Tuesday, February 19

Breaking Plates


      On two mornings a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, when both Ava and Ella (and myself!) need to be ready and out the door before 8:30 momma gets a little...hmmm....let's say, intense.

    On those mornings I get into a bit of a "zone". It's the make breakfast, make Ava's lunch and snack, make sure everyone has everything they need in their backpacks zone. When I'm in the "zone", watch out. Some crazy drill sergeant lady takes over and starts bellowing about the shenanigans that are going on instead of the breakfast that is supposed to be eaten and how everyone is going to be late and how we all need to eat our food MUCH. MUCH. MORE QUICKLY!

     There is often a loud "YES, you must finish your waffle!" and "NO, you cannot have Smarties right now" and "No! We are NOT WATCHING ANYMORE TELEVISION!" and "Please, please, PUL-EAZE! Stop touching your sister's plate with your fork just to piss her off!"

     Alright...I have NEVER said "piss off", but I won't lie I have definitely been thinking it while scrambling for more...um...appropriate words.

     Does this sound like anyone else's house in the morning?

     I've gotta tell you, there have been many recent mornings when I've realized that it might just be a very specific part of God's plan that I'm not also working outside of the home during this season of life. I don't know how you full-time, work out of the house, moms do it every morning!  Just the thought of needing to dress myself professionally, do something with my hair other than throw a baseball cap over the top of it, and arrive to an office or school or other workplace on TIME makes me...tired.  So blessings, extra prayers and kudos to all of you who are doing that! That's hard stuff.

    There are moments when I think this whole morning routine must get easier with time.  This is, after all, my first year doing it. But then I realize, especially with a baby crying to be fed in the middle of it all next year, that it's only going to get more complicated...at least in the short term.

    I'm often amazed that we do all get dressed, and Ava has NEVER missed the bus (I must get some points for that!) and somehow most of the details usually get remembered.

    Of course there are mornings that they get remembered by the smallest, teeniest, mere fraction of luck...

    Like last Tuesday when, at 8:27 (three minutes before we were supposed to leave), while I was brushing Ella's hair in the bathroom (who was otherwise completely dressed and ready for school) I remembered, by some random sprout of luck, that it was actually "Pajama and Pancake day.

   "Ella!" I shout.

   "What mom?!" she asks startled.

    "You're supposed to wear pajamas to school today!!! Hurry, let's run upstairs and put your pajamas back on!" We run like Olympic sprinters up the stairs to put her princess nightgown back on.

     Then, after I quickly get Ella BACK into her nightgown, I notice two library books lying on the kitchen floor. Two books that Ava was supposed to put in her backpack for library that day and that we somehow inadvertantly stepped over all morning without ever remembering to actually put them in her backpack.

    I scrambled to find a rubber band and a scrap of paper to scribble her name on to and threw them in the car...Fortunately we would be passing Ava's school on the way to preschool and I was able to drop them off.

    Phew...dodged that one too! Ava LOVES to get new books on Tuesdays and would have been sad to sit out while all the other kids picked theirs out. Somehow we even made it to preschool on time.

    I wish I could say this is just mornings in our house, but on some days I think it is just life with children in general...a little nutty, and always on the verge of missing something and moving quickly from one thing to the next.

    I was chatting with Scott the other day and shaking my head as I said, "Some days I feel as if I am trying to spin fourteen plates in the air and I KNOW that some of them are most likely, inevitably, going to fall and crash and break into pieces on the ground...I just never know which ones are going to break!"

    "I know how you feel," he said, "I feel the same way with my job and the people I'm supposed to get back to and tasks I'm supposed to finish and have to leave undone everyday."

    We both pause, raising our eyebrows and simply resigning ourselves to the truth of it all.

    "It's hard," I continued, "Even if there are eleven plates in the air at the end of the day, it's hard to focus on the ones that didn't break...to focus on the wins instead of the losses."

    He shakes his head in full agreement.

    As I think about all of this I am reminded of the plate breaking tradition that I recall reading about at Greek weddings. When I looked the tradition up online one woman said that the tradition (which apparently isn't regularly practiced any longer because of the dangerous shards of glass!) was started as a way to remind the guests that "Hey, who cares about plates, let's enjoy life and the joy of this moment!"

