Ground Hog Day

A Mom blog

Do you ever feel like every day is a deja vu?
Every morning I wake to the sound of a three year old yelling “I have to pee!!!” Once I get her to the potty, nurse the baby and proceed downstairs, hubby usually takes care of breakfast and I go for a run. On this “run” (which most days looks more like a walk), I wave to the same middle-aged man sitting on his porch reading the paper, I say ‘good morning’ to the same wiry blonde woman walking her poodle, and I chuckle at the same statue of a dainty angel holding a cigarette in her hand.
I return, we all send daddy off to work and the day goes on. Although every mess, whine, chore, or errand isn’t the same every day, it can certainly feel like it! How did this toilet get so filthy!? I just cleaned it….or wait, was that a week ago already!? How did these crayons get spilled all over the floor?…didn’t I just pick these up? Where’s that ground beef I had in the freezer?…oh hang on…did we eat that already? How am I out of bananas again ?…didn’t I just buy them?

And here’s my secret admission: sometimes I’ve found myself thinking “there’s got to be more to life than this!” I used to fill my days with intelligent conversation and reading and piano and ministry and relationships…And now my days are filled with diapers and dishes and dirty clothes. Of course I feel guilty whenever that thought enters my mind because I know how blessed I am. I realize I’m undertaking an irreplaceable, precious task in raising two beautiful girls. But sometimes I really have to force myself to remember WHAT the whole point of all this is.
I have to remind myself that every boo-boo kissed teaches them how to empathize, every act of discipline demonstrates consequences to behavior, every picked-up mess instructs them how to care for material things, every apology reminds them how to forgive. Moms are walking examples of love and mercy and patience and forgiveness and responsibility. And even though I sometimes wish for a change in the monotony, if given a choice…I wouldn’t change a thing.

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No ‘plainin’!

A Mom blog

Rae is a whiner. I’m not sure if it’s just her age or her personality or maybe a combination of the two, but there is no denyin’ the whinin‘. She whines about her shirt being inside out, whines about not having the right amount of toothpaste on her toothbrush, whines about getting her hair brushed, about being told no, and about being told to go potty….

The Lord convicted me that I am not doing my best to teach her not to whine. So I decided to work on memorizing Philippians 2:14 with her: “Do everything without grumbling or complaining.” Well, the other day I must have repeated this verse to her more than ten times. But she started whining about something else, so I began to dutifully recite, “Do everything without grumbling….” She interrupted me and said, “Or ‘plainin, Mom. I knooooow!” (with a trivial look of annoyance, of course.)

I’m finding that I’m being convicted about modeling this behavior in my own life! How many times I have found myself grumbling or ‘plainin’ (whether externally or internally) about the endless loads of laundry, the up-tee-nth diaper change, the lack of social interaction, lack of self-importance, or lack of intelligent conversation. I feel the difference in my heart when I remind myself who I am serving…”doing the will of God from the heart, serving as to the Lord and not to man” (Eph. 6:6).

I love what Chuck Swindoll says:

(Attitude) will make or break a company…a church…a home, or an individual. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do it play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is ten percent what happens to me and ninety percent how I react to it.

We can choose to be content regardless of our circumstances or surroundings! I want my home to be filled with thankfulness and hearts of gratefulness…NOT whining and complaining! Lord, give me a thankful heart…

A Mother’s Thankful Heart

I come before You, Father
To thank You for this life
The blessings You have given me
As a mother and a wife

I’m thankful for my children
As I watch them grow and play
Knowing that each moment
Will live for just today

I’m thankful for the laundry
For the dust to wipe away
I’m thankful for the problems
That make me stop and pray

I’m thankful for my husband’s job
The roof above our heads
I’m thankful for our daily food
For the comfort of our beds

I’m thankful for the errands
The phone that always rings
I’m thankful for the tears we cry
For the joy that laughter brings

I’m thankful for our family’s love
The way we sit and talk
The simple games we often play
The picnics and the walks

I’m thankful for the little things
That make up every day
For therein lies Your love, Lord
And the wonder of Your ways

I’m thankful for the memories
That life has brought my way
I count it as Your blessing
To be a mother every day.

author unkown

What of that?

Nikki went home to heaven last night (see previous post: But Even if He does not). And I struggle with it, just as most do with tragedy. Why does God allow some to live full lives and others are taken (what seems to us) much too soon? I have to keep reminding myself that I am not judge. I am not creator. I think of the Lord’s reply to Job, who was writhing in loss….”Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding….shall a fault finder contend with the Almighty?” Forgive me, Lord, for my doubts and for my boldness in expressing them.

Emily Dickinson writes

I reason, earth is short
And anguish absolute.
And many hurt;
But what of that?

