Thursday, June 26, 2014

And when I worry

School is finally done! Here in WNY, we tend to go for too long. Elementary school had a half-day this morning and finally let them free. Middle school finished on Tuesday. You can barely tell we slowed down, though, with baseball/softball filling the time quite nicely. And there's that party I agreed to (5 extra soon-to-be-high-school-freshman overnight!) and out-of-town guests on Saturday and the kids leaving for camp on Sunday. I'm thinking it will be a little bit before I feel the relief of the summer schedule.

My kids are feeling better than me. They aren't feeling the pressure of our schedule the same way. I'm glad for that, of course, as they shouldn't worry. They shouldn't think of a party as something to stress over. Unfortunately they are feeling some pressure and sadness, though...and that makes me feel even worse.

The older girl got some bad news recently. She had interviewed for a spot on the executive committee of student council and wasn't given a spot. We're so proud of her for trying, as it's way out of her comfort zone to do something like that. I struggle to with the words to reassure her, though, and my heart breaks remembering the sting of rejection at that age.

Baseball is my son's greatest love. His tournament team can bring him stress, though, which he has trouble dealing with. I think I had a break through with him the other day; fingers crossed that he remembers our talk next time worry overcomes him. He puts so much pressure on himself, that is compounded by coaching expectations.

These are just a couple of examples. I'm sure they're similar to the kinds of things you encounter in your life or with your children. I certainly don't think our worries are unique. Money, jobs, house stuff - it's all overwhelming.

I'm reading The Book of Ruth with She Reads Truth. It's a short book, but it's a great reminder of God's plan for all of us. There will be sadness - sometimes overwhelming; there will be loss and heartache and stress and worry. But, there will also be redemption and hope - grace and mercy! He is always there, even when the going looks rough. This study has been lifesaver during a rough time here.  I can hold on to hope that even now, even in worry, there is hope for renewal.

I hope that in my journey to remembering these things that I'm conveying them to my kids, too. Do they know that I'm praying for the same types of things I remind them to pray for? Do they see that I'm leaning on Him to get through the tough times? Do they know that we don't have to worry when we have Him? I certainly hope so. I'd like all of us to remember this summer with the sounds of laughter, balls being hit, cheers in the stands, campfires, friends, family, prayers and grace. All of that beats worry every day of the week, right?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A calling

Last Christmas, my husband gave me a new bible. He actually spent a lot of time giving me a rather clever set of gifts each of the 12 days leading up to Christmas. While I enjoyed the entire gift, I really treasure the bible. Almost every morning since that December day, I sit down with my coffee and my dogs and pink bible (I do love me some pink) and read. It's one of my most favorite ways to spend quiet time.

At some point during the last 6 or 8 months, I started reading books by Kristen Welch, LisaJo Baker, Angie Smith, Ann VosKamp, Melanie Shankle and Beth Moore. (I think there were more, but you get the gist.) My daughter and I also went to Belize (see recap 1, 2 and 3). I started this blog. I interviewed for a job in a ministry position (don't worry coworkers - I was planning to do it part time along with my current job!). Something was definitely happening.

Now, you'd think that I could figure this out a little better, but I can be a bit slow sometimes. I've been doing bible studies from here and have really loved them. I have felt that I was waiting for something and was just kind of biding my time. I've talked to my friends and have just, you know...lived my life. Then, this morning, I was reading my latest bible study from the book of Ruth. I went back a week or so to read a blog entry from Kayla Aimee because I remembered her talking about Ruth and I wanted to read it again. And somehow, in this exchange, I heard the message loud and clear: use your blog; write about Jesus.

So, that's not what I was expecting. To be honest, I'm a little scared. A LOT scared. I know that people in my circle(s) don't necessarily want to read this. I know it will scare people away. I think it could make people not want to be my friend. (Although, really - that's foolish. I'm super fun.) But, I'm saying yes. Yes to coming here with a message of grace and love. Yes to putting myself out here. Yes to wherever this leads.

I'm not sure what this means. But, I'm hoping you'll join me sometimes! Pour some coffee, grab a quilt and let's chat!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The stuff that matters

It's kind of like being content, right? Finding the stuff that matters? I try hard every single day to teach my kids that it's love that counts, not touch screens; kindness, not headphones. (Of course, I'm a bit of a gadget geek and that makes it hard to teach this lesson. But, I do try.)

I shared this picture of me and my grandmother on Instagram and Facebook. I really don't like to post the same things on all places, but maybe this is what really matters? Hanging out with your 89 year old grandmother?

Selfie with MomMom - what am I looking at?
I'm sitting here on the couch, listening to the rain come and go. The boy was supposed to have a baseball game, but it got called after the men finally acknowledged that it wasn't letting up. I got home and saw on Facebook that there is a man with a gun in a large wooded area the next town over - where we have friends and where we worship. It's frightening. There are fights erupting in the comments of the news story about guns and rights and laws and I just keep thinking there just isn't enough kindness.

My 12 year old is next to me and I asked if she has one of the sites (I'm a little lost on the actual name) where people can ask anonymous questions. (She doesn't.) I told her I don't like them because people can be mean on them. Her response was that people can be mean anywhere. Right.

School is ending and the kids are at the end of their ropes, too. They're tense and tired and maybe done with the deadlines and permission slips, too. They're testy with each other and roll their eyes at my suggestions of showing love to one another. (I may have threatened to make them sit in a row on the couch, holding hands and smiling for an hour.)

