Thursday, March 29

3/30/07 "Mo" 1:30

That's what's on my calendar for tomorrow! It brings a smile to my face when I see it...even though it means I have a mammogram tomorrow at 1:30. It reminds me of the days gone by when I first started 'coding' some of my appointments on my calendar. If I simply put "Mo" down, I didn't have to go into a long explanation with my kids what I had to do at 1:30. I'm not sure why I didn't want to put 'mammogram' down as an appointment. Reflecting back on it I wish I had. It would have been a good thing for my kids to see me take time for myself. For them to know I had to have medical checks on myself and I had to take care of myself through out the year in order not to be too apprehensive when my turn came around. By the time the kids were old enough to benefit from knowing I was going in for a mammogram, I was so used to my code, I never changed it. If I had to do it over again, I would have written "MAMMOGRAM" in big letters. Maybe red letters. To announce to my family that I was taking care of myself. To remind myself that every month I had done my self checks and now I needed to go in for an annual screening. I wish I had acknowledged then that I was simply taking care of myself. It could have been a subtle lesson for my kids to see that I was really doing it for them. When I was mindful of my health, I could then turn around and pour myself into their lives. Whether I coded "Mo" or wrote mammogram is not the point, I guess. What matters is that I have been diligent in taking care of myself in the little things in life and as the years have accumulated, so have good habits and a more productive life. What's on your calendar in the days to come? Have you scheduled your doctor, dentist and other appointments that are necessary to keep you healthy? Put it on the calendar, in red letters and let your family know you're worth it!

Tuesday, March 27

Homemaking 101

One of the first discussion we had at Homemakers with Hope back in 2001, had to do with 'Developing Systems'. This was a concept I could have benefited from when I was a young homemaker. I was overwhelmed with all the areas I was suddenly responsible for and I felt if I couldn't do everything with ease and perfection, why even try. So I didn't! That didn't make for good homemaking skills at all. Slowly I discovered the secret of 'systems' and realized that is the basis of any well run company and certainly needs to be implemented in the home as well. A 'favorite' system the homemakers picked up on right away was that of organizing their spices! Never thought of that? Well, it took me several years into being a homemaker before I realized that if I put my spices in alphabetical order it would make baking/cooking so much more efficient. Want another system? How about putting your grocery list on the computer. Make a master list of all the products you buy for your family and lay it out in the order you find them in the store. Print off your master list and hang it on the refrigerator for quick reference. Circle an item as you see you need it and then head off to the store with your list showing you the way around the store. This is a guaranteed way of speeding up your shopping, eliminating zigzagging back and forth in the store and it also reminds you of items you may need but hadn't circled.
Happy Homemaking and Hurrah for 'Systems'.

Monday, March 26

We all need a little help from time to time

No one likes to admit their weaknesses or the areas they struggle with daily. I certainly do not like to admit that I struggle with maintaining a clean and organized home - especially since it's just my husband and I! We don't have any kids so there is no one to blame the messiness on except ourselves.

Thankfully there are some great resources out there to help those of us who are not naturally gifted in home management. One of our favorites is Family Manager.

"Whether you’re married with kids, single with no kids, newly married, a single parent, empty-nester, senior citizen, male, female—it doesn’t matter. We all need to manage our one and only life well so we can enjoy its blessings and opportunities to the fullest. And, we need a peaceful, welcoming place where we can close the door behind us and say, “It feels so good to be home!”" - Kathy Peel


Check out her Web site and see if it inspires you today.

