4.12.2013

When Love is too Hard

"To love another person is to see the face of God."
- Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

The selfishness of this world, and of myself, astounds me. In the morning I wake up and think, "I don't want to do this. I'm so tired.  I don't feel well.  I didn't sleep much.  I, I, I..."  When I get in the car I hear the lyrics of a song, "got to be true to myself..." Then I see the disgusting news that a human monster is on trial for killing babies born alive in the most gruesome of ways, because millions of women get pregnant when they don't want to and selfishly decide they have the power to brutally end the life of another human being. Babies!  Did I really just read about that?  How is that legal, acceptable, mainstream in this world?  I digress...

Or how about that couple that is getting divorced because they "just don't love" each other anymore.  What kind of love is that?  A selfish kind.

Yesterday I realized that I love others selfishly.  Even my own husband and children.  Most of the time I'm living my days just waiting for nap time, when I won't have to deal with poop, picky eating, constantly repeated phrases and questions, and whining.  When I'm not living for nap time, I'm living for the evening or the weekend when my husband is home so I can have a break.  So I can sleep.  So I can watch that show I've been dying to watch. So I can exercise.  So I, I, I....

(I'm not saying there's anything wrong with breaks from children.  We all need them for sanity's sake.  I'm not saying there's anything wrong with sleep.  We all need sleep so we can be healthy.  But what I am saying is that living for another time, a time when it gets to be all about me, is selfish.  That's the hard truth!)

I have been feeling particularly down lately, and I looked to God's Word for comfort.  The verse of the day on my YouVersion Bible Ap was Ephesians 5:1-2 : "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma."

At first I just glanced at the verse.  But then I decided to read it again.  The words Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice resonated deep inside me.  He gave himself up.  He made himself an offering and a sacrifice.  If I am to be an imitator of God, which is what I ultimately strive for, then I have to love my children like He loves me.  Walking in love means giving myself up for my children, husband, family, and friends.  It means that I sacrifice what I want and what I think I need to make sure that they are taken care of first.

There are those out there who will disagree with me.  That's fine.  Your walk with God is your own.  But for me, one who is selfish to the core, the lesson that I had to learn is that even when love is hard, I have to do it.  Even when I feel like I have no strength, no energy, nothing left, I have to do it.  Even when it's not fuzzy, doesn't feel good, isn't popular, I have to do it.  Even when I feel like I'm alone in it, I have to do it.

I will have time to myself.  I will have time to connect with other adults.  I will have time to rest and rejuvinate.  But for now I have to get down on the floor and play puzzles for the 400th time, change soiled underwear from a failed potty training attempt, feed that restless baby more than once in the middle of the night, and still find the energy to hug, kiss, and rub Neosporin on wounded knees.

Today I asked God to teach me how to love His way.  Not the selfish way that I always have.  The sacrificial way.  I want to be like Him, because it's only when I'm like Him that being a mom is truly fulfilling.  Being like Him means loving till it hurtsAfter all, just look at what He did for us on the cross.

 

"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it.
The hard... is what makes it great."

-Jimmy Dugan, A League of Their Own

 

 

4.10.2013

Easy Homemade Play Dough

Today I made play dough.  I can't believe I haven't before now.  It is so easy!
 


Easy Homemade Play Dough

Ingredients:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup salt (yes, CUP)
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
food coloring

Instructions:
In a 2 quart sauce pan, combine the flour, salt, and cream of tartar. Add the water and the vegetable oil, mix together.  Cook over low/medium heat - stir constantly.  The mix will start to get thicker.  Before it's too thick, add the food coloring. (if you wait too long the food coloring will be hard to mix.  Don't wait till it gets to thick.)  Keep stirring.  Once the mixture starts to gather around the spoon, it's done.  The whole process doesn't take more than 2-3 minutes.  Put it on some wax paper or a plate to cool.  Once it's cool, you can knead it for a little while to make sure all the lumps are out, and that it's smooth.

Fun times for everyone!







