Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Why We Worry (And How To Let It Go)

I worry because it makes me feel like I am doing something.

The other morning, I was worrying about the rash on my son's arms and legs. I had just taken him to the doctor and was told there was nothing to be concerned about. The rash was not dangerous or contagious, but it would take ten days to a month to go away. The doctor showed me on the computer what it was and even other possibilities of what it could be and explained why he ruled out each other option and narrowed down his diagnosis. The doctor was confident, intelligent and thorough in his explanation; I left his office feeling relieved.

But then there I was, a few days later worrying that the rash wouldn't go away or get worse.

Now, I know it is in the nature of mothers to worry about their children, but I often worry unnecessarily. Because, if I worry, then it makes me feel like I am doing something about a situation I usually have no or little control over. It's my way of convincing God that he really should listen to my prayers and pay attention to my concern. Because if I spend lots of time worrying, then God will get that I really really need his help in certain situations.

Except, I don't think that's how God works.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast."

My favorite thing about Christianity is that Jesus saves us because He loves us, not because we did or did not do something. Because if God's love was based on what I did, I would drive myself and everyone else around me crazy trying to work for God's love. Christianity is not about what I do, it's about what Jesus did.

My prayer for today is that I turn my worry into praise. When I feel myself worry, I will say a prayer of praise to God who saves us all by his grace.

Will this fix my worry forever? Of course not - but today, I am going to try and let it go....

I love to seek out inspiration, encouragement and noticing the everyday sacred. What to join me on Facebook or PinterestOr sign up for my once-a-month inspirational newsletter and recieve a free printable.

Linked to:  Whole Hearted HomeA Little R & R, Faith Filled Friday, Hello Happiness

Friday, April 25, 2014

Ressurection Rolls

Last year I tried to make resurrection rolls a couple days before Easter with my boys.  My efforts were received with a ho-hum attitude.  This year, we made resurrection rolls for breakfast Easter morning.  It was a huge hit. I ended up not saying the verses, just telling the story because my boys were so bouncy and excited about Easter, but it was still effective and the boys loved it. 

Here is what we did:

1.  We spread out the dough of the croissant rolls, representing the tomb.  In it we put Jesus body that was wrapped in linen (the marshmallow) and covered with spices (the cinnamon and sugar)

John 19: "Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.  At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid.  Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there."

2.  We closed the tomb by wrapping up the marshmallow in the croissant roll dough.

John 19:41-42.  "At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid.  Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there."

3.  After it was cooked, we opened up our tomb to see that Jesus has risen!

I Corinthians 15:4 "...that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures."
 

Monday, April 21, 2014

photography

 
Usually for Easter we try and take a rushed family picture before church.  This year, we had about an hour to waste after church and before we met family for Easter brunch, so we stopped at a park and snapped some pictures.  Way less stressful and way more fun.  I think we started a new tradition. 
 
 
 

Friday, April 18, 2014

letting go and trusting

My boys were arguing - again.

From downstairs, I could hear them upstairs shouting at each other.  My first thought was to intercede - to calm them down, to have them respectfully explain to each other what they are feeling, to practice how to communicate in a healthy fashion.... Instead, I found myself saying out loud, "They have to learn to work it out by themselves."  They know how to communicate.  We practice almost every day.  So, I stayed downstairs.  About five minutes later, each son came downstairs happily carrying fun dip.  (Apparently, on brother had accidently locked the bedroom door with the fun dip in it. Awesome. I love when they yell at each other about something super important - I say that with sarcasm.)

The situation stirred my thoughts. My boys are getting old enough to be able to work things out some things by themselves.  Sometimes, I need to step back and give them room to practice what I have already taught them. It's a bumpy process, but that is how they grow. My desire to jump in and save the day is not always the healthiest approach. I need to trust that they can successfully apply what they have already learned.

I can have a hard time letting go.  I like to be able to control things so they turn out how I imagine they should.  But, that parenting moment was a good reminder that sometimes the best way to let something work itself out is to throw my hands in the air and take a step back.

