What do I want out of today?

What do I want out of today?

love. I want to give it and receive it. I want to feel it, to engage all my senses in receiving any bit of it my children or husband offer me. I want to be willing to receive it their way. My 1 year old gives love by feeding me pretend food and curling my hair and lately, giving me way too sloppy open mouth kisses. I want to not be too busy or too distracted to receive that love.

I want to give love how they receive it. My 4 year old wants me to engage in elaborate games of make believe. I will make what is important to her important to me because I love her.

I want to believe. I want to believe God loves me. I don’t want to just hope that God loves me or know intellectually that God loves me I want to experience and taste of the love of God.

I want to hope. I scan the sky for Christ’s return. I want more than that though, I want hope in God for today. If He does not return today I want hope in Him, trust in Him, experiencing Him to be what fills and delights this moment. I want this moment and this day to be wonderful because I am savoring the presence of a loving God who extends friendship.

I am not alone. I want to believe that today and I want it to put a smile on my face, a joy in my step and happiness in my heart. Loneliness is crushing to me. When I could find no one available or around to be with me yesterday I felt so alone. I am never alone though, Christ is the friend that sticks closer than a brother. He lives within me, is all around me. He offers to me fullness of joy in His presence. Did you read that!? Fullness of joy- as in it can’t get any better than this- He offers me all the joy in the universe and tells me it will be enough, it will fill me. Fullness of joy, my cup overflowing with happiness because I am in the presence of the living God.

I don’t want to complain today. I read a Psalm of Asaph this morning and he said that he complained and his soul was overwhelmed. My complaining is what is making me overwhelmed. God, give me Your grace and strength not to complain with my heart or lips but instead offer thanksgiving to You and those around me. With the help of God, I will not complain about child rearing, about messes, about those who have hurt me, about the sufferings in my life.

Instead today I say, thank You God. Thank You that Your mercies are new every morning. Thank You that I am forgiven today. Thank You that You do not hold the sins of yesterday over my head in condemnation but instead You say that the righteous falls seven times yet gets up and keeps going every time. (Proverbs). Thank You that I’m not relying on my own righteousness because I am an ugly sinner. Thank You for blotting out the hand writing of ordinances which was against me and nailing it to Your cross. Thank You for wanting me to have life and have it more abundantly. I receive Your life today.

 

Daily Must Do’s

powerofmoms.com/organization-audio-posts-episode-202/

I listened to this podcast on powerofmoms.com and I really like the idea about the daily must do’s. She says that one of her daughter’s teachers had up on the board each day a list of things the students needed to get done before they could move onto things they wanted to work on. She said she applied this idea to motherhood and her own life and she came up with her own list of must do’s every day. This isn’t a list of all the thing I need to work on or a schedule. It’s a list of 7 doable things that I came up with that even if they were the only things I accomplished in a day would bring my family and me joy and make the day productive.

Do you ever have those days when you just wake up grumpy and feeling blah and just want to go back to bed? Maybe you don’t but I do! When I need motivation to keep moving forward with my day this list is there to show me what’s next. It’s not a to -do list to drag me down it’s something to encourage me and move me forward.

I had a teacher in middle school who did a daily must do list kind of idea and I loved her class because it was the only class where the students all filed in quietly and got to work. She was an effective teacher because we all knew what we were supposed to be doing and what we were going to be doing next.

I’m in the preschool and toddler age with my kids now but as they get older I like the idea of using a daily must do list with them. Something like, before you have screen time (or whatever) have you, gone outside? read? done your chores? been creative? Something along those lines- I’m just thinking.

Anyways! Here is my daily must do list that I came up with. This isn’t forever set in stone. I’m sure it will be tweaked. As the speaker says in the podcast, it’s okay if I don’t get to everything. I’m going for progress not perfection.

