My children make me totally feel bipolar like… all the time. I’m hoping this is normal and I’m not actually bipolar. Tonight was my son’s swim team, end of season, pool party. It had to be held at the town’s biggest pool, which most people love. You know, the people with 1 or 2 kids who are over 8 and can swim good enough to be on a swim team. This pool is not fun for the mom with a dozen littles who think they can swim but really it’s more like drowning that they are good at. This is also day 10 of solo parenting for me so I’m slightly beyond exhausted. So my night was great fun. (Note the sarcasm) I stuck it out and was completely exhausted but happy everyone was still alive as we headed out to the car. No one was holding hands like they were suppose to be and I was on the verge of a breakdown. About to scream at someone, I didn’t know which one, they suddenly all grabbed hands. Then they started swinging their arms back and forth and squealing and running. All four of them, with big smiles on their faces, were chanting something I couldn’t make sense of, and in that moment I went from complete breakdown to complete mush. It is so amazing to me what they can do to you. The feelings they invoke. I just love those little people so insanely much and as exhausted as they make me, it’s those moments that make it all worthwhile!!
My Diet Soda testimony-
I have an ugly confession – I am a diet soda addict to the max. I can easily put down a 2 liter a day and sadly, that’s probably a good day. Anyone who knows me well, knows I consume crazy large amounts of fluid so I always excused my large doses of diet soda because I still really did drink more water than average along with it every day. I told myself as long as I’m not replacing my water intake its fine, right?! Who was I fooling, you know good and well there were days my water intake was more than likely well below what it should have been. Well I’m 30 days in on Plexus and unintentionally, I just realized I’ve insanely cut back my consumption. I bought 4 2-liters of Diet Dr. Pepper last week and I have 3 sealed in my pantry right now. I cooked myself a quesadilla for lunch today and went to pour myself a diet soda (because you have to have soda with Mexican!) and as I held the bottle I just thought…yuck. And then I realized…that fizzy taste I use to go crazy if I didn’t get every few hours, I’m no longer craving!!!
I thought with 4 kids there’s no way I could give it up. I need caffeine for energy because I have to be able to function on about 6-7 hours of very broken sleep a day. It was what it was. I tried to defy time by doing poly-phasic sleeping but that just required more caffeine and my friends thought I was a nutcase. I even bought caffeine pills to try and replace it. I felt like the crazy woman on caffeine patches on meet the Robinsons. Does this ring a bell with anyone!
And I seriously looked just like her on it too! But apparently it wasn’t just the caffeine fix I needed because I still craved the fizziness. I needed the tingly feeling in my mouth CONSTANTLY. So I haven’t cut it out completely yet. But I no longer feel like a crazy addict. I still probably have one glass a day or every other day. But man…compared to what I was drinking I can’t explain how crazy huge that is. And now it really seems possible that I can cut the habit completely once and for all without feeling like I need it. I’m not tired anymore, even chasing 4 small kidlets all day long! I’m exhausted, but that just comes with the territory. I do though feel rested.
So…I’m learning quickly there are lots more benefits to the Plexus products than just weightloss!! If your interested at all, check out my website at www.plexusslim.com/nici or just send me a message!
Is it a bit ironic that month 7, the month of rest, is the only month that I did not start on time? Not only did I not start it on time…I have ignored it for 6 weeks!!! But its not only about rest this month, its also really focusing on prayer. And like I’ve said in the past, I struggle a little with prayer. Today is Ash Wednesday though and it seemed so perfectly fitting to start my month today and continue it for 40 days instead of a month. So for lent, I am not giving up anything, because frankly I’ve spent the past 6 months giving up stuff!! Instead I’m focusing my time on prayer and rest.
