Thursday, September 25, 2014

Morning Moodiness

    Starting your day off with negativity is miserable!  How do you wash clean of that and feel fresh and ready to go on with a good day?  We've all woken up on the wrong side of the bed, and often things go wrong without our permission (i.e. waking to a pot of coffee all over the counter and floor due to a clogged filter), but does this give us the right to bring others down with us?
    I remember those days of driving to work in downtown Atlanta and how a traffic jam could sour my day, or a rude driver's impatient honk could put me on edge for another hour or so.  I greatly admire those positive people who can smile when frowned at, can turn the other cheek when slapped, and can bless someone when spit upon.  I, sadly, struggle with this.  I am a people-pleaser and when people aren't pleased with me, I tend to obsess and dwell on it until it absorbs me completely. My poor family has endured many of my morning-moodiness, but they know I definitely try to take a break, a breath, and start fresh.  Even though my children insist upon a wake-up call at 7 am day or weekend, early turn in or late night, I know that the way I greet them each morning will set the tone for their day.  So this not-so-early-morning-person puts on a happy face, and gladly greets them so that the first words they hear are, "I love you!"  Our morning coffees and milks during Bible lesson are a calming soothing start to our day, plus give me a few quiet minutes to wake up to the right priorities.  Yet, often in a family of 6, someone did not wake up on the right side of the bed and the mood spreads through us all, like an illness weeding its way into all of our hearts.  This is when the Preachy side of Mom comes out and I remind them of how we "should" behave, or how we "should" forgive and move on (often I've been known to even lecture myself on this).  You know what?!  Those crazy kids CAN.  They let it go, and within minutes are humming along their merry way.  How can an "I'm sorry" or a shared smile solve their grievances?
    I pray the Lord teach me to be as a child, to forgive, to forget, to not take personally the trials of the day, but to bless others and spread His love instead of the gloom that threatens to blacken my moods and hang over the blessings that I might miss.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Little Hand Pats of Wisdom

     It's hard as a parent to see our children's hopes dashed and the disappointment fill their eyes.  From canceled playdates, to moving friends, to loss of loved ones, to even rained out events - it's never easy, but it is part of life.
     I've tried to let them have their disappointments and griefs, but also try to teach them to find a brightness, help them to put their trust in Him, even when it's tough.  Things don't always go our way, but He knows where they are going and we can count on His love.
    Yesterday, my long awaited plans to go to Sam's Club (yes, this is an excitement for me...don't judge :-), came crashing down around me in the form of a rare and unexpected rain storm in our dry little city. 
My kids sensed my disappointment (maybe the loud sighs and groans gave them an inkling of a hint).  Instead of jumping for joy for having once again dodged the trip, those sweeties rubbed my back.  Suddenly, I heard little voices repeating my words back to me.
"Maybe God had a different plan."
"Think of a good thing - now you can rest on the couch, and watch me play this game."
"At least it's good that we're getting rain."
"It's okay.  We love you!"
     I love that they have learned not only how to deal with let downs, but also how to comfort someone else when they see it needed.  Thanks be to God for these little blessings who so often are the ones teaching and reminding me to keep my eyes on Him.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Worst Place to Be

     One of the kids' favorite pastimes is to ask favorites and worsts.  What is your favorite restaurant? What is the worst smell?  It's fun to hear how their opinions are so much alike and also so totally opposite.
     Recently, the question arose, "What is the worst place to be?"  The girls answered things like, "being sick with the stomach bug" or "being in a tornado."  But Little Mister trumped them all with his emphatic announcement, "Wrong!  The worst place to be is stuck in the middle of a giant broccoli!"
     Ha!  That is a rather difficult situation to find one's self....especially if you despise broccoli as much as my little guy. :-)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Multi-Tasking: Talent or Flaw?

Forgive my being bold and blunt, but I confess, I am THE  Multi-Tasking Queen.  As a homeschooling momma of four, I pretty much have to be.   It's not unusual to find me cooking dinner, folding laundry, answering messages, and giving a Spelling Test all at the same time.  It's a talent.  It's a necessity.  It's also a terrible flaw!
     Recently, I had my children take a Love Language Test.  I was a bit surprised when all four of my little darlings' primary love language came back "Quality Time."  I'm with them pretty much all day, every day, all year, every year.  I would think they get more than enough time with me, but how awesome is that that my kids actually want to spend time with me?!  May it be that way forever!!! 
     How mistaken I was in thinking, "Kudos to me for giving them exactly what they want and need!"  After much reflection and listening to their feedback, it came to my attention that it's not so much that they want to spend time with me like we do constantly, but that they want my undivided focused-time.  They don't want to share their important conversations with the dinner-making or the laundry-folding.  They want my single-tasked focused time.  In trying to do it all, I was missing out on giving them this main desired gift of feeling loved.
     I was given a special treat last night.  Little Mister was having trouble sleeping and I offered to lay with him for a bit.  Normally, I would use this downtime laying there in the dark to check my phone texts, emails, Facebook, news updates, read my chapter, etc.  BUT all I could bring myself to do was stare at that precious boy lying there in the dark wanting me to just be nearby.  I felt so much love when I focused without distractions.  I wanted desperately for those feelings of love and assurance to pour out comfort into him.  Then it hit me...when is the last time I set aside everything else and purely focused my multi-tasking time?  Not only was it a perfect gift to him who needed me, but the calm and joy I felt was worth so much more to my soul than checking off items on my to-do list.
     No wonder, throughout His message, our Father begs us to meditate, pray, read, focus daily on Him, leaving everything else aside to follow Him.  He knows that the "Quality Time" He desires from us is not solely for His own benefit, but is so filling and healing to us, as well.
    Of course we are busy people.  Of course the demands on our time are constantly getting checked off an ever-growing list.  But if we only take the time to focus fully on the ones we love and those who love us, we will heal their hearts, give them what they need, and feel the benefit of our own love-tanks refueled.  Sometimes getting it all done just isn't getting the real job done.  Yes, I have a talent and flaw for Multi-Tasking to the extreme, but my true gift is the ability to give what is needed to those I love... and THAT is a talent that blesses us all.