If you are reading this–you are probably one of those moms that peaks at my blog because in some form you identify with our craziness. It’s a good crazy, right? You probably don’t really have “time” to sit down and read–but rather need a quick fix of encouragement…not necessarily from the words I write but more so to be reminded that you aren’t alone–and technically, we’re really in this together.
I wanted to take a few minutes to share something with you all that DAILY reminds me of my purpose and how to keep the main thing–the main thing. Daily, things come our way that have the capacity to overwhelm and discourage us as moms–whether it be a complete diaper blow out in a crib after finally finding clean sheets to a traveling partner-in-crime that leaves you flying solo when you feel like you just need a break. I need ALL the reminders I can get in my life–and for me having little things around my home that remind me of my purpose can really often set me back on course and bring calm when I need it most. You have probably seen that phrase all over the place…”live, laugh, love”…you probably have it on something in your home–but I wanted to share with you what it reminds me to do and be as a mom in hopes that it may also bring some encouragement to you as well.
Every day, I see those words in the yard RIGHT in front of my mini-van before we step out into the world, and I also see it when I pull back in before we enter our home. I snagged a similar picture of etsy (this seller is selling some she makes herself here…you might want the same reminder after reading this too). So…every day when I get ready to leave and when I come back I see this…
As I mom, wife, friend, daughter, sister…I want to LIVE. It is SO easy in our culture to be ruled by RECTANGLES. I heard my friend Amy Monroe speak on this at the Created for Care Retreat–and it’s SO true. If you think about it RECTANGLES can swallow up our time and value of LIFE with our family and children. Think about it…tv, iphones, computers…even books. It’s easy to let our kids watch tv while we check email (Did you know the average American child watches 2-3 hours of tv per day? And 45% of them say their parents leave the tv on for them for most of the time they are home). It’s easy to spend our hours on the internet…instead of catching up on much needed laundry (I mean seriously–if given the choice? And did you know the average American spends at least 2 hours a day on the internet?) It’s easy to talk to a friend on the phone…and then this friend and that one. RECTANGLES, RECTANGLES, RECTANGLES. I want to choose to LIVE over spending too much time on RECTANGLES. As lent is quickly approaching (begins Ash Wednesday on March 9th)–I want to challenge you to pray about how you can decrease the time spent on RECTANGLES in your life and LIVE more fruitfully with your family (Just so you know–I’m preaching to the choir here…I want to LIVE more!!!). I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to hear what you are choosing to do–so please share so maybe some of us moms can take on this challenge together! Soooo…every day when I see the sign LIVE–it reminds me to LIVE IN THE MOMENT and TO LIVE IN A WAY THAT WHEN I’M 80 I’LL LOOK BACK AND SAY, “I HAVE NO REGRETS!” (Seriously doubt we’ll regret spending more time with our children, more time outside, more time away from rectangles…)
Choose to laugh. As you choose to LIVE more–things will be harder…at first. BUT there are more rewards as we spend our time investing in those we love. Choose to LAUGH when things don’t go your way–and look for things to LAUGH about. Just yesterday I was taking a friend’s son home that lives around the corner from me and I passed a group of turkeys. Now, we could have passed them quickly and not looked back because–after all, it was lunch time, the babies needed to get down for naps and it had already been a crazy morning…Isaac was crying, Frank was whining for his binky and the older ones were pushing in the backseat and tattle-telling. I could have kept driving past those turkeys with my stomach in knots because of our chaos–OR I could take advantage of this rare opportunity and turn it into a time of laughter. I pulled over very carefully, decided to get out of the car and take pictures of them with my iPhone and when I got close enough–the larger turkey started to chase me. I ran back to the car and instead of leaving like a normal human being—instead, I unrolled the windows so the kids could all stick their heads out and get a close eye view and told the kids to help me scare the turkeys back into the woods with their gobbles. SO…we gobbled. And we LAUGHED. He didn’t move much–so I told the kids if you walk like a turkey and move your head back and forth toward him he’ll stop chasing you. I’m not sure if they ran back into the woods because of our gobbles or because of our LAUGHTER! Okay…if you aren’t my friend already on Facebook then you haven’t seen the picture yet–you have to see how BIG this thing was…
Choose to laugh, look for reasons to laugh or create reasons to laugh…EVEN if it means randomly drawing a mustache on your face and putting in pigtails. Looking for laughter and choosing to laugh really does change the environment not only for you BUT also for your kids!
In marriage, parenting and friendship–love is always a choice. There will be days when loving your spouse is easier than others…when loving one child is easy but for another is a bit harder…and when our own feelings have to be put aside to truly love a friend. There are days when I whisper a simple prayer about one of these in my life because love is a choice–“Lord, help me love ____. Help me see ____ as you see him.” Simple as that. And that prayer seems to soften my heart in its craziness and begin to really see. There are times when my children don’t WANT to be loved–but I know deep down they really NEED to be loved…and loving a child going through this can be really hard…and even hurtful at times. BUT 1 John 4:8 says, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” GOD IS BIG ENOUGH TO LOVE THROUGH US BECAUSE HE IS LOVE. It’s okay to also be honest with Him and tell Him, “Lord, I just can’t do it today–I need YOU to love through ME…I have no strength–so will YOU be my strength today to supernaturally LOVE.”
It’s also SO important the more kids and activities you have–to make time for your FIRST and SECOND loves. Time with the Father–by having a regular daily quiet time. And time connecting with your spouse. It’s funny how this can some times take us back to the RECTANGLES that swallow up our time…and I’m convinced if we have a set amount of time that we allow ourselves to spend on rectangles–we have more time for living, laughing (even if it’s through laundry) and time to really love one another. I’m a quality time person–so this is important for me to have time to just TALK to Richard about my day and to unwind with him about the things on my heart. When I start to feel “he doesn’t understand”…”he doesn’t get me”…”I wish we were on the same page with this or that”–99% of the time it really isn’t that we have different things on our hearts–but rather we aren’t having regular, consistent time to SHARE our hearts. This is also true for my relationship with my first love–the Lord. It can be really hard for this mom to find quiet time in her day–but I NEED IT…and I need time to rest in His love and in His strength for what is ahead for my day.
Okay, so the beginning of Lent is JUST around the corner. Let’s start praying about what we can weed out in order to better Live, Laugh and Love in our daily life. And how can we take our family on this journey with us. I have one fun suggestion for how to walk through Lent together as a family and learn scripture during that time. As some of you know last year we made a Lent tree with ornaments for each day. Check out this link on how you can involve your entire family in daily devotionals during this sweet time of Lent just around the corner. I can’t WAIT to start this again this year…my kids LOVE it–and it’s a good way to spend our time growing together.