Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Remembering to keep things in His hands

As last year drew to a close, my husband was on the hunt for a new job. It was a little scary, but mostly we used it as an opportunity to turn a (rather large) worry over to God. Our mantra was, pray and then do our part. We prayed, together some, separately other times. And we did our part, or tried to. My husband diligently searched for a new job, and I helped where I could, fine tuning his resume and cover letters and such. Things worked out, he was offered a new job with time to spare, and overall the situation was never terribly dire. Not dire at all, in fact, especially considering there are so many who struggle much more than we do. We are very, very blessed.

The thing is though, once he got the job, the holidays (and our oldest son's birthday, making the "holiday season" even more busy/fun/full of activity) were there and all that "pray and hand our worries over to God," well, that seemed to take a backseat.

It sure is easy to turn to Him when we have a pressing need, isn't it.

Once that pressing need was alleviated, I really slacked. My prayer life has been an extremely up and down road and I've been on a big downturn. And what do you know... what sets in? Worry. Fear. Anxiety.

His job began at the beginning of the year and the adjustment period set in. He has a lengthy commute, whereas before he worked just minutes from home (is he going to go crazy with all that driving? Will his truck hold up until we can afford a more reliable commuter car?). He works from home about half the time, but that is an adjustment as well. I love having him here, but it is different and has taken getting used to (is he going to be listening in on our school all the time? What can I keep in the house for him to eat on days he's home?). He has struggled with fears and worries related to his new job - is he doing enough? Do they see the value in his work? He's worked some very, very long days and I suspect he is driven by some degree of fear to prove himself, lest they decide he isn't worth it after all. And other worries have set in as well. Was this the right choice? Will this business grow and continue to be a good fit for him?

He called me on his way home tonight and as we chatted, it hit me - we haven't been praying about this anymore. We abandoned the conversation with God when the job offer rolled in. "Gee, thanks God! I'm sure glad it all worked out! See you next time something goes wrong!"

That attitude, unconscious as it was, isn't working out well for either of us.

Life is settling into a new normal. My husband has gainful employment. And end to our debt is possible. We're able to give more, do more and save more. We have everything to be happy about - everything to praise God for, and yet we find ourselves fretting.

Instead of waiting for the times when we have a big, obvious need for God, I want to work on praying to Him in the times when we're only living with the small, everyday pressures of life. Because those pressures, real or imagined, seem to crop up and start whispering in my ear, even when they aren't nearly so serious. And I know if I rely on Him now, it will not only help me to better rely on Him when things get tough again, it will help me weather the small stuff in the here and now.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Quick Takes Friday!

1. On today's homeschooling lesson plan: build lots of legos (because the boys are playing so nicely I can't possibly interrupt), and then later we'll probably do some music time and reading on the couch. Sounds nice, yes?

2. This flexibility is one of the reasons I love homeschooling. Monday was a holiday and the public schools have been closed all week due to ice and snow. We've done at least some schooling every day this week, so I figure we can easily justify an unplanned day off.

3. When my son found out Monday was a holiday, and the other kids didn't have school, he gave me a big, "Whaaaaaaaa?" Geez Mom, what kind of a trick are you playing on me? School on a holiday? Muahahahahahaha!

4. But again, doing school Monday and not taking the whole week off for "snow days" means we stay on track and I don't feel like I have to make up time later.

5. And today's lesson plan for Mommy includes "Drink tea and surf the internet while kids are happily occupied."

6. Perhaps this why my house is never clean? I waste away these quiet moments rather than scrambling around my house to get things done.

7. Ah well, I'll take the few moments of peace over a spotless house.

See Jennifer at Conversion Diary for lots more Quick Takes!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Going a little stir crazy

We have had the craziest weather this week. I live in the Pacific Northwest and in a nutshell that means our weather consists of:

What my kids see on the windows most of the time - but hey, it makes everything really green

October - June: Rain.

July-September: Mostly beautiful sun, mixed with some more rain

Sprinkled with the occassional snowfall about once every other year, usually in January.

Rain and gray - I am used to. Snow is fun for a few days, then I want it to go away so I can drive without worrying about all the freaky people who panic and might hit me.

This week has been something else though. We had a few days of snow - enough that the kids were having fun with it. Then the ice storm hit last night. Cold, icky, stingy ice coating everything in a big heavy mess of white - emphasis on heavy. The ice has been knocking down trees all over the place and we've lost power twice. We're among the lucky ones, with lights ablaze tonight and my prayers are with people who have had their homes hit by trees and who are going on day two of no power in freezing cold weather.

Have I mentioned we're all used to rain out here? I don't know how all those midwest and east coast folks handle it!

As long as we keep our power (especially heat!), the weather isn't really all that bad. Except nothing this week has gone as normal and I'm enough of a routine-oriented person that it is starting to get to me. This morning I felt like I didn't even know what day it was. Between my continuing adjustment to my husband's new job schedule (commuting really far a few days a week and working from home the others), and this week of wild weather, school closures (my poor homeschool kids, LOL - although they did get plenty of time playing in the snow with friends), and basically stuck-at-home-ness, I am starting to feel a little stir-crazy.

