Victory from Defeat

You ever have one of those days where you wake up feeling defeated? Of course you don’t, you’re way too spiritually mature for that. Well…I’m not. So I have those days from time to time. And, yesterday was one of those days. 

I had had a really long night with the kids (they didn’t go to sleep until about 11:30 p.m.) and let’s just say I wasn’t exactly showing the love of Jesus the whole time. On top of that, we were meeting a friend at the zoo the next morning early for a play date. Historically, I have struggled with getting us out on time in the morning. I can get overwhelmed just trying to pack enough snacks for the several hour visit. Plus, we had another activity scheduled for later in the day. And, I’ve been really struggling to keep my energy up on long days. What’s more, I felt like the day before had not been very productive. 

So, I woke up with a head full of negative thoughts. And, honestly, I just wanting to cancel everything, get back into bed, and stay there. 

But then I thought, I need to take this to God, because cognitively I know that I am not defeated. Yet, here I am. So, I started journaling, (my way of taking it to God.), and I just said: God this is what happened last night, this is how I’m feeling, and I don’t want to feel this way. 

As I was writing, I remembered that a few weeks back I had written about the lies I believe about myself, and the truth God says about me. So, I flipped back, and re-read it. 

Something amazing happened! My feeling of defeat turned into a feeling of victory! The picture in my mind of how my day was going to go changed. I saw myself doing my best, and God making it enough. 

I started praising the Lord, as I got up, and started getting everything ready to go. 

Interestingly, I was actually late getting started because I took the time to journal, read my bible and pray. Often that just adds to my stress level. Yet, this time I hold myself, my Heavenly Father created time. Since I’m His daughter that means time is on my side. So, I decided I would work as efficiently as I could (i.e. no checking Facebook.) and I would trust God to work everything out. You would not believe how quickly I got everything done!

When I went to wake the kids up and get them ready, I was actually calm enough to sit and snuggle them before moving them into their day. Even though they had had a late (and rough) night, they did great!

I was so amazed that our whole day actually went well after waking up feeling defeated. All I can say is to God be the glory!

One other thing I noticed was that the parts of the day where I would struggle were when I let my mind focus on time, or whatever thing I had to do. That’s when my peace faltered, that’s when my parenting faltered. It seems spending my time thinking about my to-do list and how much time I have to do it in does not produce productivity.

It was a productive and victorious day!

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Memorial Day Meltdown

This Memorial Day marked the first year the kids really understood why we were visiting the cemetery and leaving flowers. We were able to share a little about their great grandparents. And talk about how it’s not the end, but because we have Jesus we will see each other again in heaven. It was really nice!

It was also ended up being a really good reminder about the importance of staying connected with each child, and pacing their day when you have more than one activity.

Along with going to the cemetery, we invited a few family members to come to over in the afternoon. The kids were especially looking forward to seeing Rob’s parents Grandma and Papa. They don’t get to see them as often as they get to see my mom, Nana. But, Grandma and Papa wouldn’t get to our house until later in the afternoon.

In between getting home from the cemetery, and the get together, I took a nap, and at some point Jenni climbed into bed with me. Rob and Will played video games. Something they enjoy doing together.

Well, our first sign a meltdown was coming was that Will got upset when it was time to turn off the video games. At six years old, he doesn’t do much of that anymore. But, Rob just thought he probably got a little over stimulated with playing video games for two hours.

Shortly after that, the doorbell rang, and the kids were certain it was going to be Grandma and Papa. It wasn’t, it was Nana, and Auntie Ri-Ri. Both kids were visibly disappointed. (Nothing personal against Nana and Auntie). Will got a little upset, but we reminded him that Grandma and Papa were coming. Our second sign a meltdown is coming.

Fast forward about an hour, and we’re sitting at the kitchen table, Will has out two Pokemon cards he got from a birthday party, and he wants to play with Jenni, who also has cards. She doesn’t want to play. He gets upset and starts crying. Meltdown beginning.

Truth be told, Rob and I weren’t really paying attention. We’ve got family over, we’re just trying to relax and talk. So, all we do when this happens is try to mitigate the problem. So, we tell Will if Jenni doesn’t want to play, do something else. So he gets out his new travel board game. But, again, he want Jenni to play with him. She doesn’t want to. Again, he gets upset.

