Stopping the Hate Talk: 5 ways to a Better You!

When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

“I hate my hair, my arms, my legs.” I look so fat in these pants.” Why can’t I look like that other girl? She always looks so perfect; she makes me sick. ” If I had all the money in the world and could afford a personal trainer, I could look like that too.”

How many times do we say these things to ourselves or about others? Why are we so degrading to ourselves and other women? It doesn’t matter your age: young girl, teenager, young adult, older adult, pre baby body., post baby body. When does it stop? When do you decide that you are enough and that God made you the way you are. As a teenager, I thought myself pretty; I thought myself confident. It wasn’t until middle adulthood that I started to doubt myself. There have been plenty of times that I have looked in the mirror and thought that I did not like the way I looked. Part of my problem is that I have not been treating my body right and I have had two babies and it really does change your body! What do you hate about yourself? What do you love about yourself? Which one do you think about the most?

Self-worth is defined as the sense of one’s own value or worth as a person; self esteem; self respect. Do you place value in yourself? Do you have respect for yourself? Do you think of yourself as worthy and beautiful?

All this self degrading hate talk stops here. IT STOPS HERE!I challenge you here-forth that when you look in the mirror you find one thing you like about yourself, just one. Daily. Yes, DAILY!

There is nothing that can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8: 31-39), but He still wants us to take care of ourselves and our bodies. The following things help me to take care of myself and help me feel good about my own self-esteem.

1.GET UP AND MOVE!  Whether it is taking a brisk walk around the neighborhood, an aerobics video in the comfort of your home, or training for a race, get up and move. Start TODAY! Even ten minutes a day can make a difference. Make it work. Maybe that means climbing stairs during a short break at work or parking in the furthest parking lot. Sometimes, for me that means having a dance party with my 3 year old. Or I have an aerobic app on my phone that lets me choose 5 to 10 minute increments. Sometimes my 3 year old and 5 month old join in the fun. One ting I’m going to try in the next few weeks is running before my husband leaves for work!

2. EAT HEALTHY! Of course there are lots of arguments about what is the best diet or supplement our there. Think before you eat! Is this particular food going to make me feel good or energized? I’m not saying to never have that piece of chocolate, I’m just suggesting you think twice about it. This is definitely one of my biggest challenges. I have a huge sweet tooth! It’s about lifestyle change. While I don’t follow it strictly and I am not an expert, my personal belief is that a plant based diet is best for health and energy. Commit to make a change. Just eating more veggies and fruit can make a difference! Progress not perfection!

3. CHALLENGE YOUR MIND! Take time to learn. Read, whether an actual book, a website, eBooks, newspaper, or a magazine. The world is full of great minds. You are one of them!

4. FEED YOUR SOUL! This is the most important point. Make time to pray or read your Bible and talk to God. I try to get up before my children in order for this to happen. Now lately, that has not gone like I planned. I have an almost 6 month old who wakes up in the middle of the night, and well, I am grumpy if I don’t get enough sleep. On those days, I try to read while I’m nursing him. Many times I’m praying in the car on my way to work. Those two things, especially the prayer, make a huge difference in how my the rest of my day goes, and how I feel about myself as a person. I am a much better mom, wife, and friend, when I make time to pray and read God’s word. End of story.

5. TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF! I don’t care what that looks like or how much time you say you don’t have. For me it looks like time to write or time for a hike, a walk around the neighborhood, sipping on a hot cup of tea or coffee on my back deck. Coffee or lunch or breakfast with a friend, even if it has to be over the phone. Perhaps you can wake up 10 minutes before the rest of your house, just to sip and drink your coffee. Maybe once a month, you can find a babysitter or your significant other can watch the children, and you can go get coffee, by yourself or with a close friend. Find a  walking partner. Train for a race with your co-workers. Sometimes, I take an extra long shower because that may be the only time I have had to myself that day. I breathe in the steam and take pleasure in the solitude and not having to explain what I’m doing. Everybody leaves you alone when you are in the shower (most of the time).

Challenge yourself to love more. We don’t need all the hate talk. Life is hard enough without being so mean to ourselves

What are some tips you have on increasing self-worth?

Thanks for reading! Please share with those extraordinary women you think need a reminder of how awesome they are!

