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Posts Tagged ‘postaweek2011’

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Last week at Michael’s gymnastics class, a mom looked from Michael, to Kate, to my pregnant belly, & said, “You’re going to have your hands full!” I really tried not to take it personally because I know moms with young children get this comment a lot. And the woman who said this had 4-year-old twins & a two-year-old! Hello?! But her comment did get me thinking. Often the “full hands” comments are said in a “not so encouraging” tone. But what is so wrong with full hands?

Don’t I want full hands, rather than empty hands? Don’t I want messy, dirty hands rather than spotless, clean hands?

This verse came to my mind also – Proverbs 14:4 – Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.

Picture that you build a stable on your land – it is beautiful, spotless and painted red. You look out your window and admire your stable. It is so clean, new and pretty to look at. But what is the point of a stable? To be a home for animals. If there are no animals in it, it may be spick & span but is it fulfilling it’s purpose?

Same with my hands, my life, my home – If all is in order & spotless (which I LOVE for it to be), if the dirt is non-existent and I have no reason to get on my knees, am I really fulfilling my purpose? One of my favorite things is having a clean house. I love working hard for several hours, cleaning from top to bottom, and then it all being spotless at once. I have had to relax on this a little bit. I still clean often, but it’s not as perfect as it was when it was just my husband and me. But that is ok because I am in the season of my hands being full of young children. Sometimes having full hands requires us letting go of something. A sweet friend who raised two boys says I have the rest of my life to have a clean house 🙂 So true.

Think about Jesus – I guarantee his hands were FULL, ALL the time. His hands were dirty. His life began in a manger that had animals in it, that I doubt was spotless and smelling like pine-sol. And think how full his hands were as he ended his earthly life on the cross and nails were put into them. Thank you Jesus. I love all the endless verses in the Bible about us sitting at the right hand of God and Him holding us in his hands. Think how full His hands are!!

My point is this – having full hands is hard. Life is easier when there is order, understanding and everything is “clean.” When things makes sense. My husband’s comment in response to what I heard was, “Full hands are blessed hands.” I love that. Most of the time, having full hands leads us to crying out to God, which leads to endless blessings of knowing Him more and Him molding us into becoming more of who He wants us to be! So even though having full hands and a dirty stable is hard…that is what I want to ask God for. Not an easy life or one of comfort – where my hands are empty and perfectly manicured.

“Lord, please give me full hands that are fulfilling your purpose.” Your full hands may hold different things than mine – mine hold 2, about to be 3, very young children. Yours may hold elderly parents, a ministry, a challenging marriage or a helpless family member. All of us walk in various seasons of life and our hands will be full with different things. But what I love about seasons of full hands is that they bring us to our knees, requiring us to depend on our Lord more than ever. I know six weeks from now when my third child, David, is born, I will have my hands full – Caring for a four-year-old, a 22 month old and a newborn is not an easy task. But it is the season God has called me to and I thankfully accept it. I know there will be crazy times of mess, exhaustion and being overwhelmed…but nothing is too hard for Him. And I would much rather be in a situation where I am fully depending on God for EVERYTHING, than a time where all is in order, clean and easy…and I can fully depend on myself.

Isaiah 41:13 – For I am the LORD, your God,
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.

Blessings,

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Blueberries

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This morning Kate & I dropped Michael off at preschool & then began our usual Monday morning errand-running frenzy. Aldi, Library, CVS, and last but not least, Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market. We quickly collected all our groceries and then proceeded to the check-out lane. As I was getting my change, I noticed the man behind me had blueberries. I asked him if he noticed how much they were, thinking if they were a great price, I would run back to the produce section. He said he didn’t, but handed them to the sales lady & had her scan them. They were $3.50 for the pint, (which is more than I wanted to pay), so I said thank you & that I would check them next time. He said, “No wait, you take those & I will go get another pint.” I tried to object, hating the thought that he would be spending that much on MY blueberries, but he insisted. I said, “Thank you so much!” as he scurried off, and he said, “No problem! Enjoy!”