We’re now in a meltdown, but Rob and I are still just trying to mitigate the problem so we can keep talking. So, we say, okay, Jenni doesn’t have to play, we adults will play with you. But now, Will is in, “Nothing Will Satisfy Me” mode. You may know this one: Whatever solution you offer they say no to, but then they want to do the last thing they said no to, so you say okay we’ll do that, and then they say no again. That’s where we’re at.

I decide to make a command decision and say we aren’t playing either game, we’re going to play Monopoly. Well, screaming and wailing begins. So, my mom and sister offer to leave thinking maybe Will needs some rest, and my mom recognized that he might be upset because Grandma and Papa weren’t there yet. (She was right) I thought maybe that was a good idea because, honestly, it’s not fun for anyone when a child is having a meltdown. It’s an ugly sight.

Fortunately, Rob reminds us that it’s not that big of a deal. Will will get past this. Yet, we’re still trying to help Will feel better at the table, which is getting us no where. I finally remember something I’ve read in the book “Peaceful Parent Happy Kids.” They only thing you can do when a child is in a full meltdown is help him feel safe while he get whatever is bothering him out through tears.

So, I tell Will daddy is going to have to carry him up to his room upside down so he can have some quiet to finish being upset. Of course, it’s hard not to laugh when you’re being carried upside down. But, since Will is in a full-blown melt down, laughter isn’t really going to work just yet.

Rob carries Will to his room upside down, plops him on the bed, and rough houses him a bit. But, again, we’re too far into a meltdown for Will to discharge his upset with laughter anymore. So, we lay next to Will on his bed while he is literally kicking and waving his arms in the air while still wailing. We just said, we’re here for you Will, we love you, it’s okay to let it out.

After a few minutes, Rob says, are you upset with us? Will says: “Yes, you told me that Grandma and Papa were going to be here soon, it’s been a long time, and they aren’t here yet. You didn’t tell me the truth.” (We didn’t actually say that. We told him G&P would be late getting to the house, but this isn’t the time to be right.) So, we just said, we’re sorry. And then Rob checked with G&P to see when they were actually arriving.

Moments later, I have to leave the room to help Jenni because she’s screaming and  crying downstairs. (When it rains it pours!) When I get back to Will’s room, he and Rob are under the covers, so I pretend I’m a ghost, and tickle them, and get a little laughter. That’s a good sign we’re almost to the other side of the meltdown. About 15 minutes later Will is back to his usual pleasant self.

He was able to play, and dance, and laugh again with all of us — even Jenni. We even played that travel boardgame. And, Grandma and Papa did eventually arrive, and more fun was had.

Bravo to my mom and sister for toughing it out and staying. (I think they started playing Monopoly while they waited.) I know it was terribly uncomfortable. The next day they both said it had been such a long time since they’d seen Will meltdown like that, that it was quite upsetting. He is our easy-going kiddo. They also said it was good to see him come through it and be fine again. (I’m glad they stayed and saw that part too!)

Rob and I were reminded of how critical it is to pace a child’s day when there is more than one scheduled activity, and make it a point to reconnect, and decompress in between activities. Likewise, it’s important to pay attention to clues that a meltdown is coming, so we can head it off while the child is still able to laugh out his upset. When we have two or more activities outside the house, we usually do that. But, since one was at home, and didn’t seem like a big deal, we just overlooked it.

I’ve heard it said that lessons learned in adversity are the best remembered. I won’t be forgetting this one anytime soon.

Here’s to a difficult and productive Memorial Day!

 

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Never Give Up!

So, it’s been a little over three months since I last posted, and a lot has happened. 

Just to name a couple of them: I’m still dealing with health issues from the December car accident, and this past Tuesday I had gallbladder removal surgery. 

I think it’s safe to say that I’ve been busy. What I haven’t been busy doing is blogging. (Although I’ve had lots of topic ideas.) 

One might say, that’s not a big deal, it’s not like it’s paying the mortgage. Yet, it is a big deal because I feel the Lord has called me to share about my Christian parenting walk. And, not doing what God says is kind of a big deal. 
So, I’ve found myself in that familiar predicament of not doing something I know I should do, and enjoy doing. Yet, the more time goes by, the more I feel condemned, embarrassed, and like I can’t do it. (Tell me I’m not the only one who knows what that feels  like!)

Interestingly, I have found renewed motivation from an unlikely place — my gallbladder surgery recovery this week. 