    I'm thinking that maybe we should start some deliberate plate crashing around our house once in a while...just to remind us to enjoy life a little bit more in the process of all of the details. And hey, even if it serves no other purpose, maybe it would catch the girls attention long enough to get them to quiet down and actually eat their breakfast in the mornings!!

Monday, February 11

Peace and Giveaway Winners!

Hi Friends!

       For those of you who stopped by to leave a comment on my book review last week, THANK YOU! I know I promised to tell you who won by Saturday...so sorry...Ella and my sister both celebrated their birthdays this weekend. We had a fun, but crazy 4-year old party on Saturday, celebrated with my sister and family Saturday night and had a full day with other commitments on Sunday too...whew.

      Guess what?!! For those of you who stopped by to comment on that book review last week,  I discovered I have 3 copies of the book to give away (rather than the 2 I thought I had) and 3 of you stopped by...whooppeeee!! I love giveaways when everyone is a winner!!!

     So Brigitte, Leah and my Anonymous commenter (please send me an email at [email protected] to tell me who you are!!) you all get a copy of the book!! I can't wait to send them out to you because I know you will be blessed by reading this book and working towards praying for your husbands more diligently!

      So, things have been busy around here...busier and busier, it seems, with each day that the girls get older. This week, like many of you, we have many Valentines to write, snacks to get ready for Valentine's parties and the other weekly, regular stuff of life (dance for Ella, gymnastics for Ava, a busy work week for the hubby...and the list goes on).

     Because family life has been busy I haven't had a whole lot of time to write or blog, but wanted to leave something in this space that points all of us busy moms and women towards a more peaceful existence despite what sometimes feels like chaos around us (even if it is just the regular old daily stuff of life, I know how chaotic it can feel!).

     That's right, we can have peace in spite of our hectic surroundings and schedules...or so says Haley DiMarco in the Fruitful Wife (the book I've been reading during my quiet prayer time in the morning for several months now).  The truth is, I believe her and know this to be true on a head level, but I haven't felt that kind of peace lately, in my heart anyway.  So, I'm working on it...working on trusting that God sees the details of my life, even the small ones and that He is there to offer wisdom, strength and peace in the midst of it all.

    I'll leave you with words from her very convicting and well written book. Words from the chapter titled "Peace". It's a long-ish passage from the book, but I promise it is worth reading so don't skip it!
      For most of the world, peace, like happiness, has to do with circumstances. The absence of strive, struggle, antagonism, and warm means the presence of peace. many believe that they can have no peace until there is an absence of suffering and irritation in their life. How many women have exclaimed, "Can I just get a little peace around here!" in response to the continual interruptions and demands made on her by those she loves? We all feel it, that nagging sense that peace is not available in our busy, hectic, lives. But the "fruit of the Spirit" peace, the kind of peace that survives the most unpleasant of circumstances, was never meant to be reliant on anything or anyone other than the Spirit for its presence. That means that even if war rages around you, peace can be yours. It means that you don't have to completely reengineer your life in order to find peace today. 
...Your peace, then is part of your faith in the God of peace. In fact, peace is evidence of your trust in him. A When there is a lack of peace, when your heart worries, frets, fights, or fears, and peace is absent your lack of peace calls God a liar. A lack of peace points to doubt in God's goodness, compassion, mercy and love." 
John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."

Wow. Did that grab your heart like it grabbed mine?! Let's go forth and try to be women who abide in peace no matter how crazy life gets...It sounds a heck of a lot better than the anxiety, frustration, irritation and feelings of being overwhelmed that I allow to steal my joy sometimes...How about you?!


Wednesday, February 6

Praying God's Word for Your Husband: Book Review and Giveaway

     Back in June I reviewed a book that I really enjoyed called Praying God's Word for Your Husband. I truly love this book and the encouragement that author Kathi Lipp provides to wives when it comes to praying for our husbands. 

     I must confess, life has felt a little bit overwhelming as of late...I don't know if it is the house projects, that it's the middle of winter, that the kid's schedules seem to be increasingly busy and full with school stuff and birthday parties (yes, even at this young age!), that Scott's job is busy, that I'm pregnant with our third child...Do ya think maybe it's a little bit of all of the above?!  

