Thursday, August 30, 2012

One on One with Mary Jacobs

We were privileged to host Mary Jacobs at the last Capital MOMS brunch. She is a wife, mother of three, and a teacher at Capital Christian High School. Talk about experience. She's got it. I don't think I'm speaking for myself when I say I walked away with some great goals and reminders! I hope (if you weren't able to make it) that you find this somewhat helpful or encouraging.

Psalm 13
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
    and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
    How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
    Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
    and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
    my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing the Lord’s praise,
    for he has been good to me.

Sometimes being a mother of little babies/preschoolers can feel lonely. We have to choose to believe the Word of the Lord. We can get stuck in a cycle of "assumicide" or "presumiscide"- presuming things about others and it just kills/drains us. We don't know what's going on in the lives of our friends. Don't live life alone. When we catch ourselves going down that road, grab a friend and God's word and begin to pray the scripture. We need freedom (and have to give the freedom to others) to not be perfect. You will have more freedom when you aren't comparing yourself to another. The way to get back on track is through prayer and time with God. Even if you're prayer conversations sound like this sometimes:

Interesting Conversation with God.Author- Unknown, from a forwarded email (Mary says sorry she can't find the author's name)

Me: God, can I ask you a question?
God: Sure.
Me: Promise you won't get mad?
God: I promise.
Me: Why did you let so much stuff happen to me today?
God: What do you mean?
Me: Well, I woke up late.
God: Yes.
Me: My car took forever to start.
God: Okay.
Me: At lunch they made my sandwich wrong and I had to wait.
God: Hmmm.
Me: On the way home my phone went dead just as I picked up a call.
God: Okay.
Me: And on top of all that, when I got home I just wanted to soak my feet in my new foot massager and relax, but it wouldn't work!!! Nothing went right today! Why did you do that?
God: Well, let me see. The Death Angel was at your bed this morning and I had to send one of the other angels to battle him for your life. I let you sleep through that.
Me: (humbled): OH...
GOD: I didn't let your car start because there was a drunk driver on your route that would have hit you if you were on the road.
Me: (ashamed)
God: The person who made your first sandwich today was sick and I didn't want you to catch what he has.
I knew you couldn't afford to miss work.
Me: (embarrassed): Ok...
God: Your phone went dead because the person who was calling was going to give false witness about what you said during that call. I didn't even let you talk to them so that you would be covered.
Me: (softly) I see, God.
God: Oh, and that foot massager had a short that was going to throw out all of the power in your house tonight. I didn't think you wanted to be in the dark.
Me: I'm sorry God.
God: Don't be sorry, just learn to trust me in all things, the good and the bad.
Me: I will trust you.
God: And don't doubt that MY plan for your day is always better than your plan.
Me: I won't, God. And let me just tell you God, thank you for everything today.
God: You're welcome, child. It was just another day being your God, and I love looking after my children.

Mary shared about her experience with her daughter (now almost 29) being diagnosed at 2 1/2 years old with leukemia while being pregnant with her second child on the way. How do you handle a situation like that? She explained how she was just grateful that she knew God. She remembers sitting on her mom's couch and crying and just thanking God that she knew Him already- because He would carry her through this situation. (I'm not so sure I would have reacted the same way??) She asked the question- Who's kids are they? They are God's. Laura is still an amazing testimony of God's grace, miracles, and His strength. She battled 2 brain tumors this summer and recovered well and is teaching at the preschool. You would never know or guess her struggles - but God is greater. God has carried their family through. Reminds me to be grateful for God's blessings and thank Him daily for good health!

We have the ability to parent from a place of FEAR or from a place of VICTORY. When we parent with victory, there is much more freedom, less tension and joy!  

We also must remember to cultivate the fruits of the spirit in our own lives. We can't say "be kind" to our kids while we are constantly nagging our husbands. We have to practice what we are teaching. We can't make our kids love Jesus. We have to be real and live it our inf front of them. When we live from a place of love, joy, peace, patience . . . they will want to experience what we have.

Above all, we need HIM (period) to live. Pray the scripture over yourself and your kids. You are praying the will of God over them when you prays scripture- because it's HIS Word. Not only should we pray for our own kids, we need to be loving and praying for our friends children as well. God gave the example of leaving the 99 for the 1 who was struggling- it's the same with us today. When we see someone struggling- let's lift each other up in prayer. Prayer is the answer to everything.

Pray with your kids. Inspire them by asking questions. Ask them to think of 3 great things that happened today and thank God for it. (It's ok if they say they love the blue sky- encourage them- God created that- it's beautiful as part of his creation- encourage them in the simple things- it's a start!) Praise God. Give him Thanks. Tell God if you are anxious about something. If you are worried or nervous. Also- be quick to apologize. They learn repentance from us. It softens the home when we are willing to admit we messed up or made a mistake.

Sorry for the long blog. There were just great notes from our time together. Again, hoping you can gain something from this. Let me know what you took away from the brunch!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

K. I. S. S. I. N. G. first comes love, then comes . . .

So in my everyday search on Pinterest, I came across a blog that referenced the idea of making sure you kiss your husband goodbye for work every morning. If you know me, I'm sold when you say the word "kiss." I  had to convince my husband that it was a must though which is why this particular blog stuck out to me. They gave statistics. A man is more successful in life when given a kiss in the morning. I guess this idea has been going around for a bit, but I just discovered it.

Benefits from kissing in the morning:
1. Miss less work because of illness
2. They earn 20 to 30 percent more monthly (** I got Joe hooked here- it's now apart of our morning routine)
3. Fewer auto accidents on the way to work
4. Live about five years more than those who don't even give each other a peck on the cheek
5. Kissing husbands start off the day on a positive note, are less moody 

So, my challenge to you today and everyday, make sure to kiss your husband goodbye! It's good for the soul and your marriage.

