Monday, April 17, 2017

The Attitude of Gratitude

My sweet Emily just a few years ago.

This time of year we moms get into survival mode. Springtime brings a flurry of activities and schedule jams. There are days when making a priority list goes out the window because of all of the unknowns that fall into our busy days! Weeks blur together, sleep goes by way to fast and we do things to just get by. I've talked to so many moms just this week who are wondering how they are going to make it until school is out!

I recently came across this short list of ways for moms to look at life when it becomes unmanageable.



This really puts my life in perspective. I get so bogged down with details that I turn tired and negative very quickly. May we all choose to look at our busy schedules as blessings rather than dreaded exhaustion! Chin up mom...you can do it!!

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

A Family Summer Perspective

It's that time of year again. School has wrapped up and we are yearning for a break from busy school schedules. Summer presents a new type of busy, and one we really enjoy at first but then grow weary of towards the end. It's always fun to see how much each child grows and matures over the summer. Our son grew two inches one summer and ate us out of house and home!

This year makes my 20th summer being a mom! It hardly seems possible as time has truly flown by. We've had slow summers, summer's full of moving to a different state, summers full of traveling to visit family across the country, summer weddings to attend and summers full of camps for the kids.

Looking back, I can pinpoint which summers were the best...and it had nothing to do with the activities we took part in. The BEST summers were when my husband and I took time to sit back and truly reflect on our family. Not just the basic daily life, but how we were functioning as a family.

We asked deep questions like:

How is our routine?
How are our attitudes toward each other?
Do any of us have any bad habits that need tweaking?
Is there some activity we need to be doing more of as a family?
Are there any activities that need to stop all together?
How are we managing our time?

Normally, we can pinpoint areas that need improvement and the solutions are relatively easy. But our reflections of our family do not stop there. A wise seasoned mom one gave me some priceless advise that we added to our summer discussion:

What do we want our family to look like and how do we get there?

This seems complex ~ but really, is your family turning out the way you'd always hoped that it would be? This might seem unattainable, but is it?

Really...? 

Thankfully for us, we had some great families from our church modeling some excellent routines and habits within their family. It isn't hard to look around and see who is managing well and who isn't.  I'm not suggesting comparison at all. We are all unique and comparing is a filthy trap that no one should ever partake in. We were able to pick and choose which habits and traits we wanted for our family. Over time we were able to work all together to bring these important changes to fruition.

Today I encourage you to take the time this summer to sit back, be quiet and take a good look at your family. Pray about it. Ponder it in your heart. Pray some more. Ask the Lord to show you what His best is for your family.

Guarantee: This will be the best thing you can possibly do this summer!!

Isaiah 43:19

This is what God says, the God who builds a road right through the ocean, who carves a path through pounding waves, The God who summons horses and chariots and armies— they lie down and then can’t get up; they’re snuffed out like so many candles: “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands. Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’ —the coyotes and the buzzards— Because I provided water in the desert, rivers through the sun-baked earth, Drinking water for the people I chose, the people I made especially for myself, a people custom-made to praise me.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

I AM

I AM

I was regretting the past 
And fearing the future. 
Suddenly my Lord was speaking:

“My name is I Am.” He paused. 
I waited. He continued,
When you live in the past 
With its mistakes and regrets, 
It is hard. I am not there, 
My name is not I WAS”.

When you live in the future 
With its problems and fears, 
It is hard. I am not there. 
My name is not I WILL BE.

When you live in this moment, 
It is not hard. I am here. 
My name is I AM. 

~Helen Mallicoat

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Bloom Where You Are Planted

One Year.

One year since I've had the presence of mind to write a blog post.

I shutter to think of all that we were forced to endure over this past year, but can honestly say we are better off now regardless of all of the turmoil.

What started as a corporate transfer turned into a dreadful disaster. All because of one hot headed board chairman. One selfish greedy person impacted our family in ways HE could care less about.

Little did we know that in Rhode Island, your employer can get rid of you for any reason and not have to give an explanation. It is called an "At Will" employment law in the state and they can employ you or change their mind about your employment without giving any reasons as to why you are hired or fired. Unsettling to say the least. The Rhode Island lawyers and judges take great pride in their "At Will" status and won't even hear a case that tests it's legalities. Not only that, but the average family in New England can't afford to take something like an "At Will" employment case to court.

