An Attitude Check

I saw this illustration the other day and I just had to laugh:

This is so me!  In fact, I told Peter, “I totally need this on a bumper sticker.”

I really can jump to the absolute worst possible conclusion in any given scenario.

Like earlier this week when Alethea was refusing to eat and was complaining all day long that she was ‘So tired!’  And I start thinking, is it possible that my sweet little daughter is depressed?  Or could it be something worse, like cancer?  Worry, worry, worry.

Or like how I’ve been feeling so unintellectual lately.  With my days consumed with diapers, meals and errands, it hardly seems possible that I actually have a B.A. in Philosophy.  I feel that I could be becoming boring to my husband and unable to carry on a conversation about anything other than my children’s eating habits and personality quirks.  I feel insignificant and wonder if others think I am too.  Worry, worry, worry.

Last Sunday in church our pastor referenced the Fruit of the Spirit in passing during his sermon.  It really was a good sermon about a whole other topic, but my mind wandered a bit at that point and I started doing a mental Fruit of the Spirit checklist.  I gave myself a passing grade on a few, but that ‘joy, peace, patience’ combo really was convicting.

Today I gave it some further thought and here’s what I decided… Is all my worrying squashing my joy and stealing my peace?  Most definitely.  Is my lack of joy and peace resulting in a diminished capacity for patience with others, especially my children?  Yes, I think it is.

Do I need an attitude adjustment?  For sure!

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:34

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7

Apparently I need a different bumper sticker: Anxiety Girl! Able to cast all her cares on Jesus in a single throw!

Seriously, how cheesy would that be!?!?

A better idea perhaps, being more deliberate about making sure other activities and commitments don’t crowd out my daily time of prayer and Bible reading.  I always feel so off kilter when I’m not spending time learning and growing in my faith each day.

During this Christmas season, I am resolved that I will not let the business and the fun steal my time alone with God!

Too long for a bumper sticker, perhaps, but I think it’s just what this Anxiety Girl needs.

DIY Map Art Meets Church Missionary Display

It was recently decided at our church that we needed a better way to highlight the members and friends of our congregation who are working around the world in various missionary roles.  Trying to think outside the proverbial box, it was suggested that we attempt something more artistic and well, ‘cool’ than the typical bulletin board in the back hallway.  Following these fantastic instructions, here’s what I ended up with:

It’s a 2x3ft sepia toned world map Mod Podged onto 10 canvases from Michaels.  The hardest part was figuring out what sizes of canvases to use.  I literally spent an hour in Michaels trying to puzzle out what numbers added up to 24 by 36.  I had almost given up hope that anything would work out right, when suddenly, I stumbled on this arrangement which includes one 12×16, one 11×14, two 8x8s, two 5x7s and four 8x10s (two hung horizontally and two vertically).  Whew!

The map turned out so completely gorgeous that I wanted to keep it for my house (and I do think it would make lovely home decor).  However, in the end, I was very happy to see it hung in the foyer at church, because it looked even better with the missionary prayer cards hung above it on an inexpensive curtain rod.

I so admire each one of our missionaries for the work that they are doing overseas.  But I’m also glad that the good Lord can even use people like me doing fussy, putsy, paper and glue craft projects to reach others for Him.  What a mighty God we serve!

PS. Thanks to Heidi for suggesting the curtain rod for hanging the pictures, thanks to Chris for matting the cards so beautifully on scrapbook paper and thanks to Jill for sending me the link for the map project in the first place.  I wouldn’t have gotten far without it!

Ash Wednesday

I don’t have any super profound thoughts for you on this first day of Lent.  But I am looking forward to the Ash Wednesday service at church tonight.

We are going to be singing this song:

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, tears lose their bitterness.
Where is thy sting death?  Where grave thy victory?
I triumph still, abide with me.

In life in death, Lord…

Abide with me.

