Thursday, April 18, 2013

New Deal

"Well you're working on a new deal now."  This quote from Family Man is what comes to mind when I consider this stage of my life.  For 18 years I have served in one capacity or another in our church's Mother's Day Out/Preschool program.  For the last five years I have been the director.  I love my job.  It is a job that I felt God calling me to for a long time before His timing made it available to me.  It is a great job.  I love the people I work with, the people I work for, and the people I do my job for.  I love the kids, the families, all of it.
However, for the past several months, God has been dealing with me.  {I say "dealing" rather than "speaking", because sometimes I don't hear the quiet, still voice so He has to deal with me. - anybody else?}  God has been pulling me home.  For years I have prayed to find joy in the mundane tasks of wife and mother, but instead He has given me a desire for it.  I want to take care of my husband, kids, and home in a way that I haven't done before.  See, as I said, I have been working part time for 18 years, that means I started before my oldest was born.  The only time was the time I was off for maternity leave.  So, maybe you understand why this decision was difficult for me.   

Here are some journal entries from the past months that I wanted to share because I really think there are some people out there that can relate.  I have been having many conversations with friends that are going through similar things and feelings.

Money is a source of major stress for me...add it to the list these days.  Today I began to think that maybe God is really wanting me to "trust and obey".  I don't need to work to help provide for my family, He will do that.  I'm not a quitter, so it is very hard for me to do that.  I worry how people will respond to my decision.    But, there again lies another source of stress - my need for other people's approval.  When in fact the only approval I need is The Lord's.

This time has been very stressful for me.  As I have wrestled with The Lord over this decision (literally wrestling some days), I have experienced some serious stress.  Do you have any idea what kind of physical effects stress can have on your body?  Because of the stress that I have been dealing with the past few weeks, I have not had much of an appetite, haven't gotten much sleep, I have trouble swallowing, headaches, tunnel vision, dizziness, nauseousness, chest pain, stomach pain, short temper, depression, exhaustion, do I need to go on?  I don't like the person I have become.  I worry about everything.  I don't want to do that anymore, I want to cast my cares on Jesus.  Praying for wisdom, guidance, peace, and courage.  Wisdom to know what to do when.  Guidance on priorities.  Peace for my heart and mind.  Courage to "trust and obey". 

I just read a biography for the writer of the Bible study I'm currently working through - Priscilla Shirer - it said "Priscilla Shirer is a wife and a mom first...".  What would people say about me?  I don't think they would say that.  We are so driven these days by being defined by what we do, not who we are, and God has shown me that this is wrong.  God judges the heart of a person not the position of a person.  

Over the past month, I have announced my decision to close friends, co-workers, and this week to the families in our program.  And I want you to know I have met nothing but encouragement.  I was so concerned there would be judgement.  I don't know why, I just seem to always envision the worst possible scenario.  But, there has been nothing but encouragement.  Words like "good for you", "you won't regret a single minute", "I'm so happy for you", "we will miss you, but I totally get it."  I love that.  I love that God has brought my sisters to me to confirm what I knew to be from Him.  If you were one of these - Thank you.  Your words have meant everything to me.  

It is bittersweet to make this change, but I am anxiously anticipating the goodness that God has for me.  I know that there may be challenges, but I know that as I am walking with Him in His will for my life, all things will work together for His good.  Mostly, I am thrilled that I will have more time for these faces :)

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Sunday, April 14, 2013

My BABY Turns 10!!

Double digits today for the last of our kiddos.  Where has the time gone?  In like tradition, today I will share with you ten things I love about Gavin.

10.  Those freckles, that smile..

9.  He is compassionate - always thinking about how the other person (or animal) might feel.

8.  LOVES animals of all kinds - including stuffed :)

7.  His passion - he always gives 100%, never does anything half-way.

6.  He is kind to everyone and everything.

5.   His sense of humor - this boy is funny!!

4.  He is a super great helper, always willing to lend a hand.

3. That giggle...

2.  His love for music - all kinds - he is a gifted piano player.

1.  He loves Jesus - he asked Jesus to be his Savior last summer at church camp with his dad.  :)

Happy 10th Birthday Gavin!!  We love you and are so proud of you!!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tip For Baseball Moms

This post is a little random.  But, as I was doing this laborious, but somewhat rewarding. chore the other day I thought maybe this might be a useful post for someone out there so here ya go.  I have been doing a lot of this lately

as with any other spring over the past 13 years - sitting and watching my oldest play baseball.  (Thank goodness it is getting warmer!)