I walked out feeling so grateful. This one simple act of kindness made my day. And it got me thinking – it really doesn’t take much for us to bless other people and make them feel special. It doesn’t take a lot of money, time or even energy to put someone else above ourselves and make their day better. The main requirement for blessing someone else is taking our eyes off of ourselves. Not that this is easy…especially with young kids in tow, nap time on the horizon, etc. But it can be done.

This afternoon as I enjoy my snack of blueberries and yogurt, I am asking God, once again, to help me SEE others. Really see them. To help me not be so distracted by my own to do list, children and time limitations that I forget to reach out and be a blessing.

Thank you God for the blueberries.

Blessings on a wonderful first week of spring!

PS – This song has absolutely nothing to do with what I just wrote about, but I have to share the youtube video of it. The lyrics are amazing!

Laura Story – Blessings

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I totally fell off the PostAWeek2011 wagon the past 2 weeks. I really don’t have any great excuses either – well except maybe pregnancy exhaustion, 2 busy kids, out of town company, etc. 🙂 I am determined to get back into gear and keep up my PostAWeek2011 Challenge! Here are a few blessings I have been thankful for the last few days.

*What I read on March 1st in Jesus Calling – “When something in your life or thoughts makes you anxious, come to Me and talk about it. Bring me your prayer and petition with thanksgiving, saying, “Thank you, Jesus, for this opportunity to trust You more.” My husband & I are praying about some big life changes for our family. I read this at the perfect time last week when I was over-analyzing about details and worry was creeping in. How awesome that we have a relationship with THE ALMIGHTY, that we can talk to at anytime, about anything – and He always listens.

*I loved this verse in the Ampified – Philippians 4:6 – “Do not fret or have ANY anxiety about ANYTHING, but in EVERY circumstance and in EVERYTHING, by prayer and petition (DEFINITE REQUESTS) with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.” The “Definite Requests” part really jumped out at me. Definite in the dictionary is “clearly defined; not vaque or general; precise; exact.” Lord, please help us have faith to give you our specific needs and requests. A testimony – Last summer after our home was broken into & my husband’s car stollen, we needed to replace it asap, so that he would have a car to drive to work. Instead of generally praying, “Lord, please provide us with a car,” we decided to make a list. We wrote down specific things – price, year, make & model, mileage, etc. We prayed over each item, one by one. A week later the Lord provided us with the exact car we asked for – every item on our list was taken care of. This increased my faith SO much. I am not saying that our Lord is a “genie” or that we will always get exactly what we ask for. But this situation did remind me that God wants to take care of His children. He wants us to ask, watch Him act & then give Him glory!!

*This Quote – “The most effective prayers stem from the belief – the unshakeable certainty – that God is Absolutely, Totally, 100% In Control!”

*This Book – A friend recommended I read, “Choosing to See” by Mary Beth Chapman (Wife of Steven Curtis Chapman). This book is amazing and I could hardly put it down. It spoke to me on so many different levels – Trusting God, mothering, marriage, etc…Read it! You won’t regret it!

*I am still laughing at what my 4 year old son said last week – I asked him to come to the bathroom so I could brush his teeth & fix his hair. He didn’t come so I called him again. Finally he came running around the corner, pushing his beloved bear in his sister’s doll stroller. He looked at me with all seriousness & said, “Sorry I’m late. I was in traffic.” Ha:) Love Him.

What are some random blessings in your life this week?

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Mommy, What Are We Eating??

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Moms spend A LOT OF TIME IN THE KITCHEN…Do you ever feel like you leave from breakfast & seconds later you are back prepping dinner?? And the clean up – it. never. ends. Especially with toddlers!! I really enjoy cooking & my mom has taught me SO much about food prep, menus & healthy meal planning. I delight in making tasty, good-for-you meals for my family, but I must admit, it does get tiring. I have found in the last year that planning my meals for the month has helped so much. Even if I don’t stick to it exactly, at least I have A PLAN. The worst feeling is 5pm showing up and thinking, “What are we going to eat?” Fortunately, that is happening less as I plan in advance. There are several tools, recipes & tips I thought I would share to hopefully bring encouragement & creativity to your endless hours in the kitchen!

