Hard

Being a mom is hard work. Being a mom who works full time is double hard work. But these kids of mine, when they smile and giggle and say “I love you Mommy” then all the cares melt away and I am reminded again that it’s worth it. They are worth it. And so am I. And with God’s help, I will keep on moving forward. 

Check out this FREE video series of the myths of #momfail culture!

Have a blessed week,

9 Lessons, 9 Years and Counting

Today is my wedding anniversary – nine wonderful years!

When my husband and I decided to marry, we agreed that divorce was not an option.  Thankfully we both come from parents who are still married to each other, as well as all four of our grandparents (most are gone now, but they were still married when they passed).  I think that agreement has been key to sticking it out when arguments come and the tension is thick, for days or even weeks, and learning to work out your frustrations with each other and not by leaning on other people.  I think we’ve learned a lot in the past 9 years, though I know there’s much more to learn!

We’ve had our ups and downs just like anyone else, but through it all, I’ve not had to worry if my husband was going to give up on us, or if I was going to give up on our marriage.  Did it cross my mind?  Sure.  In the heat of the moment, all kinds of things cross my mind, but it is immediately snuffed out by the reminder of our agreement before marriage: Divorce is not an option.  Plus, the thought of being a single mom is enough to fizzle any amount of discontent!

Wedding Day - 3/17/07

Sometimes I wasn’t sure if we were really meant to be married to each other, but I must say that I have learned that we ARE meant to be together, and we are LEARNING to love each other beyond the physical sense because GOD put us together and wants us to STAY together.

In the last few years, I have truly learned how selfishness can root itself down deep in a person, so that you don’t even recognize it.  And selfishness is exactly what our American culture thrives on, and I would say it’s a major cause of divorces today.  How often do we hear or even tell ourselves “I deserve …?”  When it comes down to it, one or both people decide to live for themselves instead of each other.  The biggest decision of any marriage should be that you love that person so much that you will sacrifice yourself/your time/your space/your wants/your needs for the betterment of your spouse.  And your spouse should feel the same way about you.  Forever.

Here’s some things I’ve learned as a wife (and mother) in the past 9 years:

  1. Husbands always help around the house.  Well, mine doesn’t, but he will do one or two things if I ask him nicely.  Last week I was rounding up the kids for bath time and bed time and I asked him to sweep the dining room.  He did!
  2. Husbands are helpful fathers.  Hmmm, not always.  My dear husband loves his children, but he firmly sees it as the mother’s job to care for them.  While this is sometimes frustrating, I have also learned that it IS my job.  God blessed us with these children, and as set forth in his Word, it is the mother’s job to rear the children and by doing so, serve the Lord.  That being said, my husband is very good with helping with homework, bath time and bed time!  I know I am blessed to have a husband that will pitch in from time to time!
  3. It’s a man’s job my job to take out the trash.  Apparently.  Now, my mom takes a full trash bag out of the can and puts it by the back door, then my dad comes along and takes it to the barrels outside.  My husband prefers to keep stuffing trash in there until someone takes it out, and I mean out of the can, and out to the barrels outside.   I’ve tried the leave it by the door method. In that case, he simply moved it out of his way and went on about his business. 🙄 This used to be a real issue for me and the cause of quite a bit of bitterness, but one day I just decided to accept that he will not do it.  I GET to go outside, breathe some fresh air on the walk to the burn barrels (we live outside of town), and enjoy the day God’s given me while I take out the trash.  Then I get the satisfaction of putting a clean empty bag in the trash can!
  4. It’s a man’s job my job to unstop the toilet, regardless of who is responsible for it being in that state.  I’m still trying to figure this one out.  I’ve tried to use a plunger before, but I have yet to be successful.
  5. Husbands know how to say “Thank You” and “I’m Sorry” when appropriate.  I’ve learned my husband is a man of few words, and he has his own ways of saying these things without actually saying the words out loud.  ;)
  6. Flowers and/or gifts on anniversaries, birthdays, and Mother’s Day are standard.  Well, no, that hasn’t happened, not even once a year, but you know what?  It makes those times when he does so much more special!:)  And, I gotta give him credit for not going out and spending a ton of money on these flower things that wilt three days after you buy them when we really don’t have the extra money to be spending it!
  7. A good car and a nice house come with as a package deal when you get married.  Wow! Wouldn’t that be nice?  It took some time for us to realize that this was not the case, and that most of our income was going to debt payments, not buying new things!  I heard it said once that young people want nice things immediately after college or marriage, not realizing that it took their parents 20+ years to get to that point.  Unless you are richly blessed with no debt and two good-paying jobs, the car/house/marriage package doesn’t exist.  It didn’t for us, although we did try, by buying a home and new-to-us truck just 6 months into our marriage!  We drove that truck til it died, and we still live in the house we bought (we never plan to leave), but it was hard to pay those bills on the income of two young 20-something-year-olds!
  8. Housework – it’s really not that hard to keep up with the housework, after all, houses magically clean themselves right???  I don’t know why I had this preconceived in my head, as I remember well all the chore lists my mother made for my sister and I through the years, but after having babies, I realized that housework DOES pile up.  In fact, the only thing “magical” is how fast the house gets messy again!  I hate dusting.  I will not tell you how long it’s been since I dusted.  Ahem.
  9. God will take care of you.  Every. Single. Time.  I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been in the red on the bank account, or something on the house breaks and costs hundreds or thousands of dollars to fix, and every time God has provided!