I reason, we could die:
The best vitality
Cannot excel decay;
But what of that?

I reason that in heaven
Somehow, it will be even,
Some new equation given;
But what of that?

What of that, Lord?
I do not know. But what I do know is that you are there…and that YOU know.
“O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, pay attention and act.”~Daniel 9:19

Where the Wild Rage Runs

Some days, I feel I must be the worst mom in the world.

Take today, for instance. I had just finished cleaning the bathroom (and not just the “quick” clean…I’m talking the “scrub-the-tile-on-your-hands-and-knees” clean). I was in Ally’s room when I heard Rae singing in the bathroom, “I’m cleanin’ the potty! I’m cleanin’ the potty!” Great. (Are we noticing a trend here, people? She likes to push my OCD buttons.) There she was, in the bathroom, using the toilet brush to fling toilet water all over the Soft-Scrub cleaned bathroom. And I freaked. I mean, really freaked. It took all that was in me not to shove her down that toilet.

So my question is, why is that on certain occasions I’m calm and able to discipline without losing my cool, and on other occasions, the simplest things set off a Category 5 rage storm? I HATE it when I am more immature than my three year old. I HATE it when, instead of using opportunities to teach or mold character, I usurp all authority and act out of selfishness and rage.

I have such a hard time forgiving myself when I’ve acted that way. I always, always apologize, telling her that there’s no excuse for Mommy losing her temper like that. Aren’t kids amazingly full of grace? She always replies, “It’s okay, Mommy. I forgive you.” But I have such a hard time forgiving myself.

I’m pretty good at extending forgiveness to others. I don’t hold grudges and I try to show grace and mercy. But when it comes to treating MYSELF the way I would treat others, I find it very difficult. So I all I can do is fall at the feet of Jesus and say, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” And every time I’m tempted to beat myself up or tell myself what a terrible mom I am, I force myself to picture the cross. Even if I can’t forgive myself, I know that I am ultimately forgiven. Forgiven because of two scared hands and one loving Savior.

But even if He does not…

When I was in Kindergarten, I would go to my cubbyhole, stick my head in it, and whisper prayers to the Lord. My most frequent request was for God to please, PLEASE send my mom to pick me up so i wouldn’t have to ride the bus home. So many times, his answer was “no”, and I would have to trudge outside to catch my bus. But sometimes…sometimes…He said yes. And then–Oh, and then! I would run outside to our little car, praising God for hearing my prayer! And although my view of God (and my prayers!) have certainly changed since Kindergarten, there’s still this part of me that aches for God to show me that He hears me when I pray.

A young mom at our church was diagnosed with a brain tumor a few weeks ago. The doctors said there was nothing they could do, and just last night she slipped into a comma. I’ve never even met her, although she is friends with a few of my friends. But it is a tragedy. Sheer tragedy. She is my age and has a husband and a two year old daughter.

So I’m praying. I’m asking God to do big things. I want him to heal her. I want him to show us a miracle. I want him to bring her out of this fire so that she can praise him the rest of her days and sing of his glory! I want him to show her…and me….that He is GOD. Not just an old man sitting high in the sky, listening to our petty requests. No! I want him to come like the rushing wind, with the voice of thunder, surrounded by blazing white light! I want him to prove to us that He is still the God of miracles, that He is HEALER and ALMIGHTY.

But as I pray, sometimes I still feel like that little girl, surrounded by doubt, wondering if my words even matter. Wondering if they are heard or if they are simply falling, like my tears, into my pillow. I don’t have answers. I don’t have visions or assurances or guarantees. He may heal her. Or he may not. And I’ll never know why. But I’m reminded of Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego, who before they were thrown into a fiery furnace, looked up at the king who was sentencing them to their deaths and said, “Our God IS able to deliver us. But even if he does not, we will never worship another.” And God brought them through the fire, unscathed and unharmed. And HIS name was glorified.

I do not know His plan. I have no guarantee that He’s listening. All I have is His Word and His spirit to guide me. And so I pray. I pray and I pray and I pray and I pray. Although I may not be the same little girl, praying in a cubbyhole, HE is the same God. And although my experience may not be the same as three men who were thrown into a fire, HE is the same God. And He IS able to deliver.

Ode to the Wet Wipe

Oh dear wipes, so useful and wet,
to thee I feel so often in debt.

For whatever task I beckon you,
be it cleaning snot or wiping poo,
blotting stains or washing tables,
you jump to the task, willing and able.

Whether Huggies or Clorox, organic or not,
you keep us from illness and blot away spots.
Oh dear, precious wipes, know how I love you–
but if you dry up, I’m not sure what I’ll do.

