Love Week – Days 2 and 3

I love that our weekends are filled with adventures and love and laughter. I love even more the weekends that we have my two older boys, my stepsons Jordan and Aidan, here with us. They bring so much laughter and silliness and Noah just adores them, we do too.

It did make for a crazy day with my Love Week project yesterday, but there are worse things.:) I decided that for my Day 2 activity I was going to be a blessing to some people who have been a blessing to me over the years. I’ve actually felt God leading me on this one for a little while now but I finally got the courage to wrote the notes, add my blessings and get them in the mail. Very exciting. 🙂

Today’s activity was a little more hands on and definitely an expression of love. I thought that I’d surprise my brother-in-law and his wife and kids to a home made meal one day this week as a way to help relieve some of their stress. They have two beautiful boys and as you can imagine, dinner is always a bit crazy. So today when we heard they had an extra rough day with a dentist appointment that was less than fun, I decided it was the perfect day to show them not only how much we love them but that they aren’t alone in their struggles.

Plus, I love any opportunity that I have to cook or bake, especially if it’s for someone else. We dropped off home made perogies and some keilbasa and they asked us to come in and visit for a bit. The kids had a great time playing together and they were super appreciative for the meal. I trust that God worked in all of our hearts tonight as we laughed and they ate a “somewhat” relaxing meal.

This is why I’m doing this Love Week project. To show others God’s love through me. He showed me this opportunity today and it was through His strength that we made it happen. Better yet we went over as a family. God is building things this week that can only be made through love and I can’t wait to see what He does with all of it!

– Jess 🙂

 

A Letter to Myself: Remember This

Dear Jess,

I want you to remember this. This night when your beautiful boy fell asleep on the ride home at 5:45pm. Remember the excitement of the possibility of a night alone with the hubby. Remember the heartache when you realized that a quiet night isn’t what you really wanted, you wanted to play with your boy. You wanted to hear about his day and to cuddle him and smell his hair.

Remember this feeling the next time he asks you to play with him and you’re about to do the dishes.

They can wait.

Remember this feeling the next time everyone wakes up late and all he wants to do is get your attention.

Getting dressed and ready can wait.

Remember this feeling when he is extra whiny at the end of a long day and instead of hiding from it, embrace him and love him.

Because these days are going by much too fast and the more I work, the more I miss him and the more he misses me. Trying to live more intentionally for me means that I want to notice when my son needs some more time with me. I want that day when I didn’t get to be with him at all to be a reminder to make as many special moments as I can, whenever I can, because that morning I didn’t. I was in a hurry to get out the door. Remember that little guy with the blue eyes is more important than the housework and he is more important than you wearing make up to work.

Finally, really make sure to remember this when he wakes you up at 6:20am on the next day. He misses you too, and he is ready to take on the day, with you, his mom, that he loves oh so much.

Don’t ever forget that you are doing a great job! While you’re worried about your mistakes, he’s there thinking about how awesome you are! Go hold him and play with him and show him what fun is.

I love you.

– Me 🙂

Getting Past the Exhaustion

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. – Anne Frank

Such an inspiring quote. The thought that I can do even a little something right now, right this very instant to make things better. Smile at a stranger. Laugh with my two year old. Help someone in need.

I love it. And it’s something I want to remind myself over and over until I really “get it” because it’s simple and powerful.

Yet sometimes I see stuff like this and I just feel exhausted at the thought of it. If I’m to be honest, this thought of exhaustion, tiredness, or of the effort that something takes, I focus on that WAY too much. I’m not proud to say that, not at all, but it’s what happens to me.

Anyone else just feel exhausted thinking about such things? I can’t be alone on this one.

Don’t get me wrong this feeling of exhaustion isn’t limited to saving the world. It creeps in at 10pm when there is a sink full of dishes. It creeps in when there are important phone calls I need to make. It creeps in at the thought of cleaning the closet in my boys room. Or when I think about opening a youth center in my town.

The funny thing is that the thing that is actually exhausting is the fact that I don’t do those things. It’s more exhausting to leave the tasks alone and sit on the couch and flip through Facebook. It’s more exhausting to hit the snooze button 17 times or to wake up to a sink full of dishes that you, yet again, have no intention of starting because – it’s too exhausting.

I know I’ve trained myself to think this way and it’s something that I don’t even consciously think about most days but looking at my life I can see it’s there and it needs to change if I’m going to go forward instead of in circles.

How do we get past these thoughts?

For me, I need to remind myself of the truth instead of the lie.

