Cutest Blog Layout

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Reminder to be Thankful!

20 Little Attitudes of Gratitude

  1. Mind your manners. Say please, thank you and excuse me.
  2. Smile when you see your family. Turn your frown upside down.
  3. Pick up after yourself.
  4. Notice when others do kind things for you, show gratitude by action or words.
  5. Say I love you before going to bed.
  6. Give hugs daily.
  7. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Focus on what you are happy about today.
  8. Create gratitude journals to keep track of daily blessings.
  9. Show thankfulness for even the little things others do for you.
  10. Leave love notes in unexpected places like lunch boxes and under pillows.
  11. Encourage someone with a compliment.
  12. Verbalize what you are grateful for when you feel like complaining.
  13. Keep a basket of small slips of paper on the table. Write notes of thankfulness during the week and read them to each other during a family meal.
  14. Remember to thank God for blessings each day.
  15. Surprise your family (or friends) with little gifts or treats to show you thought of them.
  16. No grumbling about minor annoyances around the house.
  17. Do special things to cherish time with your family. You never know what tomorrow will bring.
  18. Reflect on happy memories regularly. Make inspiration boards of special times.
  19. Help someone out without them having to ask you. Watch for someone in need.
  20. When you are doing household chores, be grateful you have a home to clean.

Thanks to The Inspired Room For This List!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I'm so Thankful...But the table will be empty this year.

Last year was my year to have Thanksgiving with the children and this year they will spend the holiday with their Dad.  The same is true for my step daughters, they will be with their mom and that part of their family.  It leaves Mr. Wonderful and me alone feast by ourselves.  We're going out. Last Thanksgiving was the first holiday we spent as a someday family together.  It was fun to make memories and think of future holidays together.  We had a great day! 
And this year feels a little empty.  I miss my family, I will miss the children and preparing a meal.
My Thanksgiving won't look like the Norman Rockwell painting and it won't be what I consider "perfect."  Yet I've got plenty to be thankful for!

It's the ever-constant downside of divorce, the part you don't ever recover, but do learn to live with - sharing your dearest people (children) with another home.  So this week, my grocery list is smaller than usual and I'm planning to enjoy some sweet time alone with my love.  Depending on the weather, we may go for a hike or stay snuggled at home.  I'm going to plot ways to decorate for the holidays in my first season at this home and prepare for the annual Advent Calendar which now includes FIVE children!

I'm certain I will have moments of longing, perhaps even sadness.  I'm going to embrace them, and know it's only because I love my littles so dearly and that this isn't the way I imagined my holidays would be spent.  Then I'm going to embrace the many blessing I have and look forward to their return. 
How are you spending your Thanksgiving?  Will you travel?  Do you co-parent?  How early did you make your plans?
PS - I do have fond memories of this day which is the first holiday I ever spent with Mr. Wonderful.  It's the day he met my parents and the first time I ever made him a pie (pecan and French silk).  We're so sad that the place which holds this special memory burned just two weeks ago!

Friday, November 22, 2013

How to Enjoy Your Children More

Do you want to enjoy your children more today and every day?  Then learn the best way to care for yourself.  I have noticed that when I'm most easily frustrated with my children is when I'm exhausted, stretched too thin, possessed with unrealistic demand or life is generally chaotic.  Sometimes I'm just hungry or hormonal.  I round the paragraph below to be very insightful:

"Often times, I am the problem, not my kids.
The break-up line, "It's not you, it's me" rings uncomfortably true when learning not to yell. I quickly realized that oftentimes I wanted to yell because I had a fight with my husband, I was overwhelmed by my to-do list, I was tired or it was that time of the month, not because the kids were behaving "badly." I also quickly realized that acknowledging my personal triggers by saying out loud: "Orange Rhino, you have wicked PMS and need chocolate, you aren't mad at the kids, don't yell" works really well to keep yells at bay." ~ from The Orange Rhino @ Huffington Post.