I’m taking Jen Hatmaker’s lead in how she did this month and I’m going to be observing the canonical hours of prayer 7 times a day and each hour has a focus and scripture readings. They are as follows:
- The Night Watch (midnight) – advocates for those suffering in the night
- The Awakening Hour (dawn) – thankfulness for a new day
- The Blessing Hour (midmorning) – inviting the spirit to stir our souls and for God to bless what we are doing that day
- The Hour of Illumination (noon) – self-inspecting our hearts for sin and recommitting our lives
- The Wisdom Hour (midafternoon) – Acknowledging that all things are passing and prayer for wisdom to live like we are dying
- The Twilight Hour (early evening) – Invite God’s peace as we transition to evening and focus on gratitude for our day
- The Great Silence (bedtime…or more like 9 or so for me since bedtime is The Night Watch) – Reflecting on the day, confessing our sins, and asking for protection from evil
I will also be more intentional about observing the Sabbath (or Sunday- my Sabbath) and saying no to anything that will make our schedules more chaotic than is necessary.
When I first read about the 7 hours of prayer I sorta glossed over. I went from reading this super inspiring awesome book to thinking…..”boring”. I’m not sure why my heart was so not in it but today as I read back over it I’m super excited. My small group is also doing a study on prayer and it seems everywhere I turn God is shoving more information in my face about prayer. Yea, yea…I get it God. You actually WANT me to be intentional and talk to you! I’m starting a prayer journal and writing down my prayers and leaving a spot next to them so I can go back and write down when they get answered. I’m excited about that and seeing how our God does answer our prayers!
So here goes my last month of 7. I remember when I started it thinking I can’t imagine actually finishing it and when I do I’m sure I’ll want to burn the book. But now that its almost over I’m really sad! I could totally see myself doing it all over again!
I’ve had a little feedback on my last post and I’ve talked to a few friends about it in more depth and I feel like I need to clarify a few things on how this will actually be put into use in our household. First, I am not using this to replace any form of discipline or behavior modification that we already use. I don’t expect to get improved behavior out of my son from this. I do expect however to get improved behavior out of me from this. 😉 When I was initially googling this sort of thing I found several other websites that used scripture for discipline. While I think that could be used in an awesome way, I think it could be abused quite easily and quickly turn into a form of shame. And shame is exactly what I’m trying to move away from here. I’m hoping more to use these verses in place of the shameful things I was saying and to help build up his self esteem. I’m hoping for him to see himself the way the Lord does and as who he was created to be. Some of the verses are more about obedience and I think they can be great to use after the fact. Like after the incident is done and handled then we can talk about how Love is Patient and Kind and doesn’t seek its own way. And then I can tell him that he can behave with patience and kindness even when he feels like he can’t because they are fruits of the spirit and the spirit lives within him. That God gives him this ability even when he feels he has none.
So yesterday I can gladly report that I went all day without saying a single negative thing to my sweet son. There were several times when I was stumped at what to say but overall I can see this working great. I’m sure after a while my son will start to roll his eyes and get annoyed with constantly hearing me say, “You were made in God’s image” and “You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.” But much better that than what he was hearing!
So overall my number one goal is for him to know that God loves him and he created him. I want him to know that I can not define who he is nor can peers at school or teachers he comes across. I want him to know only God can define who he is because God is his maker. And that’s why I’m turning to scripture so he can see how God defines him.
So I have an awful, ugly confession to make. I am horrible about speaking bad things over my son and calling him names when I get frustrated with him. (The girls do not test me quite yet like he does.) I’ll tell him he is being a bad brother or that he is so mean. I’ve called him a brat many times. The words just come out of my mouth like vomit and I can’t take them back. Every time I’m pushed to my limit they come flowing out like poison….and poison to my son’s soul they are.
So I am committing to stop right now. The more he hears these awful words by the one person who should think the highest of him, the more he will start living them. This has been so very heavy on my heart lately so tonight I finally sat down and compiled a list of scripture to speak over all of my children instead. I want them to hide his word in their hearts and to lean on it when they are angry or upset, scared or lonely, feeling less worthy than everyone around them, etc, etc. I pray I can undo all the bad I’ve done so far so that he knows without question that he was fearfully and wonderfully made. So here’s the list of scripture I’ve put together that I plan to put into action by speaking over them constantly. I just started with the major topics we deal with but I’m sure more will come up as I start to put them into use. Please share yours if you have any that you use also! I really hope this may help someone else and if anyone else struggles with this please let me know and maybe we can support each other in this change!!
