Birthday Traditions

Ok, I am just going to breeze right over the fact that I haven’t blogged since December!  I’ll get right to the point as if I’ve been here all along!  My first “little” baby is about to turn one in a couple of weeks and that has had my mind spinning about what special traditions I want our family to have as we celebrate every year of our childrens’ lives.  I’m sure as the years fly by some traditions will essentially evolve on their own as each of our kids (yes, I hope to have more, Lord willing) chooses their favorite cake for me to make year after year or a special family dinner is served in honor of that child.  But, I am trying to think beyond the more obvious ways we can celebrate a birthday in hopes of establishing something a little more unique.

I know that many of you have posted, at least at some point about various traditions and have probably touched upon this, so I’m beckoning your help!  I have contemplated writing letters to Will as he approaches each birthday and then saving them for a special birthday to come. But although I really like this idea, I worry that it may be a daunting task to stay on top of as more children enter the picture and the years pass begin to pass. 

SO…what special and unique traditions do you remember from growing up and what kinds of things do you do know with your kids?  Who knows, this may be compiled already on an existing blog out there.  If so….lead me there!

O Christmas Tree

My husband and I seem to love doing fun projects at Christmas time.  One year we made snowflake gingerbread cookies that were decorated so ornately and beautifully that we used them as decorations rather than eating them like we intended to do.  (We copied designs out of a Martha Stewart book!  Don’t be fooled into thinking we’re that creative!)  Another year we made boxwood wreaths and trees to display throughout the house.  They were extremely simple and thoroughly enjoyed because they brought a little bit of the “outdoors” inside.  Quite festive!

But my favorite and most memorable project was when we made all the ornaments for our tree as we prepared for our first Christmas together!  Maybe it was the excitement of finally celebrating together as husband and wife, maybe it was the pride that accompanied accomplishing something together, or maybe it was the paint that was accidently splattered all over the carpet in our one bedroom apartment!  (Yeah, that was my fault.) But whatever the reason, making ornaments goes down in my hall of fame of most enjoyable Christmas memories with Paul.  And…6 years later we are still hanging the same ornaments on our tree!  In fact, we love them so much that they became the Christmas project I did with my 2nd graders every year when I was teaching.  Paul would come in one day and help the kids a couple at a time so I could continue teaching.  What a guy!

My friend Laurie, just made the same ornaments with her kiddos and they turned out beautiful!  You can click here and find her blog that gives step-by-step directions on how to make them.  They really are so easy to do and are quite hard to screw up.  She asked me to post a picture of my tree just for fun so here it goes…

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Mommies on the plane go “Shhh, shhh, shhh!”

There is something about being on a airplane with a child, particularly a baby or toddler, that seems extremely daunting to many new moms (or even some veterans out there!).  I suppose it could be the idea of being confined to one seat, with a child on your lap, for at least several hours at a time, not knowing if the person next to you will find your child endearing or annoying, as you frantically try to entertain him with the 25 toys you’ve jammed into the diaper bag and your own version of “Wheels on the Bus”!  Or maybe the fear creeps in at the thought of your little one crying (or even screaming) in pain from the ear popping that can be so painful as you change altitude levels.  And, if none of those pictures convince you, one only needs to consider the germs that are embedded into nearly everything your child touches which will most likely lead to, at best, a minor case of the sniffles.  But, whatever the reason, I think it can be said that there is most definitely an understandable level of anxiety, or at least apprehension, at the thought of traveling with little ones.

Having recently “flown the friendly skies” with my 6 month old son to visit family out of state (some with help and some solo), I have been determined to find ways to make our journeys with as little stress, and as much joy, as possible.  And, while I know my “bag of tricks” will inevitably have to change as Will gets older, I am grateful for the few little gadgets I’ve found that have helped make our trips thus far quite uneventful…which in the world of babies can be a very good thing! 

