The stockings are all hung by the chimney with care…
Well, most of them are, anyway. I don’t have a stocking for Annika yet, because FOURTH CHILD! I can’t be bothered with such details right now, thankyouverymuch.
We had two days of nippy weather down here in Florida and it put us right into the Christmas spirit. Of course, it will be 86 degrees on Friday, so instead of building a snowman, we may go to the beach and build a sandman instead.
I’ve spent the better part of an hour trying to craft a beautifully worded post for the internet, and I’ve scrapped every post I started because they all felt forced.
I won’t force words on you today. And I’ll quit forcing them on myself.
But if you’re looking for some beautiful words in poetry form, then I would suggest you visit Wendy’s site and take in her Holiday Haiku series. She’s brought us all into Christmas using fewer words.
While you all enjoy a few holiday haikus, I’m going to pack my kids up in my (smokin’ hot) minivan, and we’re going to go out to lunch. Because it’s the first day of Christmas break, my house looks like Santa’s elves threw up all over it, and I don’t feel like doing anything – not even feeding my children.
So I will simply leave you with Christmas greetings, from my family to yours.
May your days be merry and bright.
And may your Christmas be whiter than mine.
Happiest of holidays to all of you. I’m thankful that I get to take this journey with so many of you cheering me on. I’m looking forward to 2016.
It’s 5:30, and I am up early, tapping away at my computer long before the sun rises. This is the only time my house is quiet, but it’s grown increasingly difficult for me to get up at this time, because when my house is quiet I WANT TO SLEEP!
We’ve officially been in the crazy time of life for a couple of years now, but I feel like it’s all starting to swirl together and crash on top of me. Between soccer and gymnastics, homeschool and middle school, and the active (dare I say ornery?) toddler in the midst of it all, most days I barely have time to catch my breath.
We jump from one activity to the next, and we don’t stop jumping until the house silences again at night, and I look around and wonder how on earth it’s already bedtime again, and have I had any water today? What about any real food? Did I eat an actual meal, or simply graze the half eaten plates of the tiny people all day?
I CANNOT REMEMBER!
When we brought our first born home from the hospital, I felt the confidence that only comes from inexperience. I immediately got him on a schedule, and felt such pride at my Mom-ing abilities.
Yes – I just used “Mom” as a verb. It’s the most active thing a woman could do, so it only makes sense. Frankly, I can’t believe we haven’t officially made it a verb before now.
When Sloan was around 18 months old, I remember noticing the first chink in my mom armor. My angelic little toe-headed cherub didn’t seem to want to follow my directions anymore. He had a will, a strong one, and it was all his own. It was at this point that I lamented my loss of daily freedoms.
“I’m just so busy!” I wailed to my husband one evening after a particularly rough day of Mom-ing. “The only free time I have are the three hours he’s sleeping in the afternoon, and then the rest of the day I’m at his beck and call.”
I think back to that younger version of me – sweet little fresh-faced girl who felt certain her life was being swallowed up by her baby. I want to give her a hug…and maybe a little chocolate. I want to whisper in her ear that she will never have so much time to herself again.
It is now twelve years, and three more babies later. Gone are those three hours stretches of alone time in the afternoons. Gone are the early bedtimes and precious evenings alone with my husband. This house is filled with noise and chaos. It’s always dirty.
I eek out slivers of stolen moments here and there throughout the day. I grossly underestimate how much I can actually accomplish on a daily basis, and am constantly overcommitting myself, because I still forget that Mom-ing four kids takes every waking moment of the day.
In the midst of it all, I wonder if I’m doing okay. Did I do the right thing yesterday? Did I feed them any vegetables? Fruit? Meat? Tell me they didn’t just eat bread and candy.
Mom-ing is hard.
Most days I’m sort of feeling my way through the dark, but I’ve convinced myself of one very important thing:
At the end of the day, if I can tally up a few shared moments of laughter, and obvious displays of love, then I did alright.
Last week, I took the kids to the beach during a day off school. As we made our way down the road that leads to our favorite stretch of sand, Sloan put on Lacrae, rolled down the windows, and messed with the sound settings until he had the bass pumped at full volume.
Shrieks of delighted laughter floated up and out of my pumpin’ minivan as we literally rattled the windows of the cars next to us. The kids rapped and I laughed, and people definitely stared, but who cares. Because I was Mom-ing the heck out of that one moment.
Moms, you’re feeling buried under the weight of it all. I know that you are. Maybe some of you have some silence built into your days as kids go to school, or young ones take naps. Or maybe, like me, the only silence you’re offered is in the dark hours of the early mornings.
Either way, I know it’s a lot. Mom-ing takes all of us, and so I want you to know that I see you, and I offer this encouragement:
Roll down the windows of your (smokin’ hot) minivan. Fling open the doors of your home, and put on a little Lecrae. Rattle the windows with your pumping bass, and let the world know that despite the insanity and never ending to-do list, you are Mom-ing the heck out of life.