I call on the LORD in my distress, and he answers me.  Psalm 120:1

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
Psalm 46:1-3
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 
Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.  Titus 2:3-5

Bonus Lesson: Life is what you make it. One day it hit me that I am in control over how I feel about my day.  If something happens and I end up being woke up in the middle of the night, and it takes me forever to go back to sleep, that might make me want to be in a bad mood the next day.  But I can choose to have a great attitude the next day!

It’s as if Lysa is reading my mind! Hop over and read her devotional on marriage today!
  
  
  
  
  

Have a glorious day!

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Worth

A few weeks ago I entered a local art and advertising competition with six of my and my departments’  best works from 2015. I am very proud of the work we have done and expected to earn several awards.  My department has won at least one award for the past five years.  However, I believe God had in mind to show me something different this year.

Emails went out on Monday to the award winners…. and I didn’t get an email.

And neither did any of my colleagues.

It appears that none of us (representing FIVE of the largest departments on campus) were selected as winners.

Cue “bad angel on my shoulder”: Fine then! See if we enter your stupid competition next year!

and then…

God reminded me that my worth as an artist, and much more, as a person, is not tied up in subjective minds of these judges.

THANK YOU, FATHER GOD!

But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 10:30-32 ESV

Furthermore, my husband, and my two precious children, are my real trophies!  Raising my children to know the Lord is my best work!

ArthurFam2015-2

 

Hope you’re having a blessed week!

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Personal Reflections Going into 2016

Once upon a time, there was a girl who grew up loving to draw and write stories. She tried on many occasions to make something amazing; whether a drawing, a book, or a new invention. After many failed attempts, I think she gave up on amazing and settled for good enough. All her life thereafter she of course strived to do her best, knowing that her best was never going to be amazing. In college she even won Best of Show in an art show, but she discounted the award because it was just a student show.

About five years after graduation, she tried her hand at having her own business. Thankfully she kept her day job because she was never highly successful. Just average results again. No raving happy customers bringing in masses of more happy customers. She finally decided she’d had enough of that when it came to the point that she realized she hated getting orders. because she didn’t have time to complete them.

Speed up to 2015:

Now I (yes, that story above was me) just graduated with an Interdisciplinary Masters Degree in December. (Hooray!) It took me four and a half long years to complete the degree, whilst I worked full-time, in addition to the full-time jobs of wife, mother, and housekeeper.  There was a lot on my plate!  I’m so happy to be finished!


Everyone keeps asking me what I’m going to do with “all my new free time.”  I’ve been telling people the basic answers like, oh, I’m not sure yet, or maybe I will start teaching Bible class again, or something like that.

But do you want to know my real answer?

I want to be a better wife and mother.

I want to be the wife my husband needs. I want to be the mother God created me to be. I want to have patience and understanding, wisdom to know the best route of discipline for my children.

These are my goals. I don’t have high career aspirations to use my degree, I just want to be the best person I can be to the people that mean the most to me.

And before you start thinking that I took four years to finish a degree I’ll never use, know that my degree was designed to fit my full-time job and I have no immediate plans to discontinue my employment.

Happy New Year!

autumnjoy

Merry Christmas! (plus, a freebie!)

All the hustle and bustle of the season has arrived in full force!  [Note to self, shopping early will not actually save you any time or peace of mind.]  I shopped early this year and then my oldest changed his mind on what he wanted from Santa….. and I still found myself in Walmart yesterday and Target today getting last minute gifts for my dad and brother-in-law and husband….!  However, I really hope to bring CHRIST into our home the next two days, in between all the family gatherings.  Not that He isn’t always with us, and in our home, but I want to drive the point of Christmas home (no pun intended) to my kids.  That being said, I will not be reciting Luke 2 to you all, because I found this quote that I love and decided to put together a printable for the blog.  Enjoy!  And please do read Luke 2 this Christmas.

ChristmasFreebie-01

Click the image or here to download PDF.

Graphics from creativemarket.com

Love and blessings on this Christmas,

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Shoebox Gifts

Somehow, something has caused me to have a mind shift this past year. Now, I do believe I have always been tender-hearted, but now I have a boldness and an urgency to reach out and help others that wasn’t there before. I hope it continues to grow!

For the first time ever, I have packed a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child! I actually did one box in honor of each of my two children. So I packed one box for a young boy and one box for a toddler girl. 

It was so much fun to put the boxes together! I did find that my children aren’t too keen on buying things they want just to give it away, So I did all the shopping myself. Maybe next year they will help me!

  

There is POWER (FREE Download!)

Oh my goodness, things have been so busy.  I really am trying to slow down and enjoy this time.  I really hope 2016 will be amazing because once I finish this grad degree, I feel like I will finally be able to relax!  And do crafts!  And take pictures!  And play with my kids!  And read books!

