Ninja Tettles

December 15, 2014 in Little People

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It’s ten days til Christmas and I STILL don’t have all my shopping done.

And I know that is normal for some people… In fact, my husband is of the breed that doesn’t begin shopping until the week of…

But I personally like to feel prepared. And with SO many stinkin kids and other people to shop for, I have to!

But this year has been tough! The kids are getting older and their interests are changing.

I also told them that they really will only get 1 toy that they really want.

I’m happy with this rule for lots of reasons, but the one negative side is that I feel the pressure to get exactly the right thing.

So I have been asking them lately what they want and I have gotten some really funny responses.

My conversation with the little guy above went like like this.

I picked him up and put him in ‘Santa’s’ (unfortunately soft) lap.

Ahem.

Me: Hey buddy! What do YOU want for Christmas this year?

Atti: Oh, Mommy, I want a Ninja Tettle.

Me: Ohhhh, a Ninja Turtle, huh?

Atti: Yes!

Me: Well, which one do you want?

Atti: I want Michaelangelo!

Me: (getting excited about my intel) Oh, great! Is that the orange one?

Atti: (stops what he is doing to look up at me… giggles.) Um, no, Mommy…. He’s gween.

Of course he is.

 

 

 

 

Freedom

December 14, 2014 in Heart-songs

Well, I did it.

I went dark.

I deactivated my Facebook account. I would have deleted it altogether but I am afraid (after downloading my ‘life’ history from the last 8 years) that some important photo might have been missed and would be forever lost to me.

So let’s see… Do I feel liberated?

Not totally.

I am a bit worried that I will reactivate it tomorrow. I’m hoping my resolve surprises me (and you), and that I can make it at least a couple months without returning to my old habits.

I have seen other people deactivate and thought before… Heh, heh, heh…they’ll be back.

Look how cynical I have become!

Well, I hope for their sake and for mine that it IS possible to QUIT Facebook.

So why am I quitting it?

Well, I am conflicted about it…to be sure.

I feel like it has been a great way to keep in touch with people. It has given me insight into people’s lives, and real, true friendships have been formed.

But in short, it is (one of) the black holes of my life.

It sucks me in and precious time is lost forever. It makes me sad that I can’t set a limit for myself and stick to it, but I can’t.  I can’t tell you how many hours have been lost to long conversations on Facebook. I think it’s natural to want to use your voice to make a difference. But how many lives have been changed over a lost– or won– Facebook argument? I’m not sure. In the last 8 years have I really made a difference to anyone at all?

It also serves as a band aid for the social interaction in my life– or lack thereof. Being a stay at home mommy can be lonely, and I think I use Facebook as a replacement for meaningful adult relationships. And it takes a lot of emotional energy and investment that I could otherwise be putting into real social situations. In real life. With coffee. And sunshine? I don’t know…

Also, my poor children need me. They need real things from me. Like breakfast. And love. And attention. And they need me a lot more than the masses need to see a picture of my coffee, or the clever meme that I found that perfectly sums up my life.

I just feel like I am a slave to this particular brand of social media. And for the longest time I have wanted to be free from it. And so today, impulsively, without thinking too much about it, I just pulled the plug.

But I want to hold to the relationships that I have long distance, so I am hoping (fingers crossed), that I can replace countless hours a day Facebooking, with at least one hour a week of blogging.

Because technology is an amazing thing (Thank you, Lord, it pays the rent…) and I want to use it to share my heart and my life with you.

Unlike Facebook, which often feels fastpaced and impersonal and needy… this blog is like an old friend. Always there to listen. Always full of hope and possibilities– A new, blank page just waiting to be filled with the outpouring of my heart.

It’s like free therapy for me. And some people (you) are kind enough to sometimes read it.

And even kinder to send me messages of encouragement when I need it.

So, here’s to the blank page. To a Christmas free from the invisible prison. To children and family and food and REAL fellowship.

And here’s to you. Cause if you found me here it means you cared enough to come look. Thank you.

Let’s see how this thing goes…

Love,
Me
girls

Bedtime

November 2, 2014 in Little People, Uncategorized

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This picture is so deceiving.

It looks so hallmark.

It was one of those super rare things that happens once in a lifetime, and so you have to capture it on camera.

Because in what universe has bedtime with kids ever really been a hallmark moment?

I feel like I’ve been lied to…

On behalf of moms everywhere, I’m calling it.

Bedtime is not sweet. Or happy. Or gentle on parents.

I hate bedtime.

It is the absolute worst part of the day. All the time. Without exception.

