Thank You!

Thank you.

Thanks for your words of encouragement and little messages of support. It's really great to know I have folks "out there" who will not only read all of my whining, but will sympathize and hang with me while I deal with it all.

Thanks to Carrie, Lori, Heather, Abs, Laura, and Lorraine for your Facebook messages. And thanks to Ginger, Shana, Carla, Carrie, and Kelly for your blog comments. Kristi and Lori, thanks for checking up on me at work. Family, thanks for your continued patience with me. And talk about the body of Christ stepping up and working together: Ellen, you have been such a blessing to me! Thank you so much for sensing my need for some chill time with my husband and watching the kids while we had a little ice cream date last week. I know you probably couldn't tell through my allergies, but those 45 minutes totally made my day.

Thanks, everyone.

I'm working on a new post about everything that's been going on with our family lately, complete with the reason for my Little Things post. It'll include some prayer requests too, so look out for those. Right now, the boys and I are headed off to church so I can practice and sing for the teen at-home mission trip's evening gathering, but I'm hoping to get it posted up late tonight while I try and get Callan to sleep.



The Little Things

Oh man. I could really use some love this week. I am sooo discouraged. Really bummed. Depleted, exhausted, wind gone from my sails. Can I be real with you? (Well, I'm always real with you. I guess what I really mean is, will you tolerate a little venting?) Our house is still in shambles from the flood months ago, our family and ministry schedules are ape-baloney with zero time to work on the house, I can't find anything because we've been living with my in-laws for four months and everything we own is stuffed into the upstairs of our duplex, everyone in our family keeps getting sick, the baby will not go to sleep before midnight, and I feel like I'm totally falling on my face trying to juggle it all and manage a long-term sub job that I feel totally unequipped to handle. Can I scream into a pillow now?! Uuuuuggggh.

Okay. Whining over. I know I am immensely blessed. I know there are people whose basic needs are not met every single day. I know I need to be joyful. But I still get overwhelmed and I still fail, and knowing I need to do those things does not make them easy to do. Obviously, today I'm having to work extra hard to be joyful. Hahaha! I think I'm working extra hard not to be totally and completely grumpy. Feeling kinda gross, actually. What is with the pollen around here? It is kickin' my rear, for sure. Hang in there with me; these allergies seriously have me in a fog. I feel like maybe I blew part of my brain into a tissue and left it in a wastebasket somewhere...

Anyway, usually when I'm feeling like this, I place a mandatory requirement on myself to blog another "One Thousand Gifts." You know, count my blessings. And usually, it "works." That is, it goes a long way toward coaxing me out of my self-centered moods and into more of a God-centered mood, where I should be abiding.

But today, I thought I'd try something a little different. It's not that I don't want to count my blessings, quite the contrary. I'm just in need of a little more focused counting. Rather, I guess I'd just like a little more specificity. For some reason, I keep coming back around to rejoicing in "the little things." I know I, for one, use the phrase a lot. You know, the small victories of everyday, in everything. Mothering. Teaching. Growing, Learning, and Living.

Everyday, I want to be learning and growing in my faith, so I can live out the principles I know to be true. I want to be less of a hypocrite and more of a testament. And instead of comparing myself to others, measuring myself against unrealistic expectations, and focusing so much on what I didn't accomplish, I want to celebrate the progress I did make, however small, in whatever area. I think, especially for women, it is much easier to tear ourselves down and beat ourselves up over what we see as failures or shortcomings than it is to believe that we are valued and loved for who we are. I don't know about you, but positive praise goes a long way with me. Being acknowledged (not to be confused with applauded) for the things you pour so much of yourself into every day. Appreciating the beautiful. Taking two minutes to refresh yourself with something you enjoy. It's the little things. Let's share our smallest of victories and support each other, shall we? I'll start.

So far this week...

When I couldn't reach my husband on his cell phone - repeatedly, all day - I did not leave him an angry text message or blast him over voice mail, like I was seriously tempted to do (and yes, like I have before. Sometimes the truth is ugly.)

