Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Broken Vase

Excitement buzzed through the house earlier this week as we began to decorate for Christmas! The kids were following me throughout the house as I pulled down boxes and decorations in various closets they had been stored. We were just consumed with the fun and busyness we were involved in! I absolutely love these times as a mom! We are working together and the kids are engaged in our project as a family. It is just the best fun!

In the middle of our fun work, Chase had come down the stairs and his toy had fallen, I turned quickly as the sound of shattered glass startled me. My first response was to make sure barefooted Chase was not near the glass. After getting him out of the way I discovered the top to my much beloved wedding vase filled with dried flowers from that day had been broken to a million pieces. My heart dropped a little needless to say. I was reminded of my thought, "I can't keep anything nice!"

But, as I swept up tiny pieces of broken glass, I was also reminded of something Ron said in a conversation we had had last week. This statement had rung through my head several times after he said it, "Our children are the only thing we have of value." This was such a profound statement to me! It is so true! The only thing we have of value is our children. I can let the vase go, I can let my house go, my kids are the only thing that matter. I can get all worked up over a broken vase or realize it doesn't matter nearly as much as the one who broke it! Now, I do teach my kids to be careful and take care of things, but all my stuff has no significance in comparison to the eternal and beautiful value of my children!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Run Over No More

On Friday night I had the opportunity to take my kids to the basketball game. It was a bit of a risk. I would be taking my three older kids in the freezing and late at night! Since a sweet friend offered 4 tickets for free I jumped at the opportunity!

I loaded up the boys and headed out! I felt God's strength and approval on the night! I could do this! We parked a mile away and had a long, cold walk to the arena, but we made it! The looks on my sweet boys' faces was priceless as we got to our seats! The buzz of the crowd, Aubie dancing around, and the swell of the band enthralled us all!

As promised, I took them to the concession stand to get good game food. We had a little bit of arguing over food, but got it all together! We sat back down in our seats to enjoy our treats! Shortly after sitting a man in front of us got my attention and very angrily said about Titus, "You are going to have to move him, his feet are at my back and I can't take it the whole game." His girlfriend or wife was trying to stop him and he again repeated, "I won't take it." I quickly apologized profusely and in the midst of trying to feed my kids stopped and moved Titus over from our assigned seats. I sat there defeated and feeling bad. I also felt bad that I had been treated with such disrespect and lack of tact. I didn't mind moving Titus at all. I know he has boundary issues and doesn't realize what he is doing a lot. In general I react pretty passively with others. I don't really stand up for myself. I felt a calm rush over me and a surge of strength. I got the attention of the man and said to him, "Sir, I am really sorry about that. I am very sorry, but I wish you had asked me or told me what was going on so that I could have handled it." He couldn't look me in the face after I said I wish that he had asked.

I was proud of myself for standing up to him in a respectful way. I used a very calm, but assertive tone. I didn't get emotional or trip over my words. The Lord had spoken through me. He didn't want the night to be overshadowed by an attempt to make me feel weak or that I can't take my kids out by myself. He breathed His words into my heart and gave me what I needed to handle things in the right way. I must admit I was still uncomfortable where we were sitting and finished the food and got our things together to take the boys to the kids' area to play. As I got up with the boys the lady behind me told me how sweet and cute my boys were! This was God speaking through her I am sure! I was encouraged! It gave me a lift! He is undoubtedly with me! I am hoping to continue on my journey of being confident in myself and ultimately who I am in the Lord and not letting people run over me! I am a work in progress, but in the Lord I am whole and complete! I should not let anyone make me feel any less!

"He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." Col. 1:17

He holds me together!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

In a Funk

This afternoon I got myself into a funk! It may or may not have started with Titus head butting me in the mouth and nose resulting in a fat lip and bruised nose! Otherwise it was just a general disgruntlement! Nothing much to point to for my malaise, just in a funk! Some things had been on my mind as usual, things out of my control may have also been a factor. I had asked my mom and a friend to pray for me.

Later on in the evening I decided to continue my search for a toy Chase had lost. I had tried to look under the couches even using the end of a broom to sweep under them. But, I had been unsuccessful. So, I decided just to move them completely out of the way. I moved them across the room, vacuuming and removing objects such as Legos, pencils, crayons, and coins. The first couch did not uncover the missing toy. But, as I moved the second couch the toy appeared! I was so overjoyed! In the midst of my activity my funk disappeared! I realized something, my focus had shifted from the feeling I was having to what I was doing! It was a very cathartic diversion! I am glad I had asked for prayer because I believe it was the Lord who lead me to move the couches, clean and search for the toy! In the future when I have moments like these I am going to remember it really does help to do something active like exercise, rearranging furniture, cleaning out a closet, etc. It takes the focus off the frustrations to the action taking place! This was a simple, but very helpful revelation!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Grocery Trip

So Sunday night, I had to go to the grocery store. It was a desperate situation! We had run out of nearly every staple! I do my best to avoid a trip with all my kids, but desperate times call for desperate measures! I had waited until after dinner to make the trip, which seemed like a good idea at the time waiting to go until after food intake. So, we set out on our journey. Like a good mom, I discussed the trip beforehand. I discussed the importance of good behavior and not asking for everything. In the back of my head I had thought I would get them each one thing, but didn't tell them that decision.