And I feel– deep down in the soft, gooey parts of my middle– like I should be snuggled in bed next to my kids, reading, and giggling and making memories.

I should kiss them, and stroke their heads and turn out the lights and stand in the doorway…sighing, and contemplating their bright futures.

But instead, I’m hiding in my bedroom closet with a jar of Nutella (because I just started a diet and it is the closest thing to straight up sugar that survived the pantry masacre) and hoping praying that my husband doesn’t call in for back up.

My kids fight bedtime harder than Rocky fought Drago. They will seriously do ANYTHING not to have to go to sleep.

First, bedtime starts we an announcement: It is bedtime.

Then commences the whining, crying, fighting, gnashing of teeth, and hiding.

My husband d.r.a.g.s. the children to the bathroom to brush their teeth, where at least one of them experiences sudden onset muscle fatigue and drops like an Ebola patient. (Too soon?) The other two then take turns spraying toothpaste all over the bathroom, while begging not to have to go to bed.

Often bribery is offered, by the children. As in, “Dad, if you let me stay up I won’t tell mom that you caught Atti shaving his legs the other day while you were supposed to be watching him.”

Or one throws up and passes out. Or just plain drops to his knees and plants roots in the carpet… Refusing to move.

Bedtime is not glamorous. Or easy. Or for the faint of heart.

In my experience, bedtime is a kids worst enemy.

And I just simply am not buying the fruit of the loom ads any longer.

It’s fake.

They lied.

End of story.

Bedtime stinks and I’m not doing it. Unless you make me (brandon). But please don’t.

All of this to say, to all you awesome husbands out there who pick up the bedtime routine… You are awesome. We are tired. And you have no idea the service you are doing your tired wife.

To all you single moms who do bedtime ALONE, you deserve a medal.

And since I don’t have one, I am taking a knee on your behalf right now. I don’t know how you do it, but I sure do admire you.

Can I get a witness?

That feeling

September 21, 2014 in Heart-songs, Little People, Love Stories

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Do you know that feeling you get after a good meal, when you’ve made something wonderful and delicious with your very two hands and then watched your little people as they fill their hearts and tummies at the family table?

I hope you do.

I hope you can sigh with me that sweet sigh of contentment as they all get up and move to the family room to spend time together in rest and fellowship.

And the world sings with joy, and worship overflows from the church where it began on Sunday morning and it fills our homes and our hearts with an otherworldly type peace– a sweet longing for the full satisfaction that we’ll one day have… The sweet heavenly satisfaction that we’ve only just tasted.

To use my wise brother in law’s phrase, God didn’t have to be this good.

But He is.

On days like this one, when the burden of sin feels a little lighter, and the sweet blessings of love and companionship, and the comforts of a warm meal and a happy, loving family all but swallow us up, for a minute the veil seems so thin.

And I remember the days, when like my children I hoped to have more time in this world before the Savior came back. But those days are long gone.

And I find myself sitting in the quiet of my living room with tears stinging my eyes from pure reckless love for my Savior, and whispering Jesus, please come. Come now.

Not because my life is bad, but because it couldn’t get any better. And if the blessings of this life are only a pale shadow of the blessings to come, I want to sit at the Lord’s table now.

And I want to feast on the promises fulfilled, and I want to drink in the goodness of His grace, and sit with him face to face…unhindered by these earthly eyes.

And I want to hear His voice, calling me to worship.

“Oh give thanks, to the Lord. Call upon His name. Make known His deeds, among the people,” ps 105:1

Do you know that feeling, friends?

I DON’T UNDERSTAND

September 5, 2014 in Little People

To that mom who left her child, unattended, sweating, and red-faced  in the car in the parking lot,

 

I understand that it is a J-O-B taking that child into the grocery store with you.

I understand that in your mind it was just for a minute.

I understand that the days are long and the child never says thank you.

I understand that he grabs everything in sight, screams, pulls on you, distracts you, and generally makes you feel tired.

But HOW in the world do you look through the window at the sweet baby’s face and NOT CARE that you are leaving him in 100+ degree heat?

HOW do you NOT CARE that it could only take 5 minutes for someone to grab that child and take him from you forever?

HOW do you set your mind on ANYTHING save the fact that your child, whom at one point in space and time was a part of your very body, is now sitting, strapped and helpless, in the back of your car wondering if you are ever coming back?

I Don’t understand how you can leave him there, hot and afraid, with no one to hear his crying.

I Don’t understand how your heart fails to skip a beat the minute he is out of the range of your protective vision.