In an effort to help anyone who may be anticipating traveling during the holidays, I’ve decided to post my top three traveling necessities.  I had thrown them in my diaper bag “just in case” and they turned out to be life-savers!  Will has managed to endure his recent flights with grins and giggles, and we all survived without getting sick! Thank you, Lord!

baby-tooth-and-gum-cleanser.gifBaby Tooth and Gum Cleanser~Who would have thought a little soft bristled, rubber toothbrush could work such wonders on a baby?  I think this little gadget kept Will entertained and quiet for at least 15 minutes straight!  It doesn’t hurt that he is in the very early stages of teething so I’m sure this felt good on his gums.  But, he loved gnawing on our fingers and letting us “brush” and massage his gums with it.  I vowed to buy an extra just to keep in the diaper bag. (Hmmm, could it also be perfect for church?)  It’s made by Gerber and comes with baby toothpaste, though I have yet to try it.  Maybe we’ll save the flavored touch for when the “toothbrush” gets old!

Teething FeederTeething Feeder~ I think this is one of the all time greatest inventions for babies! The one I have is made by Sassy and it’s designed to introduce little ones to solid foods before they have the ability to chew and to prevent choking.  But, it also helps with teething.  Many of my friends have them and put pieces of apple, carrots or other fruits and veggies inside to allow their babies to gnaw on something hard while still getting some flavor, juice or at least a few nutrients.  But, since Will has just begun to start solid foods, I have only used this with ice.  It certainly does the trick! On the plane, I just asked the flight attendant for an extra cup of ice and refilled it for as long as he seemed interested.  And, since the ice melts, it forced him to swallow frequently so it also helped with his ears.  Another 15 minutes of sanity!   It has also proven to work wonders when eating out!

Antibacterial WipesAntibacterial WipesSince new air travel regulations prohibit you from bringing liquids on planes, our hand sanitizers had to be packed in our checked luggage.  This was a big disappointment since I for one am well aware of the germ fest that lies aboard any aircraft! It’s pretty gross actually.  But thankfully I had thrown a travel pack of antibacterial wipes (which are different from regular baby wipes) into our carry-on luggage. These actually proved to be far better than the hand sanitizer because they allowed me to wipe down arm rests, tray tables, and even the seats themselves. And their fresh citrus scent smelled far better than the stale air and burnt coffee that I had previously been so familiar with when flying.

Again, these are just a few of many little remedies I found that made traveling with a 6 month old a little easier. What are your life-saving traveling tips?

Confessions

A while back some friends of mine from college, each posted a list of “Confessions” in which they shared some of the little secrets about them others most likely would not know; or at least secrets that they previously wouldn’t want people to know! While these weren’t deep inner thoughts that would be inappropriate to share with the rest of the world, they were parts of their personality or “not so great” habits they admitted they’d like to change.  You know…those things we may struggle with feeling a little guilty about, but have not been convicted strongly enough to fix. (Or maybe I should say, we’ve not been obedient enough to change??? I’ll let you decide for yourself.)

While their posts certainly made me smile (let’s face it there is something kind of humorous in having a drawer full of wedding thank you’s that were written but never sent), I really admired these girls for their willingness to unveil the truth of their lives in an effort to bring accountability.  So, I’ve decided to do the same.  In no particular order, here are my confessions:

1. I never wash my face at night eventhough I know I should.  I’m sure someday soon this will come back to haunt me, but for now I am simply so tired that I forgo taking care of my skin in an effort to get more sleep. That extra 60 seconds seems well worth it.

2. I am not a fan of pets. I like animals in nature. I like them even more in the zoo where I know they can’t touch me. And I LOVE the idea of a family Christmas photo that includes the good ole’ Golden Retriever. But, I am not one of those people who has a natural love for caring for one in my house. I get far too grossed out by the fur, slobber, and “other stuff”.  And no matter how much you try and convince me that it’s just like having a kid, I’ll have to disagree. 

3. I sometimes pretend that I am listening to my husband when he talks about work and tries to explain his latest “missile launching project”, when really he lost me after the first two minutes. (This is one I definitely need to work on! The poor guy!) Then, I try to justify it because I’m not an engineer and will never understand what he’s talking about.

4.  I am worse than most men when it comes to going to the doctor. I avoid it at all possible costs, primarily because they scare me. I get nervous just pulling into the parking lot and I think I am more afraid of getting my blood pressure taken (I hate that thing!) than I am of the fact that I could be sick.

