Wednesday, October 31, 2012

God is funny like that!

i thought i was doing a good job of not overcommitting this year.
i 'm not volunteering for more than a couple of things...
i only involve each of my girls in one extra curricular activity a week...
i try not to say 'yes' to everything and everyone...
yet, i still feel pretty overwhelmed at times.
yeah, sure... not everyone can see it.
i'm pretty good at putting on a 'brave' face and fighting through the emotions and exhaustion.
but sometimes they just spill over.
and you know what?
that's ok.
it's ok to show we have weaknesses... it's ok to show others we do NOT have it all together.
because i certainly don't have it all together.
far from it.
so why do i pretend i do?
i know a part of it is that i never want to make my issues and problems seem like they're bigger than someone else's.
jeez... there are people with marriage disasters... people who are sick... people dealing with death.
but my overwhelming need to hide my hurts in order to hold space for other's pain isn't always healthy OR helpful.
i've learned that sharing my pain, even if it's not as 'big' as someone else's is still important.
we need to feel like we aren't alone in the ways we are feeling.
the people that love you want to hear about your pain... just like you want to hear about theirs.
why has it taken me long to figure that out?
i have no idea.
(we are all a bit different and weird... like these awesome carrots remind me.  don't be afraid to show your true self!!  ha!)

i had a MOPS committee meeting last night and honestly, i wasn't in the mood to go.
i was emotionally tired, physically drained.
not in a good state.
i showed up in a bad mood, hiding behind a fake smile.
i should have prayed about my attitude before i went.
i should have given my thoughts to God and let Him take over...
let Him show that i wasn't negative about the MOPS stuff... but i was letting negativity ruin my input.
it wasn't horrible or anything and i know that no one probably noticed my 'mood' but me.
once i got home, i had the overwhelming urge to email each of those women to apologize.
to apologize for how i acted and reacted during the meeting.
i felt bad for bringing my negativeness to the table.
it was just something i needed to do.
as i suspected, each of these women gave me the assurance that it was a safe place to share.
that we can hold each other accountable.
and they each gave me a nugget of encouragement and the offer to pray.
(yes, i totally wear this headband when i run... and yes, it's totally true!!)

and, like i also suspected, none of them even noticed that i was different or overtly negative.
i was focused on myself... instead of God and the work He is doing in our group.
i think the exhaustion, both physical and emotional, had taken it's toll.
and you wanna know the funny thing?
i woke up this morning, determined to try and change my attitude...
and this is what i read first thing in my email inbox:

Karen Ehman
October 31, 2012
By Karen Ehman
"Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, 'Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.'" Mark 6:31 (NIV)
"I want honey in my tea! And a lemon slice too! Oh, and can I use great-grandma's teacup, pretty please? I'll be careful," my then five-year-old daughter sweetly begged.
We were enjoying our afternoon mother-daughter ritual while her two baby brothers napped. Each day we pulled out china teacups and saucers from my collection and slowly sipped herbal tea while I read a book out loud to her.
This afternoon, however, she was asking permission to use an heirloom piece that had been passed down through four generations in my mother's family. While I knew my baby girl was grown up enough to be careful with the antique pink and white china cradled in her little hands, something else made me deny her request. I tried explaining it to her.
"Sweetheart, I know you'll be careful, but we can't have hot tea in that cup. It has cracks. See?"
I showed her a few tiny, hairline fractures on the side near the handle. It wasn't cracked all the way through and could actually still hold water without leaking. However, if hot liquid were to be poured into it, the crack would give way, causing the petite cup to shatter. (Been there. Broke that!)
There was just no way for the fractured piece to withstand the stress of a steaming beverage.
Our emotional lives are much the same. When we do not allow time to rest and regroup from the stresses of life, we allow cracks in our spirit that make us emotionally and spiritually fragile. We keep going at break-neck speeds, rarely slowing down long enough to be refreshed.
Today's key verse highlights the fact that even Jesus Himself found it important to get away for a while; to slow down and cease activity. He urged His disciples to get to a quiet place. In doing so they would find rest. Being alone and quiet would help keep them whole.
In our fast-paced society we rarely get to sit in a quiet place. Televisions blare. Computers sound out webcasts. iPods and MP3s crank out music at times when we could be seeking solace.
As a result, stress chisels away, creating tiny cracks that although barely visible to the eye, could cause us to shatter under the heat and pressures of everyday life.
Let's purpose to take time this week to slow down, get away, and rest. To find solitude in a hushed and holy place alone with our Savior, even if only for an hour or two.
If we make time to answer Jesus' call to go away with Him to a quiet place, we can crack-proof our spirits, making them strong and rendering us ready to handle life. A few quiet moments spent with Him can help mend cracks, renewing and making us to be vessels strong enough to be used by Him.
Dear Lord, help me to intentionally carve out time this week to reconnect with You in a quiet spot. I know You are waiting. I want to seek Your face and find true rest. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Related Resources:
For "5 Steps to Quiet" and a tea-themed giveaway, visit Karen's blog.
Stressed-Less Living: Finding God's Peace in Your Chaotic World by Tracie Miles
Would you like to bring a life-changing message to the women of your church? Click here to find out more about considering Karen as your next event or keynote speaker.
When you purchase resources through Proverbs 31 Ministries, you touch eternity because your purchase supports the many areas of hope-giving ministry we provide at no cost. We wish we could compete with prices offered by huge online warehouses, but we simply can't. Therefore, we are extremely grateful for each and every purchase you make with us. Thank you!
Reflect and Respond:
Remember a time when you got away for a time of rest and quiet. What did it do for you emotionally?
Why don't we get alone or seek a quiet place more often? List some things, people, or activities that prevent us from doing so. Now, make plans to seek a quiet time soon. Write it on your calendar and keep your appointment with God.
Power Verse:
Matthew 7:25, "The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn't collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. (HCSB)

