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Archive for the ‘Challenges for myself’ Category

My friend, Christy, wrote on her blog http://terrishoyt.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/new-years-resolutions/ the other day about how her pastor challenged her to take a word for one year, focus on it and claim it…work on it…let it mould you. (You really should check out her blog…she’s quite funny)

I was sitting in church today and I was thinking about her post and was challenged to do the same.

So my one word for this year is:

Encouragement.

I want to encourage others through my words, actions and thoughts.

One way that I am planning on doing this is through facebook. I tried to do this last year but didn’t get very far.

So new year….new try.

This is my one and only New Year’s resolution. Sure, I have other things I would like to change about myself but I figure if I can focus one thing rather than twenty….that’s far better…and hopefully “easier”.

So my plan on facebook? To encourage people on their birthday. Sure…it’s great to come on Facebook on your birthday and see all those “happy birthday” wishes….but I believe it’s better and nicer to come on Facebook and see how somebody really feels about you. Picking out your great qualities….taking the time to really reflect on you and let you know that they are important to you.

Soooo….that’s my plan. I plan to encourage and uplift others on their birthday.

Who knows….maybe it will catch on??

Laura.

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Spilled Milk and Grace

This morning was a typical morning.  Big E’s alarm went off and he crawled into bed with us for a little morning time snuggle.  (Seriously…if he doesn’t get this it’s bad news for the rest of the day).  After about five minutes we got up and ready for the day.  7:30 hit and we settled down for breakfast and morning devotions.  Throughout devotions I reminded Big E over and over again to be careful not to spill his milk.  Devotions finished.  I told Big E to finish his milk and instead of drinking it normally he decided that holding on to it with four fingers (two on each hand) was much better than 10 fingers….thus spilling his milk everywhere.

I got upset.  Yup….it happens every. single. time.  He’s not paying attention and spills his drink all the time.  Seriously…the kid is five and I’m sure he will be drinking out of sippy cups until he’s twelve.  Anyway…I got upset.  Milk was wasted…paper towel was wasted.  He had to change his clothes…which results in me having to do more laundry than normal.  Why was I upset?  Maybe because I had told him at least a dozen times to be careful with his milk.  At least….a dozen times.

Then I sent him off to school….after I got mad at him.  After he apologized at least half a dozen times and after I DIDN’T say…”it’s ok…I know it was an accident.”  Yeah..big time mom fail right here.  (Pointing finger at myself)

Half an hour later I was in the car by myself and listening to my own music which is a very rare occassion in itself.  Three minutes into my drive the song “Grace like Rain” by Todd Agnew came on my ipod.  If you  haven’t heard it…have a listen.

And right there, into the chorus, God had a teachable moment with me.

“And Hallelujah Grace like rain falls down on me”

Grace like rain.

Let’s just take that literary shall we.  Rain falls.  Sometimes it falls softly…sometimes it pours and beats down on us….but it always comes down and refreshes things that need to be refreshed.  We need rain.

We need grace.  Big time.  Can you imagine a world without Grace? Isn’t it simply amazing to think that God is up there watching us and “showering” us with grace when we need it the most…sometimes when we don’t even deserve it?  Sometimes He showers it lightly…other times He pours it down on us.  Have you ever met somebody who wasn’t grateful for the grace they received?  Me either….grace is wonderful.  Grace makes the world go around.  Grace  makes you feel refreshed, so much better and so grateful.  God gives it….God provides it and God keeps pouring it out on us.

So my lesson???  Yeah..you guessed it.  Grace.  I should have given Big E grace this morning.  He’s five.  Yes..he should have been more careful but haven’t we all done things that we weren’t careful of.  Hasn’t there been somebody in your life that has told you not to do something and you went ahead and did it anyway…the end resulting in “spilled milk”?

This morning I prayed and thanked God for the teachable moment of Grace.  I could have easily gotten in an accident and been killed and the last thing that BIg E would have remembered was me being upset with him.  God gave me grace this morning and I intend to pass that along.

I apologized to Big E and told him that I love him even when he doesn’t listen to me and bad things happen.  I told him I will be try not to get upset next time and that I hope he forgives me.  He knows what he did was wrong.  I don’t need to tell him again.

Instead…I just need to give him grace.

~ Laura

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Empty

Three weeks….going on four.

That’s how long it’s been since we have had a full week’s pay salary.

Two weeks my husband worked for the church and we are waiting on checks from them and last week my husband probably had about three days of work.

Yes…that’s better than nothing and we are definitely blessed to receive that.

I don’t write this to tell you about our woes.

