Monday, May 13, 2013

mom's day

Speaking of expectations vs. reality, Mother's Day was yesterday!! ;)
Again, I have a hard time keeping my expectations low on this day. I was reminding myself of this post all weekend long (particularly when I was up before 7am on both mornings). I have a long way to go until it sinks in and permeates my thoughts and actions. A work in progress, but at least He's working!!

I requested demanded a pic with my kiddos and I'm thankful we got a couple of good ones. Love Channing's lip in the first one :)


The picture Bennett drew on his card for me that nearly brought tears to my eyes since there were definitely angels in that room that day (he didn't breathe for nearly 2 minutes when he was born):
My brain's in a total fog due to lack of sleep and the fact that I've been trying to get this child to stay in bed for the past hour and 20 minutes. I should stare at this picture for a while longer before I go back in there ;)

Truly, I am blessed.

Expectations vs. Reality

My dad always reminds us, particularly in our role as wives, to keep our expectations low. I try. Really, I do. But there are some things that I just can't help but get my hopes up sky high about. I have been so excited for Bennett's first soccer game. We've chosen to not put him in any sports up until this point (other than lots of tumbling classes and gymnastics last summer) because that's never been his passion or forte. I wanted it to be something he expressed interest in and not something we pushed on him because all his friends were doing it. We knew he was ready and he's a scrappy kid and fast runner so soccer seemed like a logical place to start. 

These are the moments you picture way before you even have kids. You picture yourself rocking your newborn baby to sleep, singing a lullaby. You picture reading books to your toddler and sending your child off to school for the first time. You picture sitting on the sidelines of a sporting event and cheering them on. You picture them scoring the winning goal and jumping out of your seats in excitement. 
[ #6 ]

You don't picture 20mph winds, trying to wrangle your 3 & 1yr old alone while your husband's off coaching a team he doesn't want to coach, your almost 6 yr old son pouting on the sidelines because he didn't get a turn or trying to reason with your delirious, temper-throwing 3 year old who just wants to play too. Oy vey. It was a hot mess. Despite that, I'm so happy with these pictures and someday I should just delete this blog entry and we'll forget all about it and think it was just the picture perfect day from our imaginations ;) 

Jon and Bennett all smiles (for the moment):
We signed up with i9 sports which seems like a fantastic program. Each week a kid from the team gets awarded with a free pizza for displaying one of the characteristics of good sportsmanship they focus on for the week. Also, the practices and games are back to back so just one hour per week. The bad part is, each individual team is run by two parent volunteers, with the overseers and refs provided by i9.  No one was coming forward to volunteer for Bennett's team so Jon did at the last minute. We honestly had no clue that he was going to be the coach for the entire practice and game. It just wasn't at all what we expected. There's another dad who's volunteering but he didn't show up until the practice was over and the game was already started. Jon has many talents and gifts. Coaching or teaching just isn't one of them. He did the best he could but he was seriously stressed out and Bennett would have responded much better to a coach who wasn't his dad. It was sorta horrible.
Bennett spent a lot of the warm-ups like this:
I thought Dawson would be totally fine just running around in the grass while Bennett played. He was not. He doesn't do well in brand new situations around strangers and he was so mad he couldn't play. He was just plain out of it. He sorta glazes over and acts like a crazy person, to put it mildly. Bennett got mad when he didn't get a turn he thought he deserved and refused to go back in for the last half of the game. Like I said, he would do much better with a coach that's not his dad. A little frustrating when you're paying a lot of money for the season!
Despite the mess, I am in love with this picture:
Next week we will all know what to expect and hopefully handle all of it with a lot more dignity and grace! 

Friday, May 10, 2013

from selfish to selfless

So, since I wrote this post, God's been opening my eyes and teaching me a lot.** And I think, perhaps, some of it may encourage you too, if you're in the thick of your mothering years. I don't often get a clear and direct message from God. Christianity isn't always about some holy golden light shining down onto your open Bible, highlighting the exact verse you need in any given moment. But, the cool thing is, sometimes it is. (Ok, there wasn't any light. But there may as well have been.)
I've mentioned the Jesus Calling devotional on here before. If you don't have a daily devotional and are like me, wondering what in the heck you're supposed to read in your daily "quiet time", or don't even have a daily quiet time because of that very reason, get it. It's quick and easy and soooo encouraging and applicable. I blogged about my complete lack of energy and time and my sometimes lack of patience on April 29th. On April 30th, my devotional said this:
When some basic need is lacking--time, energy, money--consider yourself blessed. Your very lack is an opportunity to latch onto Me in unashamed dependence. When you begin a day with inadequate resources, you must concentrate your efforts on the present moment. ... Awareness of your inadequacy is a rich blessing, training you to rely wholeheartedly on Me. ... Rejoice in your insufficiency, knowing that My Power is made perfect in weakness.

