Monday, January 27, 2014

"I Love..." notebooks

Have you heard of "I Like" books?  They are these cool little books of encouragement to your child.  Each day or week or month or whenever you choose, you write a little statement of "I like" about your child.  You can visit their website here. 

I received an "I like" book for my oldest as a new baby gift and thought it was so sweet and such a great idea.  I was decent about writing in it but with him being a baby I didn't have the right motivation.  I mean, he had to know I loved him more than life itself, I didn't have a huge motivation to write a lot of encouragements.  Then the bottom fell out of our world and it just wasn't a priority.

But he has hit 2 now.  And NOW I see the need for those encouragements, both for him AND for me.  There are days I really need something to look at to help me get my mind back to the right place, off the temper tantrums and many timeouts for hitting his brother and the occasional defiant bedtime.  And someday soon he will be old enough that I can read some of those things to him when he has a rough day.  And eventually, maybe for his graduation or on his wedding day or maybe when he has his first child I will give it to him. 

But...when I was routinely writing in his "I like" book before I often found myself crossing out "I like" and writing in "I love" and I often just wanted to write a little short story about something that happened that day.  While I loved the idea behind the "I Like" book I felt a little restricted by its format.

So...I decided we are gonna do our own thing.  I got 3 spiral ring notebooks, one for each of the boys and one for nice things I wish I could tell my husband but can't right now.  They were under $2 each, with cute sparkly covers but nothing too childish.  For the boys I wrote in sharpie "I LOVE....." and then put their names on them.  Now I don't feel so restricted.  I can write "I love" statements, I can share fun stories,  Bible verses I want specifically want to share with them someday, etc. 

I encourage you to do something like this for your children, for their benefit but also for you.  Someday you can give the book/notebook to them but for right now it can be a powerful way to help YOU through those rough days, when your job as a mom might be a little overwhelming.  Maybe you use an "I Like" book, maybe you get an inexpensive notebook, maybe you type it up on the computer each day and have a file for each child.  Do what works for you!

What other things do you do to help with those hard mom/wife days? 

Check back soon for something exciting!

Today I have a massive to-do list but I'm up and motivated because as soon as I get all my must-dos done I can start reading Darlene Schacht's new ebook "The Virtuous Life of a Christ-centered Wife".  I'm super excited to read this new book by the author of one of my favorite blog "The Time-Warp Wife".  And I will be posting a review of the book right here on the blog! 

What is everyone else reading right now?  Any other books I should add to my must read list? 

If you would like to check out the book before my review you can go here.  Also make sure you visit Darlene's wonderful blog.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Our "mess"

As mentioned in my welcome post, I have 2 small boys, 7 months and just turned 2.  The oldest is VERY into anything related to tractors and he has so many his uncle teases that he isn't training to be a farmer, he's training to be an implement dealer.  The little one is pulling up on everything, crawls at lightening speed and thinks he is a big boy who should be into everything his brother is.  We live in a nice but small 2 bedroom apartment.  All that usually adds up to a big mess of toys, dishes, clothes, etc. at the end of the day.  Don't get me wrong, I try to keep things organized through the day.  But sometimes it's just more important to honor a request to "play tractors wif you Mama" than insist we need to pick up a few things or say I need to clean up the lunch dishes first. 

The other night I laid our oldest down in bed, kissed his beautiful face, walked into the living room and heaved a heavy sigh as I surveyed the damage of the day.  I was tired, it was a bit later than normal bedtime and I felt overwhelmed.  As I looked at the toys strewn across the floor, the food the baby had dropped on the kitchen floor and the wet bathroom rugs from the toddler dumping water out of the tub, like he does nearly every bath no matter how many times I remind him it will mean the end of that night's bath, I said out loud to myself "how do 2 such tiny people make such a HUGE mess?!"  And immediately I had an overwhelming thought.

Does Jesus look down on us like that?!  Does He ever just think "how do they make SUCH a mess?"  I kind of think he probably does.  Because we make a pretty big mess of our lives sometimes.  But just like those 2 sweet little boys of mine, we don't really do it for the purpose of making a mess, it just tends to happen as we live our lives, especially if we don't put a true effort into NOT making a mess.  Those boys just live their lives and in the process the mess happens.  And as sinners we live our lives and the mess seems to happen. 

