Monday, March 30, 2015

I Love My Husband

Last week I had a bit of a crazy week (this week is not looking too different either), and on Friday I was in full on melt down mode. My husband being the awesome person he is, stopped what he was doing at work, came to my school, picked up our oldest daughter and took her to get lunch (we had forgot our lunches, one of the many things to not go right that day), AND he proceeded to bring me back lunch as well. Not only did he sit down and eat lunch with me, but he asked how he could help solve my problem, made phone calls in an attempt to assist me, and then repeatedly asked me if I was sure I did not need the car (we only have one to share) because he would cancel his afternoon meeting if I needed to keep the car.

When he left, one of the other teachers I work with asked, "How long have yall been married?" When I replied this year would be 10 years, she replied with a comment about how she could tell because he seemed to know me so well.

I have to give my husband credit. He really does know me pretty well. And it got me to thinking about all the reasons I love him. I mean there have been times in our marriage that I have to remind myself I did WANT to marry this guy at one point, and then there are times I have completely taken advantage of the fact that he loves me. So I began to make a list of all the reasons I love him, so on those days I need a reminder I can look back and say why did I ever even need a reminder!

1. I love that he makes me laugh. Seriously, I think he makes me laugh at least once a day. If he were not in my life I would take things waaaayyyy to seriously. He probably thinks I still take things to seriously, but if not for him, I would laugh a lot less.

2. I love his drive to always do his best. If he feels like something is worth his time, he will put all of himself into making sure he does his absolute best. We are the same in this in a lot of ways, and I really appreciate that we can both pursue things and challenge each other even to do our very best.

3. I love the way he always provides for our family. In whatever ways necessary (even working 4 jobs), he will make sure me and the kids have what we need. We might not always get what we want, but we will have all we need. It means a lot to me that he takes that responsibility so seriously.

4. I love that no matter how many times I say I think I am fat he says he thinks I am beautiful and not fat. And I know there may be times where he think I really am looking a little fat, but he wouldn't ever tell me that. He makes sure I know he thinks I am perfect the way I am. And he supports me in trying to live a healthy life, even when I try to cook and eat crazy foods.

5. I love the way he works with our children. He can have so much more patience than me. And when it comes time to help our oldest with Math homework, or build something with the youngest, he can sit for hours and help them. He very rarely loses his cool when he is helping them, and he just shows he cares. I love how he can ignore everything else going on in the house to sit on the couch and watch a movie with the kids or play a game. While sometimes I let that frustrate me, I really love and envy it. I have the hardest time letting the housework go and I love that regardless of what is going on he will take the time to sit and do something with the kids. I am glad they have him to do that with because those memories will be the ones that last, not the messy or clean house.

6. I love that we can have fun together. When we have free time, we can just have fun! We love to play games of all sorts. We had an amazing date night one time and had a water balloon fight. We just enjoy being goofy and silly together. I can't wait to retire with this guy!

7. I love his passion for music. I have always enjoyed music, but since being married to him, he has converted me into someone who really wants music playing all the time. AND he has greatly broadened my range of music I listen too. I love that I always know at least some of the newest latest music. I also really love listening to him play guitar, and when he is just playing to play and not practicing I could listen all day.

8. I love that he could fix any technical problem I have. He just knows about technology, and makes it his goal to always know the latest things. I know if I have a problem, he can fix it. I totally take advantage of this way to often. I have become incredibly dependent on him for my technology needs!

9. I love his thirst for knowledge. I mean we first met because he was a math genius and helped me study. He is still a math genius and I love his passion for math (even if I hate math), but his knowledge isn't limited to math. Intellectually when we aren't just caught up in life, we really enjoy talking about things and just click. We both love to learn and be challenged, and that is one of the things I am most excited about for when our kids are grown.

