A Life Stirred

Ten on Ten: The Runny Nose Edition

I bet you just can’t wait to see our day in pictures–”The Runny Nose Edition” just promises awesome.

Ten in Ten is all about finding beauty in the ordinary, which can be hard sometimes.  It’s really hard when two out of two children have pretty bad colds.  By the end of the day, I was pretty much covered in snot.  [Don't worry; I didn't take a picture of that.]  But even if I didn’t capture beauty in today, I did capture life as it is right now.  As we all know, life just flies by, and eventually, I’ll be glad for the reminder of what life was like at this particular point in time.

Watching Georgie while I made a grocery list (quality parenting right there).

Watching Georgie while I made a grocery list (quality parenting right there).

Ready to go grocery shopping.  I love winter, but I hate getting the girls into winter coats.  Such a pain.

Ready to go grocery shopping. I love winter, but I do not love winter coats.

This cart is a monster.  I usually run over at least one elderly person a visit!

This cart is a monster. I usually run over at least one elderly person a visit!

The girls are in charge of buying the bread at the discount bread store.  Jo handles the money.  Claire handles the bread.

The girls are in charge of buying the bread at the discount bread store. Jo handles the money. Claire handles the bread.

At this point in the day, it was 11:00, and we had spent the ENTIRE morning doing grocery shopping (we went to 4 different places to hit all the sales).  I always feel like I deserve some sort of award on grocery shopping days.  Other than a full fridge.

My pastor challenged us to read Ephesians this week (a chapter a day).  It's been so good!

My pastor challenged us to read Ephesians this week (a chapter a day). It’s been so good!

A switch flipped last week, and now she pees and poops on the potty!  (This might be the most beautiful picture of the day.)

Something clicked last week, and we’ve got a potty trained toddler!!  (This might be the most beautiful picture of the day.)

She woke up too early from her nap.  So we hung out.  I can't even tell you how much snot was on my face after this picture.

She woke up too early from her nap. So we hung out. I can’t even tell you how much snot was on my face after this picture.

After this point in the day, things kind of went downhill.  I took pictures, but I haven’t really figured out how to take good pictures inside after 4:00.  It’s dark by then, and I can’t seem to get any pictures that aren’t blurry.  So I have a bunch of blurry pictures of grumpy kids.

It's cuter when you can't hear her.

Like this.  It’s cute because you can’t hear her.

I’ll spare you the 5:00 picture.  As a bonus, Claire and I took a selfie outside the bread store.  She’s the best at selfies.  A true 2013 baby.

She's even saying "Cheeeeese."

She’s even saying “Cheeeeese.”

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It’s Snow-vember!

It’s not secret that I love snow.  I get really excited about every snowstorm we have (even the ones in April).  It tends to make me fairly unpopular in the winter.

I just can’t help it.

And there’s something about the first snow of the year.  Beautiful and fresh and new.  <happy sigh>

This past weekend we had our first snowfall of the year.  And instead of a light dusting, we got like 8-1o inches of snow (it drifted so it was really hard to tell)!  It was like an overnight winter wonderland!

I took the girls out on Sunday.  Joanna (my February baby who has earned the nickname “Tundra Baby”) loved it!  She thought sledding was the best.  Plus, now she’s big enough to sled down the hill and drag her own sled back up the hill!!  Ah-mazing!

This was mid-storm.

One inch on the ground; eight more to go!

Claire, on the other hand, was not as impressed with the snow.  As a June baby, she was horrified by the white stuff and really confused about all the layers and the boots.  She didn’t mind being pulled in the sled, but even that wasn’t always a hit.  She tipped out a few times, face-planting into the snow…so I can understand her aversion.

Snow is her kryptonite.

Snow is her kryptonite. She couldn’t get up.

Anyway, overall, the girls enjoyed the snow.  Or at least they enjoyed the cupcake I gave them when we came inside.  Bribery?  Maybe.

I’ll leave you with photographic evidence that time passes at a ridiculous speed.

October 2013

October 2013

November 2014

November 2014

Seriously.  Who told them they could get so big?  (Joanna always answers that question, “Claire Bear told me.”)

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We made it!

Oh my word!  We made it!  “Taming the Tongue in 31 Days” is done.

So is your tongue totally tamed now?

No?

Mine either.  But hopefully there was something beneficial that you read or took away from this little series…maybe.

For me, I learned that it was hard to write for a whole month on one topic.  Around the middle of October, I kind of got sick of my writing voice.  Lucky for you, though, I’m very much a rule follower so I had to finish it out.

But more than that, I learned that having a tame tongue is truly a journey.  It’s not a once and done deal (bummer, right?).  It will take ongoing effort.  I will have to choose to tame my tongue moment by moment, day by day, week by week.  Yet, I believe that with the Lord’s help, I can have freedom in this!  I can be a markedly different person from now on.