[Tweet “Pump the bass, and let the world know you’re Mom-ing the heck out of this life. #momlikeaboss”]
Find moments of each day for laughter, and dole out as many hugs and kisses as you’re allowed. And when your head finally hits the pillow at the end of the day, whisper into the blessed silence, “I Mom’ed like a boss today.”
Do you remember that feeling you got as a kid when a birthday would come and go, or Christmas morning passed in a blur, and suddenly it was all over and you were left feeling a little let down?
It was the post-celebration blues, and they snuck up on you every single time.
The same feeling washes through when you finish writing a book. It’s sort of a day-after, did-that-really-happen kind of feeling that leaves you wringing your hands and wondering what you should do next.
The thing is, there’s still a lot to be done. Just like after a great birthday party, or a memorable Christmas, there is cleaning up to do. A new day dawns, and brings with it a flurry of activity. And yet you find yourself a bit dejected for a few days until the moment finally passes and you can start looking forward to the next celebration.
Wendy and I turned in our manuscript on Tuesday. It’s been an intense couple of weeks as we’ve gone through the book with a fine-tooth comb, pulling out sections that didn’t make sense, or stopped the flow. We’ve done rewrites, and we’ve challenged one another on theological concepts, always pushing each other toward becoming stronger communicators.
We’ve pushed ourselves late into the night, and throughout the day, filling each down moment with editing and sharpening.
And now it’s out of our hands.
Add to the the fact that I turned my novel back into the editor on Sunday night after doing all the rewrites, and you find me here in the corner, feeling like my birthday and Christmas just rolled past me in one giant swoop. I’m a little sad that it’s over.
There’s still so much to be done, obviously, but today I’m simply in that strange aftermath – the waiting period before life kicks back into gear.
Tomorrow my husband celebrates his birthday. He’s had a stressful few months as well, so we’re sneaking away for a few days, just the two of us. We’ll join Matt and Wendy in San Diego, and we’ll celebrate birthdays and finished manuscripts.
And hopefully we’ll sleep, because I’m running on fumes.
I’m not taking my computer with me, and I’m not going to lie – I’ve had a couple of panic attacks today as I’ve thought about leaving it behind. I need to get started on marketing plans, and I need to finish my ebooks. I need to contact people for endorsements, and I have a MOPS talk to prepare.
But if I don’t stop to take a breath, I simply won’t make it to the next goal.
There’s something to be said about stepping back and taking it all in. Just like there’s something to be said about sitting in front of the fireplace the day after Christmas and not diving right into the cleaning and organizing. Memories can’t be made if we don’t stop to digest the moments.
Books won’t be launched if we don’t stop and digest the accomplishment of writing them.
So tomorrow morning, I will drag myself out of bed at O’Dark Thirty (it’s hard to fly from one coast to the other), and I will leave the work behind. It’ll all be waiting for me when I return, no doubt.
I’m going to step away and celebrate the accomplishment of finishing these first steps. This is the time to breathe, to soak it all in, and to not think about what’s next.
So that’s where I’ll be, and that’s what I’ll do. And hopefully I’ll come home relaxed, refreshed, and ready to prepare for the next big celebration. TWO BOOK LAUNCHES!
Life is very full these days. From sun up to sun down, each moment of my day is parceled out in not so generous sums, and I’m slowly working my way to next Thursday when I will release all the strain, shut my eyes, and sleep for four whole days.
Lee and I leave next week for a much needed getaway. We’ve both been under pressure, me with two major book deadlines, and him with a hefty travel schedule. And in between all that we have these four little people who offer heaps of patience and grace (well, three of the four are offering patience. The baby is terribly demanding…).
And so it is that I stumble through each day, moving from one task to the next with little time to stop in between. This has, naturally, led to a bit of distraction, upon which my kids have capitalized and exploited in the most unfair of ways.
It seems they’ve grown quite thrilled with their ability to scare me. Normally it’s not that easy to make me jump because they’re loud, and they’re not really that good at waiting quietly in the shadows. Little giggles give them away, and so I’m usually prepared for their delighted BOO! I feign shock, and we all laugh.
HA HA HA!
But two things have occurred in the last few weeks: The first is the above mentioned distraction, which has left me vulnerable to attack. I’m all caught up inside my head, constantly sifting through all the thoughts that bounce around inside my overworked brain.
The second is that these kids of mine have become somewhat adept at hiding. I should be proud because they’ve really upped their game. But lately I find myself mumbling each time I round a corner, “If one of you jumps out at me I’m going to drop kick you into tomorrow.”
Mad parenting skillz.
This little game of scare-the-pants-off-mom rose to a whole new level last week when Lee was out of town. After a long day, I put the kids to bed then headed to my bedroom where I spent an hour after bedtime cleaning up, trying to find my floor under all the clothes that had buried it.
Around 10:00, I made my way to the kitchen to grab a drink before closing down the house for the night. Just as I rounded the corner, Sloan stepped out from the shadows with a whispered, “Hey there!”
Friends, I’m not a cuss word kind of girl. In general four letter words do not fit very nicely on my tongue, so I don’t often say them save for very rare occasions. This was one such occasion.
