Because, sometimes, I’m a phony.

Sometimes, I’m a phony. I don’t mean to be, mind you. It is true, none the less. {Do you ever look at a phrase like none the less and think, “what does that even mean?”}

There are days when I’m serving my little heart out what with the laundry doing and grit making and yes, honey, I can pretend to be a hunk of cheese and you’re a rat who is eating my leg. I don’t make up these games. I just play them, y’all.

I’m doing all the right things. I could instagram the moment, hashtag it #motherhood, and get me some virtual high fives.

Breakfast table

But, here’s the thing. In my heart, I’m having a Martha moment. In my head, I’m thinking, what is the point of doing all of this if no one applauds? Yikes, that’s kind of embarrassing to see in print.

{Time out. The baby just spit up all over my Bible. Luke is never going to smell the same, by the way.}

rain

I get caught up in the command to serve and forget that it is, also, a privilege. The feeding of babies, the matching of little socks, the making of special meals, the pride of a clean kitchen – they are all gifts.

Little girls are watching me and it matters what they see. I don’t want them to picture me grumbling as I clean the toilets or complaining about yet another stain on the carpet. I want them to see me, not just serving, but taking pleasure in the serving. I think of a quote from Mother Theresa that I once read.

The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it.

Let that one sit for a bit.

laundry

This morning, one of my girls woke me up by whispering in my ear. Mommy, do you want some grits because I can make them. She then made breakfast for all of her sisters, cleaned up after herself and made me a cup of coffee. And, y’all, the smile on her face was the best part. It tickled her to pieces to serve.

Then, there was the time another one of my girls took her entire piggy bank to the store because she had decided to spend it all on less fortunate kids at Christmastime. For days afterward, she kept telling me, It just felt so good to give it all away.

When serving becomes a burden, it’s time for a heart check. Our Savior was a server and it should be an honor to be the same.

Hide the Word (Week 5) and Nail Bitin’

Every time I prove fickle, the Lord proves faithful and I have to admit how desperate I am for his beautiful grace. He shows up, as always, and I think to myself, “Well, I certainly did not deserve that.”

s and s

I am a nail biter of the worst kind. I go weeks, even months, with nice ladylike nails. But you can always tell when I am worrying about something because I have nothing but nubs.

When I was in high school, I was a candystriper in a nursing home. There was one female resident who was appalled at the state of my fingernails. I remember her looking at me and asking, “What do you do with the nails? Do you swallow them or take to spittin?” Clearly, neither of those options were appealing and, so, I would quickly change the subject. I could always distract Miss Ruth by asking her about the latest Harlequin romance novel she was reading. She would giggle and blush and tell me I was too young for those things.

{That story has nothing to do with anything. Just a sweet memory that popped into my mind. I am sure Miss Ruth has been gone quite some time.}

scripture

Here is our reading plan for the next seven days. We are finishing up Genesis and moving into Exodus. It may seem odd, but Exodus is really one of my favorite books. 

January 28 – Genesis 46-47

January 29 – Genesis 48-50

January 30 – Exodus 1-3

January 31 – Exodus 4-6

February 1 – Exodus 7-9

February 2 – Exodus 10-12

February 3 – Exodus 13-15

Love y’all so much. Happy reading!

Let’s buy a condo on the beach and let all of our friends use it for free.

My husband and I are dreamers.

When we were young, our dreams were, shall we say, slightly self-focused. We craved financial success in a big way. He would plan exotic vacations and I would mentally decorate my dream home with all sorts of shiny things. We were convinced that, if we only did X, Y and Z, then the good life would soon be ours. {It’s okay. We laugh about it, too.}

Fence

Thankfully, God did not let us go too far down that road before giving us a swift reality kick in the rear – the details of which are another post entirely.

We soon realized that God was not calling us to a life of money, but ministry. {Just for the record, those are so not the same thing.} We began looking at different possibilities and prayed about where God wanted to take our little family. Before long, we began to see doors opening up and leading us to a little church far from home. Though not my dream situation, it seemed to have God’s approval stamped all over it.

The church was only a short drive to the beach and my people love to have our toes in the sand. So, it did not take long for the dream wheels to begin turning. We were going to live frugally. We were going to grow our own food in the backyard. The church had a parsonage, so there would be no mortgage payment. All of these things, in our minds, added up to a little family condo on the beach.

It wasn’t going to be just for us, mind you. Oh, no. We were going to buy a little beach-front beauty and let all of our friends use it for free. {It’s been several years now and we still say that, of all our empty promises, this was our most sincere.}

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It’s not entirely my fault. My dad is a giver. My dad would give you the Harley t-shirt off of his back – all while telling you the story of where it came from, why he was in that town and the name of the cashier that rang up his purchase. My mom is a doer. Some day, I’ll tell you about the time I overspent at a children’s clothing store and, immediately upon checking out, had extreme buyer’s remorse. My mom, bless her I-will-embarrass-myself-for-you heart, marched right back in with my multiple bags of adorable but overpriced clothes and asked for a refund. I come from good people, y’all.

Unfortunately, the whole condo on the beach thing never went down. Within three months, we found ourselves jobless, homeless and a little confused about what had just happened. Maybe God didn’t understand our intentions. I mean, we were going to let our friends use it, too. Though we were slightly shell-shocked, God {surprise, surprise} was several steps ahead of us and another door of ministry was already opening.

That has turned out to be the scariest and most exhilarating part of ministry life – never knowing what God is going to be up to next, but knowing that you want to be a part of it. For us, that has looked like a bus load of traveling college students camping out in our bonus room. It has been making meals for new mamas. It is serving supper to a group of homeless men, seeing them at the public library later that week and calling them by name.

It turns out that you don’t need a condo on the beach to do ministry. I would still like one and, just for the record, I would totally let you use it.

