July 20, 2016

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

This morning, before sitting down for coffee, I went on a hunt for my Bible. The hunt was unsuccessful. I figured it was probably buried under one of my piles of clean laundry… a folding task I have yet to tackle, but what's new? 
So, I grabbed my Jesus Calling devotional instead and opened it up to today's reading. 
It was spot on. As God's timely encouragement always does, it went right through my boggled feelings and emotions, straight to the core of me. 
Minutes later, between sips of coffee and mouthfuls of oatmeal, I found myself singing "Your praise will ever be on my lips" with my Bekah. I cherished the moment. There aren't many sounds I love more than hearing my little girl sing worship songs.

Fast forward about an hour and the three of us (baby Rachel included) are in the car, headed to the super market to buy some essentials. We're halfway there when Bekah blurts out, "Mom, I have a game! Who can think the hardest without talking!" 
I burst into laughter, knowing exactly where she learned that game. "That sounds like a game Daddy made up."
"Yes, it is!" 

So we played. 
And I lost. 
Later in the day we were at the front desk of the library, speaking with the librarian about a $30 fee I owed (for something I didn't even realized I hadn't returned) when I heard the faint sound of my phone ringing. I finished my conversation and fished it out of the diaper bag. Seven missed calls from my husband. I figured something was wrong. We stepped outside together so I could return the call. 
He answered, sounding frantic. "Are you and the girls okay???" 
"Yeah, we're fine. We're at the library. What's wrong??"
"The police were at our house. The alarm was set off. They called my cell phone. I've been trying to reach you. I'm on my way home. I thought something was wrong."
"Oh, wow, okay. No, we're fine."

So, he came home early, thanks to some sort of motion that set our sensor off. 
I stayed at the library for another 45 minutes or so, so we'd arrive home at the same time. 
Although the officers had informed him (over the phone) that they'd walked around our house and everything was okay, I still didn't want to walk into our house alone. 
So, we waited for Daddy. 
And while we waited, I thanked God for the man He provided for me--- one whose presence brings us girls a strong sense of security. 

He walked into our home ahead of us, accompanied by Chip (whom he'd retrieved out of our yard, for stranger sniffing purposes. Ya just never know.) 
But I already knew everything was fine. 
There was a peace in my core. 
A peace that always rushes in on extra high levels when I meet with a crisis. 
The peace of God that surpasses all human understanding. 

It ain't easy.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Sometimes, when Jon does something that bothers me, i'll sigh and mutter (loud enough for him to hear) "For better or for worse…"
That usually breaks the tension and we both laugh. 

Well, yesterday I made somewhat of a vow that has been harder to keep than I expected. 
I said I would ditch complaining for two whole weeks. 
Well wouldn't ya know, I just so happened to scrape my foot against one of our end tables, and acquire the most unwelcome splinter in the history of ever. I'm not so sure, "Ouch!" falls under the category of complaining. I don't think so, it being an almost involuntary reaction to such a sad fate,
but it took a whole lot of grit for me to keep my mouth shut while I, tweezers in hand, worked at removing the thing.

This morning I caught myself in the act when I said aloud, "Why do I even bother to leave the house when I'm always too tired to leave once we're all ready?"
When I realized I was complaining, I shut my mouth. 

Then, while running errands I felt hungry, so I decided to try an Indian restaurant around our way. 
Big mistake. 
I've had delicious Indian food, thanks to my sister-in-love, but this food was bland and horrid. 
I sent my sis a text saying, "I feel like i'm eating dog food."
Another complaint. 

This not-complaining thing is tough stuff! (There's another complaint! Help!)
I complain about the dog staring at me through the sliding door when we've sent him outside for a while, and I complain when he's inside, following me from room to room. His loyalty is both sweet and burdensome. 
I complain when Bekah complains. 
I complain when I measure the coffee grounds incorrectly and end up with a weak cup o' joe. 
I complain when my husband's alarm wakes me repeatedly in the morning,
and if I really stop to think about it, me writing this list qualifies as complaining in disguise. 

