Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Adjusting to the Quiet Life

I've always been a person that sticks out in a crowd, for one reason or another.  I participated in the individual sport of gymnastics.  Although I wasn't the best on the team, I had talents that set me apart from many others - flexibility and grace similar to that of Nastia Liukin.  I also tend to have an exuberant personality (mild understatement).  I also very zealously and demonstratively loved and served God as a teen.  Then, I functioned as a youth pastor, also very zealously and demonstratively.  All those things combined, I was used to being noticed.  I'm NOT saying I did things spiritually just to be noticed.  I did have a very pure heart.  Then, my life started moving in a different direction.  Youth ministry was a thing of the past and I simply became the wife of my (very awesome, ruggedly handsome, wonderfully Godly) husband.  I fell off the radar.  Boy, was that an adjustment.  I realized that although mostly I had not sought the spotlight, I did use it to gauge the "approval rating" of my life.  So, when I became "just another" wife, like many other Godly wives all over the world, I was at some sort of a loss.  "Was I doing something wrong?"  But, God led me through.  He showed me very early on in married life that what I do, I do for Him.  Serving my husband is just as spiritual as serving the church in youth ministry.  I'm still pleasing God.  I'm doing it just for HIM.  Pleasing my husband, pleases God. 

So, although nobody else noticed what I was doing and there wasn't any spotlight any more, I knew I was pleasing God to the best of the grace He supplied to me.  Then, I entered another stage of life.  The Beautiful Bountiful Blossom stage of life.  And, I learned the lesson at another level.  It's what I like to call the Quiet Life.  This wife-mother stage is not a See-Me-Notice-Me stage (except for on that glorious holiday we all know as Mother's Day).  I refuse to run from the Quiet Life.  I refuse to think ill of the Quiet Life.  I refuse to feel "hindered" by the Quiet Life because others try to get away from it.  Jesus said I shouldn't do things just to be noticed.  Being noticed will be my only reward, if that is what I seek.  The Quiet Life is better than a career.  It's better than a stage and spotlight.  It's better than the approval of man.  It's the will of God for me and for so many others.  I love the Quiet Life.  It's so much simpler, just me, my husband, my Blossoms and my God. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Blossom #3 and her blending

Blossom #3 is as unique as a Handpainted Pottery piece.  And, we like it that way.  We have noticed that being third in line in the family has posed some interesting challenges for her however.  I've heard this is the case with other 3rd-in-liners, as well.  Particularly, we've noticed that Skipper can hide under the radar.  She "blends" with her other sissies.  So, Mommy & Daddy say to the collective Blossoms to clean out the playhouse and Scooter and Skeeter end up doing most of the work.  Skipper does a token toy-put-away or two just to look like she's obeying but really, she's just blending again.  Laziness is a trait that is not tolerated here.  When we talk about how we're training our children and what we're shooting for, a good work ethic is always in the top four things we discuss.  (Being a Christian is number one.)  So, Daddy said that we should make the blending impossible.  Skipper should now be paired with one other Blossom and given work to do.  In the last two days, as the Blossoms go about their daily additional work list that I write on a little index card, Skipper was paired with Scooter some and Skeeter some.  Guess what, she couldn't hide.  She HAD to help.  It was working.  I love it when Daddy comes up with those good common sense fixes.  Mommas should always chat with Daddies about these sorts of things.  Now, with God's grace, Skipper WILL have a good work ethic.

Friday, July 26, 2013

A beautiful song

Calling all Mommies.  Check out this beautiful song, by Keith & Kristin Getty, called a Mother's Prayer.  My good friend, "Betty Crocker" sent it to me.  I love this quote that was included on the video:

"When we pray for our children,
we join with GOD
in the work that He is doing in their lives."
- Jodie Berndt

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Now I've been there, done that...

There's lots of things that I have experienced... and then, evidently, there are things I haven't yet experienced.  Today, I experienced a new one.  I was on the phone, doing the nice, motherly sort of thing of arranging piano lessons for Skeeter.  "Yes, my name is blah, blah, blah and my phone number is blah, blah... b l a h.......

Broken Glass. 
Sobbing Baby Sweet Pea. 
Scared Scooter. 
"Oh my goodness, are you ok, Scooter?" 
"Um, excuse me, sir, can I call you back?  We have broken glass here!" 
"Sure, no problem."