Sigh.  Well I grabbed five minutes today and put on paper the song/phrase that’s been going on in my head – thank you Lincoln Brewster and Klove!

Power in Jesus

Click here for PDF download!

Hope you all are having a great week, and again, sorry I’ve been away so long!

Peace & Blessings,

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Worries are like Pacifiers (Free Print!)

Adults have pacifiers too.
Those of you who, like me, tend to worry over things might enjoy this print. A pacifier is mostly used to pacify a baby, but oftentimes the baby grows into a toddler who really doesn’t need it anymore. But, it’s a comfort to them, so they keep using it and wanting it closeby. Right now this describes my two-year-old! She can go all day, even napping, without it when at daycare, but as soon as we pull into the driveway, she yells “My boppy here!” The pacifier is her comfort item. A lot of times, our worries become comfort items – our pacifier.  This verse really called out to me this week: 

Ph4_7-8x8print
Most people pick up on the verse right before: “Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have.” (Philippians 4:6). While I agree wholeheartedly that verse 6 is important and we should all heed such advice, verse 7 is what really got my attention as I was doing my First 5 Bible Study a few nights ago.  The very thought that God is standing guard over my thoughts is humbling. And His peace will cover – even erase – our negative, worrisome, and anxious thoughts and feelings. If only we will let him! 

So, here is Freebie #2, an 8×8 inch print of Philippians 4:7, using graphics by Callie Hegstrom of Make Media Co.

Click on the image to view the full size PDF!
Have you heard about the First 5 App? We’re studying Genesis this month and one of the things I love is that the ladies at Proverbs 31 who write these studies tie in verses from all over the Bible! This is just the 2nd month of First 5 App and I have already learned of so many Bible verses that I had previously not read, or now look at through a different lens. Also check out their accompanying Experience Guide – it really helps you think about what you’re reading!
Thanks for stopping by today! What is your latest “ah-ha!” Bible verse?

Aye-yi-yi, 10 days past due!

Well the Part Two of the First Day of School w/ Poop Involved will just have to keep waiting. All in all, in the end, everyone got their bodies and their stuff where they needed to be and I was only an hour and 15 minutes late to work! whew!

Now, on to this:


(Just ignore all that mess in the background – DIY room update in progress!)

This.  I love when this happens.

This (last night) was Bubba’s first time doing homework – ever. He literally cried when we told him he had homework. But Hubby said he would help and so this happened.

I LOVE when Hubs volunteers to help out with one of the kids.  It just melts my heart!

So, the homework got done and no further homework tears were shed.

The End.

autumnjoy

A First Day of School Story… (Warning: Poop is Involved!)

It’s not what you think. 

So, the morning started out a little different – Sis got up at the same time I did, which threw everything else off because I usually have about 10 minutes to do my morning thing and start my daily Bible time before the kids get up. Well, since Sis was up, I got her started on breakfast and turned on the TV for her. Bad idea, I know. 

Next, Bubba got up and needed help getting dressed. We figured out the clothes and then I got him started on breakfast, while he watched TV with Sis. 

Sometime in there I got ready for work and made my lunch, while Hubby got ready and left for work. 

I get Sis dressed at 7:30 (the same time as my targeted time of leaving!)

I grab the camera and take a few photos of the school boy and it’s 7:45 already! Okay, I think to myself, now I’ll have to drop Bubba off first then Sis, but he will still be on time. 

Then, right as we are about to grab our stuff and head out the door…

Wait for it….

Sis announces “I go poop!” 

What!?! Now?? It’s now 7:50 am. Bubba is supposed to be at school at 7:55. Oh dear. 

Bubba and I waited very impatiently for Sis to take care of business and we finally got in the car, heading down the road at 8:00.  All the while I was in the bathroom with Sis, my phone was silently ringing in my purse, and I had no idea until…

(Insert phone ringing). Hubby @ Work is calling. 

Me: “Hello?”

Hubby: “Can you bring me my phone?”

Me: “Are you kidding me!?!”

Yeah, perfect timing. 

I didn’t turn around. After all, Bubba was already late to school!

We get close to the school – thank goodness it’s only 7 minutes from the house – and according to Bubba, it was his lucky paper airplane that got us a lucky front row parking space (I said “Thank You, Lord!”). I jump out of the car, grab Sis and Bubba’s hand, and we cross the street, saying Hello and Good morning to the crosswalk guard and the local policeman and head into the school. I think half the town was in there dropping off kids! Parents and families were everywhere!

We made a beeline (well, as fast as the herd of parents would allow) for his classroom and I notice almost all of the kids are already there. I quickly grabbed Bubba’s backpack and let him hand his teacher the small gift we’d put together last night. Of course, she gushed over it and gave him a hug. Then I handed her his lunch money and hurriedly said “Good-bye!” to my boy. The teacher grabbed a paper off his table spot and handed it to me. “This is something for you, Mom, to read when you get back to your car.” she said. Oh no, I thought, this will be the thing that makes me cry…

Stay tuned for part two tomorrow… 

  
Adorable sign courtesy of Fab ‘n Free!