Megan’s Daily Must Do’s

Get outside with the kids

Bible time with the kids

do something nice for my husband

complete my chore of the day

clean something that is bugging me (I love this and am copying it 100% from the podcast!)

practice memorizing scripture for 10-15 minutes. I’m putting this one here because at this point in life I really am doing well with the spiritual disciplines of Bible reading and prayer. They are habits for me at this point. (not that there is not room for improvement!) Memorization of scripture not so much. I need to remember that this is one that can be done while washing dishes or folding laundry or whatever if I use our white board and keep the verse I am practicing up on it.

Read something intellectually stimulating. Some day’s I’ll have 2 minutes other days 20. Just give my brain something to think about.

I’m going to write these down and hang them on my fridge so I can see them at a glance.

Grit and Motherhood

I just finished last night this really interesting book called Grit by Angela Duckworth. Angela Duckworth is a psychologist who has devoted herself to the study of what she has defined as ‘grit’. The subtitle of the book is The Power of Passion and Perseverance. I was familiar with the work of Angela Duckworth because I am a part of a Facebook group of diabetics who follow Dr. Bernstein. The group is called TYPEONEGRIT named in reference to Angela Duckworth’s studies.

As a stay at home mom my mind is spinning apply all the principles in this book to my calling of motherhood.

Grit is essentially consistently doing the work today to accomplish a very long term goal. Today as mothers we are changing diapers, kissing boo-boo’s and teaching right from wrong because 20 years down the road we want our children to be confident, well adjusted, God serving adults who are in a position to give back to the people around them.

She explains that successful gritty people believe that their job is important. I believe that doing a good job raising my children is the most important thing I can be doing with my life right now. More than an important job, I believe it is a calling from God. Proverbs 22:6, Deuteronomy 6:7, Titus 2:4. I believe my every day work, even when it feels mundane, benefits not only my family but society and future generations.

Successful people know where they want to be. They have well defined specific goals leading them to an ultimate goal they want to achieve. Successful people also have either one or just a few very specific goals that they are working towards. They say yes to what will get them there and they know they have to say no to the things that won’t. They are not people running around in circles trying to do it all. When making decisions about how I am going to spend my time and energy I need to ask myself the question, “Is this going to enrich or take away from my job as a mom?”

The author includes a section on how we can build grit into our kids. How can we help our children be passionate people who persevere? I know I want to instill in my children an attitude of getting back up when they fall down. She tells parents and educators to teach kids about their ability to learn. Literally showing kids photos of brain growth and giving them an understanding of the brains ability to grow and change has been proven to move people from a ‘fixed mindset’ to a ‘growth mindset.’  A person with a fixed mindset believes that some people are born smart and others are not while a person with a growth mindset views people and themselves as having the ability to learn, grow and change. The first mind set leads to giving up when the going gets tough while the second mindset leads to overcoming obstacles and getting back up after falling. Essentially, learning about learning can change a childs attitude from “I can’t” to “I can.”

She also tells parents and teachers to emphasize with children that failure is okay and to create an environment where it is okay to fail. The child should be able to see their parents learning from their mistakes and moving on with lessons learned. She also emphasizes praising effort over accomplishment.

The author interviews many of what she refers to as, “high achievers” which makes the book a fun and interesting read. I like getting to “listen in” as she picks the brain of hard working successful people and to read their stories of where they came from and where they are going.

Here she is presenting and summarizing her work and ideas in a TEDtalk. It really is worth watching, it’ll get you thinking!

 

 

Today’s must do’s

Today I must spend time out side, feel the sunshine on my face and BREATHE

Today I must put down the distractions, the phone, the social media, the multitasking and CONNECT to what’s in front of me

Today I must SLOW DOWN and LOVE. SLOW DOWN enough to receive LOVE. My children can’t put their arms around a mom constantly on the move, distracted by a million tiny things. TAKE THE TIME to SAVOR the details. When things get crazy, push aside the temptation to keep plowing forward and instead STOP. I once heard a mom say something along the lines of, “be the eye of the storm in your home and to your family.” Be the one who is the CALM in the chaos.

