Reminders

I have been struggling with my emerging preschooler during school time lately.  She is no longer content to sit by with busy work while I work with her older siblings.  She does a lot more lately to try and grab my attention if it isn’t given quickly. She wants her own dedicated time and she deserves it. I’ve been trying to rearrange our schedule so I can sit with her first, but this morning I was not moving fast enough for her and it led to a great deal of frustration for both of us.

Part of my frustration is my mommy guilt because I feel like I don’t do enough with her most days. I struggle not to compare what I do with her with what I was able to do with the other two when they were her age.  We played this.  We read this many books.  We spent this amount of time outside.  They had this class or that activity.  And then the clincher, they knew how to do…

But she is such a different beast.  She is much more temperamental and easily distracted. So this morning when she wanted to do her “schoolwork” I wanted to give her my full attention.  I needed two minutes, tops, to get the other two started on their independent work and she interrupted the entire time.  When I turned my attention to her and the work she chose, her first response was, “I don’t want to do that now.” Steam from my ears and deep breaths. I tried to focus her attention on her letter sounds and could feel the upset rising within me and her at all that I had not taught her yet.

I wish I could say I didn’t allow it to bother me or that I didn’t beat myself up, but that would be a lie.  While I didn’t go overboard, I did have a sense that I was failing to teach her the things she should know. The worst part was I was wondering how would I ever figure out how to help her.

Later this afternoon I called my mother in New Orleans after seeing the weather reports of Tornado watches and severe storms.  My littlest listened to her siblings ask me about the reports and about their grandmother, and when they left the room she asked a few more questions of her own. She then did something that took me completely by surprise.  As she walked by my side, she grabbed my hand and said let’s pray for Grammy and the tornados.  She recited the sweetest prayer to God asking him to protect her grandmother from the tornados and to keep her safe and all the people there.

At that moment I couldn’t help but think, “Thank you God for the reminder of what is really important.”  Of all the things I can want my children to know and learn, God is at the top of the list.  That sweet smart girl knew to go to God to ask for protection and comfort in the time of a storm. If that’s not a reminder I don’t know what is!

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

 

 

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Happy Valentine’s Day

Love is patient,  love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others,  It is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered,  it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

I Corinthians 13:4-7

More often than I care to admit, I don’t love the way I should.  Thanking God today for his perfect love. Grace feels good.

Psalm 92:12-15

The righteous flourish like a palm tree, and grow like a Cedar in Lebanon.  They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God.  In old age they still produce fruit; they are always green and full of sap, showing that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

Lord, let me obey you and walk in your will so this can be me.  Amen

Ash Wednesday 2016

The first day of Lent and I overslept.  I woke up later than I planned and immediately started thinking I’m failing my new commitments on the first day!  By the time I woke up this morning, according to my self imposed schedule, I should have already completed prayer time and exercise.

Then I heard the question in my head, “Why is that failure?” God is so faithful to remind us of his truth versus the enemy’s lies.  The truth is the only failure is giving up.  I chose not to.  Even though I was “late” I had plenty of time to sit and be blessed in his presence this morning.  I am so thankful I did not rush off to the next thing.  I was able to write down the following prayer:

Lord,

Please be with me today and silence the voice of the enemy that tells me there is no way I can succeed.  I must rest in your strength to accomplish anything you have called or are calling me to.  You have not taken away this cup.  Help me to focus on your will.  There is so much that needs to be cleaned from my heart that I didn’t even know resided there.  Lord, please bless this day of beginnings.  Amen

I fasted today for the first time in a long time.  I had intended to do a Daniel Fast this morning, but during my TAG (Time Alone with God) I felt led to go without food this first day of Lent.  My schedule for the day was truly turned upset down, but I felt calmer than I have in weeks.  I guess the word would be peaceful.  I am looking forward to this season and seeing God work.  I would not presume to think that everyday will feel like today, but I feel like God blessed my effort to not give up this morning and obey his voice.  Lord help me to listen intently for your voice and to obey quickly. Thank you, Lord, for a day of blessed beginnings!

 

About Mardi Gras…

Happy Mardi Gras ya’ll!

