It’s Tough Being a Woman

 

thumb_FullSizeRender-5_1024Thought I’d share this just for fun.

In clearing out some old files, I came across this poem I wrote back when my youngest girls were toddlers. It’s a true account of a pitifully chaotic day that we all lived to tell about. I hope it makes you smile and reminds you that sometimes the demands of our lives are often proof of our blessings. And despite how tough it is at times, it really is great to be a woman…and wife…and mother…and cook…and chauffeur…and teacher…and referee…and nurse…and, okay you get it. You’re there.

It’s Tough Being a Woman

Ah a moment to sit

On the couch for a bit

With a cup of hot tea in hand.

Wee ones down for a nap,

A good book on my lap

And dinner simmering in a pan.

 

Then my reverie is broken

As harsh words are spoken

From behind a bedroom door.

“Mommy, she hit me!”

“That’s cause she bit me!”

A wail and then a small roar.

 

So I drag myself up

And put down my cup,

Too tired to even mention.

Would either one care

That all this gray hair’s

‘Cause it’s tough being a woman?

 

I’m now in a hurry

To step in as referee

And get back to my tea while it’s hot.

But halfway to the stairs,

Teflon-laden air

Reminds me of an unwatched pot.

 

So I race to the stove,

But the ring of the phone

Quickly stops me in my tracks.

Now children are crying,

And dinner is frying,

And mama is stressed to the max.

 

My son bursts through the door,

Traipsing mud on the floor;

Kind words I just can not summon.

The answering machine blares;

It’s the school, but who cares?

It’s too tough being a woman!

 

Then my two little fighters—

One hitter, one biter

Run by, each wielding a stick.

So I call to my daughter,

“Please go get your father!

And tell him I need him quick!”

 

Next I rant and I fuss,

But, thank God, didn’t cuss

And reveal the heart of this sinner.

I intercept the two

On their way back through

And finally turn off that dinner.

 

Then my husband strolls in

With a bit of a grin

And a little sideways glance.

And says, “Honey, you know

You have quite a glow,

And you’re lookin’ real good in those pants.”

 

It was all I could take;

I let it escape,

And I ended up being the villain.

But why couldn’t they see

There’s only one of me

And, MAN! It’s tough being a woman!

 

Then with all his charm

He reached out his arms

And said, “Why don’t you have a seat?”

“But I’m too far behind…”

He said, “It’ll be fine,

And we can just go out to eat.”

 

Later, the kids in bed,

My hand on their heads,

I thank God for all I’ve been given.

What He gives is enough.

The rest is just stuff,

And MAN! It’s great being a woman.

God’s 2015 Promises For You and Your Family–Will You Claim Them?

IMG_2117 - Version 2Well, I always have plenty to say, but I thought as we close this year and head into the new one, I’d say less and let God say more. His words are more important and reliable anyway. So instead of giving you my list of resolutions, I thought I’d share just a short list of His promises for you and your family instead. He is anxious to see them fulfilled in your life, but

There is a catch: You have to claim them.

It’s true God’s promises are real and powerful, but they do typically require our faith and cooperation. Think of it like this. If you receive a paycheck for services or goods, that check is a promise, but unless it is cashed in, unless it is claimed, it is useless. You can stare at it all day and it will not put food on your table or clothes on your back until you deposit it or cash it in.

God’s promises are likewise. They do not automatically come to pass. You must receive them as truth in your heart and take them to Him in faith and claim, “Lord, you’ve said this and I believe it”. Then Oh! what miracles take place when we pray God’s word with expectancy over our children and our homes! And let me add, whatever faith you have to believe them is all the faith you need. He will meet you where you are and grow your own faith through His faithfulness.

So, here are just a few of the many promises of God. I keep a journal of them so I can find the ones I need when my heart is anxious and I don’t know what to do. Perhaps you’d like to write down those that speak to you most and do the same. I promise you this. As you learn God’s heart for your family and speak His promises over them, your own heart will find more rest.

God Bless you and yours in 2015!

