Imperfect People

Imperfect People in love with a perfect God

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Imperfect People - Imperfect People in love with a perfect God

Faith like a child

We just got back from a trip to the land of oz!!  Bryan and I took the girls to visit Great Grandma and lots of family we don’t get to see often because of the many miles between us. 

Bryan and I packed up the car and tried our best not to forget anything.  We had warm clothes, pajamas, toothbrushes, snacks, coloring books,  plane tickets and gas in the car.  We were prepared.  We knew where we were going and a good idea what to expect. 

When we got on the airplane I watched Hannah (our almost 4 yr old) happily apply stickers to every surface of her coloring book.  Ava (our two year old) enjoyed the little window going up and down, and up and down and up and down and…. they had not a worry in the world about our trip. 

 

Despite our attempts to explain it they really had no concept that we were traveling several hundred miles away.   They didn’t pack anything, and they did nothing to prepare. 

They didn’t have to check their calendar when we said it was time to go, They just went.  They didn’t worry that they wouldn’t have food, clothing, or a place to sleep that night. 

We have proven ourselves faithful to take care of them.

Sometimes God has an “adventure” planned for us.  And He simply says, “let’s go.”

As silly as it would be for our 2 year old to say, hold on mom, let me check my blackberry to see if I can schedule in this trip.  How silly would it be for me to tell God the same thing?  When God is calling nothing else matters. 

It is hard to trust He has all the details worked out but He does.  “Don’t be afraid little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32-33

I love your comments!  How have your children taught you about faith?

del.icio.us Tags: parenting,faith,christian

I used to be cool

As you can clearly see in this Halloween picture circa 1990 maybe? I was Oh so cool.  I know, I know, the huge yellow bow in my hair and the Halloween tights are pretty amazing.  Don’t be jealous. 

Somewhere between getting older and having kids i officially became un-cool.

My clothing is whatever fits and is on sale. 

I have no problem going places without makeup.

The last party I crashed I showed up (accidently) an hour late and forgot my kid’s shoes.  

My handbags and shoes come from yard sales. 

I often have stickers on my back thanks to my kids. 

The few famous people encounters I have had, are “famous people” no one has heard of.  Although I did walk by Angelina Jolie in NYC.  Oh yea baby.

My cell phone (which wasn’t even a cool phone) recently died after surviving a trip all around town on the top of my car!  Poor phone couldn’t hold on any longer and fell to it’s death less than a mile from home.

Being cool and fitting in was the only thing in the world that mattered as a teenager…now not so much.

Oh how all of the wrong things mattered so much when I was young and not at all now.  

Dear Hannah and Ava, when you are teenagers please know that you are the ultimate in cool regardless of what the world thinks.  I pray knowing a loving God who thinks you are a rock star is all you need for acceptance. 

I love your comments. Share an “un-cool” moment you have had. 

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Simplicity Parenting and the freedom of LESS

If ever there has been a book on parenting that has revolutionized the way I view our children’s environment, it is this one.  If ever there was a book I wish everyone parent could read, it is this one.   I was completely blinded by our culture of MORE, MORE, MORE and CLUTTER, CLUTTER, CLUTTER!  My kids need the best toys, tons of choices and new things often right??

Kim Jon Payne author of simplicity parenting says that is not the case.  He has done study after study of families who DRASTICALLY cut down on the amount of toys, clutter, busyness, and screen time.  The results?  Among other things, children with A.D.D. who no longer need medicine and siblings who play together better and fight over toys less. 

He makes the compelling point that it wasn’t until the past 50 years that toys were even available for purchase outside of Christmas time. Now toys are for purchase at the grocery store, and even the gas station.  Toys are given for every occasion and no occasion at all.  Our children feel entitled.  As a small child looking up to the mountain of toys they become overwhelmed with choices and the result reaction is stress.  Entitled stressed out children can’t help but to behave selfishly, jittery, and unmanageable. 

I have always been frustrated with clutter and a desire to do something about it.  This book certainly put me over the edge…in a good way.  We had a yard sale this  past weekend where we cut down at least 70% of all toys.  We also created a toy “library” as suggested in the book where several toys are put in boxes in the attic and will be rotated with others on a periodic basis. 