I swung my fist through the air and yelped “AAAAAHHH – Whaaaaaat the H$#@!”
This was the moment that Sloan slid to the floor in laughter while I clutched my chest to make sure my heart started beating again.
WHY WAS HE NOT IN BED?!
WHY DID HE DO THAT?!
WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT CHILD?!
These are questions left unanswered. And honestly, I blame his father for everything that is wrong with him, and all the other ones like him.
“Oooooh my gosh, that was SO funny, Mom!” Sloan squealed, rolling on the floor. He sat up and wiped his eyes. “I mean, I literally scared the H-E-L-L out of you!” he laughed.
I tried to brush it off and be all, “Well, I mean ‘Hell’ isn’t really a bad word. It’s a place. A place. It’s a noun, cause it’s a place!”
“Not the way you used it,” he said, cackling now.
Since that day, it appears that the kids are on a quest to make my life a living H-E-L-L by jumping out at me at all times during the day, forcing me to prepare myself each and every time I round a corner. People of the world, I do not have time for these shenanigans!
This morning I got up early and let the dog outside. As I walked back into the house, Landon stepped from behind the curtains. “Hello,” he rasped in his little morning voice, and I screamed bloody murder. It’s really a testament to my INSANE self control that I didn’t end up punching him in the tiny little freckled nose.
He, of course, fell over laughing, then stood back up and wiped his eyes.
“Aw, man,” he said. “I thought I was gonna get you to say the “H” word again. Or maybe even the “SH” word this time.”
Join me next week for my online seminar: How to Be an Awesome Mom in Two Easy Steps.
Be aware that if you see me in public, and I appear to have a nervous tic, it’s because life and my psycho children are all conspiring to make sure I end up in an early grave.
We spend most of these early, formative years with our children in the throes of training. Once we get them past the lumpy, squishy infant months where our main objective is merely to keep them alive, we move into the toddler years where, well, the objective is still to keep them alive. But a considerable effort is spent on teaching them life basics like sharing, saying please and thank you, asking and not demanding.
Then we move into the elementary years, and this is when solid life training begins. This is also where I think many American families begin to break down the training in the wrong ways.
This is the stage we are currently in, and as we navigate these extremely important years with our children, I’ve had to really evaluate what it is I’m trying to teach them. The American lifestyle, as dictated by the American Dream, demands that we teach our children to be “good.” Study hard, pay attention, get good grades. Be nice to others, don’t be a bully. Think of your future. Prepare for college. Say please and thank you, and keep on sharing your mountains of toys.
But the Lord has been whispering new lessons to my heart these last few years as we’ve navigated some bumpy life roads. I don’t want to raise “good” kids who do all the things needed to get into college, then get a job, and then from there make a “good” living for their families.
What a box we’ve created for our children!
While there is wisdom in teaching our children to work hard and prepare themselves academically for the future, we cannot put so much stock into those things that we make them the gospel. We can raise “good” kids in Christian homes who grow up with strong moral guideposts…and little passion for the world around them.
While we place in our home a proper amount of respect on good morals, I’m challenged to take my kids a step further.What does it mean to have integrity? How do we live a life of action, rather than one of complacency? Rather than waiting to be served, what if we were the ones who served?
I fight the urge to place my children inside the American shaped box – the one that dictates they find a solid job with a steady 401K, and a savings account that will give them the chance to retire at 60. None of those things are bad things, of course. We live inside those bounds ourselves. The point is, I don’t want that to be the emphasis of training in our home.
I want my boys to know that there is more to being the provider of a family than simply holding down a good job. I want my daughter to know that there is more to being a wife and mom than simply cleaning and preparing meals and kissing skinned knees.
I want to be a family that thinks of those desperate needs first, far above living a “good” life. And not because we have to, or we should, but because we can.
For a long time, Lee and I operated under an umbrella of fear when it came to giving and serving. We only did those things that fit well inside what was comfortable for us. Then God took everything comfortable away, and we came face to face with our own brokenness, our own weaknesses, and our own short comings. For so long we had brushed those things under the rug.
We were “good,” and we thought this made us good enough. It’s easy to live a “good” life. It’s easy to say and do the right things. It’s easy to live in apathy.
But it’s uncomfortable to care about the needs of the world.
And so it is that the more time passes, the less I’m less concerned with raising “good” moral kids.I want to raise children who have a deep and passionate dependence upon Christ, who see the needs of the world and don’t shrug it off as someone else’s problem, but who stand up and ask, “What can I do?”
This is a hard lesson to teach children who’s bellies are full, rooms are stocked, and who swim in more opportunity than they can possible process. This is a hard lesson for a mom to grasp when she has money in the bank, a full pantry, and more opportunity than she can possibly process.
But it’s not a fight I’m willing to concede. I don’t want to merely raise moral kids – I want to raise passionate kids who aren’t afraid to take risks, to drop everything to help a neighbor (near or far), and who realize that they are only worthy because God has given them everything they need through His Son.
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