10. The thing I love the most about him though is how he supports my crazy dreams. I am a leap before you look sort of person, and he is a look before you leap. It is a great balance because he keeps me from jumping off the cliff with alligators and rocks below it but instead he helps me slowly repel down and still follow my passions, but in a bit more safe manner. And as many times as I take that as him trying to squash my dreams, I really know he just wants me to be happy. And he would do anything in his power to make sure I am happy.

I could continue to list things I love about him, and I probably will at some point, but these are the things that just really stick out to me right now.

1 Corinthians 13:4 - 7 says, "Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance."

My husband is great at just about all those things listed in that verse, and it makes me realize, I need to work on being a bit better at loving him. 

Leave a comment with the name of the person you are thankful loves you, or the name of the person you are going to love a bit better. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Heart Divided

Is it possible to be in love with two people at the same time?

This is often something I have wondered, especially with shows like the Bachelor on TV. I mean you see these men and women get to the end of the show and admit they love both the finalists equally. I never really knew if that was possible. You know, I thought, surely there is SOMETHING that makes one of them stand out above the other.... surely they could just look inside themselves and determine who they wanted to spend the rest of their lives with!

Then I fell in love with two things....

According to the Bible, we must "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your strength and with all your soul and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself." Luke 10:27

So, my first love is God. I can honestly say that is not a struggle for me. God is greater than anything in my life, husband, kids, family, work, hobbies.... God is greater.

So on one hand I have an incredible husband whom I love with all my heart... I mean this guy loves me through an incredible amount of mess even when I am selfish and full of just stubborn sin. And we have 3 incredibly beautiful children who I am blessed by every day. If you want to know the meaning of unconditional love look into the faces of these 3 kids who love me even when I fail at mommy-hood. I mean I screw it up big sometimes, yet I still get kisses and hugs and just forgiveness. I know we are to look at God as a Father and we can compare His love and grace to a parents' love, but you know I think to get a glimpse of grace I can simply look at my children and how they love me through all my imperfections. So, I have this life I love, who wouldn't! I truly love every minute I spend with these 4 incredible people God has put in my life as part of my journey.

Yet, I have another love. Something I love equally as much. I never thought I would say that about anything, but I love serving and giving of myself to others. And at the moment that "others" is defined as the people of Sri Lanka. It perhaps could be expanded but for now that is what it is. I am in love with these people and this place. There is a sense of freedom,  of feeling so completely at home, and so joyful working as part of the English Program we lead. I can honestly say, I feel as thought I am living out God's plan for my life when I am there.

So how do I endure this impossible idea of loving two things so completely? How do I love one without cheating on the other? I have yet to find a solution. When in Sri Lanka, it is as if I put my family in a neat little box and don't allow myself to spend too much time thinking about them, because when I do the thought of not being with them makes me incredibly sad.... but yet when I am with my family I have to do the same thing with my love for the people in Sri Lanka. I have to tuck one or the other into a neat little box and make sure I don't spend too much time thinking of either one.

Then I begin to think, this can't be God's plan. I mean why would he allow my heart to be so torn and broken. But then I realize I am not God (thank goodness, wouldn't the world be a screwed up place then), and I realize it comes down to one thing. I HAVE TO TRUST GOD.

He created me. Look at Psalms 139, "O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!" The verses go on and on to say how well God knows me/us and in creating me, he knew what he was doing. He gave me the big heart that he gave me for a purpose and all I can do is live the life He has placed in front of me, this beautiful adventurous journey. I need to trust Him with my family, I need to trust Him with my friends in Sri Lanka, and I need to trust that He knows what he is doing because He knows everything about me and how I feel. I just need to work on living one day at a time, loving the people in my life so completely that they can't help but feel the presence of God. If I do that, regardless of if I am in America or Sri Lanka, I will be living out God's  plan for my life. I may feel as if my heart is living in two places completely around the world from each other, but if I am loving people as God would love them and TRUSTING that He is in control, I am doing exactly what He wants. I can't worry about loving one more or less than the other. I just have to love. It is the greatest commandment after all. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Reflections on Mommyhood

Today my oldest child turns 8. That is sort of hard to believe.