The lie: Doing that project, or choosing happiness, or changing the world is too exhausting.
The Truth: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galations 6:9

The lie: It doesn’t matter if I do my dishes(or laundry or cleaning the car etc) or not because nobody will see.
The Truth: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” Colossians 3:23

That’s great for the mental attack I get at the thought of something but there is one sure fire way I can attack my exhaustion (or rather perceived exhaustion) that seems to work every time. I simply get up and do some thing. It doesn’t matter what. And yes it’s sometimes harder than it sounds, but it works.

I have to remind myself that motion begets motion. An object in motion will stay in motion until a force stops it. See what I’m getting at here? The more you start, the more you finish. The more you finish the better you feel about yourself. The better you feel about yourself the less exhausted you feel and when you feel less exhausted you change the world.

I’m beginning to realize I’ve spent too much time not doing things because I was scared it was going to be too much for me. Or because of a myriad of other fears I’m sure. I NEED to remind myself that I have not been given a spirit of fear but that of love, power and a sound mind.

At the end of the day I’d rather actually be exhausted because I did things that will change the world than be exhausted because I played on my phone all day. Even if the only world I am changing at the moment is my own home, or the lives of my children, it’s all important and it’s all worth it.

So here’s to an exhausting life – I hope you live one too! 🙂

What makes you feel absolutely exhausted at the thought of it? What ways have you combated that?

– Jess 🙂

 

Things That Make Me Happy

Yes it’s a cliche post. No I don’t care. 😛 I want to show you both sides of my life and I realize that I talk a lot more about the hard parts than the happy parts. I also realize that the more I do that, the more I feed into those hard parts too. So today I’m choosing to look up and share some things that currently make me happy. And some cute kid pics, because who doesn’t love that! 😉

Doing Crafts with the Kids
I love to draw and paint and craft and express my creativity and thankfully so do my boys! I also love that my 2year old decided it was more fun to paint his leg than the assigned crafts – that’s my boy 🙂

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Going To The Library
Ever since we moved from a small town to an even smaller town we’ve taken the kids to the library a bunch of times. Loving the age and season appropriate books and loving even more that Noah ASKS to read them. Proud mama here 🙂

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Teaching My Kids Very Important Life Skills
You know, like how to properly rake leaves into a giant pile and jump jump jump into them. I believe everyone should know the pure joy of doing that. Even if I do end up a sniffly, sneezy mess afterwards. 😛

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Really all of these things have something in common. Adventure. Taking life and having some fun in it! That is what I am really so happy and thankful for today!

Go ahead, find the adventure today, jump in a leaf pile, try the new flavor of coffee, draw a picture with finger paint. Tell them I told you to. 😉

– Jess

Laundry – Five Minute Friday

It’s Five Minute Friday again! 🙂 Today’s prompt: Laundry. Learn more about Five Minute Friday here Five Minute Friday

Laundry.
Ugh.

I like to start laundry, get it in the washer. I feel accomplished.

And then I end up starting something else. Or Noah wakes up. Or I’m just too plain tired to get up and put it in the dryer.

Then I’m left with more washing, and sometimes more forgetting. It’s a vicious cycle.

Isn’t this what I kind of do in life too though? I put it off until there is way too much and it’s overwhelming. Then I start a project, make a plan, even buy supplies.

And that’s where it happens I start to feel accomplished but I haven’t really done anything and then something else comes up. Life gets in the way of my well made plans. Days later I’m defeated and twice as overwhelmed and the laundry still isn’t done either.

Gosh who knew laundry could have such a life metaphor?

I better go put a load in……an set a couple timers so I don’t forget. 😉

-Jess

Bringing Up the Past

After about 20 minutes of driving to get my stubborn and very tired 2-year old to sleep (#mommyproblems) I stopped at my parents house so  we both could have some peace and quiet. The great thing about most weekdays is that my parents are at work so I can come and eat their cookies and go and no one is the wiser. Well my mom usually knows because she’s a mom and well she knows

I spent some time making myself tea and idling on the interwebs until I found my old card making supplies. My mom has put them away so neatly and there was a ton of paper and stamps and general crafty type stuff that made me feel instantly creative.

As I went through the container of super organized stuff I stumbled upon some old journals of mine. You know from like 11 years ago and one from 6 years ago. Yeah. 

Of course being the sentimental freak I HAD to read them. Thankfully I knew better than to read word for word. I only flipped through but still what I found was no less disconcerting. Seeing yet again that there is a constant theme in my life of questions and inaction and that a mere 11 years ago I was grappling with the same questions and seemingly loss of confidence as I am now makes me so sad. Will I ever make any progress? 

