Monday, January 9, 2017

Who Pee'd on The Carpet?

Ladies and Gentlemen! It's time for another game of: "WHO PEE'D ON THE CARPET!"
The game that gives moms the chance to evaluate all of their lives decisions that led up to that moment. In this game we are trying to figure out if it was the dog or the 3 year old. Both of whom should already be potty trained giving you plenty of opportunities to doubt your success as a mother and care taker of the family home.

I'll set it up for you. You're cleaning again. You're hating it. Again. You are reminding yourself of all of the free printable cleaning schedules that you've printed off of Pinterest. You are envisioning them hanging on your refrigerator and remembering a simpler time when you actually had the time to accomplish things like daily cleaning schedules. Or, if you didn't have the time you at least had the motivation. (But, now you have 3 kids and not just one, really well-behaved, compliant, mature beyond his years, advanced in emotional maturity, toddler to help you. Oh, and you gave up on thinking that a successful family meant a pristine home.)

So, there you are, putting that stupid WHITE sofa cover back on your sofa for the 10,000,000th time (the one you have to wash at least 5 times a week because it's white and you let a "well-meaning" friend talk you into getting a white sofa because they thought it would look better in your living room but didn't take into consideration that you have 3 kids and by the way YOU HATE TO CLEAN! But now you know that you don't have to let people make decisions for you. ) when you look down and see the tiniest wet spot on the carpet. Boom! Self doubt. Negative inner thoughts. Fatigue. Pain in your jaw from clenching your teeth. Sudden unexplainable feelings of hatred towards your husband. Oh, and you hate the dog because even if it was the 3 year old, you can't hair her because she has that sweet little voice and those precious blue eyes and she's the last one left in the house that thinks you're amazing.

These are the moments that make being a mom feel a little too stressful. I know, you're thinking, "Why stress? Clean up the pee, potty train your dog and your kid, and move on with your life." I will. I promise. I will do both of those things. But, for now just bare with me. It's stressful because us moms put way too much pressure on ourselves. Every day, our "well-meaning" friends, church leaders, advertisements, entertainment, pinterest, etc., lead us to believe that we are the ones who are solely responsible for the success of our marriage, families, and our husbands' and childrens' happiness. We are led to believe that by accomplishing these daily tasks that make everyone else's lives run more smoothly that we are contributing to our own happiness.

Can you believe that? I actually did. I actually believed that.

So, why aren't we fulfilled? If accomplishing a long list of tasks contributes to my happiness, then why do I feel so empty? Neglected? Lonely?

Before you unload the dishwasher, organize the playroom, write your weekly meal plan, sign up for that meal train, check off your prayer list, read the next "5 Steps to Making Your Husband The Happiest Man on Earth", read the following:

Say this out loud, "In focusing on accomplishments, I've forgotten about myself."

We have put so much effort in checking off our lists. We've hated ourselves for not completing our daily list. We've felt our lowest low because we weren't able to follow through with something we promised someone else we would do for them because we were doing other stuff for other people and now that person we forgot will know that we are the kind of woman who can't complete a checklist.
And do you know why we keep telling everyone yes? Because we like to have long checklists! Lets face it. The longer the checklist the more we look like we're able to accomplish. So, we say YES! Yes to everything.

Our husbands have lists for us too. So do our kids.

Do you know why I've been cleaning my house? Because, I'm expected to have a clean house. Forget the fact that I love the way it feels to have a clean house. That I feel less joy when it's a mess. My main reason for cleaning my house is because it's an expectation for a mom to keep a clean house.

Do you know why I yell at my kids when they jump on my huge pile of laundry that is piling up because I've given up on life? Because I feel that ultimately they will look back on their childhood and remember that their mom was lazy and hated doing laundry and they will relate everything that is wrong with them back to them being forced to play on a pile of laundry.

So, what's the solution? Well, there's 5 steps. JKJKJJKJKJKJK!!! There's more.

