I remember a sweet teenage boy once asking me, “Are you JUST a mom or do you DO something?”

The camp showers were 3 minutes for 25 cents.

Mommy bk k blog shower coins 1

My daughters were each in a shower and I would hand them shampoo, soap, or put another quarter in when the water shut off. Probably nobody likes to run out of hot water with foamy soap still all over.

Suddenly my heart completely ached for kids I don’t even know who don’t have a mother to help them through life.

I was moved to tears for them again in that moment.

The Holy Spirit overwhelmed my heart.

When I was a little girl and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up all I really wanted was to be a mommy and a wife.

Most of the time when I answered that question I was met with disapproving looks as if that’s not enough of an answer.

But it is.

It is enough.

As it turns out it looks like I will be a mother figure to many homeless teens in Alaska. Who would care for them? Here I am, Lord. Send me.

THAT is pretty amazing and I’m honored that God is doing this with my life. I don’t have to know HOW He’s doing this but I will keep following this dream He’s put in my heart as He keeps opening doors. (You can read more about this in the Alaska Homeless Teen Stuff here.)

I remember a sweet teenage boy once asking me, “Are you JUST a mom or do you DO something?”

SUCH a cutie boy, right?!

I smiled and gently explained that being a mommy and leading, training, and loving children is a very big job and is very something. He smiled back and I could tell he was believing this was truth (and it probably wasn’t meant in a disrespectful way at all.)

There is NO “just” in being a mommy or wife. (I believe that if it was a paid job, either of those would be on the highest scale ever. I know we’re all willing to do these jobs without pay but it’s just something I think about when it comes to the money and finance world and how it would blow the executives, presidents of companies, doctors, and lawyers away if they could all SEE a mommy or wife’s worth written in dollar amounts.)

But EVEN IF I was “just” a mommy and wife, that is absolutely “enough.” Whether people feel Called to adopt or are naturally Called to be a parent, it’s enough.

When did the world turn into such an

I-need-to-be-entertained,

everything’s-a-competition,

if-I-like-cheese-and-you-don’t-I-will-be-offended,

it’s-all-about-me-selfish

kinda place?

(It’s not about you. It’s about Jesus.)

And life is NOT a competition. Your race is your race. Period. And wherever you are is just right for God to use you and your story.

Whatever God put in your heart to “be” when you grow up, I believe it’s enough.  And if people laugh when you tell them you want to be a dancer or singer or whatever, let them laugh.  (The way someone treats you is usually much more about his or her heart condition than it is about you.)

I believe in you and God believes in you.  He created you and knows your most intimate dreams. Sometimes we let the world tell us what we “should” be doing instead of following the dreams God wrote into us.

I heard someone say he wanted to be sure and use up all his talents and gifts so that there was nothing left by the time he meets God face to face. That’s pretty cool.

The job the world says you “should” have and the job God’s put on your heart to do may be 2 different things. (For some people it’s a blessing to have already discovered this and to shake off the world’s opinions.)

Believe in you.

People can go a long way just hearing someone believes in them. We are to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ (even when we’re thinking about ourselves.)

2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

[Note:  I can’t leave this without adding that physical needs being met aren’t the only needs that desperately need met. Emotionally being there and believing in them, modeling integrity in all things and sharing Jesus with the kids in our care are also VERY important. Some kids have physical needs met but are starving for a deeper love that God intended for a mother to provide.]

[More:

Something we do at our house is called, “You are my favorite kid.”

I used to be a nanny and care for many kids. 2s and 3s are my favorite ages (and now, teenagers, too.) At one preschool job the most difficult child in a class of 24 3 year olds I taught was my favorite kid. Actually none of the other teachers enjoyed his company but he just had something special about him and I tried to be sure he knew I valued him.

We lived in Texas before this move to Alaska to open a homeless teen place. When my kids’ friends used to come over and they’d set the table or help in some way I’d say, “You’re my favorite kid.” (And it may only last 5 minutes til the next kid swept the floor or said, “I’m sorry” while looking into someone’s eyes and then that kid was the favorite kid.)

We’ve said this for years now and the other day my oldest daughter and I were talking. Everyone likes to hear that he or she is a favorite and many people never hear this in a whole lifetime. We are excited to get to take this favorite kid thing with us to the homeless teen place. Everyone there will get to hear “You’re my favorite kid.” (Sometimes my kids even say this to me. I love it!)]

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Her Dreams

Some people know what they want to be when they’re kids.

When I was a little girl the only 2 things I knew in my heart I wanted to be were a mommy and a wife.  (I’ve been a wife twice.  I guess I was an overachiever with that dream.)