While my husband was outside whacking our birch tree with a sword to get the ice off, since it was doubled over under the weight of the ice as if it were bent at the waist... oh wait, did I just gloss over the fact that he was out there whacking tree branches with a sword? Yes, a real one. Yeah, we're that weird. Anyway.... I went outside to take a picture (because who doesn't want a picture of their cutie husband all bundled up, sword in hand, battling that nasty ice),

and although I was dressed in nothing but yoga pants, a t-shirt and boots, I stayed outside for a good 10 minutes because it felt so good to be out. of. the. house. Fresh air! Freedom! As my fingers burned with the cold and my lips started to turn blue, I realized I should probably go back inside. But I so didn't want to.

The roads are too icy for it to make sense for me to leave. And I'm sure there are times and places where people are stuck inside far longer than this. But good grief, I am feeling the beginnings of cabin fever coming on. And it isn't just cabin fever - I'm off schedule, off kilter and just plain off.

I can't even get to the store to buy some chocolate. Now that's a tragedy.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Guardian Angel in a dream

I just got off the phone with my mom (I have the lovliest mom, by the way). She shared a dream with me that she had last night and it was utterly amazing - I just have to write about it.

She dreamt that she was walking somewhere with a companion (her word). The person she was with was larger than she is, but it wasn't someone she knows specifically,; she wasn't even sure if it was male or female. But they were walking together and talking and going in and out of some buildings, and my mom had the sense that they weren't really supposed to be there. A woman came out and started yelling at them to get out, that they weren't allowed. My mom was feeling angry at this person, and was about to yell back when her companion said, "It's ok that we are here. Anyone who welcomes us will have good things in return." At this, they yelling woman stopped and allowed them to pass.

As she walked with her companion, my mom was talking about how she felt sad that she had so many ideas that she felt were lost - stories she would never write, things she would never remember. Her companion said to her, "Don't you know? We remember everything. Every thought, every feeling, every idea you have ever had, we keep. Every memory, every moment, everything you have ever thought or felt or wondered or hoped. Everything is here." And then she saw it all, stretched out before her - memories that she can't recall in the waking world today, of playing with her sisters and brothers, things when she was a toddler, her whole life stretched out in front of her and she could see that every detail was there.

Then her companion said, "We keep it all close, all of these things that are you. Every thought or feeling you have had, we love and we cherish. We keep it all and it is all here for you."

<Insert jaw dropping to the floor face here.>

After she finished her story, I asked her, "Mom, do you realize what that was?" She paused, and said, "It was an angel."

"Mom it was your guardian angel."

My mom's Guardian Angel visited her in a dream last night. And with such a message of hope and reassurance. "Every thought or feeling you have had, we love and we cherish. We keep it all and it is all here for you." What a beautiful thought. All of who we are, every bit of who we have been through our lives, exists. We may not be able manipuate those memories to the surface, we may forget and feel as if we don't know. But it is all still there, kept for us.

A "what if" occurred to me that I have not considered before. What if, when we reach the fullness of Heaven, we are not only united in the glory of God, but we are united within ourselves. Made whole again. The fullness of who we are is restored. No more pieces and fragments and half forgotten experiences. A whole, complete being.

I'm so grateful for the blessing of that dream for my mom. She described it as being the most beautiful dream she has ever had. What a gift. I am truly blown away.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

When Daddy takes over

Ok, my husband is a great father. Awesome. The best.


Sometimes, I just have to shake my head.

We have it worked out that on days he works from home, he "takes over" with the kids after dinner so I can work. Tonight is really the first night we've done it this way and I just... don't... know... :)

He put on a movie. Ok, fine. I just hope that doesn't become the default. They don't need to watch that much TV, but I know how easy it is to fall into the trap of thinking, "If they aren't watching something, I have to watch them... and I'm tired..." I know he's worn out. He's been working really hard and we're all adjusting to his new schedule. But seriously, I can't have them watching a movie every time it's Daddy Night. I'll be honest, part of my criticism of it is that if he always watches movies or TV with them, I will feel like I have to keep the TV off the rest of the day so they aren't watching too much TV (for my liking). I want their TV time to be on my watch, so I can let them watch cartoons while I take a break or get things done - when I need them distracted!

Plus, the TV thing doesn't work well with Ella. She's two. She does two-year-old things. Putting on a movie means she'll watch a bit, then get up and start playing/making messes/getting into things - or, banging on my bedroom door shouting, "Mama! Awe you in dere!" over and over.

When the movie was over, I heard him shout, "Who wants to go get ice cream!" Ah, such a Daddy thing to do. I don't know about the daddies at your houses, but in our house, Daddy is often known as Treat Daddy. Seriously, my boys have called him that. He LOVES to give them treats. It's simultaneously very sweet, and extraordinarily exasperating. A) they don't need ANOTHER treat (I already heard him bribe Ella with chocolate kisses to come downstairs and stop beating on my door) and B) it's 7:24, which means they SHOULD be upstairs cleaning up their toys and getting ready for bed.


It's a perennial problem for moms, isn't it? We want Daddy to be an invovled and active parent. But it's hard to give him the room to do so, knowing he's going to do things his way and that (often) isn't how we'd be doing things.

He really is great though. But ice cream? Now? Oh heavens... [image]