I Don’t understand how you lack the motherly instinct to kiss every boo boo and wipe away tears- especially tears that are caused by your negligence.

And I Don’t understand how you place the value of a quiet and thoughtful shopping experience over the worth of your helpless baby.

And I will never understand.

I’m going shopping today.

And this is what my cart will look like.

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Not only that, but there will be a baby wrapped onto my body like a tiny ninja.

And I will endure every third person that I meet telling me that my hands are full.

And I will silently persevere as middle aged men sigh with frustration because I am in their way.

And I will smile as people judge me and wonder why I have so many kids.

And I will tear up when elderly people come up to me and tell me that I’m not wasting my life.

And I will get angry and loose my temper with my children.

And I will be tired at the end of it all and feel like I am failing as a mother because my children just can’t seem to help themselves on the cereal aisle.

And I will curse under my breath say yes to the canned, cancerous ravioli JUST to make them BE QUIET and stop drawing more attention.

But I will NEVER under any circumstance tell them that they are worth so little that I would rather risk their lives than endure their company for an hour and a half while I shop.

I am made sick by the way you treat your children.

I am tired of these babies having to grow up in homes with parents who tell them that they are a burden.

Is it easy raising babies? No.

Am I the best mother? Definitely not.

But are my children my beloveds? yes!

Are their lives of significant value? yes!

Not only are my children the single greatest accomplishments of my otherwise insignificant life, but they are precious and adored by God. They are crafted by His hands and made in His image. They are the apple of His eye. And they belong to Him! I am simply raising them up for Him. And I have been given the honor and the privilege of holding their sweet hands as they walk through life, and kissing their sweet cheeks, and comforting their little hearts. They are GIFTS. And they should be treated as such.

Not left in a hot car with sweat pouring from their tiny foreheads.

I really do not understand.

And I never will.

Sincerely,

That mom with ALL the disorderly kids in the grocery store

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clanging Symbols

August 26, 2014 in Little People

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“For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. ”Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. ”If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” John 13: 15-17

When my children and I go to the grocery store — all of us, all five of us — it is a precarious walk from the car door to the sidewalk entrance. So, I came up with this game. We play ducks.

I am the mommy duck and the kids are the baby ducks, and the baby ducks have to follow the mommy duck very closely. And we all have to quack loudly like ducks until we make it safely across the ‘pond’.

It keeps the kids safe and makes me look neurotic…all at the same time! Fun, huh?

(I’m really not sure why it works, but it does.)

Raising little christian people is a lot like walking through that parking lot. It’s dangerous.

At every turn, we are met with life-threatening evils and loud, honking distractions.

It’s weighty, knowing that they are following me.

Lately, I have become passionate about the way I lead my children, and I have been convicted to make sure that my own life is not a stumbling block for them. I can lecture and preach all I want to, but if I don’t live like someone who has been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, then what good are my words?

As it says in 1 Corinthians 13:1, “ I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”

If I spend 30 minutes explaining to my 3 year old that he can’t yell at this brother just because he is angry, and then five minutes later raise my voice at him because he has once again disobeyed, my words become noise.

What good is it to preach kindness to my children, and then come at them with hostility?

Or to encourage them to forgive one another while holding a grudge against them myself?

Or to explain to them what it means to be attentive, and then half-heartedly listen to them tell me all about the adventure they just had outside.

If I want to be heard, I have to listen. If I want to be loved and respected, I need to love and respect. If I want to be obeyed, I have model obedience.

There are so many fantastic resources out there for mothers. And I feel like I am constantly groping for the next one. I read books, watch interviews, read blogs, talk with other moms, and listen to radio shows

But my children could care less about how many books I have read, or how many well intended sticky notes are taped up around the house reminding me to make good habits. What they care about is what they see.

They need to hear the Word of God proclaimed in our household, no doubt. Without it, they have no hope.

But they also need to hear it from someone who they see believing it.

This is so convicting, and so hard!

As I stared into the eyes of my child yesterday and told him how the Savior was nailed to the cross because of the sin that he clung to, I felt the burden of my own sin weighing down heavy upon my heart.

It was indeed my sins, the ones I cling to in secret, the ones that I can dress up in pretty lies and keep as pets…

It was those that nailed my Savior to the cross.

Can I truly love that which killed my Lord?

I think about Him on that cross drawing His final breath, having suffered so greatly, having been humiliated and hurt for my sake, and what was His final thought?

Me.

It is finished.” He said.

His last  words to His people were words of comfort to us.

If that doesn’t make you hate your sin, I don’t know what will.

