Imperfect People

Imperfect People in love with a perfect God

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Imperfect People - Imperfect People in love with a perfect God

Mom guilt

Faced with the overwhelming responsibility of mothering the next generation; mothers often feel like we are not doing enough, or not doing it just right. 

I am certainly guilty of this myself, and I have never met another mom who didn’t feel the same. 

Although it’s a positive sign that we’re trying to do our best, we need to learn to let it go so that we can be our best.   A guilty conscience is doing no one any good, if anything it is just causing frustration.  Either a change needs to be made or an acceptance needs to take place. 

Truthful Guilt:

In this type of guilt there really is something that could be better.  What is nagging over your head that you know needs to be changed?   You have put it off for whatever reason.  Let’s not wait any longer.  Our children are growing up everyday, let’s take steps today to make our tomorrow the best it can be

Guilt from Unrealistic expectations:

I feel like my picture should be beside these words with a stamp on my forehead saying “guilty”.  Actually, I do need a picture for this post….

We compare ourselves to our neighbor who has a beautiful yard, our best friend whose children can recite the entire bible (minor exaggeration), the one whose home is always immaculate, and the one who is always doing craft projects with her kids. 

My favorite saying around here is, “We compare ourselves to what others are on the outside to what we know to be true of ourselves on the inside”

Yes Sally (names changed to protect the innocent) may be crafty, but I bet she doesn’t have the talent you do! Be thankful for Sally’s talent and note that she probably doesn’t have yours! 

We all have at least one talent, but not one of us have all the talent. 

Most importantly comparing ourselves to others is a lose, lose battle.  The only perfect one worthy of comparing ourselves to is Jesus.  He was not a mom, but  He was an amazing and effective teacher.  He corrected and showed grace at all the right times. He was selfless and He loved….like REALLY LOVED, even when we didn’t deserve it.  What a model!!

When you feel the unwelcome feeling of guilt creeping in again:

  1. Determine if it is true or unrealistic guilt
  2. If it is true: Do something. Make the changes right then, or take steps to make the situation better.
  3. If it is untrue.  Thank God for making  you the mother that you are.  Focus on what you do well.  And enjoy doing what you do best with your kids. 

As iron sharpens iron,
so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

What do you think? Do you carry mom guilt? I love your comments!

The real St. Nicholas (Santa is not Satan)

Today’s post is a re-post from a very popular Santa is not Satan post from last year.  I hope you enjoy!

If Christmas is the day we celebrate Christ’s birth then where did “Santa” come from?  Are Christians to ban Santa trinkets, sweaters and wrapping paper to show our loyalty?  I think a little education is helpful on why or how the whole Santa thing came about. 

Who is St. Nicholas?

His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus’ words to “sell what you own and give the money to the poor,” Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering.

He did many kind and generous deeds in secret, expecting nothing in return.  He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to the those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.

The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration, St. Nicholas Day, December 6th (December 19 on the Julian Calendar).

And that (in a nutshell)  is how we have the legend of Santa Claus.  I don’t know about you but that Santa doesn’t sound like such a bad guy.   He has certainly become over materialized but isn’t everything in our culture? 

St. Nicholas would have NEVER wanted the legend of him to be greater than the Jesus he served. 

That is where our job as parents is to teach our children about Christmas, the importance of Jesus’ birthday, and about the real “Santa Claus.”  The only list he was making and checking twice was those whom he could serve.   In fact how amazing would it be if everyone knew who the REAL St. Nicholas was and how he was such a model of Christ. 

Personally, we tell our kids about the real Santa.  We say people dress up like him today because the amazing person that was St. Nicholas.  Sure Santa is fun but we don’t pretend that he is coming through the chimney.

At the end of the day “Santa” is not Satan.  Getting caught up in banning Santa clothing, wrapping paper and decor is just plain silly in my humble opinion.  The real Santa can teach us a lot about our Lord through the servant life he lived.

Let’s show the world what Christians are FOR instead of what we are against. 

St. Nicholas was an amazing example of what we are FOR…Christ’s love.

I just ran across this blog that has a very clever family tradition of playing “St. Nick” and anonymously giving gifts around their town.  I love it! 

Join the conversation.  What are your thoughts on Santa? 

del.icio.us Tags: Christmas Santa Satan

Dear Hannah, on your birthday

Precious Hannah,

I can hardly believe four short years ago you were born.  Your daddy and I were told our lives would change forever but we didn’t believe it until we we met you. 

We were told we would experience love on a whole new level, but we didn’t know it until we held you

.

 

I remember the day we took you home from the hospital.  I looked at you,  fast asleep in your bed. I was a new mom, overwhelmed with emotion.  I barely knew you yet I would do ANYTHING for you. I didn’t understand how someone so small that couldn’t even (yet) love me back had just become such an important part of me!

Then God whispered…that is a glimpse of my Love. 

God has a crazy BIG, selfless, HUGE, relentless, and unexplainable love for his children.   If my imperfect self could love this child SOO much, how much more does God love me! 