A Whiny Week

My best friend once told me that she thought the fourth week after her baby was born was the hardest week of early motherhood.  I think she might be right.  Our fourth week involved a lot of spit up, an obviously uncomfortable baby who couldn’t get to sleep, stomach flu for Alethea, a few not-in-the-diaper pee and poop incidents and lots of sleep deprivation.  Not the best week ever.

While dealing with said issues, I kept composing extremely whiny blog posts in my head, but I have a rule for my blog and that is – if you can’t write something positive, then don’t write anything at all.  But I was tempted… oh was I tempted this week.

Then on Wednesday afternoon, just as I turned on my computer to vent, I got an e-mail from a friend who is expecting her first child soon.  She mentioned that she appreciates my positive take on motherhood and enjoys my blog posts.

Do you think the Good Lord has a sense of humor?

So today, instead of writing a whiny post, I am being thankful.  Not because motherhood is always easy, but because it truly is rewarding and totally worth every ‘pee on the bathroom floor’/'why won’t this kid quit crying’/'stop screaming, you’re going to wake up your sister’ moment.

Thank you, God, for friends, neighbors and family who stop by, bring food and write encouraging e-mails.

Thank you, God, for two healthy, happy, beautiful girls to love and cherish.

Thank you, God, for the financial resources that enable me to spend every day at home being Mommy.  It is where I want to be, even on the hard days.

Thank you, God, for a husband who is loving and supportive and will get up with the baby even when he has to go to work the next morning.

Most of all, God, thank you for sending Jesus, the greatest gift of all, who reminds me that the sacrifices of parenthood are small compared to the many undeserved blessings I’ve received.

Amen.

The Weekend Report

Friday

Peter and I went to our third and final Twins game of the week.  It was a fun game despite a certain unfortunate event that happened in the row in front of us.  I don’t want to go into too much detail, so let’s just say the boy sitting in front of us suddenly didn’t feel well and it’s a good thing the guy two rows up was wearing a rain jacket.  Ewwww…

Besides that though, the Twins played well, we sat next to some amusing people, and I got this cool picture of Peter:

And this cute picture of us:

Saturday

This was our “All about yard work day”. We focused some time an energy on “The Bean” area in our front yard.  Here is the before pic (notice the distinct bean shape):

After raking, weeding, and covering it in mulch The Bean now looks like this:

The cutest moment of the day goes to Alethea (is anyone surprised?).  She watched me as I pulled weeds in The Bean and threw them into my big bucket.  Then she got down on her knees and started picking up leaves and twigs and putting them in her little pail.  I’ve never seen her imitate me that closely and it was very sweet to know that she wants to be like mommy.

Sunday

The morning was church including a good sermon on the topic “hearing God’s voice when we feel outnumbered”.  We were challenged to consider the question “What is God asking me to do in my current situation to serve Him?” which is an especially challenging question to me since I feel like being a stay at home mom requires almost constant concentration just to keep Alethea fed and clean and clothed and out of trouble.  Sometimes I know all God gets is my sloppy seconds and a few minutes of my time when Alethea finally goes to bed at night.  So I guess I will have to give further thought to the question.

After church, the rest of the day was less remarkable, but not stressful, which is the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  Don’t you think?

Help Me Jesus!

On Sunday, July 26th Peter and I dedicated Alethea to God during the service at our church.  It was really sort of an awe inspiring moment for me to think about the really amazing gift that Alethea is and how utterly dependent I am on God’s help to raise her.  I knew there would be many challenges in raising a child in such a crazy mixed up world, but honestly didn’t expect to find myself in desperate “Help me Jesus” sort of prayer this early in her life: Help me Jesus when she’s screaming her head off and I don’t know why; Help me Jesus when she wakes up for the seventh time in a given night and I just want to cry along with her; Help me Jesus when the baby is sleeping soundly but for some reason I’m still wide awake.

We’ve had a roller coaster several days with insomnia for me, night waking for Alethea and general difficulty with feeding, but just as I was feeling like I barely could keep my head above water, God sent along two of my Christ-following friends to encourage me, one with flowers and an extra swing and one with lunch and an hour of good mother-to-mother conversation.  Thank you Jesus!