5.  I sometimes try to coordinate my son’s outfits with my husband’s clothes or mine. Totally cheesy, but I think it’s cute.

6.  I care way too much about what other people think of me and therefore frequently get caught up in the vicious cycle of comparison. 

7.  I still love to watch Beverly Hills 90210. (Ok, totally embarrassing. As if that show wasn’t a bad enough influence the first time around!) Thankfully I don’t get the channel that plays the re-runs of this teenage soap opera, but I love when I visit my parents and can find it on their t.v. 

8.  I can count on one hand the times I’ve left the house without makeup, even for things like exercising.  Definitely working on the whole vanity/insecurity thing these days. Not that I think being able to leave the house without makeup every now and then would indicate I’ve overcome that obstacle, but it would certainly be a start in the right direction.

9.  I think it’s kind of fun to lie. Now, before you think I am just awful, you must know that I am not referring to lying to avoid a consequence, to hide something, or to hurt others. I am more talking about making up stories just to see if I can get someone to believe me (particularly my husband, but he’s onto my game so it doesn’t always work.) I somehow get a sick satisfaction in knowing that I am at least a little convincing. Oh…and for the record, I am also notorious for exaggerating, which I guess is also kind of like lying. Paul thinks all of this is really just due to my inner desire to be an actress.

10.  I hate Auntie Anne’s pretzels. Just the smell of them makes me sick to the stomach. I even avoid walking by them in the mall as much as possible. And while this may be a stretch to place in a list of “confessions”, my husband thinks it’s just plain sinful. So, I decided to include it.

There you have it folks. The real Kate. Definitely a work in progress…Thank you, Lord!!! 

It is what it is…

There is a popular phrase in our family for those things in life God allows which we can’t control and are unable to change….”It is what it is.”  Who would have thought that five simple words could be such a powerful reminder to deliberately choose to accept unwanted circumstances rather than giving in to the temptation to complain, be angry and utterly stressed out. A flat tire on the way to work, an unexpected illness that forces you to cancel dinner plans at the last minute, and an interrupted phone call by a toddler in need of some attention (good or bad!) are all perfectly acceptable opportunities to practice the “It is what it is” mentality.  So is staying in a hotel with a 5 1/2 month old.

Paul and I had the joy of attending a dear friend’s wedding in Pennsylvania this weekend. While I could not have been more excited to celebrate such a special event, I admit I was a little apprehensive of the day’s festivities because of Will.  Though he is certainly a happy and pleasant little guy, and even fairly flexible despite his parents, I knew it was inevitable that I’d have to forgo the desire to keep him “on his schedule” and that certain expectations would not be perfectly met.  “Lord, I surrender my desires and expectations to You,” I prayed as we began our journey, “It is what it is.”

Test number one came as we arrived at the hotel just in time to put him down for his afternoon nap. Perfect.  Everything thus far had gone just as we had planned.  He took over a 2 hour nap in the car and was a joyful little traveler.  And…we arrived at the hotel exactly when the Internet directions predicted, something that rarely happens!  Will even went down without any trouble despite the unfamiliar and new surroundings.  Thank you, Lord.  Forty-five minutes later however, just as I had finished getting ready for the wedding and was laying down for a quick snooze myself, he decided to foil the plan for a good, solid nap by playing in his crib rather than falling back asleep.  So much for my rest for the weary.  It is what it is.

We arrived at the wedding on time and as any proud parents, were deligted to show off our precious little baby to all our friends from college.  It was an absolutely gorgeous fall day in Pennsylvania, just perfect for such an occasion, and my friend could not have looked any more beautiful as she prepared to walk down the aisle and unite with her husband.  Just as we stood up in awe of her radiance as she took her first steps, the air was filled with a gigantic belch followed by a loud “SPLAT”.  Though it was a rather humorous sound, I was beginning to think critically of some child somewhere who was less than well-mannered. Then I felt the harsh nudge from my husband. Yep.  That belch and splat was myless than well-mannered son. An acclaimed “spitter”, he made his presence known in true “Will fashion” as he spit up all over the pew in front of us. Now I am not talking about small little baby spit up, easily cleaned with a tissue or burp cloth.  No, that would not make enough of a statement. I mean spit up that could have coated a small plate!  It had even managed to fill the the corners and crevasses of the wood. The nicely dressed woman in front of us, while trying not to appear horrified, looked down at her seat with an expression that cannot be appropriately captured in writing.  Battling the desire to burst out in laughter and in tears at the same time, Paul and I both frantically cleaned the seat with burp cloths, paper towels and antibacterial wipes and most likely created a far bigger scene than Will had. But despite our efforts, and the reality that the pew was most likely much cleaner now than it had been before the wedding, that woman never fully sat back in her seat again.  She sat on the very, very edge through the entire service! The whole event traumatized my husband, I think, because he immediately took Will out and never returned. We met up after the ceremony was over. It is what it is.