Scripture to speak over my children to build confidence and knowledge of who Christ created them to be!
|2 Cor 3:5||You are made sufficient by God|
|John 15:5||Christ abides in you and you bear much fruit|
|Heb 13:5||Jesus will never leave you or forsake you|
|Phil 4:13||You can do everything through Jesus who gives you strength|
|Gen 1:27||You were created in God’s image.|
|Ps 138:14||You were fearfully and wonderfully made!|
|Prov 3:26||The Lord will be your confidence.|
|Ps 127:3||You are a precious gift from the Lord.|
|Ps 127:4||You are like an arrow in the hand of a warrior.|
|Jer 29:11||For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. To give you hope and a future.|
|Eph 2:10||You are God’s handiwork, created by Jesus to do good works which he prepared in advance for you to do.|
|Neh 8:10||The Joy of the Lord is your strength|
Scripture by Topic
|Anger||John 14:27||My Peace I give to you…let not your heart be troubled.|
|Phil 4:7||A peace that passes all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds.|
|James 1:19||Be slow to anger.|
|Sibling Rivalry||1 Cor 13:4||Love is patient and kind.|
|1 Cor 13:5||Love does not insist on its way.|
|Prov 15:1||A gentle answer prevents anger, but harsh words makes the other mad.|
|Rom 12:8||Do all that you can to live in peace with each other|
|Eph 4:32||Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as Jesus has forgive you.|
|Arguing||Phil 2:14||Do all things without grumbling or complaining|
|2 Tim 2:24||As a child of the Lord you must not argue but be kind to everyone|
|Discontent||Psalms 37:4||Delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.|
|1 Thess 5:18||Give thanks in every situation|
|Fear||1 Peter 5:7||Cast all your fears on him because he cares for you|
|Joshua 1:9||Do not be afraid, for the Lord is with you everywhere.|
|Isaiah 41:10||Fear not, for I am with you. I will strengthen you and help you.|
|Ps 118:6||The Lord is on my side, there is noone to fear.|
|Disobedience||Col 3:20||Children, obey your mother and father in everything.|
|Self Control||1 Cor 10:13||God is faithful and will not let you be tempted more than you can bear. When you are tempted he will provide a way out.|
|Gal 5:22||Fruit of the spirit is…self control.|
|2 Tim 1:7||God gave you a spirit of self control!|
|Phil 4:13||I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.|
|Forgiveness||Matt 6:14||Forgive others and Christ will forgive you.|
|Luke 6:36||Be merciful, just as Jesus is merciful.|
|Name Calling/Foul words||James 3:8||I will not use my tongue to speak cursings|
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. – 2 Cor 12:9
I cheated today. Actually I cheated a few days ago too but it was unintentionally. I went through Raising Canes because hubby was craving it (and it sounded good to me too) while I was out running errands. Once I bit into the chicken I was on the phone with my bestie Heather and told her…man, this chicken is so good today. It seemed like it had been forever since I had eaten it. And then I was thinking…isn’t there a reason I’m not supposed to be eating this…Oh, yea! It’s spending month! Duh. So…accidental spending. Today however I had to be at the school at 7:30 this morning to collect cookies in carline for Story time with Santa tonight at my son’s school. I had 4 kids in tow and I promised them all donuts because I figured it would keep them occupied while I’m getting the cookies and save me time since I wouldn’t have to make breakfast. I pull up to the donut store at 7:21 and I have 9 minutes to get the donuts, get back in the car, and get to the school. As I walk up to the store I realize….crap, its spending month! At this point I make the conscience decision to continue to spend money somewhere I’m not supposed to. Bad me.