Why? Because we don’t really seem to have any.

It’s weird……but in the three weeks that we have only made about $600.00 total we have been able to keep enough in the bank to ensure that our direct deposits come out.

Are our other bills paid?

No…..but our mortgage and our car bills are paid (twice) ….and we’ve had money to put gas in the car (twice)  plus enough for groceries. (once and a half) and we’ve even given our tithe.

How?  I have no idea.

Other than……God has blessed us.  He certainly certainly has.  Otherwise…it just doesn’t make sense.

Financially the money doesn’t add up.  Am I worried about paying our other bills?

Hubby has a couple of credit card bills for the company that need to be paid…and I think that worries me the most.  Other than that…the other ones will get paid when the checks come in.  God has sustained us…..kept us humble…and taught us a lesson that we seem to forget everytime.

“Trust in me” he says.

trust

And in case I may have forgotten, this morning’s devotions reminded me again.  Here’s an excerpt from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  If you don’t have this devotional book then I highly recommend it.  Hubby had it first and he told me about it and I absolutely love it.  It’s based on scripture and it’s basically letters from God…written right to you.

“Walk with Me along paths of Trust.  The most direct route between point A and point B on your life-journey is the path of unwavering trust in Me.  When your faith falters, you choose a trail that meanders and takes you well out of your way.  You will get to point B eventually, but you will have lost precious time and energy.  as soon as you realize you have wandered from your trust-path, look to me and whisper ‘I trust You, Jesus.’  This affirmation will help you get back on track.

The farther you roam along paths of unbelief, the harder it is to remember that I am with you.  Anxious thoughts branch off in all directions, taking you farther and farther from awareness of My Presence.  You need to voice your trust in me frequently.  This simple act of faith will keep you walking along straight paths with Me.  Trust in Me with all your heart, and I will make your paths straight.”  (Isaiah 26:4, Psalm 9:10, Psalm 25: 4-5, Proverbs 3:5-6)

I prayed…and whispered the words: “I will trust you in this God.”  Because, He’s always been faithful, he’s always been trust worthy.  He’s always seen us through and we have not wanted for anything.

Each day I go to the  mailbox and wait for the cheques to arrive…and so far the mailbox has been empty.  Each day I must remind myself to say the words “I will trust you with this God.”

He will keep us, sustain us and provide for us…just like He already has.  Worrying isn’t going to do anything.  A daily battle I must fight…but I think I’m finally learning it.  :)

~ Laura

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School.

Before he was born we talked about it. After he was born we didn’t think about it until about age three…and then it slowly started creeping it’s way in. I started thinking about the how many years I had left with him. How many mommy and Big E days we had left…and I tried to take full advantage of them. However, the thought of “I still have lots of time” was always in the back of my mind.

This summer started and I was determined that I was going to make the best of it. We were going to do as much as we could in the amount of days we had. We had great weather and were involved in a lot. Summer was wonderful….probably one I will never get back…as I will be babysitting more kids next year.

Then this week happened. Monday we had one last family vacation day before we got back into the grind of working. We enjoyed it with a trip to our local wildlife park…and then Monday night we had a family meeting. We went over important informant that Big E should know for school. Such things as: our phone number, mine and hubby’s names, our address and making sure not to get into cars with strangers were very important information we wanted to make sure he knew.

And he did.

Then there was silence. Big E walked out of the room and I think hubby and I both took a deep breath at the same time.

Big E is ready for this…but are we?

I thought I was….but now I’m not so sure. Oh I know I will be fine…it’s not the school part that worries me. It’s the part where for the most part this is where the age of innocence dies. I can’t control him (as far as the influences in his life go) anymore. He’s going to be susceptible to the different things the world has to offer…and there’s nothing that I can do about it.

Well there is……a few things I guess. I can pray for him….(trust me…a lot of that will be happening) and I can make sure I teach him good values. But really….the rest is up to him…because he has free will and will make mistakes that he will have to learn from.

But man…the thought of teenage years scare me. My best friend said to take one day at a time and I will….it’s just that right now….the future is just sticking its tongue out at me and taunting me.

Right now this mom is all over the map with mixed feelings and emotions. :s

When we dedicated Big E we said we will always teach him about God and bring him up in a Godly home. That we would pray for him and we will lead him in good ways. But it didn’t stop there…my brother in law then turned to our family and friends and said “they also need all of us to help them. To teach him and guide him and to pray for him.”

And you know….the saying “it takes a village to raise a family” is true. We all need each other. To guide…to walk along side…to pray and to hold our hands.

