Monday, June 9, 2014

Made to Crave

This summer our church is doing a series called The Ten Commandments.  The moment I heard what we were doing visions of Charlton Heston came to mind in the 1950s film - hours of my life sitting bored with my parents watching this movie as a little kid.  By the way, this is not a review of the movie, any adult movie is boring to a six year old! HA!  I'm sure it's very good, and I should probably see it again as an adult.

But the feelings that memory conjured up had me anticipating a snoozefest.  I'll admit, I half listened through the first week and doodled on my sermon notes most of the time.  Later, I felt convicted about my attitude and since this sermon series is 10 weeks long, I should probably get my act together and open my heart and mind.  So I prayed before I walked into church this week that I would be open to hearing from God, even if I already knew the 10 commandments.

Our pastor often will say (I'm paraphrasing here of course! sorry Brady) that people say they want to hear and think about the meaty, deep theological stuff, but have we put into practice the basics truths of our faith yet?  The answer most of the time is NO! I may know the 10 commandments - but am I living them out?  That's the real question.

So week 2 jumped in at the first commandment:

And God spoke all these words: I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.  You shall have no other Gods before me. - Exodus 20:1-3
 The point of this sermon was this:  We all have idols in our life.  They may not be the little stone statue kind, but you can find them by probing into your hearts a bit with these questions:
  • What consumes your thoughts?
  • How do you spend your money?
  • What is something so important in your life that if you were to loose it, you would slip into despair?
  • Who or what do you make sacrifices for?
And this hit me like a ton of bricks - there is one thing in my life that encompasses all these things and it's not God - it's my body image.

In my life I have spent tons of money chasing this ideal - weight watchers, gym memberships, shakes, herbalife, eat to live, Atkins, Paleo, I could really go on and on.  I wake up and one of the first things I do is hop on the scale.  If the scale is too high, my day starts off in a funk.  I spent a whole year training for and completing four half marathons, and yet still I wasn't satisfied.

I was put on my first diet at six years old and have been fighting this body image battle ever since.

And I worry every day that I could pass on this terrible obsession to my children, just like it was given to me by my mother.

Sitting there during the sermon, I could see that I have been a slave my whole life to this obsession.

It is my #1 idol.

It's not easy to be vulnerable to others and talk about this issue, but since Americans spend more than $60 billion dollars each year on weight loss, I figured there must be someone out there who is struggling just like me - and maybe we could encourage each other.

A few years ago, I ran across a study called Made to Crave.  I thought about buying it, but just wasn't ready to tackle this issue.  I thought I could "fix" it on my own through one more diet, but of course - I was just chasing the impossible.

Made to Crave starts off with this basic truth.  We were all made to crave.  But crave what?  There is only one thing, one person in this life that can truly satisfy us and that is God.  Yes, cravings are real and we will always have them.  We should listen to them (they are in us for a reason!), but then satisfy them with the only thing that will actually fill us - God.

I am going to walk through this study over the summer.  If anyone would like to join me, feel free to privately message me.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Facebook...The Acceptable Form of Bragging

First off, don't get me wrong - there are LOTS of things I really enjoy about Facebook.  It's wonderful to share happy moments with your friends, celebrate success, get encouragement during those down times, share some thoughts of wisdom, or keep in touch with friends and family.  Those are all definitely not forms of bragging when done with the right intention.

However,  I do find there is this little slice of me that's using Facebook for another means...an acceptable way to make myself feel better by...bragging.

Yup, I said it, bragging.

For instance, maybe I...

Post a picture of Mark and I out on a date night...translation...check us out - we are so connected relationally - aren't we rocking this whole marriage thing! (Don't look behind the curtain here, date may or may not have gone well, and we might have been too tired to even have a coherent discussion and often end up doing romantic things like toilet shopping at Lowes.)

Or list out my days accomplishments...translation...I am wife and mother of the year over here - check out what I can get done in just ONE freakin day! (Of course, I don't mention that the next four days were a wreck with dishes piled high and my husband searching for a clean pair of underwear).

Or post yet another pic of my latest craft...translation...Check out my creativity!  I am a pinterest queen! (Or really, look what I did while my kids scrounged for food in the pantry and stayed in their pajamas all day)

Or take a quick pic of my quiet time books/bible...translation...God and I are "tight" - I want you to think every morning starts like this and I am uber disciplined and in tune with the Holy Spirit.   (Or maybe I was more worried about getting an in-focus, artsy pic than listening to what God was telling me that day).

Yeah, this has been me on more than one occasion.  Facebook is dangerous like that.  So I think I have come up with some new rules for myself regarding Facebook...starting today...