I have purchased my own website now, so I will be getting away from word press and starting my blog over there! It’s still a work in progress, so be sure to join me at ExtraOrdinary Living  to see what adventures lie ahead.

 

Advertisements

8 Life Lessons I Learned From My Toddler

DSC_0403 (2)I now have a three year old!  I can’t believe it!  Sometimes I feel like I am looking at someone else’s life. I honestly was never the girl that dreamed of the kind of kids she would have, and even if I would have kids. I never thought about what kind of mother I would be. I honestly really never liked kids, and if I’m being honest, I’m still not crazy about other people’s kids (I do like most of my friends’ children, most of the time). Sometimes I wonder if I am a good enough mother. Sometimes I’m lazy. Sometimes I get impatient or frustrated and yell or say things I shouldn’t say. In spite of all that, I believe I am the perfect parent for my children. And more and more, I understand a little of the unconditional love our heavenly Father has for us.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you’, says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'” Jeremiah 29:11

God has a plan for me and for my children, this I know. I have to remind myself almost every day. There are days when my beautiful Sophia is very tiring and challenging and exhausting. She is headstrong and fiercely independent. (I can’t imagine where she picked up that personality trait!.. Must be from her daddy. 🙂 )   She has taught me so much in her short 3 years of life!

Lesson 1: Sometimes you need to just be silly.

DSC_0403

Sophie is a jokester. We used to ask her, “What color is this?”  For awhile, the only thing she would respond with was “Orange!”  She knew the colors! That was her 2 year old self teasing us!  Another joke she says, “I’m BeBe”, or I’m “Uncle Matt”, and then now she follows it with “You’re Daddy”, or “You’re Max” (Max is our dog!)  She has a mischievous little glint in her eye while she’s saying these things too. Sophie loves to be tickled. She loves being thrown up in the air, loves hide and seek. If we can’t go outside, she will run in circles around our dining room table. She makes me laugh.

We need to let ourselves laugh. We need to remember what it was like to just be silly.

Lesson 2: Be Persistent!

IMG_1851

This past summer, we made the transition to a big girl  bed. Now that she can get out of bed freely, she will literally knock or bang stuff on the door. It’s really quite funny and difficult to not go back to her room. She is a world champion at bedtime stalling!  I have to give her props for creativity. “I need some water!” “Lie down with me!” (with big blue pleading eyes!), “I need to put my babies to sleep”. “I need to read” . She even uses prayer time as a means to stall her bedtime. If we have taken away story and song time because she is not listening, then she pulls the prayer card. She knows mommy wants her to pray!

The point is: While we don’t need to  give in to our children’s every demand, we can learn from their persistence.  If you want something, keep trying! Don’t let a few no’s (or a few hundred) stop you from pursuing your passions or dreams.

Lesson 3: Sometimes you just need to let it out!

IMG_1906

Oh, we have had our share of tantrums and fits!  Screaming in a restaurant, screaming in the store, you name it, we have had it.  How about the time she laid down at the train station, no wait, the cell phone store, no, the consignment store, and just had a textbook tantrum and sit down!  Oh, yes, my Sophie has a temper.

And talk about drama! Once, after a trip to the community pool, Sophie fell and scratched her knee while walking back to our car. Drama central!  After the drama settled, she wanted a Dora band aid, but when I tried to put it on her knee, she screamed. Then she just held it the whole ride home.

Okay, so maybe you and I are past the tantrum phase, but don’t you want to just let it all out and scream and stomp your feet and cry sometimes?!  Well, maybe we can’t scream and stomp our feet (unless you are completely by yourself, then I say, go for it!). However, it is  probably not the best example to teach our children in order to launch them into functional adults.  However, it is okay to accept a hug or want someone to kiss your hurt away. It’s okay to dry your tears on someone else’s shoulder. The point is: Stop being so independent! It is OKAY to ask for help. It’s okay to cry.

Lesson 4:  Sometimes a girl just needs to look good.

DSC_0227

Sophie  loves trying on shoes. I can’t tell you how many times I would walk in her room after nap time to find shoes and clothes, and toys EVERYWHERE!  She would take hair bands and use them as necklaces or for awhile she was attached to hats. She would wear them constantly, even sleeping with them.

