A Thursday Thought

Have you ever tried to figure out the cause of conflict in your life? Friendships, marriage, children, friends, or co-workers? Another light bulb moment ------ Conflict doesn't just happen. Something triggers a situation to create a conflict. Hmmm... my reaction or outlook on situations may be the cause of conflict. Are you the cause of conflict in your life?

Rise and Shine!

Every morning, I awake my children by saying, "Rise and shine, give God the glory!" I then walk out of their room and give them a minute to accept the fact that sleep time is over. I've been doing this for years and it's my way of reminding them of who kept them through the night and touched them to see a new day. When they come to say good morning and issue my morning hug, I tell them to start their day with Jesus. Before we begin to use His eyes, His ears, His legs, His arms, His mouth, His everything....we should give thanks and acknowledge God as our Creator.

I believe if I train my sons early to start their day with Jesus, as adults the habit will already be formed. I won't always be around to comfort and encourage them, but they'll always have an Almighty God to call on. We don't know what shape the world will be in when our children are adults, but knowing they'll start their day the right way will definitely help shape their day!

Reality Recession

Hubby was sent home today because there was no work for him. As an HVAC Tech, there is always someone needing heating or air conditioning work, but there's a recession in the air. This is about the fourth time he's been sent home in three months. I thank God he hasn't been sent home permanently. I don't truly realize the reality of our nation's recession until it hits home. When gas prices were sky high, we dealt with it, but reality still had not hit enough to make it a reality. Reading about it in the paper, hearing stories from friends and family, and watching the news just doesn't get it. I believe everyone will feel this reality before it gets better in some form or fashion. What do we do? Keep pressing on - keep saving - keep praying! God is in control!

I think of the single mothers who are feeling the heat and have nobody but themselves to depend on. I can't begin to imagine. It's thoughts like these that allow me to be just a little more thankful for my working husband.

The Fog

Early this morning, I was on the highway returning to Florida after an overnight visit with my parents. I got an early start, yet was met by dense fog, which caused me to drive much slower and with extreme caution. The boys were no help at all as they snored in the backseat. I could barely see other cars or the highway signs. Of course I prayed before I left home, but I also received an incredible Life Lesson for LaVender in the midst of my obscured visibility. I was basically driving blindly because the fog was that thick. I thought of living my life the same way – blindly and completely depending on God to give me direction. Without the fog, I would have driven faster and without much regard to God’s guidance. Yes, God would have been on my mind, but not like He was in the fog! I was reminded that I should always be completely dependent on God in all situations – regardless of the weather and life’s circumstances. My mind should be on Him continually. What makes me think I am self sufficient because my carnal eyes can see the road ahead of me? What makes me think I’m in control of any situation?

The fog wasn’t patchy; it was dense the entire trip home, yet I arrived safely. I thanked and praised God for the reminder to live my life in the fog – relying on Him completely for guidance. Every decision I make and every turn I take should be done blindly and in faith – allowing God to order my steps and to guide me along life’s highway. While driving, I thought of a phrase referring to fog that my good friend, Tori, shared with me years ago. Fog stands for Favor Of God. So, while driving blindly in the fog, I was truly in the F.O.G – the favor of God!

Have a joyful day in Motherhood and stay in the FOG!

Proverbs 8:34-35 (NIV)

Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD.

Thankful Thursday

I find myself mentally complaining about little things - these little things are a part of my everyday life as a wife and mother, so why complain? Complaining isn't going to make these things disappear, so let it go! Homework, laundry, dishes (Auuuugh), errands, etc... The list can go on and on and although I may not verbally express these things, I know my mind controls my attitude and my actions. Today will be a Thankful Thursday. As soon as a negative thought crosses my mind, I will immediately replace it with a thought or praise of thankfulness. Yep, it'll be hard, yet I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. It's time for some de-programming of thoughts and re-programming of thankfulness!

I'm so blessed, I truly have NO THING to complain about!

Adapt and Adjust

While driving to church yesterday, my husband commented on the many changes of weather we’ve been experiencing. Sometimes we experience more than one season in a single day. Regardless of the weather, life goes on and our scheduled day continues; we simply adapt and adjust to the temperature. I related our frequent weather changing days to the changes we experience in life. Actually, we experience countless changes throughout the day. Different trials and triumphs invite an array of emotions. We never know what the day will hold, yet we must adjust and adapt accordingly. I’m dealing with a few major changes myself. One is being the mother of a new teenager. I feel like I’m learning to be a mother all over again. Any encouragement from expert mothers of teenagers is appreciated! I’m also dealing with changes in my physical body. Peri-menopause is no joke. The desire for simplicity in my life is another change on my heart. Where has this desire been hiding? Just as God controls the ever changing weather, He is in control of our ever changing days. I imagine Him with a remote control changing the channels of my life to keep me in His will.

