September 22, 2015
It’s not as though I was focusing on the fact that it was a Monday, but by lunchtime, there was no denying it.
It was a Monday.
Stereotypical in every sense of the word. Time to say “Goodbye” to the carefree weekend and “Hello” to the real world.
A headache, a lost insurance card, several disheartening phone calls, a blown grocery budget, and harsh words from an impatient person all added up to a not-so friendly welcome to the week. Oh, and being told we had to pay a pretty substantial medical bill up front when two policies were waiting to cover the expense. Yep, that sealed the deal.
So when I set off to get my munchkin from preschool, I knew some praise music was in order. The CD continued to play as we headed back home.
“Every piece, every part of this life, of this heart
Strength of my soul
Every need, every care
Every burden I bear
Strength of my soul.”
Exactly what I needed to hear.
And then from the backseat, giggles broke into hysterical laughter.
“Did you hear that guy, Mommy? Every bird in my hair?”
“He’s singing about a bird in my hair.”
If only those burdens would become like birds and fly away.
We both laughed the rest of the way home.
Even if those burdens are still around on Tuesday and Wednesday and every other day of the week, they aren’t going to take up residence in my hair. Or my head or my heart.
Fly away burdens. And take Monday with you.
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
**Lyrics from Charles Billingsley’s song “Strength of My Soul.”
Hop off the wheel of worry. Read more!
September 21, 2015
“Mommy, I dropped the syrup and now the bottle is all drippy.”
Not a sentence I wanted to hear. Seriously. Because, um, “drippy” translates into puddles and lines of oozy syrup all over the place. And just when you think you’ve wiped up all of the puddles and lines, more seem to appear.
Sounds exactly like some of the messes I’ve made in my own life.
By the time we finished with this sticky venture, I somehow had syrup on the back of my skirt(?), all over a barstool that had been on the other side of the room, (another ?), and stream-like creations on the side of the trashcan (a little more understandable).
I handled the mess with patience and without regret-inducing parenting skills. I simply assured my guy that it could be cleaned up as we jumped into the task.
Despite the soap and water and rags and paper towels, the residue remained.
A drip on a chip bag-a reminder.
The squishy sound of a shoe-a reminder.
The faint odor of maple lurking in the pantry-a reminder.
All factors pointing to a guilty, drippy syrup bottle.
Kind of like lingering guilt.
A memory that makes you wince-a reminder.
A regret you just can’t seem to shake-a reminder.
A grudge with a tight grip-a reminder.
How many times have I confessed my own messes to the Lord only to have Him assure me that the mess has been cleaned up and forgiven? And yet, I choose to return to it…to get stuck in the guilt and regret.
We cannot, we must not, stay stuck in our guilt. The mess has been wiped clean.
Let it go. It was nailed to the Cross.
Remember that the next time your feet try to cling to what has been forgiven.
And, hey, remember to keep your syrup bottle at a place with a low-level fall risk. You don’t want it to get all drippy.
September 17, 2015
“I wish you could see him through my eyes,” my son’s teacher told me as she commented on some of the positive attributes she had observed in him. “He’s sweet. He’s kind.”
Words to warm a mama’s heart.
My heart melted a little more when I saw him walking down the hall towards his classroom and towards me.
Sure, he’s about the same height as the other kids in the line and wore the same burgundy and khaki as all the others. But his eyes were the ones who lit up when he saw his mama standing, waiting and smiling at him.
Maybe he smelled the McDonald’s fries waiting for him. Or maybe it was because he got to steal away for a few minutes during the school day for a little sunshine and Sprite.
Whatever it was, he smiled and blushed a little as our eyes met. I’d like to think an ounce of it was simply because he saw his mommy. I’d love to see myself through his eyes.
Eyes not clouded by mommy-guilt, hectic schedules, and the imperfections staring back at me from the mirror.
Imperfections that stem from time, life, and a love for calories.
