Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fresh produce... and pizza...

This morning Brandon asked me, "Where are we going today, Mom?" As if we go somewhere every day (which we do not). So I asked him, "Where do you think we should go?" He said, "We should go to Rainbow Foods." Probing further I asked, "What do we need from Rainbow Foods?" Excitedly, he said, "We could get bananas, and carrots, and apples, and Brussels sprouts, and pizza..." All his faves. I love that it's all fresh produce... and pizza. :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thank goodness for Stainmaster carpet!

Sometime I feel like the best words to describe my days as a mother of two young sons are: "What next?!" :)

Around lunchtime, Brandon was downstairs watching Word World on PBS, while I was in the kitchen making beef stew (for the first time). I could hear precious little Ryan, my busy 2-year-old, wandering around between the bedrooms, making his own fun. When I went back to check on him, however, his hands were all red... as if he'd gotten into a marker... or paint... or blood... And then I noticed it on the carpet too... the light, cream-colored carpet in our bedroom. Argh! Gotta think fast before it sets in!

So I brought Ryan into the bathroom to wash his hands and noticed a cut on his middle fingertip... a little bit of a gusher. Not sure where that little accident occurred! I struggled to get a bandaid on it and quickly discovered that 2-year-old boys don't like wearing bandaids. Argh again.

On to the carpet. How do you get blood out of carpet without ruining the carpet?? I put in an emergency call to my good friend Kim, and she gave me some tips from the internet. I approached the spots with a cup of cold water, a toothbrush, an old towel, and some dish detergent. Much to my delight [thank you, Lord!] I didn't even need the detergent. After pouring a little water on each of the spots, and rubbing ever so slightly with the toothbrush, the blood came right off! Then I just sopped up the water with the old towel, and voila! Good as new! I never knew how awesome Stainmaster carpet could be!!! :)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

No nobler career than motherhood

Here is an encouraging/inspiring quote from Elisabeth Elliot's book The Shaping of a Christian Family...

"There is no nobler career than that of motherhood at its best. There are no possibilities greater, and in no other sphere does failure bring more serious penalties. With what diligence then should she prepare herself for such a task. If the mechanic who is to work with 'things' must study at technical school, if the doctor into whose skilled hands will be entrusted human lives, must go through medical school... how much more should the mother who is fashioning the souls of the men and women of tomorrow, learn at the highest of all schools and from the Master-Sculptor Himself, God. To attempt this task, unprepared and untrained is tragic, and its results affect generations to come. On the other hand there is no higher height to which humanity can attain than that occupied by a converted, heaven-inspired, praying mother." (Anonymous)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A mini mom-testimony

As a strongly melancholy personality, I had been struggling with my role as a mother.... every flaw, every mistake, every failure magnified times 10. For more than a year, I silently suffered in the chains of feeling like I was wrecking my kids and that I was a terrible mom. The pressure of raising children to love God & love others was getting to me – and I’m afraid I wasn't responding to it very well... comparing myself to others (and coming up short); looking for the fruit of good behavior in my young boys and feeling like a failure when I couldn’t see it; giving-in to feelings of frustration and anger toward my boys; and feeling like I’d never be a good enough mom.... It all led to hopelessness & despair...

I cannot express how heavily weighed-down I was by feelings of guilt, shame, and hopelessness. Those days were pretty dark. I half-seriously considered my options... Chocolate in large quantities? Strong drinks? Push away from friends and hide from everyone? Walk away from God and my family?

Well, [obviously] I chose to stick with my family... and I chose to continue following God. I committed to reading the Bible (most days) – but I really toiled through it some days... how could God love me and forgive me over and over again? In Romans 5:8 it says that Jesus died for me while I was still a sinner. It seemed too good to be true, but I had to choose to believe it, because all Scripture is inspired by God. Some days fell flat... but I knew that I certainly was far worse off without God...

I was desperate and hungry, so I kept "mining" God’s Word looking for gold... for the truth (to destroy the lies I had been believing about myself) and to find hope. One of the nuggets I found was in Acts 17:26-27 – which says, “From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.” It became so clear that God chose me to be the mother of my two boys. No matter where I am on the “good mom” spectrum, He felt I would be the best mom for them, giving them the best chance of finding Him.

But probably the biggest profound paradigm shift came from a friend who cared...

I mentioned to this friend, in a recent conversation, that parenting is one of the hardest things I have ever done. He listened carefully, and then brought up how – many people struggle with worrying that they're going to wreck their kids.... but the truth is that they are already wrecked... born with a sin nature. They were not born sin-free & perfect – they were born broken! This was a revolutionary thought for me. I felt like, on the spot, God gave me a mental picture of me molding clay – that my job is to mold my children for His purposes, training them up in His ways – rather than me franticly trying to glue back together the pieces of a clay pot that I broke. And that overwhelming parenting burden was immediately lifted.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I love my boys!

In a rare moment, my boys are both smiling at the camera (well, almost at the camera)... AND being sweet to one another!

Can you stand it? I just want to squeeze those little cheeks!

And the moral of the story is...

...never leave your preschooler alone with a pair of scissors. Not even kid scissors.

I had everything prepared for our preschool lesson last Wednesday, except for one part. We were talking about the number 5—and the corresponding Bible story was Joseph's jealous brothers selling him as a slave—so the project was to cut out five wallets or purses from a magazine and paste them on the number 5 page. Usually I do the "homework" first, to spare a lot of time-wasting and distractions paging through a magazine together in search of whatever objects we're going to cut out and paste. Well, I didn't do it in advance that day. And, of course, I couldn't find any wallets or purses quickly in the magazines or catalogs.... so I decided I would make a copy of some coins in my purse so Brandon could cut those out. I left Brandon at the dining room table with the number 5 page, the glue stick, and the scissors while I went around the corner to copy the coins.

Well, the paper got jammed in the printer.... blah blah blah.... so it took a bit longer than I had anticipated. When I came back to the table, Brandon had his hands across his stomach and a frown on his face. I asked him, "Brandon, what are you holding on to?" His reply: "Nothing." So I asked him again, "What are you covering up? What is in your hands?" Reluctantly he lifted his hands....... to reveal....... two big slits he had cut into his shirt with the scissors!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Argh! It took everything in me to not completely blow a gasket.

All I can say is, I'm thankful that shirt wasn't one of my/his favorites. He started to cry a little and said, "I'm sorry Momma. It was an accident." And truly, it was.... he really hasn't used the scissors very much..... I gave him a hug and we had a gentle talk about proper scissor usage. That took big "love muscles" and "mercy muscles" to handle properly!!! All credit goes to the Lord!