Complaint-free living!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Today I discovered pen doodles on one of our wooden dining chairs. Over the last few months our Bekah has been on a mission to decorate our car and home, one doodle at a time. She has sketchbooks, a chalkboard, an eraser board, and paper galore, but there's just something about the walls, the chairs, the leather interior of cars that call her name. 
The punishments have varied. Today's included her scrubbing the chair, a temporary ban on all pens, crayons, markers, pencils, and anything else that produces a sketch, and none of her favorite tv shows. I may or may not have spanked her as well, but I won't mention it here because that'll send some of you into cardiac arrest with no hope of recovery. 

The one and only thing that impacted her most was the ban on writing tools.
 "NO drawing?" she asked, her heart obviously crushed. 
"No drawing," I responded. 
Then came the real tears. 
A short while later I was sitting at the table, reading a book, when the complaints began. 
She was muttering to herself:
"Mama doesn't let me do anything. I can't draw. I wanted to draw something beautiful for Daddy. There's nothing to do---"

"Read a book, Bekah," I offered.

"Oh, that sounds fun! Okay!" She walked away, and for a brief second there was hope for some peace. Then she returned wearing a look of sorrow. "I don't know how to read." 
My heart was moved. For a split second I considered letting her draw, but she was still under punishment and being punished requires mommy to stay in discipline mode. It isn't easy for me, but i'm learning (thanks to a husband who is a whole lot better at disciplining than I am) that it is of extreme importance to keep one's word with children. 
I steadied my heart and kept my gaze on my book so those puppy dog eyes of hers wouldn't work their trickery.
"Just look at the pictures then."
"I don't wanna look at the pictures."
"Fold some clothing."
"That's not fun."
"You have toys you know."
"I don't wanna play."

At this point I couldn't take it anymore, so I walked away in silence, into our office.
Walking away seems to help me a lot these days, 
except when she follows me and the frustration continues. 

"Mom, can I have some chocolate?"
"No, Bekah."
She left. 
Seconds later she came back.
"Mom, can I have the flower spray I made you?"
 (A Mother's Day gift she'd made that I'd taken away after realizing that she'd spent the better part of the day spraying everything in sight so it would all smell like flowers).
"No, you cannot have the spray. " 

The end result: a whole lot of moping on her part. 
She just wandered from room to room, not sure what to do with herself. 
Life is hard when you're four and you're not allowed to draw. 

I've done a lot of it in my time. 
I remember spending an entire summer making daily phone calls to my mom at work, just to let her know (more than once a day, sometimes) that I was incurably bored and life was hopeless.
I'm sure, if Caller ID existed at the time, my mom would've ignored those phone calls. 
I wouldn't blame her today if she'd hung up on me every single time I called. 
Complaining is like nails against a chalkboard. I don't know of a single person who enjoys being on the listening end of it. 

I recently read of a woman challenging herself to stay complaint-free for 2 straight weeks. In the end, she broke the bad habit and friends of hers found her to be much more of a refreshing, fun, life-filled person because of it. As I read her story, something in me felt like I should challenge myself to do the same. 
After hearing my daughter gripe today (and being fully aware of the fact that kids pick up a whole lot of habits, both good and bad, from their parents) i'm thinkin' it's time to dive into the challenge and never look back. 
Complaint-free living, here I come! 

(Help me, Jesus!)

Stop the fuss!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

By 10am this morning I had had enough of the whining. 
My four year old, who at times reminds me of a fourteen year old, seemed to have downed yet another jug of Drama Juice, and I can't.stand.drama. 
I was in a rush to get out the door with a fussy baby on my hip when Bekah stomped away from me in a huff because--get this--I was staring at her while she looked for her shoes. She hates being looked at when she's in trouble. So does everyone else in the world, I guess. 
She stormed away, stubbing her toe in the process. It was the straw that broke the camel's back. She immediately went into hysterics.
I didn't feel sorry her. 
As I mentioned, I had had enough.
So I turned around, opened the front door and walked out front to get some fresh air with Rachel. 
Not one minute later I heard Bekah yelling, "Mommy, I NEED YOU!"
I walked back inside, went to her room, and found her forcing more tears, nursing her toe. 
I sat on the bed and was honest: "Bekah, I'm having a hard time feeling sorry for you right now. You were being bratty when that happened and honestly, I think you're okay. Now get up and look for your shoes. We're leaving."
She got up to look for her shoes, then turned around and said, "Don't look at me!"
So I responded, "Then don't call me to your room!" and walked away. 