Gluten Free Hamburger Casserole

It doesn't sound that appetizing.  What can I call it to make it sound yummier?

It's not like hamburger helper.

Ground Beef Casserole?  Beef Potato Mish Mash?

Whatever you want to call it, it's good.  Darn good.  So good that there weren't any left overs.  We ate it all.  Isaac didn't like it, no surprise there.  But we adults liked it.  Loved it.  Devoured it. Did I mention it's good?






Gluten Free Hamburger Casserole

Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped (whichever you like best!  I used a yellow sweet onion.)
salt to taste
pepper to taste
3 large potatoes (peeled and sliced)
3 carrots (shredded.  you can peel if you want to, I don't.)
gluten free cream of mushroom soup substitute (I used this recipe, and it turned out dee-lish: http://www.justapinch.com/recipes/soup/creamy-soup/gluten-free-substitute-for-cream-soup-base.html  I left out the mushrooms because no one in my family, including me, likes them!  You could use a regular old can of cream of mushroom soup, but then it wouldn't be gluten free.)
parmesan cheese - as much or as little as you want!

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350.  Brown ground beef w/ onions on stove.  Transfer the browned ground beef and onions into a casserole dish.  Layer potato slices on top of the ground beef.  Layer the shredded carrots on top of the potatoes.  Pour the gluten free cream of mushroom soup substitute on top of the carrots. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cover the casserole dish with the lid (or foil) and bake in the over for 40-50 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.  Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of the casserole (uncover first, haha) and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.  Let the casserole sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.  Warning: it will be piping hot!

Enjoy.



4.07.2013

Climb On a Back That's Strong

 "I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come?" -Psalm 121:1

The responsibility of being a mom is greater than I could have ever imagined.

I should have known, really, since I had a great mom myself.  I should have known, when laundry was always done, when food was always made, when barf was always cleaned up, when hair was always combed, when rides were always given, when songs were always sung....it was my mom.  All that stuff didn't just magically get done.  It was a super hero who slept in a room just down the hall from mine.  My mom.

The responsibility of being a mom is harder than I could have ever imagined.

It makes sense now, looking back.  My mom never ate a hot meal.  She never finished a movie.  She was always the last one to get a shower.  She was always the last one to go to bed at night, and the first one to get up in the morning.  She made sure my dad had breakfast and coffee, and a lunch packed.  And she worked full time outside the home, too.

The responsibility of being a mom is lonelier than I could have ever imagined.

When I was four, my family moved from California to Pennsylvania.  My mom had to say goodbye to all the friends she'd known, and raise 3 kids without the support of her own family.  Yes, she had my dad, but husbands aren't meant to fill certain needs, like the friendships of women.  I remember her crying once when she was listening to song about friends.  She missed her girlfriends terribly.  She was lonely. 

Today was rough.  Sundays often are.  The last day of the weekend.  The last day my husband is home with us.  The day before Monday, which is the first day that it's just me and the kids in this house.  Great, hard, lonely. 

 My husband asked me if I was ok and I told him, "I'm just weary."  And it's true.  My kids are wonderful, and I love my family.  But being a mom is work.  Anyone who thinks that moms who stay at home with their kids have it easy is sorely mistaken.  I've had a lot of jobs, more than I can even remember, but I've never had a job like this.  I've never had a job that doesn't come with mandatory lunch breaks, and two 15 minute breaks on top of that.  I've never had a job where my coworker's lives and well being depend on me.  I've never had a job where I'm on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  And did I mention that I don't get paid?

I won't compare myself to my mom.  I can't remember her ever complaining.  She had the biggest influence on my life and the person I am today.  When I think about that, my heart gets caught in my throat.  I am the biggest influence on my kids' lives and the people they will become.  That feels too heavy.  I feel crushed under that weight.  I'm absolutely inadequate and unable.