As my oldest child and I were talking today we remembered all her friends who came to her giant slumber party several years ago called me “Mommy” because I asked them all to use sippy cups because I didn’t have water bottles with lids for 20 kids but I had enough sippy cups.  We didn’t want to spill on the carpet.  Some of her friends still call me Mommy because of that.  (I told them their moms may not appreciate them calling someone else by the Mommy name.  It’s cute though and they were just being silly and being the awesome, cute kids that they are.)

~
The thing I can’t stop thinking about is this:

What if there’s a child who needs a mother’s love and care in Alaska and God knew this was His plan for my life a long time ago?  Maybe the reason I didn’t know yet was because I wasn’t asking Him what HIS plans are for my life.  I was just doing what I wanted to do.  Maybe also it’s that He just reveals each next step to us in His timing whether we ask or not.  My husband and I can look back over 35 years and see how God’s been preparing us both for this very thing.

What if there are a hundred kids who need care?

I know there are.  And this is everywhere.  Every city.  Every place.  God leads people and uses us where He wants us.  Our family specifically feels called to move to Alaska for this work.

 

When someone tells you her dreams in life, although they may seem smaller than others’ dreams, her dreams may just prove to be bigger than they looked at that time.  (Being a mommy and wife are AMAZING things to be even if some don’t realize this.  Being one or the other is amazing, too.  And no, I’m not saying to purposefully be a single mom.  I’ve been there (though not purposefully) and it’s TOUGH!  My heart goes out to single moms and dads.  You guys are doing a very important job.)

Just sayin’ when people share what is most important to them, even if you think they’re not the super most important “career” choices many others are working toward, pray with them and help them see how God will use these dreams in their lives.  He’s got a plan for each of us.

The talents and dreams put in our hearts are there for a reason even if we can’t see the whole picture when we’re young.

Prayers for the Alaska homeless teen center are always welcome here.  We don’t know everything about how to do this work but we can look back and see how He’s been preparing us for this over 35 years.  We will keep following as He keeps leading.  We know He’s preparing the way even when we can’t see all of it yet.  We are excited to see who else He’s calling to this mission work.

 

[Note:  Yes, God hates divorce.  But God does NOT disown you if you’ve been divorced.  God uses EVERY part of our story for His Glory.  You don’t have to believe me.  Ask Him to do this with your story.  He will.]

[Another Note:  When people laugh at your God-sized dreams, be kind. Sometimes we all forget to dream big. Sometimes we forget that there is a big God over all this and it’s not actually random at all.]

I’ve gotta write about this amazing customer service!

Thank you, Gigi, Jax, Ashleigh, and Nora.  Ladies, you made my Christmas extra special this year. And thank you, Erin, for telling us about this store. Thank you, Chloe, my daughter, for caring about me and being a noticer. Thank you for pushing me to go to this store (because we both know I wasn’t gonna.) You are one of my best friends (even if the world says parents and kids can’t/shouldn’t be friends. When you think about it… the world says a lotta stuff that doesn’t make much sense and makes life more difficult.)

When I receive good customer service I OFTEN write to the company or to an employer praising the great way an employee exceeded expectations. (And when I get crummy service I only occasionally write and am very careful what I say. Maybe the person was having a bad day. Everyone has bad days.)

My husband recently took me shopping at Torrid. Torrid is a women’s clothing store. They have cute jackets, tops, bottoms, shoes, jewelry, undies, bras, and even a few nighties to choose from. AND they have gift cards so you can give this wonderful gift to someone.

I visited there once before and received the same quality of service as this time.

THAT time I was just buying a bra that would fit me (because mine was squeezing me like a corset and I was barely able to breathe.) Thank you, Erin. You are my hero! (I know the correct word is “heroine” but I like the word “hero” better because it sounds cooler.) Because you took my daughter shopping with you for your birthday, she told me about Torrid and now I can breathe again. You made a difference in my life when you shared this amazing treasure of a place with my daughter.

THIS time I tried on about 50 items of clothing.

And they did not hurry me. Not even a little bit!

I just had to write about it.

From the moment I walked in I was greeted by a smiling face and she asked if I was looking for something specific. I was. For many years I haven’t found cute jeans that would fit me. She found a couple pair of jeans and then asked if she could reserve a fitting room for me. (They even wrote my name on the door.)

Every time I’d get a few more hangers over my arm, someone would ask if she could take them to my dressing room. “Yes, please.”

At one time I noticed a woman waiting with an employee near the 4 dressing rooms. 3 were occupied. My room was just holding my clothes in it (I wasn’t ready to try stuff on yet) but they were not letting anyone use my space. They prepared a place just for me! Of course, I offered the room to the customer and she accepted.