This is one if those times friends and family. We need you to continue to pray for our boy as he takes this step out into the world of the unknown.

Will you please continue to be our village?

Laura

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The other day my best friend and I took our kiddos to the beach. Big E sat in the back with two of the other kids. One of the teens asked him: “what is your favourite thing to do?”
To which he responded: “play with my mom”. I was excited to hear his response an my heart melted a little bit…but then came the second half of the response …. “But that doesn’t happen very often.”

OUCH

I sat in the seat ahead of him and almost cried. Most people would say to me….. Laura that isn’t true you play with him lots. But it is true. I don’t take the time and play with him. He asks me to play and I usually say “no, not right now…” Or “I’m busy” or “I don’t want to play right now.”

It’s the same response time after time. I find that I say no far to often and not “yes” often enough.

I think it’s the same with somebody else though.

I think if somebody were to ask Jesus what his favourite thing to do was…he response would be “to spend time with Laura….but that doesn’t happen that often.”

OUCH.

We had a speaker in church today talk about imposter kings in our lives. He asked us to identify what ours was.

Mine would definitely be selfishness. Selfishness of my things. Selfishness of my time…selfishness of my love.

Just plain selfishness.

I’m determined for that not to be an imposter king any longer. I’ve spend 33 (almost 34) years with that king….he may be comfortable but I am not.

Today we sang the hymn…”I surrender all.” I sang it…I meant it. I’m surrendering my selfishness.

I’m going to dig in deeper with my relationships. All of them. And….gulp…if that means I have to hug somebody…then so be it….but baby steps people. :)

Laura.
What is your imposter king?

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We have enrolled Big E (remember he’s 5 now!) into t-ball this summer.  This week there has been two practices to make up for all the rain we had in June.  Monday night’s practice was basically just throwing the ball around, learning to hit and just getting used to the team jerseys.  (They are massive lol).  Today’s practice was a little more organized….as in they were divided on equal teams.  They all had a chance to bat about ten balls and all had a chance to run after the ball and catch it.

For the first part of the practice Big E just stood beside another kid and watched the other kids run and catch the ball.  For a good ten minutes he did this….finally I went up to the fence and yelled to him to run over and try to catch the balls.

One he started doing that he quickly gained a friend.  Well, Big E would call him a friend…I would call him a somewhat bossy little kid.  Goodness…I hope my kid is not a follower some day!  Let’s call this kid Bossy McDoo.  (uggh…maybe that’s mean)…ok maybe Mr. McDoo.  Yah, sure, that’s better.

Anyway, Mr. McDoo drew a line in the dirt and told Big E not to go past it.  I watched Mr. McDoo run and catch the ball on numerous occassions.  Finally my Big E decided he wasn’t going to take any more of that and went after the ball himself.  He missed…but Mr. McDoo gave him the ball.  Yay!  One point for Mr. McDoo!!  (on the niceness card).

Well…after that Big E and Mr. McDoo were inseperable (for the next thirty minutes anyway).  Mr. McDoo kept yelling to all of his older friends that this was his new friend.  He kept looking at Big E and asking him what his name was.  (Big E’s name is Elijah for those who don’t know).  Well, apparently Mr. McDoo couldn’t say that and he kept calling him Rajah…or Wajah or something.  And Big E kept saying “NO, it’s Elijah…. E. L. I. J. A H!  (yup spelled it right out for him…take that Mr. Mcdoo!)

Anyway after about the third time Mr. McDoo said “How about I just call you Jaja!”  Elijah said “Yah!”

and at the same time I said “NO!!!” (not out loud but under my breath.)

Seriously…Jaja???????????????

Breathe Laura…breathe.

Jaja!!  And no Big E…..you can’t just let him call you that.

But you know what?  Big E seemed to be ok with that.  He’s not ok with kids calling him Eli…or Elij lol but JaJa he’s ok with.

And so….because he’s ok with it and because he’s going to school in September I have to step  back and let him be ok with it…and I have to be ok with the fact that he’s ok with that.

(gosh!)

I’m stepping back…I’m letting go…I’m learning….maybe.

September comes way to quickly…and with September comes independence.  He’s getting it now…becoming bolder and bolder…but man oh man…it’s a whole new world in a few months.  Scary and good.

My baby is growing up.

Laura.

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Steps

This past Saturday I went to the bank to exchange some money for our trip.  On the way into the bank there was a man standing in the corner out on the steps of the bank.  He smiled at me and said “Well, winter has finally come!”  I responded with “Yes, it sure has”.  He looked at me and said “It’s cold out here.”