After my hectic morning of gathering cookies with 3 young kids (number 4 was sent off to school) and running back home to get two of them dressed for their school and showing up to what I had forgotten was live nativity day at their school and changing my plans once again so I could stay and take pictures, I finally arrived to my playgroup that I had planned for that morning! (run on sentence much…) There I was chatting with my new friend Heather and she is in month one of 7. She admitted she cheated that morning while making these yummy cream cheese/sausage stuffed crescent rolls for the playgroup (sorry Heather for outing you publicly!). She went on to say that she typically has the attitude that once she’s messed up on diets, she might as well throw in the towel for the rest of the day since what is done is done. But she felt this was different because it’s not about following a set of rules. And it hit me then that it’s so easy for me to get caught up in legalism but that is totally missing the point! This crazy experiment is not about following a set of rules at all. Even Jen has several people doing it with her that do each month differently. It’s about exposing our greed and excess and realizing how much joy it’s stealing from us, not bringing! We are going to make mistakes along the way; it’s what we do, but praise God that his grace is sufficient for us. It doesn’t matter what we do, as long as our eyes stay on him. We all have major weaknesses and that’s ok! Actually I’m tickled I have major weaknesses as I reread that verse because it keeps me humble. I can’t boast for anything I’ve done, it’s his grace that makes it all possible.
Thank you Jesus for your grace. My prayer continually is that I can extend that grace to my family and friends and everyone else around me no matter the situation. Because we all need it, Lord knows I do!!
There will be ZERO consumerism for me this holiday season and I couldn’t be more stoked. Ok, maybe I should be a little more honest, there’s only no consumerism because I’m finished shopping! I’ve always been an early shopper but I don’t think I’ve ever been completely done this early. I usually get the bulk of it done but then still browse all the sales and randomly shop for no reason all season long. I’m moving on though from waste (which that month was well…a bit of a waste…maybe I’ll post more on that later) and on to spending! I’ve been dreading spending, especially knowing it would fall the month of December. But now that its here, I’m a little excited. So I get to spend my money at 7 places for the next 30 days. I’m limiting this to my money. Where Zac chooses to spend his is his perogative (maybe that’s cheating but I’m good with it!) Here are my seven places:
1. Kroger – my grocery store of choice because they offer free childcare. I mean seriously, I don’t care how high they jack up the prices as long as they keep watching my kids. Its brilliant.
2. Trader Joe’s – because it wouldn’t be Christmas without peppermint Joe Joe’s and 3 buck chuck (I say this like TJ’s has been a long standing holiday tradition. Noone needs to know its our first christmas together.)
3. Amazon – I realize amazon is kinda cheating because they sell everything. Everything. However…there is no instant gratification here so I will at least have to wait…
4. Joannes – because its Christmas and I’m crafty. That’s all.
5. Chick-fil-a – I don’t want to worry the staff.
6. Burger King – I know…this seems really random. But its Bayje and I’s Friday night date night and the play area is contained well.
7. Woodlands Church – I realize I should have put this first since I’m suppose to give my firstfruits but I almost forgot it instead. And I’ve already explained my laziness in the past and so I’m keeping it number 7. I’m also going to take the liberty of including any other random givings I want to do in this category. And any shopping I do for the Touch A Life kids.
So I didn’t include a gas station because Zac always fills my gas tank up before every trip. He better no fail me. Seriously…its getting too cold to walk. And I’m concerned about not adding Dominoes because my kids like pizza night. But they’ll survive, unless Zac wants to fork out the money for that (I typically pay for all the food).
I can do this! And I’m excited because now we can focus more on advent and the real meaning of Christmas!!