The reception was truly delightful, and surprisingly uneventful for our family compared to the wedding itself.  It was a quaint and cozy environment and the food was incredible! Will entertained all those around him with his sweet disposition and attempted very hard to maintain conversation with them through his new-found sounds! Little did we know that our precious little baby was really just getting himself geared up for a late night party…in his crib!!!

Thinking the day was behind us, we returned to the hotel with plenty of time to get Will to bed relatively close to his normal bedtime. Paul and I were both extremely impressed with ourselves for being able to leave the reception so promptly and anticipated a great night ahead of us because of our intentional efforts to effectively plan out the day. Again, Will surpassed our expectations by going to sleep without any trouble and we crawled in bed for an early night and were thrilled to be getting some extra sleep.  Boy were we fooled.

Our son, the precious little angel, must have thought he was on a field trip that revolved entirely around him.  Between 10:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m. he managed to wake up almost every hour for his own little play-date with his sheets, his blanket, his binky, the sides of the crib…you name it.  He was talking, laughing, moving about and then eventually fussing when he decided he was tired enough to go back to sleep. Sometimes these episodes lasted only 5 or 10 minutes…but the worst was nearly 45 minutes of sheer fun for our little guy that resulted in his daddy removing the binky from his mouth and forcing him to cry and burn off some of that pent up energy.  Much to the disapproval of our hotel neighbors, I’m sure, this tactic did seem to work and we all managed to fall back asleep.  However, I would be lying if I said I was not secretly angry that my hopes of sweet rest were shattered.  I should have known.  It is what it is.

I suppose I could continue the story and explain the crying bouts and interrupted naps Will suffered through on our trip home, which again had me uttering (through clenched teeth at this point!) “It is what it is”.  But somehow, I think you get the idea.  It was certainly an opportunity for us to practice surrendering our desires and expectations and to accept whatever He chose to bring our way.  I’m not sure we were able to please Him with the way we responded in every situation, but at least I can see growth and I am so grateful for that.

So…my prayer for you today is that you would be able to embrace those little, unwanted circumstances that tend to show up almost daily and are really quite unimportant in the grand scheme of things, with a heart that longs to see Christ glorified.  May you not be discouraged.  May you not be easily angered, or even annoyed.  Instead,  may you be able to smile with joy as you realize how little control we have in life…and thankfully so!!!

Welcome to the World

Yesterday marked a monumental day in our house… I officially became an aunt!  My sister’s son, Holden Scott, shared his beautiful, dimpled face with the world at 5:15 p.m. and within minutes I fell in love with the new role I’ve assumed as his auntie!  Never could I have imagined the love and adoration I have for a little boy who is not my own, and whom I have yet to hold.  It is simply amazing.

Having so recently experienced the joy of bringing a precious life into this world, I have found myself reliving the event through my sister’s experience. Though somehow, (maybe due to the lack of pain, drugs and a little extra sleep!) I have been able to appreciate Holden’s safe arrival with an even greater awareness of God’s power and faithfulness.  Since then, I have smothered my 5 month old with even more kisses and relished every minute with a fresh reminder of how quickly the time passes. 