Sometimes you just need to dress up a little. We should dress up, not to impress others, but just to remember how beautiful we are.

Lesson 5:  Life is about what happens everyday in the little moments!

DSC_0707

For all of Sophie’s challenges and tantrums, there are more than enough sweet moments. Like the time when she handed me my tucks during my pregnancy with our son (both embarrassing and sweet), or how she is with her baby brother, constantly loving on him, kissing him, and helping me mother him. Or when she spontaneously gives me a kiss or “helps” with chores (she can help unload the dishwasher and put clothes in the dryer! Sometimes she even sweeps! She loves to hold the dustpan for me!). Or how she “cooks” with her pretend food. How she loves to make baby brother laugh and share stories and tummy time with him. Or how she tugs at our heart strings every time she asks us to lie down with her. Or the times when she asks for a “big hug”.  Once, after I gave William his  bath, I turned my back for one second, and next thing I knew Sophie was bathing her baby dolls. All Ican do sometimes is laugh.

For all the bad moments there are 10,000 more good ones. We  can learn from the bad moments, but we need to cherish the good moments. After all, people don’t usually take pictures of the bad moments (although I think that is warranted sometimes!). Our pictures are of the happy moments. You don’t usually remember the tantrums and attitude between the pictures.

Lesson 6:  Life is Messy!

DSC_0725

Life is Messy.  From throwing up in the doctor’s office and in the car and all over me. (all three of these happened last year!), life is messy. From snotty noses and ear infections, life is messy. From spilled drinks and dumped over cheerios, life is messy. (thank goodness for dogs!). From tear stained faces to skinned knees and new scars, life is messy. From emptying out all the drawers to emptying the toy boxes, life is messy.  Life is Messy! Let it go and keep making messes!

Lesson 7:  Celebrate the little successes!

IMG_2004

My Sophie finally went poo in the potty! It has been a long time coming! I dare say, we may be done buying pull-ups! (at least day time ones) If you are a mom, you know how exciting this is! It was all I could do to restrain myself from posting it all over social media! I did text almost all my close friends and family! We celebrated this feat with ice cream and a toy.

That’s how toddlers are, they celebrate little things, like putting their shoes or pants on all by themselves. Or finally figuring out how to open the doors! Or putting that last puzzle piece together. Let’s take a lesson from our toddlers and celebrate the little successes. Like doing prayer/bible time even once or twice a week. Or maybe it is making it somewhere on time! How about getting noticed for a job well done. Picking up a few pieces of trash (that’s one less piece of trash!) Or finally learning to parallel park. Perhaps, it is making one person smile. Or making it to bed on time. Or making it through the day without killing your children.

Little successes add up to make a big difference!

Lesson 8: You are capable of so much more than you realize!

Do you know how many times Sophie has done things  I didn’t think she knew how to do?  Like the time she opened our screen door and walked outside, BY HERSELF with the dog! (we have no fence and we live on a steep hill!) Or the time she started drinking out of a regular cup.  Or  the time when I walked into her room and she had figured out a way to pull off items from the top of the dresser!  They are capable of so much more than we give them credit for!

And so are you!  Don’t sell yourself shot. Believe in yourself!

 

Yes, this year has taught me so much. It’s taught me that this parenting stuff is hard, that life is hard, and marriage is hard As the cliché goes, anything hard is worth doing!  I said at the beginning that I didn’t really like kids, but I LOVE my children. I love my Sophie and everything she is and everything she stands for. I love her just because. She is a gift. One that I do not deserve.

To my Sophia: rbp-42

I love you and everything you are and everything you have taught me, and everything you stand for. You have taught me so much more about love and life than I ever imagined.  You are uniquely wonderful and beautiful. God has a plan for you! I don’t know what it is yet, but it will big! Bigger and more wonderful than I or you daddy can imagine!

 

What are some lessons you have learned from your life experiences? I would love for you to share your stories!

Thanks for reading! If you liked this article, don’t forget to share!