I've never done that before - had to interrupt a phone call for that kind of experience. Baby Sweet Pea was quickly reassured that although it was a scary sound, she was really ok.  Scooter was reminded that it was an accident.  Skeeter and Scooter were told to run and get flip-flops to keep on their feet, while Mommy cleaned up the broken glass bowl and then, calmly called the piano guy back.  He was glad to hear that no one was hurt.  Never a dull moment here!  I want to handle every situation with grace.  May He help me to do so.

Monday, July 22, 2013

A little thing

Daddy returned from running some errands.  Skeeter rounded the corner, announcing, "Daddy has something for YOU!"  (It's really hard for anyone to keep a secret in an all-Blossom household.)  Mommy's face broke into a huge smile when she discovered that Daddy had picked up a shiny blue stainless steel water bottle for her.  (Mommy drinks water like a camel.  Hopefully she doesn't look like a camel.  No offense for those of you who adore the hairy, grumpy creatures.)  Mommy has been wanting one of those water bottles for a LONG time.  It's the little things, I'm tellin' you!  Husbands are busy people, with the weight of the world on their shoulders at times.  As wives, we must savor those little things and strive to think the best of our own man at all times. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

What can I do?

Everybody wants something from Daddy.  At work, they want reports, they want questions answered, they want advice, etc.  At home, the Blossoms want Daddy's undivided attention.  They want his help catching the baby bunny under the playhouse.  They want to tell him how they shot at Grackles today with their BB guns.  They want to show him their toad, "Lightning" or "Thunder," (depending on which Blossom you ask).  Mommy wants to recount her whole day to him in the first few minutes that he's home.  All day, Daddy give-give-GIVES.  Good man.  Good habit.  I put myself in his shoes and think WOW.  What can I do to give to Daddy?  This isn't a post about 25 Stellar Things You Can Do to Knock Daddy's Socks Off.  Nope.  It's the little things I'm talking about.  I stop and think about how better to create a soothing atmosphere when Daddy gets home.  Is there something I can tidy up?  What's the first thing he sees when he opens the door?  Is there a task that he just hasn't been able to get to that I could cross off his list by rearranging my priorities?  Is there something little the Blossoms can handle for him?  I refuse to become so numb with life, that I forget about serving my husband.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The answer is more WITH

At the end of the day, when little lacy eyelashes rest on velvety soft Blossom cheeks, Mommy starts to ponder.  I tend to evaluate what matters and where I spent my time.  It's a good habit and sometimes it isn't.  Meaning, Mommies tend to be very tired at the end of the day so although the intention is good and God usually works on and in my heart at those times, helping me to refocus, my perspective is not so good, so tears are almost always a result.  I gaze at the precious blessings I have been given and I realize the mission I have before me... did I do enough today to work toward that mission?  Oh so many little and big nothings filled up my day, things that, at first glance don't seem to participate in the means to an end - the ultimate end of Godly, Christian children in a Godly, Christian home.  In my tears, I take them to my husband and he comforts, advises, admonishes, whatever is necessary for the situation.  "Take them WITH you.  In the necessary tasks of housework, gardening, cooking and such, have them WITH you."  Such sound advice to a mind that seemed virtually overwhelmed with the thought of trying to simplify an already very simple lifestyle. WITH I can do.  WITH is the way Jesus discipled his twelve.  WITH isn't complicated.  WITH is what we're already doing; we just need more WITH.  Thank God for sound husbandly advice to soothe my soul and lead me down the right path, giving me direction for another day in service to my Master.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Scooter's sense of humor

We were in Wal-Mart and Skeeter's flip-flop came off and skidded across the aisle, landing right in front of a lady shopper. Skeeter hurried to retrieve it.  Between the Blossoms, the cart and me, we had the whole aisle blocked.  The Friday morning crowd is usually a laidback bunch, but I still try to be polite and not hold people up... so I tried to bring some humor to the situation.

"Cinderella lost her slipper."

Everyone grins. The Blossoms giggle.

"The question is, am I the Fairy Godmother, or the Evil Stepmother?"

Without missing a beat, Scooter smiles a sly smile and says, "The Evil Stepmother."