1. Take care of my heart first. Who else will? I am committing to myself to take care of my heart first. If the soil of my heart is good soil then everything that grows there and is harvested will be good. I will be healthy and nourished. The harvest that I give to others will be healthy and nourishing. I'm not talking about daily quiet time, early in the morning, just me and Jesus and a cup of coffee. I'm talking about searching for Him in every moment. I'm talking about responding to him when he tells me who I am and who he is. I'm talking about being careful what I talk about and am influenced by.

2. Before I say yes, I need to evaluate why I'm saying yes. Ask myself, am I saying yes because I love to add to my list and if I say no then someone else will say yes and then they will have the long list and not me? Or, am I saying yes because that sounds like something that will bring me joy and I have enough in my store house to give a little of my harvest to someone else.

3. Mentally look at all of the things on your checklist and think about which of those things is not bringing you joy. If it is sucking your joy then take it off the list. Here's the thing. I immediately want to take laundry off of my list. But, with careful evaluation I know that it would bring me less joy to not have clean clothes then it would to have clean clothes. Laundry stays on the list. But, taking my son to soccer 3 times a week when he really doesn't even like soccer doesn't bring me joy so that is no longer on my list. See how it works?

4. Make time to do things you enjoy. Like, even if you have to take your kids and they hate it and kind of suck the joy out of the moment. Make time for it. I love to have my nails manicured. I love it. It makes me feel put together. Even if my hair is greasy and I'm wearing dirty clothes, if my nails are done I feel like a Kardashian. I don't feel bad about myself if they're not done but I really like to have them done. But, I rarely have the alone time to go get my nails done without my kids. So, I take my kids. They piss me off the whole time I'm getting my nails done, but when I leave I have pretty nails. So, BOOM! Joy. I also, love to get up early. I don't want to but the times that I make myself, joy ensues.

Ok, I was just kidding. There weren't more than 5 steps and they're really not steps because they don't have to be done in order. They're more like suggestions. 4 suggestions to finding joy...sometimes.

So, who pee'd on the carpet? I still don't know.

Now they're getting hungry and if keep typing and ignoring them they'll start bugging me. Which will make me feel less joy. So, I'm done with this subject. For now.

Signing off.

Friday, July 11, 2014

7 things to remember on hard days...

And now, here’s what I’m going to do:
    I’m going to start all over again.
I’m taking her back out into the wilderness
    where we had our first date, and I’ll court her.
I’ll give her bouquets of roses.
    I’ll turn Heartbreak Valley into Acres of Hope.
She’ll respond like she did as a young girl,
    those days when she was fresh out of Egypt. Hosea 2:14-15  

7 things to remember on hard days:

1.  Know that God has a plan. He didn't make things hard for you, but he knew things would be hard. While your days were still easy, God was preparing to carry you through this. He was preparing you for this. He was preparing good at the end of this. 

2.  He makes all things new. Every morning when you open your eyes you have a new chance to acknowledge that Jesus is Lord, devote yourself to him, to love others and yourself, and to accomplish what he has set before you.  

3.  He wants to get alone with you.  Go with him. 

4.  Remember that you're His bride. He draws your name in the sand with hearts next to it. He doesn't forget you. 

5.  For every valley of heart ache he has an acre of hope.

6.  Remember when you first met Him and you couldn't soak in enough of Him? He's taking you back there. 

7.  For those who are in Christ: You've already made it out of Egypt. The worst is behind you.   

Thursday, May 8, 2014

What do you weigh?

I went into the garage tonight to do laundry. As I pushed the button to start the washer something caught my eye.  It was the scale. I walk right by it everyday.  Sometimes I don't even notice it. Sometimes I see it and look the other way and then hurry inside. Other times, I look right at it, curl my lip, and kind of make a low snarling sound. Tonight, I looked at it and it seemed to be taunting me.  I dared myself to get on it.  At first I giggled at the mere thought of putting even one foot on that stupid cube that has determined my emotional well-being for so much of my life. (Stupid box.) 