A large portion of their toys were broken or missing parts and many of them were overlooked in the sheer volume of choices.  The results?  It hasn’t quite been a week but my kids haven’t missed a thing!    They still have their most loved toys and I have certainly not missed less clutter to clean up a the end of the day. 

There is only so much square footage in our home.  I much prefer it to be open with room to play instead of packed with unloved items.

It is such an overwhelming feeling of freedom to have LESS STUFF weighing you down!  I am on a roll!  We have shelf and closet space I thought I would never see empty. My husband is thankfully totally on board and we have helped each other decide what is worth keeping and what is not. 

The new rule?  When an item comes into the home, something else goes out.  It really helps us to decide if the new item is or isn’t worth bringing home.

Simplcity Parenting also has super helpful tips on how to create “rhythm” in your home by creating schedules and routines. 

I love your feedback.  How do you simplify in your home? 

* Update.  It has been several months now since I first published this book.  My kids still have never missed a single toy that is gone. And the toy library is amazing!  Every few months they get “all new toys” (from the attic!) and then I fill up the two bins with some old toys..that will soon be new again! 

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Featured at Sorta Crunchy, the Greenbacks girl, Life renewed, and a Delightful home

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? 

 

 

Hold them with an open hand

I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you we live in a crazy world.  There are reasons to worry on every corner.  As most parents can relate I especially worry about my kids.  We have two girls and my husband is already looking for bodyguards to follow them around when they hit teenage years. 

Although the thought of building a bomb shelter and picking out their mate sounds very tempting, I am willing to bet that method of parenting is generally frowned upon…but still tempting. 

The truth is, as much as I want to keep their sweet innocent minds from influences of the world to a minimum, I cannot control everything.  To even try would be exhausting and foolish.  We live in this world, so I must prepare them for it.  Even so, when my mind starts to race on all the things I should or should not do to help mold their future, God whispers, “Yea…um…whose kids are these?”  (I like to pretend God is sarcastic like me)

Then as I feel the burden lifted.  I am reminded They are yours Lord.  You have given me the PRIVLEDGE to parent these children, but they are yours.  You are in control of their lives.  My worry CANOT CHANGE A THING.  You know every hair on their head and every decision they will make.  Plus Living in the “what if’s” stops me from enjoying the present. 

I will hold them as tight as I can with an open hand.  I know that you are the one directing their future, not me.  Even though it is hard to imagine, you love them even more than I do.  You care for them, and you are much stronger and more powerful than I could ever dream to be.

Rick Warren said this:

You have a choice: will you choose to look at your life – and your ministry — through eyes of faith or eyes of fear?

Look at the situation through eyes of fear and you’ll only see the giants in the land.  Look at the situation through eyes of faith and you’ll see the big God who goes before you.

Which eyes are you looking through?

Do you worry about your kids too?

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“You know someone needs encouragement if they are breathing.”

Truett Cathy said it best, “You know someone needs encouragement if they are breathing.” 

Everyday we are berated with “you can do better, you can be more attractive, you are not quite good enough.”  But noticeably absent from our culture are the efforts made to appreciate each other. 

Positive Reinforcement is a great way to teach children.  Even train your pet.  And while I’m not trying to get you to “train” anyone to do anything I am saying with all the research that a pat on the back goes along way you would think we would do it more often. 

I think being summoned to the bosses office should at least occasionally be a good thing.  Or taking our kids to the side let them know we noticed how well the were sharing and we are so proud of them.

The forgotten art of handwritten notes is a great way to encourage others.  There is something special about going to the mailbox to find a letter with your name on the outside handwritten.  You know its not a bill, it is someone who took the time to sit down, write something special to YOU, pin down your address, and even found a stamp!  Handwritten sticky notes are also very sweet to leave around the house or to place in a work bag, lunch box etc.  My husband is so sweet about doing this before he leaves on trips.  Sweet little sticky notes to find while he is gone. 

But there is also nothing wrong with sending an uplifting email or facebook message.  I try to be sensitive when i notice a certain person keeps coming to mind.  If I know they are going through a hard time I try to make a POINT (because it has to be intentional) to give them a call or just touch base somehow.  I don’t always do it and I often miss the boat but the times I do get it right it is such a blessing to pass on some encouragement. 

I wonder what our world would look like if we actually told each other how much we appreciate each other and did it often. 

Now if you will excuse me I have a long overdue note to send to a friend.