The experienced triggered really strong anxiety symptoms. My mom loaned me the book Battlefield of the Mind to help. There’s a section that talks about never giving up no matter situation, because God never gives up on us.  

Then today at church, the sermon was titled: Never Give Up! Pastor Tim preached about Paul and Barnabas in the book of Acts as they started their ministry, and the terrible trouble and failures the experienced. Yet, because they were called by God to share this incredible good news, they never gave up. Pastor asked what is it that God has called you to do that looks too hard?
In both reading and hearing messages about keeping going, my blogged popped into my mind. Plus, Rob and I went to a bookstore recently, and I met a Christan woman who was really struggling with her two young children. I thought, I wish I could share with her what the Lord has given me. Again, my blog came to mind!

So, I have decided that I am not giving up on my blog! God has put on my heart to share my Christian parenting story, and I am going to do it! I don’t know how I’m going to do it, and that’s okay. I have no idea where it will lead, or who it will effect, and that’s okay. I have faith that God knows what he is doing, and that He works out everything for good for those who love him. 

It’s been a productive week!

Let’s Connect: Share in the comments below, or on my Facebook page what God is calling you to do that you’ve almost given up on? What can you do to start again?

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Slow down, rest…or else! (Video Followup)

It has been exactly one week since I started working to consciously slow down and rest. Here is how it went:

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Slow down, rest…or else!

So, my last post was about the car accident my family had in December, and the bad news, and good news that resulted.

Today,  I have a follow up to that, and it’s about my realization that I am not going to heal completely from the accident unless I make a conscious effort to slow down, and rest. I’ve gradually come to this realization since Friday.

What happened? Well, for the past few weeks I was really feeling better. In fact, I was feeling better than at any other point since the accident. Couple that with some beautiful weather last week, and I felt like doing more. So, I had the kids out enjoying the weather, I was getting chores done, and errands run. It was great!

Then, on Thursday, I woke up feeling like I had just been in a car accident. I was thinking, what is going on? I had to cancel plans for Thursday and Friday, and have someone drop off and pick up my kids from school. All I could do was lay in bed. I saw my physical therapist Friday, and ask what happened. He simply said, you may be feeling better, but your not better. All we’ve been doing so far is working on getting your muscles to relax. That’s what the stretches you do at home have been for. We haven’t started on getting your strength back, and you have lost strength due to the accident. So, if you try to go at the pace you did before the accident, your going to start hurting again.

When I first thought about what he said, I got frustrated and, truthfully, mad. This sucks! Was my thought. My mindset was that I can’t fit two hours of stretching a day into my schedule with two young children, a husband and a home to take care of! Just trying to get to the multiple accident-related appointments each week– which meant finding a sitter for the kids, and often making dinner late– was hard enough! I just want to feel better now, was my heart’s cry! And, I did cry.

This morning, it struck me that I don’t have a choice. If I want my health back, I have to slow down, I have to rest, I have to do the stretches…or else!

That means I have to be patient with myself, and I have to let go of the idea that I should be feeling better now.  I have to say no to activities that are great for the kids, but exhausting for me. I have to release the guilt I feel about the dirty floors, piled up laundry, dishes in the sink, etc. I have to give myself permission to ask for help, again. (I had asked for help from family and friends right after the accident.)

Something amazing happened when I accepted this truth. I stopped feeling frustrated, and angry. I felt a sense of peace. I felt a weight lift off my chest. I think I was subconsciously trying to be a super woman, and getting angry because my body wouldn’t agree to it.

Also this morning, my husband and I were going to take the kids on an outing. Yet, when looking at that outing from the perspective of healing, I realized that that wasn’t going to be a good idea for me. As my first act of putting healing first, I asked if I could stay home. He was for it, and ask his sister if she wanted to go in my place. It turned out that she and her husband wanted to spend time with the kids. And, the kids were super excited to know their aunt and uncle would be going with them! What’s even cooler was that everyone got to ride in our new minivan instead of taking separate cars like we used to have to do! Praise the Lord!

While they enjoy a wonderful extended-family outing, I am writing this blog from bed, with the heat pack on my back, while sipping tea. I feel very productive indeed! 🙂

I’m praying that all productive mommies stop trying to be super women, and take the time to heal in whatever way  is needed.

