Thursday, December 19, 2013

One proud mama

I have experienced lots of proud moments with my three children in my short five years of parenting, but tonight topped them all!  Tonight was Clare's Christmas program at pre-school, but it was a bigger deal than most because Clare was scared.

In the fall Clare's young 5's class did a little play at school for the parents.  Clare was so, SO excited, but when she walked out with her class and saw the parents she got stage fright.  Not just a little, but full blown panic.   I wish I could say I handled it like a wonderful mom and showed incredible grace and support...but that's not what happened.  This was totally new for me, and for Clare, and I was flustered.  I didn't know how to help her and in my frustration with the situation I came across insensitive and unkind to my sweet little girl.

The next week I found a book on facing childhood worries and read all about how to empathize with their fears and be a face of calm when they are scared.  She had memorized Deuteronomy 31:6 "Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid.  For the Lord your God will be with you" at school, so we began repeating that verse whenever Clare talked about being scared.  We made silly jokes about pretending everyone looked like reindeer and practiced yelling at the butterflies in our tummy to go away.  We read books about children doing performances and ballerinas on stage. 

And honestly, did I care if Clare overcame her stage fright at the age of 5?  That truly wasn't the goal.  But she had been so excited about her play, and was SO excited about this performance that I hated to see her fears allow her to miss exciting things, especially something she had looked forward to.

So tonight was the night.  Though Clare said she was excited all day, and LD and I had prayed she would make it through, I will admit I didn't have confidence it would happen. 

But she did it!!  She sang with her class, then she said her line in her class play, then sang a song with the school!  We had a big celebration tonight at Chick Fil A, not for being a star, but for being brave and trusting Jesus with her fears!

So proud of you Clare, and so thankful to be your mommy!!
Here is her big performance :) 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Thanksgiving adventures

We were supposed to leave for Michigan the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.  I was leisurely packing and running around Monday morning while Clare was at school when LD called at 1pm and said if we didn't leave by 4pm we were not going due to the expected snow storm.  I had nothing (NOTHING) in suitcases, I had not showered and I had to get Clare.  It was insanity, but at 4:30, we were on our way.

We have never done the drive in the night thing with the kids.  I am always way too scared about it being a disaster...but it was awesome!!  Everyone was asleep by 8:30 and slept til about 2:30 on and off.  At 3am when we got gas EVERYONE woke up but was quiet and content.  We pulled in at 3:30 and everyone slept til late the next morning.  We truly loved it so much that we decided to do the same thing on the way home.  Except on the way home LD and the kids slept from 8 til midnight while I packed the car and then we left at midnight and got home at 10:30am.  In that 10 1/2 hour drive that is normally 11 and a half with kids...we only stopped ONCE!!!!  At 6am we got gas and took a potty break and then finished the trip.  It was really great!!!
We spent days 1 and 2 of our trip in Reading with LD's family.   We did the usual - play with cousins, play with new toys and eat a LOT of food!!
We did an early Christmas with them and scored some fun toys that kept us entertained the rest of the trip!
LDs mom hosted 22 people (TWENTY-TWO!!) at their house for dinner, so we were busy.
And this is our niece Kara's first year at Purdue, so everyone got some new clothes to show off school pride :)
Days 3 and 4 were spent at my parents, and my older sister, her husband, their kids and boyfriend/girlfriend also spent the entire weekend with us.  It was so fun to all be in one place!

We got to hang out with MORE cousins, eat yummy food, and do another family Christmas!
We also joined the crazies and did some shopping on Thanksgiving night from 9pm til 1am.

Before heading home, our last day in Michigan we went to Cabella's, which is super fun this time of year.

And had to stop for dounuts.  Also, if you are from Michigan and ever in Dundee, my very favorite candle store called Swan Creek is in downtown and we made a fun stop there and stopped for pizza too.  So at the end of the day, everyone got something fun!

The last two years downtown Blissfield where my parents live have a light parade the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  We were all bundled up and ready to go and there was NO ONE in town.  I guess they changed the date to later in December for this year.  (BUMMER)  To avoid a LOT of tears, we ducked in for a quick scoop of ice cream instead :)  That was just a few hours before we put them to bed and headed home at midnight!
Successful and fun filled trip.  We were so thankful to be able to celebrate Thanksgiving with so many of our family members!


Monday, December 2, 2013

Set free by a sunrise

Normal days for me are crazy and hectic, but every night when I settle into bed, I have peace.  I may have a bad day, but I know who I am, why I am here, and that I am loved completely and fully. 

In the last few weeks, I really struggled to quiet my heart.  I just have felt an unsettling, an unrest that would not let up.  It was beginning to affect my parenting, my relationships, my attitude and my days.  I knew I needed to find the peace that I had known so well.

I decided to unplug myself from the world for a time.  I de-activated facebook, stopped reading blogs, and started focusing on the things I knew to be true in my life.  I didn't do it for any reason but to re-focus myself, but what I gained was so much more.

This verse came to mind a few days ago and it resonated so deeply with me.  "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."  Philippians 4: 7-9 

Our family drove to Michigan last week to celebrate Thanksgiving and decided on a whim to drive through the night on the way home.  LD drove from midnight til 7 and he was fading fast.  I took over with a huge coffee in hand and he was fast asleep in the back seat.  The car was incredibly quiet as we drove through the mountains and the sun was just starting to wake up.  The sky was a beautiful pink color - and it happened - my peace was back. 

It was almost as if God chuckled and said "Did you forget how big I was?!  Did you forget that I wake the sun every morning without fail?  Did you forget that I am fully and completely in control?"

Its so easy to lose focus.  It breaks my heart to think that people believe God set up rules for us to follow as bondage.  His rules offer so much freedom!  If I choose to live as Philippians 4 says and think only on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable - and ONLY those things, I have freed myself from carrying weight on my shoulders that was never meant to be there.

I still will have bad days, crazy mornings, bad parenting moments, and once in a while I may go to bed with unrest - but I have no doubt that I was bought with a price and am loved completely and fully.