I used to think that by putting myself last, I was best serving my family.  The past 10 years have demonstrated that establishing the basics of self-care are essential to the overall health of my family and especially my children.  Taking care of YOU will look different than taking care of ME, but these are the things I need:
  1. Worship.  Remember the Source of all good things.  Practice gratefulness and be involved with at lest someone else who shares your convictions.  Read and meditate on scripture.  Pray. Go to church!
  2. Sleep.  I consistently need seven or more hours nightly.  I can sacrifice this every now and then, but if my sleep patterns are disturbed for several entire personality become anxious and tense.  It's just the way I'm made.  So, I can fight this or embrace it. 
  3. Order. I do not function well in chaos, I just can't seem to tune it out!  So for my sanity's sake, I keep clutter and piles to a minimum.  I crave clear counters.  We put toys away and straighten the pillows on the sofa each evening before bedtime.
  4. Routine.  Some people find routines boring, predictable or mundane.  I find them comforting, reassuring and calming.  I like knowing the toilets will be scrubbed every Thursday and we will eat at Chick Fil A on Wednesday.  These predictable touch points in our lives provide structure and camaraderie among our family.  Plus, it's fun for everyone when we shake up the routine for whatever reason.
  5. Nature.  When I take the time to notice the weather, the trees, the sky - my perspective shifts from the small to the great.  I love taking a walk, hiking or just driving through the mountains.  We don't have curtains or blinds and the sunshine and forest view fuel my spirit!
  6. Exercise.  Often, it feel like one more thing I have to do in my day, and sometimes I just don't want to do it!  But when I skip physical activity, I notice that I do not sleep as soundly, I have less energy and feel worse about myself.  My job is at a desk and so I need to supplement my level of physical activity. 
We all need to take part in self care so we can be our best selves to those who live in our homes and see us day in and day out.  As mothers, it's easy to push these things aside and think we are sacrificing for our children.  Sometimes, that may be necessary.  However, if you are trying to provide the best for your children at your own expense, it become codependent and unhealthy.  We can model these attributes for our children and begin teaching them their own life skill that will empower them through adulthood and in their own families one day.

What is at the top of your self care needs?  What is habit is the most challenging to maintain?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Forgiveness For Real

Just like "Soul Mates," the concept of forgiveness carries a lot of preconceived ideas.  Some think that forgiveness magically makes an offense disappear, as if it never offended in the first place.  We often hear the phrase, "Forgive and forget" tossed about ... which I find to be a very unhealthy adage.  Forgetting is not what God calls us to do - we learn from our past and to forget is to abandon or waste the experience.  He may choose to forget, but I don't see where I'm asked to do that.

Still, I wholeheartedly endorse forgiveness.  I believe the Bible describes it as the letting go of what is rightfully mine to require: vengeance, payback, restitution, judgment.  Without God, these things are the right of the offended person, but forgiveness releases me of that burden and reminds me of how much I have been forgiven

Let me give you a few reminders of what forgiveness might look like.
  • Forgiveness isn't forgetting. 
  • Forgiveness doesn't mean that what happened was okay.
  • Forgiveness doesn't make everything go back to the way it was before.
  • Forgiveness does not mean that we are "letting them off the hook" for the injustice of what they've done.  It's giving "The Hook" to our Lord and trusting Him to heal me. 
  • Forgiveness especially doesn't mean that family members should excuse the wrong behavior because they are “family.”
  • Forgiveness doesn't mean that we should hide, or not talk about the abuse or shy away from conflict by not talking about the abuse.
  • Forgiveness does not mean that if I "truly" forgive, I will "trust." each other implicitly. Trust takes time to build.  Rebuilding broken trust may take a lifetime.
You know you have forgiven when you don’t want to hurt or see another person hurt anymore.  You know you have grown in grace when you can rejoice that good things happen to the one who has wronged you...that is something only God can do, my friends.

Ultimately, forgiving is what I do to demonstrate that I truly trust God.  I trust He knew the truth of how I was treated and that He will deal with my offender with more wisdom than I have.  I remember that I need forgiveness, too.  It's letting go of the record-keeping and the concern that I will forget how I have been wounded.  Forgiving allows me to free my focus from what someone else has done and move that focus onto my own healing and growth.  Forgiveness allows the conflict without to become peace within.
Abandonment to Forgiveness by Michelle Moore with Paige Henderson. $5.99

Monday, November 11, 2013

Moody Monday

View photo.JPG in slide show

I have a beautiful photo from my neighborhood walk on Saturday, but for some reason photos aren't uploading to my blog.  Oh well.

I'm walking because I have injured my foot and running hurts right now.  It's frustrating.

My weekends aren't long enough, but I did get some cleaning accomplished.  And for the moment the laundry is under control plus we have clean sheets!

Our oldest daughter is practicing her driving skills and Mr. Wonderful held his breath on the drive to school this morning.  She is getting a car for Christmas and needs all the practice she can get before then.  Our children always keep us on our toes!

Our oldest boy is running for class president and the vote is today!  Yes, on our toes!  I'm so proud of him whatever the outcome.

Soccer conditioning begins this week and I'm so proud of my husband who is the coach - but it's going to take a lot of time and energy for the next six months.  I will need to work on my patience and servanthood.  However, we love the community and the games ... go Rebels!

We woke up healthy and happy this Monday morning, so I have much for which to be grateful.  Today, I'm especially grateful for Christ.  It's easy to forget how faithful He has been and I want to remember His tender presence in my blessings as much as my days of need.  Without Him, I would feel so very alone.  I am overwhelmed with gratitude for where He has brought my life and my family.  God is so, so good!
Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.  (Psalm 106)