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Archive for April, 2010

Something Fun…

I thought it would be fun to think about our children for a few minutes with a quick little exercise (not physical, so no worries;) Sometimes it is easy to focus on what is driving us crazy about our kids, especially on a rough day. So let’s focus on the positives, the things we love, about each of our children & where they are in life right now. I suggest taking just a few minutes to write out 5 things that you love about each of your kids – write it in their journal, on a blog, on the back of a receipt, as a comment on this post, it doesn’t really matter. And be sure to write their age & date because as we all know, just weeks from now, it may be 5 different things. So, here are mine.

Michael – Age 3 –
1. Though it is annoying at times, I am enjoying his “Why?” stage – he probably asks why at least 50 times a day!
2. I love his tender heart – just minutes ago he came up to me randomly, hugged my leg, & said, “I love you Mommy.” Nothing melts my heart more;)
3. I just love his beautiful, curly hair, even though it requires a haircut every 5 weeks!
4. I love how he gets all his cars out (which is a lot!) & lines them up on his couch & makes them talk to each other.
5. I love how he loves his Daddy & can’t wait to see him each day. As soon as he hears the garage door opening he runs to the door. Such fun!

Kate – 9 months old (tomorrow!)
1. I love how Michael makes her laugh.
2. I love how her feet are constantly twirling around or moving in some way, whether she is on the floor, in her booster seat, car seat, etc.
3. I love her sweet baby cheeks & chunkiness. (Michael was always so skinny, he never really had the baby chunkiness 😉
4. I love her beautiful smile when I get her up in the mornings & after naps.
5. I love all her loud, baby gibberish & talking.

Ok, Your Turn!

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Waiting

I hesitate to write about this topic because most of you have probably heard endless sermons, read books & may even know a fancy little acrostic to help you feel better about waiting. But, it is heavy on my heart this week, so I thought I would share.
Who hears the word, WAIT, & gets warm fuzzies? The word wait often has a negative connotation. Who wants to wait? Our society & the world we live in tell us we deserve things now! Do it now! Buy it now! No delayed gratification or discomfort…Don’t be concerned with the consequences. Don’t be inconvenienced.
But, God’s Word tells us differently. God says there is value in waiting. And it seems like, in my experience, the times I have grown closer to Him & learned the most have been during a season of waiting.
Sometimes waiting can be a minor thing like waiting in line – the other day I waited 45 minutes at the car wash. Yes, I admit, I got a little impatient. Other times waiting can be far from minor; It can be heavy, life situations – I have a friend waiting on a health procedure, a friend waiting on a job decision, a friend waiting for victory in an area of struggle, a friend waiting for salvation of a loved one, and another going through chemo & waiting to have their next MRI…you get the idea.
As a mom of young children, waiting is part of the everyday. You wait for your child to cut a tooth, to sleep through the night, to stop having accidents & make it to the potty, to get through a difficult stage…etc, etc.
Waiting is just part of life. It is part of every single day. The question isn’t, “Will I have to wait for something today?” The question is “How will my attitude be while I wait today?” & “What will I focus on while I wait?” I can choose to focus on the Lord (which will ALWAYS bring peace, joy & strength) or I can focus on what I am waiting on (which quite often can bring anxiety, worry & fear of the unknown.) What I focus on greatly determines my thoughts, feelings & attitude!
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!” Isaiah 26:3
Three situations in my life really stand out when I think of waiting – One, when I was in college & waiting to meet my future husband, the wait seemed forever. I thought I would never meet my “dream man.” But, I did 🙂 Two, when I was 20 I began having awful health/digestive issues & they continued for 6 years…it was an extremely difficult time. I went from doctor to doctor, not knowing what was wrong. Finally a GI discovered it was my gallbladder, I had it removed, & I have been healthy ever since. Three, just recently, in my first few months with Kate (my 9 month old), I struggled with postpartum depression. I remember sitting on my bed one evening, asking the Lord to just take it away. But I knew I had a decision – I could either struggle each day, focusing on the depression & how hard it was OR I could see it as an opportunity to grow closer to God & depend on Him each & every moment.
I am sure each of you could share three or more specific times of waiting. The reason I share some of my experiences is because I want to point out what they all have in common…Refining & Growth. He drew me to Himself, to His Word & He molded my character to be more like Him. Though all 3 of those situations were extremely challenging seasons of my life, I would repeat them over again, just because of what God did & how He revealed his faithfulness. We can have Joy in waiting because we can rest in WHO God is & the fact that he is actively involved in our waiting process. Thank goodness He never takes a nap, gets too busy or forgets. He is working, even when we see nothing happening.
And that is what I have to remember (Will I ever learn this?!) – IT IS ALL ABOUT HIM, not me. “Lord, please give me your perspective as I wait…” Whether it is an insignificant time of waiting or a life-altering time of waiting, I can grow & learn, my attitude can be altered, my character refined.
Psalm 130:5-6 – “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, & in his word I put my hope.”
I love the lyrics to the song, “While I’m Waiting” by John Waller. (From the movie, Fireproof)
“I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait.
I will move ahead, bold & confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I’m waiting
I will serve You
While I’m waiting
I will worship
While I’m waiting
I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait
I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful,
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it’s not easy
But faithfully, I will wait”
There is much more that could be said about this topic, but I will end with this. No matter what we are waiting on – whether it be big or small, something life-altering or something insignificant in the big scheme of things, I pray that the Lord will give us grace to keep our focus on Him & see all situations in the perspective of eternity.
~ May he bless each of you in your season of waiting, whatever that season may be.