A Favorite Tool – My Pampered Chef knife – it cuts SO well. My mother-in-law gave it to me for Christmas & it helped me realize how BAD the rest of my knives are. I actually enjoy cutting tomatoes now! And onions. And fruit salad…etc!! One wonderful thing about this knife is that it comes with a sharpening sleeve, so every time I put it away, it gets sharpened!

A New Favorite Product – The “Simply” line from Pillsbury – Occasionally I want to make a chicken pot pie, chicken & dumplings, etc, and have the convenience of using pre-made pie crusts, biscuits, etc. Pillsbury has introduced a line of biscuits & breads, etc that are free of high-fructose corn syrup, artificial colors & flavors. The line doesn’t seem very extensive yet, but I have hopes that it will broaden as Pillsbury sees the popularity.

A Favorite Recipe – I have become an avid reader of cooking blogs. I love bookmarking new recipes and not cooking the same old menus all the time. This muffin recipe I recently found is fantastic & it freezes well – although, even doubling the recipe to make 24 muffins, they don’t stay around our kitchen very long – everyone loves them!

A Favorite Help – I have never had much success with full meal freezer cooking. The entrees just always taste bland to me. But I have found that if once a month I cook a few things & freeze them, it really helps!

*Every few weeks I boil a whole chicken & shred all the meat off the bones. I separate the meat into 3 or 4 containers. This gives me meat for several chicken dinners – chicken spaghetti, chicken pot pie, chicken nachos, ETC. It is also so helpful to have this chicken pre-cooked if I need to quickly throw a meal together to take to someone.

*Taco meat – I like to cook 2 or 3 lbs at a time using my mom’s recipe. I will use some for a meal and freeze the rest for future taco salad, tacos, nachos, etc.

*Crock-Pot spaghetti sauce – I have tried several different recipes for this and we love them all. Sometimes I add hamburger meat, sometimes not. It is so handy to have this ready in the freezer for quick italian dishes!

*Beans – We love Pioneer Woman’s recipe that I posted on this blog a few weeks ago. Delicious by themselves, as a side or added to a recipe.

*This month I plan on adding waffles and pizza crust to the list.

What are some of your favorite tips and recipes to make time in the kitchen more fun?

Happy Cooking!

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Hands

This is my grandmother, “Mommom” who passed away in 2005 of stomach cancer. She was an amazing woman. I still miss her so much. Last night I was rubbing Kate’s back as I put her to bed and I noticed my hands. This led to me thinking of my grandmother’s hands – she had beautiful, hard-working, giving hands. I still distinctly remember what they looked like. Soon after her passing, my mom wrote this beautiful short story about her mom’s hands –

HANDS

I looked at the short, square fingers with onion ridged nails. For 59 years the left ring finger loyally wore a simple band; no ring was needed on the right hand. The wrinkles, the veins and spots of age engaged the years. The hands lay closed; they had fulfilled their duty.

I looked at them; I touched them. I ran my fingers around the wedding band. I remember the hoeing of fresh dirt for red geraniums, the scrubbing of the modern square vinyl kitchen floor tiles before the next meal, the Bengay rubbed on the coughing chest, “you’ll be better by morning.” And what about the fried chicken, mom’s hand reaching for one chicken piece at a time, sprinkling each with salt and pepper, then dipping in milk and flour? “Do it twice for a better coating.” Or the apron sash quickly untied with one moving hand, “let’s go now.” I knew what she meant. I looked at my hands–Mama’s hands.

