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Archive for the ‘Challenges for myself’ Category

Today was my son’s 6th birthday party.  He’s actually six tomorrow but we had the party today.  We decided to go with a Lego Theme birthday party and had so much fun preparing it.  We started on Tuesday by preparing melted crayons to make into lego men.  Then the rest of the week was busy printing stuff off, running to and from the kitchen to the living room to the bedroom just to make sure that all was taken care of for the party and for my family.  Birthday parties are always big in our house.  I’m not sure why….we just seem to make it that way.  This year I wanted to downscale.  I didn’t want to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on a birthday party.  So I decided to go with the cheapest rental we could get (my house is in renovations stage) and play old fashioned birthday games.

I had the day off Friday and so after getting E off to school I headed to Walmart, Sobeys and the dollar store.  I had about $200 to spend and $75 of that was for the rental…so I knew that I didn’t have much to go with (and had really hoped not to spend that much).  My husband had two weeks off in a row where there wasn’t any work for him and so we are just trying to catch up on bills now…so the less spending that we could do the better.

Well….an hour and a half later that money was GONE.  :(  I got the lowest price I could on hot dog buns…as well as hot dogs.  We decided not to do treat bags but to pass out lego figure crayons that we had made with coloring pages.  (The kids don’t eat half the treats anyway…and they dont need them).  Since we were playing games, though, we needed prizes.  I found the “cheapest” prizes I could find at the Dollarstore….but seriously when all was said and done I maybe only spent about $5 that I didn’t need to spend.  Then there was the cake…which my hubby made.  That probably cost us about another $50 after all was said and done.

So…I probably spent close to $300.

We got home…I was tired…but hubby was determinded to get rid of the rest of the cake.  He went down to see if our neighbour down the road needed cake.  I didn’t know he was headed that way.  I thought he was headed to the kids across the road.  So I started unloading the trunk of the car.  After the third trip from the car to the house I was getting really really really annoyed that he hadn’t come back yet.  I thought to myself… “he’s probably talking to somebody…chatting it up like he always does”.  The fourth load went in the house and I came back for the fifth load.  I was tired…I was getting cranky and really annoyed.  I thought well maybe something happened and he needed to help somebody.  I came in the house and started doing the dishes from the cake making the night before.  (Hubby makes the cake and I clean up…sounds about right eh?)  After about five minutes of doing the dishes and running into the living room a few times to see what E wanted I was over the moon annoyed at my husband.  All I wanted to do was sit down after finishing cleaning up and relax…after all I had been on the go since seven this morning with party stuff.

I got on the phone and called him and it went to his voice mail….which made me even more annoyed.  So I called again.  E wanted somebody to help him with his toys and all I wanted to do was finish cleaning.  Hubby picked up this time and told me where he was.  Well…when he came in I let him know how annoyed I was at him.  Days and hours of stress just hit me and I let him have it.  How dare he not come and help me unpack while he’s out there just talking to the neighbours?

After I was done he told me that he was actually down at the neighbours house and as soon as he walked in the door she started crying.  She doesn’t have much money and she lives by herself.  She’s an older woman with a disability but still works.  She has declared bankruptcy and she told Kevin that she owed the court another $300.  She doesn’t have $300 and she said she just felt like she wanted to die.  She’s dealth with no money issues for the past few years.  We have tried to help her out when we can.

So guess what happened over the next two hours?  Yah…God worked on my heart.  I started thinking about how much money I spent on my almost six year old kid to throw him a birthday party he will probably forget or not appreciate in a week.  $300.  The same amount that this woman needs.  I threw it away on prizes, cake, hot dogs…and that’s pretty much it.

Seriously?

I’m not saying my son doesn’t deserve a birthday party but man oh man something is wrong here.  We go and we help people all over the world and I can’t even  help my next door neighbour out…but I can throw my kid a party?

Perhaps my priorities need to be better aligned.  Perhaps my priorities need to be better than things that I don’t need (like an ipad, iphone and a laptop sitting all in front of me right now…or a big screen tv).  Perhaps my priorities need to be put on helping my neighbour buy food so she doesn’t starve.

My goodness I have a lot of growing up to do…spiritually….emotionally….because I certainly didn’t have a servants heart today…and I certainly didn’t take the opportunity to show my neighbour Jesus.

I need to be better.

Laura

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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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