 

 

 

 

For the Love of Chocolate

DSC_0197I LOVE chocolate! Just about any kind, with nuts, without, with peanut butter, caramel, whatever. If it has chocolate in it or around it, I will eat it and be bribed by it. One of my favorite kinds of chocolate is Dove chocolate, every flavor. I even love the little sayings that come in the wrapper. Now, I’m sure the Dove manufacturers did not intend to provoke profound thinking on their wrappers. And often, I just read them in passing. Some are cute, some are downright stupid (sorry Dove), and some are sweet. But one recently did have me pondering deep thoughts (maybe it’s the breastfeeding hormones).  “Do all things with love.”

Do ALL things with LOVE. Really?? Do ALL things with LOVE? Am I supposed to potty train with love, change diapers with love, eat, feed my children, fold laundry with love? While these things seem trivial, are they? What if we did everything from the lens of “Do ALL things with LOVE“.

Would that make the mundane things a little more enjoyable, or just increase the pressure of being a parent? After all, as all moms and dads know, toddlers and infants are exhausting (as I’m sure any age can be).  Between taking my two year old to the potty for the millionth time, cleaning the floor and sheets from pee and poo (I am happy to report that we are now almost completely potty trained!, just trying to get that #2!). Between  begging her to go # 2 on the potty and bribing her with a new toy and ice cream (which has not worked), and just short of forcing her on the toilet (which I realize does not work either!).  Between nursing every few hours to soothing a fussy baby at all hours, the last thing I  think about sometimes is love. I think about sleep and rest and peace! I think about being able to sit down with my lunch and not have little hands grabbing at my plate demanding at that instant to eat, even though they may have just eaten or just said they were done! I think about drinking HOT tea or coffee. I want to read a book in its entirety and in one sitting. I want to finish writing this post without interruption. I want to be able to eat my chocolate without having to hide it or share it with my child.

Maybe that is the point. Parenting is not glorious work. But neither was Jesus’ work . Did he want to constantly be traveling and speaking and healing? How many times did he get interrupted while praying or having a meal with his friends. How many times did he get woken up by cries and whines? How many times did he just want to spend time with his Father without having to break up an argument or soothe somebody? He did those things out of love and with love. Do ALL things with love.

“Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16: 14

What if, instead of lamenting our days away we said the following instead:

How amazing is it that my two year old is learning to go to the bathroom all by herself? How awesome is it that I can see my baby boy growing right before my eyes?. How extraordinary are all those dirty and wet diapers, for they are a sign that he is healthy?

While not the most glorious acts, these are all opportunities to show love. Show our love in discipline and teaching and learning. And even though this season of my life with young children seems to be dragging by at times, I know this too shall pass. Will I look back and say I did all things with love and that my children knew they were loved? At the end of the day, ask yourself:  Did I have a heart filled with love or was my heart weary and weighed down with the tasks and to do lists of the day?

I want to make sure my children know that they are loved. I don’t want them to remember a clean house, every meal being at 6:30, or an organized playroom. While there is certainly nothing wrong with, and I do aim for those things, my point is this:

I want my children to remember the laughter we shared, coloring and building blocks together. I want them to remember me baking with them and taking them to the park. I want them to have love filled memories.  I want them to remember that I loved them, just as they were. And, perhaps, I will share my chocolate. 🙂 (Sometimes…)

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to share!

Be sure to follow me for weekly encouragement from the realities of my ordinary life!

Look at the Birds

One of my favorite birds: A Painted Bunting Photo credit: http://www.fanpop.com

If you have been following my blog or know me personally, then you know my husband and I are expecting our second child very soon! September 3rd. 4 weeks away!! Yikes!  That being said, I plan on continuing to write until our little boy decides he is ready to meet the world. Once he is here, I plan on taking 4 to 8 weeks off from blogging to get to know our newest family member and adapt to life with two children.  I hope to be able to work on my website’s design as well, so if you have any tips, feel free to share as the whole technological thing is a challenge for me.  I plan to make a quick announcement shortly after the birth of our baby boy.

