Thursday, January 27, 2011

Words of Encouragment

Today, I was reading a blog - I actually don't read too many stranger's blogs, but I find myself encouraged by her words, so I've been reading it more regularly.  I know her words are much easier said than done, and yet, if I could live these words out, I think it would be beautiful.  She wrote:
And perhaps our real work as humans is not to become more like someone else, not to look at what another person seems to have, and try to figure out how to get it for ourselves — but rather to discover that which is unique and precious to us, and to lovingly attend to that. Katrina Kenison
And then I was 'chatting' with someone on facebook, someone who is quickly becoming a sweet, cherished friend...and she gave me the gift of these words:
to put you in words, you are like a wave - quiet, powerful, and beautiful, enveloping everything you touch.
Ok, how sweet was that!! So I clipped those words right out of my chat and I'm saving them right here in my that I can read them again when my soul is in need of some warming up!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

1000 Gifts - Pausing to Notice

So in the video I posted a couple of days ago, the author, Ann Voskamp, began this project in 2006, to write down 1000 Gifts of things she has in her life. You can read more about it by clicking here.  What I love about this is that she pauses to cherishes the moments.  Last I checked, she was at #2197.   This simple act allows gratitude to permeate her life. God gives us gifts every day, if we just slow down and notice them.  Below is the beginning of my list, in totally random order. I am just keeping the file open on my computer and I am writing them as they come to me.
  1. Sarah’s contagious laughter that always makes me smile
  2. A husband who spends his day off with me
  3. Morgan using her money to buy Apples to Apples Jr. so we can play it as a family.
  4. The gift of an ordinary day
  5. Friends that think of me
  6. My laptop computer
  7. The internet
  8. Honesty and authenticity of North Point Church
  9. My Warm Fuzzy Blanket
  10. DQ Blizzards for dinner
  11. 3 more home improvement projects done, thanks to Mike
  12. Instant streaming of movies to our blu-ray player
  13. The release that tears give
  14. Never knowing who is going to answer the phone at my sister’s house – I love my bro-in-laws impersonations. Tonight I was offered “pickled pigs feet” by some kindly old woman!
  15. My dog’s big brown eyes and floppy ears.
  16. The quiet moans of sleepy girls waking up in the morning
  17. Sarah’s gentle hug for me before she even opens her eyelids
  18. Warmth that pours through my house from the heater
  19. My eyes to read the beautiful words written by others
  20. The gift of encouragement I received this morning
  21. Mike’s job that sustains us
  22. The convenience of online banking
  23. Hearing a friend smile through the other end of the phone
  24. Neighbors who offer to watch your kids while you run to walmart
  25. Garbage man that takes my trash and recycling away
  26. A thing called ‘margin’ in my life
  27. A husband to take lunch to.
  28. Girls that run home from school, screaming, happy and full of energy.
  29. My daughter’s cute pigtails.
  30. Words from the page flowing out of my daughter’s voice as she reads to me.
  31. The way Sarah’s eyes light up when she has something funny to tell.
  32. The ability to say ‘no’!
  33. The opportunities to say ‘yes’!
  34. Facebook posts that make me smile. And laugh out loud.
  35. Country songs that stir something deep in my soul and makes the tears spill out.
  36. A husband that pauses to work the knots out of my lower back.
  37. A beagle that enjoys snuggling.
  38. Waking up to the misty glow of the streetlights bouncing off the snow.
  39. Snow day with my girls!
  40. The softness of my girls cheeks, as I touch them to awake them in the morning
p.s. Today is our first snow day of the year!! Yes!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Gift of an Ordinary Day

I was reminded today of this video I saw this past year. This author has a gift of pausing, noticing, appreciating the little things that make life so worth living!  Here is her website, and the video is near the bottom, on the left. and she celebrates the gift of an ordinary day.

Well today, I have tried to pause and enjoy the gift of this ordinary day.  Here are a few highlights.

Our girls actually slept in til 9am! I never thought they would sleep past 6am when they were toddlers, especially on our day off! They watched cartoons for awhile, and I spent some time getting lost in other's words on their blogs.  Mike got up and decided to begin (and finish) painting the ceiling in the kitchen.  There have been a few spots on the ceiling since we moved in - it's so nice to NOT see them anymore!  I took an extra long hot shower and then watched another movie with the girls, while getting caught up on laundry.  I gave them a break and told them "Don't even ask to help with the laundry today, because the answer will be no!" We then went into town to spend the rest of their Christmas gift cards (they got Apples to Apples Jr, a new lap desk, and an I spy puzzle book), get Morgan a volleyball so she can practice at home, check on cell phone plans (sigh - we currently have pay as you go plans and are looking to leap up to smartphones with monthly plans), and then we ended the errands using our buy one get one coupons for DQ Blizzards, for dinner.  We played several games of their new Apples to Apples Jr. game, then I snuggled with Sarah and helped her with one of her I spy pictures, then giggled with Morgan as she read from her Double Fudge book to me. I listened to each of them laugh today. I looked into their eyes and smiled at them. I reminded them of my love after bedtime prayers. Now I'm going to go to bed and snuggle into the arms of my amazing husband.