I will not post anything unless it:

1. Is sharing something worthy of celebrating with others
2. Is uplifting or encouraging to another
3. Could help others walking through the same trial by reading about a challenge I'm having that day.  (Sometimes those are my favorite posts, when I see I am not ALONE in the struggle of something!)
4. Just plain informative!

I will see if I can keep my own rules - it WILL be hard, but ultimately good for me.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Content to Be Me

I  think I might start blogging again - I really miss it.  It's also good for people like me who have problems remembering what happened yesterday, let alone last year.  I love looking back at the posts when the boys were babies and thinking, "oh yeah, I forgot about that!".

This week, what's really on my mind is this concept of "owning who you are".  A chat with a good friend a few months back yielded this treasure - "Mel, everyone has their own 'thing' - and it doesn't make sense to copy someone else's 'thing'.  You have to find your own."  I'm paraphrasing, of course, memory issues, remember?  She obviously said it way better.

But this idea has really stuck with me ever since.  I admire so many women - there are just so many talented ladies out there!  And often, that admiration can turn into envy.  Why can't I have a garden like hers?  I would love to make quilts like that!  She is such a patient mother.  She is so outgoing.  And on, and on, and on.  And these are all wonderful things to admire...but that's where it needs to end.

So what's the defense to this streak of envy that preys on our hearts?  I think it's this:

Being content to be me.

Psalm 139:13-14
For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother's womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.

God create us uniquely.  Our special blend of talent, personality, and physical traits - there is no one like you!  And to wish to be someone else, is kind of like telling God He was wrong when he put you together.

So I am striving to be content in myself.  Not to apologize for being who I am.  And to fully embrace what makes me unique.

And although I can define the "me" now - that in no way limits the future "me".  I am not talking about ceasing to grow and learn, but loving yourself along the way.  Last year I couldn't have referred to myself as a "Runner".  But over the last 7 months I have become one.  That is a new part of me that I enjoy and am passionate about.   It also isn't the only part of me!  If I cease to run tomorrow - there is plenty more that defines my life and purpose.  I believe we all have many "things" that make us special.

If there was one thing I could wish for all of my friends (especially us ladies, we are so hard on ourselves) - it would be to love who you are and embrace the journey to who you are becoming.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Synergy

One of the things I love most about homeschooling, is the synergy you get when all your energy is focused toward a single goal - introducing my boys to LifeIt's amazing how you can weave things together when you are the primary director of their education.  Not that I need to be their sole resource for learning, but I am the one mapping out the best plan for them to learn and grow based on their individual needs and our family's beliefs.

One of the things we struggled with last year, when the boys were in school, was not jut relying on our Church to teach the boys their faith, but incorporating that as a family.  I'm sorry to say that besides some prayers, the fleeting curious conversation, or singing "Jesus Loves Me" before bedtime, our intentionality in this area was minimal.  Yet somehow, through God's grace, Hayden accepted Christ last year, despite my bungling, thanks to our awesome children's ministry teachers.

One of my goals this year is to be more intentional in this area and incorporate God in our lessons. So far, this has been one of my favorite parts of our studying.  I love science, and it's so fun to show off God's creation through the lens of science.  They are at an age where they are just amazed and curious about everything.  Science is quickly becoming one of their favorite times.

The last two weeks we started off in Genesis talking about God's Spirit hovering over the water and how everything was formless.  What a great segue into a science unit on water! We talked about the states of water, density, and did some fun experiments with sinking/floating, created our own Lego boats to find out which ones would float and even made an "ocean in a bottle" with oil, water, and food coloring.  Such fun!

This week we've moved into God creating light and darkness, so I've lined up some awesome fun with light, spectrum, rainbows, and even a sun dial!  I love being able to bring an often heard passage to life by showing and explaining how God's creation works. 
 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Beginning of Our Journey

This year we embarked on our homeschooling journey with a 1st Grader and Kindergartener!  One of the questions I get most often is "Why?"  But the reasons for homeschooling are so varied for each family and often can't be summed up in one thought.  I think it's a decision each family needs to make on their own - and depending on the family and life circumstances, that answer isn't going to always come out the same.

We have friends who homeschool, attend private and public schools, go to charter schools, attend co-ops, and even the university model - and so the "why" and "how" is not really a meaningful discussion, as I believe each family must come to their decision on their own.

It's the experiences that matter the most, and that's what I intend to share.  And I believe those experiences can happen in any environment given the right circumstances!

We actually started our "school" 3 weeks ago, so here are some of our "first day" pictures!




1st day of 1st grade


1st Day of Kindergarten

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The End of a Season

Today is the end of a very long season - our season of Corbin's therapy!  Since he was 9 months old he has had some form of therapy going on - Occupational, Physical, or Speech.  And now almost four years later, he's done!