Sunday, March 25

My 2 cents....on 'Waiting'

I wish I could say there is a time in life when you turn the corner and you never question the 'waiting' room any more. My husband and I are in the 'waiting room' again waiting for a business reversal to work itself out. We've been here before. We've 'waited' alot during our marriage. There is great wisdom in your last posting, Stacy. You are wise to phrase 'lessons I am learning' the way you did. It is present tense, an on-going lesson and that describes what waiting becomes in life...a lesson over and over again. I can't say it becomes easier, maybe just more recognizable and therefore manageable. It reminds me of the 50 mile bike race you and I and Rachel took several years back. It was a grueling yet exhilarating experience. Over and over again we tackled the hills, hoping each one was the last. I still remember looking down at my knees pushing down in slow motion trying to get the pedals to rotate around one more more time to propel me closer to the top of the hill. I would concentrate on getting my knees to extend down to force my legs to put all the effort in getting my foot to push into the stirrups of the pedal. I trusted that if I continued to exert that motion over and over again, eventually I would get to the top of the hill and I could soon rest my muscles. Sometimes in life I have found that if I keep my eyes focused on God as I go through the motions of faith, trusting that I will reach the summit soon, waiting becomes the norm not the exception in life. Waiting becomes recognizable and I dare say more 'comfortable' because I know that the pain of the repeated motions moving me towards the top will push me to the peak of this stretch and I eventually I will feel the cool breeze on my face as I coast down the road beyond the hill.
My 2 cents? I keep my muscles of faith in gear and repeat the motions over and over again when the going is rough, my muscles become stronger and the road becomes more manageable even as I continue to push forward. I 'fix my eyes on Jesus' as my body moans in exhaustion, trusting that the summit is near.

Wednesday, March 21

In God's Hands

It seems like life is filled with moments or seasons of waiting. God has been teaching me about waiting as my husband and I wait to start our family. But I'm certainly not the only one waiting. Here's what my circle of friends are currently waiting for:
relationships to improve at home
a job interview
a future husband
a baby to be delivered
to get engaged
to sell their home.

Every situation calls for reliance on and trust in God.

I came across this verse today:
My future is in your hands.
- Psalm 31:15 (NLT). Then, just a little while later, I saw this quote on the wall of a business I visit regularly, "I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future."

So I have a choice to make. Do I choose to wait with impatience, self-reliance and weariness? Or do I choose to wait in peace, joy and faith?

God knows my future. In fact, he's got my future in his hands. And I imagine his hands are molding it, perfecting it and forming it beyond anything I can imagine or dream.

I believe it's worth the wait.

Monday, March 19

"Just a quick question"

That's a familiar line I hear at MOPS each week. Often as I am walking in or out of our MOPS meeting where I am a Mentor Mom, I am stopped by a young mom. "Can I ask you a quick question" she might ask? I know I need to keep the answer quite 'quick' too because she often has 3 toddlers hanging on to her and they are tired and hungry after a morning of play. This week the question was, "What age did you enjoy the most when your kids were young?" Ummm, quick answer, huh? Surprisingly the answer came to me quite effortlessly because I had pondered that question myself as I journeyed along as a mom when my kids were young. I kept wondering when 'my favorite age' would come and wondered how would I feel when my kids passed through that age and I would be on the down side of enjoying them. What a bummer that would be, I thought. My answer to the young mom was a quick, "I'm still waiting for that very special age to come" (and I have 3 adult children!). I quickly added that every age up to now has been special and a favorite in their own way and each year, even up into these adult years have been enjoyable. Certain memories of different ages bring back moments of special joy, but God has made a mom in such a way that her plate is full for so many years and when her plate starts to empty, she finds her heart has filled to overflowing and that makes motherhood a job like no other.
I wished the young mom a 'great day' and reminded her to make the most of it. Today could be her favorite day so far!

Friday, March 16

Blackberry love

I hate my husband's Blackberry. This small hand-held wireless device is constantly distracting him. We go out to dinner (or anywhere) and I catch him checking his e-mail or playing games on his Blackberry.

We even have a friend who calls it Crackberry, because it is so addicting. I've told my husband repeatedly that I don't like his Blackberry.

That was until I received a love letter sent from...his Blackberry.

Here’s a snippet of the love letter I received:
“Just sitting at the airport thinking about how happy I am to be married to you. I think about all of the stupid things that I have done and how you have loved me through it all...I am happy to be in marriage with you and to share my deepest feelings and fears with you. I am thankful that you listen to me and love me no matter what I say or do.....