So…Welcome to the world, my precious nephew.  We’re so glad you’re here and can’t wait to smother YOU with kisses.  This one’s for you:

Hold On To Jesus
You’re a little piece of heaven 
You’re a golden ray of light   
And I wish I could protect you  
From the worries of this life 
But if there’s one thing I could tell you 
It’s no matter what you do  
Hold to Jesus 
He’s holding on to you

The world will try to tell you
That might is more than right
That beauty’s on the outside
And being good’s a losing fight
But remember what I’ve told you
Because the world will make you choose
Hold to Jesus
He’s holding on to you

Hold on to Jesus
Cling to His love
Rest deep in His mercy
Whenever things get rough
Don’t lose sight of His goodness
And don’t ever doubt this truth
Than when you hold on to Jesus
He’s holding on to you

Hear me dear Jesus
Rock this little one to sleep
Keep [him] close when [he’s] scared
And give [him] grace when [he] is weak
I know [he’ll] stumble
But I know [he’ll] make it through
If You hold to [him] just like
You said You’d do
Hold [him], Jesus
So [he’ll] hold on tight to You

Written by Brad O’Donnell
(c)2001 Brad and Butter Music
Dayspring Music (BMI)

Tagged…I’m back in the game!

A friend of mine just tagged me, which is a good thing considering I’ve been an absentee blogger for a while!  I’m seriously wondering how people stay on top of these things.  Maybe I just have to ease into it?!  Considering I am a stay at home mom with only one little boy who still takes three naps a day, I seem to think I shouldn’t have much room for excuse.  But where in the world does the time go?  Anyway…here it goes:

FIRST NAME:  Kate~ That’s it.  Not Katherine, Katelynn, or any of the others.  Just plain Kate.

WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? No

YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT? Turkey…I’m pretty boring in this area! 

DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? Yes

YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?  Hmmm… that’s a tricky one.  I’d eat cereal for three meals a day if I could get away with it.  Right now I’m on a Honey Bunches of Oats kick.       

YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? Mint Chocolate Chip or Chocoalte with Peanut Butter… I also LOVE Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby, but it’s so bad for you that I rarely eat it. 

SHOE SIZE? 7        

RED OR PINK? pink   

YOUR LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? outward:  my tummy, which wasn’t great even before having a baby- inward:  my tendency to become anxious about my health

WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? jeans and pink slippers….it’s dreary and rainy so I’m all about comfort clothes and staying inside.                                                                                                                 

IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? purple… a deeper shade though, closer to eggplant than to lilac.             

FAVORITE SMELL? Anything having to do with Will (except his diaper, of course).  I love his baby smell…especially his breath and his “after bath” smell!

FAVORITE DRINK? A Coke Slurpee

HAT SIZE? small????? 

FAVORITE FOOD? I pretty much love all food.  If I have to choose, I might have to say something sweet like my grandma’s torte.  It’s delicious! 

SUMMER OR WINTER? both 

FAVORITE SOUNDS? children laughing, rain, crackling fires, worship music  , Will’s cooing and babbling  

THE FURTHEST YOU’VE BEEN FROM HOME?Jamaica

WHAT’S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? when I find it, you’ll be the first to know! 

WHEN AND WHERE WERE YOU BORN? July 19, 1978….. Midland, MI

There you have it.  I’m officially back in the “blogosphere”!  Hopefully it won’t be so long before I post again, but you never know!  Rather than tagging others, I’ll leave it for those of you out there who might also be looking for a way to get back into the swing of things!

Home Sweet Home

A dear friend of mine, Briana, recently complimented me on the smell of my home and asked me to share any secrets I had for keeping it welcoming and inviting. Though she did label me as a “smell snob”, I was extremely touched by the compliment and found it rather gracious, considering I’m far from the world’s best housekeeper.  However, I did wrack my brain to find those things I do instinctively to help keep the house smelling “oh so fresh”.  As I did, I found that maintaining a fresh smell in a home can really be separated into two categeories: eliminating bad odors and establishing good ones.  So here it goes:

1.  Regular Cleaning~  Though I know this is obvious, and most of us stay on top of routine housework rather well, it only makes sense that the only way to have a clean house smell is to…clean!  In addition to my weekly chores, I tend to vacuum several times a week (something my mom instilled in me) and find that it really helps to cut down on smells that could linger in the carpets. 