As we prepare for a change in our government’s leadership, whether we welcome it or not, it’s going to happen, so we must adapt and adjust. Preparation of life is the same. There will be new life, death, aging, growth, comfort and discomfort. There will be changes in our children, our marriage, friendships, finances, jobs and in ourselves. There is a season for all things and knowing God holds the remote control of our life gives us the strength and the faith to simply adapt and adjust.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV)

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,

I've Seen the Light!

While listening to another mother speak about her children recently, I had a light bulb moment! My children need a mother! They need 24 hour guidance! They NEED to be told what to do! Why on Earth was I waiting and expecting them to show initiative in regards to keeping their room clean, washing dishes, and washing their own clothes. Ahhhh... I feel like I've just figured out a math problem I've been battling with for days. Unfortunately, I don't have initiative-driven children who are anxious to do their chores. Now that I have realized that, I can release them from the ladder of high expectations and allow them to be....just children...not Stepford Children, but normal children who need a mother to tell them what to do. Sigh...it's going to be a great day!

Don't Get Comfortable

I have to remind myself not to get comfortable in my role of Mothering. It's so easy to become complacent, however, reminding myself that I am appointed and anointed to care for God's children makes me step up to the plate and give each day my all. What an honor it is to have an opportunity to mold a heart and mind. Influential and providential - the role of the Mother is all that and some!

Happy Hour

What's On Your Mind '09? is the first blog carnival I've ever participated in. It was started by Shane at Heart Reflections to challenge writers and encourage conversation. If you'd like to participate, the hostess this week is Surviving Motherhood...

The topic is....
"We have all heard from God when we read our Bibles, listened to sermons at church, or gone to Bible study, right? But is God limited to our “spiritual” activities? Or does He show Himself in the middle of our everyday activities, too? Share about a time when God spoke to your heart in the midst of the ordinary."

Here is mine - I've always thought of church as Happy Hour. We put on our happy faces while we're in the midst of other believers and sing, clap, and welcome the Word of God with our on-time Amens. As soon as we walk out the church doors, there is an application test awaiting. It may be as soon as we're in the car or maybe before we get in the car, we're stopped to engage in 'spiritual conversation'. Sometimes the test awaits us at home when we cross the threshold of our home. If only our church family could be a fly on the wall!
It's a little hard for me to share a story of a particular time when I hear God in the midst of the ordinary
since I no longer attend the Happy Hour Services. I strive on a minute by minute basis to live in the Spirit. Yes, it's hard, but my children challenge me to be a little better every day. Being at home with them everyday challenges me to live a do as I do lifestyle. Being a Christ-controlled Mother is my everyday goal. My sons watch me as I work, they listen to me as I speak on the phone or directly to them, they watch how I treat their father and how I interact with neighbors and strangers, they watch what I put in my temple, they watch me exercise my temple or NOT, they see me pray and praise throughout the day, they notice if I read my Bible daily, and they watch me respond and react to everyday life. So, since I've turned in my Happy Hour Club Membership, every activity is a spiritual activity and every moment is an opportunity to be a witness. Hard? Yes! Impossible? No. God's grace and mercy? Gotta have it - morning by morning, minute by minute!

Rescue Me!

I awoke Saturday morning feeling completely foul and challenged by uncontrolled hormones. I guess it isn’t enough for a woman to deal with gender attached emotions, so we have to deal with the extra emotions adorned by the season of our hormones. Good grief!

To keep from ruining the family's weekend and embarrassing the family of God, I jumped in the shower, my prayer closet, where the only person that had to deal with me was my Creator. I begged God to rescue me from my thoughts, my attitude, and from my self. I needed my mind regulated because the mind battles within me were beyond my control. I cried out to God and begged for strength to be Christ-controlled and not allow my flesh to have its way. My cry out to God was medicinal and the water seemed to wash away the foul feelings while comfort and peace covered me. Only a living God, who understands me, could have rescued me. Am I ashamed of my weak, emotional moments? No, because although they don’t show strength, they strengthen. Admitting my weaknesses and limitations affirms God’s strength and power. As long as I’m living, there will be more moments to cry out for God’s help. I thank God for not limiting us to the number of times we call on Him because I sure get tired of my boys calling my name throughout the day. Thank God for Jesus!

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

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.

What's For Dinner?

Hubby came home from work Friday and asked the one question that makes my head hurt - "What's For Dinner?" Auuuugh! My reply to hubby was, "Tongue." Whenever I don't feel like cooking, I tell my poor family to chew on their tongue. I know, I'm such a loving wife and mother. Well, cooking is my least favorite domestic task and hubby knew this when he married me. It's an effort for me to go into the kitchen. Every now and then, I'll get an urge to cook with some excitement, but it's rare, veeeery rare. I'm a baker, not a cook and YES, there is a difference (smile).

The key to my lack of love for cooking is planning ahead. If I plan the meal the day before, it's less effort for me, but going into a cold kitchen and looking at a frozen chicken hours before dinner time is disaster for me. This is what happened Friday and no, I didn't cook and yes, my family survived. Hey, everyone gets a day off from work, right? What about the cook? When is the cook's day off? Hmmm...today is Saturday. I wonder if hubby will want to eat today? Dare I not cook two days in a row?