So I look up.  Where does my help come from?  If I was able to do this all on my own, I wouldn't need Him.  Jesus, the ultimate example of sacrifice, which is, after all, what it means to be a mom.  Sacrifice.  I think about Him.  His whole life was a sacrifice.  People followed him wherever he went.  He was exhausted.  "Feed us! Heal us! Pray for us!  Save us!  Die for us!"  The people never left Him alone.

If Jesus could sacrifice all He had for those He loved, even His life, and I have the same spirit in me that's in Him, then I can sacrifice my life for those that I love.  I can get out of bed and make sure that the kids have breakfast.  I can play games, sing, dance, read, hug, clean, cook, love till I feel like my bones are breaking from exhaustion.  

Being a mom is great, hard, and lonely, and trying to do it on my own strength is useless.  So I borrow the strength of Him whose shoulders are more than strong enough.






4.05.2013

Hold your breath!

Yesterday Isaac's fever got up to 102.8.  His nose was stuffed and he was breathing through his mouth all day.  He was clingy, whiny, and miserable.  Last night when he went to sleep I caught myself holding my breath.  I was waiting for him to wake up wheezing.  I was envisioning late night emergency inhalers, and a possible visit to the emergency room.

Can you imagine my delight, joy, and gratitude when he was still sleeping at 7:30 this morning?  I didn't hear a peep out of him all night.  When he woke up he was warm to the touch, but the thermometer read 98.6.  



He slept through the night.

He didn't wake up barfing ropes of mucous.

He didn't wheeze.

I can't emphasize how truly extraordinary this is.  He had a "normal" sickness. 

A stuffy nose didn't lead to an asthma attack!  I will admit that I did a few precautionary puffs of his new (lower dose) emergency inhaler.  Normally, though, those precautionary puffs do little to nothing.  This time, 4 puffs from an inhaler seemed enough to keep his airway open and keep him breathing normally.  

Was it just the puffs though?   I think not!

Daily singulair helped, I know it.  But that's not all.

Weeks of keeping his body free of foods he is sensitive to...I'm sure that had something to do with it.  A LOT to do with it.

I'm surprised, astonished, overwhelmed with joy and gratitude.  As my best friend put it (without whose help I wouldn't have even known where to start this whole process), "I'd say you're onto something."

Thanks God.

4.04.2013

Blog Header

Like my new blog header?  Make sure to check out my friend Brenden's page, he's a very talented graphic designer!

Good News. Bad News.

This past week has been difficult.  I have been sick with a cold/flu thing, and Paige has been fussy and warm, which makes me think she has it too.  She's also got red, sore gums.  Isaac, although seemingly well, has been very toddler-ish and not eating much because he's sick of all the same old foods. 

In the midst of a hard week, I got some good news.  Isaac went to the allergist for a follow up yesterday.  It had been 4 weeks since he has allergy testing, and 4 weeks since we started his food sensitivity diet.  He gained 1.5 pounds, and grew 1/4 inch!  In 4 weeks!  Hallelujah!



All those days/meals of struggle paid off!

Last night Isaac spent the night at Grandma's.  When I dropped him off he was in great spirits.  But the bad news is that Grandma called my husband at 5 am saying that Isaac had been up all night with a fever.  He came home early this morning, warm, disoriented, and cranky.  His breathing wasn't fast, but it was faster than normal.  I gave him 2 puffs of his emergency inhaler on top of his daily treatment.  He's been sleeping for almost 3 hours now, and I hope that when he wakes his breathing isn't any worse.  It's different when Isaac gets sick.  It's almost always an emergency.  I hope that with this new diet in place, his system will work better to fight off these bugs.  Maybe it will be a normal sickness, instead of an emergency.  I've been praying.

We are going to try to re-introduce corn this week, in the form of corn chips.  We will have Isaac eat a serving of corn chips for 3 days, and watch him for respiratory or GI changes.  If, after 3 days, he seems to have no negative changes with the corn, then he is free to eat it whenever. 

I'm thankful that in the midst of a rough week (and the roughness isn't over) that we got some good news.  It helps a little.


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