The question is, am I ready? I am not, but are you ever, really? I know we will adjust and learn, but it is scary all the same. How soon you forget all the nuances of taking care of a newborn.  You have this tiny living being that is utterly and completely dependent on you. God has granted you a gift and responsibility. It is ever daunting. No other species, that I know of, does it seem that their children are quite so dependent and useless when they first come into this world. Foals come out already walking and then running soon after.  Baby sea turtles are set off on their own as soon as their eggs hatch to live or die. I am glad we are not turtles! (for many reasons, think hundreds of eggs being hatched!)  But my sense of fear and anxiousness is where my weakness lies, and thus where God’s strength is shown.  I think we all have those one or two verses that speak to your heart. It is almost like God wrote those words just for you! Mine is the following:

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life-whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?  And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”  Matthew 6: 25-34

Some of you may be surprised to learn that I am a worry wart. I have learned through the years to that God is in control, but it is an ongoing struggle.  The words above speak to my heart and serve to remind me of what is important and how to deal with my worries. If it was not for the truth of those words, I would have had several panic attacks. Truly, there are days, where I am  just trying to get through the day. And that is okay!  We don’t have to have everything planned all the time (I’m preaching to myself here!)  It’s a running joke among friends that I have to do  lists for my to do lists.   But truthfully some days, I am just trying to accomplish what needs to be done that day, and I know the rest will have to wait or be pitched completely. My favorite part of the verse above is where it talks about the birds.  That holds a special place in my heart, for some of my best childhood memories are from bird watching with my father.  Finding that one special colorful bird was exciting and its beauty enthralling.

I ask for your prayers in the last few weeks of my pregnancy, that I can take things day by day. (and not be too mean to people!) To trust that God will take care of me. I ask for reminders to cherish my daughter and husband in the last few weeks as we are, and yet be ready to celebrate a new life in our son and with each other.  That I can truly focus on what actually needs to be done and not on things I would like to be completed. I pray that we can cherish our new son, as they are only that little and vulnerable but for a brief time. And in a flash, they will, Lord willing, be leading their own lives. I pray for a strong and healthy baby, but most of all I pray that he will know he is loved by God and that he is loved by his family.

I leave you with the following link to a song that has been on my heart all week, for our God is merciful. “God be Merciful to Me”. https://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play?p=God+be+merciful+to+me&vid=52ccc4e1e0a4ddc12e638186c9acd817&turl=http%3A%2F%2Ftse1.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DWN.PZhG4LtZOlCocnhR1%252bQ%252fcw%26pid%3D15.1%26h%3D360%26w%3D480%26c%3D7%26rs%3D1&rurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DEjPzlDvaYfU&tit=God+Be+Merciful+to+Me+%28w%2F+Lyrics%29&c=1&h=360&w=480&l=271&sigr=11bu9rhrc&sigt=1116klb97&sigi=12p60i38j&ct=p&age=1329511266&fr2=p%3As%2Cv%3Av&hsimp=yhs-prodege_001&hspart=prodege&vm=p&tt=b

Truly God is merciful to me:
“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Thank you for reading and praying!

15 Simple Ways to Show Someone You Care

Recently, I asked my husband what he considered the most important things he needed to do for his day to be successful. His response, quite frankly, surprised me. Not because of what he said, but more so because of what I had in mind. I was thinking along the lines of housework, meal planning., etc…  He quickly made me realize what really mattered. His list was 1. Spend time with your spouse. 2 Spend time with your children 3. Do something nice for somebody every day.

The last one is what really honestly floored me and totally made me reevauate, well, everything.

How do you do that exactly? How do you do something nice for somebody every day. It seems like such a simple tasks, but when I actually tried to put those words into practice, it proved to be quite difficult. The majority of my days are spent with a 30 something inch little person. Even when we leave the house, my focus is on not losing sight of her, keeping her from running out in front of a car, and from destroying other people’s property. You know, just your usual day spent chasing a toddler. To say or do somthig nice for somebody else??? Are you serious??

My husband’s mindset is right, even if you don’t do it correctly all the time and even if keeping your toddler from destroying other’s property might be considered your good deed for the day (even if they didn’t know it! :)). Perhaps, my service would be walking out of my house showered and with make up applied to my face. Gasp! They, being the world,  have no idea what they would have been presented with if I had not left my house somewhat prepared.  In all seriousness though, I sat down to to actually think of ways to actually be nice to somebody that did not include my toddler not coloring on their wall or demanding a 5th sucker. 🙂 I came up with the following list:

1. Wash your loved one’s car (You could either do this by hand or if you despise that you could take it to a basic car wash; I prefer the latter)

2. Freeze their favorite summer fruit and then bring it out in the winter for them to enjoy (this was inspiration from my friend Lisa)

3. Send an old fashioned card. You know, the ones you buy in a store and put a stamp on an envelope.

4. Send a simple text message telling your loved one how much you appreciate him/her.  It will put a smile on their face.

