Monday, December 7, 2015

It's Not About the Decorations

Saturday we celebrated Malachi's 7th birthday soccer style. He had a great time at his first all "boy" party along with his sweet friend Maryn. All boy party.....growing up too fast. I'm sure it won't be the last and I'm sure it won't be long before it will be boys and girls again. 

For starters, I semi forgot the party was this weekend. I mean, I didn't realize it was this close. I thought I still had one more week to plan. And the lie detector test shows that was a lie. 3 days. 3 days is what I had to get things in order. Cookie cakes. I had not ordered cookie cakes and I did not think to order them until Friday. I went in to HEB and asked if they could do two cookie cakes for the following day. She said yes. Whew. Thank you Lord. I told her I wanted soccer balls and them to say Happy Birthday Malachi. Saturday arrives. I go to pick up said cookie cakes and she only has one. I say, I asked for two. She had written down soccer balls but not the quantity. She was super sorry and said she could make one real quick. I smiled and said, don't worry about it. They all taste the same anyway. I walked over, looked at the pre-made cookie cakes and here were my choices: purple and pink flowers or a Christmas tree. The decision wasn't hard. Christmas tree it was. So, these were the cookie cakes that were displayed at the party. 
I'm sure you're thinking no big deal, they are just cookie cakes and they are. But, had this been 6 years ago, 2 years ago, I would have been a raging mad woman. First, the fact that I didn't order in time. Second, because she got them wrong!! What were people going to think? A Christmas tree certainly doesn't match the theme of the party. How embarrassing! There's no way I would have taken a Christmas tree to the party. The FC Dallas cake, yeah, I wrote on that myself. It was just a generic cake until Malachi said, "What about my FC Dallas cookie cake?" Problem solved. I will write on it myself. Crooked. Small. Sloppy. Guess what? He didn't care. He was just happy that it said FC Dallas. 

You see, I use too panic over these parties. Everything had to be perfect. Decorations had to be great. I love decorating and making things for parties. Still do. I never spend a lot of money because I like to make them myself. But I admit, I become a total mad woman until the party starts. Until I realized, no one but me cares about the decorations. No one has ever said oh that looks amazing. Or, ugh, why did you hang that up. Nope. No one cares. Not even the birthday boy himself. Sure, he has his opinions and suggestions on what he wants but me not having that exact decoration has never, not once, spoiled the party for him. Just me. I was the one that would throw a fit. I was the one that would think people would be judging me, until now. 

This year, I just smiled and laughed. Cookie cakes, wrong. So what. They will still taste the same. (Although the soccer ball did have a massive amount of icing.) Thank you gifts for the guests. Well, I tried to make this super cool popcorn with white chocolate and oreos that make it look soccerish in the bag...fail. Now, I have nothing. All well. I'll just get something else. Unless you are my husband, you probably don't understand how big of a deal this is for me. I seriously just went with the flow of the day. 

The moment I realized that all of this didn't really matter... At the end of the party when everyone was getting ready to leave, I turned just in time to see Malachi hop up on this table. Picture it with me. You know how you run and turn to hop up on something without using your hands...this is what he did. And then, he looked at me and smiled. It was a smile I hadn't seen before. Or maybe a smile I hadn't noticed because I was so consumed with myself. It was a big boy smile. (and now I tear up again trying to write this) I smiled back with an overflowing heart realizing, he's growing up before my eyes. The decorations isn't what matters. It's him. He loved every minute of that party. So much he didn't even want to take time to open his gifts until he got home. He never even asked WHY he had a Christmas tree cookie cake. He didn't ask where the little soccer gift bags were. No, all he cared about were the friends that he just spent over an hour playing one of his favorite sports with. 

I'm not saying I won't decorate for any more parties. Hello, I still decorated a little. And I'm sure there will still be a few meltdowns (from me) but I finally get it. What matters most, is the person we are celebrating. As long as these three little people are happy, then my heart will also be happy. Take it from me. Don't make yourself so crazy that you don't even enjoy what's right in front of you. Make the moments count. It's so true what they say, they will be grown before we know it. 