I’ve spent years in counseling and rehashed so much from my past and I truly believe I’ve found a ton a healing though that. It makes me ask – how much more craptacular memories are there? Or is it just my perspective? 

Part of me wants to burn these books because bringing up the past is really just bad news in this case. I want to forget what I wrote. Part of me wants to hold onto them because the words and the tears and the pages are a part of me. I don’t want to bring them to my house right now – what am I going to do with them? 

Despite the slight fear of the fact that my mom could open them and read them – I’m pretty sure she hasn’t and won’t. And really if I know her like I do, even if she does read them she won’t say anything. 

I think I’m going to leave the past where it was found – at the bottom of that storage container. Because I’ve been through it already and I’m trusting that if there is something there that I need to deal with God will help me through that. And that, to me, is real progress.

– Jess 🙂

Reaching Out

This week I wrote two entire posts about how things are changing and I’m choosing happiness and do you know what happens?

Five minutes into my 2-year old refusing to sleep I break down into a heaping mess of sadness.

Yes I was sick and running on like 4 hours of sleep and that always makes me very overwhelmed to begin with. But I just had nothing left to discipline or anything. It was bad. Like my husband almost came home kinda bad. Like don’t tell anyone about this because I’m super embarrassed kind of bad. I don’t even like writing that. But it’s where I was at and I bet someone out there has been there too.

That was how things were almost every day when I first had Noah. Everything was SO overwhelming and I didn’t know what to do and I was so sleep deprived that I couldn’t figure it out or find the strength to do it anyways. But back then I wasn’t able to tell anyone. For whatever reason I kept all of that inside and the doubts and sadness and shame filled my head and my heart.

Maybe that’s why my meltdown yesterday was so scary. Maybe it reminded me of those first few months when everyone was looking at me to help the crying baby and I had NO IDEA what to do. And so I hid. I hid my insecurities my emotions my weaknesses everything. It wasn’t just all that I was feeling that broke me it was what I was keeping hidden that did.

Yesterday even though I didn’t know it I was choosing to reach out and to not keep it hidden when I texted my husband. And that made all the difference. Seemingly out of no where I was at my breaking point and I didn’t know what to do and the one thing that helped was reaching out. And it took me about 30 minutes and some hugs from Noah to remind me that those things my brain was telling me weren’t true.

In that moment I had to then choose to listen to the good. I AM a good mom. My kid will sometimes just not sleep – despite my best efforts and arsenal of nap time tricks. This stage will NOT last forever.

Today I am telling myself that it’s ok that I slipped up yesterday. It’s ok that I broke down. It’s going to happen. What is important is that I got back up. It’s important that I reached out. And it’s important that I changed my thinking and went on with my day and was a ton better for it.

And maybe you are in that hole and you don’t even know what it means to change your thinking or it’s unthinkable to reach out to someone today that’s ok too. I understand. Hang on. You’ll get there too. 🙂

– Jess

Expectations, Schmexpectations

Some days I just need some encouragement. Not that I set out looking for it, but I usually end up finding it when I need it the most. 

While talking about work catching up on life with my friend, I shared with her that I noticed that for the past few weeks I’ve been really short with my kids. A trait that happens from time to time – like many parents I’m sure – but I really wasn’t sure where this has been coming from.

So while talking through this, I tell her about how I’ve been giving myself a pep talk. “This weekend I’m going to be the best mom and I’m not going to yell and I’ll teach them things and do fun things together”.  In talking to her I realized that I was actually just heaping expectation after expectation on myself…and then the weekend would come and that didn’t happen I was getting upset at myself and that was coming out on the kids. No good right?

My friend said to me “Jess, you ARE a good mom. You ARE doing a great job. And you need to get this “I will be” out of your vocabulary because you ARE a good mom”. 

Gosh, my heart smiles just thinking about how this simple word of encouragement impacted me in such a huge way. 

She reminded me that I AM doing a good job and it helped me and really allowed me to take some pressure off of myself.  That I don’t have to be perfect to be loving. That I may get frustrated but that’s where grace and humility come in and sweep me up in their arms. 

We had an amazing weekend, and I realized that the more that I Iet go of my expectations and the more I focused on love, the better the whole thing is. I felt better, my family was happier and we made memories this weekend. Such great, great memories. All because of her simple words. 

I want to encourage you today to speak those words, spread hope, give love. And if you are the one who needs the encouragement, don’t doubt what they say. Don’t doubt what that friend in your life is telling you. Hold on to that encouragement and tuck it in your heart. It will lift you up when you need it most. 

– Jess 🙂