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could God have hit me over the head any more clearly?
i just laughed!
and thanked Him that He knows exactly what i need and when i need it.
i just have to remember to look to Him and be filled up by Him.
i can't do life on my own without Him.
especially when life is so busy, even when i'm trying to purposefully s l o w  d o w n!
and it's alright... it's perfectly fine, even called upon, for us to show our 'cracks' to others.
how can we build each other up without knowing what to fix?
(crazy mama is at it again!! look at the fear in baby h's eyes!)
(apologies for the random not relevant pics... i just hate a post without pictures... so random it is!)

Monday, October 29, 2012

fall farm fun!

a couple of weeks ago, on one of the last "warm" days of fall, we headed to a local farm.
i told the girls we absolutely had to spend the afternoon outside.
it was 19 degrees and it would be the last nice day of the year before winter was coming.
so far, i have been right.
(when am i not right?)
we haven't had as nice a day since.
and with flurries in the forecast, i'm guessing there's no more warm weather on the horizon.
enjoy a few, well, actually A LOT, of pictures of our fall farm fun!
a pig made up of a hale bale?
the sun wasn't bright at all.
this picture is a little shaky either because this quad thing was moving... with a capital m...
or because i was laughing so hard.
either way, it's still making me laugh!
i think i need to jimmy rig one of these up at my place.
neighborhood kids welcomed.
mine would just read, "time out in castlerock".
of course there were animals at the farm...
and cute rabbits!
(i prefer the brown to the white... those red eyes creep me out, actually)
and this animal too!
oh, wait.
that's my child!
she's a lot cuter than some random bunny. 
trying to catch another child, on the loose in the maze!
it was so easy to get lost because as you can see... the corn grew wonderfully this year. 
(note the sarcasm)
just looking cute.
somehow i don't think i would have looked as sweet standing on a log.
probably just awkward.
hence, there are no pictures of me on them.
for shame!
i know!
didn't see much of this girl.
she's an explorer by nature.
and i trust her in these settings.
i know that she knows her boundaries...
so i let her roam free.
eventually i catch up to her at some point.
but by that time she's already more than circled the entire establishment.
 it was so pretty, even if most of the leaves had already fallen.
the older two like to find good climbing trees.
the little one likes to think she can climb too.
 it usually doesn't work out as well for her.
 lots of oak trees in this bush.

cozy warm fall clothes.
i welcome the cooler temps wardrobe... darker colors... toastier threads.
baby h thought something MUST live in here.
so, of course, she jabbed a stick in there to find out.
thankfully no baby bird or baby squirrel was impaled.

obligatory pumpkin shot.
no fall pics without them, right?
too lazy to line up my family by them, however.
as you can tell by looking at the pics, i didn't care one iota about dressing my girls up for "pumpkin patch" pics either.
what is coming over me?!

oh yeah... and they had "go-carts".
self motored... not to be confused with gas or electric go-carts.
 i was GIVEN'R!
my legs were on fire!
and that was my workout for the week.
still no snow that's actually stuck and stayed... but we're now in much cooler temperatures.
gone are those "few and far between" beautiful fall days.
why, oh why, can't fall be a much longer season?!

Saturday, October 27, 2012


i'm just amazed and humbled that God chooses to use me.
that He chooses to use each and every one of us.
i'm continually blown away that He uses our stories again and again to bring glory to Him.
that's why He wants us to share.
to share not only all the good stuff...
but to share the tough stuff too.
because it will all be used for good.
there is a purpose in our pain and in our pleasure.
so tell your story.
it's only yours to tell...
and it's His story too!
so we're not giving up.  how could we!  even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.  these hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us.  there's far more here than meets the eye.  the things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow.  but the things we can't see now will last forever.
2 corinthians 4:16-18 (MSG)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

to waste some time...

another busy day in our house.
rushing like a crazy mama to get the carpool to school this morning.
brought big K back home to bring her to the dentist at 9:40.
as soon as i get back home from dropping all kids off...literally JUST walk in the door... the phone rings.
"hi... this is dr. laberge's office.  K can't come in today because her appliance isn't ready.
can we schedule an appointment for next week?"
ummm... can you come over and bring her BACK to school for me, miss receptionist?!?!
i know it's not her fault but i got annoyed.
of course i didn't say THAT to her, but i did say, "jeez! i JUST dropped off the other kids at school."
she apologized and i said, "i know... see you next week".
just another bump in the road.
i was just gonna keep big K home for a bit to play and then take her back to school.
i was far too exhausted to rush out of the house yet again.
but then my friend d graciously offered to drop her off for me.
now do you think i've been utilizing this newfound "FREE" time of mine wisely?
of course i haven't.
i should be reading my textbook for my class tonight.
or going through my doula stuff and preparing to meet a potential client later this morning.
but instead i'm sitting here in front of the computer.
drinking my double espresso.
and baby h asked to take a bath while i was working.
i put her hair up and told her to keep it dry because we still have to go out this morning.
what do you think happened?
hair wet.
big surprise!
ha ha!
but how can i get upset?!
she's far too cute to lay my frustrations on.
so i'll snuggle her instead!
and save up all the kisses to get me through the rest of the day.
kisses from my baby are like magic!!!
(happy bday today to my BFF from my teenage years!!!)
how's THAT for random?