Help Wanted

2009 is eight days old and this is just a reminder to stick with those resolutions! If you've already slipped up, that's okay! Start over! Each new day is a new beginning - another opportunity to get it right. We fail at our new beginning resolutions because we try to do them in our own power. Our flesh can't handle our desire to do the right thing, but the power of God can definitely empower and equip us for success. Something as simple as attempting to drink enough water daily is something I can't do alone. Exercising, holding your tongue, losing weight...whatever your goal is, ask for God's help and guidance. You can't fail with God! We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us! Happy New Day! Happy New Beginning!

Is My Labor in Vain?

Last night as I watched my boys clean their nasty room, I wondered if my labor was in vain. I'm here with them all day - teaching, correcting, molding, loving, encouraging, sharing, helping and everything else the Lord allows me to do and sometimes they act as if they are orphans. Do they hear my words? Are they listening? Are they grasping the child-like concepts I share? Is my form of discipline working? Where is the fruit of my labor? Well, this morning I felt better. No, my labor is not in vain. I must keep tilling, planting, and watering. My harvest will eventually come, but I must not get weary in my well doing. The only way the enemy will win is if I stop. Okay, today is another day of teaching, correcting, molding, loving, encouraging, sharing, helping, and everything else the Lord has equipped me to do, so I must prepare myself to pour into my young seeds. Prayer, prayer, and more prayer is my preparation. No, my labor is not in vain!

It's Mine!

Hubby and I were talking about the boys getting a paper route, but I was completely against it. Why? Because the route would infringe upon my precious ME time. My prayer/meditation/exercise/quiet/alone time is early in the morning after hubby goes to work and the boys are still sleeping. It actually begins around 4:45-5:00 a.m. The paper route would take that away from me. No! That's my time! This time is necessary to maintain my peace of mind. It's necessary for my sanity. It's necessary for my patience and understanding. It's necessary for compassion. It's necessary to be a loving wife and sharing mother. It's necessary to keep the walls in my home from being painted black. A family will exhaust a mother of every ounce of time and energy she has - if allowed. Sorry family, this time is mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! Selfish? No, I don't think so. It would be selfish for me NOT to reserve this time for myself to help me be a better woman, wife, and mother.

Mind Battles

My relaxing Sunday afternoons are over for a while. Yesterday, instead of sitting in my warm living room wrapped in my purple blanket and surrounded by reading and writing materials, I sat in a hard plastic folding chair in a cold gym watching second-born’s basketball practice. I thought I was okay with the Sunday practices, but had to fight the spirit of complaining and discontent all the way to the gym. Obviously, the battle in my mind was stronger than my will. I enjoy sports and especially enjoy watching my boys play, so where was this trifling irritation coming from?

I recalled my desire to do better and be better this year which helped explain the battle in my mind. The enemy doesn’t want me to go higher in my spiritual walk and wants me to allow simple matters to ruffle my feathers. I will be pulled out of my comfort zone and placed in many difficult situations this year, so I better gird up and get ready. I already know the battle will begin in my mind, so I must speak God’s promises and remember I am more than a conqueror – in every battle. What’s the point of grumbling, mumbling, and complaining when it isn’t going to change anything? It's my attitude that needs changing! With each situation and mind battle, I must remember that God is in control and my will must be surrendered – daily. I thank God for taking my comfort Sundays away and loving me enough to take me to another level.

What will today hold? I don’t know, but I know I serve a God wanting only the best for my life. Have your way, Lord!

Luke 22:42 (NKJV)

“Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”

Daily Hugs

I'm not a touchy kinda person at all, but as a mother, I try to hug my boys at least once a day. Actually, the boys initiate the hugs every morning when they awake. They come to me with sleep still in their eyes and morning breath to hug their Mama. I wish the entire day was as loving and compassionate as our morning hugs, but reality must set in and life happens (smile).

Well, after life has happened and we have experienced our full day of duty, the boys return to their father and me with an evening hug to say goodnight. After all that has been said and done, after all the attitudes have unveiled, and discipline has been done, the evening bear hugs make everything okay. Everything really is ALRIGHT!

It's a blessing to live in the reality of life. My family is far from being perfect, but love conquers all and the daily hugs are God's reminder that He covers and keeps us from sunrise to sunset.

Paper Pusher

I did it! I cleaned out a file cabinet that has been housing papers since 2006. Firstborn said the pile looked like a mini Mt. Everest. For the past few days, I've been trying to clean out the clutter collecting in my home and for some reason it's always paper! Homeschool papers, home business papers, newspaper clippings, business cards, notes, forms, brochures, pamphlets, and whatever else I bring home. Stop the madness! Needless to say, I had an extremely productive first day of the year, but I've only just begun - this was only one out of two drawers. Just think, I had TRASH filed neatly in my file cabinets.