I am not a perfect mother. 
That is a given. 
But I believe pity parties and drama and forced tears don't deserve attention, 
and I cannot be swayed. 

I set the house alarm-- my not-so-secret strategy to getting her out the door without having to repeat, "Hurry, let's go!" a million times. The beeping of the alarm does all the work for me. 
And while getting into the car, as I buckled her into her booster seat, I gave her forehead kisses to reinforce the fact that I DO love her and DO care. (Those "Nobody loves me" lies are so easy to believe when in the pit of sadness).           

Later in the day, as I was washing dishes, I got to thinking about a time (out of the many) when I had my own major pity party. 
I distinctly remember having a very hard day as a newlywed, and throwing myself on our bed, face buried in our comforter, sobbing oversized tears out of sheer frustration. 
I remember complaining to God in my heart (because I didn't want my husband to hear me) 
and hearing God's voice firmly tell me: "GET UP".
I was shocked.
There was no, "Awww, there there," or "It's okay baby girl, I know life is hard."
There was only a loving Father firmly telling me to stop the nonsense and get up off that bed. 
God was not amused with my whining. 
I obeyed, stood up, and instantly realized how ridiculous I was being. 
Self-pity never leads us down a good road. 

So much of what I experience with my daughters reminds me of experiences I've had (and am still having) with my God. 
I'm so grateful He's such a good Father, never caving just to make me feel better, but always keeping it real.
As I grow in Him, I will always ask Him to continue to mold me into the good mother my daughters need. 

UPDATE:  When Daddy got home this afternoon, we did what we sometimes do-- ran out to meet him. In all the excitement (Chipper, our dog, included) Bekah somehow tripped and skinned both knees. 
She was just out of my line of vision and all I heard was her yelling, "Mommy!" in a way I had never heard before. I was afraid something really horrible had happened, so I froze in fear, and Jon did the running to her. Thankfully it turned out to be just skinned knees. But this time, remembering how I wasn't very tender with her earlier, I took her by the hand, reassured her it would okay, and once inside I sat with her and prayed that Jesus would heal her knees. It's my highest privilege to be a Mom, shaping the lives of these little ones. I make mistakes, but God fills in the gaps, and boy am I grateful for that!

"When the cares of my heart are many, Your consolations cheer my soul." -Psalm 94:19

She Gets Me

Thursday, January 7, 2016

As I was climbing into bed for the night, Bekah reached up and placed a burp cloth on my shoulder. 
"Here ya go!" she said, all adult-like. And I seriously felt like I had my own personal helper, ready to make my life easy at every turn. 
It was a small thing, in retrospect, but dang it made me feel super loved. 
It showed me, once again, that my little 4 year old girl is watching, waiting for ways to help her mama. 
Sometimes I mention, offhand, a random thing like, "I'm a little cold," and all of a sudden she's running off to get me my robe. 
The beautiful thing about all of this is that I named her Rebekah for one or two very specific reasons. 
The first reason is semi-obvious: it's my middle name (except mine is spelled Rebecca). Back when I was little I knew the sweetest little girl named Bekah, and I always had it in my heart to name my own girl "Bekah" someday. 
The second, way less obvious, reason came about during a sermon at church one day. 
At that point I was very pregnant and sold on naming my girl "Emma" right along with every other mom in America. (It was the #1 most popular name at the time).
The sermon that day focused in on the Bible's Rebekah, and how she had a beautiful servant's heart. 
God honored her because of it. 
I decided right then and there that I would name my girl Rebekah and I would pray her heart would be just as beautiful in God's sight. 

So, you see, when she helps in little ways these days, like running to get me what I need when I didn't even ask her for help-- she's totally living up to her name, and all because God loves to give us the sweetest desires of our heart. 
She's a good good daughter. 
And God is a good good Father. 