When I find myself as I did yesterday, seeing the cross more clearly as another layer of the veil is removed, and I see myself  in the light of day tightly clinging to those sins, I repent.

I throw them off as if they are hot coals and I run from them. I have to. Because I love my Savior. And as I tell my children, you can’t love your Savior and your sin.

But it’s usually in those moments of teaching, that the Lord teaches me. And I’m thankful for that.

And I’m stirred up once again to good works.

I don’t want to be a noisy, clanging symbol to my children. I want my words to count. Every one.

So as I get up this morning and pray and drink my coffee, I make sure that I am prepared to lead this little paddling of ducks.

I make sure that I am prepared to walk the walk and talk the talk.

Because if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck…

Well, it must be a duck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making me New

August 22, 2014 in Little People

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Our relationships with our children reveal so much to us about Jesus.

And I think that’s part of why God gives us children!

We go through the day to day labor of raising them, training them, and disciplining them–all the while believing that it is for their good (Which it is…) and not realizing how powerfully God uses it for OUR good.

Lately, I have been learning how to love the unlovable.

Call me a terrible mom, call my son a rebellious toddler, call God a Gracious Father.

Because whatever I am tempted to feel about this active, mischievous little sinner that has the iron will of a Spartan, my Father in heaven has never felt it toward me.

And whatever anger I’m prone to, whatever since of justice I feel has been violated, whatever personal offense I take at his constant and unrelenting rebellion, my Father in heaven has never felt it towards me.

Instead, He felt it towards His Son.

And when He looks at me…

He sees love.

And patience.

And kindness.

And gentleness.

And self- control.

All of those fruits that I fail to produce. All of those fruits that Jesus displayed so perfectly throughout His life here on this earth.

And so on my worst day, on my son’s worst day– when both of us are red faced and in tears from constant failed communication and imperfect discipline, God looks upon this awful, sinful mom and says, You are enough.

Because Christ was enough.

I realize that and the tears flow. And I sit in my hallway in the dark with my coffee before the children get up and I pray.

I pray that God would be gracious to win their hearts as He has won mine.

I pray that He would use my imperfect parenting for His glory, to make a difference in their lives.

I pray that He would equip me with every grace necessary to get through just one. more. day.

And I pray that in those tense moments of internal conflict– in the heat of battle between my old wayward sinful man and the redeemed and radiant new, that God would send His helper to make me remember His words, “as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

And in that moment I would choose to glory in offering up my life as a sacrifice of praise by loving the unlovable, by serving the mess maker, by kissing the one who so often brings me to the end of myself.

He gave me this child as a blessing. But not only because children are a blessing, but because having children is a blessing…

Because they bring out our worst so that we have to repent of it.

And they act like mirrors, to show us what ugly, wicked behaviors we have taught them.

And they force us to acknowledge that we are not God. And we really, truly have no control over their hearts.

And they make us depend on His sovereignty and His grace.

At the end of the day when I am completely strung out, feeling tired, and boring, and old.

I want to be able to say, if only in a tired whisper,

Thank you, Lord, for giving me this awful little sinner.

Because through parenting him, Jesus is making me new.

We Don’t Need No Education…Or do we?

August 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

Actually, we do.

And we’ve all been getting one this week!

Here’s what we have done.

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We took the very cliche first day of school photo.

 

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We labored to get used to sitting still for a few hours a day. And concentrating on the task at hand!

 

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In History we learned about the Phoenicians and how they used snails from the Mediterranean Sea to die cloth and jewelry.

Then we pretended to die jewelry (noodles) with our boiled snail sludge (food coloring).

It was legit…until Graysen confessed the next morning to getting hungry and eating all the necklaces.

Some people’s children are speeeeeecial. Not mine, though… they are totally normal.

 

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I’m pretty sure science is the kids’ favorite subject! And the best thing about it is that Daddy gets involved! He helped the kids make this neat little model of the solar system…which is missing Pluto. What do you think? Is Pluto a planet?

 

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We prepped for our spelling test by using Scrabble letters. (Genius mom moment!) The kids thought this was totally awesome.

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We also did something NEW!  We went to the dentist! Yay!

I know I should have taken them like, 3 years ago or something…but better late than never!

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They were so cute and apprehensive. But they stayed brave… and I got to use it as an opportunity to teach them that God is with them ALWAYS. And that they can pray to Him in times of fear and stress.

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This guy looks so big laying up there.

And THIS GUY…

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Oh man… he is at such a tough stage. He is a very active little guy. So he into trouble often. But he is so cute.  Life is a playground. And a world of discovery. He keeps me on my toes!