This has been my hardest Carnival Season to be away from New Orleans.  I haven’t lived in New Orleans in over 20 years, but so many family and friends returned home to celebrate, and I wanted to be there too. My children have fully embraced their Louisiana heritage and were almost as disappointed as I was.  Because they couldn’t share in the revelry in New Orleans, they decided to share some of the holiday with their CC classes.

I was really proud of my babies!  They told about the history and traditions of Mardi Gras and then shared one of our homemade King Cakes.  After the presentation, however, it made me sad to realize how many people outside of New Orleans really don’t know anything about the true meaning.  Many of the moms commented they had no idea it had Christian roots and thought it was merely a chance for drunken debauchery.

Many outside of Louisiana don’t realize it is a holiday that traces its origins back to medieval Europe and has been in America since 1699.  Many don’t realize Carnival Season begins with the celebration of the three Kings, or Magi, that visited Jesus after his birth on the Twelfth Night.  Or that is a family affair with parades and marching bands, tailgating and dancing, toys and coveted throws, parties, King Cake and lots of good food. All of that comes to an end on Mardi Gras Day.  A legal holiday in Louisiana since the 1800’s.

The kids and I talked a lot about what Mardi Gras meant to me growing up with people these last couple of weeks. Not just the fun, but also the feeling that we were preparing ourselves for Lent.  “What are you giving up for Lent?”, was a common question during Carnival Season.  I haven’t observed Lent myself in a few years, but all this explaining tugged on my heart.  Carnival addresses the carnal, the flesh, that Christians seek to subdue during Lent in honor of our Savior’s sacrifice.

I think it has particularly resonated with me this year because I’ve been struggling greatly with my flesh lately.  Anger, resentment, doubt, confusion, and lack of discipline have been thorns in my side that desperately need to be addressed.  I plan to observe Lent this season and it’s time of refinement.  I pray God will mold me as I seek to sacrifice, fast, and pray with a more specific focus.  I hope you all had a Happy Mardi Gras.  Here’s to Lent and a shinier you!

 “But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10

 

Prayer for February 6, 2016

I wrote and prayed this prayer a few days ago, but I have been feeling a strong need to revisit these words everyday. It was a plea from the heart of a struggling homeschool mother for herself and her family, but we all struggle.  I’m going to keep praying this prayer.  I felt led to share it and so here it is.  May God use it to bless you too.

Lord,

Be with us today.  Help all of us to focus on you and your will for us today.  Help us, but me especially, to be content in the place you have us in right now.  Let me not miss out on the blessings you have for me today by focusing my attention on the things I don’t have.  Help me to stay in my lane and appreciate all the ways you are molding and growing me today.  Let my attitude be pleasant and my words be kind.  Help me to bridle this wild loose tongue of mine.  Be in my heart, so that my actions may be covered in your love.  Help me to grow in wisdom and discernment.  Teach me to be more organized, but help me to remember nothing is in my control.  And when I feel out of control, let me remember to reach for your hand because only you hold me and calm it all.

Amen

Happy New Year!

I am a procrastinator to my core.  So it should not be surprising that I am writing, “Happy New Year” at the end of New Year’s Day.  Like many people, my mind has been replaying the ups and downs of 2015, and wondering what 2016 has in store.

The last few weeks of 2015 proved to be slightly challenging.  You would think I would be filled with ideas of how I’m going to attack 2016 differently, but I feel just as clueless as I normally do this time of year. Even thought I gave up New Year’s resolutions many moons ago, it’s hard to escape the feeling of hope that comes with the beginning of a New Year.  I have no grand game plan for 2016, but I look forward to this new start  simply because I’ve been blessed with it.

Today, I thank God for his grace.  I thank God for new beginnings in every way He wishes me to experience them this year.  I pray that as hard as it feels sometimes, that he will continue to align my will with his.  I pray for wisdom to hear his voice and the courage to follow it boldly.  I pray that I will be more grace filled, not only with those around me, but also with myself.  I pray that I will learn to silence that voice that beats me up and tells me I’m a horrible mother, wife, teacher, fill in the blank, and remember every day I am striving to grow in his grace.  I am a child of God, not Jesus himself, so I will make mistakes.  I pray I will remember to look for the lesson and keep on moving because the only way to truly fail is to stop trying.

I wish these same things for those of you who will read this.  2016 let’s do this!