A picture I snapped after our exchange of smile.





Monday, November 2, 2015

Just As I Was

Getting ready for church yesterday morning was a struggle. The baby was crying because he wanted to be held. I still needed to get ready. My 4 year old needed his hair combed. Yes, that is a chore within itself. I couldn't find the 4 year old any shoes. The baby is still crying. I'm trying to put on my makeup with one hand while holding him in the other. I go to the nursery to change his clothes and he just isn't cooperating. (Sometimes I think it would be easier to put lipstick on a snake than get a 7 month old dress.) Words are going through my head that are not appropriate for young viewers who may be reading or for those who are much holier than thou. I was mad. I was hot. My hair was in my face. It was kind of like a small nightmare. Finally I just said, What the heck do you want from me God? (lol, I love hearing you gasp.) I finally got all three of us in the car. Wait, I still have to go get formula so he will have some for the nursery. This was not in my plans. Insert more frustration. 

We finally make it to church. I smiled. I said good morning to those I met. I dropped my babies off with a "Have a good class. Mommy will be back in a little bit." I hugged friends I hadn't seen since last Sunday. I had my church face on while inside I was beyond frustrated. Church began and I believe it was the second song we sang Jesus I come. The end of the song says:

Thank You Jesus
Just as I am I come

Hallelujah

Oh what amazing love


This is all he wanted, for me to come just as I was. He already knew how I was feeling. He knew I was frustrated. He knew I would have rather stayed at home. He knew that I was hating saying good morning to all those chipper people. But He also knew all I had to do was come. He would do the rest. He didn't ask me to fix my attitude before I walked through the doors. He didn't ask me to put on a certain outfit before I walked through the doors. He didn't ask me to act a certain way once I got there. He just wanted me to come, just as I was. 

How often do we try and "fix" ourselves before we come to God so that He can really help us? God doesn't ask us to clean ourselves up before we come to him. (Although showering is highly recommended. Kidding) He asks us to come just as we are. He will clean us up spiritually. He will take our frustrations and fill them with joy. He will take our broken hearts and mend them back together. He will take what is dead and make it alive. (Great sermon David!) God already knows your heart you just have to come. 

Later that night when I was rocking our 7 month old to sleep, I began to sing Come to me you weary one, and I will give you rest. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Take me upon you. And I will give you rest.

I sat there and thought about how my morning went and how he wanted me just as I was. He wanted me. Just me. The good, the bad and the ugly. He wanted the frustrated me just as I was.

Don't think you've got to clean up before you come to him. He wants you just as you are. He'll do the cleaning himself. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Our Babysitter

She greets him with a smile. 
She hugs him like her own. 
She kisses the top of his head the way I do at home. 
She holds him when he's crying. 
She wipes away his tears. 
She rocks him until he's fast asleep and whispers in his ears. 
She plays with him until he laughs, you know that belly laugh he gets. 
She tickles him from head to toe, he doesn't mind one bit. 
Sometimes she sees his firsts, before I ever do. 
A gift to me she certainly is, to love him like I do. 
My hearts at peace to have someone to show so much love and care. 
One things for sure I have no doubt, she's a wonderful answer to prayer. 

Everyone knows one of the hardest things for me and ever has been, is to leave my babies with someone else. I cried and I prayed for months for who I would leave my sweet baby boy with. God truly blessed our family with Mrs. Britt. She is exactly what I needed. I am so so thankful for her and so thankful that he is with her when I can't be.

WE LOVE YOU MRS. BRITT!!!! (and the other 4 sitters too) :)

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Grace

I have my fair share of moments of weakness. I'm tired. I get up early, go to work, come home, go back and forth to soccer practice, try and get everyone fed and bathed, baby boy requires constant attention, and finally it's time for bed. I sit down and in that moment, I look over my day and say thank you. Thank you Lord for the life you have blessed me with. 

