Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Crabby mama crabby mama what do YOU see?

I see lots of dirty dishes looking at me. 

I want to be crabby about it. But I am trying to change my heart about it.

I do dishes up to three times a day. And we don't have a dishwasher.

So, in this moment, I'm trying to see something different than just 20 minutes of more house work.
What do I see when I look at this millionth sink full of dishes that I am about to dive in to?

I see plates that served peanut butter toast and apple sauce for lunch.
I see bowls that served oatmeal.
I see water bottles and glasses that delivered fresh, clean water to my thirsty babes and our friends.
I see silverware that my kids used to play with play dough used to feed themselves.
I see pots and pans that we cooked dinner in last night.

... which means my family has had another meal. My babies have full bellies and have had plenty to drink today. They didn't have to experience any real feeling of hunger. They didn't have to experience thirst.

So today i am choosing to be grateful for the dirty dishes.

And I'll get right on them as soon as I help Eli get Gabriel's "comfy boots" on for the 327th time today.

It's been a while friends. Hope you all are hangin' in there as the weather is getting colder and the days are getting shorter.

Life has been busy lately: New babies, new life challenges, new friends, new books, new stages and phases, new sets of swears + prayers, new experiences, new relationships, lots of newness.

I get to go to FlArida in a week and a half! Maybe I can catch up on blogging there. Probably not though. Until next time sisters (and brothers too)...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

quiet times

This last weekend with our house church we discussed how we manage our quiet times with God. What do I mean when I refer to quiet time? It's the alone time that you spend with God. What does it look like? Sometimes it's meditation and or prayer. Sometimes it's reading the bible. Sometimes it's listening to music. Sometimes it's just listening. Sometimes it's processing. Sometimes it's a walk through the fall leaves as you soak in nature and all it's splendor.

The times that I do get to read, pray, listen, and write (all at the same time!) are rare but so fulfilling. 
During our discussion it was comforting to hear how we all struggle to fit that time in. One guy said you need to be forcing yourself to wake early or stay up late if time is scarce. That there are no excuses. One mom talked about how difficult it would be to wake early, especially when babies are up in the night sick or  needing to nurse. Another guy talked about how waking at 5:30 for work was the earliest he could do, that he felt he wasn't able to wake any earlier.

So if our days are packed with work and child rearing and extra curricular activities and book clubs and kid's soccer practice and cleaning the house and walking the dog and being stuck in rush hour, how do we squeeze in that time?

For me, my faith is all about my personal and very real relationship with Jesus.

In any kind of close relationship that I have, I want that person to know that I love them and care about them a lot. I want to spend time with them and pour in to them. I would do anything for that person, go out of my way for them and be there for them in a heart-beat.

Most mornings when I get up, I am pretty much worthless. I have hit the snooze button 3 times and then I have to jump out of bed and scoop my 1st grader up and out of his toasty warm bed while singing our morning song so that he doesn't immediately start screaming at me. My intention for the year was gong to be waking him earlier and having a little quiet time with him on the porch before we ventured out to the bus stop. Yeah... we were able to do that maybe two mornings the first week of school, and then sleeping 20 extra minutes became more important. Bummer. At least we get prayer and (sometimes) devotions in at night.

I am trying to figure out where I can make time for my quiet times with God. Just like I need to make time to spend quality time with my husband, and my boys, my mom and my friends, I need to make time to get quality time with God.

I felt guilty as our conversation at house church made me really think about my lack of quality time with God. I felt bad that I don't get up the first time my alarm goes off. I felt bad that I stay up late on pintrest but not in prayer.

Guilt isn't from God though. He has no intentions for us to suffer from guilt. But conviction is from the Lord: that feeling in your gut that challenges you to make a change.

I'm looking at this all and I am looking at it from the same perception that I see my marriage.

In the early morning is not when I would be able to turn to Matt and say "hey babe, let's talk about my day and my love for you and my worries and my thoughts and my heart posture towards so-and-so and yadda yadda yadda..." I would be too tired, I wouldn't want to listen to him about his thoughts either; my brain would not be functioning. But when I do wake up when his alarm goes off, I tell him I love him and to have a great day, and then I roll over and fall back asleep.

In the same way I think I can manage to wake up, greet God, tell him I love him and invite him to be near me through out the day.

Later on in the morning I usually get a sweet text from Matt or send Matt a text telling him I love him. Later on in the afternoon or around lunch if something difficult or funny or significant has happened, we usually call each other and give updates.

In the same way through out my day I do pray. I do talk to God. I thank him when something is sweet and joyful. I talk to him when something is bothering me, or when I am hurting.