I closed the washer and took a step toward the door.  But, the closer I got to the scale the more I thought I might actually step on it.  After a couple of more steps, I was standing right next to it. Then, before I could stop myself my right foot was firmly planted on it, then my left foot, then right before my eyes the numbers started rising.  Once it registered my...ahem...weight... I had to squint my eyes to see the number. Surely it was wrong! My heart started beating really fast as I squinted my eyes tighter and tighter to be sure I was reading that middle number correctly.  It was the highest number I've ever seen on a scale that held me. (Outside of pregnancy, but even then, I stop looking after a certain point.) "Jesus" I said. "I need you to remind me of who you say I am. Like, right NOW." 

I walked inside and sat down here at my computer to start editing pictures. But, before I started I picked up my phone and opened my Bible app to Romans 8. I've been hanging out in Romans 8 for the past few days.  I've only been reading a couple of verses at a time so that I can really mull over them and let them sink in. Today was the day to read v. 5.  But, after reading a few key words, (measuring, muscle, exercise) I couldn't stop there. I had to keep reading.  As I read, I knew God had something to say and it wasn't a read-between-the-lines situation this time.  Tonight, the words that normally seem like a great message delivered by Paul, became a direct response to my request, "Jesus.... I need you." 

Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored.
But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s! Romans 8:5-11

Ok, so...if you "focus on God" you will eventually know where your identity lies or better, Who you belong to. You experience life on God's terms. "God's terms" means healing, power, acceptance, shameless, FREE, authority, revelation. It's the life Jesus had. God's terms.

I remember when I was healthy.  I remember when being in His presence and gaining a better understanding of communion was more important than eating food that brings death. 

I am "delivered from the dead life..." 

I "experience life on God's terms..."


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Cartoons, Laundry, Laughter, Tears. and Lots of Milk

I complain almost daily about the state of my messy house. I can't remember the last time, that even a week went by, that I didn't comment on the size of it. Too many hours have been spent worrying about things that don't matter, while blonde heads and chubby fingers play and giggle only an arms length away from a hug, cuddle, or a soft caress of the cheek. But, instead of reaching for them, those lost hours all passed without even a wistful gaze in their direction.  

How many times have I taken for granted this beautiful family that was almost lost before Jesus intervened and gave two hurt people the deepest desires if their eternal hearts? How many moments have I spent mindlessly scrolling, staring at this lighted screen, feeling like I was missing something more special than what is just on the other side of this phone?

When I stop and breath, even for just a moment, I hear the soft breaths of my baby girl and my husband's quietly whispered prayers before he kisses our boys good night.  I see toys on the floor that irritated me today but that I know I'll miss in a few years when they're gone. One day, I'll long to feel the stabbing pain that can only be felt when your bare foot meets a lone Lego.

If I stop, even for just a second, I remember how much I loved this little house the day we moved in. I invited a friend over just because I wanted to show her the built in LAUNDRY cabinet and cabinet space above the bath tub (That remains empty to this day). We brought every single one of our babies home to this house. Each of their car seats were set in the exact same spot on the floor as we brought them into our home for the first time. In these moments when I catch my breath, I remember that our children don't know any other home. They don't know that the laundry, at one time, didn't have it's own spot on our couch. They don't know that my two year old's room was once an office/junk room. They also have no clue that I'm not a perfect mom. They just know how much they love it when I sit on the floor and play trains or tickle them until they get mad at me. They know how sleepy we get when we all pile up in the big chair to watch a movie. They know how to find they're way to my side of the bed after a bad dream in the middle of the night.

Then, in these quiet moments I look, and I realize, they're growing. My 2 year old is closer to 3 than he is to two. The signs of him being a baby are almost gone. I cry because my baby boy is growing-out and a big boy is growing-in. My first born, my first true love, reads to me. He has independent thoughts. My baby girl, I never put her down, but that's not stopping her from growing. She smiles. Today she said, "Ba ba ba..." And she meant it. Soon, they'll all be a little older. These days will be the old days and they are so good. 