God Bless,
-Productive Mommy

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Bad News and Good News

Back on Christmas Eve, 2016, Rob, the kids, and I were in a car accident. We had just left Christmas Eve service, and were singing Christmas carols while waiting at a stop light, when we were rear ended. The police officer said that the vehicle that hit ours was going about 45 miles an hour, and didn’t brake at all. We were pushed into the vehicle in front of us as a result. The officer also said that it was a Christmas miracle that we all were able to walk away from the accident.

Our little 2001 Toyota Corolla was totaled. I had owned it since college, it was paid off, and — although a car that old certainly has problems– we enjoyed it immensely. The kids named it Snowball, and Jennifer would regularly ask “her” very politely to open her door, and say thank you, when we would be getting in to go somewhere. Truthfully, seeing Snowball all smashed up that fateful night was traumatic for the kids, and us parents too.

Backing up a year: It was early 2016, and I was reading through the book  “Enemies of the Heart,” by Andy Stanley, with a Christian friend of mine. One of the revelations I had from that book study was that I often didn’t ask God for things I needed, let alone wanted, when I couldn’t see a way  of at least starting the process of getting it myself.

One of the things that we needed was a minivan. It ended up being a spiritual breakthrough for me to start praying to God for a minivan without any clue as to how we would get it. Interestingly enough, I found myself more grateful for the Corolla after that. Before, I would regularly wish we had more space, a CD player that worked, that the front seats were far enough from the back that my son wouldn’t be kicking the back of the drivers seat. You get the picture. After, I would pray: Lord, thank you so much for my car, and how it’s been paid off for several year now, and how it’s reliable. I’m ready for the minivan when you’re ready to give it. I would even think, one of the nice things about having a small car is being able to hand my kids stuff from the front seat!

Today, we have a minivan! A 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan. And, get this, the monthly payment is about the same amount of a monthly bill we had just paid off before the accident!

I’ll be honest, I was unhappy about being in an accident. So grateful that we’re only dealing with whiplash, and not concussions, broken bones, or worse, but unhappy about the accident. I was unhappy that I was in too much pain to take care of my family like I was used to.  I was especially unhappy that someone else’s carelessness caused all of this.

Yet, I’m compelled to declare, once again, that God is good! He is so amazing that he gives blessing even in the middle of difficult times. His word is true that he is our rock, our strong fortress. And when all is said and done, he gives us beauty for ashes. He turns our tears to joy.

An even more hidden blessing in this accident situation, is that our need resulting from the accident caused us to grow closer to our family, church family, and friends. So many people were there for us — being God’s hands and feet. Bringing us food, taking care of our children, helping around the house. It has been so beautiful, and encouraging!

May God bless an keep you, and show you what it means to truly be productive today.

-Productive Mommy

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Giving Thanks for Today

This morning, as I left a physical therapy appointment  for my back and neck, (my family was in a car accident in December), I was overwhelmed with a sense of thankfulness to God. Don’t get me wrong, I thank God everyday for many things. Yet, I usually also have some kind of request as well. So, this was different because it was only thankfulness.

It struck me that, a year from now — or even tomorrow — I could be looking back on this day as the good old days. A time of peace and prosperity.This day that is sure to be imperfect, sure to have frustrations and disappointments, sure to be tiring. Yet, if it’s like yesterday, or so many days that God has blessed me to see, it will count as a “good old day.”

Yet, if I spend my day, as I admit I often do, consumed with worries about what I don’t have, and what I’m not getting done, I’ll miss out. I’ll miss the blessing of this day.

By focusing on what I don’t have, I risk having to look back and wishing  that I had enjoyed, even savored, this day. Savored hearing my son asked for the 100th time to play video games again, or my daughter’s 100-year-flood of a temper tantrum. How many mothers right now are in agony because they will never hear their child’s voice again?

Even my seemingly endless list of chores is a blessing because I can get up to do them. Even though it’s been slow going, and sometimes painful, after the accident I can still do them. How many mothers right now are wishing they had the ability to just get up to sweep the floor, or enjoy a silly dance with their child?

The truth is that tomorrow I could be joining those mothers in no longer having what I have, or doing what I am able to do. The bible is so clear about this. Tomorrow isn’t promised. That’s why today I want to tell God thank you without any added requests.

Well, I do want to add one request. I want to lift up in prayer right now every mother who is walking through days that feel like perpetual midnight. I pray for every mother who is waking up wishing that yesterday was just a nightmare, not her reality.

May all of us, who are just dealing with everyday stuff, be more grateful, and savor our everyday blessings.

-Productive Mommy

 

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