Imperfect People

Imperfect People in love with a perfect God

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Imperfect People - Imperfect People in love with a perfect God

Our family this summer

Summertime is in full swing at our house, here is what we are up to:

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Gardening!

Most evenings, after the girls are asleep and the heat of the day has passed, I am outside with a good pair of gardening gloves and my iPod. My tomatoes are doing great but I have been fighting off the slugs on my okra, peppers, and melons.

Bargains!

This time of year there are some super fun yard sales.

I found a beautiful bolt of wavily fabric that will soon be curtains for our bedroom (thanks to a mom that can sew) There were at least 20 yards on the bolt that I got for a total of $5..oh yea

Kids

We just got a fabulous little hand-me-down play house. The girls love it! When it’s too hot to play outside I highly recommend Toca Boca games!  myWPEdit Image

Me and the hubs

We just had a great little getaway to Atlanta, went to a concert on the lawn at North Point, and got to have some good conversation thanks to Mark Driscolls book, Real Marriage.

(more on that later)

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Other random news:

One of our favorite girls is moving. She lived with us for a few months last semester and we just fell in love with her. Our “adopted daughter” as we call her, is moving to Atlanta to get her doctorate in psychology.  We are so proud but super bummed she will live so far away.

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We eat a lot of boiled peanuts and watermelon (preferably together)

We are getting new neighbors that have a little girl!!

I am currently reading, “7” by Jen Hatmaker and I LOVE it.

What is your family up to this summer?

 

To my mom on mother’s Day

I don’t think I ever knew how much my mom loved me until I had kids of my own.

My mom is pretty amazing. She won’t let me spend money on her for mother’s day but I can at least tell her how much I appreciate her!

She drops everything and drives 3 hours to help if I need her.

She has an amazing ability to rid stains from our kids clothes.

She has TONS of energy. I thought I was an energizer bunny but I think she has me beat.

She never pays full price for anything.

She LOVES to watch our kids (both of them) for a week at a time…AND take them to theme parks…both of them…Yea it’s pretty awesome.

Our girls think she is the coolest

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And I have to agree

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Happy Mother’s day mom!

What our 4 yr old taught me about the scary stuff

There is this really annoying yet oh so true verse in James that reads, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” James 2:1

I recently had a first hand experience as an amazing 4 year old girl helped me to find joy in the trails.  

It started as a fun evening dip in the kiddy pool.  The girls best friends and next door neighbors had come to join us.

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Then we headed to the back porch for popsicles.  Hannah and her best friend Amy were sharing a chair.  I was right there beside them.  I must have been watching the younger two when all of a sudden I hear a SMACK on the concrete slab.  Hannah had for some reason stood up in the chair to reach for something, lost her balance and fell on her head.

We immediately called the after hours nurse.  While I was on the phone with the nurse hannah started getting very sleepy, then she vomited.  The nurse said she would have the doctor call me.  A few minutes later the doctor called and told us to let her sleep, if she vomited several hours after the event it was probably something more serious and she needed to go to the ER.

Two hours later (9pm) I woke her up, she answered all our questions, seemed fine and went back to bed.  At 11 pm, she got sick again.  We called the nurse back and she said we should go to the ER.

Bryan insisted I stay and get some rest and he would take her.  I was nervous but I knew he would take good care of her.  At 1 am he called me to let me know some very scary news.  Hannah had a skull fracture and her brain was bleeding.  They wanted to transfer her to a more capable hospital an hour away.

I think I went into shock.  I only had that experience once before when I was in a car wreck in college.  I started FREEZING and shivering like crazy.  I packed my bags, woke up Ava, and got to the hospital all in about 10 minutes.

Bryan took Ava back home and I got in the back of an ambulance beside our baby girl to travel to the hospital.  This was my sweet but scary view:

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I know this picture looks scary but she was not unconscious.  She was just trying to sleep it was around 1 am after all.

My emotions were going crazy, I was on adrenaline overload, I wanted to cry and throw up but I know I had to be there for her.  In this time, when I needed it most, Hannah taught me something precious.

I leaned over and asked, “What do you think about all this Hannah?”

“This is cool!!” she responded.  My nerves were immediately calmed.

When we arrived at the hospital the doctors were talking back and forth about fractures and bleeding and all this scary stuff.  All I could do was watch.   Hannah sweetly and calmly answered all of the nurses questions.  She obediently lifted her arms, moved her legs and did everything they asked her to do.  She had the staff fall in love with her.  Nurses were bringing stickers and any type of goody they could find.

