A Woman's Work

A woman's work is truly never done. There is always something to do - always. As soon as laundry is finished, another load appears. As soon as the kitchen is clean, another sink load of dirty dishes pops up. As soon as the floor is swept and mopped, someone spills something or tracks dirt in the house. We won't even discuss toilets - especially if you have boys. I finally got around to cleaning the blinds and windows in a few rooms in the house. It was a wonderful feeling of accomplishment especially since I hate doing windows. While hanging the clean blinds back up, I caught a glimpse of the sunlight shining on dust hanging from the ceiling fan. Good grief. If I had not washed the windows, I may have never noticed the dust. It's enough visible work around the house without having the spotlight on dust I don't see. Oh well, I find comfort in knowing it's understood that a woman's work is never done. To me, this means I'm never expected to be finished with my housework, so that dust can hang from the ceiling fan for just a little while longer.

Jealous Family

I heard from a mother this morning who is having difficulty helping her family adjust to her new career. Although she works within the home, all of a sudden she doesn't spend enough time with her family. It's funny how our family reacts when we pursue outside interest. They aren't concerned because we don't spend enough time, but they want ALL our time. It takes a minute for the family to accept our outside interest and some families will just tolerate it, but still want all Mama's time. Don't let guilt stop you from doing what you enjoy. We can't hold hands all day, we can't play all day, and we sure can't romance all day. Do what you do and maybe a little more, then TAKE CARE OF YOU.
I work a few hours outside the home in the evenings plus I have a job I work from home. I've been writing for years and alot of my time is spent on the computer. I still have to make sure my family is fed, dry, and happy before I sit down to work. Even when I ask if anyone needs anything before I sit down, someone will find a reason to interrupt me, but that's okay. They need me, want, me, and like having me around, but they can't have me every minute of the day.
This is difficult for new mothers to do. You truly may NOT have time for outside interest, yet begin training the child early to entertain themselves and learn not to hang on to Mama's dress tail every waking minute.
Our family will actually get jealous and feel our outside interest is replacing them. This is where the guilt comes in. We begin to feel we're neglecting our family when in actuality we're neglecting ourselves. If we KNOW we're doing our best to nurture our family and making sure their needs are met, we have nothing to feel guilty about. Is the house reasonably cleaned? Is food available when they get hungry? Have you given quality time to each child? Is hubby satisfied? Okaaaaay, so what's the problem? You've loved and cared for everyone else, so love yourself enough and take care of you.

Your Passion

Many women forget they were a woman FIRST before they became a wife and mother. We get caught up in nurturing others and as usual, we forget to nurture ourselves and our gifts and talents. We were women FIRST - full of life with passion. What's your passion? Cooking, politics, scrapbooking, exercising, sewing, decorating, music? These passions sound like hobbies and that's okay. Passion is something stirring deep within our soul. It's something we are driven to do without pay or recognition. My passion is writing. I love to write. Even when I'm not physically writing, I'm writing in my head.
It's sometimes hard to find time for our passion, but our passion should be followed. I try hard not to let my family replace my passion. Replacing my passion would be like taking away a piece of me. Passion brings joy. Passion gives purpose to our being. I ask again, what's your passion? If you aren't sure of what it is, now is a good time to search yourself and find out. What do you enjoy doing for yourself? Is there something that you feel strongly about? Is there a cause you desire to support? Follow your passion and live a passionate life!