I believe every person working spoke to me and nobody rushed me. Since I’ve had kids, many days I have been rushed. That’s not fun. Somewhere in the middle of mommyhood, we realize we better sit down a while because we just really need to. As a mom and wife, I hurry to help my kids, my friends, my kids’ friends, my husband, church, school, and then don’t remember that I haven’t taken time for me to be refreshed.

This shopping visit did just that!

After I was there maybe 10 minutes, tears came to my eyes.

What’s THAT about? OHHH! I’m not being rushed, pulled on, pushed, guilted into, needed, volunteered, or anything but pampered.

PAMPERED! WOW! THIS feels GREAT! I could do this every day! (I won’t do this every day. But I will remember the feeling and take moments for me more often.)

(I LOVE being a mommy and wife. These 2 things are all I ever dreamed about being when I was younger. I absolutely love it. It’s okay to need time to re-energize and regroup. Any job requires that for someone to be able to give more again.)

The employees were all kind to each other. There was no “attitude” when they spoke to each other or to customers. There was a genuine respect in the atmosphere that many companies don’t have between employees.

THAT says A LOT by itself!

I wasn’t in a hurry. They let me keep adding clothes to the room.

When I finished looking through all the beautiful choices and was trying the clothes on, every once in a while one of the girls would ask if I needed a different size or how things were going. (They did this with everyone ~ and it was very kind.) Someone would trade out one size or color for another while I was trying on clothes.

It was like they were there to REALLY HELP me shop!

The girls were professional, fun, silly, friendly, real, polite, and would offer their opinions about an outfit.

I LOVED that!

Even if someone doesn’t like a certain style or color on me, I may still buy it because I like it but I really do appreciate their opinions about whether something looks good on me or not. (I’d always rather hear someone who cares about me or cares how I look tell me in the store if it doesn’t look so flattering than for a hundred people to think, “That looks awful on her,” after I buy it.)

It’s not a reflection of my worth or beauty if a certain style or color does or doesn’t look great. Every body is a different shape and it’s pretty cool that we have so many choices to find the most flattering patterns to fit our body shapes.

At Torrid, (I have to admit this) clothes are a little pricey for every season shopping for me, but they’re good quality and the experience, itself, was WORTH EVERY PENNY to me (and to my husband!)

After deciding on final choices (with the help of my family and 4 sweet employees,) they took the time to find if my mailer coupons or if the in-store promotions were better for me.

It was just a special experience from the beginning and it stayed that way until I went home. I listened to the way they talked with other customers. Every person was treated with respect.

Thank you, ladies, for making this Christmas (and bra shopping a few months ago) a fun and special time. Thank you for NOT rushing me. Thank you for actually caring about my day and for offering your opinions when I tried on clothes. YOU made my Christmas more special this year. I know wherever you work, you will shine and companies would be honored to employ you! Thank you, Gigi, Jax, Ashleigh, and Nora.

[Note: This is not a story about thrift stores but I have to mention how much I LOVE thrift stores. Most of my adult life I have bought my clothes and my family’s clothes (not undies or socks) from thrift stores and garage sales. It’s okay to spend money on clothes sometimes but it’s very fun to be able, when someone compliments my cute shirt, to tell people it was only $2 at a thrift store.

But I’m pretty sure I’ll be visiting Torrid again; maybe for my birthday!

Oh, and I did find some cute jeans, too!]

[Note Too: I find it degrading that some people call some women “plus” size. I believe it would be equally degrading if people called some women “negative” size. It sounds unkind either way to me. Like “You’re too much woman.” or “You’re not enough woman.” There’s a lot I wish would change about this world.

Torrid mostly “sizes” clothes in 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4. And it’s a fun experience just to not see PLUS (or minus) on a sign.

We’re women and we’re ALL beautiful. Period.]

[Note Too Also: You know all those clothes we keep in our closets for 10…20…30… years kinda hoping to wear them again?

I cleaned them out.

THIS actually feels GREAT! (I’ll admit I never could bring myself to do this until now. Not really sure why that took so long. And any small step toward being healthier is better than looking a certain size.)

Try it! Say Merry Christmas to who you are NOW at the beautiful size you are NOW.

It’s actually a LOT of fun!! I never thought it would be. But it’s freeing! And once you really look at who you are and how beautiful you are NOW, no matter what size you are, it’s easier and easier as you go through the closet! I’m so excited for you! It may even turn out to be your favorite Christmas gift to yourself.]

 

We are UNhurried schoolers.

We are UNhurried schoolers. It’s a beautiful way to learn!

Yes, we’re homeschoolers.

Yes, we’re unschoolers.