So, after I put my phone down tonight, I'm going to forgive myself for not being the mommy I always thought I'd be. I'm going to forgive my kids for not being the kids I always thought I'd have. I'm going to be ready for the moments when they are with-in arms length. After this paragraph, there will be less scrolling, more hugging, more smiles, more love and more forgiveness. At the end of this sentence, is a mom who appreciates and makes time for, this little house, toys on the floor, piles of laundry, and the family and amazing life that God has given me. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Mother's Day

Now through May 3rd, 2014 
KIDS ONLY sessions are starting at $75.00
Space is Limited

The price listed above is for a one hour session with a maximum of 3 children.  
Each additional child is $25.00
With-in 2 weeks, you will receive 
10-15 edited, hi-resolution photos on a CD. 
Release form is included.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


In his presence there is never a cold day. The temperatures are not extreme. They're always mild. The sun isn't too harsh. In fact, it's that just before sunset sunlight. The kind that is the best when you're at the lake, sitting in the back of a truck, with a damp towel wrapped around your shoulders, laughing, while your favorite summer time songs play in the background. 

In his presence everything makes since. Even the hard stuff. Looking at your baby's soft, perfectly beautiful face, you suddenly understand why you never knew that you were one of the pretty girls and how to help your own daughter embrace her beauty and femininity. 

In his presence darkness has to leave. It's like feeling afraid and intimidated in a dark room and flipping on a light. Your fear leaves as quickly as the light flipped on. He is the light. 

In his presence you see the young girl who always felt different and unwanted and as you stand with him, he reveals just how accepted you are and have always been. 

In his presence you are aware that you are covered. His feathers cover you the same way the blood of his son covers you. In his presence you are covered and protected. 

In his presence you are bold and you stand boldly before him as a son or daughter. You ask things of him that only a child would. He listens and is so glad that you came to him first, before you worried, or asked someone else. 

In his presence, you are reminded that you are flesh. That your flesh is the final vail keeping you from seeing his eternal face. When you received salvation through Jesus Christ you stepped into eternity. When the vail is lifted, the rest of infinity will be before you. No question will go unanswered no door will be closed to you. Like turning pages in a book, with every turn of the page, more of his glory will be revealed.  In his presence you are humbled because of your flesh. Your flesh reminds you that you are not the creator but that you were created and any power or knowledge that you have comes from the one who created you and everything he has is yours. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

It's the same with His word...

Every Sunday that I sit in church with my husband, with his arm around my shoulder or my hand in his, is a reminder that God hears and answers our prayers. 

This morning, we stood with the rest of the church while the band played the worship songs. Ryan cradled the baby in his arms and his hand held her pacifier in her mouth. He slowly swayed to the music gazing at our baby girl's face, and I gazed and swayed right along with him. My mind wondered back to a time that sitting in church with my husband and baby was only a day dream; a prayer that I thought would be impossible for God to answer. But, that was before I knew how incredibly possible all things are with our powerful God who loves and adores us. I dreamed that we would sit together in church. But, God desired to see my husband positioned as the leader of our family that he was born to be. 

I could have never imagined, in all of my day dreams, the man that God would transform my husband into. His heart for his family has been completely changed. We have a really beautiful life together. There are hard (really hard) days mixed in there, but at the end of every day he is on my side. 

On the days that my heart is cold, he warms me. When my faith is fading he speaks wise words, that seem to come out of no where, and he ministers to me in a way that only he can. When someone hurts my feelings, he reminds me that my feelings get hurt easily and then he loves me through it and says all kinds of sweet things that make me forget that my feelings were hurt. 

God is for marriage. God is for daddies and mommies. God is for unity. He is for transformation and healing. He uses my marriage to remind me of that all the time. He uses my marriage to show just how deeply and profoundly he is for all of these things. 

It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands! Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow. Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up. These events will bring great honor to the lord ’s name; they will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.” (Isaiah 55:11-13 NLT)