Today I must GET OUTSIDE MY OWN HEAD. Seek to be in the moment. BE PRESENT. Experience the sense of smell, touch, taste, sound and sight of the moments of today. Experience the moment fully.

Today I must say YES. YES to the game of hide and seek, YES to the time it will take to teach a little one something they need to learn.

Today I must LOWER THE BAR. Everything does not need to be done every day. People before dishes that need done, people before my checklist I want completed.

Today I must be THANKFUL and show GRATITUDE. Feel the thanksgiving in my heart, offer it as worship before God and let it come off my lips to the people around me. “I’m so THANKFUL I get to be your mama,” “I’m so THANKFUL you are in my life.”

what I’m working on..

I haven’t been writing lately although as I go about my day I usually think of so many things I want to write about! It’s a busy season having a 1 year old and a 3 year old. Both ages are requiring a lot of attention and to quote the people I meet in town, “I have my hands full!”

I had written at the beginning of the year how I want to work on scripture memory. I was working on a verse a week and saying it to a woman at our church either on Sunday or if I saw her some other time in the week. One of my sisters in Christ was telling me this past Sunday that she has a goal to memorize the book of Philippians and asked if I would want to join her and keep each other accountable. I’ve wanted to for a long time to memorize Colossians but have stopped and forgotten what I started. We decided we were going to call each other and say our verse that we are working on which we did yesterday afternoon. As of this morning I have memorized the first 7 verses of chapter 1. I’m excited! I would love to be able to say all 4 of the chapters of Colossians. I love the “big picture” of eternity in Colossians and the poetic language.

I’m also working on passing out gospel tracts again. It’s something I haven’t down for a long time but is so important! I ordered some of Ray Comfort’s “Why Christianity” tract/ small booklet and this week God has helped me to pass out 5 of them. The first time I attempted to pass one out was when I brought the kids to the zoo Saturday. I was so nervous I was shaking and ended up leaving without passing any out. It’s so silly really, what am I so nervous about? Some one might say, “No thanks?” Read it and then give it back because they don’t agree with what it says? With each track I did pass out this week, with prayer, it has gotten easier. It’s really not that hard to say to the cashier who I’ve been making small talk with, “Can I give you a gospel track?”

I’m also working on praying more. I have this urgency in my spirit that God is wanting me to pray. I’ve felt like that for a while now and the men in our church have been teaching on prayer which has really been motivating me to start obeying and practicing it. At the encouragement of a brother in the Lord sharing what he does, yesterday I wrote up a prayer list of people and things to pray about for each day of the week. I think it’s going to help me be more focused and disciplined in prayer.

In my job as a mom of little ones, behavior and obedience are the main issues I’m working on with my kids right now. T.J learned to climb up on the kitchen table yesterday and teaching him not to do that took a lot of time yesterday! We’ll see what he does when he gets up.. he’s persistent, I wouldn’t doubt it if he tries right away to see if the rule still applies today!

I had started working on a list of family rules. I put them up in our kitchen and as I was going through out our days I was trying to edit the list to better fit our family and our needs. Some of the rules I wrote out I was finding were too broad and others too specific. While searching around the internet for other’s ideas I found “21 Rules” by Greg Harris. (Father  of the author Joshua Harris.) These were the rules that he wrote up for his family when his kids were young. (I don’t have time to include a link but if you google Greg Harris 21 rules it will come up)

I’ve had them up on our fridge for I think a week or so now and they are really changing our family in a positive way! First they are changing our family because they are changing me! I have to make sure if I’m teaching these rules that I have to follow them closer than anyone! A few challenging one’s for me that I am working on are, “when someone is sad we comfort them.” If my kids are whiny my natural response is to want them to just get over it. Now I’m working on stopping and taking the time to offer a hug or a solution to the problem in their world. (fixing the broke toy or whatever.) It’s also been a really big change for me to consistently clean up one thing before going onto another. I can be a scatter brain and the trail of random stuff I leave behind me shows that. I’ve had to really get organized and make sure everything actually has a place so that when I want the kids to clean up they know exactly where stuff goes and it’s easy to put it away. This has meant getting rid of a lot of stuff as well. I’ve also been working on speaking to my family with a respectful voice. AKA not yelling when I’m irritated.