My youngest likes to rest his head on my soft tummy and refers to it as his “pillow.” A far cry from the toned figure I long to see staring back at me from my reflection. But for him, a perfect place to land.
Wonder if we could take our eyes off the mirror for a moment? Look somewhere other than the holes in our bank accounts and gaping places in our personalities and skills we wish we could fill?
Take a glance beyond the wrinkles to see one created in the image of God.
See ourselves through the eyes of a Savior who loves us, forgives us, redeems us.
Look beyond our flaws to find our worth in Him.
“For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves.”
Ephesians 1: 4-6
September 16, 2015
The scene is set. The house: a wreck.
Clutter is king. Sheets need to be washed, dust bunnies abound, and the vacuum longs to be removed from the closet.
Even though a starting point has yet to be identified, the will within to conquer it all is strong. If only. If only, all of these people I love would leave for a few hours. The mess is great, but my visions are greater.
They will return and be amazed, mesmerized by the scent of lemon and bleach. They will tiptoe across freshly mopped floors as they admire the sparkle gleaming from stainless steel faucets.
And yet, as strong as my determination was, that’s not exactly what happened the last time I had the house to myself. I found myself on the couch, watching Judge Judy, and eating boxed mac and cheese.
Clearly, I cannot be trusted to be left alone.
What I really suffer from is a lack of time management skills. While those moments when I just need to chill exist, there are times when I really need to get some things accomplished.
I have discovered two strategies that seem to get me off the couch and diving into those tasks.
1. Making Lists
I am so tempted at the end of the day to make a mental list of everything that I didn’t accomplish during the day. What works better is to have a list checked with things I did accomplish.
I’m a pen and paper kind of a girl and so being able to see things that I have done works for me. Making a to-do list the night before helps me the most. I can take a few minutes to jot down those phone calls I forgot to make or a project that I want to tackle. In the morning, the list is waiting.
2. Setting a Timer
Typical Denise Scenario:
I decided to go through and sort a stack of papers on the kitchen counter. After going through a few, I looked down and there were a pair of my sandals on the floor. Let me just put these away.
I walked into the bedroom to put away the shoes and saw some shirts that needed to be hung up. I opened the closet door to put away the shirts and there was a towel hanging on the door.
I grabbed the towel and started to put it in the hamper when I thought that I should just start a load of towels in the wash. Walked back to the laundry room with the towels and began the machine. I noticed that my phone needed to be charged. Let me plug that up.
Of course, the charger is beside the dishwasher that needs to be unloaded….
Yes, I wear myself out too.
If you are a Captain Distraction like I am, set yourself a timer. It works. Have a stack of papers to sort? Set the timer for ten minutes. Get it done.
Use an allotted amount of time to concentrate on a particular task.
I especially like to use a timer when I’m feeling overwhelmed and don’t really know where to begin on the work I need to do. I can get through five or ten minutes of cleaning or organizing. Helps me to check off my to-do list so I can get to more important things, like watching daytime court tv.
September 15, 2015
You know what makes this girl happy?
Cooler temps. It has been a long, hot summer and I am over it.
I’m over the sweat and the humidity and the frizzy hair.
The boys walked out the back door this morning in their shirt sleeves and shorts yelling, “It’s freezing!” as they ran to the car.
In reality the thermometer had made it to the mid-50s and it felt wonderful.
Oh, the heat’s coming back over the next few weeks. But a nip in the air, a reminder of what’s coming…I’ll take it.
The grocery store had canned pumpkin marked as a seasonal item for 89 cents each.
Yes, it’ll be warm enough this weekend to fire up the grill. But a taste of what lies ahead, yes please.
Life sometimes clings like the dog days of summer.
Burning out from the struggle of a season.
Sweating it out waiting patiently for a change to come.
Feeling the heat from work, marriage, finances, life.
Hold on. Keep the faith. Look up.
Relief is on the way.
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