My tongue will speak life.

My tongue will not gossip.

My tongue will encourage.

My tongue will build up.

My tongue will be slow to speak.

My tongue will give grace.

My tongue be thankful.

My tongue will honor the Lord.

Now, that is exciting stuff.

Also, exciting?  Getting to write about something other than my tongue soon.  Ha!

Don't miss a day!

Don’t miss a day!

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Words to myself

Have you ever thought about the words you say to yourself?  I’m not talking about out-loud words where we chant our grocery shopping list to ourselves….but the words we say to ourselves in our minds.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not very kind to myself.

I want my words to my friends to be edifying.  I want to build others up and encourage them.  I want to show grace and love.

And yet…I rarely give myself that kind of grace.  I am very critical and discouraging and a little bit nasty.  Honestly, if I spoke to others the way I speak to myself, I wouldn’t have many friends.

I wish I had an easy list of suggestions for how to “fix” this problem.  I don’t.  (If you do, I’ll take any suggestions now!)

In Breaking Free (a Bible study by Beth Moore), she addresses learning how to take our thoughts captive.  We all have errant thoughts–that are based on lies we believe or a doubt we have.  We have to choose to take those thoughts captive to obey Christ.  We have to put truth on the lies and choose to believe what God says over what we say.

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God,

and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

–2 Corinthians 10:5

For me, it is an ongoing process, but I am learning.  And I believe I’m even making progress (because at least I can recognize that there’s a problem with my thought-words).  So, bring on the freedom!

Don't miss a day!

Don’t miss a day!

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Parenting with Deliberate Words

This post has to start with a disclaimer.  I am not a parenting expert.  I’ve only been a parent for two years.  I’ve only ever been a parent to my two girls.  Anything I’m about to share is simply what I’ve learned so far.  I share because I hope it might be a help to you on your journey.

Being a mom is weird sometimes.  You give birth to a tiny bundle of baby squishiness.

A tiny bundle with big cheeks.

A tiny bundle with big cheeks.

After a day or two, you get sent home with this baby, and you’re in charge.  The learning curve on motherhood is intense.  I know I learned to do all kinds of things I’d never done before—change a diaper in the dark, nurse a baby, or get a poopy onesie off a squirming baby without getting poo everywhere.

I also learned to narrate my every move for Joanna.  You know, to help with language acquisition…and to fill the silence of my house.

“We’re going to the grocery now.  Let’s get our coats on.  One arm in.  Two arms in.  Yay!  Now we need shoes.  Mommy has her shoes on.  It’s your turn now.  Let’s put those shoes on.  One, two buckle my shoe…”

So many one-sided conversations.

And then a weird thing happened.  Joanna started talking back.  Not in a sassy way, but she started responding.  We started to actually have conversations.  Now, she frequently makes me laugh with her responses.  So not only does she reply, but she’s funny too.

But anyway, when Joanna was about two, I realized I was still doing a lot of one-sided conversations.  I was giving her directions, and just not expecting a response.  Even though she was fully capable of responding and obeying.

For example, I would tell her it’s time to clean up, but then I wouldn’t expect her to do what I had just asked.  Just like when she was 3 months old, I’d tell her it was time to put a coat on, but never expected her to actually do it (because she couldn’t).

In doing this, I was weakening the power of my words.  She was learning that she didn’t need to do what I said.  And I could tell that I needed to say what I mean and mean what I say.

Sounds simple, right?  In theory, it is.  But in actuality, it is hard to make sure that I am only saying what I am willing to follow through on.  Yet talking to my girls this way has be so beneficial.  I feel like it has helped them to be more obedient and responsive to me.

Don’t get me wrong.  I still have plenty of times when I say something to the girls, and they totally ignore me, and I don’t follow through to make sure they listen.  Generally, though, I am careful to say what I mean and follow through on it.

I still narrate my every move (even when I’m alone at the grocery store…it’s a hard habit to break).  But I am also much more deliberate with my words and requests.

Don't miss a day!

Don’t miss a day!

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Words to our Kids

I’ve talked before about my words to my girls.  I want to speak life to them.  I want to encourage them and build them up.  I have seen the impact of my words, even at their young age.

Both girls are language-sponges right now.  They absorb everything I say.  Which has both its positives and negatives.

On the one hand, Joanna can sing the doxology (“Praise God from whom all blessings flow…”), which is pretty much the cutest thing in the world.

On the other hand, I’ve also come to realize that I say “actually” a lot.  I didn’t know this until my two year old started saying things like, “Actually, I’m going to do that later.”  It’s funny, but it makes me wonder what else I say without realizing it.  Gulp.