5. Prepare their coffee or tea just the way they like it or buy their favorite beverage

6. Bring home ice cream unannounced or whatever their favorite treat may be.

7. Flowers (even those who say they don’t care about flowers appreciate the gesture occasionally). It doesn’t have to be a dozen red roses; a simple bouquet from the grocery store will suffice.

8. Keep a bag of candy or gum at your workspace for co workers.

9. Do a chore someone else in your family always does.

10. Hold the door open, for anyone! It’s always appreciated.

11. Pick up somebody else’s trash. Sometimes the best deeds are those unnoticed.

12. Take cookies or donuts to a firehouse or to your work place or husband’s work, doctor’s office etc.. (They do not have to be homemade!)

13. Put $5 dollars in a library book or pay somebody’s library fine.

14. Try the pay it forward thing at a fast food restaurant or if you can afford it, find someone’s meal in a restaurant you can pay for.

15. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in awhile out of the blue.

What are some of your ideas for a simple kindness you can do for somebody else? I would love to hear from you. I challenge you to practice an act of kindness at least once a week for the next month. Once a week is really not very much, you can do it! Follow me as I attempt to meet the challenge as well at #showsomeoneyoucare

Proverbs 16:24, “Kind words are like honey-sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”

Galatians 6:9, “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good.”

THERE WILL BE A PARTY FOR YOU!

dmpbjw_1366For my daughter’s birthday a few months ago we received a magnet book. It was just a two page book that came with 31 magnets.  Technically, it said the age range was above 3, so I was a little paranoid to use it at first. Being a nurse, I know just enough to make myself crazy about what could happen if a child swallows a magnet.  Finally, one day a few months after her birthday, we tried it out. Of course, my little girl loved it. (crazy what entertains them) I was being very astute and watching her very closely. Later it was time for lunch and she wanted to play with the book again.  I set it in front of her, turned my back for, literally, one second. Irony of ironies, she had a few in her mouth.  I quickly grabbed them out of her mouth, then proceeded to count all the magnets to ensure I had all of them. I was missing one.  I turned to my toddler and asked her if she had swallowed one, for which she proceeded to say yes. Now at that time her yes also sounded like no so it was very hard to tell if, she knew what I meant, and if she  actually swallowed it.  After that point, I quickly progressed to full panic mode including “googling” what could happen when a magnet is swallowed just to add to my hysteria.  I swept the floor two to three times,  mopped, looked under the couch, and counted again and again. I was starting to cry, thinking how could I have turned my back for one second, why did I even let her play with it and all other sorts of self deprecating thoughts, thinking of the worse possible scenario and end result.  Anyway, long story short, we ended up at the pediatrician’s office in which he basically said since it  was so small and thin of a magnet and my child appeared in no distress, he would advise just watching and waiting. Nothing happened, she was completely fine. Needless to say, I was very observant of the floors and her stool over the next few days. (On the positive note, my floors were cleaner than usual!)

Several months, later, after I had given up ever finding this magnet and assuming she had passed it unnoticed, I saw a black spot on the floor. I bent to look at it closer, and you guessed it, it was the magnet. I was elated! I knew at that point that our daughter was fine, but somehow it was reassuring to know I had found it.

My silly story reminds me of the following stories found in the Bible:

“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and havent’ strayed away!” Luke 15: 3-7

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents”  Luke 15: 8-10

“for this son of mine was dead, and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found. So the party began. We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!” Luke 15: 24, 32

Can you imagine?  Every time one of God’s children comes home or he finds a lost soul, he rejoices with His angels. He basically has a party. He has a party for you. He spends all his resources and money for this party. Against all logic and reason, in spite of our sinfulness and rebelliousness, there will be a celebration for you! He will call over all His friends and neighbors, and celebrate as if you are the only person that matters!

Now my husband and I’s wedding was a celebration. We had a blast! We dined and wined and danced. It did not matter what anyone else thought, because we were having fun and were blessed with celebrating with all of our family and friends. Not to brag, but people still say how much fun our wedding was that day five and half years ago. Can you imagine? God’s party will be so much better than any party that you have ever attended!