For all of his little league career my son was blessed to have grey pants as part of his uniform - fairly easy to clean - spray treat, throw it in, done.  Then comes high school....WHITE PANTS!!!  Seriously what crazy person ever thought white pants would be good for a baseball uniform (or football).  White + dirt = headaches.  And, if you are fortunate enough to live in those areas that are blessed with lovely red clay rather than dirt like we are - even better.

Many of you mommas may be dealing with this, maybe for a long time, maybe you have your own tried and true method.  But, let me be honest and say, I was clueless and I did a lot of things wrong in the beginning.  And then one day I was chatting with some of the other moms, and one shared her secret.  A soap I had never heard of, but over the past couple of years I have seen it crop up everywhere.  I buy mine at Walmart, but I have seen it at several other grocery stores - it is located in the laundry isle and the best part is it only cost around $1!! 

So let me just show you first what I am dealing with about twice a week

This is a pretty average representation.
So, let me tell you what I tried in the past that DIDN'T work.  All sorts of spray treatments; washing in hot, warm, cold - didn't matter; oxygen cleaning products worked fairly well but not completely; bleach - DO NOT BLEACH white polyester - turns in yellow.  {Can you tell I learned that lesson the hard way?}

What I do now that does work?
I throw a bar (or a half of a bar, or a piece of a bar, whatever is left at the time) of Fels-Naptha soap in my sink, and then fill the sink with warm-hot water.  Then I put in the pants (jersey too sometimes :)).  I let it soak - no particular time, just however long I have or whenever I have time to get back to it.  I would say at least 30 minutes, but it's never too long.

After they have soaked for a time, it's time for the magic.  Not kidding, couldn't believe my eyes the first time.  I had really resigned to the fact that his pants would never be white or even close to white again.  Take your bar of soap (which is quite squishy by this time) and rub over stained area; rub pants together in said area like you are washing by hand.  And then rinse - voila!!  Most of the stain is GONE!!  If it is a deep stain - ie. lots of dirt - you made have to repeat this process of couple of times, same goes for grass stains - may take a little more rubbing.  But in the end...

Then I DO NOT RINSE the pants.  I drain the water and somewhat squeeze out the pants - I say somewhat because they are dripping and heavy with water when I throw them in my washer.  Then I wash as usual.  {If there are grass stains that don't come out with rubbing, then I spray treat.}  I have washed on cold, warm, and hot all with the same results.

Here is a before and after side by side so you can get a better idea.  Pardon the after shot, I was rushing to take this photo before they had to packed up for the next game.  Unbelievable huh?  Ya I've been doing it this way for 3 years and am still amazed EVERY time I take them out of the washer.  (This is not a sponsored post - I just really love this soap and it really does work.)

Blessings to you and yours!!

Linking up with Kathy at Cornerstone Confessions for the
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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

{Forced} Tulips

It's rainy and gray outside today.  Don't get me wrong, I love rain - but I LOVE the sun more.  So, I thought I would share with you a little sunshine and happiness today in the form of tulips :)

Tulips speak spring to me.  I haven't planted bulbs in years.  I just can't seem to remember!!  But when I saw this post by Kim at Sand and Sisal I knew I had to try it.  I love the looked of forced tulips in glass vases.  I love that you can see all the parts, and I love that you can have that early bit of spring inside.  But, you know I have told you that I am not a patient when Kim also shared her "cheater" version I was on it.  I found my perfect specimen at Aldi for $3.99!! Love it.  Everything else I needed I had.  So, here is what I started with.  

I wasn't sure how many bulbs I would find or how big they would be so I pulled both vases, but in the end I went with the bigger one.  

The first step is to remove the bulbs from the pot and the dirt.  I was certain that I was killing them as I ripped apart the roots to free the bulbs.  But, I just had to try.  Hey, if it didn't work - I only lost $4 ;).  

I did my best to get all the dirt off and trimmed the roots down as Kim instructed and then I started putting together the masterpiece.  First place a couple of handfuls of glass stones (or whatever you have or like - some sort of rock).  

Add water just to the top of the stones. 

Then place the bulbs on top of the stones and voila...

Well, hmmmm.  That doesn't look like Kim's.  So, I used some stones that I had leftover and placed them around the bulbs to help them to stay in position.  There that's better. 

And what glory I saw a few days later...

I'm soooo happy this worked!!  Please be sure to check out Kim's post for the real way to force tulip bulbs and for her full instructions on how to do it the cheater way ;).  

Trying to get organized today on a plan for some spring cleaning.  Hoping to have warm, sunny, open windows kind of weather soon so I can get started!!