Now I'm guessing I wasn't saying thank you at 5:30 in the morning when the alarm went off and I had just got to sleep because some certain little boy didn't want to sleep. I probably wasn't saying thank you when I was at work with a class full of screaming kids. I wasn't saying thank you when I was rushing everyone out the door to get to practice on time and then back home to eat and get ready for bed. No, I wasn't saying thank you and yet He still loves me. 


My kids. My kids are my world. He knocked my drink off and spilled it. Everywhere. I yelled at him. He wrote on the ceiling and the seat in the car. I was so mad. I just wanted 20 minutes of rest. His nap lasted 10. I fussed at him for not getting in the car fast enough. He's 4. I fussed at him because he couldn't find his shoes that I had put away. He's 6. And yet, they still love me. 


Parenting is no joke. Living a life that is pleasing to Christ is no joke. There are good days and there are bad days. There are days when you want to give up. There are days when you don't deserve another chance. There are days when you just can't see the end. There are days when the mistakes just keep coming. There are days when you question why. 


How is it even possible that we can live a life with all this "chaos" going on? Grace. 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 says, "Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me."


As a mom, I beat myself up over the little things. Lawson didn't have a 3rd birthday party. (Yet he survived and doesn't even remember he didn't have one. Maybe one day he will when he asks to see pictures, but for now, he's good.) Malachi didn't have any camo to wear on camo day. How could I forget that??? I'm a horrible mom. Now he will be the only one not in camo. Really?? He wasn't the only one not in camo and he survived. Amazing. I've forgot to feed them lunch before, even dinner. Amazingly they are still alive. I hit Jaxson's head on the car seat the other day trying to get him out. How could I do that to my baby?? (He didn't even cry.)  


I told God if he would help me out of this situation (???) I would never do it again. I did it again. Awesome bible study!! I'm pumped up to read my devotion everyday. I won't ever miss a day again Lord. I'm committed to knowing more about you. I missed the next three days. God please just take this pain away and I promise to serve you with all that I have. I didn't sign up for that volunteer opportunity that he provided. 


It's just like the song says, "If Grace is an ocean, we're all sinking."  Stop thinking because of one mistake that God doesn't love you or your kids don't love you. Stop thinking that because you may have slipped up after being clean/sober for so long that that's the end. Stop thinking that because that mistake you made yesterday, or today, or 10 years ago will keep you from the love of God. Stop thinking that because you just wanted to sit on the couch by yourself for 10 minutes that your kids don't love you. Stop thinking that because you didn't feel like making cupcakes for the party and opted to get store bought that your kid will be mad at you forever. 


There is this unexplainable love and grace that is given to us everyday. Take it. Run with it. You matter more than yesterdays mistakes. You matter more than tomorrows struggles. You matter more than today's pain. I am daily reminding myself of this and so should you. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

I'm Failing as a Mom and So Are You..... So There!

Last weekend was Mother's Day and it was one of the best Mother's Day I've had. Why? Because I was not only spending it with the three that make me a mom but I was also spending the day with my own mom. It was a rainy Mother's Day but we enjoyed every minute of it.

This week I have thought about Mother's Day a lot and how every mom is different and how every mom is a failure. For instance:

* I rock my babies to sleep until they don't want to be rocked anymore. You lay them in their crib until they fall asleep.
* I pick mine up the moment they cry. You let them cry 5 more minutes to see if they can work it out.
* My kids have/are all sleeping with us. You would never co-sleep with your kids.
* I have forgotten to feed my kids lunch or dinner. You have a three course meal packed with you every where you go.
* I sometimes can't remember when they last bathed. You bathe yours after every meal.
* I let my three year old drink Dr. Pepper. You would have your 3 year old's stomach pumped if he took a sip of that poison.
* I sometimes let my kids stay up late. You will beat yourself up if they are not in bed on the dot at 7:00.
* My kids sometimes have to drink out of resourceful items because I haven't done the dishes in days and there is nothing, literally nothing clean. You don't even allow a fork to lay in your sink for more than 1 minute.