Yes, we’re interest-led schoolers.

Yes, we’ve been public schoolers (many years.)

Yes, we’ve attended private schools (a couple years.)

Yes, we’re teaching our kids about survival, writing, reading, math, history, science, home economics, Bible, financial peace (with Dave Ramsey,) and much more.

But not all at the same time.

The best part about learning with my Homeschool Homies is that we are absolutely NOT in a hurry anymore.

We are learning. We are learning every day (even in the summer and on holidays.) And my kids LIKE it!

Today as I was teaching my 12 year old daughter how to use the sewing machine, I heard one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard in my whole life.

As we were not rushed… (because I do not believe true learning happens as quickly as many teachers are being told they must move…)

As we were not frustrated… (because several projects aren’t due for several classes where each one has a deadline…)

We are not worried about if the teachers would say she did the job “right” enough to pass a standardized test…

We are not focused on 10 different subjects every day.  We focus on 2 or 3 subjects each day.

We are learning to sew. Right now my kids are learning to sew with a sewing machine.

And it’s great!

Some of the most beautiful words I could ever hear came straight from my daughter’s heart today.

“I really like doing this stuff with you, Mommy.”

Praise God for UNhurried learning (and moments) like this.

Praise God for beautiful UNhurried words.

Lord, please UNhurry each of us and show us Your amazing plan for our lives. Amen.

 

Wednesday Letters

Wow! I am this week’s recipient of my youngest daughter’s Wednesday Letter! She brought tears to my eyes. It is a very sweet letter.

It’s due Wednesday morning but she turned it in early. I was surprised to see “Mommy” written on the envelope today.

My oldest daughter is a few letters ahead (but that isn’t a free ticket to miss next week’s letter.)  I still would like them both to turn in a Wednesday Letter every week. Extra letters are always okay.

“Wednesday Letters” is something I prayed about when we began homeschooling and feel God led us to start.

My oldest had had an assignment when she was in public high school where each student was required to write a note to each person in class each week.  This was something I was reminded of when deciding how our homeschool would look.

My kids pray over who they should write letters to and a letter is due every Wednesday morning from each of them.

The letters need to be uplifting, thanking someone for somehow touching their lives, maybe speaking life, or just, “Hey, I noticed when you….”

The reason they are due Wednesday mornings is because if they need to be mailed, the letters may have time to get to the recipients by the weekend (but even if they get there Monday, it’s a pretty cool way to start the week.)

The letters may be emailed, texted, mailed, but written is important. (IF for some reason they cannot be written though, then speaking them to someone on the phone or in person is still a great idea. We don’t want anything to get in the way of getting an encouraging message to anyone.)

This may seem small but it’s turning out to be one of my favorite things (and it’s not just for homeschoolers.)

I am praying this becomes something very big because we ALL could use more encouragement and more noticers in the world.

Being the recipient of this today has made me realize Wednesday Letters may become much more than it seemed at first. It’s truly touched my heart and made my week better knowing my daughter prayed and God put my name on her heart.

I pray this spreads like wildfire. The world is starving for all the blessings that have been left unspoken.

If you decide to write some Wednesday Letters we’d love to hear from you.

Everyone is invited.

 

The world lies. Forties are sexy and fun! There’s no “over the hill” about it.

Inevitable

It is inevitable
that when I spend time alone with God in any given day, I absolutely will be a better mommy, wife, friend, and leader.

When I pray over my to do lists, I pray something like, “Okay, God, YOU know what I want to get done, have to get done and will actually get done today.

I cannot seem to prioritize it without Your help because there’s SO much to do today. Please guide my day and show me what You want me to do today.”

And EVERY single time I’ve EVER prayed this, when I look back at the day and look at my to do list for that day, I almost ALWAYS did NOT do what I THOUGHT I wanted or needed to do, BUT am somehow COMPLETELY satisfied with the day’s work.

And I know that it is BECAUSE I prayed about it first. Funny how that works. Try it. All it takes is saying, “Okay, God, please show me what YOU want me to do today.”

I guess if I think about it, when my children choose to come to me for help with their day, I can help guide them also. Our DADDY in Heaven is SO good! I’m His daughter asking for help from Him just like my kids asking for help from me. OF COURSE I’ll help them. I love them. He sure must love us a lot to help us every day like He does.

40 Thing Pick Up

Make Jobs Fun
40 Thing Pick Up

Let’s face it. We’re gonna have to clean up and do the grocery shopping and laundry, whether we like it or not. So, my idea is to make it fun. As fun as possible, if you hate those things.

