Friday, April 19, 2019

Faith filled Friday

It was a different kind of Good Friday for us but just as wonderful.

A few weeks ago when we were on April vacation week of no school, Abigail had the flu. So we cancelled our plans and just stayed home. It was fine, relaxing, and we got so much around the house done!

But with Friday being no school and such warm, wonderful weather, we decided to do something as a family - something fun! We went out to lunch and mini-golfing!


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And we ended the evening with a cute little chicken game that was new to us and so spring-like.

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I know that some days with my family are just as holy as days that are more traditional for us. This was one of them and it filled my soul up.

So thankful for my little family and the many ways God continues to remind me of His faithfulness each day.





Thursday, April 18, 2019

Thoughtful Thursday

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He was so tired that he flopped down upon the nice floor of the rabbit-hole, and shut his eyes. His mother was busy cooking; she wondered what he had done with his clothes. It was the second little jacket and pair of shoes that Peter had lost in a fortnight. His mother put him to bed and made him some chamomile tea.

~ home is wonderful to come back to after being out in the world
~ mothers are always busy cooking
~ tea fixes everything


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Wisdom Wednesday

Playing

You've heard it said that playing is a child's work. I couldn't agree more.

Children play in all kinds of different way. Some play outside and love to run and jump and get dirty, grab their bikes and ride around.

My girls have always invented "worlds". Huge imaginative play where they would create a 'world' out of anything and make a whole story (sometimes lasting for weeks) come alive.

I'm grateful for play and that they will still play. Of course it's not the same as it was when they were both home with me all day long but it's still there.

I do all I can to keep them little. Keep them in their own 'little world' away from as much as I can.

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Go out and play!


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Ceili

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It was the annual Irish Dance Ceili! - And she was all smiles!

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We love to watch her dance!

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I, especially, cherish all of the memories of her little-ness, and her girl-ness. I just love it so.

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Now, here's the story: she's danced Irish Step since she was five years old, in Kindergarten. But this year she took a few less Irish classes and tried out ballet. She oh my, oh my, she took my breath away, such a beautiful ballerina. I loved her in ballet.

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Be still my heart.

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The Ceili is not like any other dance recital. It's a party with an Irish band, food we bring, and sitting around a round table with family.

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It was so much fun!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Motherhood Monday

A Servant Mother

On a typical school day by 6:10 am I have already been up for an hour and a half, and I'm at the stove starting Abigail's skillet lunch. I grab a banana from the pantry and the yogurt from the frig, the strawberries too and quickly make Anna's smoothie. I start her egg. I wonder why her door isn't open. I need to run upstairs to make sure she is moving but I don't want to burn the lunch or the egg.

Oh good, I hear her door. She's a few minutes late this morning.

She comes downstairs and is half asleep as she eats and drinks her smoothie. I stop my rushing in the kitchen to say good morning. When she's done eating she says the same thing to me she's said for as long as I can remember, "thanks for the yummy breakfast". And she fills my heart.

She goes upstairs to get ready for school and has only 15 minutes to be in the car.

Move the clothes from the washer to the dryer.

I finish Abigail's skillet lunch and put it in her thermos as I start an omelet for her. I can keep the burner on low and run up to wake her up. Shades up, morning CD on. She's so peaceful - I reach in for a quick snuggle - and I wish our day could stop right there.

Move Anna along - remind her she has 4 minutes to be in the car. Do it gently and tenderly, Tara.

Check the weather. These April days have us in winter coats one day, spring jackets the next, back and forth until summer. It might be raining so I put the little umbrella in Anna's backpack for her walk home from school.

Finish the omelet. Anna is back in the kitchen ready to get in the car. It's 7:04, right on time.

I run upstairs one last time and Abigail is sitting on her floor starting to get dressed into the outfit we picked out the night before. I tell her that I'll be back in 6 minutes and for her to start eating. Her omelet is at the table.

I race back downstairs and into the car where Anna is. I drive her to school. As I drive I pray aloud for her day - and then out of the car she goes.

Back home - I add the water bottle to Abigail's backpack remind her of how little time she has to eat.

I get her medicine ready. And her elecare. She likes her elecare (medical drink) really cold so I take the empty bottle out of the freezer where I put it sometime in my morning rush and fill it with elecare. She drinks some and I add it to her backpack.

I bring the laundry from the dryer upstairs and quickly fold it on my bed.

I run upstairs and grab my teaching shoes and finish my jewelry and makeup in less than 2 minutes.

She's looking out the window and telling me about a squirrel she sees. I stop and listen because we have a minute to spare.

I remind her of our plan for pick up in the afternoon.

She wants to turn the music on for the bird so I give her that time before we get in the car.

I drive her to school and pray for her day as I drive. She likes two waves. One as she's getting out of the car, one as she's walking toward the door. I wait so I can give her both.

Then I drive to my school.

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I have grown in the past 14 years I've been a mother. One of those ways that hasn't changed {even though they are older} and I've just been more aware of is being a servant.

I realize looking back and in what I do now the importance of the many thousands of routine moments in a mothers life and in these moments that the real greatness of life is taught to our children.

It isn't about all the 'things I do'.

It's how I respond to my daughters in those everyday moments that wins their hearts.