Also, I've been more consistent about working with my boys on memorizing a Bible verse every week. We sing them, and they are adorable. And because I sing them 239048437 times a week, I'm memorizing more verses, too. (And the simple ones tend to be pretty profound, don't you think? "Do to others as you would have done to you." There you go.) It's so refreshing to hear my kids singing the Word and applying what they're memorizing, even at their young ages. I'm encouraged!

Surprisingly, I did not give in to my enormous emotional cravings for ice cream! No really, when I feel lousy, it's unbelievable how much of the stuff I can pack away. (And now that I didn't totally binge on the stuff, I can really enjoy a reasonable amount without the guilt. Yay!)

I've noticed a steady improvement (and in this case, decrease) in how much the opinions of others impact me. Make sure you read that correctly. The opinions of others are important, to a certain point. But in the past, I've placed a far greater value on them than is healthy. My focus is turning toward the One whose opinion really matters. This is an answer to prayer!

Even though I feel terrible this week, and what I have really wanted to do is crawl in a hole, have a good cry, and sleep for hours, I haven't. I've gone to work and been pretty darn productive, if I do say so myself.

I've gotten two loads of laundry done so far this week, and yes, given all that is going on, that is definitely worth mentioning.

Last but perhaps most important, this week I've worked hard to win the battle against unnecessary strife and conflict. I've intentionally poured extra effort into diffusing potential conflicts before they start. I've practiced patience and I've forgotten insults. I haven't won every battle, mind you, but I'm making progress.

That's it for now. What about you? What small victories can you celebrate this week? I'd love to hear about them and be an encouragement to you. Even if it's just that you bathed regularly this week. Because after all...

...it's the little things.


"Not Me!" Monday


Welcome! Are you feeling guilty for chewing your husband out over something completely inconsequential? Wondering if anyone noticed you sneaking bites of ice cream right out of the carton? Perhaps you just gave in and let your kids run willy nilly through the house all afternoon without so much as a glimpse of a nap. No worries! "Not Me!" Monday was written just for you. It frees me up to admit my many imperfections and vent about the absolutely ridiculous things that are my everyday. Enjoy at my expense, and join in the fun by commenting below!


Remember this post about the things I find in my husband's pockets when I do the laundry? Well. Occasionally, he remembers to empty his pockets. But rest assured, he doesn't just dump the contents onto his night stand in full reach of curious little fingers. So it wasn't my middle son who I found on our bed the other day, happily examining an xacto knife. Nor did I find the same son walking around with enormous adapter jacks in his mouth mere minutes later. And I definitely didn't send my husband a hasty text, blasting him for leaving the aforementioned items on his nightstand for the kids to find. Nope. Not me!

Kayden had an accident at the park the other day. Bless his heart, he tried with all his might to hold it, but his little brother really just wasn't interested in leaving the playground to walk all the way to the bathrooms, and he dragged his feet the whole way. Hence, the sidewalk just outside the bathroom was marked, and our park visit cut short. But when our family got home, we definitely did not have Kayden strip out on the porch, and when total chaos ensued, we certainly did not proceed to totally forget about his clothes for another 24 hours before discovering them and dumping them in the washer. Nope.

My in-laws have been plagued by a little nocturnal creature the past few weeks. He sneaks into the kitchen at night and searches for a snack, leaving his droppings behind. (How rude.) So, my father-in-law set out to eradicate the little guy (kinda sad, actually). One morning, I noticed that he had indeed succeeded. Although I was disgusted, it certainly wasn't me who left this note for my father-in-law before I left for work that morning:

Nope. Not me!