As for my marriage challenge, there are 6 more days in January. (Including today.) This challenge has proved more challenging than I thought it would be but has also reaped some good fruit. Mostly I’ve realized how little I had been working to do nice things for my husband and how the all consuming task of motherhood has pushed things aside marriage wise. Before having kids you hear how it’s easy to neglect your spouse while parenting but until you’re in the thick of it it’s hard to know how true that is. Maybe (no promises!) at the end of the month I’ll write a “ways to bless your husband” post with different things I’ve come up with this month. It’s hard to come up with the creativity to do something different every day!

There’s more I want to share with you but it will have to wait for another day as it’s nearing 7:00 and I have to hurry to get dressed before my kids wake up!

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

Today

This week our Bible verse is Ephesians 6:1 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.” I was surprised that E actually recognized and knew this verse pretty well from watching the Steve Green Hide ‘Em In Your Heart videos. I want to make sure I spend time teaching this scripture to my kids when they are not in trouble.  I want them to know these verse before the temptation comes.

As for my month of January marriage challenge, I have continued in it except for yesterday. I was not feeling good Monday so yesterday was a combination of catching up, busy in motherhood, errands, and then because of the shift work schedule we didn’t see each other very much so by the very end of the day I realized I had done nothing for the challenge and he was gone. Today is the 18th day and I’ll see if I can double up today to make up for yesterday.

I know it will make him happy if the car is wash and cleaned out well for a trip we have to make tomorrow and I want to work hard to get caught up on the laundry today so that will be done and laundry will not be a to do on his days off and we’ll be free to do other stuff. I know this doesn’t sound like much at all but they are two tiny ways I can serve him and show my love.

This morning I was reading in 2 Peter chapter 2 and 3.

Chapter 2 verse 9 a “The Lord knoweth how to deliverer the godly out of temptations..”

That’s a good verse to keep in mind and to pray as I am faced with temptation. “God, I know You know how to deliver me from this! Help me!”

T just got home and the kids will wake up soon. It’s time to shut down the computer and get this day started!

God bless you!

Heaven God’s answer for your every need By Randy Alcorn (touchpoints)

I had intended to read the actually book Heaven by Randy Alcorn but I didn’t realize until I brought it home that this was his “touchpoints” edition. It’s a condensed version of the book Heaven. It’s a small book 210 pages long. (The book is pocket sized so it’s not actually as long as it sounds.)

It’s written so that if you have a question about heaven you could pull it off your shelf, look up your question, example, “Is the present Heaven a physical place?” see that that question is on page 7 and flip to it. One question doesn’t really build upon a mother spit’s okay to skip around in the book reading which ever questions you’re most curious about.

I read it straight through. The more I read Randy Alcorn’s writings about Heaven and the new earth the more excited I get and the more I love God for being so good to His people!

Today I read something I had never thought about before. When answering the question “Does God value craftsmanship?” The author points out that the first man to be recorded in the Bible as being filled with the Spirit of God was Bezalel, a skilled laborer and craftsman. The description of his work tells us that he was a great artist. I thought it was a neat point that The Master Artist (God) filled a man with His Spirit to do beautiful skilled artwork for the building of the tabernacle for the glory of God.

It also has me wanting to do a Bible studying on old testament believers because now I wondering, were old testament believers filled with the Holy Spirit or was the Spirit on them or with them? I’m thinning about men pre Bezalel like Joseph, Enoch and Noah. I’m curious to search throughout the old testament and look up every time the Spirit was mentioned. Anyways! That’s another study topic for another time.