I both started and ended my day watching another video. Figuring Life Out - One Thousand Gifts. It's inspiring. I posted the video in another post. I hope you take the time to pause and enjoy the beauty of it.  I will probably blog more about this later.

Figuring Life Out - One Thousand Gifts

Friday, January 7, 2011

Humor at the Baker House

So there are all these little things that have really been bugging me the girls not putting the milk away or their breakfast dishes, like leaving their dirty clothes on the bathroom floor, like leaving spit in the sink after brushing teeth, like dropping their backpacks and coats whereever and never hanging them up, like not taking care of their things.

So I've tried reminders, and talks, and nagging, and even yelling.  Yeah, nothing is working.  And while I am certain my newest idea won't work either, at least there's going to be a little bit of fun around our house for the next couple of weeks.  I've decided to add a bit of humor to my tactics.  Here's my game plan:

- Can't wait for them to get home from school and see their new room decorations...their dirty laundry (off the bathroom floor) hanging from their ceiling fans!
- There is a new sign on our bathroom mirror (used Dry Erase Maker) that says "Look Everybody!! at the gorgeous SPIT artwork in our sink! Isn't it breathtakingly beautiful?!"
- And I was nice and put some of their things away, like shoes, kneepads...they just have to go on a treasure hunt (without a map) to find where I decided to put them away!
- Next week I'm going to start making them wear/carry their coat and backpack all evening when they don't hang it up where it belongs when they get home.

Oh, this is so much fun!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Little Persepctive on this Journey called Parenting

Since my kids were not born with their own instruction manuals, here are a few of the parenting books I've accumulated over the years:

- Five Love Languages of Children by Chapman
- Boundaries with Kids by Cloud & Thompson
- Family First by Dr. Phil
- Parenting with Love and Logic by Cline & Fay
- Creative Correction by Lisa Whelchel

I saw these books a couple of days ago and pulled them off the shelf to look through again. Not because I think they have all the answers.  Not because I agree with everything in all the books.  But there are always 'new' issues I'm dealing with when it comes to my kids growing up and finding their way in this world.  These books provide many helpful 'tools' in my toolbox of parenting. They provide encouragement and practical ideas and remind me that I'm not alone in my parenting struggles.  In particular I've been glancing thru Creative Correction. I appreciated the words she shared:

What our children really need when they're young is a parent, not a best friend. One of the greatest rewards  of parenting is friendship with our children...our friendship will evolve with them later, when they mature.

Much of the time, my goal in parenting is simply to have well behaved children - not for some higher, godly purpose, but for my own peace and quiet. My life is so much simpler and more enjoyable when the kiddos obey me without arguing and when they get along with each other. As a result, I'm quick to correct them, sometimes in anger, when my comfort is disturbed, without considering how I'm modeling God to them....  Do you ever struggle with pride? I do. It's easy to want other people to admire our little ones and, in effect, praise our parenting skills. When our kids are on their best behavior, it makes us, their parents, look good....  Some of us base our parenting priorities on how guilty we feel. We have this false, often unrealistic ideal of how our children should behave; and when they don't cooperate, we blame ourselves, thinking we're doing something wrong.  All these motivations - desire for peace and quiet, pride, and guilt - are understandable. But they are still wrong.... So it's vital we step away from the pandemonium of parenting from time to time and remind ourselves of the true goal - to have kids who are drawing an accurate picture of God in their hearts and learning how to relate to Him as their Creator each day. ...Though we should strive to be godly, we can never perfectly reflect God. Instead, our goal should be to ensure that our reflection of God draws our children closer to Him - and that it makes them long to touch the real thing.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Winter Fun

I am doing my best to be proactive in fighting off the winter blues that I can often experience this time of year. For starters, I made a list of projects Mike & I can work on around the house, stuff we already have on hand and just need to complete.  Then, I made this list of free things we can do as a family this winter:

- Wii Game Night
- Board Game Night
- Family Slumber Party – fire, smores, sleeping bags, telling stories
- Baking Night
- Craft (candle making) night
- Homemade Funnel Cakes and watch our Family Movies
- Look thru scrapbooks & convince everyone to help me scrapbook! :)
- Plan our summer trip to Grand Canyon
- “Window Shop” and/or test drive for our new vehicle
- Winter hikes and geocaching
- Discovery Center (free w/season passes!)
- Puzzles
- Have friends over to play games
- Then there is always sledding and playing in the snow if we happen to get any of that fluffy white stuff!

Plus we have Girl Scout cookie sale beginning this week, Volleyball for Morgan beginning this week, and Ice Skating for Sarah starting next week.  Plus I have Sarah's birthday coming up to plan for...8 years old, first slumber party! We should have plenty of fun days ahead...

One more thing, I often find gingerbread houses for really cheap after Christmas - so for $2.50, I got this gingerbread house which provided both over an hour of entertainment for 3 girls and an afternoon snack!