Think of how happy you are in the following moments: A lost coin. A dress  or piece of jewelry that has been missing for months found in the back of your closet.  Cash in your glove compartment that you had long since forgotten. The gift card lost in your wallet or pocket.  Your favorite pair of flip-flops that had been misplaced.  Think of the elation or the thoughts of good fortune that run through your mind in those seemingly trivial moments. You had even stopped looking  God rejoices so much more.  He continues to look and search, even in darkness.

HE NEVER STOPS SEARCHING!  AND WHEN HE FINDS YOU, THERE WILL BE A PARTY LIKE NONE OTHER!

All I Need is to Trust

{a95594f7-0dfd-4a22-b877-0531c3490ff2}_6BWRecently I have started trying to initiate a morning devotional time with my toddler. It is literally only a few minutes including reading or watching a short bible story, singing a song if I can think of an applicable one, maybe talk a few minutes, and a scripture. We are working on memorizing a short scripture. The first day I tried it, my daughter was focused and even repeated the verse after me. I was so excited! I did not think it was possible for a two year old! Of course, in typical toddler fashion, she has vehemently and passionately refused to partake in any sort of devotional time since then. I, of course, being a dedicated mom, continue to try anyway, in hopes that she may absorb some of what I am saying.   And while I know she is only two, I can’t help but irrationaly think she is doomed and will never learn to listen. Of course, I know this is just a phase. (that she will hopefully soon, but not too soon, pass.)

At any rate, it does not matter if she refuses to listen right now or not; the truth of the matter is I have learned more then anybody. It has caused me to memorize scripture (a habit I have long forgotten) and the particular one I am trying to enforce upon my poor daughter is actually very fitting in my life right now.

“Depend on the Lord, trust Him, and He will take care of you” Psalms 37:5

My husband and I are about to have another child in this scary, messed up world.  We have just lost another (the third in three years) family member to the ugly word that is cancer.  I have friends and family members going through so much hurt right now.  I suffer from my own lack of friendship making skills. I want to pay off school loans, but can’t seem to find a way.  Every time I think we are making progress, something else happens where that money needs to be allocated: an unexpected, but necessary trip, a car needing repair, clothes for my child and upcoming infant, and so on. I am struggling with the feeling of being overwhelmed and the daily mundane tasks seem ever daunting.  The security thing is what gets me the most.  I like to feel secure. I like to know where my bread is coming from, and I honestly have never really had to wonder. We have closets full of clothes. I know we have way more than we need. That’s where the trust gets me. I know God will take care of us, but will I choose to let him? To honestly give of myself and my finances? To know he will carry us through the hard times of recent losses and sorrows? To know that He is with me, to the very end?  I am reminded of a very simple story:

One day, while at summer camp in high school, we were having our Bible class time. It was sooo hot and humid. The air was completely flat, no breeze, nothing. If you have ever lived in the deep south, then you know what I am talking about. There is no relief from the raw humidity and heat. Well, we were all sitting on the grass or tree stumps, trying to focus on the devotion and not focus on the sweat blinding our eyes and drenching our clothing.  I don’t remember what we were talking about, but it must have been something to do with praying in faith, because I decided to pray for a breeze. Most importantly, I believed. I knew there would be relief. And there was!  It was just enough, even if for a moment. Now, I know in the large scheme of life how that must seem like a mundane, useless and trivial prayer. There are so many greater things to pray for: lost souls, the poor , the homeless, the list is insurmountable.  That is just the whole point though! God does care about the big things of course, but perhaps more importantly He cares about every thing, even the things that seem trivial. He cares about us!  That is where trust comes in.

So as I contemplate the aforementioned verse, I think of what that means in my life. To trust, that in spite of currently having no benefits with my upcoming maternity leave (my choice so to get paid more hourly), he will provide. He will provide what we need and if needed he will provide a job when I am able to go back to work.  To trust, that through the loss of loved ones, He will provide us comfort? To trust that God will work in my child’s heart and help us to show her God’s love? To trust that God will provide the friendships I need and help me overcome my personal obstacles? To trust that God will provide a way and not give us more than we can bear?   I dare you to trust. Trust that He will take care of us.

What will you trust God with today?