Read more about the study here:

I'll have to find the blog I referenced above later- can't seem to find it right now...If you find a good link to the actual study- let me know!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Pinterest Inspired Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I mentioned in a previous post that I joined my neighborhood bunco group. We each get the joy of bringing an appetizer to the party each month. If you know me, you know I HATE to cook. I know hate is a strong word, but it strongly describes my love for cooking.

Well, Pinterest has become my best friend while trying to come up with ideas for lovely things to create. I think the only bonus of this whole deal is that my family is enjoying the new creations as well. They are my tester audience.

I limit myself a little too - to what I have in my kitchen on the day of the test. This time around it was lettuce and chicken. I found an awesome pin about recreating P.F. Changs lettuce wraps (click for the original recipe) and was bummed when I realized I didn't have all the ingredients. Then I decided to challenge myself to create something as close to the recipe as I could and pray it turned out edible.

Well, not only was it edible, it was quick and easy- and uses most ingredients that I keep stocked in my kitchen.

1. 2 Tablespoons Yoshidas Sweet and Savory Cooking Sauce (I buy it at Costco cause we use it so much!)
2. 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
3. 1/2 Teaspoon White Vinegar
4. Chicken Breasts or Tenderloins (I buy from Coscto)
5. Lettuce (we buy in bulk from Costco- we are on a salad kick these days)
6. 1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
7. 1/2 White Onion
8. Oil, Salt, Pepper
Dipping Sauce:
1. Mae Ploy Sweet Chili Sauce (buy in asian aisle at grocery store)- see in the picture to the right...

To make the stir-fry sauce:

  1. Prep the stir fry sauce by mixing Yoshidas, brown sugar, and white vinegar in a small bowl.
To make the chicken stir-fry (copied from the original recipe and modified):
  1. Heat oil over high heat until it glistens, about one minute. Add chopped chicken and saute until mostly cooked through, about 5 minutes with salt and pepper.
  2. Turn the heat down to medium-high. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, and then add garlic, onions, and the stir-fry sauce you prepared earlier. Stir-fry everything for about 4 minutes, and remove to a serving dish.
  3. Serve stir-fry with  lettuce and top with dipping sauce.
This was my final product (pictured above) and it was a hit!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

One on One with Joanne Cole

We were privileged to host my Aunt Joanne at the last Capital MOMS brunch. She is a wife, mother of four, grandmother of one and our Women's Ministry Director. Talk about experience. She's got it. I don't think I'm speaking for myself when I say I walked away with some great goals and reminders! I hope if you weren't able to make it, that you find this somewhat helpful or encouraging.

Here is a little recap from my perspective. If you attended and got something else I didn't include, please share! I love how God speaks to each of us in different ways through different people. 

What would you have done differently as a young MOM?
1. Take more time for yourself.
If you don't cut out the time for yourself, nobody else will. You need some alone time to keep sane. And when talking about alone time (this doesn't include 1 minute in the bathroom with kids banging on the door). Get a hobby. Find something that inspires you. Speaking for myself here, I forced myself to join a neighborhood bunco group that meets once a month for some me time. My husband agreed to the terms before I threw it upon him, but each Monday when I get to escape - I feel a little more peaceful. It doesn't hurt that I've taken home some extra cash almost every time too. Maybe that's God's way of telling me I'm doing the right thing by taking some time for ME.
~ Time for yourself even includes time with God. Don't set unrealistic goals. Try a Proverb a day. If today is August 2- read Proverbs 2. Proverbs is the book of wisdom. 

2. Laugh more! 
Not everything in life has to be serious. Yes, you are shaping your little kids minds and challenging them to grow each day, but it's ok to laugh in some moments that could make you cry. I loved Joanne's example about the rafting trip. (If you weren't there on Sunday, ask her to tell you sometime). Life goes by too fast to not find joy and humor in your kids. Even when they embarrass you, just laugh!

3. Give each other a break!
No one is called to be a mom to your child(ren) except you. Instead of judging another for their decision in raising a child, let's begin applauding each other. Let's affirm and encourage each other. 

4. Enjoy each space and phase of development.
Be present at each moment. Stay engaged. Love every moment, because before you know it, they will be graduating high school and college, moving out, and getting married. It's ok to look with excitement to the phases ahead, but once you are there, you can't ever get the past phase back. Know that every season ends. The season of infancy with exhaustion ends. The season with temper tantrums, the terrible 2's and 3's ends. So don't wish it away too fast. **Keep from being weary: You can do anything knowing it's temporary.

What do you feel you did RIGHT as a young MOM?
3 John 1:4  I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Point to Note:
Strengths carried to an extreme can become a weakness 

1. Be generous with your time. 
Stay up late for those talks on their schedule. Play outside with them instead of laying on the couch. Take time to create an activity they would enjoy. Go to the park. Sign them up for a sport they would enjoy.  

2. Work hard at being consistent.
Their attitudes will line up with their actions. Character with conduct. Beliefs with behavior. Be consistent even if you feel like you are a nag. How many times did you feel your mom was ever a nag? Don't you respect her now?  Save "no" for what really matters. Say "yes" as much as you can.

3. Take the time to explain "why."
Use opportunities as they come as teaching opportunities. Know too- you don't always have to teach to be a consultant. Pushing in the right direction without forcing. Be honest and open. Kids thrive on honesty and relate to you when you are willing to relate to them.

4. Peace is a great indicator of being where you are supposed to be. 
If your home is chaotic, you just might be out of balance. When there is disruption in the home, it starts affecting attitudes. You can learn when to say "no" to outside things when your home isn't peaceful. 

I'm sure I'm missing something. Regardless, lessons were learned. Growth continues.