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Linking up with Lori Harris today and her first ever Live Small, Love Big linky! <–Click here to read more and join up!

Mom Talk Monday (You can do this thing.)

I thought of you, this morning. Yes, you.

Mom Talk

It’s Sunday morning and I have breakfast dishes on the table and little girls playing in the other room. And I only have about 15 minutes before I need to load my peeps up and head to church. But I had to take just a moment and write these words before they were gone. :) So, if this seems a little rushed or jumbled, please forgive me.

I was reading in the book of Joshua this morning – specifically Joshua 1:1-9. The Lord hands Joshua a huge task. He is going to be the one to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land. No pressure or anything.

See, Joshua had been by Moses’ side the whole time. So, he knew the relationship between God and Moses. He knew that God spoke to Moses face to face – like a man speaks to his friend. He had seen Moses disappear into the mountain top for those private moments with God and he had seen him come back down with a little bit of God-glory still lingering on his face (Exodus 34:29.)

Sarah daddy guitar

I can’t help but wonder if Joshua felt a little intimidated by the task at hand. And that made me think of you. I wonder if you feel a little intimidated by the task at hand.

Working mom.

Single mom.

Mom of multiple little ones.

Mom of tweens or teens.

Mom of a child or children with special needs.

Mom of a prodigal.

Mom with more month than money.

sophia and mommy 2

I’m thinking of you this morning. And, if you feel a little ill-equipped for the season you are in, I have four encouragements for you from this very passage in Joshua.

  1. Be strong and courageous (verse 6,7,9.) If I am Joshua, then I’m gonna be hanging on every word that the Lord speaks. And, in just nine short verses, the Lord tells Joshua three times to be strong and courageous. Raising children to be all that God has created them to be is not an easy task. Be brave, sweet mama. Be strong. Be courageous for your children.
  2. Be completely obedient (verse 7.) The Lord instructs Joshua to follow the law of Moses completely – to not turn to the right or to the left. Scripture gives clear instructions but it will not do us any good if we think we know a better way.
  3. Be in the Word (verse 9.) We have no strength on our own. We can not equip ourselves to do the monumental task of motherhood. We have to be in reading God’s Word. It is our lifeline, ladies. My goal, each day, is to rise early and spend time with God first. Not because it is wrong to do it at night. Not because I’m legalistic about it. What I have found, is that if I meet with God privately in the morning, then I have a little of that God-glory lingering on me throughout the day.
  4. Be reminded of His presence (verse 5, 9.) God is with you wherever you go. He is with you at that doctor’s appointment. And at that parent-teacher conference. At that job interview. He hears you. He sees you. He’s got you.

Satan will tell you that you just aren’t cut out for motherhood. He will say that you don’t have what it takes or that you’re doing it all wrong. But, you know what? Satan is a liar (John 8:44.) Scripture says there is no truth in him. None. Zero. Zilch.

You can do this thing.

I believe in you.

 

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Five Things Friday: 5 Homeschool Hints

I do not blog about homeschooling very often. My main reason is that I still consider myself very much a newbie in this area. This is my third year and I spend most of my free time reading tips and tricks from more seasoned homeschool mamas. Currently, three of the five little people are in school. They are in 5th grade, 2nd grade and Kindergarten.

Learn

I am prefacing this post with the warning that these are just some things I am learning. Possibly, these ideas are nothing new to you. But, then again, if you’re a newbie like me, maybe I can help you just a little.

  1. Questions are not an interruption, but an affirmation. I am a control freak. A list maker. A rule follower. If there were five pages to be read, then I wanted to get the five pages read. I would become frustrated with questions that I knew would be answered if they would just let. me. finish. It occurred to me, however, that questions were a good thing. Questions meant they were taking in the information and processing it. Questions meant that they were interested enough to ask for more details or to offer opinions.
  2. Incorporate your child’s interests into the lesson.  I love a good workbook. The reality is, however, that my child does not care how many eggs grandma needs to use in order to make two loaves of bread. She isn’t interested in diagramming a sentence about a ship hauling cargo across the ocean. You know what she cares about? Horses. Big horses. Little horses. Race horses. Wild horses. Brown horses. White horses. I think you get my point. She will do math all day long if she is trying to figure out how many acres of land she needs in order to care for three horses.
  3. It’s okay if someone’s fabulous idea does not work for you. The internet is good. The internet is bad. It is all in how you handle it. There are all kinds of great blogs with great ideas that can make homeschooling so much easier on you. But everyone’s home situation is different. Every child’s personality and learning style is different. If something seems like a good fit for you, by all means, try it. But, if it turns out to not work, that is okay. It’s like chicken salad. Everyone thinks their recipe is the best but, at the end of the day, you make the one that your peeps are going to eat.
  4. Schedule Schmedule. I understand the importance of routine and continuity in a child’s life. I really do. But, here’s the thing. I have this infant that is going to cry the very second I sit down to begin teaching. I have a 2 year old who is currently ruling my world. So, when someone asks me for my schedule, I get crazy stressed because I do not have one. There is nothing written down that says we are doing spelling at 9:00 a.m.. What I have is a daily list of what needs to be done and if, by bedtime, those things are done – I call it a win, folks. Sometimes, that looks like me reading the history pages while the kids eat lunch. Some days, one child is giving another one a spelling test while I bathe a baby. Schooling is a team sport around here.
  5. Have fun. If the teacher or student is unhappy, try something different. Change up the school area. Have school at the park or the library. Use traditional learning (textbooks, workbooks, etc), media options (Netflix, National Geographic, Documentaries, Youtube videos) and  real life experiences (cooking, gardening, hiking.) The beauty of homeschooling is that it can be done anywhere. Opportunities to learn can be found in any activity or situation.

ABCs