  • Be thankful for the lady who sings off-key behind you in church, because it means you can hear.
  • Be thankful when people complain about the government, because it means we have freedom of speech.
  • Be thankful for the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours, because it means you’re alive.
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Don’t Grow Weary!

I know it’s been quiet here at MyBusyHome… mostly because my busy home has been, well busy. I’m in a tough, demanding, active, crazy, overwhelming season of life. I have busy kids who hurricane around the house overwhelming me constantly with their endless energy.

There’s a four-going-on-thirteen-year-old, self-declared princess, who creates and perpetuates drama, but also initiates sweet conversations about God and life. There is a little boy running around in big boy undies, so busy with playing and jumping and laughing he sometimes forgets to do his business in the potty. And don’t forget the adorable, mobile baby who is as fast as lightning and has a fascination with electrical cords…

Some days I drop into bed at 11pm and I wonder how I made it through the maze of another day, and if I can muster the energy to do it all over again tomorrow.

So, I haven’t felt very inspired to write here about how to manage a Busy Home, because more days than not it feels like my busy home is managing me instead.

In days and weeks like I’m having lately, I find the greatest comfort in verses like Galatians 6:9:

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

I cannot express in words the comfort that this promise brings to my heart.

I shouldn’t grow weary. I must not give up. I don’t need to stop doing what I’m doing. I can’t stop sowing into my children. I just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other… And, one day, when it’s time, I will reap.

Isn’t that a precious comfort? Don’t give up! It will take hard days, and long weeks, and toil and struggle and tears, but WE WILL REAP if we don’t give up!


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How to Change a Bad Habit

I “momfessed” today that I yell at my kids.

This morning as I was reading in Ephesians 4, I saw a few things that made me think about my yelling, and what I need to do to be different.

1. In verse 21, we read that Paul is assuming the readers know Christ. So the information that follows is an exhortation and an instruction to believers (those who “have heard about him and were taught in him”.)

2. In verse 22, we are exhorted to “put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires”

So my yelling-self is part off my “old self”. When I am sinful and disconnected from the Lord (through lack of the Word and prayer), and when I am hungry and tired, and oh so fleshly, I yell at my children.

It sounds easy- just put off my old self. But when you stop and think How do I put off my old self?, it starts to look a wee bit more complicated. I think the key to “putting off” is found in the next part:

3. In verses 23 and 24, we see that the old self doesn’t just need to be “put off”, it needs to be replaced— “be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

4. A little further down, verse 29 really struck me in regards to my yelling:

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

When I yell, I am not edifying my children. I am not edifying myself. It benefits no one. Those words (and the tone with which they are spoken) are not wholesome. They do not need to proceed from my mouth.

So, I prayed. Asking the Lord to help me put off the old self and put on the new self daily.

And  then I printed out Ephesians 4:29 and hung it up to be a reminder to me to only speak grace-giving words to my children. (I might post it up in every room of the house!)

Putting of the old and putting on the new is not an easy task. It takes daily prayer, daily truth from the Word, and constant work. But through God’s grace, bad habits (sin) can be put off and we can clothe ourselves with the new!

 

 


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Happy Birthday to Me {How to Reflect Upon Another Year}

Today is my birthday.

In youth, as one birthday ends and the year stretches out endlessly before us, we wish time would pick up the ticking pace. We want to reach sixteen and a driver’s license. We want to hit eighteen and graduation. We want to become twenty-one, and be an “adult”. As the birthdays start whizzing by, closer and closer together, we wish we could put on the brakes– at least slow the ride down some.

Today I’m 28. It feels so young and so old all at the same time. As I realize that I won’t have forever on this earth, that my days are passing and I’ll never get them back again, I want to make each day– and each new year count.

Today, I’m reflecting in prayer on the past year, and making plans for the next one. Asking the Lord to show me where I need to grow and where I need His help to improve. Thanking Him for a year full of joys and blessings. And maybe on your next birthday, you should too.

  • What was the event/day/happening/situation that brought me the most joy this past year?
  • What was the hardest challenge I had to face this year? How did I do?
  • Where do I see growth in myself since my last birthday?
  • In what areas am I struggling the most? Do I need to ask for help?
  • If I had to describe my year in one short sentence, what would it be?
  • What do I hope to accomplish this next year?
  • Where do I want to be on my next birthday? Physically? spiritually? emotionally? relationally?
  • What small changes do I want to make to my daily life?

So, happy birthday to me. And here’s to a great 28th year!


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One Foot In Front…

…of the other.

Each stage of parenthood seems a bit daunting at first. I remember before Ladybug was potty trained, fretting about how to do it and if she would ever use the potty on her own. Back up just a little and I was worrying about giving her solids– what to start with, how much to give, when to offer it… Then it was getting rid of the pacifier. Should we bribe her? Should I reason with her? Will she take the pacifier to kindergarten?

Each time, with a little prayer and a lot of patience, everything has worked out just fine.  She ate solids (and loved every bite!) and moved onto feeding herself eventually.  She dumped the pacifier when she chewed a hole in it and didn’t like it anymore.  She just started peeing and pooping in the potty one day, and never looked back.