I really could make this list a mile long and still we would all be failures. Failures in someone else's eyes. It doesn't matter how hard you try, how perfect you think you are doing things, someone is going to find something wrong with you. But guess what?? They see the small things. What they don't see:

*They don't see you giving your last bite of chocolate cake to the little face smiling so big at you because they want the last bite.
* They don't see you when you are up all night with a sick baby walking the floor, driving in the car, doing what you can to make them feel better.
* They don't hear the countless prayers you pray over your babies day and night.
* They don't see the tear you shed when your baby doesn't get invited to a sleep over or doesn't get picked on the playground to be played with.
* They don't see you in the car out of your baby's sight, watching to make sure they make it in the school doors because today they decided they were big enough to do it on their own.
* They don't know that McDonald's is what you could afford to do something "special" for your kiddos even though it may not be the healthiest. But hey, after all, you did lose your job and things have been tough.
* They don't see you reading a book at night before their bedtime when really you just like to be asleep yourself because you've worked a 12 hour shift just to make it for the month.

And again, this list could go on. People will always find a way to make you feel like a failure BUT YOU'RE NOT! Just because we don't parent exactly alike and do things exactly the same way, that doesn't make us bad mommies. It makes us great mommies! How boring would this world be if everyone had the same personalities??

You are a great mom! What defines a great mom? I don't know really. All I know is at the end of the day if I have done my very best and loved my three boys the best I can, then I have succeeded. When I see those three smiling faces I know I must have done something right. We will make mistakes everyday and wish we would have done things differently but that doesn't mean we've failed. Tomorrow we do better. We try something new.

Stop comparing yourself to the mom next door. She's next door. Trust me, she makes her own mistakes. They are probably different than yours, but she makes them. She does.

You can't fail when you love. And as moms, we love our kids until it hurts.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Big Change for Our Family of 5! A New Perspective...

First let me give a shout out to our newest little member Jaxson Cole! He came 2 weeks early on March 9th. 8lbs 1oz-20 1/4 in long. He's absolutely perfect and growing way too fast.

So, as it says, a big change has happened for our family. All within a couple of weeks, one of those weeks being the week Jaxson was born, Nick was offered a new job. He will now be the High School minister at our church. (The Avenue Church) Thanks J. Burns for the picture. He has been with Life School for 8 years and I know he will miss co-workers and coaching but he knows God has a bigger plan.

Everyone kept congratulating me and how they were excited about Nick and his new position. And then they would ask, "Are you so excited?" "I'm getting there" I would reply. I was getting there but no, no I wasn't excited. For all you holy people, just stop reading now or you are going to be in your prayer closet all night praying for me because I know you can't handle the next few sentences. No I wasn't excited. I was scared. I was frustrated. I just had a baby. I don't need another big change right now. We are finally on the same school schedule where we both have summers off and our weeks off at holidays. I didn't want a change. I wanted my perfect world. We are in a stable place financially now. I don't need that to change. I have thought about vacations for the next year. Now all of my plans were going to change. 

Well then, a couple of Sundays ago, Pastor David preached about changing our perspective. I tried to download the video but to no avail did it work. If you want to hear the whole sermon, go to theavenuechurch.com, media, on demand, The Hour of Darkness (March 29th). Pastor David's words went a little something like this, "We gotta get a new perspective when God enters in through our lives. Because when God enters in, we gotta live not by how we feel but in faith. We gotta believe that God has a bigger plan, that God loves us and that he is going to take care of us. And He sees the picture in a way we don't. We've got to change our perspective. When we allow Jesus to enter our life, that perspective has to change."  Well alrighty God. Thank you for hitting me in the head on this wonderful Sunday morning. I was thinking about vacations and time off together (which is still important to me) and how it affected me. I wasn't thinking about the student who may come in on a Wednesday night and Nick is the only one who can get through to him about the Love Jesus has for him. I wasn't thinking about how these students need us (Nick) and how God obviously has a plan for our lives to minister to these students right now. I wasn't thinking of how we could help change lives. My perspective had to change. Now that's real talk. 