There’s nothing quite like having your kid repeat your own words right back at you.  And beyond what I say in the course of the day, the way I say things can have a huge impact on them.

A harsh “no” can cause them to burst into tears.  [This isn’t a bad thing.  I want them to have soft hearts that are quick to repent.  But it’s strange to see one word, spoken firmly, cause tears.]

A compliment or praise can bring a sparkle to their eyes.

This picture is the perfect reminder of the impact of my words.  Right before I took the picture, I said, “Joanna, you are a beautiful princess.”

jo

She lit up.

Our words to our children really do matter.  Even when they’re young.  So go speak some life to your kiddos today!

Don't miss a day!

Don’t miss a day!

 

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Words to My Husband

If you’ve been married for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard a sermon or two or twelve on Ephesians 5.  The husbands and wives part.  It’s like the go-to passage for Biblical wisdom on marriage.  And it probably should be; there’s a lot of good stuff in it.

Anyway, we’re talking about how we can tame our tongue particularly with regards to our husbands.

In a little more than a week, we'll celebrate our 6 year anniversary.  So clearly, I'm a marriage expert.  Or not.

In a little more than a week, we’ll celebrate our 6 year anniversary. So clearly, I’m a marriage expert. Or not.

…Let the wife see that she respects her husband.  –Ephesians 5:33b

Respect.

I can show respect through my words.

I’m not an expert in this.  I’ve just been learning as I go (and reading books and listening to sermons that will give me insight into the mystery that is my husband).  I have learned that my words can do damage…and fast.  Even if I don’t meant them to.

I am learning how to speak more respectfully to Ben.  I learning to hear my words the way he hears them.  I’m also learning how to say something and then stop and give time to think and respond…instead of just pelting more words at him (which is my natural tendency).

If you are looking for a good book on this subject, there are a million.  However, I’ve enjoyed How to Have a New Husband by Friday by Kevin Leman.  It’s a dumb title (sorry, Mr. Leman), but a very helpful book.  [And spoiler alert:  Having a new husband is actually more about you changing (sorry)…so if you wanted a book that would magically change your husband this isn’t it, but it’s fairly insightful.  And I did get flowers from Ben after a few days of applying some of the principles…so there’s that.]

Don't miss a day!

Don’t miss a day!

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Scripture on a Sunday :: Proverbs 19:14

townhall2 - Copy

Don't miss a day!

Don’t miss a day!

PS This is my 100th post!!  Who would have ever thought I’d make it this far?!

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His Word

You may have noticed that my “Taming the Tongue” posts are getting shorter and shorter.

I wish I could say that’s because I’m learning that less is more when comes to my words.

But really, life has just been rough this week…and there hasn’t been a whole lot of sleep for any of us.  So not cool.

I think we’re on the mend.  I hope.  I pray.  Oh please, let us be on the mend!

I thought playing in the leaves would drive the germs away.

I thought playing in the leaves might drive the germs away.

In this season (can a week count as a season?  It feels like a season) of sickness, I’ve been reminded of the power of the words that I speak to myself.  Also known as thoughts.  Ha!

When there’s a stomach bug in our house, I have a tendency to worry and fret.  My thoughts can easily go down a fearful (and mildly irrational and definitely unproductive) rabbit trail of What-Ifs.  I am learning (slowly) to fill my mind with scripture instead.

His Word and Spirit can fill me with peace that surpasses understanding.  His Word reminds me what is true.  His Word gives me comfort.  His Word is all I need.

Don't miss a day!

Don’t miss a day!

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A Heart Issue…again.

I’ve mentioned before that gossip is a heart issue.  Currently, my heart is super-sensitive to it.  I don’t want there to be any hint of wrongdoing in my words.

…which is good, and it’s where God has me right now.  BUT…I am so super-sensitive to my words that I’m a little extra strict with what I say and what I hear.  This makes for an interesting dynamic in my relationships.

For example, if someone wants to vent about a frustration in a relationship, I don’t know what to do!  Her heart in sharing may not be gossipy…it’s just frustration.  She needs some perspective and wisdom and understanding.  She isn’t sharing to tear down or slander them.  She genuinely wants encouragement and counsel.

Yet, I find that that kind of situation is hard for me.  Because of my gossip-y past, there’s part of me (the sinful part) that wants to hear negatives (especially if I know the person and/or if I feel like I’m competition with them).

She isn’t gossiping.  But I am…?  That’s weird, right?  It all comes down to our hearts.  My friend is sharing with a pure motive.  I am listening with an impure motive.  It’s tricky stuff.

It is my prayer that as time passes and as I gain more control over my words, I will be able to reengage in conversations like that without struggling.  God can transform me, and I believe He will.  In fact, I know He already is!

Don't miss a day!

Don’t miss a day!

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