I’m SO not ready for puberty.

My three year old thinks she’s an adult. In her little brain there is a constant loop of the phrase “anything you can do I can do better.”
The other day we took a little walk to the park, and as I was helping her up the jungle gym I felt something crunchy in her pants, similar to what a diaper feels like. But Rae has been potty trained for some time now– so I peeked inside her undies and what did I find? A maxi pad. A perfectly placed Always Ultra Thin Maxi Pad with Wings. I asked her what she was wearing, and in reply she shrugged her shoulders and said with an indigent eye roll, “Just a pad, mom.”
After I had Ally, Rae was fascinated by the fact that I seemingly wore “diapers.” (Because all moms know that we can NEVER go to the bathroom by ourselves, so despite desiring privacy to attend to “afterbirth sanitary issues”, I eventually gave up and she got to enjoy the experience with me). I corrected her terminology and she began calling them “pads.” Well, apparently, on this special occasion, she got into the bathroom cabinet and found a maxi pad, removed it from the packaging, took off the wax paper strip and placed it perfectly in her Dora underpants.
All I could think, starring up at her cute little face on the jungle gym, was “I’m SO not ready for puberty.” I realize that it will probably come within the next 10 years, and it’s my desire to be open with my girls, helping them through all the difficult transitions of becoming a woman…I just didn’t suspect I’d need to start at age THREE!!!!

Oh the Bins!

Right now my husband is in the basement building shelves to hold what can definitely be called “our plethora of bins”.  Does anyone else feel like they are overwhelmed with bins?  Bins to hold baby clothes, bins to hold maternity clothes, bins to hold college books, Christmas decor, and candles.   We have blue bins, gray bins, transparent pink bins.  Bins of all shapes and sizes as far as the eye can see!!!

Now, although I’m very glad that he has embarked upon this task with such gusto (perhaps now I will be more inclined to enter the dungeon and won’t procrastinate the laundry as often), I do feel a little overwhelmed at the amount of stuff we’ve accumulated in less than 10 years.   Now, I realize that most of this stuff can be attributed to being “thrify”–for example, I’m not going to throw out Rae’s clothes when Ally could certainly use them–but I find myself wondering “What did people do before the age of THE BINS?!”

I suppose they used boxes.  But I can’t imagine how well something made of paper would hold up in a damp basement.  And I hate the smell of moth balls, which are inevitable if clothes are being stored in cardboard.  So I am thankful for BINS.  And I’m thankful for the stuff inside the bins, for the the room to store the bins, and for a husband who’s almost as OCD as I am and cares enough to at least try to “make the bins look pretty.”

Don’t cry over spilt dirt

By 10:00 this morning I had almost finished cleaning my entire house.  I told Rae to head downstairs where I would join her after I finished cleaning the bathroom.  I knew something was terribly wrong, however, when a few moments later, my little white dog came running up the stairs, covered from head to toe with big chunks of black dirt.  As I braced myself and ran downstairs, lo and behold,  my freshly cleaned house (including the rugs we just had steam-cleaned three days ago) was covered in dirt…literal dirt.  My little girl decided it would be a great idea to try to cover the dog in dirt from the potted plant.  She proceeded to throw it on him as he ran all over the house and now my labor-intensive morning was all in vain.  There was dirt in the couch, dirt in the living room, dirt in the dining room, and–thanks to the dog– dirt all the way up the stairs. 

So I reacted the way any angelic mother like myself would…I screamed at the top of my voice “WHY DID YOU DO THIS!?!  WHAT THE HECK!!!”  Then I threw the dog in the mudroom and the child and in her bedroom.  As I looked around at the dirt-infested downstairs, I was just plain mad.  Mad and annoyed. Annoyed that my freshly cleaned house was now filthy; annoyed at all the work yet ahead of me;  annoyed that my almost three year old was still acting like a one year old; annoyed that no one knew how hard I worked and still had yet to work; annoyed that I couldn’t just “take it all in stride” and not be annoyed!

But an hour later, after the dirt was in the vacuum and my sanity was restored, I realized that like so many other moments in life, I would one day laugh about this.  Just like I can now laugh about how she once got into the desitin and smeared it all over herself and her entire dresser full of clothing; or how she shared her grape Popsicle with her four month old sister; or how she pooped on the floor and smeared it all over the bathroom; or how she  swallowed a watch battery and had to go to the ER. 

Time changes how we remember a lot of things, including life’s little  “annoyances.”  Suddenly, those things that once drove us nuts become little keepsakes.  So I guess when we are faced with an annoying situation, we just need to “grab the vacuum.”  Tomorrow, we’ll be laughing.