2.  Empty the trash daily~ With only 3 of us in the house, it is unusal to have a completely full kitchen trashcan at the end of each day.  However, some of the worst and most potent odors come from the garbage we throw away…particularly in the kitchen.  And since the kitchen is in such a central location, those unwanted smells can quickly fill the whole house.  Therefore, I have found that emptying the trash daily, and placing items like chicken or beef packages (as well as anything that tends to create a strong and unplesent aroma) in grocery bags before placing them in my trashcan helps keep my home smelling a little more fresh.

3.  Beware of the kitchen sink~ I hate a dirty sink.  I hate the sight and I hate the smell.  So, apart from when we are practicing hospitality and have guests over, I make an effort to clean dirty dishes or load them in the dishwasher right after eating.  I also intentionally tend to put good smelling foods like lemon wedges in my garbage disposal on a regular basis to help avoid the “rotten food” smell disposals tend to generate.  Baking soda is good for eliminating odors as well. Believe it or not, I think this simple discipline of keeping the sink clean is one of the most significant things I do to help eliminate unwanted odors.

4.  Dryer Sheets~  One of my favorite smells in any house is clean laundry. What makes laundry smell so good??? Your detergent and dryer sheets, of course.  So, I try and use them all over the house…in dresser drawers, the bottoms of trash cans, under the cushions of furniture, inside pillowcases, etc.  The possibilities are endless.  We’ve even placed them in our vents and furnace filters so that when the air is on, it blows a fresh scent throughout the house. I know…we’re nuts!

5.  Candles~  The comforting scent of a favorite candle can make any house inviting, just as long as it is not overly strong.  I have several favorites for each season from Yankee Candle and tend to stick with them year after year.  For autumn, I like Sage and Citrus  or Cranberry Chutney; for winter, Mistletoe  or Balsam and Cedar; for spring, Lilac Blossom, Cut Grass or Tulip; and for summer, Clean Cotton or Midsummers Night.  I’ve found the key is to burn only one scent at a time and let it permeate the whole house.  Different candles on different levels, for example, can quickly give me a headache!

 6.  Home Fragrance Sprays by Bath and Bodyworks~  These concentrated fragrance sprays for the home are incredible.  Two sprays and you can make an entire room smell great!  They are especially good for in the bathrooms, but I often use them all over the house, especially to help with that “after dinner” smell.  And, since you need such a small amount, they seem to last forever!  

7.  Fresh air~  Again, another obvious one.   But, whenever possible I open up windows and doors and let the fresh air breeze through the house to help it smell better.  Doing this for just a few minutes after dinner, even in really cold weather, seems to make a big difference.   

8.  Fresh Flowers~  I saved my favorite for last.  I am a big fan of fresh cut flowers. From the garden, from the farmer’s market, from the grocery store…I don’t care.  I just love how much they seem to help make a house more of a “home”.  And since my husband is more of a romantic than he’d ever admit, I tend to have flowers A LOT!  It’s wonderful. 

There you have it! Good Smelling Home 101….What do you do to keep your house smelling great??????

A Joyful Heart

“But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.”    Psalm 68:3

I recently stumbled across a journal of mine from college.  On the very back page I found a list that made me smile and feel as warm and fuzzy as it did numerous times throughout my college days.  It was nothing glamorous; just a simple list of the little things in life that brought me joy during those days when I felt bogged down and overwhelmed.  As I read through each item on the list, I was encouraged to draft a new one given the changes in season I have encountered since them.  Some ideas are the same…”oldies, but goodies” as I like to call them.  But, surprisingly many have changed since I transformed from a single college gal to a a wife, teacher, and mother.  Some how the idea of a “white picket fence” I once cherished pales in comparison to the reality of a home that is far from perfect, but filled with more love than I ever thought possible.With that in mind, here goes the list…It is my prayer that God would never cease to remind me of the many gifts he has given us on this earth that reflect His love and care for us!  May my heart be always grateful.