I smiled, said, “yes” and went into the bank.  While I was waiting in line I watched him.  He would walk into the foyer of the bank…sit down for a few minutes to warm up and then go back outside.  I watched the people leaving the bank and noticed that everybody was going out a different door just to avoid talking to him.

Why?  They didn’t want to feel uncomfortable or maybe give him money.  That would be my guess.

I continued to watch as I was getting closer and closer to the front of the line.  I noticed that he was wearing Nike shoes…a pretty warm jacket and a nice warm hat.  I thought to myself “this guy can’t be too far off in the financial situation if he is wearing Nikes.”

The line progressed and soon I was up close enough that I could hear people talking to the tellers.  This couple (a man and a woman) went up and they started talking to the teller about the man out on the step.  The woman was saying something about how she was at the ATM and she was nervous that he was out there…and then the guy said “people like him shouldn’t even be allowed on the steps.”

WOW.

Seriously.  That’s what he said.

“People like him.”

I thought to myself “what makes this guy any better than that guy out there?”  He’s not wearing fancy clothes, didn’t look like he was driving a fancy car….and his wife didn’t have anything fancy on either.  The only thing that seperated this couple from the man out on the steps was the door to the bank.  Seriously.  The couple didn’t know the man’s background.  They didn’t know what he was going through.  Maybe his kid has cancer, maybe his wife left him and took all his money.  Maybe he had to declare bankruptcy when he lost his job.  Maybe he lost his house….maybe he’s depressed and can’t find a way out of his financial mess.  Or maybe, he was just somebody trying to get somewhere and his car  broke down and he didn’t have any money.

Who knows where that couple could be two years, 1 year or even weeks from today.  Maybe they could be in the same situation.  Maybe they could find themselves standing out on the steps hoping that somebody would be kind enough to give them money.

Did they stop and ask?  Probably not.  Did I?  Nope.  Did he make me uncomfortable too?  Sure did.  But why?  He didn’t ask me for money…not once.  Did I stop and give him some?  No……and there was no reason for it.  Something that I’m ashamed of.  I didn’t stop to ask if he needed  help…and once I was inside I pre-judged him by the clothes he was wearing.

What if that was a test and I just failed miserably?  The Bible says  in Matthew 25: 34-45:

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fireprepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

I do know one thing.  I don’t want to ever think that I’m above “those people on the steps.”  I don’t know their situation.  Life hasn’t dealt me those kinds of problems (if he even had any…..he never asked me for money).  I only hope that if I was that person on the step that somebody would treat me with a little more dignity than what that man got that day.  That they wouldn’t pre-judge me like I did to him.

Let’s all be a little kinder to each other.  Maybe it will make the world a little happier.

Laura

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Respect.

A tiny word that is so powerful, is demanding, and is maybe even an attention seeker.

As a child I was told to respect others.  I was not to interrupt somebody when they were speaking as it was impolite.  I was to raise my hand in school when I needed something or knew an answer and I was to call my teachers by Mrs. or Mr. and then their last name.  Same as my Pastor.  He was either “pastor” or “Pastor Hayden”…even though his daughter and I were great friends.

However, I have grown up…and along the way have come some “bumps” in my road of life.  My parents divorced in my last year of college, right before hubby and I got married and I watched some things crumble as a result.  I lost respect along the way…a lot of it.  I had the mindset that “I will do things for myself and not rely on anybody else to do things for me.  I will fight for things my way.  I will not let anybody get in the way of me doing the things that I want to do.”  Now, mind you…I was a pretty strong willed kid growing up.  Strong willed and stubborn…so I can’t blame all this on my parent’s divorce.  However, maybe this is when I started to kick it up a notch.

Along the way in my eleven years of marriage I have not had the best respect for my hubby.  Oh it’s definitely better than it used to be…but it’s still not where I want it to be..or even where it should be.  I like to control what I can control and then get stressed out about what I can’t control.

**If you know me and are nodding your head at this…please just let me finish.  This is hard for me to admit in a public setting even though you may already know it**

Lately, I have been reading “Joyce Meyer’s book: Love out Loud.  (A devotional book)

It’s a good book….teaching me not only to love God, but to love others and even myself!  The last little bit has been about loving others and how we can’t control people.  We also need to forgive others, encourage others, and basically respect others.  Bam, Bam, Bam!  Things that I needed to hear right in a row.  So…I listened.  I’m trying harder and I think it’s working a bit.