Woah. Did you see the golden light? Yeah, it was pretty cool.

Later that day I got an email from a wise old friend of mine (just kidding, she's not old. Just has wisdom beyond her years). These are her powerful words that she gave me permission to share:
I've been thinking a lot about this season. I'm trying to figure out how to adapt to a sacrificial lifestyle, and forgo my hopes for leisure. That's my problem, I'm constantly looking for a break when I really need to be dying to self.  This is my JOB. This is my calling, ministry, everything.  I must somehow find ease and enjoyment WHILE ministering to my kids/husband, and without being a martyr. And in the times that it is neither easy or enjoyable, find rest IN him. Matt 11:28 I'm still trying to figure out what exactly that looks like. Sometimes I pray for strength and I get it, and sometimes I don't feel like I get it. But I do have to get myself in a good thought pattern.  Like reminding myself of what I do and do not deserve. Which leads to me thinking about the Gospel, and that's always a good thing to dwell on.  
She set me a link to a great article (it's lengthy but worth a read if you're struggling with the whole dying to self thing). Here's a little snippet of it that resonated with me:
Giving up what you cannot keep does not mean giving up your home, or your job so you can go serve somewhere else. It is giving up yourself. Lay yourself down. Sacrifice yourself here, now. Cheerfully wipe the nose for the fiftieth time today. Make dinner again for the people who don’t like the green beans. Laugh when your plans are thwarted by a vomiting child. Lay yourself down for the people here with you, the people who annoy you, the people who get in your way, the people who take up so much of your time that you can’t read anymore. Rejoice in them. Sacrifice for them. Gain that which you cannot lose in them.
I suck at this. I'm grumbling in my head when I have to leave my seat at dinner for the fourth time while my food continues to get colder and colder to get something for one of my children. I want to cry when they wake me up at 6am. But the first step in changing something is becoming aware of it in your life. I love that God is bringing all this to the forefront of my mind. This journey is a long one. But we don't have to worry about the end. We just have to worry about the here and now and looking to Him in every moment of weakness. I'm so humbled that He calls me His child. I don't deserve an ounce of His love. But thank goodness it has nothing to do with deserving or not deserving it. He laid down His life for me. I want to show this selfless love to my kids. Its not hard to love them. But it is hard to love wiping the food I cooked off of the floor where my baby rejected it and spending an hour at night of "my" time putting them back in bed. I make sacrifices all day long for them. I pray that eventually I won't feel an ounce of drudgery or resentment in those sacrifices. I pray that one day I will feel joy in each of those sacrifices. And that God would take all of this and use it for His glory.

I mean, look at these faces. You'd think it wouldn't be so hard to wait on these munchkins hand and foot ;)
Side note: If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that Dawson pretty much wears costumes everywhere these days (besides school or church. I'm not that cool of a mom.) He wore this Max suit last week on the hottest day we've had so far. He asked to sleep in it. Sure kid, whatever will speed up this bedtime routine. Well, the next morning around 9:30am, I'm giving him his eggs and notice that his hands are huge. They were swollen about twice their normal size because the elastic at the wrists was cutting off his circulation!! Seriously...I felt terrible. They didn't go back down to normal until late that night. The next time he wanted to wear it, I cut the elastic out. Sheesh. Who knew wearing costumes can be hazardous to your health?

**(I often hesitate to share spiritual things I've been learning on this blog because I don't always feel that the internet is the place for it. It can be misconstrued, taken the wrong way and frankly, in real life we don't just go around spouting off what God has done in our hearts without any sort of prompting from the person we're talking to. The things that are convicting to one person aren't going to be convicting for everyone. We use our common sense (and nudges from the Holy Spirit) to share what needs to be shared with people. But I have felt compelled to share this over the last couple weeks and I'm going to go with my heart. I'm sure there are a lot of other mommas out there that need this in this moment.)