Thanks for laughing with me.
Thanks for crying with me.
Thanks for loving God so much!

I am very proud to call you my wife. It has been an amazing, difficult, fun six years of marriage. I pray that six years from now I will be able to look back and smile about all of the things we have been through together....."

Although I do believe the Bible is God’s love letter to me, it was so good to receive this letter. It melted my heart to read it. It’s been awhile since I’ve had a love letter written to me that was so genuine and thoughtful.

When was the last time you wrote a love letter? To a friend, a parent, a spouse, a child, a sibling? Who in your life needs to hear: ‘I love you,’ ‘You’re important to me,’ ‘I treasure your friendship,’ ‘I’m so proud of you.’

Don’t wait. Write the e-mail. Mail the card. Send some Blackberry love today.

On the Eve of a 31st Birthday...

OK, so it's not a milestone birthday, but it does give me pause to consider. Oh, it's not MY birthday, thirty one years ago on St Patrick's Day, Ryan, my son was born and that changed my life forever. Ever since his birth, I've been mindful every year of the verse in Psalms 90:12 "teach me to number my days aright, so I might gain a heart of wisdom." That means I should be 11,315 days (+4 for leap year) totally 11,319 days wiser than the day he was born. What a humbling exercise this is each year, for every year the number of days increases so quickly while my skill for living seems to struggle daily. The many birthdays I celebrate with my family always reminds me to slow down and live for today. Who knows what I might learn and what wisdom I might gain. It's the days that count more than the passing years.
Tomorrow I just may have to wish Ryan "Happy 11,319 days"!!

Wednesday, March 14

Welcome to our home

In 2001, as a young newlywed, I knew I had much to learn about how to live a God-honoring life. It's challenging to be self-controlled. Some days it's really difficult to love. And when I'm tired and grumpy, kindness is not my first response. So when Barb told me about her idea for a Homemakers group, I was excited and thought it had great potential. What I didn't know was what a profound impact it would have on my life.

Every month when I go to Homemakers I leave with a better focus than when I arrived. I am affirmed in my role as a homemaker. I am encouraged to pursue excellence. I am challenged to seek God's Word as my standard, not the world.

It is my hope that this blog will do the same for you. Whether you are married or single, with children or without, I hope you will open the door to our 'home' and find affirmation, encouragement, and from time to time something that challenges you to pursue excellence in your relationships, in your home, in your walk with the Lord.

I look forward to visiting with you!

Monday, March 12

Can a Mother in Law and a Daughter in Law have more in common than a man?

Well, Stacy and I have discovered a unique and precious relationship outside of our tie to son and her husband. It is this relationship that has allowed us to put together 'Homemakers with Hope' and I think it will be a refreshing relationship that you, the reader will benefit from as you read our thoughts from our different perspectives. You will feel the energy and dreams from the young wife and be tempored by the 'big picture' that I will draw from after years of living life!

I asked Stacy to lunch shortly after Ryan and she was married. I asked her if she thought there was a need for young women to be 'led, influenced, taught, mentored' or whatever the label, if there was a need for younger women to have input from older women. Afterall, the Bible gives the older woman a mandate in Titus 2 to " train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God." I was willing to pass on what I learned over the years, but was there anyone listening?
Read her reply in the next posting!

Welcome to our blog!!

It is so exciting for Stacy and me to launch this blog. This is the result of meeting for 6 years with young Homemakers to encourage and exchange ideas with women so they intentionally 'build their homes'. (see the link 'about us'!)We have been asked over and over again by other girls if we would expand 'our group', but it never seemed liked the smart thing to do because it would lose the personal touch and it would be too hard to be accountable and 'go deep' in our discussions. Now, with the use of the blog, we hope to post information and provide dialog so many more of you will benefit from what we have discovered over the years.

Thanks for joining us!