1. It means that I am old enough to have an 8 year old, and I have to admit there are so many times I still feel like a kid myself.
2. It means I have been married long enough to have an 8 year old, and I have to admit I have a hard time believing that this year I will have been married for 10 years.

As I think about my life as a mom the last 8 years, I have spent some time contemplating how I feel about being a mom.


I used to babysit all the time when I was in high school and in college. I was in high demand as a babysitter, because I genuinely loved kids! I came with a bag of goodies and planned all sorts of fun things! It is kinda crazy that many of the kids I used to babysit are in college now some even married, and it will be even stranger when they have their own kids! So, I used to  look at the families I babysat for, and dream of one day having my own family and kids, and I thought of all the things I would do with my family. I sort of took all the good things from each of those families (leaving out any of the bad) and created my idea of my perfect little dream family/life.

Boy was I wrong! Being a mom has been so much different than I anticipated. Don't get me wrong I love it, and I find it really rewarding. But all those dreams I had, I don't think one of them has actually occurred!

I think the first time it hit me that life was not going to be what I imagined was when I realized this kid doesn't go home. This is her home. I mean when I babysat I would go and we would have a great time, and I even hung out with several of their families and it was always sunshine and rainbows. But then I had my own baby, and she never left, there was no going home. It took some adjusting to realize my husband and I were solely responsible for the care of this tiny little thing. And she was TINY! Once I adjusted to a new routine and a new "normal" I began to really love mommy hood. I was good at it, or so I thought. Then she started walking and talking, and a whole new can of worms was opened. I had to not just be a mommy, but I actually had to be a parent.

Thus, the second time it hit me that life was not going to be what I imagined was when I realized there is a lot more to being a mom than just feeding, clothing, and making sure this little kid slept. She would actually want to talk to me, and ask me things, and I would have to have at least SOME answers, and I needed to make sure I taught right and wrong because that doesn't just come hard wired. (I have to give credit to all the families that I babysat for, Yall did an amazing job raising your kids, because they sure were great, and I realize now, that took a lot of hard work on your part.) So, around the time my oldest turned 3 I realized things would be much harder than I anticipated. This is when I began to think "what have I gotten myself into!" and "I have no idea how to be a good mom!" Let's just say I started to pray in a whole new way. And I also began to view scriptures about being a parent, and God being our father in whole new way. Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is older he will not depart from it." This meant I would have to do the training! I felt so ill equipped to train up this little child! And then we had another baby! WOW! Talk about a curve ball!

So, now I had this precious, incredibly bright 3 year old and a little baby, and I was trying to just figure out how to survive much less "train up in the way they should go!"As I said before, I firmly believe that God has a plan, and I believed in His plan then.... but man I had no clue what the plan was... and being the kind of person I am that drove me crazy! So each day I prayed I would know what to do with these 2 precious little girls, and I often felt less and less like a good mother.

Then, SURPRISE! baby number 3! I was like, "Hello! God??? What are you thinking!?!" But we embraced it and tried to get excited about the little boy who would be joining us (and can I say, WOW he is such a joy today, but sooooo scary then!) There were many nights when I was pregnant that the girls ate dinner at 4pm and were in bed by 4:45. When they would ask "Why are we going to bed when the sun is still up?" I would reply, "The sun is staying up late tonight..." Parenting was hard then, but it was still a time of feed, clothe, bathe, little bit of discipline, repeat. No major life stuff.

Our next big adventure was school. When my oldest started Kindergarten, I had to totally rethink how I viewed being a parent. Now I was also helping manage someones education! I was responsible for her learning stuff... I mean responsible for her becoming a contributing member of society! School also brought questions about friendships, obedience (she had to change her color more than once!), having a good work ethic, doing things to the best of your ability, and working with a cheerful heart. I realized I wanted her to learn to read and do math (thank goodness for her dad!), but more importantly I wanted her to learn values and learn how to pursue her dreams while never giving up.