Our Bible verse for the week is Ephesians 5:2

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

Today for my marriage challenge I’m going to successfully start the truck without locking it lol! Yesterday I fulfilled the challenge with a quick back massage and back scratches for hubby. (without asking for a massage in return- that’s what made it something nice lol)

 

 

When I feel like a failure

Things don’t always go like planned…

I know that, I’ve known that my whole life but it still doesn’t make the reality any easier sometimes.

Yesterday was a hard day of motherhood for me. Just being honest. I kept reminding myself how easy the day was compared to people who are suffering or going without but my thankfulness was not taking me very far. It was icy yesterday so I couldn’t go anywhere and no one could come over for a play date. My husband had to go into work and brave the ice leaving me alone with two small children for 13 hours.

I took them out in the snow, did play dough, make treats, and then it turned 9:45 a.m. I’m extroverted so days when I have no one to talk to no one to see, I get lonely and easily depressed. The kids and I both had cabin fever by the afternoon which made us all kind of grouchy.

I felt like I was failing at my marriage challenge when I didn’t have any coconut oil to make what I wanted. Instead of making a treat I dressed up in a date night outfit to try and look pretty for my husband when he got home.

This morning I got up at 4:30 so I could surprise my husband by going out in the 12 degree weather and starting his truck but in addition to starting it I guess I hit the lock button on the key without realizing it and I didn’t know it but I locked his truck. I didn’t know it until when he went out there he had to get on his hands and knees in the snow to get the spare key from underneath his truck. Me trying to do something nice just made his morning less convenient and cost me a half an hour of sleep.

So why am I writing this all out?

I wish I were perfect, I wish I didn’t make mistakes but I am both finite and sinful. Wether it’s mistakes like locking a truck or sin like yelling at my kids I have to be thankful that,

“But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath. For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.” Psalm 78: 38-39

If God has mercy on me shouldn’t I remember also that I am but flesh?

If God is not holding a record of my sin shouldn’t I let it go as well?

When I feel like a failure I need to look to the cross and see the One who bought my victory. Victory over sin will come when I admit to my utter helplessness and cling to my Helper.

I’m thankful today is a new day. It’s a day to start new. I’m hoping the roads have de iced some and I can get out of the house!

I realize today that I will make mistakes but I’m asking God to help me to love and to see myself from His perspective. A part of me is afraid to ask to see myself from God’s perspective because my knee jerk reaction is to view God as condemning me but when I look to scripture it says, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:17. God loves me.

As I’ve shared on here before, I really like the mantra from the book Hands Free Mama, “only love today.” Each time I start to beat myself up mentally for my imperfections, I’m going to try and replace it with that, “only love today.” I feel stupid for locking the truck but, “Only love today.” Grace.

More about my intentional marriage goals

It snowed last night! I’m so excited! Last year except for one light dusting we didn’t get any and E was disappointed that it didn’t snow while we were in Connecticut. She’s going to be so excited when she wakes up! It’s going to be T.J’s first snow! I haven’t been out yet but it looks like there is probably about 2 or 3 inches on the ground. I’ll have to take lots of pictures and share them tomorrow. Anyways!

Yesterday while I put away laundry I listened to this podcast on power of moms radio about S.M.A.R.T goals.

https://powerofmoms.com/s-m-r-t-goals-episode-190/

Yesterday morning I posted about my goal of wanting to be more intentional in my marriage but that’s a pretty broad goal and it would be hard to measure success by those terms. Using the acronym S.M.A.R.T I’m going to try and turn that goal into something measurable and attainable. Here’s from the power of mom’s website what each of the letters stand for;

S = SPECIFIC–Pick a goal that is something you can “pin down.”

M = MEASURABLE–You’ve got to have a way to measure your progress or you will never feel like you’ve accomplished anything.

A = ACHIEVABLE–This means we need to be realistic. (No more multi-tasking until we fall over from exhaustion…)

R = RELEVANT–Make sure that this is the right kind of goal for you to be setting at this point in your life.