Because I often cling too hard to things that I need to let go of...things that have exhausted my efforts and thoughts...things that are out of my control...things that God already has in his control.  How often do I cause myself unnecessary stress by clasping my hands too tightly around a situation, insisting it go my way?   I know God is bigger than me, and that he can work in my life despite me, but I wonder if sometimes things would just go smoother if I would more quickly lay my burden at his feet, trust his leading, and watch him do his work?

It's like when my three-year-old doesn't want to leave the house. Often he is busy playing and doesn't want to transition into what we have planned next. He cries and takes off his coat and shoes, right after I have put them on.  He is still small; I have the ability to pick him up and force him to get in the car, but when he does it on his own, life goes smoother for all of us.  And he is almost always just fine and happy seconds after we have left the house.  I wonder how often I play the role of a child with God?  As God is leading me through a door, I am taking off my coat and shoes and being uncooperative because I want to feel like I am in control or maybe I am scared about the next unknown step.  God has the ability to force me through the door, and I suspect he often does, but if I would just cooperate and trust his leading, would life sometimes go smoother and my heart feel more peace?

I memorized this verse as a little girl:



God has been continually teaching me this since I first learned the verse.  In my head, I know that worrying and trying to control certain situations does nothing but cause me more stress and anxiety. And that I often just need to trust God's leading. However, my actions do not always reflect what my head knows.

This could be completely discouraging - that I am continually having to be re-taught the importance of letting go and trusting - but it's not.  Because each time God teaches me this lesson, I feel trust grow in my heart.  It is little-by-little...but it grows. So, I will count each lesson and each growth a success, no matter how small it is.  And that is encouraging.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

8 awesome things about aging

So another year has gone by and I have once again celebrated my birthday.  My husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I replied, "not to turn 38."  With each passing year, I dread more reluctantly welcome my birthday.  But - when I really think about it, the thirties are awesome.  And I am pretty sure the 40s, 50s, 60s...etc...all hold their own charm as well.

In reflection, here are my favorite things about aging:

1.  Dream Bigger - I love that with each passing year, I seem to discover a few more of life's treasures and dream a little bigger.

2.  Increased Confidence - As the chapters of my life turn, I feel a little more confident in myself and what I am capable of doing.  I am past the "first big things" part of my life - I have gotten married, chosen a career, bought a car, bought a town home, sold a town home, bought a house, currently am remodeling our home, gave birth to three sons...and the list continues.  I look back on my life experiences and see what I have done, and each year move forward with more confidence than I had in the previous year.

3.  Stronger Faith - I have years to reflect on and see God's hand in my life and the lives of friends and family.  I see how much goes right, despite all of life's bumps and imperfections.  I have repeatedly seen God pull good out of hard situations.  This builds my faith.  I find it easier to trust our Living God now than ever before.

4.  I care less about what people thinkLife is not all sunshine and roses and I don't mean that I don't care at all about what people think.  But I have been in enough circumstances where I have stressed over a situation that involves other people to later find out that they weren't even a little bit worried or judgmental about the same situation. With each passing birthday, I am better about moving forward with decisions that I think are right for me or my family, and not worrying about what everyone else thinks - because people don't dwell on my life as much as I sometimes think they do.  It really isn't all about me....

5.  It is easier to get compliments on my outfits - Okay, this might seem like a weird one, but hear me out....  I taught high school all through my twenties, took a break to be home with my boys in my earlier thirties and this is my first year back in the classroom.  I now get way more compliments on my outfits by my students than when I was a twenty-something-year-old teacher.  This has made me wonder why...because, if anything, I put less effort into my attire now that I am trying to get myself and three little boys out the door.  I concluded that when you get older, the expectations of wearing trendy clothes go down.  So, now that I am back in the classroom and for the first time in my teaching career am technically old enough to be my students mom, I don't think they expect much out of my attire, so when I do dress cute - they tell me.  It's kinda awesome.

6.  A greater appreciation of life as a giftI have been around long enough to see people lose loved ones.  I have lost loved ones as well; my grandfather just this year....it is hard.  I long to have my grandparents and other loved ones back with me...so, it seems a little silly that I sometimes look in the mirror and am critical of my aging face.  I am healthy, my parents are healthy, I have a beautiful family and loyal friends....it makes me feel grateful and gives me perspective to appreciate what really matters in life. Because life moves way too fast - each day is a gift.