Promises of Provision:

“…those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.” Isaiah 34:9-10

“And my God shall supply all your need…” Philippians 4:19

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” Matthew 6:31-32

Promises of Salvation and Deliverance:

“…the children of the godly will go free.” Proverbs 11:21 NLT

“For I will contend with him who contends with you, and I will save your children.” Isaiah 49:25

“Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” Acts 16:31 NLT

Promises of Blessings:

“I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring.” Isaiah 44:3

“The generation of the upright will be blessed.” Psalm 112:2

Promises of Protection:

“In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge.” Proverbs 14:26

“The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.” Psalm 121:8

Psalm 91–the whole chapter! My go-to chapter for all that frightens me concerning my children.

Promises for Guidance:

“You will guide me with Your counsel…” Psalm 73:24

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.” Psalm 32:8

“Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ ” Isaiah 30:21

Promises for Wisdom:

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5

“For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;” Proverbs 2:6

Promises of a Plan and Purpose:

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jer 29:11

“The Lord will work out his plans for my life.” Psalm 138:8 NLT

More Promises You Can Count On:

“I will teach all your children, and they will enjoy great peace.” Isaiah 53:13

“He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ ” Hebrews 13:5

“Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments.” Deuteronomy 7:9

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23

 

 

Gratitude, Not “Attitude”–7 Ways to Teach Thankfulness

My greatest blessings minus one :-(.

My greatest blessings minus one :-(.

I have always told my children that there is something to be thankful for in all situations, but finding just one in the port-o-potty of a Lancaster farm earlier this month was difficult for me. Although I was suspended between the door and the potty hole for mere milliseconds, to me it seemed much longer–long enough, in fact, to have a dozen possibilities race through my mind. You see, somehow I thought I could maneuver my way through the whole process of going pee in a 1X3 foot area with a cell phone in my right hand and the door slide in my left because, for whatever reason, it wouldn’t latch all the way. Somewhere in the midst of this task, I lost my balance and had a decision to make. Do I lurch toward the door and risk falling out with my pants down or do I lean back and…well, you know?

I chose dignity over sanitation and came down on my hip with a thud. Now any reasonable woman would know she can’t actually fit down a port-o-potty hole, but I was not exactly a reasonable woman at that moment, and I was certain there was the chance I’d be forever humiliated for having to be rescued from my toilet fiasco.

In any event, it all ended with little more than bruised pride and a bruised hip for which I was not the least bit grateful. Annoyed, I kept my little incident to myself and wanted nothing more than to take a bath in Lysol. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stop my own words from creeping out from the corners of my mind, “Give thanks in all things.” Um, No. But after all day of listening to that nagging phrase, I finally threw up my hands and declared, “Lord! Thank you that my butt was too big to fit through the port-o-potty hole.” I know, it was pathetic and not very sincere, but sometimes gratitude is hard work. However, as in all things, practice makes perfect and the dividends are worth the investment.

For instance, new studies by R. A. Emmons, Ph.D., at the University of California at Davis show that a heart of gratitude actually makes us feel happier, healthier, and behave with more kindness and goodwill toward others. Who wouldn’t like to see more of that in our families?

7 ways to move from attitude to gratitude that have worked in our family:

1. Say thank you. To everyone. The teller, the clerk, the waiter, and most importantly to those in your own house. Just the habit of saying those two words is very powerful and your children will catch on.

2. Teach your children not to compare themselves to others. They will always find someone who has more. Model this mamas. Please don’t let your children hear you wishing you were in someone else’s house or driving someone else’s car or living someone else’s life. Yours is an amazing one without someone else’s stuff.

3. Teach them to give and serve. This is huge and it doesn’t require much effort to find ways to reach out. Whether it’s as involved as serving regularly as a family at a shelter or nursing home or as simple as inviting a lonely person to dinner, making others a priority will help your children develop not only a heart of gratitude but a heart that cares.

4. Give thanks in all things. And now I’m back where I started. They’re really not my words, but the apostle Paul’s from 1 Thes. 5:18, and I have stood on a rather large soap box and preached endless sermons about this one to my children. I wholeheartedly believe that there is something we can be thankful for in every situation. Look hard; it’s hidden somewhere. While I’m still not grateful I beat myself up inside a smelly port-o-potty, I am extremely thankful I didn’t lose my phone in a pile of poop.