 You have grown into such a precious little girl.  You love all things girly, pink, and princess.  You love your baby sister and you are so considerate of others. 

 

  You say funny things like, “When I grow up I want to be a mermaid, and if that doesn’t work I want to be Rapunzel let down your hair”  You also say you sister wants to be a water buffalo…yes a water buffalo…random I know….you got it from a book.    

You are a very social little girl and love to play with friends.  When friends are not around or your sister is napping you have imaginary “brothers and sisters” that have a “tall tall airplane” and you play with them often.  We have yet to get a clear answer on their names or residence but their parents names are Katie and Bryan so we feel pretty good about that.  

  

Everyday you request to wear a “beautiful dress” and you usually change clothes about 4 times a day. 

You love to play school, dance, and “baby and mommy.” 

 

(I absolutely LOVE this picture, Thanks Grandma!  Nice snap!)

You are a precious gift.  I am overwhelmed and honored that God chose me to be your mom.  You remind me of His big crazy love everyday. 

Happy Birthday Hannah Grace!

Love,

Mom

 

del.icio.us Tags: birthday,parenting,God’s love,Love,kids

Custom Family Mission Statement

Every intentional family needs a reminder of what is important now and again.  Family mission statements are all the rage in the blogging world.  You can read about them at:

Passionate Homemaking

Simple Mom

We are that family

Inspired to action

and a host of others I’m sure. 

Why have a mission statement?  Everyday we have a million things we can do with our time.  There are good choices, and then there are the best choices.  A mission statement  helps us to determine what is MOST IMORTANT, and freedom to ignore everything else. 

My husband and I sat down on the couch and listed out all the adjectives we could think of that we want our family to reflect.  He listed several and so did I.  The ones that we felt most important, and the ones we had in common were the words we decided to use in our mission statement. 

I wouldn’t be my imperfect self if I went with the crowd and did a traditional full sentence “statement.”  Alexander Creative came up with this BEAUTIFUL poster designed with just with our key “mission” words

 

Pretty stinkin cool huh?  I want to invite all my friends over just to stare at it with me.  I am elated over it!

Don’t have a family mission statement? There are great tips on making your own here!

I highly recommend Alexander Creative when you are ready to get your own!

del.icio.us Tags: mission statement,family,faith,christian,parenting

How to argue with your spouse

My husband and I celebrated SEVEN years of marriage this past weekend (woo hoo!).  To celebrate we went to a Winshape “Courageous Hearts” retreat in Rome, GA.

Inspired by the quote, “the best thing you can give your kids is a good marriage” we took an intentional getaway designed not for couples in crisis, just couples that want the BEST marriage possible.  Our weekend was full of RELAXATION, no distractions (it is media free), time together, and time to learn how to be even better together.

Truett Cathy (yes the founder of Chick-fil-A) founded Winshape with the purpose of shaping “winners”  and shaping winning marriages is one of the things they do great…plus we had excellent customer service and lots of “my pleasure.”

The ropes course: 

I learned so much I will probably be writing about it forever but most importantly was a really cool lesson on “how to argue with your spouse” led by Todd Sandel (who did an awesome job!)  Here is what I learned:

Rarely are arguments about only the issue at hand.  More often a “fear button” has been pushed and we are reacting because of the fear button, not the issue.  Let me give you an example:

The wife is watching HGTV, she says, “oh honey look, I would love to do that to our kitchen!”  He hears “I am not a good enough provider and you would like to do that to our kitchen tomorrow.” 

His fear button of, “I”m not good enough” was pushed.  He reacts by saying, “Don’t you remember the budget talk?  Why would you bring that up now when we just paid for dance lessons?” 

She reacts by using “you always” or “we never”  because now her button of “I’m not being heard or my opinion isn’t valued” is pushed. 

And so the cycle continues. 

The issue is no longer about the plans for the kitchen but a husband who doesn’t feel valued and a wife who doesn’t feel heard. 

After a little practice you can quickly identify when you get in the cycle and deal with the “buttons” instead of just arguing in circles. 

If the buttons are identified early, the argument would end before it had a chance to start.  Imagine a tennis match:

Serve: That kitchen on HGTV is Beautiful!
Return: Don’t you remember the budget talk?
AH HA! Your button was pushed.  Argument ender: I’m sorry I didn’t intend that we remodel anytime soon if ever.  It’s just a show I enjoy. Thank you for providing us with a home when so many have so little. (ok maybe that’s a little over the top…but I guarantee that would end the argument!) 

Repair & Reconnect

My fear button of _________ got pushed

I reacted by __________

How ever the truth about my value is  __________

What I really long for is ____________

Marriage is the foundation of the family.  If you are married…I hope this will help you argue less, and voice your differences with love. 

-Katie

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LiveJournal Tags: Marriage,Christian

Family rules poster GIVEAWAY

I came across this poster on etsy the other day and couldn’t help but love it.  What a clever reminder of keeping your priorities than a really cool poster hanging where everyone can see. 