     In the midst of it all I often find myself surprised and challenged by the fact that there is little time left left to connect and talk with Scott about even the daily or the mundane things (schedules, time management, who needs to be where and when), much less engage about anything deeper.  Does anyone else ever feel this way? 

     In Genesis 2:18 God says (right after he created Adam), "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make a helper suitable for him." 

     I love that verse, though I often feel like anything but a helper. I usually feel like I need some extra helpers myself (like someone to help me shop and cook and clean and dust and vacuum!) I find myself hoping he might be able to help me out with the stuff around the house, instead of the other way around....I do sometimes, especially in light of rereading that verse,  find myself asking, Is there ANYTHING I can do to be more of a helper to Scott? 

     I know that if my husband is reading this he just stopped in his tracks and furrowed his eyebrows as if to say, Really?!! You ask yourself that?! I would have NEVER guessed. 

     Truly honey, I do ask myself these questions...even though it may not seem that way sometimes! 

    That said, this book is the answer to that question. There IS something you can do, even in the midst of feeling stretched and completely consumed by the busyness of the daily life of raising young children and trying  to maintain some semblance of order in your home. You can use this book, section by section, bit by bit, to begin praying for your husband WHILE you are washing the dishes and running the kids to dance and gymnastics and hockey practice. You can do it right before you go to bed or while you are waiting in the carpool line. You can do it on your commute into work (if you have one) or while walking the dog. 

     Here are my suggestions: 

     1) Get a copy of this book (here is a link on Amazon).

     2) Take a day or two to familiarize yourself with the chapters and read the introduction.

     3) Stick it right next to your Bible and at some point each day (or at least a couple of times a week)            pick it up and read a short page or two.

     4) Commit to praying for your husband throughout the day when you think about it instead of trying to "make" more time or squeezing something else into your day. 

     As Kathi says in Chapter 1, "God is not looking for us to impress him with our prayers, but he does want us to be open to letting him impress our hearts. He delights in simple prayer." 

     Here are a few other thoughts I had about the book from my last review: 
I must confess, I think I was a better wife before I became a mother. Does that feel true for anybody else? 
It's not that I don't want to be a good and helpful wife, it's just that on many days, when ALL else is done, it doesn't feel like there is a whole lot of time or capacity left.
However, while there are many days when I feel like there is no energy left for deep conversation, no time for the walks we used to take holding hands, no money left to buy fancy guitar or rock climbing equipment to let him know that I support his interests, and no time OR money OR the wherewithal to don the proper attire to eat at a classy restraunt....While I may not be able to do any of these things in this season of life, I can pray and I can pray deliberately and wholeheartedly in all seasons of life.

You can read more about Kathi on her website by clicking here...http://www.kathilipp.com/

You can purchase this book from Amazon by clicking here... http://www.amazon.com/Praying-Gods-Word-Your-Husband/dp/0800720768/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1359821686&sr=8-1&keywords=praying+gods+word+for+your+husband

Here is the really exciting news! After I read and reviewed this book in June, I found out that Kathi would be speaking at the blogging conference I attended in October. I tracked her down with my battered and dog earred copy of "The Me Project", asked for a signature and had a delightful conversation with her.  I even got to sit at the same table with her at dinner the following night (That was exciting in my little writer momma world!).

She was SO sweet that she gave me two extra copies of this book to giveaway to several of you this week as part of a blog tour that they are doing!!! Yippee!!!

To be entered to win all you have to do is leave a comment below (or on my Little Writer Momma FB page underneath the link to this post if you are not signed up to leave comments here) telling me why you'd love a copy of the book.

I will draw two winners Friday night and post their names here and on my Little Writer Momma Facebook page on Saturday morning!  

About the Author: Lipp is a writer, mom and passionate woman who I have come to admire through other books (The Me Project: 21 Days to Living the Life You've Always Wanted is one I read last year) and many of her articles I've read in MomSense Magazine and online. She is funny, down to earth and in writing this book provides an invaluable resources to every woman who wants to bless her husband. She is also the author of several other books including The Husband Project,  The Marriage Project and The Get Yourself Organized Project (whew...you'd think she's been watching my life secretly and putting these books out just for me...I think I need all of those!).

Leave a comment below! Can't wait to hear from you!