T = TIME-BOUND–Give yourself a deadline–at least a point in time when this goal will be “done.”

So here’s how I’m reviewing my goal of being intentional in marriage:

Specific- I want to be deliberate about doing at least one nice thing for my husband each day over and above normal things like making dinner etc. I want to do something each day that shows him I was thinking about him and makes him feel loved.

Measurable- I can decide in the morning when I make my to-do list what I want to do and then in the evening check to see that it’s done.

Achievable- I have two children so anything over and above the normal every day stuff has to be small and realistic

Relevant- I feel that this is a very relevant goal. Outside of my relationship with God there is no one and nothing more important in my life than my husband and my relationship with him. Making him happy makes me happy as well!

Time-bound- The month of January. I’m not going to stop being nice to him when the month is over lol! Having the end of the month as a deadline will give me a chance to reflect on whether or not I have meet this goal, how it has helped my marriage and if I want to keep up with planning these things or just let it be spontaneous at that point.

As an example, yesterday I made it a point before the kids got up to spend some time praying for my marriage and telling God about my desire to be more intentional in it and asking Him to help me in that. When I went to the bathroom to get dressed I saw on the counter top my husbands razor except the razor did not have the handle attached. I remembered that his razor got left in Connecticut and realized that since we got back he had been shaving by holding onto the razor head and trying to shave like that! I had just did my errands the day before when he was off so I didn’t have to bring the kids with me. I really don’t like going to the store other than once a week. Even if we’re out of bread or milk I usually just will wait until my next town day. We live out in the country so it takes me about 20 minutes to get to wal-mart. I realized this was a small achievable way though that I could bless my husband. When he called I asked him what kind of razor he wanted me to pick up. He knows how much I don’t like going shopping on my not shopping day and how much work it is to pack up two small children and bring them with me. I could tell he felt blessed that I was going to do that for him.

It was something small but small achievable ways to bless my husband each day is what I’m going for.

Today I’m going to be home since it’s a snow day so my goal for today is to make my husband his favorite almond chocolate bar dessert that I haven’t made in a while. It’s made with maple syrup so it’s something I can’t eat (because diabetes) so it will be something just for him to let him know he’s loved.

Did you listen to the podcast? How are you refining your goals to make them achievable?

 

 

God, marriage, children- being intentional in 2017

http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2017/01/big-picture-marriage-goals/

I read this above post yesterday by Sheila Gregoire on tolovehonorandvacuum.com and it really resonated with me. I’m a person who gets easily distracted by all the many things I want to do in life or thinking about all the things I think I should be doing.

I love the idea of having a mission statement in my life that keeps me focused on accomplishing what I want in life and helps me to say no to the things that I want to do but that don’t help me meet my biggest goals.

In a few short words what are my biggest goals in life?

  1. To know, please and serve God
  2. To have a happy marriage
  3. To have a good relationship with my kids and raise them well

In even shorter words- God, marriage, children.

That mission statement is a filter that will help me decide if something belongs in my life at the moment.

In 2017 I want to have my marriage grow and really flourish. I have a really great marriage but in the trenches of caring for babies it’s all to easy to put by default, marriage on the back burner when little one’s are so needy and when we are working around a work schedule that is so extreme.

So what are my big picture marriage goals?

I want my husband to feel like he is first in my life. He is but I don’t know that I am disciplined enough or intentional enough with my time and actions to always show it.

Pray for my marriage and my husband.

Constantly look for little ways to improve my marriage and find more happiness for both of us.

Find a hobby that we enjoy doing together that we can also do with the kids (because that’s the stage of life we’re in.) Have more fun!

I think the over all word to describe my goals would be “intention”. I want to be more intentional about my marriage and loving and serving my husband.

I’m thinking about starting a marriage building series on this blog where I can record steps I’m taking on this journey in 2017.

 

“There is a difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.” 1 Cor. 7:34

 

Cheers to a happy 2017 and being intentional about investing in my marriage!