I’m trying to be less controling on Little E and in the process I believe our relationship is growing a little bit better.  Oh we don’t have a bad relationship, don’t get me wrong.  We love each other unconditionally…but I’m trying to show him that I respect him and that sometimes it’s ok to make mistakes.  My child is high strung…he just wants my attention all the time.  I am not like this.  You could put me in a little room with a bed, a book, my computer for a day and I would be pretty content to be myself.  I used to play board games by myself…and play it so it was competitive.  (Yes…haha I know what you’re thinking).  I enjoy that time by myself but God didn’t intend for us to be by ourselves all the time.  That’s not the way He designed us.  He designed us to have relationships…to interact with others.  To respect others, to let others be who they are without controlling them.  To respect others…and in turn be respected.

So I’m trying this.  It used to be that I enjoyed Monday and Thursdays immensely because Little E went to preschool.  Don’t get me wrong..I still enjoy those days….but I also enjoy Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Friday’s now.  I am not constantly looking for when Monday or Thursday is coming and praying that Tuesday and Wednesday will go by quickly.  Today I sat down with my boy, played with him, talked to him and treated him like a person instead of something I had to get through my day.  I enjoyed the day today and at supper time I sat up and said “wow that day went by fast and I had a lot of fun!”.  I respected him, and in turn he respected me.  He didn’t need me all the time and he was the best behaved kid out of the bunch today!

I’m trying this with my husband as well.   I’m trying not to be an introvert and be selfish and just have time to myself.  Last night I sat beside him and watched tv…instead of in my chair while he sat on the couch.  I’m trying to listen more…to respect more and be more sympathetic.  I’m sure it will take time….but I’d rather it take time than have regrets later on in my life that I didn’t do it at all.

I know I have a long road ahead of me..but I know that with God’s help I can do this.  It’s not going to be easy at times…so please be patient.  I’m still a work in progress.

Laura

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I don’t usually do New Year’s resolutions but one year I had done it and then at the end of the year I found the note stuck in my Bible and it was actually cool to see that I had done some of the stuff….even though I hadn’t rememberd writing it down.  :)

NewYearsResolution-300x227

So this year I decided to make my list public.  I don’t know how well that will work…but we shall see.   So here goes.

1)  Spent QUALITY time with God….not just 5 minutes at the end of the day.  Good old quality time.  I wanted a laptop so many years ago so I could journal my prayer time (because I can type faster than write) and I think I have only used the laptop for that purpose a month out of the 10 years that I’ve owned a laptop.

2)  Spend less time on the internet and more time with my family.  This will have to be gradual for me, but I think I can do it.

3)  Be less stressed.  This is huge for me.  I am a type of person who gets stressed over the smallest of things.  So my goal is to finish the book I’m reading about managing stress and then put it into action.

4)  Exercise more.  This will help with number 3 and hopefully benefit me in the long run both emotionally and physically.

5)  Spend less and save more.  A hard one as we live on a pretty tight income but I believe we can do it.  Maybe a more appropriate point would be “be wiser with my money.”

6)  Go as far as I can on the adoption stuff so that I’m waiting for people on the other end to step in.

7)  Enjoy my family vacation in Florida.  It may be the only vacation we have for a while….so I plan on enjoying every last second of it.

8)  Complain less.  YIKES……can I do this?  I hope so.

9)  Be less grumpy. (8 & 9 go hand in hand)

10)  Be all that I can be to the people around me.  This includes being less judgemental and more open to giving.

11)  Finish something that I’ve started…..or in better words…finish a goal that I’ve been working on.  I tend to do things only till I get bored of them.  I want to finish something this year.  Accomplish something.

12)  Drink more water and less coffee.  No more than 2 cups a day!

13)  To always have my Kitchen table cleaned off at the end of the day. (This is huge as we always tend to put everything on it)

These are big resolutions.  Pray for me as I try to accomplish these.  I strive to be a better person inside and out…and these are ones that I’ve said in my head for a while….but haven’t actually done a whole lot of.  Hopefully making it public can help with that.

What’s one New Year’s resolution that you made that you really hope to keep.

Laura

Blessing: I worked out today.  :)

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I was browsing  Pinterest on my ipad the other day (yay iPad for the new update!) and came across an interesting article from www.imom.com called the 30 Day Mom Challenge.

http://imom.com/tools/build-relationships/30-day-mom-challenge/

(check out this link above and you can print it off in color or in black/white)


And I have to say…..I absolutely LOVE it.  So cute…and reminds us of simple things we can do everyday to show our love in a tangible way…..little reminders.

Print it out and try it…put it on your bathroom mirror or your dresser mirror and start today!

Laura

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