God's ways and plans are far more than we could ever imagine. You know how God speaks to people, like directly? Well, he usually speaks to me through a song or some weird event. When he speaks to me through a song, I know something is about to happen. I don't just sing it all day long but I pray through it. It probably doesn't make sense to you, but it does to me. Last year, I heard Oceans for the first time and the line "Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders" stuck with me. I prayed and prayed for that to happen. I became a computer teacher. What the what?? Computers?? That's Nick's job not mine. I want to teach Kinder. Once again, I was trusting and I'm so glad I did. And now, these past few months, I hear the song, You Make Me Brave. If you've never heard it, look it up.  Anyhoo, these words just kept sticking with me and so I started praying through them. 

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way

See, I thought it was due to the fact our perfect little boy was about to be born and for some reason God was preparing me to be brave for this delivery. Now, now I know. He was making me brave for one of the biggest changes for our family because he already knew I would freak out. He knows me so well. I need to be brave in the fact that God knew the change to our finances. He's going to take care of us. Ways I never imagined. Our time as a family is important to God. He will give us the time we need together. God is for us, He is not against us. 

So just to let you know, as my perspective has changed, so has my attitude. I'm excited for our family. I'm excited to see the things God has planned for these students and how he will use Nick to reach them. I'm excited to be welcomed by another group of church family. I'm excited to know that God has a lot more planned than I could ever imagine. I'm excited to be a part of an amazing church and am so glad God chose us for such a time as this.  



Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Message to Stay At Home Moms

Now that I have your attention, cause let's face it, it's all about judging another mom for her decisions, right? No? Oh, cause really, that's what I feel like I read about all the time. Mom's judging mom's. Over the last couple of months I have read a few articles even some facebook posts from SAHM and their opinions. I never comment on them. I never blast my opinion about them. Because in reality, they are right. They work hard. And if anyone ever says differently, then I challenge you to stay home for a few days with your kid/s and see just what a SAHM does. They don't just play all day and pin on pinterest, they don't stay on FB all day, remember, they have a little one they have to take care of.

Now, with that being said, I am about to tell you how I really feel. And let me follow that with this, I am not writing this for you to say Preach it or feel sorry for me, tell me I'm a good mom (I know I am), really, I don't want a debate of any kind, I just want to tell you for once how I feel.

SAHMs, just like I said, if anyone ever says you don't work hard, you have the right to punch them in the throat. But let me share this with you from a mom who works outside the home. For me as a working mom, IT'S NOT ABOUT WHO WORKS HARDER. We both work hard. My day starts at 5:30 and ends somewhere at 10:30 that night. I get my kids ready for school, make lunches, go to work, teach other peoples kids, go to meetings after school, pick up my kids from school, go home try and not fall asleep because now my kids need my attention, make supper, let's face it... the house probably won't be cleaned tonight and then I try and find time to give my husband some attention. Who by the way coaches, so if he has a game that night, we drive 45 minutes to an hour some nights just so we can spend time with him. But again, it's not about who works harder. I just wanted to share all of that because you always seem to share how hard you work.

This is what it is for me. It's leaving my kids in the care of someone else whereas you get to stay home with yours. You see, when I drop my little one off and he clings to my leg crying for me not to leave him and I'm looking at him telling him I'll be back soon, fighting back the tears and I have the teacher peel him off my leg...you don't have to do that. Please be thankful.

You never have to hear, well why did you have kids if you were just going to have someone else take care of them? Please be thankful. That cuts like a knife deep down.

And now, now he loves his daycare teacher and she's all he can talk about. He asks to see her all the time, wants to tell her when he scrapes his knee. And I think, I'm your mom, I should be with you for the majority of the day but that's not an option for our family right now. Please be thankful.

 I don't always get to see or hear their firsts but the daycare worker does and chances are, you get to see and hear your little ones firsts because you're there with them. Please be thankful.