Facing My Fear

I enjoy watching The Food Network. Last night, The Next Food Network Star was chosen. The winner struggled feeling comfortable in front of the camera, but in the final competition, he found the courage to relax and be himself. I struggled with being myself for years and always knew I was living conservatively of who I was created to be. As strange as it sounds, I was afraid to be me. Well, something was burning within me, so one year I decided to face my fear and meet me. How? There were a few reins in my life that I kept control of and I finally let them go. I made a choice to let God have His way with me. Only our Creator truly knows who we are; we think we know who we are. Year by year, I’ve watched my life unfold. I’m doing things I never thought I’d do. I’ve never felt comfortable sharing anything I’ve written, yet the Monday Meditations, growing from state to state, are from the new me. I’ve never felt comfortable sharing anything I cook, but the new me shares baked goods out of a local restaurant. I never thought I’d homeschool, but I’m going on my eighth year and realized how much I enjoy teaching toddlers. Toddlers? Me? Facing my fear has opened doors and opportunities. Facing my fear has given me new life in Christ. Fear is what kept me from being completely comfortable in my skin. Fear hindered God’s work in my life. Just as the winner of The Next Food Network Star would have missed out on winning by not being himself, we miss out on life by not being who we were created to be. Is there something you’ve always wanted to do? Is there something burning within you waiting to surface? Face your fear and follow God.

2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) - For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

You're Different

One major thing that helps me in my relationships is realizing we are all wired differently. Just because people don't think the way I do doesn't make their decisions or the way they do things wrong. They are supposed to be different! We aren't supposed to think alike. God made each of us unique in our own way. My children have their own minds and thoughts and so does my husband, so I try hard not to expect them to do and say things the way I do. This is a great concept to use not only in the family, but on the job, with our neighbors, strangers we meet, and especially our church family - Ouch! Instead of wondering why people do and say the things they do, I try to just accept the fact that they are different from me. This sure saves alot of time from trying to figure people out. What makes us think we are so right in our thinking and actions anyway? Hmmm...this really shows what we think of ourselves. We really aren't all that and a bag of chips. I recently heard someone say we judge other people's actions, but we judge ourselves based on our intentions. This is definitely something to make you go....hmmm....

Thank God it's Monday!

Finally, Monday has arrived! I was so happy to start another work week, I could hardly contain my excitement. All weekend, I waited for Monday like a child waiting for Christmas. The beginning of another demanding week brings a smile to my face! Okay, let me stop before I lose you. I don’t really feel this way about Mondays, but I have to aggressively tackle the hum-drums before they tackle me. I know my thoughts control my actions, so my performance and productivity is a direct reflection of my mind-set. Wouldn’t it be nice to cheerfully spring out of bed each Monday, do a few jumping jacks, and say, “Thank God, it’s Monday!” I chuckle when I imagine this. Yes, even the thought is funny, but it’s what God desires. Not necessarily the jumping jacks, but a cheerful spirit for a new day. Every day we awake breathing should be enough to bring us joy. Monday is the beginning of…new beginnings! This Monday could be our last, so let’s live it with joy, hope, and thanksgiving. Together, let’s thank God for Monday.

Heavenly Father, I thank you for this new Monday. I thank you for another chance to bring you glory as the woman, wife, and Mother you created me to be. Infuse me with your Holy Spirit. Take control of my thoughts, my emotions, and my actions. Fill me with your love, your joy, and your peace. Order my steps as I let go and let you have your way with me and through me. Thank you for Monday and everyday. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Psalm 118:24 (NKJV)
This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Not a Wife or Mother

I didn't feel like being much of a wife or Mother this weekend, so I took some time off. I usually take advantage of out of town trips to take a break, yet this time I stayed right at home and didn't do a thing. I put my feet up, read a few books, watched some movies, and just did whatever I felt like doing - alot of nothing. I told my husband I'd be back (mentally) Monday, so he and the boys immediately stepped up to the plate. They cooked their own breakfast, ironed their own clothes, washed dishes, and everything. Soooo, you can function without me! Of course my Mother's touch is missing in a big way, but it's nice to see them do things for themselves. As I notice little things around the house not getting done or getting half done, I almost can't wait to get back, but for now....I'm enjoying my time off. I know I'll pay for this on Monday, but it's worth it for some much needed rest and my peace of mind.

