Friday, March 23, 2012

Closing Out "Humble Week" ~ with a Jet Plane!

I hope this week has been an encouragement to you here at Surviving Motherhood. God humbles us for our good (He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna. ~Deuteronomy 8:3) and it is my prayer that you have had opportunity to recognize how He is humbling you, causing you to hunger, and then feeding you. As only HE can!

Monday, my family and I are flying to Orlando, Florida to spend the week at Disney. I am sooooo looking forward this vacation!
I will be blissfully away from anything which resembles responsibility, including all things computer. Like email and my blog. (My Facebook friends can keep up with me there, as I will certainly be uploading pictures of our fun!) But I will be taking an official blog break until Monday, April 2. So, until then, know that God holds you in the palm of His hand - loving you more than you can ever comprehend.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall...

...Thanks for showing me my flaws.

Does that sound backwards to you? I mean, Who wants to realize their own flaws???

I sure don't! But sometimes what I want - and what I need - aren't one and the same. And on those occasions, I usually find myself being thankful for backwards things. Like I am today.

You see, I was recently involved in an email conversation. In the midst of the conversation I was feeling judged. I felt like my ability to make good choices was being questioned. Honestly, I was feeling quite be-littled. And I didn't like it. Still, I was trying to be gracious in my responses.

Or, so I thought.

As I re-read my last response before I hit 'Send', I believe God caused me to pause and ponder when I got to my last sentence. My (surface)intention was to simply ask a question. And I asked it. But as I re-read the question, somehow God allowed me to see my heart in it. It was like He was giving me a mirror in which I could see what was below the surface of my question. I realized I was trying to point out that I thought I had a better way of doing something than did this person with whom I was corresponding.
At the same time I was feeling hurt because I felt she was calling my judgement into question, here I was - doing the same thing to her!

I was so ashamed. But very thankful to recognize my error before I passed it on. (Before I hit 'Send', I deleted that last question. It really wasn't necessary, anyway.)

Have you ever recognized a flaw in yourself, after you first noticed it in someone else? Kinda reminds me of that speck in your eye, plank in mine scenario. *blush*


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What a Mess!

A friend of mine vented to me the other day about her son and his mess.

After shoveling from behind two couches, I decided to pile it all in front of the tv so that when my son got home he had no choice but to see it. I THOUGHT he would get the hint that it was all his mess and it needed to be cleaned up.

He walked right by it.

So I took the XBox out of the den. Hint #2. He still walks by it.

So when I say something to him about it, he cleans up between grumbles. THEN he asks for the XBox back. I told him no because of the mess he had made in the den.
He tells me ever so seriously, "That happened a long time can I be held responsible for that?"

My husband had to gently remind him that there are no statute of limitations in this house. The nerve!
After I had a chuckle about the scene (Go, Dad!) I had to wonder if she had been spying on my house.
I cannot tell you how many times I have moved messes and misplaced items to a location where I am sure my kids will see it. And upon seeing it, I imagine they will recognize the mess/item as their own and take care of it. I mean, isn't that what any reasonable person would do? C'mon, moms! Support me on this one!
But, oh, the shock when they step right over my strategically placed reminder, as if it weren't even there. *insert: eye roll*
And in that moment, I join my friend in her exasperation. The nerve!

Oddly enough, though, as I read her vent I began to see something besides her son's disdain for responsibility. Which caused me to also see beyond my own kids' messes.
That is, I began to realize how much those actions resemble my own at times. I mean, I'm pretty good about picking up after myself and putting my things away where they're supposed to be. But that's all in the physical realm, and that's all rather easy to do. My tendency toward messes and misplaced things has more to do with my mood and attitude. Because too often I let an irritation or inconvenience in my life spill over into the lives of those I love. I get annoyed by someone or something, and I leave that annoyance out where someone else can trip over it. Or - worse yet - I myself trip them with it!
I wondered, as well, if God might notice my messes. And if He might set them in a place where I should see them so I can put them away, like a good little girl should. (Like, when He uses my conscience to tell me something isn't right?) And how often do I step right over it, as if it weren't even there? (As in, when I rationalize something along the lines of, I've had a bad day and I have the right to stew about it!)
Jesus, have mercy on me! I am in desperate need of Your grace to cover me and change me.

Suddenly, the kids' messes don't seem like such a big deal, do they?

