Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mary & Martha End of Summer Sale! Limited Time Only!

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Order atwww.mymaryandmartha.com/MARA or comment on this blog post and we will get your order in! 

Overwhelmed

I know there are a lot of Moms out there... a lot of wives out there.. and lot of women out there........ and sometimes there is just nothing to say other than: I'm tired.



It's the second week of school. Back to school. Back to dragging everyone out of the house, kicking, screaming and on the verge of some tear spilling breakdown due to socks, hair, shoes, or breakfast. Homework has started up. The table is covered in handouts, completed worksheets and fliers that I was supposed to read, sign or pay something or other for -- I've bought T-shirts, signed up for PTO, class helper, cheerleading.. I've washed Ju Jitsu uniforms to return (cause that didn't work out), and my lovely mother spend half a day doing laundry at my house today because the piles were about to drown us all.


Don't even get me started on daycare. The littlest Lewis has been there for 2 weeks, and VOILA! Our first runny nose. Our first cough. Our first rash of bad diapers, and several days of Tylenol... and now, there she is.. crying on the monitor...

Ok, she's bathed and I'm back.....

You know, after the littlest Lewis joined us last December, I've kind of been ON. I mean, I don't really recall my maternity leave. We moved houses, I got yelled at by the doctor by trying to exercise too soon, I felt alive again - happy to have my body back - determined to get my energy back. Next thing I knew, I was back at work, signed up for Mary & Martha, took a vacation to San Diego, celebrated my 10th wedding anniversary, planned kids birthdays, hosted gatherings, went off sugar for Lent, joined the gym, and Voila... here is in the eve of Labor Day, and I feel like I haven't taken a breath.


As a mother, I haven't pined away to stay home with my kids. I don't feel like I missed anything as I worked thru the preschool years for first two. Granted, it wasn't really an option to stay home, so when you don't have an option you just forge on. For the first time as a mother, I'm starting to wonder ~ am I making good choices? How do moms with 3 get it all done? Why can't I seem to find a system? What would my house look like if I stayed home? What kind of mom could I be? Would I be better? Would I find joy in it?

I'd pretty much bet, I'd still be tired. A different kid of tired maybe. But tired nonetheless.

I don't readily give myself the chance to admit that I'm down. Especially since I've been feeling very UP lately. I have been re-energized physically, spiritually, emotionally. My marriage is the best it has ever been (despite my monthly hormonal attempts to pick a fight). My spirit is back. My heart is happy. Even tired, I am finding joy in trying to fit as much as I can into our days.



...... I'm tired. I'm taking a deep breath. I'm looking forward to the 3 day weekend. Sure, we've got 2 birthday parties on Saturday, but that's ok. I'm hoping I get an extra moment to just exhale.......... smile and praise.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Jaded

There is a tendency in the world today to become pretty jaded to news. Things happen - over there. It doesn't happen to me. Happy little me, sitting in my happy little suburban house, with my happy little salary, and our happy little palm trees overlooking our happy little pool.

We tune out the local news -- the national news. Violence on the screen is normal. Violence in our movies is normal. Violence in our cartoons is normal.  Take out the middle portions of these sentences, and you can deduce it to this: Violence is normal.

What then, of the tendency of our culture, in the past few years to come to this conclusion that the world is capable of healing itself? That history doesn't repeat itself? That if we merely empower those that are suffering that the violence will end. That people are good - and capable of solving all their own problems -- if only.... Why do we, the people living in the world, think that somehow we can declare things to be good - we can right wrongs - we can stem the rising seas - we can declare people as being on the "wrong side of history" to quote our President, and that the forces of good would prevail?



Are we so jaded that WE think WE can make it all better? Because, we've done so well at that over the course of human history. Why do we, today, in 2014, think we can do any better than they did at avoiding evil a 100 years ago? 500 hundred years ago?

For as jaded as I am. The stories that are bombarding us on the news -- ebola, riots, beheadings -- the systematic slaughter of populations - War in Gaza-- the devaluing of our currency... the devaluing of our national character... I wish I could say I am surprised. I am not.