Those who know me well, know my feelings about Thanksgiving. I pretty much like to skip celebrating the holiday all together. Immediately after Halloween I go into Christmas mode. Tree goes up, carols start playing from the radio, its Christmas season in my home! I never enjoyed a holiday that seemed like its sole purpose was to gather together with all your random distant second cousins twice removed and eat foods I’d never eat like yams covered in marshmallows (yuck!) and dry, bland turkey (thankfully we’ve recently discovered deep fried turkey and its no longer dry!). The only thing I remember enjoying about Thanksgiving was the rolls. I’m generally a super optimistic, glass is overflowing, type gal except for the three weeks that falls between Halloween and the end of November. I want to stick my finger down my throat every day when I check on facebook and see everyone’s daily thanks for their wonderful children and wonderful husbands. And I’m not really sure why it makes me roll my eyes because I have wonderful children and a wonderful husband I’m super thankful for. I’m literally overwhelmed with thankfulness for my family every day. I think it’s the cliché of it all that annoys me. Like my BFF pointed out the other day…I kinda like to go against the grain. So there you have it folks….I’m not a fan of Thanksgiving.
But I am a fan of giving thanks to God.
Tonight our church had our 20 year anniversary Thanksgiving celebration at the pavilion. It was amazing. But one thing that Pastor Kerry said that stood out to me is we are giving Thanks not only for what God has done, but what he’s going to do. And giving thanks for what he’s going to do, that’s faith. When he said that for some reason God yelled at me (he might whisper to some people but he seems to realize I need yelling at) and told me to start being more thankful. Not for my present situation, but for my future. And I thought what better way to show my thankfulness at this present time than to celebrate Thanksgiving in my own new way. So..I’m going to try and start my own thanksgiving tradition that hopefully I can pass down to my kids. From now on I’m going to treat those 3 weeks between Halloween and Thanksgiving that I typically roll my eyes at as a period of fasting, sorta like lent, and focusing on being thankful for what our future holds. So it seems fitting that this year (and possibly every year) I’m going to give up candy. Starting now (even though I so want to delete now and type tomorrow so I can go eat my Trader Joe’s 100 calorie milk chocolate bar with a glass of moscato…my favorite nighttime snack) no candy until Thanksgiving. And every time I think of candy, which will be often since we are currently bombarded with it being a few days after candy day, I’m going to stop and pray and give thanks for today and tomorrow.
So your still not going to see me posting daily thanks on facebook and I’ll still secretly roll my eyes if you post something super cliché (although if its really witty I might actually like your post) but I am going to be focusing on thanksgiving. I’m so excited and so thankful for what the future holds for my little family and my huge church. Thank you God for them both.
I survived media. I sucked but I survived. I wasn’t sure if I would. Honestly, I was a cheater this month. Shame, shame. I didn’t realize the hold the internet had on me and I still am left unsure of how to manage it. I’ve learned a lot from this month though. The number one thing I walked away from this month with is prayer. I know I wrote about it earlier this month but I’ve been praying so much more than I ever have and its awesome. I’m amazed at how important the little things are to my God. I knew that and I know that he answers prayers, but I’m still always shocked when he does for me! I know he’s probably shaking his head every time I act surprised that he cares.
I’ve actually enjoyed having media off on my phone. I think I’ll keep it off unless I need it or just really want to check something then I’ll switch it back on temporarily. My phone battery lasts 3 days vs 8 hours with it turned off!!! I’m enjoying not filling every second with something. I struggled with sitting in silence for even 30 seconds. I’d have a 1 mile drive and I’d call 3 people and when no one answered I’d start checking my email and facebook. I was that consumed that I really couldn’t just drive my car one mile without thinking I needed to be doing something else at the same time. I couldn’t sit in the car with my husband on a quick drive without being online. I couldn’t go out to eat without checking it. It was complete and utter MADNESS. I’m so glad I have taken this month to step back and see just how ridiculous it had gotten. Today…I’m proud to say I didn’t even check my email or facebook or anything until 11am. Yay me. Baby steps. The world didn’t stop and no one desperately needed me in that time.
My TV has been broken the last week so that hasn’t even been a temptation. I have learned that I enjoy TV so much more without trying to play on the computer at the same time. I use to cut coupons, do puzzles, sew, crochet, and/or stretch and do situps while watching TV. I’ve kinda had fun doing little things that don’t require thought (playing online IS NOT ONE OF THEM) while watching a quick sitcom this past month. That’s another change I am making. No computer time while watching TV. There is no need whatsoever to do both at one time! I’m not achieving anything by trying.