I find myself even now worrying about the next thing.  Living overseas puts me in the position of needing to teach my children.  I actually have a degree in elementary education, so no sweat right?

Wrong.  I find myself pouring over curriculum reviews, wondering which letter I should teach first.  Wondering if it will be better to do home school in the morning or the evening…

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaait a minute!  Isn’t Ladybug three years old?  Why, yes, that’s right.  She’s only three years old.

How quickly I let my mind run wild and without seeking the Lord first, I’m sprinting ahead wondering how I will do this, and when I will accomplish that.  Like I’m some sort of superwoman mom.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

It’s so easy to do.  To operate out of our own strength. To work from a sense of guilt we have as moms– Suzie Q posted on Facebook that her two-year old knows all her letters already!  Cindy Lou‘s new baby is already saying seventeen words and knows sign language!— a need to keep up, a need to do better, a need to perform well.  To not trust in the Lord with all our heart.  To lean on our own understanding.

As moms, we need to be spending time with the Lord daily.  Pouring out of fears, frustrations, hopes, dreams.  Asking for His divine wisdom.  Trusting for Him to create a path for us to walk down.  Knowing He will meet our needs as moms– whether our need is potty training a two-year old, or teaching a sixteen year old how to drive.


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Struggling Well

There is a reason I’ve been absent from My Busy Home for over a month.  A few reasons, actually.  My husband and I welcomed our third child, Doodlebug, into our family on October 7.  Since Hubby has started a full-time language study program at a local university, I was pretty quickly tossed into a world of caring for three children, and balancing the other aspects of a homemaker’s job: laundry, cooking, cleaning…

I love it.  I really do.  But it’s not easy.  (Especially since my husband and I moved overseas last October.)

Since having Doodlebug, I have felt the deep depths of culture stress way more than I had during the past year of living in Central Asia.  I’m sure the cocktail of culture stress and postpartum hormones is enough to whack anyone out.  It sure got me. Is getting me.

It’s hard.  Not just for me.  Not just for moms in America.  Not just for 20-somethings.  Not just for women living overseas.  We all have struggles and bad bouts and troubles and sins.

As I sat talking with a friend last week, admitting my guilt over despising this place and these people, lamenting my inability to speak and understand the language, and bemoaning my irritations with the way things work here, I heard the whispered voice of another friend.  Words spoken to me before our big move…“Everyone struggles.  You will struggle.  The important thing is to struggle well.”

*gasp*

You mean it’s OK that some days I feel like crawling back into bed and pulling up the covers because it’s too hard to get the kids dressed, go to the grocery store, and fix a healthy, balanced dinner by five’o’clock when Hubby gets home?

So, every mom has days when their kids are driving them nuts fighting and squabbling and yelling and running and making messes, and they dream of a night away in peace and quiet?

I’m not the only one who questions where God has me and wonders why He put me where He did with whom He did to do what He asked me to…?

It.is.not.easy.  This job, this life, this walk, this calling.  None of it is easy.  And that’s OK.

If I’ve learned anything in my absence from blogging this month, it’s that:

1. We need each other. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

2. We need to be honest and transparent with each other. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. James 5:16

3. We will struggle. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10

4. We need to fight to struggle well. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:10-11


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New Seasons

Life is filled with seasons and seasons changing.

Off to college, being engaged, getting married, pregnancy, toddler-hood, adjusting to two children, preschooler-dom… it feels like there’s always something new going on in our family.

Today we began a new season, “Ladybug Goes to Preschool”.  I know I’ve written about preschool home-school, and I plan to continue preschooling Ladybug and Stinkbug at home, but we have decided to send Ladybug to a local preschool four mornings a week in order for her to learn the local language (we are expats) and make local friends.

I can’t describe to you the roller coaster my heart has been on since we picked a little preschool and started making preparations for Ladybug to go.  Crayons, markers, paints, paper, extra clothes, paper towels, scissors… we checked all the items off the school supply list.  Address, telephone number, doctor’s name, emergency contact… we filled out the required paperwork.  But my heart screamed She’s just a baby!  Are we doing the right thing?  Won’t she miss being with her mommy?   Am I making a huge mistake?

As I prayed and journal-ed my heart to the Lord about sending Ladybug to preschool, I found myself reading 1 Samuel 1– Hannah’s journey to become a mother.  Verses 27 and 28 leaped off the page at me:

For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him.

Therefore I have lent him to the LORD. As long as he lives, he is lent to the LORD.

Before Ladybug was born, I prayed for her.  I surrendered her to the Lord.  When she was in my belly, kicking and rolling and growing, I prayed for her.  I gave her over to my Heavenly Father.  When she was days old and we were figuring each other out, I prayed for her.  I let Jesus know she was His.  When she began sitting, crawling, eating solids, walking, I prayed for her during each new phase–gently committing her to the Lord each day and asking Him to be prevalent in her life.

And as I baked her muffins this morning (chocolate chip– her request), as I put pigtails and bows in her hair, as I packed her backpack and as I walked her to school, I was again committing her to the Lord and asking Him to be prevalent in her life.

For now, Ladybug will attend preschool four mornings a week.  We feel confident that the Lord has asked us to send her right now during this season.  It’s a new season, but I think it’ll be a good one.