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Blah…

Do you ever have one of those days where you just feel ‘blah?’ Nothing is really wrong, there is no specific reason…but that ‘blah’ feeling is there…nagging at you. I have felt that way today. It has been a normal day – nothing out of the ordinary has happened. We woke this morning, got ready, were out the door at 8:30, ate our breakfast in the car (except Kate of course;), went to Bible study, came home, ate lunch, played outside, started laundry, made some phone calls, nap time…while the kids slept I opened my Bible & my little devotional, ‘Jesus Calling,’ by Sarah Young, (which I highly recommend!) As I read, this really stood out ~ “Instead of approaching the day as a blank page that you need to fill up, try living it in a responsive mode: Be on the lookout for all that I am doing.”
No matter how I FEEL, God is actively working around me!! I can choose to participate or not, but his Power, Presence, Character…do not change according to my emotions. Praise God for that!! My emotions & how I feel can go up & down & all over the place, but God…
“As for God, his way is PERFECT; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.” Psalm 18:30
It’s so easy for me to look at the day & think, “I have so much to do; I’m so tired ~ if I can just get through today or make it until the kids nap, or make it until my husband gets home…etc.” When I have this pattern of thinking, no wonder I feel ‘blah!’ Once again I am reminded – Take the focus off of me & turn it back to Jesus…”God, what do YOU want to do with my day? Help me be a part of what You are doing. Help me be aware of Your Presence every moment. Help me let YOU define my day instead of me defining it & trying to squeeze you in somewhere. More of You, Less of Me.” When I allow God to change my perspective on the day & see it with his eyes, I can’t help but Praise Him (which brings up the point of how powerful Praise is…but that will have to be another post 🙂
For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength & makes my way perfect. Psalm 18:31-32
HE arms me with strength & makes my way perfect ~ this can be every single day – even on a Wednesday, nothing out of the ordinary, ‘blah’ day.

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First of all, THANKS so much to everyone for your sweet comments! I am really enjoying getting this blog started & I appreciate YOUR encouragement 🙂 One thing I love about being a mom is how God uses my children to teach me! It amazes me what I can learn about God & life from a 3 year old. Pefect example – Yesterday morning I was reaching down into our closet to get the laundry basket so I could start some laundry. Michael came up to me, put his hand on my shoulder, & said, “How are you doing today Mommy?”
Wow. What a sweet reminder that those are words EVERYONE loves & needs to hear. Ask someone that today, whether it be your child, spouse or friend. And then, here’s the kicker – REALLY LISTEN to their answer!! This will not only bless & encourage them, it will bless you too!
Understand this, my dear brothers & sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak & slow to get angry. James 1:19