So, each day I struggle with feeling inadequate as a mother. Each day, there is a new element to being a parent I did not expect. But I have to remind myself when I feel this way what it says in Hebrews 13:21, "may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever!" All I have to do is ask, and God will equip me. These three kids are His will for my life, He would not have given them to me if He did not think I was equipped or could be equipped to care for them. So each day when I am running out of patience, or reacting in anger, or hiding in my closet because I can't take one more minute of the chaos that is my children... God has and will equip me to handle this! Take a deep breath and face them with the grace that God has shown me.

Lastly, I guess, on this 8th birthday of my oldest child, I realize I am glad she is getting older. This is what being a parent is all about. It would be a real tragedy if she never grew, never changed. God has placed me in her life to teach her, train her, love her, and then set her free in the world. I am excited about the day she goes out and my hope is that she changes the world! I pray that she will be more, do more, and glorify God more than I ever did, and I truly can't wait to see what kind of World Changer she will be!

I pray she will "Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us[a] and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God." Ephesians 5:2

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Ordinary after Extraordinary

I've just returned from doing some volunteer work in Sri Lanka. When I am there I feel as if I am doing exactly what God created me to do. I am in love with the place, the people, the work. It is like when you have an itch on your back and you finally reach it and then all is right with the world. Each time I come home I leave another little piece of my heart there. So in doing something so extraordinary and coming home to packing lunches, doing laundry, planning lessons, and just what seems to be the average, ordinary, ho hum life I lead seems like a bit of a let down.

It is as if I have had this out of body experience, something so amazingly incredible that it is almost like it didn't actually happen to me. Perhaps it was just a dream that lasted longer than one night.

Yet, it did happen and somehow I have to reconcile that the incredible experience I had is a part of my journey just as mush as laundry, cleaning, and all the other mom, wife, and teacher things are a part of my journey.

I view my experience in Sri Lanka as this incredibly extraordinary time, but each and every day could be extraordinary. It really is up to me to look at each day and say what will I do to make today extraordinary not just ordinary? It's kinda easy to say that, but living it is a whole different story. I sort of see coming home from Sri Lanka as reentering the atmosphere, and settling back on earth, but what if I continued to live an out of this world life even at home?

SO, that is the challenge, and I am far from mastering it, but I am setting my goal to stop viewing life as ordinary and make each day God gives me extraordinary. Time to stop wasting my life and live each day to the absolute fullest.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as if working for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve." Colossians 3:23 - 24

"You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away" (James 4:14) I have to make every moment count, because life is merely a vapor.

Who I Am

You know this is sort of a funny question. It is usually answered by saying, "I am married to Matt, we will be married 10 years this December. I have 3 kids, Makenzie, Clara, and Jude. I teach school part time, 6th grade history and 12th grade Government/Economics/Worldview. I do this.... I do that...." but then I think about it and realize I don't think I actually answered the question... who am I. Those are all things I do, and maybe even things that define me... but is it who I am at the core of who God made me?

So who am I?

I am redeemed and delivered, living in total freedom. I am sometimes confused and mixed up, occasionally crazy and fun. I am a person. A person who tries to live life to the fullest and enjoy all it has to offer. I am adventurous and exciting. I am joyful, happy, positive, and encouraging. I can be cranky but only when tired. I can be sarcastic but only when provoked. I can be angry but only once in a while. I am saved through Christ's death on the cross and I am going to heaven. Most of all I am a person with mistakes, imperfections, and problems, yet still loved by Christ. Christ who died for my sins so I could live. I am completely happy with who I am. The me inside. The joyful person willing to do whatever asked and willing to act strange even when people stare (and they do stare sometimes!). Dancing off beat, singing off key, living as if no one is watching when everyone is watching. Being completely crazy, weird, fun, exciting, positive, and adventurous.

This is simply going to be a blog where I share my crazy thoughts about life, being a wife, a mom, teacher, my adventures, and being a child of God. I don't have things figured out by any means, but I am going to be seeking God this year, and relying on him to lead me day by day.