So today, if you find yourself irritated by the little things your little ones are doing (Or your big ones, as the case may be!) please let me encourage you to invite God to speak through it. Maybe there is more to be managed than just the mess behind the couch.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Humbling Moment

I opened up the drawer to get come crackers and noticed an empty box.

I started grumling internally because I get so tired of my kids' inablity to take care of empty boxes. Honestly! How hard is it to pick up the box, flatten it, and put it in with the recycling? It takes less than 60 seconds. How can their lives be so busy that they can't do this simple little thing? Is it pure laziness? Out-right rebelliousness? Do they do it just because they know how much it annoys me? What gives???
Then I noticed the back of the box. It had a bunch of coupons on it for cereal. And that caught my interest. Because, really(!), have you noticed the price of cereal lately?
Suddenly, I was glad the box had been left for me to find.
A couple days later I used those coupons - in conjunction with a special happening at the grocery store - and I got five boxes of cereal for less than $2.00 per box. Oh, yeah!

Why was I irritated with my kids for leaving that box behind? I mean, I'm sure they were only trying to help me manage our food bill. Probably each one of them had picked that box up to put it in the recycling, but put it right back when they saw those coupons. Yeah. I'm sure that's it!

There we go. My slice of Humble Pie has been consumed. *wink*


Monday, March 19, 2012



Friday, March 16, 2012

Lessons From the Edge

Napkin placement really doesn't matter.

Tuesday we had our monthly "Pizza Night" activity and I had the joy of having C help me get things set up. C has been rather restless lately and was just looking for things to do Tuesday, so she spent extra time with me - and that meant getting ready for Pizza Night.
C has memory problems, and following any kind of instruction can be a big challenge for her so I tried to come up with an easy thing for her to do to help. I had already put place mats on the tables, and figured it would be an easy task for C to put a napkin on each place mat. So, that's what I asked her to do.
Poor C even had trouble with that easy assignment. I walked around to each table with her and she'd look at me asking, "Is this where I put it?" as she placed the napkin in any number of spots on the table. I simply smiled and said, "Yes. That's fine." And as she fumbled to get just one napkin at a time I said, "You know, people usually need more than one napkin. It would be OK to give them some extras." So she put down small stacks as her fingers would allow.

When we finished, I looked around the room at the tables - which would not meet Miss Manners' standards, and I looked at C - who was proud of the work she'd done, and I became certain: Napkin placement really doesn't matter.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Anna's Humor

We are so enjoying having Anna in our family!

Last week I shared her prayer with you. This week, I want to pass along some of her humor. These are things she shared with me when we were out shopping together recently.
If you sneeze once, do you know what that means?
Someone misses you.
If you sneeze twice, do you know what that means?
Someone said something bad about you.
And, do you know what it means if you sneeze three times?
You have a cold! hahahah!

If 1 equals 5, 2 equals 10, 3 equals 15, and 4 equals 20, what does 5 equal?
Did you think, 25?
No, silly! Five equals one. That's the first thing I said!
Anna "got me" on that one. And she was so proud. *wink*


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

You Made it Through Everything You've Been Through

I know. That's a profound statement, isn't it?

You made it through everything you've been through.


OK. Maybe it's a little redundant. But it's true! If you're living and breathing today - if you're reading this post - it's because you made it through every struggle, every heartache, every single battle you have ever faced.
God has been faithful through each one. He has lead you and provided for you. Whether you saw Him in the midst of it, or not, God has been by your side through everything you have faced. And He is there right now.

This lesson is what I am hearing as I read through the opening pages of the book of Deuteronomy. Moses recounted to the Israelites the journey they had taken on their way to the Promised Land. He reminded them of their battles, their victories, even their rebellion. And through it all, he pointed to God's power.
It seems to me, Moses was all about telling the Israelites, You made it through everything you've been through. And I believe the reason he was reminding them of this Truth is so their faith would be strengthened. So they would be encouraged in the face of trial.
They hadn't entered the Promised Land yet, and I'm sure Moses knew there were battles yet to come. So he called to their memory everything they had been through. Perhaps he was trying to say, "Hey, friends. Remember all this stuff? You have made it through so much! Remember when you thought you couldn't go on another day? But you did. And you've made it. I want you to remember this: The same God who brought you through all those trials in the past will see you through whatever you face in the future. The battle isn't over yet. But you've made it this far, and God will not let you down. Have faith!"

Do you need to be reminded of the same Truth for your life today?

My friend, you made it through everything you've been through. Even the moments you thought would be your last. The situations you felt would do you in...didn't! God is good, and He is faithful. Keep holding onto HIM!