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As a mom of 2 young kids (3 & 8 months), I have the tendency to get wrapped up in my own little world. This winter we have stayed home many days because of the cold. On those days, isolation & loneliness can quickly set in & all of the sudden I am having a “poor me” pity party & all my thoughts are centered around, “me, me, me.” This vicious cycle can happen so quickly & Satan would love nothing more than for us to travel this cycle daily. We have to break the cycle by reaching out to each other even when, especially when, it is inconvenient or uncomfortable. When we take the focus off of ourselves & put it on someone else, it gives us a new perspective. Jesus’ Perspective. After all, He is the Creator of Encouragement. “This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends.” John 15: 12-13 The Message
If you know me well, you know that I love lists. So let’s make a list! Many of these are not new ideas, just reminders. And no, I have not done all of these – but I aspire to. If you have some ideas to add, please leave me a comment! I would love to hear your experiences or suggestions!
21 Ways to Bless a Friend:
1. Call – not for any other reason but to say, “How are you?”
2. Compliment specifically & sincerely. No one gets tired of compliments!
3. Ask how you can pray for her & then pray with her right then!
4. Call & say, “I’m bringing you a Sonic drink (or a coffee, etc) – what would you like?”
5. Meet at the park & bring lunch (pb&j…it doesn’t have to be fancy 🙂
6. Say, “Tell me about it.” Just listen to what is going on & don’t offer advice (unless she asks for it.)
7. Plan to go have coffee or dessert – after dad is home & the kids are in bed.
8. Send a text message or Facebook message that simply says, “I just prayed for you,” or “I’m thinking about you today.”
9. Write an encouragement note & mail it (snail mail does still exist 😉
10. Bake – the next time you make muffins, cookies or bread, make extra – bag it & tie a card with a verse on it.
11. Give a hug & let her know you are there for her.
12. Help with a project she wants to accomplish – organizing, doing a craft, planting flowers, etc.
13. Be spontaneous! (Which can be difficult with young children but not impossible.) Call & plan to meet somewhere – the zoo, park, mall, library story hour, etc.
14. Go for a walk in your neighborhoods or at the park.
15. Share what God is teaching you in your devotional time or Bible study – it may be exactly what she needs to hear.
16. Help with a special event – offer to cook something or be the “photographer” at a birthday party, etc.
17. When you are out running errands, see if there is anything she needs you to pick up.
18. “Kidnap” her child(ren) & take them back to your house or the park for a play date so that she can have some time to herself.
19. Small gifts make anyone smile – flowers, a journal, candy, note cards, etc.
20. Just get together & talk while the kids play (even if the talking is constantly interrupted by refereeing the kids, it is worth it 😉
21. Learn something new together – a craft, a cake-decorating class, read the same book at the same time & then discuss it, etc.

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Hello Friends!

Welcome to “MOM, Be Encouraged!” I have created this blog with moms in mind, but hopefully everyone who comes across these words will be encouraged as well. The last few weeks I have been asking God to show me how I can use my gift of encouragement. Since my 2nd child, Kate, was born, I have had an increasing awareness of the blessings & hardships of being a mom. It is a wonderful place to be & I am so thankful for my children, but it can be a lonely place too. Yesterday it crossed my mind, “I should create an encouragement blog for moms!” So, here I am! I want this to be a place to share what the Lord is teaching me as I go through the day to day of being a mom of 2 young kids. It is a wonderful, hard, fun, challenging, exhausting & gratifying place to be! All you moms out there know that I could continue with the adjectives but there are so many I would run out of room! I pray that the words I share will be completely of HIM & not me!! I hope that as you read, you will be able to insert your name, your kids’ names, your life…& that you will be blessed & enriched!
So, to all of you MOMS out there ~
M – Make the most of every opportunity. Ephesians 5:16 (Lord, help me value each moment I have with my children, even when I am changing a diaper, doing their laundry, picking up toys, playing Uno, cars, hide & seek, ETC…)
O – O Lord, open my lips, & my mouth will declare Your Praise! Psalm 51:15 (Lord, help me teach my children how to praise you all day long & to have thankful hearts!)
M – May the words of my mouth & the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my Rock & my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14 (Lord, please help me speak words that bless you & bring life to all that hear, including the smallest of ears.)

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