When I have respect and patience in the small moments of life that are so important to them - when I approach them with a servants heart then I build up our relationship and can teach and guide them in their lives.

The biblical model for loving and teaching with a servants heart was Jesus. I think about one of the last moments his disciples had with Him and what He was doing - He was humbly, gently, tenderly, ministering to them. He was serving them. He was touching them, serving them, feeding them.

And what happened in the process? He won their hearts by serving them in love.

That is what mothers do each day - when we choose to tenderly, humbly, gently serve in love each day we win their hearts.

To me choosing to serve is to enjoy Anna's happiness and wide awakeness in the evening when I'd rather be reading in bed and half asleep. It's knowing that this stage of life is passing and this is when she's awake and available to receive love from me. It's listening to her. Talking with her. Being with her.

To me choosing to serve is helping Abigail remember her pain strategies. To take the time to review them in the middle of the week - to do imagery with her when I have a pile of math tests to correct.

To me choosing to serve is to set up a playdate for Abigail on a weekend with a sweet friend when I'd rather have just the 4 of us home - it's being grateful for an answered prayer - remembering that I prayed for friends for her.

To me choosing to serve is to help Anna find clothes that are comfortable for her and make her feel good.

Above all choosing to serve is to know I that I already made a decision to make myself available for the routine tasks and unending interruptions.

And in that, all of that is the servant heart of a mother. My hands and heart serve, their hearts are open. And they receive.



Friday, April 12, 2019

Faith Filled Friday - He always answers!

I've always had a deep faith - always treasured my rich Catholic heritage and upbringing.

It wasn't until my college days when I met Father Bob (and the college Newman Center) that I really found my own deep personal relationship with Christ. 

And it wasn't until my late twenties when I took Bible study seriously. Ever since my 20's I have always, every day, even when I'm away from home, sat in the early morning at my 'bible desk' and opened the Bible, my pen, and a plain lined notebook. In that time (sometimes short when it's a school morning) I read, and pray, and let God show me what to study. 

And He always answers. 

Lately, especially when this is my second go-around of 'back to the classroom' - I've been nervous about the end of April until the last day of school. Kind of 'stop me in my tracks' nervous. I've tried to push away the feelings but they creep up on me. May tends to have a really full calendar in our house. I've always been able to handle it when I was home - but now with teaching all day I feel like not having that 'home time' to regroup and prepare myself for the busy weekends and evenings has made me stressed and grouchy. Neither of which I want to be. I can teach and but teaching and running that calendar in May is my weakness. I can do my week and the 'things' that my girls do outside of school just fine. But my weakness lies in 'extra', and 'extra' evening concert thrown in there, an 'extra' rehearsal, an 'extra' school play, even an 'extra' Confirmation. I know that anything 'extra' above the normal week can send me into a tizzy of almost tears even when I rationally know how to ground myself and even enjoy it. - My best weeks are those that I teach, the teaching is goooood, I'm organized in my classroom, my lessons are planned well and prepared ahead of time and I get to come home and be their mama all afternoon and evening and those are many many days but I can't always have that and I know that the end of April through the beginning of June has not a lot of that.

6 am in my living room - I love the way the light looks at different times of the year 

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So this April break I poured all of this out to God in my early morning time asking Him for a way, His way to not just 'make it through' but to enjoy this spring. 

And He answered. In my consistency in my early morning Bible study time He always answers. 

He led me to certain verses and made them come alive in a new way in my heart -- in a way that I know was from Him. 

I have pages and pages of 'poured out notes' that I'm going to type up so that I can access them anywhere {my classroom, my car, an orchestra auditorium} to remind myself. 

Today I am going to sit my girls down for a little mommy and me Bible study to show them what God has been speaking to my heart this week. Because I want them to know how to access God's strength in their own weaknesses

I'll spare you the pages and pages of notes - some Bible verses, some just practical tips He put in my heart and share with you just one verse.

(side note: I use a Catholic Bible each day but when a verse really sticks out to me and I know that God is leading me to it I'll look it up and several other translations. Some times a different wording will hit me and really make it clear to me. This is from the Amplified Bible)

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2 Corinthians 12:9 

But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving kindness and mercy) is enough for you (sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully); for my strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and showing them most effective in your weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of  Christ may rest (yes, many pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!

So on those evenings or weekends when I feel like I just can't bear going out after teaching during the day to a rehearsal or event (my weakness) I know I have that the strength and power of Christ is pitching a tent over my weakness. That His power and strength will be dwelling upon me! That is so awesome! And His grace is enough because His strength and power are made PERFECT! in my weakness!  

So instead of wondering if I can 'get through' I'll be resting {and enjoying this season} in His strength and power. 

Yes, He answers!

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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Thoughtful Thursday

A lesson I learned from reading the Little House series over thirty times and watching every episode over and over too - 

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You've got to start romanticizing your life. You've got to start believing that your morning commute is fun {and for those at home that morning commute is making beds, changing sheets and fixing breakfast again}, that every cup of tea or coffee is the best you've ever had, that even the smallest and most mundane things are new and exciting. You have to because that's when you truly start living. That's when you look forward to every day appreciating all the glorious things you have around you rather than those you don't.

Thank you Laura Ingalls Wilder for being my hero since I was eight years old. One day I need to tell that story of how she become my hero at such a young age and how my life was shaped by her books. 
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