An Autumn Treasure

The morning chill settles over my home and the fragrant smell of fresh coffee with a dash of pumpkin spice steams on my night stand and I am thankful. I haven’t always been a fan of autumn. I seemed to focus on the negatives or what I was leaving behind instead of the positives. Shorter days. Cold. Rain. See, depressing?

We see those posts on social media-the negators. They always seem to want a season other than the one they are currently in. That sort of thinking is a set up for disaster. I know. Been there. When it is snowing, we want ninety degree heat and sunshine. When it is ninety degrees, we want snow, a fire and a good book. This sort of discontent bleeds into other areas of our life.

If only my child could read…

If only my children were grown…

If only my children were small…

If only this adoption was final…

If only…… is a key ingredient in the recipe for discontent.

We must enjoy the season we are in now or we won’t enjoy the next season. Contentment is something we must practice. We earn and learn it. It’s not bottled and sold on Amazon. It is hard earned, but free!

11 Not that I speak from [any personal] need, for I have learned to be content [and self-sufficient through Christ, satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or uneasy] regardless of my circumstances. 12 I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret [of facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need. 13 I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]-Philippians 4:11-13,Amplified Bible (AMP)

Paul wrote of being content while in prison. He learned to be content regardless of his circumstances. We can practice contentment in every season, whether we have plenty or are in difficult times. We have the secret of facing life, whether we have abundance or are in need. And when we practice this contentment, we can do all that He has called us to do, because He strengthens us and empowers us. We are “ ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace”.

How do we practice this contentment?

  1. Give thanks in every season. Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of Christ Jesus for you. (I Thessalonians 5:18) Find something to be thankful for. A sunrise. A brisk walk. A text from a friend.
  2. Find something to love about the season. When my grandmother suffered a brain tumor and my mother brought her home to nurse her, the season was difficult for all. One thing I loved about the season is the strength of our family and how they seemed to pour in and out of the house like a healing balm. Grandmother was never alone and she was showered with love.
  3. Embrace the season. I was out and about the other day and it was chilly. I should have brought a sweater, but I hadn’t. I changed my thought from I’m freezing to this is invigorating! It makes me feel alive. Maybe your season is waking parts of you that you were unaware of. Maybe through your difficulty, God is showing His glory reminding you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Or maybe you are in a season of abundance and you haven’t noticed because you are too busy to stop and notice the blessings.

I pray that you will find something in your current season that gives you peace, that you find true contentment. If your heart is broken today, I pray healing and please be kind to yourself. Some seasons are for grieving and we must be thankful for tears. Some seasons are so full of joy, we must be careful not to miss them. Wherever you find yourself, He is there.

Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday! Join us!

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Everyone has Limitations

We sat on comfy overstuffed furniture in the cafe and sipped hot drinks at the Mom’s Tea last Friday. The topic was escaping. When I had previewed the lesson, I thought, this doesn’t really apply to my ladies. I know them. They struggle more with not taking a break then escaping into alternate realities through the internet and other avenues, like drugs and alcohol. It is a relevant topic for today’s culture. Are we living in the moment with our children in the real world or are we too busy posting seemingly perfect pics on social media? I’m not against posting an occasional update for friends and family. I do that myself. What we were discussing was much more serious in nature, having to do with addictions and not living in real life in real time.

Through our discussion, I gleaned some information that I find are reoccurring themes with Moms. See if you relate to any of these.

  1. Moms feel guilty taking time for themselves.
  2. Moms work themselves hard and expect more from themselves than they do from others.
  3. Those Moms who work themselves like pack horses are often too exhausted to ever do anything fun or  reward themselves.
  4. Moms who work themselves too hard, having unrealistic expectations, are prone to not only physical exhaustion, but sickness
  5. Moms feel as if they need to be the best ALL  the time (Perfectionism)

As you can see, our conversation quickly too a turn from escapism to guilt. Do you find yourself in any of these statements? Can I let you in on a secret?  I see myself in every one of them at one time or another. Maybe one or two a day.

Why?

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I’m speaking from the experience of a homeschool Mom, it’s almost as if there is some invisible edict floating around our culture that says if you choose to stay home, you had better do it perfectly. My house should be sparkling because I am home. My children should be clean, respectful, well-mannered, because I am teaching them. I should prepare organic meals that take me hours to prepare and my kids love to eat them. Or maybe you work part time, or full time and you believe that lie that you can have it all and do it all.