When we pick up toys, I may say, “Okay, let’s pick up everything that has red on it.” And when we are doing a pick up through the house, I say, “Let’s do a 40 thing pick up.” This is when we EACH pick up 40 things in each room, making each room look nicer than it did. Sometimes we do that just in one room. So, even though I don’t particularly like math, let’s do it. Four of us picking up 40 things in any room equals a whole bunch of things in that room. Now there probably aren’t many times when 928 things are out of place in any room at one time, so we make it fun by counting each shoe as one thing. Sometimes we count a PAIR of shoes as only one thing. If I tell my kids this detail before we start there’s not arguing. (If 24 crayons need picked up that’s not 24 things. Making this clear each time you do a 40 Thing Pick Up seems to help LOTS.)

Sometimes if there is a lot to put away when you look around the room it feels kinda overwhelming and you don’t know where to start.  I have found that my kids (and husband, too) do not mind as much when I ask them to help pick up quickly this way. They concentrate more on the number of things they’ve picked up instead of the mess the room is in. (And I get sweet attitude help!) And no, I don’t give prizes for cleaning up a room. Taking care of where you live is something we all have to do. It’s part of everyone’s job no matter what. (But more about this later: getting paid money for jobs vs. doing stuff you need to do just because you live there.)

Tiny mess. 25 Thing Pick Up. Works great for younger kids, too!

Enough

You’ve gotta be kidding!

Me?  I’m nobody.  I’m nothing.

Why would anyone want to read what I have to say?

I’m going to write a book?  Not me!!  Are you CRAZY?

I liked me. I really did. I do.

But I didn’t feel worthy of anything. My self worth was so low that I couldn’t see how God may choose ME for writing a book. Who am I? I was nothing. I am nobody.

One day a little boy asked his mom for lunch to feed 5,000 people.  His mom packed a lunch for all the people that day.  He had to use wagons to carry it all.  It’s a wonder that the fish didn’t spoil by the time he was able to serve it.  Fish should be kept at a certain temperature so he kept a close eye on it so he wouldn’t be reported like a restaurant with bad scores and a health risk.  Finally Jesus asked for his food and he said, “Here, my Mom worked for weeks to get this food ready for all these thousands of people.”

REALLY?!

Um, no.

A little boy.  Not a priest.  Not a preacher.  Not an elder.  Not a deacon.  Not even the wife of one of those.  Not the President of the United States.  Not a leader of the community.  Not a doctor.  Not someone in an elected office.  There was no board meeting.  There was no elders’ meeting asking everyone to vote on what-to-do-for-the-Jesus-is-going-to-feed-all-these-people-and-we-have-to-figure-out-how-to-do-it meeting.  It was one little boy.

Jesus used a little boy to share his food.  Jesus said to bring what little bit you have to offer and He will make it ENOUGH.

A LITTLE BOY brought his lunch and heard Jesus talking.  He offered his lunch to Jesus and surely he was just trying to help.  Surely the little boy didn’t think, “Hey, today I’m going to be part of a miracle so I should shower and put on a tie.”  I just think God uses us as we are.  If our hearts are open and we are listening, God can use us easily.

My problem was low self worth , not low self esteem.

They’re different.

Esteem

-to regard highly or favorably with respect or admiration

Worth

-usefulness or importance as to the world, a person, or for a purpose

I’ve recently met a woman who’s book inspired me to believe again.  Her name is Michelle Prince, author of ‘Winning In Life Now.’  Her book encourages people to work on what you need to work on NOW.

But still who am I to write a book?  Why would anyone want to read what I have to say?  I’m nothing.

I’ve been thinking and listening for a few years now and have realized that’s probably really a slap in the face to God. HE created ME. HE made me just this way for His purpose and I was not letting Him use me for His glory.

Write a book?  Me?  Okay, but just for the record, I think this is crazy.

Dear God, please forgive me for being stubborn and not believing that I was worth something.  Please forgive me for dragging my heels and for thinking that surely you couldn’t mean for me to write a book.  Please use this book to reach people who are hurting and help them heal.  Please help me write what You want it to say.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Some weeks and months I don’t write anything.  Sometimes because I think there’s no way I can help every person.  And that’s true.  I can’t help every person but if any one person can heal some because of me writing this book, then it’s totally worth it.  I’m gonna write it and trust God that it will get to the people it is supposed to get to.  My very favorite saying is “to the world you may be just one person but to one person you may just be the world” and to the best of my searching online for where that quote came from, it’s Brandi Snyder quotes I should give credit to.  I don’t know Brandi Snyder but the quote is absolutely too great!

Am I enough?  No I’m not.  But God can take the little offering we bring and MAKE it ENOUGH.

Bring what little you have to offer… loaves and fish… and God will make it ENOUGH.