In the evenings after the kids go to sleep or right before we turn out our light, Matt and I get some time to just be together. Sometimes we watch a movie or even go on a date! We try to get quality time together each day, but it doesn't always happen, and it never looks the same.

In the same way, I need to be getting intentional time with God. Where I am not distracted, and I get to focus. This doesn't happen for me every day. Or sometimes it happens when I am in the car and all the kids have fallen asleep and I have 15 minutes of uninterrupted peace. Or sometimes it happens during nap time as I am washing dishes and listening to my favorite music.

I know God loves me and understands my life. I know he enjoys the time I get to have with him. I know that he forgives me when I spend my time poorly some days. I know that he yearns to be near me and he waits for me to ask him to be a part of my day. I know that he wants to strengthen me to get through my hardest days, and I know he is generous with the peace he pours over me when I ask for it. His comfort is abundant. His understanding and love never end.

And yet it is still hard to find the time.

I'm just processing here.

I have some work to do in this area.

Do you have quiet times? What do they look like? Does it happen often enough or is this a challenge you would like to take on too?

This afternoon I am going to the funeral of my dear friend's little 22 month old Zachary Michael Cooper. He died in his sleep Thursday afternoon and my heart has been aching for the last few days. Please be in prayer for the Cooper family.

Hope you all are having a lovely Tuesday. It is rainy and dreary here in good ol' Minnesota.
The day of my dad's funeral was similar. Sometimes I feel like it's God's way of showing us that he is grieving right along side us, that he aches for our loss and weeps with us too.

Monday, October 7, 2013

when you and your husband are awesome room mates

It's about to get real REAL up in here.
I'm transparent... most of the time...

You know that feeling when you look at your life and realize that you and your husband are SUPER awesome room mates? No? Then skip out on reading the rest 'cause yeah me neither.....

I hate that. I hate when it comes to that. And I hate how much intentional love, work and time it takes to dig ourselves out of that rut each time.

I have been so good at keeping the house picked up. Having dinners planned (for the most part). Making appointments. Organizing the porch. Doing dishes. Keeping kids happy and entertained all day-every day and helping Max with homework. I even make our bed, like, twice a week.

Matt has been so good at keeping up with laundry and putting dishes away. He releases me on my Funday Mondays and Zumba nights . He gets the recycling and garbage can out every Wednesday night. Every morning he makes me coffee and takes the trash out. And on top of working 40 hours a week, he has been picking up extra hours helping friends out with house projects.

We are busy, but we are doing a dang good job keeping our home and family functioning.

But our marriage? That gets put on the back burner too often. It's so easy to put it aside and stay focused on the little things: all the whining and tantrums and spilled milk and piles of laundry and dinner plans and missing socks and home work and bonked heads and stressful bed time routines and dirty dishes and drawings on the walls.

This weekend flew by and I knew that I needed to talk to Matt about it, and I chose his favorite time to bring up hard stuff: at 11pm after the lights went out. I vented for five minutes all that was on my heart and mind, all that was concerning me and making me sad.

In marriage there are some things that will never change. And we just need to get over it. Me bringing up deep stuff when my man is tired and it is 11pm on a Sunday night? It is just one of those things.

He dealt with me gracefully and with lots of love.

And I feel like we are back on track today.

Earlier I said I hate how much work it takes to dig out of the sucky-marriage-rut. I think that's why we put it off, because it's just too much work, and ain't nobody got time fo' that.

But sometimes it doesn't take much work at all. Sometimes, just sometimes, all it takes is two hopeful and patient people who are willing to forgive and let it all go and start out fresh.

Because baby sometimes, love is war right?

We recently joined a little house church and were invited to join a marriage study that will take place once a month for the next 6 months or so on on Monday nights. My sweet friend even offered to do childcare for us. It starts tonight. Perfect timing.

Don't stay in the rut. Fight like hell to get out of it, or else over time it just slowly gets deeper and deeper and deeper. Keep climbing out, every single time. You will keep falling in every once in a while, but the process of getting out makes you stronger for the next time.

Fall is here. My fingers are chilly as I type.I love this weather. I hope it stays for a while.

 Hope you all had a lovely weekend. We played with friends, had a date night with friends at The Chatterbox Pub, had a rainy and chilly trip to an apple orchard, watched The Croods with our boys and then last night Matt and I finally got to watch The Great Gatsby. I love just about any Baz Luhrmann film and I fancied the Jay-Z inspired soundtrack so I really like it. 

Well that's about all. Until next time....