Guess what? I can’t do it all and neither can you. We are human. We have limitations. We might be bossed around by cultural edicts, but we can ignore them. Guilt might rear its ugly head if we don’t do everything all the time, but we can tell it to be quiet.(Tweet that)

We try to balance our bank account and not spend all the money so that we don’t have overage fees, yet we over spend our mental and physical accounts. When we do, everyone pays the overage fees. Our bodies shut down. We yell at our kids. We are cranky.  Instead of keeping up our standard of perfection, we crash.

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Back to the list. Guilt is a scary beast. Moms don’t like guilt. Don’t let it boss you around. Take some time for yourself. Jesus did.He wanted to get away from his public (Mark 7:24). I’m not saying run around town every day and ignore your kids and home. Schedule time to do something you like. Coffee with a friend. Writing. Crafting. Something you like. It’s important for your kids to see you doing something of value apart from them. Your children will eventually treat themselves the way you treat yourself. (Tweet this) 

As far as work goes, we Moms quote scriptures like ‘whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all of your might.’ That is a great scripture. Notice, it doesn’t say, do everything. How about one thing?  How about whatever is before you? Not the panoramic view. The one thing. (More on this in another post).

You are not a work horse. You don’t have to do everything all the time.

“Each day, ask God what god wants us to do today; then ask God to help. A simple request, but so profound and far reaching it can take us anywhere we need to go.

Listen: all that we want, all that we need, all the answers, all the help, all the good, all the love, all the healing, all the wisdom, all the fulfillment of desire is emodied in this simple request. We need say no more than Thank You.

This plan has been made for us and it is not one of deprivation. It is one of fullness, joy and abundance. Walk into it. See for yourself.”- Melody Beattie

Last, but not least, listen to your body. Don’t ignore the signs of stress. Don’t ignore that sore throat or exhaustion. God gave you indicators for a reason. Just as you wouldn’t ignore the oil light in your car, don’t ignore the physical and emotional signals that you need a break.

Ladies, we have physical limitations. We are humans. We hunger. We thirst. We need breaks and times of refreshing. It is profitable to take them. We reap a fresh outlook when we sow seeds of the proper sort of escape.

Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Wednesday! Join us!

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The Will Part II

“Here is the line which divides the effective from the noneffective people, the great from the small, the good from the
well-intentioned and respectable; it is in proportion as a man has
self-controlling, self-compelling power that he is able to do, even
of his own pleasure; that he can depend upon himself, and be
sure of his own action in emergencies” (Vol. 1, p. 323).- Charlotte Mason

In my last post, I made reference to what the Guire family calls freeze framing. This occurs when mom asks a child to do a chore. While Mom is present- child works. Mom absent – child NO work. When Mom re-enters the room the child suddenly appears busy. This is normal behavior when a child is first expected to do a chore independently. This bent shows a weak will. In order to overcome this habit and replace it with a better, a child must be trained, not punished.

Sometimes natural consequences train well. The impending arrival of a friend can motivate a child into finishing whatever chore assigned. Children who lack cause and effect thinking (hurt children) think they can control the outward environment and will not be affected by natural consequences. I have had many children do a chore after company arrived. It is imperative that strong fixed habits are coached in these children.

Today Ania had an afternoon babysitting job. It was Rafal’s job to vacuum the kitchen today and I reminded him once after lunch that he needed to vacuum the crumb-dust-bunnies before the little ones came. He assured me he would. Guess when he vacuumed? After the little guys came because mom was upstairs working on a mountain of laundry.

This is not a Rafal bash post. The information given is to make a point to help others who find themselves ripping their hair out in frustration or giving up on training. Do not be embarrassed if a child does a chore after company comes in the door. Don’t make a big deal out of it either. Just pull the child aside quietly and say, “you are welcome to go play when you finish _____.” If he falls down on the floor and has a fit, join your company and gawk with them. (Ask my kids about this, they have some funny stories).

Little Davy-guy threw up as soon as he got here. Guess who willingly helped me clean the rug? Rafal. Who cleaned out the vacuum? Rafal. Ran to get an old towel when Davy-guy upchucked his water later? Rafal. Guess who helped Davy-guy find some fun toys to play with in his room? Rafal. So proud of that boy.

I know if I would have let him off the hook every time he didn’t harness his will, he wouldn’t develop the habits he needs. He “can be sure of his actions in emergencies” with the proper coaching.