But the thing about that mess?  It doesn't make me love them any less.  Even when I'm exhausted I thank the Lord everyday for that mess.  It makes me love them more, because that mess was made by 2 tiny humans who were created and grew inside me!  And every day I clean it up knowing they are going to make a mess again tomorrow.  And as I clean it up I see THEM.  I see my just turned 2 year old who knows that you cut corn with a combine, you use the auger to put the corn in the grain cart, you haul it to the semi and pour it in and then drive it "to town".  I see tiny hay bales stacked up neatly by tiny little hands because that is what he sees his Daddy do at work.  I find toy food neatly placed in a toy pot and put in a tiny play oven because he is learning from me how to cook.  I see a baby with a bottle laying next to it because he is learning that Daddies take care of babies too.  I see food and a sippy cup on the floor and am so proud that at 7 months old our little man is feeding himself teal food and drinking from a sippy like a champ.  I find random toys stuck in strange places because he is trying to play like his brother and he just doesn't quite "get it" all yet, but he's learning. 

And as I clean up that mess...I feel my love for them grow everyday. 

We all have a mess.  We are all sinners and no matter what, we are going to make a mess of things, somehow, someway, sometime.  And Jesus loves us despite of our mess.  He sees US in our mess.  And as long as we trust Him as our savior and ask Him into our hearts, over and over and over He cleans it up for us, knowing we are eventually gonna make another mess.  And He never loves us any less, no matter how many messes we make.  Titus 2:14 says "who (Jesus) gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good". 

The thing is, I would clean up their messes everyday, no matter what and it would never make me love them any less.  But...they are learning.  The oldest is learning to clean up some of his own mess at the end of the day.  He is getting better and better everyday about helping me pick things up before bed.  And he is learning he doesn't need to drag ALL the toys out everyday, just the ones he really wants to play with.  And the youngest is getting less messy with his meals everyday.  He's learning everyday what those toys are really for.  They will not be able to clean up ALL of their own messes for a very long time, but they are learning.  And they WANT to do good, their little hearts yearn to do things that are good.  And soon, in the blink of an eye, they will be cleaning up more and more of their own messes.  And in another blink of an eye our relationship will be different, it will be less mess clean-up and probably some rebellious teenage years.  And in another blink they will mature to young men and we will, hopefully, be even closer, in a different way.

Jesus cleans up our messes no matter what and loves us no matter what, just as we do our children.  But He also loves when we do good and try to not make such a mess in the first place.  Because He knows that less mess makes our lives better, more enjoyable and most importantly, brings us closer to Him.  He wants us to mature and have a new relationship with Him. 

Are we living our lives in a way that consists of us simply making messes, knowing He will clean it up and love us anyways, like babes and toddlers, or are we trying to make less of a mess and spend more time joyfully living the life He guides us to live?  Are we chafing at His "rules" like teenagers  or are we seeing His wisdom through the guidance of His Word?  Are we maturing from babes in Christ to more mature relationships with Him?  Relationship that consist of less "cleaning up" and "rebellion" more time enjoying each other's company?

I know I fail Him everyday and thank the Lord for His grace that He never requires me to be perfect.  But I HOPE I'm learning and growing and moving toward a more mature relationship with Him.  How about you?

Welcome to my blog!

Welcome!  I'm not completely sure where all this blog will go, what topics it will cover...but in general it is the story of my life, filtered by the grace of Jesus Christ.  I am a mom of 2 sweet (and sometimes ornery) little boys, born 17 months apart (yes, I have my hands full, but I wouldn't change it for the world). I am a wife who is currently separated from her husband and standing for the restoration of our marriage.  I am a conservative.  I try hard to be frugal, which has lead me to lots of things people think I'm crazy for, like cloth diapers and homemade laundry detergent.  I am slightly obsessed with car seat safety.  I'm a breastfeeding advocate but try not to be crazy about it.  I'm crafty and creative.  I live in a very small town.  But most importantly, I am a daughter of the one true King and I'm learning, much later than I'm proud of, to live in a way that is pleasing to Him.  Above all, through this blog and but most especially through my daily life, I hope our boys, my husband, my family and friends and anyone else I have contact with sees Him through me.