Michael & his Daddy’s hands

Kate’s hands – nothing sweeter than the cute, chunky hands of a toddler 🙂

Hands are such a beautiful creation of God. I see His glory in hands – I love watching the hands of my four-year old – playing, loving, learning & creating. I love to watch the hands of my 1 & 1/2 year old – holding her baby dolls, her books, petting our dog. I delight in our family mealtime prayers where Michael, Kate, my husband & I hold hands to pray – Kate always reaches for my hand with her messy, food-covered hand, but I don’t mind. I know it will be a precious memory in the near future. We pray and then Kate says a quick, “A – men!” A favorite scripture – Psalm 73:23-24 – “Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in Heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.” I am so thankful that God is holding me by my right hand – guiding me, holding me up, ever-present. He never lets go. He is always holding my hand. And I am thankful that He equips me to be His hands to others.

What do you want your children to remember about your hands?

I want mine to remember them as loving, gentle, comforting, productive, creative…I want to be Jesus’ hands to my children, my husband, to all I come in contact with. Lord, I want to be your hands. I want to bring you glory with my hands as I take care of my children, husband and others. I also pray that Michael & Kate’s hands will be a blessing to you and bring you much glory!

Blessings,

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A Mom’s Sentiments

Yesterday my firstborn, Michael, turned Four. There is something about my children’s birthdays that makes me extra sentimental – I’m sure I’m not the only parent that this happens to 🙂 Yesterday morning I woke to thoughts of remembering how it was exactly four years ago – I decided to hunt through my journals to find January & February ’07 – I wanted to read what was on my mind those last few weeks before Michael was born. I’m so glad I journal – I don’t as much as I used to, but I was thrilled to find several entries from the week Michael was born. It was fascinating to read…

January 28, 2007 – “I can’t sleep. It is the middle of the night & I am filled with fear that something will be wrong with Michael or will go wrong during my c-section. Lord, please calm my fears & give me peace.” After I wrote this, I remember looking over at my bookshelf & seeing one of my favorite books by A.W. Tozer – The Pursuit of God. I remember opening it & my eyes falling to these words, which I wrote in my journal –

p26 – “I only wanted to remove him from the temple of your heart, that I might reign unchallenged there.” p27 – “Now he was a man wholly surrendered, a man utterly obedient, a man who possessed nothing. He had everything, yet possessed nothing.” And my favorite – p28 – “We are often hindered from giving up our treasures to the Lord out of fear for their safety. This is especially true when those treasures are loved relatives & friends. But we need have no such fears. Our Lord came not to destroy but to save. EVERYTHING is SAFE which we commit to Him…”

I remember feeling as if the Lord was sitting right there on my couch with me as I read those words. How perfect for my emotions – for my fears that were trying to take over – that HE would lead me to these words. It was exactly what I needed to read & be reminded of. He always provides SO perfectly! Why do I have to keep reminding myself of that??! When I look back at my life – years ago, last week & earlier today – I see His hand. I see His grace & mercy. I see His provision. And this is how He will provide for my children, and yours, as well – Perfectly. I constantly have to remind myself that He loves them more than I ever could and knows what they need more than I do.

That night when I read Tozer’s words and surrendered Michael’s little life to God, I really had no idea what mothering was about. I had no idea how to change a diaper, how to breastfeed, how I would truly learn what selflessness is. I had no idea that I would love someone so much, that I would be so tired, be so needy of God & so completely overwhelmed by the task of raising a child…But HE DID. And He has equipped me as a mom every step of the way so far. He knew & knows what the future holds. He knows exactly what we need. He provides perfectly for the JUST NOW – whether our child is a newborn, a 6-year-old or an 18-year-old.  And once again I find myself in a familiar place – fear is threatening me & trying to take over. In three short months I will have my 3rd c-section in four years & have three children, ages four & under. I have no idea how to be a mother of three. I have no idea how I will have enough energy to meet all their needs. But I don’t have to know, because God knows. And I am reminding myself again – The Lord provides perfectly. He equips beautifully. I just have to lay their lives at His feet, trusting that I don’t have to meet all their needs. The Lord will do that as I seek Him & make myself available to His Holy Spirit working through me.