After a few hours of test, poking, and prodding it was silent in our little section of the ER.  And Hannah was finally able to get some much needed sleep.

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At about 6am we finally got a room.  She was first admitted to ICU

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But she was doing so great we got a regular room that same day.

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The doctor said her injuries would not require surgery and she would be totally fine!!!

We had to stay in the hospital a total of two night but our amazing little trooper is now home.  Besides getting sleepy early she is acting totally normal.  Our only problem now is trying to convince her to take it easy!!

It was quite a journey.  Today you never would have guessed our little trooper was in the hospital just a few days ago.

So what has the scary experience taught me?

1) I have a whole new respect for parents of children with major illness.  We saw so many children facing much larger giants than a skull fracture.  I passed by this mom wearing a shirt that said, “My son is my hero”  When your watch your baby go through such things…I get it now.

2) We have AMAZING friends.  We had so many people reach out to us during this scary time.  I now know how important it is and will make sure I am more intentional about checking up on people in the hospital.

3)  The little things matter:  Child life specialist, a job I hardly knew existed are some of the most amazing people on the planet.  Their job is to help kids feel more comfortable in the hospital.  They answer children’s questions about being in the hospital, then ask her about her favorite toys.  A few moments later they come back with toys!!!  They are priceless!  This made Hannah, and mama, grin from ear to ear.  I could go on and on about what a wonderful impact they made while we were there.

On a side note there were also two retired men who came around every friday doing magic tricks for the kids.  They humbly said they do this because they can only play golf so much…but they make more of an impact than they know.  I am telling everyone who will listen about how happy these two groups made us feel.

4) God made our bodies as incredible machines:  Hannah had a skull fracture with internal bleeding.  It sounds very scary, yet outside of some pain and anti-nausea meds there is not much doctors can do.  Her precious little head will heal on it’s own, good as new.  I’m impressed God.

5) Hospital food isn’t so bad

6) Family members freak out when you call at 6am

7) It takes a while for your body to “de-stress”  I have been doing lots of deep breathing the past few days.

8) I am not in control.  While part of me wants to construct a giant hamster wheel for her to live in protected from everything around her.  I know that is not feasible.  She is God’s daughter before she was mine.

This is something I never would have wanted, and never want again, but God always uses these situations.  I have learned a lot.  And this little girl…is my hero:

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Seasons of life

I wish you could hear the birds outside singing and smell the sweet air as I enjoy the screen door open on this beautiful spring morning. 
In a few months summer will bring its long hot days and it will soon be hard to even remember cool mornings and barren trees. 
But just as the seasons come and go so do seasons of our life. 
 
I recently met a friend who gave me priceless parenting advice.  She simply said,  “There is so much time before and after your kids are young to do all you want to do, enjoy the time when they are little, it is a short season of life.”
 
I realize this is not revolutionary information, but for me it was a simple reminder that we all have SEASONS of life. 
 
When we were newly weds and bought our first home I had a season of DIY and crafts. I painted everything I got my hands on and tried my best to fix everything with a glue gun. 
 
When we had two children in less than two years we were in survival season.  I honestly don’t remember much about those early months with both babies, but we made it through so I am considering that a good season. 
  
Currently our girls are two and four and I LOVE this stage.  They are a little more independent and sooo IMAGINATIVE.  I love watching our living room be transformed to a ball for a princess to dance or a doctors office for sick stuffed animals.
 
Today I rarely do any house hold projects, and I no longer have infants to care for, BUT I am cooking much more than I used to and working part time.
 
You canot be everything you want to be all in one season of life.  Give yourself grace remembering that your responsiblities change, your passions change, and God always places you in the right place at the right time. 
 
Seasons will come and go despite my efforts to make them stand still or rush them along. 
 
All I can do is BE PRESENT.  My life is taking place right before my eyes.  I can view my season and think it is not all I want or I can realize all i have and “stop to smell the flowers”
 
Wherever you are today I hope you have time to take in some spring and be thankful for your current season of life. 
Tell me about your season of life?

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!

Choosing to cheat

I told my husband the other day I could stay up all night long and still have way too much on my to do list, to which he responded, “shorten your to-do list”

Profound!  Simple, maybe even obvious but I thought it was brilliant…he’s a smart guy.  I think all of us have expectations we place on ourselves that don’t REALLY have to be done. 

Andy Stanley wrote a book called “choosing to cheat” The premise states that we cannot possibly do everything so we must cheat in one or more areas of our life.  There are simply not enough hours in a day or days in a year to do and be everything we want.  We are then faced with the choice to decide what is most important.