As you may or may not know, Callan and I went to upstate New York a couple weekends ago to visit with some extended family and attend the bridal shower of my first cousin Lauren. While I was there, I roped my younger cousin Andrea and her mom Bev into coming along with me to find a bridesmaid dress for my friend Erin's wedding this summer. Well, after trying on nearly 30 dresses, most of which were the color of watered-down tabasco sauce and clung to me in all the wrong places, I found one. The sizing was a little funky, but some handy clips took care of that pesky problem, and I decided it would have to do. Let it be known though, that when I went to order it from the sales lady, she certainly did not inform me that the dress I had chosen was actually a maternity dress. Not me!


"Not Me!" Monday is an incredibly fun blogging carnival started by MckMama. In a nutshell, it's where we all can be open about the ridiculous things that happen in our everyday lives. Head on over to her blog, where you can read heaps of other great "Not Me!" stories. Or, join in the "Not Me!" fun and leave a comment about all of the things you didn't do this week!


Feeling Better, Feeling Worse

Weeellll, I'm not feeling so hot today. Neither is Callan. In fact, I wish I were a baby right now (and if you ask my husband, he'd probably tell you I have been acting like one, but anyway). Babies have this great way of expressing, unhindered, exactly how they feel. And Callan has captured - for both of us - the past 24 hours. In a nutshell, we feel a bit like this:

Yep, that about covers it. Yesterday, my eye was a little goopy when I woke up. No biggie, I thought. By the end of the school day, it was just about swollen shut and totally stickified. Really gross. And by the time I had driven home (pirate-eyed, mind you) I had a splitting headache, sore throat, and I was totally out of it. So basically, not fun.

Sleep has helped. My awesome husband took the reins and let me sleep, sleep, sleep. I took a two-hour nap when I got home yesterday, slept twelve hours last night, and another three this afternoon. And I'm feeling better. Definitely not 100%. But my eye has progressed from being swollen shut to just looking like I got into a bar fight. Amazing what happens when you actually listen to your body and give it the rest it needs.

On a happy note, the big boys are definitely feeling better. Two nights ago, they were feeling well enough that they were begging to go outside just before bed and help Grammy water the plants. They were already in pajamas, but we figured they'd only be out for a few minutes. When I first checked on them, they were doing a great job helping Grammy and enjoying a little time outdoors:

Not two minutes later, Grammy and I had clearly turned our backs for one minute too long...

and it was a sprinkler dance party!!!

Oh my word. I love my boys. Clearly, they are feeling better. And no, I do not make much of an effort to ensure they wear matching pajamas to bed. If they're clean, they qualify.

And so, five minutes outdoors before bedtime turned into a thirty-minute free-for-all in the sprinkler!


One Thousand Gifts

You can read about my decision to begin to count my blessings, at least intentionally and purposefully, here. And by all means, please join in the fun! Leave a comment about the gifts, however large or small, you have received this week.

#1-17 here, #18-39 here, #40-55 here. #56-76 here, #77-86 here.


I am grateful...

87. for school secretaries who take care of everything for you when you're running late because you forgot to fill the car with gas. And forgot your credit card. And had zero cash.

88. for the same school secretary (that's you, Lori!!) who drops everything to find a sub for you when your husband calls as soon as you get to work to inform you that two of your kids woke up puking.

89. for most of the ingredients of the lasagnas I made this weekend being on sale at the grocery store. Yay for cheaper groceries!

90. for Kyler. Seriously, I have an amazing husband. He is 100% hands-on with the boys, whether it's playing or cleaning up puke. I take him for granted far too often.

91. for fevers gone and boys that feel better.

92. for having to pump in my car every day at work. I actually find myself looking forward to the peace and quiet. It makes me sit still, and it's perfect for a little midday quiet time in the Bible.

93. for three day weekends and sleeping in. Oh, how I've needed to sleep in.

94. for Craig Groeschel and Andy Stanley podcasts. Good stuff.

95. for solo road trips to upstate New York, and for a baby who cooperated on the six-hour drive. It really wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it might be.

96. for the chance to visit with my lovely cousin Lauren, and attending her bridal shower. We had such a great time doing girlie wedding stuff!