This news of my husband's eliminated position with the Rhode Island company was delivered to us ON our moving day.

It took a long time for us to wrap our heads around such an abrupt change in our lives.

Thankfully, our family 500 miles away took us in temporarily until we could make a new plan.

Our faith in God, and the many prayers and help from our families and friends helped us through a very rough time.

We are not certain of many things in this life, but we ARE certain that God has a great plan in each of our lives. Our faith has been tested many times ~ but a peace that surpasses ALL understanding has encompassed our hearts and minds in a way like never before.

What we have learned:

Everyone has a choice to be bitter or to get better.

Lean on your spouse for support and make decisions together. Your wedding vows "for better or for worse" are biblical and are to be taken very seriously.

Consider other people's feelings before reacting to your own feelings.

The good guy doesn't always win.

There is always one bad egg in the batch.

Trust your gut feelings. Pray for the Lord's clarification. He works in mysterious ways.

Having faith in God and deeply rooted integrity trumps ALL. 

Make the best of every situation and bloom where you are planted. 

Be willing to learn something new everyday. 

The eyes of our children are watching us closely. Think and pray before you react.

Laughter IS the best medicine. 

Our family has recently settled in beautiful rural Georgia. Our story is still being written and our faith in God's great plan to unfold is bigger than ever. My plan is to get back into writing and maybe share some of the hair raising stories that have occurred over this past year. Some have suggested I write a book about it all. I'd rather not dwell on any of it. Blogging about a few key events is all the time I wish to give any of it. Blooming and spreading my roots in the right here and right now is a huge blessing to me. Lord willing.... I fully intend to bloom well.

For I am confident of this very thing, 
that He who began a good work in you 
will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. 
~Philippians 1:6








Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Speak Without Accusing

Everyone has a subject that they are passionate about.

Dig down deep...do you know what that one thing is in your life that you just so happen know a lot about? 

It's been my observation in life that the older a person is, the more subject matters they have an opinion about. If you think about it, a person that is older than you has had more experiences in life. Fortunately or unfortunately, as people get older they seem to be more and more willing to share their opinions with others, whether they are asked for or not. 

What would happen if you met someone who knew more than you about a subject you were interested in. What if you met an expert? What if YOU were the expert?

My suggestion to look at ourselves is by no accident. How we respond to others is so important. 

When teaching our children to ride their bikes without training wheels, I remember being very frustrated. I can ride a bike very well, but this was a skill our kids had not grasped yet. Instead of yelling at them for not trying hard enough and belittling them, my husband and I chose to encourage them, run beside them, and hold onto them until they were comfortable to take off and ride on their own. 

Our words are so important. They can either breathe life into someone or scorn them in defeat. 

I love the messages in the book of James. While praying about this subject, I enjoyed reading James 1:19 in different translations of the bible. This is the translation I enjoyed the most from The Message:
Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: 
Lead with your ears, 
follow up with your tongue, 
and let anger straggle along in the rear. James 1:19 

Do you think it is an accident that James found it necessary to tell his friends to "Post this message at all the intersections"?  He wanted the word to get out. James wanted the principal he was conveying to reach all people, in every corner of the land. 

Today I challenge you to consider how you interact with others. Do you listen to people and let them talk before you offer a response? When is the last time you really heard someone talk about a subject they were passionate about? 

Personally, I've been on the accused side of the conversation way too often. It's not pleasant. At. All. Some people choose to live in suspicion of everyone around them, afraid that someone will be superior to them. Some people feel so threatened by others knowing more or doing more than they do. 

My prayer is for clarity. May the Lord show each of us how He can best use us for His glory. May our hearts and minds be OPEN to think about the ways we interact with other people. Is there anything we've said to anyone that maybe we should be asking for forgiveness?

Thank you Lord for teaching us how to love and be a light that shines brightly for you. May our words be seasoned with life giving nourishment to all those we come in contact with. 