Although we don’t see it this way it is even a little egotistical to think we are soooo important that we must get so much done.  If the world will keep spinning and no one will be physically harmed if we don’t complete the task then is it really THAT important? 

Cheating suggestions:

Housework:  Everyone has different “must does’” for a clean home.  I think it is essential to take a moment to define what a clean home is to you.  What is most important and what areas can you cheat? It will just get dirty again anyway!

The Internet:  Rescue time is a free internet service designed to keep you accountable for how much time you spend on the net.  On average it rescues people from almost 4 hours of time a week! 

Television: Along with the internet these are the two biggest time suckers for most families.  Be intentional with your television.  Ask is this show WORTH my time?  Give yourself a number you are comfortable with for hours spent per week in front of the tube. 

Extra activities:  If your kids are in soccer, dance, karate, football, and piano all at the same time you might want to take a step back and ask what is most important and what is not.  Or maybe you are the president of the PTA, the bible study leader, the volunteer and the helper for EVERYTHING in your city.  Just incase you need permission…It’s okay to say no.
(ouch I am so guilty of this)

Work more effectively:  No matter where you work: in an office or at home there are ways to work more efficiently.  4 hour work week  is a book dedicated to helping your work more effectively.

Barter anyone?:  You can’t do it all but together we can.  Babysitting is a great way to trade services.  You watch my kids and I’ll watch yours.  I have a friend that does all my monogramming and I make her little girls hair bows.  PERFECT!! 

What is a skill or service you can offer?  Trading is much more fun that spending money and is a helpful way to get what you need by “cheating” 

Share your thoughts: In what ways do you “cheat?”


Acting out the Christmas Story

This year we started a new tradition.  Acting out the Christmas story! 

I am no supermom, the thought of crafts and elaborate plans intimidate me.  But I wanted our kids to better understand WHY we celebrate Christmas.  The books are great but most kids learn by doing.  Instead of overcomplicating things, I tried my hand at a simple play. 

  

I am guest posting today at Stringer Mama. Head on over to read the rest! 

 

 

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? 

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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

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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

 

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Martha Stewart’s daughter and a lesson in PRIORITIES

Martha Stewart, your quintessential homemaker, picture perfect crafter, gourmet chef, amazing hostess, and gardener.

We all have someone we look up to, and for so many women it is Martha Stewart.   When our days are stressful, dinner is burnt, and the centerpiece we tried to craft for thanksgiving looks more like a preschoolers art project, we close our eyes and think, “How does Martha do it?” 

According to her daughter, while Martha was pretending to be betty homemaker to the world, she ignored her own family. 

“If I didn’t do something perfectly, I had to do it again,” writes her daughter. “I grew up with a glue gun pointed at my head.” source

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She goes on to say “There was never anything to eat at my house,” and despite Martha’s seemingly love for the holidays, her daughter said she was quite “humbug” about them in reality. 

While Martha was pretending to be perfect, her own daughter suffered.  I’m not trying to dog on Martha, she was running a successful TV ‘show and magazine, writing cookbooks and who knows all of her other million obligations, there is now way she could DO IT ALL. 

She was never designed to DO IT ALL.

This my friends, is point of Imperfect People.

So many are wearing the masks of  “I have it all together” when families are falling apart. 

When the stress of the world tells us to go here, do that ,and be the leader of this, we have to KNOW what it is we are designed to do and don’t apologize for saying no to something that doesn’t fit into the mission God has given us. 

How do you know your mission?

List out your top 5 priorities.  The things that take up the majority of your time, talent, and treasure.  If all else fades,  if money didn’t matter, cross out your obligations one by one until you are left with the TWO that are most important.

Go ahead write them down.

What are you left with?

Hopefully it is family and faith. 

Of course we cannot ignore those other three priorities but i hope that shed light on the things that TRULY matter. 

Another way to help decide your mission is discovering what are you passionate about.   What gets you up in the morning and gets you excited? What are your gifts talents? 

Once you know what is most important, develop a family mission statement.  Deciding what is most important as a family helps you to say NO to the good opportunities so you can say YES to the best opportunities.  Examplehere.

Martha Stewart has talents no doubt, and I don’t think it is wrong that she had a successful career using those talents.  I just think she may have lost sight of what is MOST important. 

While loving the Lord with all our hearts is the MOST important, I believe family certainly comes way before career, hobbies, and fame and fortune.

How do you keep focus on the most important priorities?

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