Friday, July 12, 2013

Skipper's Game

Daddy gets home from a long day at work.  And, Skipper "pounces" on him.

"You be Joset (Joseph), 'n' I be Mewy (Mary), an' dat (pointing to Sweet Pea) is Baby Jesus."

I'm not sure what all Daddy has to do, since I'm usually preparing supper at this point, but Daddy is such a good sport.  This game gets repeated every night and sometimes more than once in a night.  It makes her a happy camper.

PS - Yes, we are Christmas crazy here.  The Blossoms were singing Jingle Bells this morning.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Monday, July 8, 2013

All the time

Our pastor said this the other week,

"You can't be a part-time Christian."

Friday, July 5, 2013

You know your children read when...

...they use this kind of vocabulary correctly in everyday conversation.


"more suitable"




Behold the power of books!  :)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

To give rest

We live in a crazy, fast-paced world. There's rarely a moment to rest and reflect, which means we must find or make those moments ourselves.  Rather than unwinding in front of the TV, I prefer to read recreationally. I've found that this influences me to Godliness.  The wholesomeness is restful and rejuvenating.  When I read the Anne books by Lucy Maud Montgomery, I'm reminded to savor my children and all their joyous childish ways all the more.  I remember to look at God's lovely creation and let Him speak to me.  This series also reminds me of Psalms; "When I lift up my eyes to the hills, from whence comes my help." I esteem virtue.  Those Poverbs 31 sort of things are beautiful. When I read The Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, I'm reminded of living holy, while under persecution, a theme also found in 1 Peter.  The power of faith is evident to me as I read The Secret Garden by the same author.  Little Lord Fauntleroy reminded me to believe the best in people.  The Lost Prince clearly illustrated the importance of obeying the Master's orders, following His plan and always being faithful. When I read Jane Austen 's masterpiece Pride and Prejudice, I recall the pitfalls of pride.  Emma reminds me of the dangers of vanity.  I also love the sweet, pure writings of Grace Livingston Hill.  My sister and I joke that when we put down one of her books we feel like praying and cooking our family a delectable homey meal. Gene Stratton Potter's Girl of the Limberlost is a story that vividly cautions me against bitterness.  I could go on and on about reading biographies, cookbooks, mysteries, historical fiction and such.  Some choose to unwind with a sitcom of zero virtue, but I choose to reinforce virtue with wholesome clean reading.  "If there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things."

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Speaking of slaves...

One slave was recently on an extended vacation.  Since Sweet Pea was born, I gave Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer some serious time off, while simultaneously requiring longer hours of other kitchen slaves, such as Crock Pot.  Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer must have felt somewhat neglected.  She was reinitiated with a Peanut Butter Pie last week.  Just as I was about to drop a huge dollop of Peanut Butter into her shiny metal bowl, I realized that a quick wash would be a good idea.  She'd never been dusty before.  Welcome back, Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.  I'm looking forward to having your assistance on those Amped Up Brownies this week.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Slave BFF

Some slaves are inseparable.  I can respect that, as long as the productivity speaks for itself.  Restaurant Broom & Standup Dustpan are that way.  Wherever I look, they're always together.  SBFF seems to fit (Slaves Best Friends Forever)  Skeeter operates Restaurant Broom & Standup Dustpan.  She has taken over sweeping the kitchen floor.  That was hard for Mommy.  She likes the kitchen floor clean, REALLY clean, but teaching the Blossoms to manage these slaves was more important.  Plus, Long Handled Broom just needed a break.  She just didn't work well with Blossoms.  (I made a note of that in her employee file.  I also considered this in her Employee Performance Review, but since she deals well with the VP of this corporation, we've decided to keep her on staff here.)  We worked with Skeeter for months, so she'd know what Restaurant Broom & Standup Dustpan were capable of and how to get them to perform to their highest potential.  She had to learn to make Restaurant Broom & Standup Dustpan work in an efficient pattern, a pattern that Mommy specifically taught her.  We're so glad we hired Restaurant Broom & Standup Dustpan from our local Lowes store.  Restaurant Broom & Standup Dustpan are working 2-3 times a day to keep the kitchen floor tidy.  I can really see them having a long career here, especially since other Blossoms will be working with Restaurant Broom & Standup Dustpan.