The Life & Times of Mommiehood

Here I am finding my way through uncharted waters.


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Books.

My future SIL (six more weeks till the big day!) tagged me on Facebook in a post requesting me to list ten books that have stayed with me in some way. This seemed a bit long for a Facebook post and I know my blog will post there anyway so here goes. Ten books in no particular order, that have resonated with me for one reason or another.

1) Philippians, Paul. I first really studied this book the summer I was a camp counselor, during the week I was without my co-counselor BFF. I was horribly bummed to not be with my friend but ended up blessed with a wonderful group of preteens. Whenever I read Philippians I am reminded of these girls and my prayers for them that week and wonder what they are up to now almost 20 years after that week is a distant memory.

2) The Jesus I Never Knew, Philip Yancey. I read this one while on a missions trip in Russia. To this day I really think about the things I think I know about Christ. Why do I think that and is there any evidence of that in the Bible? Last summer this book was chosen for the women’s summer study at church and irradiation again. Love how Yancey picks apart things we think we know and presents facts alongside scripture.

3) Unafraid: Mary, Francine Rivers. Another one of those books that challenged my thinking. Sure it’s mostly fiction as there is little in the Bible about Mary, but still interesting to think about what it was like in Mary’s shoes as a pregnant virgin and the mother of Christ.

4) Les Misérables, Victor Hugo. One of the first books I really loved that was required reading in high school. Great story of redemption and not getting stuck in a miserable angry vengeance. Really enjoyed seeing the story brought to life in the theater and on Broadway as well.

5) Crazy Love, Francis Chan. One of the hardest books I have ever read. Very challenging to take a look at myself and my response, or sometimes lack there of, to God’s love for me.

6) Yada, Yada Prayer Group, Neta Jackson. I’ll include the whole series here. Good perspectives on differences among people and how we approach Christianity and relationship. Especially when people are different from me. Understanding someone else’s life and reality and meeting her where she is at and loving her no matter what makes us similar or different.

7) The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Alexander McCall Smith. I’ve just had a ton of fun reading these. Relationships. Misunderstandings. The importance of listening to people and helping them. Paying attention to details. Lots of good things tucked into these books and the few shows that aired on HBO were also wonderful.

8) The Zion Chronicles and The Zion Covenant, Brock and Bodie Theone. These started my love for historical fiction and helped bring life to what I learned at school about the Nazis.

9) Beverly Cleary. I loved Ramona and Ralph S. Mouse. Who wouldn’t love a motorcycle riding mouse?!?! I devoured her books when I was in 3rd grade. Her books made me want to write my own stories, on stapled together lined paper complete with illustrations. Just like the boy brings home from school for his stories.

10) What a Girl Wants, Kristen Billerbeck. Laugh out loud chic lit. The main character, Ashley Stockindale, is a hoot and there were several moments while reading this series where I got the giggles. I should go read them again.

As I put this list together I continue to think of more books. There are so many good ones out there. Too many to list. As I was asked to not think too much, so these are what you get.


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Just hanging with Paul and his letter to the Ephesians.

Ephesians has always been one of my favorite books. Back in college when I took honors Biblical Interpretation this is the book I chose to write my big term paper on. I have no clue what I wrote in that paper nor do I have the commentary book I used more than 15 years ago. Despite graduating from a Christian university, I’m no theologian. This and any future posts are just what I’m learning now while I read it using my NLT Study Bible.

Eph 1:1-14.
What is our legacy with Christ?
Spiritual blessings.
We get to be united with Christ. Christ! He is not separate or far from us but we are united. He is with me. Always. Something I need to rely on more than I do. A relationship I need to cultivate. So many times this summer I’ve been reminded that I need to spend more time in the Bible and praying and here’s another. Too many unnecessary things get in the way of my relationship with Christ, these same hints often get in the way of my relationships with my husband, my children, and my friends. I need to get my priorities straight so I’m focused on what really matters. First things first and everything else will fall into place where it should.

God loved us before the world. Reminds me of Psalm 139 where it talks about us being known in the womb, being fearfully and wonderfully made.
He chose me.
Me.
Why?
Because he loves me. I am to be holy and without fault. I’m adopted by God, taken into his family. Because of what Jesus did for me, for us. Not only did God want this but it brought him pleasure. I bring him pleasure. Great pleasure.
My response? Praise. God lavishes grace and I respond by praising him.
What other response is there?

“He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.” Eph 1:7.

Wow.
Let that sink in for a minute.

The note from my study Bible says, “Believers, who were once prisoners of sin, are free from God’s judgment and from bondage to sin because of Christ’s sacrificial death.”
I was a prisoner and am now free.
Do I act like I’m free?
Not always.
Sometimes I sin, over and over the same sin. Mine is anger, yours might be something different. These sins are all covered by what Christ did for us on the cross. We are free. I am free. Or at least I can be. I have not quite figured out the how yet, since it’s all too often I find myself angry or reacting in anger … But I think, at least for me, the biggest issue is not spending enough time in the Word and in prayer. The farther I stray from my relationship with God the more anger has free reign and God does not. Praise God he gives me grace, but what is my response? Not always what it should be. There are so many things I say and do that do not bring glory to God. My humanness rears it’s ugly head far too often.

Still God showers kindness and wisdom and understanding.
Is this in hopes that one day I will get it?
Makes me think of my kids, specifically the 8yo. He does the same things over and over seemingly ignorant of instruction and guidance. He knows he shouldn’t but does anyway. Repeatedly. Maybe I’m a spiritual 8yo.
Ouch.