On an even deeper level, she's been so in-tune to what's going on in my heart lately. 
She studies my facial expressions and tells me at random moments, "Mom, when you make this face," (she mimics my facial expression) "that means you're listening to what i'm saying." 
While I was pregnant, I cried in front of her many a time, for reasons sometimes silly and sometimes serious. She never seemed disturbed by it, but instead would hug me and comfort me. 
That's a big deal for me-- a woman who never knows what the heck to do when someone else is crying. I am the most awkward comforter ever. Most times I just sit by the person and let them cry. Not in a mean way, just in an awkward way. Then I'll pray for them or encourage them. 
But when it comes to physically showing affection to people not closest to me-- i'm the most awkward girl in the world. 
But my Bekah has just got it in her. 
She's like her Daddy in that way. 

Her vocabulary may be limited and her number of years on this earth not many, yet, 
but she's such a huge blessing to me. 
She gets me in such a special way. 

I know in my heart that we will never just be a mother and daughter,  
but our relationship will always involve being close friends. 
That's something I didn't specifically ask God for, 
but He's given it to me anyway 
and i'm thankful He did. 

A Precious Few Minutes!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Much is required of me these days. I can now say I fully understand what people refer to when they say motherhood is a high calling. It is the highest calling, some would say. I've never given it enough thought to agree with that statement or not. These days I have little thinking time, and even littler doing-anything-for-myself time. I say that without resentment. I am completely satisfied. God has been pouring ridiculous amounts of blessing into our laps. I have zero reason to complain. The work of motherhood, in itself, is a blessing. Most things that are hardest to accomplish produce the greatest results. I expect my girls to be "pillars" (Psalm 144:12) who love Jesus with all their heart. All the rest is  not as important to me. With that expectation comes hard work on my part.

I'm typing up this blog post without looking back to what I wrote last. Time is precious and I've got one baby napping while my biggest is entertaining herself with coloring. I could be doing a million other important things right now, but somehow blogging drew me in. No matter how long in between blog posts, I never stop craving the act of jotting down my thoughts. So, forgive me if you're reading this and i'm repeating myself in any way (compared to my last post). And if my thoughts are jumbled, forgive me for that too. 

My goal here is to express, not impress. It's express or implode. Write or die. =)

We've settled into our new home pretty well. I still drive up to it and think, "Whoa dude, I'm a home owner. Me. Becky. I own!" It's a crazy feeling considering I haven't aged past seventeen in my heart of hearts. We have one or two closets that are jammed with boxes and miscellaneous items that need to be sorted through-- you know, the kind of sorting that gets put off for months, then years, and perhaps forever. If I had gone through a cool little nesting phase while pregnant with Rachel, then I would've tackled that in a heartbeat. Alas, I did not. 

If I had made any New Year's resolutions, one of them would definitely have been to de-jammify the closets. 
But New Year's Eve, then day, crept up on me like a sneaky cat. We were all sniffly and sneezy and hangin' in our jammies that week. 
Speaking of cats-- we have these really annoying neighborhood cats that do not go away. Like, ever. 
The sellers of this house told us, "We have no thugs in these parts, but we sure do have cats!"
Too bad I'm not a cat lover. 
They are everywhere, and stroll through our yard endless times daily, treating our territory as if it were there own private litter box. 
It's absolutely gross and infuriating, and I need prayer because I wanna kill a cat. Or two. 

Life here has been sweet. Our neighbors are a blessing. We have one couple with killer baking skills. I will never be mad about the sweet potato pies they've delivered to us, fresh out of the oven. YUM. 
And another sweet older woman who comes to pick up Bekah whenever her granddaughters are over. 
Bekah was invited to her first neighborhood birthday part last November. And all in all, it's been a great experience living here. They've welcomed us beautifully and we feel so blessed we get to raise our girls here. 

Our wee babe is up and staring at me, which means she's probably ready to be fed. 
Either that or i'm irresistibly beautiful and she just can't help it. 
But considering I look semi-frightening right now, I think she's just hungry. 

Cheers to blogging in 2016!
…. I hope it happens again soon.