There is real pure true EVIL in the world. Evil exists. Evil is the kind that walks into a school and shoots innocent children. It isn't the result of a a tragic childhood or some mild psychosis. It isn't the gun. It isn't being on the wrong side of history. When the world does not have an equal counterpoint of EVIL - ie. GOOD, then all sorts of really nasty horrible stuff starts occurring... like, I would dare say, the stuff that we are seeing now.

It isn't enough to say that something is "EVIL". We must stand for something good. We must stand up and say enough. We will not merely tolerate people. We won't COEXIST. We have to actually be good. We have to  stand up and say God is the source of all that is good and right. Peace will come thru God and love. We can do more than coexist. We have to do more than tolerate. We have to seek to understand - where understanding has the possibility to exist. We have to love. We have to judge evil as well. Are we not called to root it out?  We have to actually be more than a religion or a country that stands around and says - that's really bad. We have to actually DO something in response. We have to be more than apathetic. We have to stand for all that is good within us, and all that goodness within us can achieve.


This post has a decidedly Christian bent. I am aware of that. This post also has a decidedly political bent. I am aware of that. I am not sure that I even know how these two things are related or if they should be -- but I would merely say this. Prior to the current situation, the evil doers (an "axis of evil" even), knew that if they messed around and starting creeping into countries or peoples or issues that were in any way perceived as aggressive, they'd pay. Americans didn't sit idly by and let entire populations of people get slaughtered. In fact, our President has declared - recently in the event of bringing home Bowe Bergdahl and the American doctors with Ebola, that we don't leave Americans behind. Do we let Americans have their heads hacked off by militants on YouTube? Is that something we allow?



Violence is real and evil certainly exists. And if we are going to survive it -- we have to call it like it is -- TERROR and EVIL. And we've got to do something.



Saturday, August 16, 2014

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I'm strange

The title of my blog entry today won't come as a surprise to some of you. I'm strange. I know. No big shocker here. But as I get older, as I fully embrace myself as a mother, as a wife, as a fully functional adult (debatable), I realize that I do not process things like other women.


So I may not be as strange as the women in this picture, (who I had to post because they are just so lovely...) but here are some examples of my strangeness:

1. I don't worry. That seems really nice. But it is sort of strange, actually. When I think about my kids, heading off into various locations, daycare, after care... husband here, me there. The first thing that comes to mind isn't worry about some tragic incident happening. This is doubly strange when you consider that my profession is based on risk assessment. I know things happen. I know bad things happen. I am one of the people that believes evil exists in the world - in fact, the world is intrinsically fallen. But, I don't worry. I have felt God's blessing in my life. I have just decided it is far easier to go thru life without that constant nagging panic. So, I don't.  (I realize this is far easier said than done. I'm even more blessed that I'm pretty much clueless and usually half the horrible things that could happen never even occur to me. Praise God for that!)

2. I do cry. I am actually a pretty big blubbering mess sometimes. I can't seem to get a grasp on my emotions. What is my trigger? Worship music. Do I have any idea why? I have to think it has something with being powerless, which, when I consider my relationship with God, I am very humbled. I don't do powerless well. I don't do bare-naked vulnerability well. I usually just suck it up and forge ahead. So those lovely souls who can stand up and sing lyrics that make me blubber - those really simple ones like "how I need You..." I admire and wish I could do that. I'm lucky if I can keep my voice under control as a member of the congregation. 


3. I'm not naturally tender. I'm a pretty business-oriented, political, thinking person. As a mom, this gets me in trouble. Thankfully, my husband is always gently remind me that when faced with a crying daughter: "Kiss her owwie, you're the mom." Oh, right! That's me. I'm the mom! I'm supposed to kiss the phantom bumps and bruises (not point out rationally that whatever they are showing me isn't there and that they are fine), I'm supposed to hug and love and supply emotional stability. Stability I've got -- emotional, not so much. Bizarre? Yes. But it honestly doesn't occur to me. 

For really the first time in my life I've started to think about the kind of woman I am  - and even more perplexing, what kind of woman do I want to be?