I sure hope that what we end up teaching our kids is that kindness matters. I want to be known as someone who was kind. (And funny. I do like to be funny.) I personally think that the stuff that matters always starts with kindness.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

These last two months

May and June are always hard. Fun, but hard. The kids have end - of - year concerts, parties,  field trips, etc. There are permission slips and requests for food and rides to coordinate. Throw in baseball, softball and art lessons (this year we also included a weekend of out - of - town guests and a weekend away) and I'm about done in. And oh, I decided to begin marathon training.

We can all feel how close we are to summer. The weather is warmer, the days are longer and the air smells sweet. (I'm actually allergic to that sweet and floral smell! Even in my itchiness, though, I recognize its goodness.) The kids enjoy every moment outside they can get. We crave time in that summer air.

We just have a few more weeks, which include exams, and the school year is over. House ball schedules end at the same time. Before I know it, the kids will be at camp for a week and I may actually have time to clean the house. But you know what? I bet I miss it.

For all of the stress. For all all of the worry over rides. For all of the needing to ask for help. For all of the unwashed dishes. For all of's worth it. It's true that there is a season for everything. When our kids are tweens and teens and we are balancing our lives on a tightrope (or whatever season you're in), it all passes. There is an end and beginning to all.

July will bring less structure. We'll have tournament weekends, but lazy week days. The kids will be asking for friends and theme parks and ice cream. It will be a lovely in-between. (August has less ball, but some pretty fun celebrations this year!)

I just keep remembering that these days pass. The stress never stays. And my (current) favorite verse (mentioned the other day): In Him all things hold together.  He's got this, so we don't always have to.

How do you get through your busy seasons?

Monday, June 9, 2014

On being content

It's funny how things can be on our minds and then we'll notice a theme popping up all over the if the universe is confirming our thoughts. Or, and this is where I land on things, it's how God sometimes tells me that I'm right. Or wrong. Lately? I've been rather discontent.

I will totally admit that May and June are insane months for us. (That's a post for another time.) I tend to get spread too thin, which is when doubting thoughts have a tendency to sneak in. It's hard to be positive and happy and, well, content! There is too much going on and I can't slow down and I want things in my life that will make everything easier.

You know what would make things easier right now? A working dryer. And? A working dishwasher. Many times in the last few weeks I've thought that if we only had those two additional things, life would be so. much. easier. There are literally stacks of dishes that need to get done. Every time I think we're getting close, we're rushing through two more meals and we're right back to where we've started. Laundry has to be hung the night before if there is any chance of requested items in time for work or school. (I don't really allow the kids to request certain clothes, so I totally admit this is all me.)

The thing is, those things would probably make things easier. They were invented for a reason, right? But, I'm not sure they'd solve the actual problem: me. By focusing on the things that are all wrong (dirty dishes, difficult laundry, a messy house, not enough money), I'm completely ignoring the things that are right (a roof over our heads, food, family, friends, dogs, clothes, cars, jobs...). The more I think about the frustrating stuff, the more annoyed I get.

I read this today and I felt like I was getting a slap on the face. (It was not Kristen's intent to call me out on my issues, seeing as she doesn't even know me. But, as I said in the beginning, I'm pretty sure that God was sending me a message.) You know what? I have more than most people can dream about. To be honest, my DOGS have a better life than many. I'm annoyed that I'm hand-washing my dishes and some people I met in Belize don't have the water, soap or sponge that I'm using, let alone the dishes I'm washing.

This isn't meant to sound like a sermon; I'm in no position to preach to anyone. (Well, except for myself.) It's more of a reminder. I'd rather be thankful for what I have than be miserable about what I don't have. Being thankful breeds happiness - it's a fact!

Colossians 1:17 says 'In Him all things hold together.' I don't need to look anywhere else to be content. My life will be what it needs to be. I don't need a dishwasher to be happy or content. Would my life be easier? Sure. But He never promised easy...He just said He'd always be there. He'll hold it all together as look as I keep looking up. So, tonight I will be thankful as I try to get through all of the dishes. I'll be thankful as I fold the laundry that was hung in the basement. And, I'll remember to be thankful as I drive to work in the morning.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

National Running Day

So, I'm still alive. May and June are seriously the busiest months of the year. The amount of end-of-school activities, on top with ball schedules, is enough to make me crazy. I kept putting of writing because I didn't want to just have one post and then more waiting. Looking back, it would've made more sense to just post when I could and move on. I can be a slow learner.

At any rate, the big news for me right now is that I'm planning to run a full marathon in September. I've completed three half-marathons, but never a full. (Yes, I may be insane.) The possible issue with this is that I had fallen off the running bandwagon for a few months. Also? I've gained about 20 pounds. I won't let this deter me, though. Nope. I began training on Monday, while at the same time trying to build up my fitness level again.

Today was day 2. I went for a 4 mile run/walk on my lunch. I prefer to go in the early morning, but had something else to do. I thought about going to the gym to use a treadmill, but it didn't seem too hot so I gave it a shot. I struggled a bit during mile 4, but nothing terrible. (That's probably good, since Saturday I bump up to 5!)

When I got home, I saw on various social networks that today is National Running Day. I'm glad to know that I was able to celebrate such a wonderful occasion.

Any of you runners? Prefer another type of exercise?