Sure, he still has some "maintenance" work to do, but he is now within normal ranges - I'm so proud of him.  He's worked so hard to get here.  For years, we did 4 hours of therapy a week.  More recently it's been only 3 hours - but still!  That's a big chunk of time.  And he was a trooper through all of it, although he had his good days and bad days.

And, of course, we ended on one of those bad days, HA!  I was hoping for a happy goodbye, but instead I got tantrums and screaming...oh well.  He has one therapist he just doesn't click well with and every time he gets them we have an issue.  Today was no exception and we left the office kicking, screaming, and with me holding him like a football and hurrying towards the car.

Definitely one of the few times where the phrase, "mommy needs a drink" comes to mind.  He screamed the whole way home and then some.  And after a nap, he was back to sweet Corbin.

He is truly one of those kids that needs sleep to function.  Moms always say that, even I used to say that sleep affected Hayden's mood, but this is no comparison.  Corbin literally cannot function emotionally without enough sleep.  He can't process any disappointment or correction and melts down at the drop of a hat!  Any attempts at discipline only escalate the issue.  He's even learned now that he has this issue and will put himself to bed on those days.

Oh Corbin!  You definitely keep me on my toes!!


Corbin

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Being on the Outside

I'm feeling it more and more these days - how some of our experiences have shifted me to the "outside" looking in at where I once comfortably sat.  How disconnected and different I feel from lots of other moms...I don't know if that's a good or bad thing.

This weekend was difficult, bothersome, tear-invoking.

We had a meet-up at our local park for the incoming Kindergartners - and I felt so out of place.  The topic shifted from thing to thing, it seemed like each one was pulling me further and further outside.

Talk of dual-language kinder programs and where the zones will be for middle school (middle school?? they aren't even Kindergartners yet?!), and other academic accolades and things to strive for, etc.  Dual language?  I've fought so hard just for my boys to learn to speak English (and still am fighting that battle with Corbin).  I definitely want my boys to do as well as they can academically (and they ARE smart cookies!) but my heart won't be crushed if skills aren't mastered perfectly.  With Corbin's childhood apraxia of speech it is very likely he will also struggle learning to read and even dyslexia - we will cross that bridge when we get there.  I fought very hard to put that type of striving in it's place over the past few years.  My heart no longer struggles to have my kids compete with the Jones kids.  Corbin and Hayden are wonderfully made souls and I know God has unique plans for them!  And I can't wait to see them unfold. 

Topic then switched to Pegasus - the program Corbin is in.  Pegasus has dual function: 1.) For children with disabilities 2.) Typically developing children populate the class for modeling purposes.  My understanding is that the program is so well-liked that it can be difficult to get in for kids not needing services.  I briefly mentioned Corbin would be in Pegasus again this year.  The moms quickly jumped on the bandwagon about what a great PreK it was and how they knew someone that drove all over to sign up and get in, etc.  In other words, I don't think they realize that Pegasus services kids with disabilities and that my son has disabilities.  When I mentioned later that he had a speech disability (among other things, but who wants to bring all that up at a playdate) they literally were speechless.  I got a few "oh"s I think. 

And finally - because I'm just lucky like this - the topic changed to PEANUTS!  Argh, can't we just talk about the weather.  They went on and on about how they couldn't imagine packing a lunch without peanut butter and glad they could etc etc.  So I mentioned that yes, I have even more shocking news, my son is allergic to peanuts.  Seriously allergic.  I've never seen faces drop so quickly.

My biggest fear for Tuesday, is not the fact that my son is starting Kindergarten, it's that somehow, someone is going to feed him peanuts and something horrible could happen.  It makes my heart stop just thinking about how I can't control if some kid gives Hayden a piece of candy with peanuts in it, or if some mom brings cupcakes for the class and they have nuts, or there is some special event and they "forget" that Hayden is allergic...My biggest fear is that I could drop my kid off at school that morning and he could die. 

There.  I said it.  I don't have the luxury of worrying about if he adjusts to school or not, or the typically first day mommy fears.  What am I thinking about?  Is he going to get hurt?  Or even, is he going to feel like a freak or be "that kid with the allergies"?  It's not his fault his little body swells up with one bite of peanut butter.  I'm not an overreacting mom, or making a big deal out of nothing.  Anyone who knows me, knows this about me.  But this is a serious issues that a lot of people don't take seriously or make light of.  I would give anything not to have to deal with this.

Anyway, I left that conversation feeling like a bit of a freak myself, but mostly, just feeling different.  I've lost my ability to get overly passionate about some of those things, and find myself fighting for my boys in other ways - their health mainly.  Really, just surviving childhood is my goal these days! ;)

If you have any stories of your own allergy/disabilities kids that came through the school system in one piece I would appreciate them.  I could use some positive stories and I know they are out there.  Just the first day jitters! :D