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The PEACE Which Transcends All Understanding

Oh, have we been through it with our girl.

To give you all the details would make for a very long post. So, here's the abridged version:
Elizabeth was starting to date a non-Christian guy. Nice kid, but not a Believer. Brian and I talked with her (again) about the importance of being equally yoked, and we talked about how hard it can be to draw back once we've allowed our feelings for a person to take root.
The two of them agreed to be 'just friends' again, but it was not without tears. Elizabeth even came to us once (in tears) asking if we would support her dating him just during high school, if they promised to break up before college. We talked about trusting God, about waiting on His timing, and about believing that His best for us is better than our best for us - even if it means we have to wait, or *gasp!* endure hardship. Through tears - but with a smile - she said, "You guys make so much sense!"
We prayed together, and encouraged Elizabeth to keep seeking God on this subject.

A week or so later, Elizabeth came into my room again to talk about this relationship. She said her friends just don't understand. Why would she give up having a boyfriend because that's what she believed God wanted her to do? She said, though it seems like she should be crying because of their comments, she really feels OK. Good, even.
At that point I grabbed my Bible and read Philippians 4:6-7 to Elizabeth.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Then I said to her, "I think that's what you're experiencing. You've prayed about this decision. You've committed it to God, and now He is giving you peace!"
She liked that. And so did I.
How beautiful to see The WORD come to life like that in my daughter's life!


Monday, March 12, 2012

Is It You?

Are you the one who needs this encouragement today?


Friday, March 09, 2012

Lessons From the Edge

Sometimes you just don't feel well enough.

I hear it frequently from my senior companions at Edgewood.
*My arthritis is acting up today. I'm just going to stay at home.
*My shoulder is bothering me. I'm not going to come to exercise today.
*I washed two loads of laundry yesterday AND went out for dinner. I'm tired today, so I think I'll just take a nap.

Well, dear blog friends, I have a yucky cold which is draining nearly all my strength and creative thoughts. So I'm not going to write a post for today.
Er, I guess I just did.
My brain is tired, ya know?
I won't be sending this one in for any writing contests. haha. Cuz sometimes you just don't feel well enough.


Thursday, March 08, 2012

Anna's Prayer

Thank You, Jesus, for dying for our sin.
Thank You that we got passport picture.
Please help Elizabeth to feel better.

Those sweet words were uttered by Anna, our exchange student from China. She does not have any religious background. That was most likely the first prayer she ever spoke out loud. (As she has never prayed before coming to live with us!) In fact, she spoke those words to God even though she is not yet a Christian.

Still, I trust God heard Anna.

Most nights Elizabeth, Anna and I sit together to read a devotion and pray. The night Anna prayed the above words, the devotion we read was based on John 15:13, Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. At the end we were encouraged to thank Jesus for what He did for us. I invited Anna to pray, and you can see what she said.
It delighted my heart to hear her pray as suggested - by thanking Jesus for dying for our sins. To hear her thank Him for the passport picture (She needs to renew her passport, and has been stressed about getting things in order.) brought me joy because I trust she is learning we can come to God with all our needs. And to have her pray for Elizabeth? Shows her love for my daughter, and I pray it is also the beginning of Anna's confidence that God is concerned about us.

Anna is a beautiful girl, and her prayer was beautiful to my ears. I know she is deeply loved by God, her Creator - even though she does not know Him yet. And in spite of her lack of knowing Him, I trust God sees her and hears her and is drawing her to Himself.
What an honor to be a part of Anna's life.
What a delight to have her in our family at this time!
I pray God will speak to Anna's heart through her time with our family, through our time at church, and through personal interactions HE will have with her. Please open her eyes, Father!


Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Seeking PEACE Outside of the Quiet

I love my "alone" time.

I love being in the quiet when I can talk to God and ponder life. When I am able to lay my concerns at His feet. When He reminds me He is GOD and I can trust Him. When I come to a place of total surrender, believing what God has told me and receiving the PEACE that only He can give.

Oh! I love those moments!!!

But the other day - while I was enjoying one of those quiet moments - a question popped into my head. Why wasn't I feeling like this yesterday when I was stressed about work and family responsibilities? Why do I only feel this PEACE when I'm in the quiet?
I know God is good in every circumstance. I know I can trust Him in all things, and at all times. I know this! So, Why? I wondered, Why do I let the stress drown out the PEACE?