Starting Over

Lord help me, I have a God-son. I don't know where the whole god-parent role derived from or what it truly means, but I'm one to three children and the one pictured lives in the same city as I. This cute little fellow just turned two and has definitely made me step into a motherly role with him.
My sons are finally at self-sufficient ages and here comes Pookie. Pookie, where did you come from? Pookie what do you need from me? Pookie, do you want a cookie? Pookie, what am I supposed to do with you? Pookie, why are you looking at me? Pookie, when am I supposed to baby-sit you? What? Pookie, you aren't potty-trained yet? Pookie, I love you, but good grief!
May God bless the Mothers of infants and toddlers. I've been there, done that, and have two t-shirts, but Pookie is here, so I guess I'm starting over!

Back to Bed

Every morning I spring out of bed between 4:30 and 5:00 a.m., to cook my husband breakfast, meditate, and pray with my prayer partner. I then get some quiet work done on the computer, exercise, and start breakfast for the boys before they awake. Well, this morning was just a little different. After cooking my husband's breakfast and praying, I jumped back into the bed for an hour and there will be no breakfast cooked for the boys. They're on their own this morning. Today, I just want to take it easy. Besides giving the boys a little homework and preparing dinner, I'm not doing much of anything. Oh yea...I have to put in a few hours at my half of a half part-time job this evening. A woman's work is never done, but my body is over-done and tired. I know I'm feeling the extra fatigue due to my monthly friend waiting to make a grand entrance. Well, at least I know I'm not legally lazy; I love passing the blame to the happy hormones.

A woman's body goes through so many physical changes that it's unbelievable! I think this is the area where the Superwoman title fits us. We don't wear the 'S' because of what we do, but because of what we ENDURE!

A Pill Away From Crazy

I had dinner with a friend last night and I made a statement about everyone being a pill away from being legally crazy. We laughed at this, but I truly believe it. If you have a brain, your wires get crossed at times and crazy thoughts pop into your mind that only you know about. You may feel you are about to snap when placed in situations that rock your boat. EVERYONE has a breaking point or an issue that irritates them to the core. Even the most spiritual person has buttons that can be pushed.

We do something to prevent us from going over the edge. Whether it be count to ten, exercise, pray, hold your breath, curse, sing, meditate, scream, drink, or take a pill. We all have different degrees of coping skills and at some point in our life (this may be daily for some), we feel like we're going to lose it, so what do you do to maintain your sanity? You have to find out what works best for you. Daily exercise works for me. If you don't know the mental benefits of exercise, you're missing out on the world's best kept secret to maintaining your peace of mind. At the end of the day when you've dealt with other people's issues, comments, and complaints, taking a long walk or dancing to a favorite song for just ten minutes will make a big difference in your state of mind. Whatever works for you, just do it. There are alot of crazy people walking around and many of them don't want to accept the fact that they are just a pill away from being Coo - Coo for Cocoa Puffs.

Don't Wait Til You're In Trouble

It's been a long time since my children have felt the rod, but yesterday, Second-born had to receive a few licks. He blatantly disobeyed me, which isn't common practice for him, and it had to be addressed. I spoke to him of the importance of obeying parents and God and having consequences for disobedience. I tried not to lecture, but as I spoke, I could see his regrets for his actions as his eyes filled with water. After a while, I felt like I needed to use more than my words to discipline, so I did. Since I waited, it wasn't out of anger, so his fragile feelings were probably hurt more than those three passive licks, but the message was enforced. The blessing in this was when I walked into his room to deliver his three licks, he was reading his Children's Bible. Lord, have mercy. I almost changed my mind, but I followed through. I also used that opportunity to share the importance of starting your day with prayer and the Word of God - from the jump! This helps us avoid some of the traps of deception and disobedience the enemy wants us to fall into. I pray today is a better day for Second-born and I will remind him to START the day in the Word - don't wait until you're in trouble!