He wants us to let go of what we hold onto – our children, our husband, our loved ones & friends – our most valuable possessions on this earth. He wants us to surrender them to Him so that HE may REIGN in our hearts UNCHALLENGED. And I think He knows that we can’t handle the burden of holding onto everyone we love – it is too heavy a load. We are human and we are weak. I still remember a quote I read in college out of Tommy Tenney’s book – The God Chasers – “Nothing is worth holding onto so hard that we can’t hold him.”

So though I gave Michael to the Lord back on that early morning in January 2007, I am going to give him to the Lord once again. It isn’t something that I did just once. I must do it over & over again – I must constantly give my children over to the Lord – surrendering them to His perfect plan & care & love. Otherwise I begin holding them too hard. I begin deceiving myself in thinking that they are mine, that I am in control of their lives & that I know what is best for them. I surrender my 4-year-old, Michael, my 19 month old, Kate, and my sweet little baby David that isn’t born yet – Lord, they are Yours, not mine. I praise you for putting them in my life, but I only want to hold onto You. I want you to REIGN SUPREME in my heart & mind. Nothing is worth me holding onto so hard that I can’t hold you Lord. You are so worthy of praise and worthy of my WHOLE heart!

You Are Good – Nicole Nordman*
When the sun starts to rise
And I open my eyes
You are good, so good
In the heat of the day
With each stone that I lay
You are good, so good 

With ever breath I take in
I’ll tell you I’m grateful again
When the moon climbs high
Before each kiss goodnight
You are good

When the road starts to turn
Around each bend I’ve learned
You are good so good
And when somebody’s hand
Holds me up helps me stand
You are so good

With every breath I take in
I’ll tell You I’m grateful again
‘Cause its more than enough
Just to know I am loved
And You are good

So how can I thank You
What can I bring
What can these poor hands
Lay at the feet of a King
I’ll sing You a love song
It’s all that I have
To tell You I’m grateful
For holding my life in Your Hands

When it’s dark and it’s cold
And I can’t feel my soul
You are so good
When the world is gone gray
And the rain’s here to stay
You are still good

So with every breath I take in
I’ll tell You I am grateful again
And the storm my swell
Even then it’s well and You are good

*Listen to this song on YouTube, here.

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Friday Faves

I thought I would end the week with a few of my current favorites –

Book – I am currently reading, “Loving Your Kids On Purpose” by Danny Silk. LOVE this book so far! It has been convicting, challenging & encouraging – and I am only on Chapter 4!

Blog Post – This one is actually from a few weeks ago, but I started using the Bible reading guide she mentioned & I love it! And I think many of us can relate with what she says – The Hardest Thing To Do Is Open Your Bible

“Mommy” Moment – Sitting outside yesterday with Michael & Kate, watching them play in the dirt – Such innocent, childlike fun. Who needs toys when we have dirt?!?

“Me” Moment – Monday night my sweet hubby played with the kids & put them to bed so I could go out with a friend to eat dinner, shop at the mall, and eat frozen yogurt! Of course at the mall I bought clothes for my daughter, but still – freedom! 🙂 I highly recommend that each of you put a “Me Moment” on your calendar, ASAP!!

Recipe Pioneer Woman’s Beans & Cornbread – Easy, makes a lot, cheap, great to eat right away, or freeze & eat later, or put in other recipes…need I say more??

Bible Verse – Joshua 5:12 – “No manna appeared on the day they first ate from the crops of the land & it was never seen again. So from that time on, the Israelites ate from the crops of Canaan.” When I read this verse during my Bible study time earlier this week, it really jumped out at me. God provides for us PERFECTLY. He knew exactly when to provide the Israelites with manna & he knew when they had crops & didn’t need manna anymore. He is SO good to know exactly what we need and what we don’t…just at the right time.

Happy Weekend!

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