God revealed something to us.
Us.
Me.
You.
Why?
Why would the creator of the universe reveal something to us? Maybe so we can have hope, definitely so we can share with others. God’s plan involves everything, EVERYTHING, being under Christ’s authority. We are united with Christ. Have an inheritance from God who “chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan,” Eph 1:11. Another part of God’s plan and purpose is that we trust in him and by so doing bring praise and glory to him. He gave all believers the Holy Spirit as a guarantee that we will get that promised inheritance, the one we don’t deserve because of our sin but get anyway because of God’s grace and Christ’s sacrifice. We were bought with a price and our gratitude is seen through our lives praising and glorifying God.

So many tangible blessings in my life and yet the spiritual blessings Paul talks about are more important.
What Christ did for me.
That God loves me.
That God purchased me with the cost of Christ’s death.
I’m grateful to be part of his plan and when I’m in the thick of the chaos of this life on earth need to remember that I was bought with the ultimate price for the purpose of praising and glorifying God. In whatever circumstances I find myself. Not to whine about all the things I don’t like or have but instead to focus on the praises and blessings and find the joy in all my circumstances. Something I can only do if I am united with Christ daily praying and reading my Bible.

Here’s to the wonderful joy in knowing that despite my efforts, God is the one in charge, he is the one with the plan. He is guiding my steps and getting me where he wants me to be so I do glorify him. One day, one trial, one circumstance at a time. I’m a slow learner but God is hanging with me and will not ever leave me alone on this journey. Praise God for his grace and mercy.


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Hurtling toward the start of another school year.

Wow.

Summer.

Is.

Gone.

Well almost anyway. One last week to have a little fun before we head back to reality. I’m so grateful for the time during summer with my kids and the couple trips we were able to take as a family. How hard the hubby has worked to make those two trips a reality, especially the long one to visit family in the Midwest.

One day this week I pretty much have to take the kids to the museum, the boy wants to play in the new discovery zone again and was super bummed he was too old for the one at the Field Museum. I’m also hoping to get them to a park or splash pad and then tomorrow we will head somewhere to do something with the boy’s neighbor friend. Crazy the whole summer is pretty much over and this will be the only time we see and hang with them, despite my best efforts!

I’m not sure I’m ready for another school year but it is coming whether I am or not so hopefully by next week I’ll regain my ability to talk in complete sentences and finish a coherent thought.


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still tired.

We finally made it to our destination after our pit stops in Minneapolis and Wisconsin Dells. Awesome to give my mama a big hug and have two excited grand kids want to tell her everything. At once. They are now in bad and hopefully won’t decide to wake up at 6 am. A girl can dream right?

We had a great, albeit short, time in Minnesota. While there were a few people I would have loved to see and didn’t get to, we got to see all of the hubby’s aunts and uncles and my aunt as well as my gram and three of our cousins. We stayed at “cousins house” where our kids have a blast with second cousins or whatever your cousins kids are in relation to your kids.

The one thing that makes me batty is how bonkers my kids act when we are on a trip. It’s like they completely forget anything they have been taught. We catch them jumping on furniture, yelling or screaming for no apparent reason, taking things apart, tormenting each other and, well, bouncing off the walls. Too much excitement to be contained in their little bodies I guess.

After Minnesota we decided to stop on our way to Illinois in Wisconsin. The Dells. When I was younger we did this once as a family. Had an initial visit, where my parents took us on one of the boat tours and that was it. We never went back. I thought we could do the same thing. While the boy would have probably seriously enjoyed one of the water parks I knew the girl was totally not ready for that kind of excitement so figured we’d find a reasonable hotel with a pool and go on one of the Duck rides. Check out what the Dells had to offer and maybe in a couple years head back for more of the water park fun.

We were disappointed. The Duck ride was fun, but I was not prepared to get soaked. It wasn’t cheap. We decided to go to the “downtown” and look in the shops. Where one goes to pay far too much money for everything. So … yeah. The little scouting trip did not make me want to go back any time soon. I’m sure that as the kids get older we will stop again and maybe stay in one of the resorts with a water park as part of the hotel or go to Noah’s Ark, but really I’m ok if we just keep driving through to Illinois. If I’m going to spend far too much money on stuff I’d rather go to Estes Park or Breck.

Glad to be at my mom’s now.

Maybe I can find some energy.


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Road tripping. Part 1.

We made it through yesterday.

Left the house at 8am and rolled into the hotel around 9:30pm. Granted there is a time zone change in there but that is still a really long day on the road.

I’m super sore now but we finished our trek to visit family near Minneapolis getting in this afternoon and enjoying a BBQ with aunts, uncles and cousins for dinner. Really thankful they all came by and our hosts put together a great evening. Looking forward to seeing my cousin and gram, aunt and another cousin, as well as maybe less time in the car tomorrow!

Here’s one of my favorite pictures of the trip so far. She spent a couple hours under this “tent” … until she fell asleep and then I woke her up trying to move the map away so she didn’t end up with a paper cut. Granted we only had a few minutes left in the car at that point but man she was a tired puppy today! So was her brother for that matter, though neither wanted to admit to that.

How the girl reads a map in the car.

How the girl reads a map in the car.


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Thankful Thursday.

Today I’m thankful …
… the kids are old enough to help pack.
… and fight over helping to unload the dishwasher among other sibling squabbles.
… the hubby made it back from work in time to go to the recital.
… that we got a parking spot in the lot at the recital, in fact we were EARLY! That never happens.
… that the kids did a wonderful job with their songs, practice helped them both rock it!
… that I didn’t forget where my hands needed to be and was able to play my song without screwing it up! Even had a couple people tell me they liked my song and my teacher told me I did a good job too.
… that we have a lot packed and there isn’t too much still to do before I can get some sleep since tomorrow morning is going to be kinda early.
… that we have two whole weeks to spend together as a family!!

What are you thankful for today?

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