Show Me

My sons thank me for most everything I do for them. This warms my heart, yet I tell them to show how thankful they are by keeping their room clean, being obedient, and not getting an attitude when life doesn't go their way. I’ve told them this for a few years; however, while recently saying a prayer of thanksgiving, a Life Lesson for LaVender emerged. It humbles me when I pour into my children and God uses that very moment to reveal my own shortcomings and sins. My Heavenly Father not only wants to hear of my thankfulness, but wants to see the sincerity of my thankfulness through my consistent obedience to Him, forgiveness, and compassion. Loving my children unconditionally and being a supportive helpmate will also show how thankful I am for my never-ending blessings. It’s funny how I think the ethics of the relationship I have with my children differ from the father/daughter relationship I experience with my Savior. Why do I set standards for my children that I don’t always uphold? Do I think there are exceptions to rules of obedience because I’m an adult? If an adult can’t get it right, do I really expect a child to get it right? I examined myself as I considered the expectations put on my sons. As a parent, I am called to be a loving example, not a judge without mercy.
My life lesson is similar to this month’s Sherri Speaks titled, Do as I Say. Single Mother, Sherri, exposes a difficult decision she recently had to make to renew her relationship with her son and her God. Be encouraged today as we self-examine our walk as wives, mothers, and women of God.

1 Corinthians 11:1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

Midnight Life Lesson

I walked into my sons' bedroom last night, at midnight, to pray and the room was a complete mess. It was actually more of firstborn's mess, so instead of bowing to pray, I bowed to wake him up to pick up the small piles of dirty laundry, clean clothes, and other mess around his bed. It was another Life Lesson for LaVender as I later realized I allowed the mess obscure my focus on God. I went in with a mind to pray, yet allowed the mess to distract me. This is the same thing that happens when we're going through a difficult or trying time in our life. We can't see God working in our life because we're focused on our issues or our mess. Just as we joyfully praise God when things are going well, we should praise God when things appear not to be going as well. Although the boys' room was a mess, God was still in the midst watching over them. I was the one who moved - God was still there... in the mess. While firstborn groggily half cleaned, I prayed for him and thanked God for the beautiful midnight life lesson.

Clean Thoughts = Clean Dishes

While washing dishes this morning, I realized a sink full of dirty dishes doesn't bother me like it use to. Washing dishes use to be a comfort for me, but when I watched the family use a plate or glass, put it in the sink or leave it on the counter, and walk away; I began to take offense to it. They just KNEW they didn't have to wash it. I took it personally because it made me feel like I was being taken advantage of. Well, my issue with the dishes is a thing of the past and this really isn't about dishes, but about how I allow things to stir me up and time eventually works things out. To put it plainly, my thoughts and attitude are the only things worked out. As with anything that has troubled me in the past...they no longer occupy my thoughts. What happened to them? Nothing...they are still there, but something obviously happened to me. I'm learn to get over things before they make me circle the drain. I can't change it, so why fret over it? Needless to say, as I washed the dishes and listened to the running water that is always so soothing to my mind, I realized my comfort returned - I returned. My clean thoughts led to clean dishes, a clean sink, plus a clean kitchen.

Do I or Do I Not?

Do I or do I not jack him up? Firstborn is turning into a complete absent-minded slob. Yes, I said it. There is no other way to describe it and to top it off, his pre-teen issues are trying to get the best of me. Soooo, when he gets an attitude because I continually tell him to pick up his belongings, do I jack him up or do I not jack him up? Just this morning I told him to wash his sheets and he told me he was using his sheets...he was in the bed. Excuse me? Why are you in the bed after 9 a.m. and why are you talking to me after I asked you to do something? No explanation needed, "GET THE SHEETS!" Agitated, he angrily walked away with disgust in his face and I quickly walked after him to jack him out of his attitude, but I pulled myself back. No, the Holy Spirit pulled me back because LaVender was in high pursuit. I was told this was the age children lose their minds, but they'll be back in a few years after they find themselves - hopefully, with a different mind(set). I don't want to lose my mind with him, so I better stay under control. No telling what I would have done if I continued walking behind him this morning. Okay, I know what I would have done...I would have JACKED HIM UP!