One last thing that I’ve failed at this past week is keeping my laptop shut when its not in use. I typically keep it open all day long and just periodically pop in every now and then. Ok…lets be honest, before this month by periodically I mean every 5 minutes. This is where I get obsessive about constantly checking to see if I have any new messages or likes. If its closed I actually have to go through the effort of relogging in to my computer so I’m less likely to constantly check in.
So in summary here are my lessons from this month that I intend to continue.
1. Keep data turned off on my phone unless I really need it.
2. Only use one form of media at a time.
3. Don’t try and fill my silent moments with noise.
4. Shut my laptop when not in use.
Tomorrow: WASTE!!! I have zero clue what I’m doing.
I get this comment a lot. Especially when I open my mouth and talk about some of my new passions. Yes I’ve spent my last few Friday nights embroidering backpacks for kids in Ghana and yes my newest crusade is to stop sex trafficking in Houston. I have four kids, 7 and under, and I love to sew them coordinating shirts with their names embroidered on them. When we are out in public they are typically (NOT ALWAYS!) mild mannered and they are very good at holding hands from the car to our point of destination. So when people see me out in public, with a baby on my hip, holding one kids hand who is holding another who is holding another, all hair fixed and matching shirts, that’s when the comments come. “I don’t know how you do it!” “You are supermom.” That one use to be my favorite. I once secretly beamed when I was called supermom. However, I’m starting to face reality and admit who I am and who I am not. And supermom I am not!
I am a scattered wreck! At any given moment there are toys all over my living room floor, laundry in piles in my kitchen, cups spread all over the house, and you will find me planted on the couch with a smile on my face and no worries in the world searching on pinterest for my next craft to master. Lets face it, I am not a good housekeeper. I’ve tried, and tried, and tried every program I can find. I’ve thankfully come a looooong way since high school at least. I love to create spreadsheets about cleaning and make checklists and obsess about the idea of cleaning. But like my dear friend Susan once told me, “maybe you should stop planning to clean and actually clean!” Yea…that’s not fun. No thanks!
I’m a little on the lazy side. I don’t make things like brushing my kids’ teeth 3x’s a day a top priority. I shoot for twice a day but its more likely once a day (and every now and then its more like every other day…). But here’s where the lazy part comes. There are nights when I do the bedtime routine just almost perfectly. Hubby will be out of town. I will bathe all the kids, get them in clean pj’s, get them a snack while I read them a story, nurse the baby down, tuck my son in, and then my last step, I will go sing to my girlies, tuck them in, and then walk out over an hour later with a nice sigh of relief. My day is over. Oh crap…they didn’t brush their teeth. Do I pull them out of their snug beds and drag them in the bathroom??? You guessed it, no way! I shove that passing thought way back into the back of my mind and pretend I never remembered we forgot! I’m stellar like that.
I’m a great mom though to my kids. I’m doing the best I can with the information and energy that I have. And so is every other mom I know. Your all doing awesome. I think we can tend to put on this show sometimes like we have it all together but we fail to tell other moms our dirty little secrets. This sets up failure to new moms that think everyone else has it all together but them. When the truth is we are all struggling at times. Yes, my girls have beautiful braids that I spent so much time on this morning but the real story is their hair is braided because I haven’t washed it in 3 days and it’s a ratted greasy mess and that’s all I could do with it!! We all have our strengths and weaknesses as parents. Some of us are great housecleaners, some are crafty, some great cooks, some great disciplinarians, but we are all on the same journey and we need to encourage each other in that instead of putting on a façade that is not there.
So next time you see my kids all cute and matchy sitting nicely in their wagon like this
Just know there was chaos at my house this morning just like at yours. And they probably all have mismatched shoes on. Heck, who am I kidding. They are probably in the wagon because they don’t have shoes on at all!