Most of my life doesn't happen in the quiet, but I long for that PEACE all day. So this is my prayer today. And every day.
FATHER, oh, Lover of my soul! Thank You for Your presence in every moment of my life. Thank You for the quiet moments You give me when my heart can hear You clearly and my spirit is in line with Yours. Thank You, God. I LOVE those moments! And thank You that the peace You give isn't reserved for those moments, alone. Today as I go about my daily things, as I experience stress and am surrounded by noise, Father, will You help me remember I can trust You? Will You speak through the noise and assure me You are good, even when my circumstances are not? Yes, LORD, will You help me know PEACE outside of the quiet? Thank You, JESUS!


Tuesday, March 06, 2012

I'm Speaking at a Women's Retreat in September

Have you ever decided to do something - a good thing, but when you got into it you realized the thing was harder than you imagined it would be? And even though you had previously decided to do it, you suddenly found yourself wanting to give up? Because it was so hard!

That scenario was the thing which inspired my speaking topic, "Don't Make Decisions While You're Running Uphill." I had decided to add a half mile to my running course, but the next morning - while I was running uphill - I just couldn't imagine going that additional distance. I thought, No. I'm not going to do it. Too hard!
However, before I came to the point of giving up, God spoke to my heart and I realized I couldn't make that decision while I was running uphill. It occurred to me when you're in the middle of a struggle - that is simply NOT the time to decide if you are going to quit. Because in the middle of the struggle quitting is always the only choice which seems to make sense. And it usually isn't the best choice. So was born "Don't Make Decisions While You're Running Uphill".

September 28-30, 2012 I am scheduled to speak on this topic at a women's retreat. The retreat will be held at Cran-Hill Ranch in Rodney, Michigan, and I am sooooo looking forward to it. We'll be talking about The Hill: How do you see your circumstance?, The Maker: How does God see your circumstance?, and The Decision: What will you do about your circumstance?

I am already praying for the women who will be there. Trusting God to prepare their hearts and to meet them at Cran-Hill. If you live in Michigan, or can get yourself here, I'd love to see you at the retreat!


Monday, March 05, 2012

Friday, March 02, 2012

Lessons From the Edge

And the winner of the camcorder prize pack from MyCokeRewards is.....Momteacherfriend!

Don't marry someone you don't know.

Seems like a pretty logical lesson, doesn't it?
Well Thursday as I interviewed the upcoming Resident of the Week, that lesson struck me in a beautiful way.
F and I sat on the couch in the atrium as he filled me in on the details of his life. He told me he had been married to his first wife for forty-nine years and one month. From the look in his eyes, the tone of his voice, and the fact that he knew they'd been married "forty-nine years and one month" I could tell F had a wonderful love for his first wife.
He was widowed for a few years, and then married again. He married the widow of the man who delivered his first three children! F told me he had known this lady for quite a while. He couldn't say enough good about her. "She was quite a gal," he said. And I was charmed.
In time, F's second wife passed away, too. And a few years later, F married again. He moved from Michigan to Arizona to marry this lady. And once again, I was taken with how much F loved his wife. I wondered, How could you love three women so dearly?
But he did.
I could tell.
And then came the part that got me. F's third wife was the widow of the man who had hired F for his first job out of college. F and his first wife used to hang out with his third wife and her first husband! They'd been friends for a long time.
I looked at him and said, "Really??? Your first boss's wife?" F just smiled and said, "I don't marry people I don't know!"

Hey, he's 92 years old and has had three successful, loving marriages. The man knows what he's talking about! *grin*

Don't marry someone you don't know.
F's third wife passed away a little over a year ago, which is what brought him back to Michigan, and - ultimately - to Edgewood. He's happy, but I can tell he's lonely. Would you pray for him? Thanks!


Thursday, March 01, 2012

Cleaning Can Provide Blog Fodder

There's still time to enter Tuesday's give-away. I'll be drawing the winner at 8:00 tonight. Click here to enter!
Cleaning out a cabinet the other day, I found this note. Have no idea how long it's been there. Except that I believe the thing with Caroline was about three years ago.

I Matthew Hossink will give Joshua Hossink my DS and all my games if I tell Caroline or anyone that Joshua likes Caroline. Also if in some way he tells someone who Joshua likes. Including talking to or about her.

The writing is clearly Joshua's, but Matthew's signature is at the bottom of the page.

Ahhh. This tickles a mom's heart.

What fun things have you found when you've been cleaning?