Things That Bring Me Joy…the little things in life

  • slurpees
  • early evening strolls with my husband
  • the sound of my 3 month old’s giggle and the sight of his “gummy” smile
  • a good book and a cup of hot tea
  • Sovereign Grace worship music
  • the beaches of Northern Michigan
  • the first snowfall of the year
  • faithful friends
  • 2nd graders
  • icecream
  • bonfires in the fall…preferably with s’mores!
  • children’s books
  • travel/visiting family
  • wearing slippers
  • Sunday mornings at church, followed by lazy afternoons
  • the smell of clean sheets on my bed
  • the beach
  • picnics
  • elementary schools:  bulletin boards, freshy sharpened pencils, the sounds of little voices, the smell of chalk…I love it all!
  • autumn
  • manicures and pedicures
  • studying doctrine and theology
  • waking my son up in the morning
  • celebrating the Steelers Superbowl victory
  • fires in the fireplace
  • tulips

Confessions of a Worrier

I am a worrier.  Plain and simple.  Though I frequently purpose myself to trade in my tendency to fret and fear for feelings of peace and contentment, I find that it does not take long for me to return to my old self again.  In fact, at times it seems like an obsession; as if I am not complete without at least one area in my life that evokes some level of anxiety.  And, if by chance there is not a situation in my own everyday happenings that provoke me to worry, I will take on the circumstances of those around me and worry on their behalf.  After all, isn’t that what it means to carry one another’s burdens?  Somehow I don’t think that is quite what the Lord had in mind.

Over the years I have tried to fool myself, and others, into believing that this little “secret” of mine was a rather comical, or even endearing part of my personality.  After all, it is humorous to think that the doctors who removed my wisdom teeth intentionally treated me just like their 5 year old patients so that I would be more at ease with the procedure.  (Do I dare mention I was 23 at the time?)  And, it is extremely kind of my friends and family to filter what information they share with me so as not to cause any additional opportunities for me to worry, despite the fact that I am now a grown married woman with a son of her own. 

As if I was not overly consumed with worry before I had children, motherhood has seemed to open a whole new meaning of the word.  Before my son was even two months old, I had already found myself looking through medical textbooks at 3 in the morning because I was convinced that the “stuffiness” I heard while he was nursing could quite possibly be RSV.  Though there were no other symptoms and I was well aware that my little boy wasn’t even born during the likely season for the virus, my mind quickly got the best (or worst!) of me.  It did not take long before I had worked myself into such a frenzy of fear, that I had to awaken my husband to help me assess the situation and our child’s health.  Though I would like to blame my little episode on lack of sleep, post-partum hormones, or even just a new mother’s legitimate concern for her child’s well-being, I know deep down that these excuses do not come close to justifying my behavior.  For in those wee hours of the night I had a choice.  And unfortunately, like many other times in my life, I made the wrong one.  I chose to let my mind walk down a road of fear that did not serve my son, my husband or myself.  I chose to let impulsivity outweigh rationality and reason.  I chose to turn off the voice in my mind that said “God is in control” and to turn on the voice that said “I need control”.  

I have often considered how it must hurt and upset the God of the Universe when we choose to forfeit His desire to bring us peace in order to live in a constant state of worry as we wrestle Him for control over the circumstances in our lives.  Due to the overwhelming amount of scripture devoted to teaching of his promises to take care of us and commanding us not to be anxious or fearful, I am convinced that resisting the truth in this area must be nothing short of devastating to Him.  For unlike others, this is not one which can be misinterpreted.  God’s word is extremely straight forward in how we are to deal with fear, worry, anxiety and the like…

“But now this is what the Lord says- He who created you-He who formed you:  ‘FEAR NOT for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name and you are mine…’” Is.43:1

“For I am the Lord your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.’”  Is. 41:13

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life…which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?…Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow:  they neither toil nor spin…”  Matthew 6:25-34 

The point of this diatribe, one might ask?  Today I am making a choice.  Like many times before I am determined to choose to rest in God’s faithful promises and to cast all of my anxiety and fear at the foot of the cross in exchange for His peace and joy.  My hope is that by writing it, rather than just praying it, I will be more committed to obedience.  I do know it will not be easy.  It will require discipline and beginning each day approaching His throne of grace and pleading for His strength to fight the inner battles of my mind.   But, I trust that my Heavenly Father will protect me and keep me in perfect peace.  And for those days that prove to me more difficult than others, I need only to consider the lilies…