Rest Your Mind

This weekend I limited any activity requiring mental abilities. I needed a mental retreat like I needed air, and the holiday weekend was right on time. There was no company, no cooking, no cleaning, and no business conducted. Resting my brain helped me realize the lack of attention I give my mind. I make sure my physical body is clean and conditioned, but I often neglect nurturing my mind. I also noticed how much concentration it takes to sit and meditate on nothing when you’re used to thinking about everything for everybody. Because I rested my mind, I feel amazingly refreshed and ready for another grinding week of being cook, maid, baker, mediator, teacher, taxi-driver, helpmate, and the many other hats I wear. Having quality meditation time also improved my tolerance level with situations that normally irritate me. Now I see why people who meditate on a regular basis are so peaceful. Hmmm…I need to take more time off. Mothers should be required to take a day off. Our mental capability to perform would definitely increase. Our minds are always occupied by what we’re doing or what needs to be done. Sometimes we sit to rest, but our minds are still busy! When we don't stop to renew our mind, we suffer from brain-overload and unwanted stress. I know; I’ve been there many times. I use to feel good about being able to do so many things and accomplish various tasks, yet as I get older, having my peace of mind is more important to me. Actually, I just want to keep my mind - period! When our thinking is cloudy and irritability becomes our shadow, it's time for a day off - time to rest our mind. Rest is a Mother’s secret weapon and meditation is enrichment for our soul.

Ecclesiastes 2:23 (NIV)
All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless.

Burning the Candle at Both Ends

I spoke with a Mother yesterday who has left her family. I'm sure she'll eventually return, yet she was tired of not being appreciated. She is physically and mentally tired of burning the candle at both ends. Isn't this the story of many mothers and wives? Don't we all at some point on our journey feel like we are being taken advantage of or being used? I think we expect something in return for our calling, yet our family doesn't fully understand what we do or even how we do it all. All they know is that things get done and when things don't get done; they take notice.

Yesterday, I watched my husband come home from work, change clothes, and heat his dinner plate up in the microwave that was waiting for him. My immediate thought was, "Hmmm...I wonder what that feels like to come home and not have to cook." I could have immediately started something with him by making simple comments, but I held my tongue. It's easy to throw a pity party. It's easy to notice the benefits our family reaps from our hard work. It's also easy to realize they don't know how to appreciate us. They do what they know to do and that might be to say a simple 'Thank you' every now and then. We know they love and appreciate us, they just don't say it or show it as often as we want or need them to. I've learned not to take it personally. My role is more powerful than I'll ever be able to understand or appreciate, so how can I expect anyone else to appreciate it? I'm reminded to do everything unto the Lord and this helps me not to expect anything in return for my works at home; therefore, I'm not disappointed.
I guess we each have to learn to deal with these feelings in our own way. The important thing is to remember to TAKE CARE OF YOU. Remember that you are a key component in your home and before you can lovingly care for your family, you must be cared for FIRST. Be good to YOU!

I'm Not There Yet

MOMSWEB has given me an awesome avenue to share how God works in my busy life. Sharing my sometimes painful pruning experiences helps us realize we are not alone on our journey to be Christ-controlled wives and mothers. One of the most popular responses I receive, whether in speaking engagements or through email is, “I’m not there yet.” Well, I’m not there either, but I know someone who is…Jesus! The minute we accepted Jesus in our life, we were infused with His power. No, I don’t have the patience to homeschool my two sons, but God does. No, I don’t have the energy to be a supportive, passionate helpmate - everyday, but God does. No, I don’t have the oomph to cook and clean all the time, but God does. No, I don’t have the discipline to hold my tongue, but God does. No, I don’t have the determination to exercise my temple on a daily basis, but God does. I’ve learned surrendering my Self is the answer to becoming one with Christ. My carnal thoughts stifle the Spirit from having His way with me and through me. My messy mind hinders my obedience. Denying myself allows me to be there – right where God wants me…as an empty vessel. Let’s stop recognizing the things we can’t do and acknowledge that we have the power to do all God requires of us as wives and mothers. If God can work through my selfishness, pride, uncontrolled tongue, and my many other issues, He can do it for you! We may not be there, but God is, and He’s waiting to unleash the power within us. Acknowledge the power of God and let Him have his way today and everyday!

Philippians 4:13 (NIV)
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.