7.  Live more intentionally -  With age comes wisdom, discernment and a better ability to live my life more intentionally.

8.  HappinessBottom line, passing years, reflection, experiences and by God's grace, my eyes have seen how much beauty life holds.  I am grateful for the Creator that lets me be on this earth surrounded by amazing people and things.  My heart fills with His joy.  I am happier now than when I was fully immersed in the youthfulness of my early twenties. 

I am going to try and remember this with each passing birthday.  And feel the joy of celebrating the day that God created me.  And realize that many of life's gifts come with age.  



Linked to:  Womanhood with Purpose Friday Linkup Party


Sunday, April 6, 2014

the ulitmate blog party

I am so inspired and encouraged when I read other mom blogs.  I found this blog link up party and am excited about joining in the fun and finding some more inspirational blogs to follow.  You are suppose to introduce yourself, so here I go...

 
 My name is Cheryl and I am a wife and a mother of three amazing little boys.  Once I became a mom, my perspective completely changed.  I find that when I get up before my kids and have time to sort through my thoughts, I am a happier mom.  So, I decided to start a blog.

I really wanted the blog title "my life as a mom," but I saw it was already taken.  I am pretty sure it said since 2007, but the webpage was completely blank.  I had to laugh.  A blank blog about motherhood somehow seems accurate.  It tells me the person that started the blog was probably busy being a mom and didn't have time to actually write in her blog.

Someday my blog might also be blank.  If so, rest assured I am still fully immersed in motherhood.  But until that day, I will take time through writing and photography to reflect on what I have learned in motherhood and how God speaks to me through this role.

Why?

When I have taken time to write and reflect I see things a little clearer.  I can see the beauty in motherhood, despite how demanding and exhausting it can be.  I feel more grateful.  I can see God's hand in our daily lives, which makes my faith stronger and gives my heart peace.  My stronger faith in the intentional and loving God who created us all gives me confidence to be me, the person God created me to be.

But most of all, I blog, because it makes me happy.  A happy mom makes a happy home.

Thank you for stopping by my blog! XO!

photography

Going through old pictures always tugs my heart and makes me miss the moments when my kids were so little....until....
 
...until...I come across a picture like the one below.  I forget how tiring how having three kids under the age of five is.  How I could fall asleep anytime, anywhere....  My heart still feels sad that time moves so quickly and my boys grow so fast, but three years later, I can appreciate not feeling so tired all the time.  And it is fun to watch my kids grow and see how their personalities have shaped and grown with them.  But still...I need reality check type of pictures!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Once a Month - March

Our family has been working on sharing Jesus' love by giving and serving more.  If you want to read the start of our journey and why we decided to do this, click here.
 
I had in my head what I wanted to do this month, but then I got invited to go to a Shoot-a-Thon Adoption Fundraiser by a family from our church. 
 
We don't really know the family raising money very well, but I used to work with this family's mother/grandmother.  She shared with me a little about their adoption journey. She told me about how after hearing the story of two kids wishing to be adopted, this family was deeply moved and felt called to adopt these two children.
 
For about a year, this family has been trying to raise the $50,000+ that it costs to bring these kids home. This family has two biological kids, a son and daughter, and the kids decided to fundraise by asking people pledge money for the number of baskets they shot.  They shot baskets for eight hours! 
 
That is dedication.  That is the sign of kids that understand that sometimes sharing God's love requires sacrifice and selfless actions.  Those are the kind of kids I want my boys to see and the kind of event I want to be apart of. 
 
I was so moved by the story that I changed what we were going to give to this month and we spent a little time at the fundraiser.  It was awesome.  Do you see all the bags of cookies we bought?  In the short amount of time that I was chatting with the adoptive mother, two of my boys ate six cookies each!  Six! 
 
That's okay - we got a chance to support this fabulous cause and my boys got to see that God can move even kids to do big things.
 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

recycling a toddler's bed

My friend did the coolest thing with an old toddler's bed headboard.  She found the headboard at the end of a driveway marked free - love that kind of luck.  It was already painted dark brown, so all she did was stencil it with white paint and lean it up against her house.  It adds so much character to her front porch.  Brilliant.