97. for a baby who is suddenly sleeping in six-hour plus chunks. It makes all the difference!

98. for new shoes. Goodness knows I have needed them.

99. for Jergens shea butter lotion.

100. for a sense of humor when trying on bridesmaid's dresses for Erin's wedding this summer. The one that looked the color of watered-down ketchup was particularly hilarious.

101. for the opportunity to long-term sub. Once again, it has been a tremendous personal challenge to juggle it all. Kyler and I agree that his job presents very specific challenges in just the areas that make my working a difficult obstacle, but it is still rewarding. I've enjoyed the change of pace, even if I'm not getting enough sleep and it is kicking my butt.

102. for one last bottle of generic chewable Children's Tylenol being left at the grocery store when we needed it most.

103. for Callan's hold-out in the crawling department. I'm not ready for that carnival just yet.

104. for a husband with a job that affords us much flexibility when the boys are sick.

105. for a free copy of Love & War, the new book by John and Stasi Eldredge, and the chance to blog about it (coming soon!)

106. for faith in Jesus.

107. for leftover mini-cheesecake bites. Yum.

108. for the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes this weekend! I always enjoy getting to see folks I only see once or twice a year, and I love that we can all show our support in such a visible way. Riley, you are an amazing example of courage and determination. Thanks for what you have taught me. I am so blessed to know you!


Head on over to Ann's blog, Holy Experience, to read how her gift counting began and visit her Gratitude Community. 


Out of the Mouths of Moms

Oh my word. As if the things that come out of our children's mouths weren't enough. Indeed, they say the darnedest things sometimes. Don't believe me? Just check out one of my posts by the same name, like this one, or this one. But honestly, I think the things I hear myself say from time to time - okay, just about hourly - can be downright absurd. And as you know, I'm all about laughing at myself. (Because if I couldn't laugh at myself, I'd surely be crying!) So let's dive right in, shall we?

Here’s what I’ve heard myself saying lately:

"Callan, no more screaming like a velociraptor, please."

"What's that? Oh, well. I sure am glad you did not drop your teddy bear in the potty."

"Kayden! Put your pants on and stop screaming at the ants!!"

"You and Cameron and Grammy are superheroes? How fun! What's that? I can't? Why not?? Well, what am I? Chopped liver?! Oh, well, thanks very much."

"Okay superheroes, let's go look for the trash! Where should we look first? My room? Thanks for that."

"No Cameron, Daddy does not have a baby in his tummy." (Bahahahaaaa!)

"Kayden, please get the pig off of your brother's head."

"Oh my. Pleeease do not disassemble the diaper pail again."

"Cam, honey, you may not take away your brother's pants."

"No, we did not drop Callan's pacifier in the toilet, we dropped it in the trash."

"Please don't bean your brother in the head with that ball. Hey!"


"There's a stinkbug on your cheesecake."


So what have you heard yourself saying lately? Feel free to chime right in with a comment or two about what you've said to your kids. Or your dog. Or your grandkids. Or your students (because Lord knows, teachers say the darnedest things, too!) Or random kids at the grocery store. Whatever! Join the fun!

Would You Rather?

Okay! Here we go again! This week's question is.... 


Would you rather be a window or a door?

Just scroll to the bottom of this post to comment.

And actually, believe it or not, I actually did go back and answer the previous weeks' questions. If you like, you can read the answers here:

I really do enjoy reading your comments, so go ahead and post away, however light or serious! If you have no idea what's going on, click HERE for the original post plus comments and join in the fun this week!


Blog Playlist: Decision

Well, the "ayes" have it. And I, of course, am pleased as punch. Most of you who commented said that either you missed the playlist and wanted it back, or didn't mind it as long as it did  not auto-play and you had the option of keeping it off.

So there you have it. The playlist is back (hooray!!). You can find it at the very bottom of the blog posts. It will not auto-play, you have to actually scroll to the bottom of the blog and press play yourself. Enjoy - and keep the music suggestions coming!