It started out well! I got the extra large, too big to steer well, car cart. Liam and Chase gladly jumped in to my delight! Justice and Titus weren't too happy as they wanted in as well, but took the disappointment in stride. I began with the produce and bread, all good at this point. We were rocking along, then approaching the lunchmeat and hotdogs, Liam tells me he needs to potty! UGGHH!!! Not the public restroom at the super market!! It is the most wigging me out public restroom on the planet!! I tried to get a couple more isles in because the restroom was in the middle of the store. But, he gave me the I am going to pee in my pants look to which I had to make a move. So, the cart had groceries and having all four with me, I sent Justice in the bathroom with Liam. Still, we were doing okay, Liam had gone potty, and I had found the fish counter had a bottle of hand sanitizer for post bathroom germ cleaning, so we were in good shape! That is about the time things started to unravel with the snack isle. The kids began asking for countless items and the once cool car cart didn't seem so cool to Liam and Chase. Titus took that disinterest and hopped on in, which then lead to Liam and Chase becoming interested again. The three of them took turns in and out and sometimes on top of the cart. We started getting looks at this point I believe. Then, something really precious happened at in front of the poptarts. Titus and Liam were begging me for a box and I was trying to be strong when a sweet young woman handed me a coupon for a free box of poptarts.  She said I needed them more than she did. The next isle over she chased me down and gave me another coupon. This would be the Lord because the rest of the trip was a blur! I was a mother hen wrangling my chicks! At one point I put my head on the handle of the cart while 3 out of 4 kids cried and my efforts to calm them were to no avail. I felt like a failure! My kids were melting down in public. I could feel the stares and hear the giggles from onlookers! I wondered if the trip would ever end! Oh, and it finally did with Liam throwing a nice size tantrum for a box of ice cream bars that I would not buy. Yup! I was that mom! The cashier did compliment me on tuning my kid's fit out and not giving in.

As I walked to the van with my now much calmer kids all of a sudden, I breathed a sigh of relief! It was over! I had survived! My nerves seemed to come back in place and we had food for the week to boot! Although painful and embarrassing at times, this would still go in the books as a success, that although my kids were a hot mess, I wasn't! I had maintained my calm, I had not melted down! Those coupons from that kind stranger was a gift from God, that even in the midst of the strain and stress He is there and my strength comes from Him. Without Him I would have not faired nearly as well! He is my rock that I stand upon. "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!" Phil. 4:13. He has given me all I need to raise these boys! Although this was a tough trip in many aspects, the Lord was so good and gave me such encouragement that I can make it through anything with His help and grace! To Him be the glory!

Friday, November 07, 2014

Living With No Regrets

I have a very indecisive nature about me. Ask my mother, she will tell you. She used to hate going to a drive through with me as it would take me 10 minutes to order with cars honking behind her! Not quite that bad, but still true. My indecisiveness comes from a fear of regretting. I don't want to regret anything, even if it is what I want for lunch. I am also a planner and think of all the options and details going into a plan. Often after a decision is made I do feel regret and experience buyer's remorse. I don't take tags off until right before I wear something and try it on again when I get home in case I want to return it. I love my husband's ability to buy something and immediately bring it home take all the tags off and throw them in the dirty clothes hamper to wash (which I think it is weird he washes new clothes, perhaps he thinks someone tried them on and left their microbes behind). Anyway, lately, I am working on myself in this area. I give myself stress and regret with my decisions. I hold back and think too much! So, I have tried to not overthink and to go with my gut instinct.  I pray and give it to God and act on what He leads me to do. It has really helped me ditch the regrets! Regretting only holds me down! God doesn't want me wallowing in regret if it is small or significant, I know God wants me to live in freedom! This is an area that has dragged me down! Not anymore!

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us" Hebrews 12:1

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Challenges and Blessings Go Hand in Hand

My children constantly remind me of God's truths! They constantly teach me life lessons and lead me to the heart of God! Today was a day that I am reminded that the hardest things we face in life often lead to the greatest blessings! This seems to be particularly true and pertinent in parenting! We struggle and churn. We cry and ache. Our hearts are pulled and stretched. We pour our soul out to God and beg for answers! Sometimes the answers come and sometimes we wait.

Today, I watched and listened as my son, Justice, spoke to a room full of children and parents about what he learned this semester in his after school Bible study. I reflected on this past year in his life and was in awe of what the Lord had done in his life! I recounted the tears and sadness, frustrations and anger we had experienced. I remembered the late night talks and encouraging words, prayers and Bible verses I had shared with him. I thought about the daily prayers I had made for him. God has truly done a work in his heart and life this past year! I could not have been more blessed to hear his heart! We still have many more years ahead of us in raising him to be a man after God's heart and struggles continue in areas, but this day I just blessed!

After getting home I spent an hour with Titus doing homework. The hour was not spent totally working on homework, it was a constant battle to refocus and stay on task. He wanted to roll around dive head first into my lap or check on what his brothers were doing in another room. Many things in life are a struggle to do with Titus. He doesn't want to get off the computer to take a bath or go outside and play if he has spent too much time on a video game. He has had intense eating issues since infancy. He has had many health issues and developmental delays. This past year I finally received his Autism Spectrum diagnosis. It was expected and was hoped for. I wanted him to receive the right services and be understood better by others. I know Titus, I love Titus for who he is, but I knew it would help others to understand him better. Nothing changed the day I found out. Titus is Titus. He is an amazing little boy, surprises me daily and gives me a greater perspective on life. All the therapy, extra effort and patience he needs is so worth it. The challenges that are a part of raising him make the little moments of success that much sweeter. From the small things like flying through a math sheet, big bear hugs of happiness when he earns all smiley faces to getting all E's (A's for those not in early elementary school), are huge blessings to me!

I really want to keep this perspective in the front of my mind. Challenges in life often lead to the greatest blessings. The challenges and struggles are what makes the moments in the sun that much more bright. The things worth having in life come with trials and work. "We know that God works all things together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose." Rom. 8:28. The tough things in life so often lead to good.