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And to my pleasant surprise, he jumped up there and did everything she asked him to! He was the perfect model citizen!

Woohoo! That is the Lord’s mercy at work, people! Cuz, I was honestly worried he might bite her finger or something… you just never know with this guy. ha!

So that’s it. That’s our week. I am SO TIRED from trying to keep up with these little Morgan people. But I guess it keeps me young!

And I leave you this little gem as I go:

Please WAtch.

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A helpless bride

July 29, 2014 in Heart-songs, Love Stories

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Yesterday my husband worked a 22 hour day.

He fell asleep at 7:30, sitting– with his head in his hand, on the couch.

And the work met him again this morning at 7:00 am.

And it relentlessly keeps coming, because it’s summer. And that’s what summers are like.

And I feel so helpless as a stay at home mom, to contribute anything to his labor!

I have no computer skills to offer him, no money to help pay bills, and hardly any time to comfort him- with a newborn attached to me constantly.

All I can do is love him, and praise him, and be thankful, and rest in his provision.

And even that I don’t do well.

My hands are so empty.

When my husband married me, he took me unto himself. I became a part of him.

He took me on as his own flesh, to comfort me and love me, to provide for me, to cultivate my love for Christ, to nurture my soul’s affection for my Lord.

He acquired nothing, taking my debts as his own. I became his responsibility.

My problems became his problems, my discomforts became his discomforts, my challenges his challenges.

I’m a whole lot of trouble. And I cost him a lot.

And yet, he delights in me.

Joyfully, and without hesitation, he calls me his.

I bring him joy, and satisfaction. (I hope…)

And if this is true of my earthly husband, how much more is it true of my heavenly one?

He loves me at great cost to Himself.

He pours Himself out for my sake, took on the wrath of God for my sake, becomes sin for my sake. So that I might become the righteousness of God. He fills me up with His spirit so that my brokenness is healed and my ugliness becomes beauty. My sins are forgiven and my soul is free.

And why?

Simply because He loves me, and because in a mysterious way, I bring Him glory and honor as His redeemed and perfected bride.

I’m so thankful that my loving and faithful earthly husband leads me to my heavenly one, that he teaches me about sacrifice and cherishes me in my helplessness.

I’m thankful that both husbands delight in me, a wicked and vile sinner, a debtor… but a redeemed bride.

Lord, give me grace to love them both.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Quit Sugar

June 15, 2014 in book review

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Okay, so I didn’t really quit sugar.
But I thought about it.
For a nano-second.
But then I remembered the Moose Tracks Ice cream in my freezer and quickly came to my senses.
Really though, if I DID plan to ‘quit’ sugar, I would probably use this book as a guide. Author Sara Wilson has a friendly, conversational writing style that invites readers to join her in her pursuit of health. Often when I read this type of diet or health book, I feel as if the author is condescending and snobby, but I didn’t get that at all when reading this book.
Also, the loose eight week ‘step-program’ seems like a great approach to an ambitious habit-breaking exercise.
The book is laid out well, beginning with the why, moving on to the how, and ending with the delicious-looking recipes that help you to achieve your goal.
I did try one of the recipes, the egg-bacon-muffins, which were great. But they should come with a warning that the grease from the bacon WILL in fact set your oven on fire.
After the initial shock of having to put out a fire at 7 am on a Monday, I did quite enjoy my delicious sugarless breakfast.
I would compare this book to something like the recently made popular Trim Healthy Mama, but I will say that I Quit Sugar is much shorter and contains much less information. This can be good if you are easily overwhelmed by information and just in need of a quick How-To. If you want something more in dept, and with more explanation, THM is the way to go. The premise of both books seem to roughly be the same, though they take different approaches. Both have you get off of processed sugar as well as natural fructose– such is found in honey and fruit. THM actually also suggests separating meals with fats from those with carbs, while IQS just has you cut sugars altogether.
Both books have recipes, but IQS contains beautiful food photography, which I find helpful. When health food looks good, it gives me the push I need to try it, whereas my imagination maybe isn’t always great at picturing a yummy-looking chia seed milkshake. But alas, it can be so… as I found in this book.
Would I suggest this book to a friend in need of diet or nutrition education? Perhaps. It certainly would help someone looking for a major lifestyle change. I personally prefer regulating my diet and maintaining fitness by eating healthy, moderate portion sizes and getting adequate exercise. But for some, this approach may be the way to go…especially for someone with sugar sensitivity.
As for now, though, I am happy to try some of Wilson’s recipes and continue my modest indulgence of sugar.

I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah for this review. I was not required to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.