Why am I thinking all this now? Why does it even matter? I think I mentioned on my blog a couple of weeks back that Hubs and I have set aside some time to read together every week. Last night the chapter was about being a loving Christian wife - and the most repeated word in the chapter was "respect". 

Respectful. Supportive. Loving. Encouraging. Prayerful. Serving. Feeling. When I take all these words in their sum total, they all have a distinctly female ring to them. And yet, not one of them comes to mind when I think of myself as a wife. Don't get me wrong, I am not a raging feminist. I love the door to be opened for me. My Hubs makes me feel protected, loved and very womanly. But it isn't a natural state of my being.


I want... for the first time probably in my life.. to be those womanly things. I want my first instinct to be to kiss the boo boo. I want my first response to be to hug. I want my girls to grow up knowing that you can feel and be strong all at the same time. That compassion is an amazing gift and we need to show it to each other every day. Grace, forgiveness, patience and understanding... I want those qualities to be the ones that make me, me. I want those qualities to be the ones that make me.... strange. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Let's get Real

The idea of a movement of key women from Ann Voskamp's Blog - How Women Can Stop Judging Each Other - A Movement of Key Women - is on repeat this week -  like Let it Go from Frozen, I can't get it out of my mind!  Even when I'm consumed by some other trivial thing, be a #keywoman keeps coming up.

I am sure that God is trying to tell me something ....




So, let's get real.

Let's acknowledge that living in Pottery Barn catalog, whilst beautiful and sanitary, isn't real. Real life is going to happen where the couches have juice box wrappers in the seams and animal cracker crumbs adding a patina of childhood. Real life happens around a well loved kitchen table - where babies throw food, and children test the rules of dinner time. Real life happens when the kitchen doesn't get cleaned up because worship happened. Real life is when we open the door to others and show hospitality - even when there is dust on the window sills and part of us would rather keep that door closed.


For as much as I am visual - Pinterest parties with their gorgeous photos of lavish displays, endless creativity and themes -  all that preparation and hot glue - sound, well, like a lot of work. Do we really need to judge the celebration by the cupcake decoration and center pieces? Do our kids have to have a gift bag that rivals a wedding present? Let's get real. When I was a kid, I remember only a handful of birthdays, and I think there was only one where my whole school class was invited. We played a game, we sat in a circle-- I got a Barbie doll from my best friend and opened bright pink and wonderfully wrapped presents. That, I remember. I can't tell you what the cake had on it, I can't tell you my mother impressed the other Moms with her domestic skills. But I had fun. Why do we think that to be a loving mother that we must give our kids these extravagant parties? These things, they do not equal love. Let's give them real. Let's give them memories of play, and love, and laughter. Lets give them moms in bathing suits IN the pool, Dads that hug, friends that come over for afternoons of dress up in the closet. Let's give them friendship.

A real woman  - a Key woman - doesn't judge. We don't look for flaws, we look for beauty. We are all getting thru the days with God's grace, so why do we fail to show grace to others? There is none of us, no matter how rich, how successful, how organized, how clean - that doesn't need or deserve grace. We are all sisters in Christ - we are all sisters trying to do the best for our husbands and our families - so, let's open the doors and support each other. Like Ann Voskamp says, we are not here to be perfect, we are here to be real. Let's have coffee. Let's hug. Let's cry. Let's write cards. Let's show gratitude and grace.


Perfectionism is slow death to self. There is no community in perfectionism. There is no way to achieving in perfectionism. We are all sinners, we will all fall short of the culture of perfect. Let's show faithfulness, gentleness, kindness.. 

... the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,  peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 NIV. 


Let us be key women.

Friday, August 1, 2014

$25 Mary & Martha Product Credit Giveaway!

Celebrate Fall!! Mary & Martha's New Fall 2014 Guide Launches today! Check out all the fun stuff at My Mary & Martha Page and by just following me on social media, you can have a chance to win $25 of Mary & Martha Free Product Credit! It makes shopping the new catalog even sweeter! You are going to love these items in your home! And imagine how easy Mary & Martha makes gift giving?! Contact me to host your event today!

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