Courtesy debspoons at freedigitalphotos.net

Courtesy debspoons at freedigitalphotos.net

5. “Count your blessings, name them one by one; count your blessings, see what God hath done!” It’s a great hymn and great advice. Whether you intentionally talk about them daily or encourage your children to write them down, recalling blessings helps us be conscious of all we have instead of focused on all we don’t. Let’s not limit it to a once-a-year ritual.

6. Pray. Gratitude is not easy so ask God to cultivate it in us and our children. James 4:2 says “You do not have because you do not ask”, so ask and believe.

7. Keep at it. Let your children know it’s okay if they are only going through the motions but don’t feel grateful at first. Eventually it will move from an exercise of the mind to a response of the heart. It will.

There will always be too many reasons to grumble, but if we choose instead to move from attitude to gratitude, things won’t only feel better, they will actually get better. I’d say that’s a reason to be grateful.

Welcome to My Messy (Oops! Blessed) Life

Am I the only one who can’t find her kitchen sink right now? Who couldn’t get out of a house fire without falling over the half dozen outfits (which are all too small by the way, but that’s another post) strewn across her bedroom?

It seemed a simple thing this morning to sit down and write a few words by the end of the day. After all, I’ve had multiple experiences lately that make for hilarious reading. The problem is, I can’t seem to string two coherent thoughts together to make any sense.

Everything around me is a mess right now. My kitchen is a dish-filled mess. My room is a laundry-filled mess. And my brain is a foggy, dusty, clutter-filled mess. Please tell me you get it.

Clothes everywhere AND an unmade bed.

Clothes everywhere AND an unmade bed.

I woke up this morning with a plan. I always have a plan and am a devout scheduler, but somewhere between running out of milk and trying to balance the checkbook, it all fell apart. So, here I am with no plans for dinner, math drills that haven’t been done, and more cobwebs in my brain than there is enough coffee to clear.

It’s moments like this that I am tempted to point my finger at my family and demand why milk wasn’t written on the grocery list before it was drained and why the craft supplies were left out after the girls were finished painting their vase and why my husband has to work late on this of all nights. After all, didn’t he hear the panic in my voice when he called at lunch?

Thankfully, somewhere between my irritated heart and my unruly tongue, I had an ah-ha moment. It’s true my house is a mess right now, but that’s because I have healthy children and friends who fill it all the time. And, yes, I run out of groceries a lot but only because I have a full table every night and amazing people surrounding it. And while I wish my husband could read my thoughts and know exactly when I need him home, I realize that only happens in fiction, and I’m grateful that he loves to come home every night to be with his family. So why should I be annoyed when the very mess that irritates me is the proof of my blessings?

Life is a lot like that I think, a “messy blessing”. We plan for one thing but something altogether different comes along, something better many times, and yet we’re disappointed. We strive to juggle too many demands only to “drop the ball”, and we’re discouraged instead of relieved. We like everything to be tidy and certain but instead it’s disorderly and unsure, and we’re fearful when we could be expectant. Life’s messy. And yet, it’s good.

And it’s all that “mess”– that edge-of-your-seat-up-and-down wonder–that makes it good. It’s like being at an amusement park; you can only ride the lazy carousel so long before you get bored or you throw up.

Maybe the ride through Hershey Chocolate Factory doesn't technically count as a roller coaster, but with Kieran it should.

Maybe the ride through Hershey Chocolate factory doesn’t technically count as a roller coaster, but with Kieran it should.

You’re not meant to go round and round and look at the same scenery. Every now and then, you have to strap yourself on the roller coaster (even if it’s only in the kiddie section) to see what you’re made of.

After all, isn’t it true that the greatest courage often springs from the deepest fear, the most heartfelt joy rises from the darkest sorrow, and the most overwhelming peace settles amidst the noisiest chaos? At least in my life, blessings have rarely come without a toll and even more rarely look like I expect them to.

Tonight my blessed life looks a little messy, but that’s okay. We can eat pizza on paper plates for dinner, skip math for the night to watch Andy Griffith re-runs, and tackle the laundry pile tomorrow. Are underwear technically clean if you turn them inside out? Just curious.

Well that’s my messy blessed life. Your turn. What do your blessings look like? Look closely. God hides them in the most unexpected places.