You get to spend all day playing (if you choose too. yes I know that's not all you do) hanging out making memories, I'm making sure that the 3 hours I have with them before they go to bed is enough for them to know how much I love them and I don't work because I want to but because that's what's best for our family. Please be thankful.

Remember, I stayed at home with Lawson. But I also took care of 5 other little ones just so I could stay home and it still wasn't enough. Me staying home is just not in our budget right now. We have made changes and cut things and I'm still working. And for the love of all that is good and golden, if you message me and tell me that if I would try selling this product or that product and I would be able to stay home, I will hunt you down and I will punch you in the throat.

So see, when you complain all the time about staying home and how hard it is..... I don't feel sorry for you. Because to me, it's not about how hard you work (and you do) it's about you being home with your kids and I'm not. I'll be the first to say it. I'm jealous. Everything within me wants to cuss you out and throw a fit but I won't. Honestly, because deeper down than the jealousy, I am actually happy that you get this time with your kiddos. It's precious. It's awesome that you get to see everything first hand. All I'm asking is that the next time you post something or say something mean to a mom who works outside of her home to help her family financially, that you would stop and think, I'm sure she wishes she could stay home but she can't so maybe I can just whisper a prayer for her. Maybe you could actually say something like, you're doing a good job. Or, I'm beyond thankful I get to stay home with my kids because I can't imagine how hard it would be to leave them everyday.

I'm so thankful for these past two "ice" days we've had. Two days I got to spend at home with my boys. It doesn't have to be about who's a better mom..... we both are doing what is best for our family's. We would walk through fire whether we are at home or at work for those we love.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Independent Little People

Independent...... Why is it so hard to let our little people be independent? For some, it may be the pure fact that we are control freaks or for some maybe it's that we just don't want them to grow up. Whatever it is, we have to let them have some independence at some point.

Malachi makes his own waffle in the toaster, no big deal. He puts his own corn dog in the microwave, no big deal. However, when he asked if he could get a cup and pour his own chocolate milk, I had a mild panic attack. I immediately said no and he replied, mommy, I can do it. I of course was thinking, no you can't, your too little, you will spill it. And then I realized, my kids are never going to learn how to do anything because I won't let them. I finally said ok, get you a cup and get some milk but take it to the table so it will be lower and easier to pour. I just couldn't let go of the fact that he might spill it the first time he tried pouring it on his own. I couldn't let go of the fact that I might have to get up and help clean up.

I watched his every move. He picked the biggest glass we had, got the milk out of the fridge, walked over to the table and proceeded to pour. He tilted the jug and the milk came rushing out. I yelled, ok that's enough! He looked at me with a big smile on his face and said see mom, I told you I could do it and he did. Not one drop of milk was spilled. And even if he did spill it, would that be the end of the world? Of course not. He was trying something new on his own. He didn't fail at pouring his milk, but the next time he tries something new on his own he may fail and that's ok. That's how they learn. That's how we learn. We try something new and we fail. We try it again until we get it right.

Lawson wanted to put jelly on his own biscuit. Like literally got the spoon and the jelly and asked me to open it. I kept saying, no mommy will do it, but he was so adamant about doing it himself, so I let him. I cut the biscuit open for him and let him get his jelly. Yes, I helped guide him a little but for the most part he did it all by himself and boy was he proud too. What was I afraid of? Him getting sticky and getting the counter all messy. Oh my, end of the world scenario.

I know there are certain things that they will want to do on their own that simply isn't going to happen because in fact, they are too little. But when it comes down to it, there is so much more that we can let them do. We learn through our mistakes so why not let them.

This is so much easier for me to type than actually do but it is something I want to really work on this year. I don't want them to adapt a mindset that they can't do anything and constantly rely on someone else to do it for them. I want them to learn that they are going to make mistakes and that everything they attempt may not pan out the first time. But that is no reason to give up, you gotta keep trying. I want them to learn to be independent. They'll still need me, I've just gotta learn to loosen up that leash a little.