Alexander Creative also makes really cool stuff like family mission statements! I am thrilled over finding his shop!  Do you love it as much as I do?

 Alexander Creative has been nice enough to offer one to a lucky reader!  So who wants to win?? 

Or check out Alexander Creative’s etsy shop and leave a comment telling us about your favorite piece. 

Contest is now closed

What are your family rules?

17 Cheap (and romantic) date night ideas

Want to have a fun date night?  Don’t have a lot of cash?  Then I hope this list helps you enjoy your date and save some cash too!

First things first, if you have kids, babysitters are expensive.  Talk to a group of friends about setting up a babysitting co-op.  Where you trade out “tokens” for babysitting instead of cash. 

Now that the kiddos are settled in here are a few cheap and romantic ideas:

  1. Walk down memory lane:  Reminisce on how you first met, your dating life, wedding, and early marriage.  Get those butterflies back in action! 
  2. Stare at the stars INSIDE:  Go to the Planetarium, learn about our universe and cuddle with your sweetie. 
  3. Enjoy the weather together.  Depending on the time of year ice skating, picnics, or going for a swim are all fun date nights.  
  4. Dress Rehearsal: Got a play in your local theater you would love to see but don’t want to pay for tickets?  Call around to see if you can attend the dress rehearsal.  They are often a fraction of the price and sometimes FREE!
  5. Cuddle up with a book:  The book store is our personal favorite cheap date.  I grab a book about gardening or kids and he grabs a magazine or book on sports and we sit together sipping coffee and playing footsie.
  6. Dinner Coupons: www.Restaurant.com has specials and be sure to check your local paper or weekly circular for local coupons. 
  7. Just dessert:  You can have dinner at home, put the kids to bed, then go out for dessert and coffee.  Babysitters usually don’t expect as much if the kids are sleeping the whole time.  I have friends that trade out with a neighbor and do this once a week!
  8. Play 40 questions:  Print out this Conversation starters booklet and get to know each other better.
  9. Take a Tour:  You would be surprised at all the places that would be glad to give you a tour of their business if you just ask.  Candy shops, distribution centers, factories,  whatever interest you and is close to where you live.
  10. Flea Markets browsing:  There’s something for everyone at a flea market and plenty of things you never knew existed — you might even discover he has a hobby or weird collection you didn’t know about…plus often times there is cotton candy. 
  11. Art museum:  Even if you don’t live near the Guggenheim almost every city offers art on display at a local city building or college.  Just for fun dress up and talk with your best English accent as you study the art.
  12. Botanical Gardens:  Almost every town has an amazing world of horticulture just waiting to be explored.  Call in advance and they will gladly give you a tour.  
  13. Share what you love: Spend time teaching each other about your favorite hobby or skill.  Playing an instrument, gardening, crafting, photography etc.  You may be surprised how much you enjoy their hobby. 
  14. Be a tourist in your own home town.  We went on charted tour (very inexpensive) of a neighboring city and learned more than we ever learned living nearby for years!  Contact your local visitors bureau for events and tour information.
  15. Open mic/karaoke night: Check out the nearest karaoke or open mic night.  Even if you don’t participate you will enjoy free talent or lack there of (which is sometimes even better). 
  16. Local College/University events: If you live near a college log on to the school’s website and check out the schedule of events.  Schools will open large events, from lectures & panels, to movie screenings and plays.  Usually free to the public.
  17. Go back home: If you took the kids to a friends house, go back home.  Light a few candles…need I say more?

 What is your favorite cheap date night? 

 

 

Finding the sparkle again

After six years of marriage I finally took my ring to the jewelers for a good cleaning, refinishing, and shine.  Wow what a difference it made!  It gradually got dirty so i didn’t notice how bad it got until I saw how beautiful it always was, hiding behind all the “gunk.”

I am not going to get a new ring just because it needed some TLC.  That would be crazy!  Way to expensive and this ring means something to me.  Even if we became millionaires I would always want to wear THIS RING.

I think, just like my ring, we get used to something and accept it at its current state even though we know it could be so much better.  I know several people fighting marital problems.  I’m sure the problems didn’t happen over night but somewhere along the way they happened and now they are putting up with a “grimy, gunky” marriage when it could be so much more.  Should they get a “new one?” No!  Just because it needs some attention, a fresh perspective, and maybe even some expert care, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth saving.  I don’t know everyone’s situation and maybe the “grime” is very thick but at one point there was some sparkle and I believe it is worth doing whatever it takes to find that sparkle again.

We are not perfect but we try very hard to put each others needs above our own.  The book Love & Respect I believe is a must read for all couples.  About how a woman needs love the same way a man needs respect.

One of the best things you can give your children, is a good marriage. 

Marriage is the foundation for the family our culture does very little to support it.  Families are falling apart everywhere we look because very few people are willing to roll up their sleeves and find resources and people to come along side us and encourage a healthy marriage.  If you are facing problems, or (even better) if you just want to be proactive, there are some great resources here and here.  And P.S. the Fireproof move (and book) are AWESOME!

It is worth fighting for.