Monday, October 6, 2014

Listen Without Interrupting

How many times in life do we jump to conclusions before hearing the complete details?

I am guilty of doing this so many times. One of the biggest peeves my husband has with me is that I don't give him room to fully explain his thoughts before I jump in and interrupt him with my response. Most of the time my response is not appreciated and cut off with a "let me finish!"

While I pray for patience and strength to change this pattern, I've been contemplating returning to my blog and writing about life lessons I am learning.

My one desire in life is to love well. What does that mean?

In the presence of our God and Father, 
we never forget that your faith is active, 
your love is working hard, 
and your confidence in our Lord Jesus Christ is enduring.
- 1 Thessalonians 1:3

Well, the Lord has asked each of us (whom He has called) to love without ceasing. Not just in word and deed alone, but from the heart in a genuine way. This is not easy. Especially days when I wake up on the wrong side of the bed, or am offended by a flippant comment made by someone I barely know.

One of the ways to show love is to listen to others without interrupting. I know many people who live lives full of quick quips and fast comebacks to family members and strangers alike. Some people think they know it all and feel they don't need a person to finish a thought before they interject an opinion or statement. Being cut off in a conversation is almost never pleasant, especially if you are the one being cut off.

How do you feel when you are cut off or interrupted? Are you guilty of cutting people off mid sentence?

As a mom, I'd like to think that because I have already lived out my youthful years, that I can wisely interpret my children's situations and advise them on the many issues that arise in their lives.

WRONG.

Letting a child express themselves -uninterrupted- is the best way to help them get in touch with the real issue at hand, and by listening, show them how much you love them and want to help them. My experience is that I always hear the real heart of the matter when I just listen.

The book of Proverbs in the bible is full of wisdom. In chapter 18 it says:

Answering before listening  is both stupid and rude. (v13)

Proverbs 18 also says that our response after listening is equally important:

Words kill, words give life;
    they’re either poison or fruit—you choose. (v21)

Learning to listen well to everyone you come in contact with is a great personal habit for each and everyone one of us to improve upon. Not only will you show Christ's love, but you will show people that you really care about them.





Sunday, June 29, 2014

Our First Homeschool Graduate

Our oldest child has officially graduated from high school after being home schooled, Praise the Lord! It seems like yesterday that we were teaching him how to read, write, ride a bike and swim! Now, because of God's amazing grace, he has successfully prepared for the next chapter of his life.



If there is anything my husband and I have learned from parenting, it is that once you think you have figured out your children, they go ahead and change! We have learned that parenting is a delicate balance of loving and adjusting to the needs and changes of each child that the Lord has designed to happen naturally over time. I wish someone had told me that when we were eagerly awaiting the birth of our first child, because we honestly didn't figure out this "change" concept until we had two children.

People often ask me why we decided to home school our children. My answer to them is rather shocking and not at all what they expected to hear. We didn't choose to home school our children; God chose us to home school. We are so very thankful that He chose us!!

Our children actually attended christian schools for many years. When we moved to New England we discovered that christian education looked much different in the northeast than where we had lived previously. We firmly believe that the christian school should be an extension of our home. This means they will teach, care for and nurture their spiritual and physical growth just as it is being done at home. While many institutions say their mission statement concurs with this belief, it is difficult for them to put it into action daily. 

After many unfathomable incidences in the christian school that we chose, and after many sleepless nights in tears and in prayer, it was clear that the Lord was directing our steps to remove our children from the school and teach them at home. He chose us to be the sole educators of our children, and in obedience to the One who designed and created them, we brought them home. 

What a blessing it has been to have our children at home! I had no idea where to start with curriculum, but dove in head first to the wonderful world of homeschooling. If you are considering homeschooling, the options are endless and fantastic! It is truly a joy to be able to choose a curriculum that suits each individual child's learning style and spend time teaching and modeling good study habits with each of them. For years we were chasing a school schedule, when we brought the kids home we were in control of our time and our priorities. Don't get me wrong - there have been times of struggle and frustration in our home. What we have learned is that the Lord can use times of difficulty to teach us things that we might not have learned had life been going comfortably. It is when we move out of our comfort zone that we learn and mature the most.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11