While at the grocery store this week I struck up a conversation with an amazing elderly man. The conversation all started with him seeing Kool-Aid in my cart and he told me of his memories of his mother purchasing one packet, when money allowed, for a special treat. He said seeing it in his cart made him smile and remember the taste of it. I had purchased the squeeze bottles of the sweet drink so I took one out and handed it to him and told him to enjoy it tonight. This led to a talk I won’t soon forget.
He went on to tell me of his life and the most heroic story I had ever heard. He was a Vietnam war veteran. In a quick summary he was a well known helicopter pilot who while in air was shot above the eye and in danger of crashing his med-evac helicopter that was filled with injured and dead soldiers. Blinded with blood by his injury, he couldn’t see to finish flying the aircraft and he relied on one soldier who was in the bottom of his aircraft looking through a window who verbally guided him where and how to fly by telling him to pull up, turn, or ease down. They safely landed the flight!
He was then rushed into surgery but quickly ignored by surgeons who were sure he was done for. His friend, who carried him in, stood up and threatened harm to all in the operating room if they didn’t do what they could to save the heroic pilot. The friend then picked him up and under the direction of the surgeon took him to a waiting aircraft that was leaving for Japan. My newly admired hero was then flown to Japan, injuries taken care of, and went on to serve one more year in the military training new pilots.
As I stood in this parking lot I was blown away by this quiet spoken man. His story made his voice crack at a few moments and smile at other times as he told it to me. I on the other hand was fighting back tears thankful for all this man had done. He wrapped it up by saying a little while after he had been home, he was taken to Indianapolis and met with George H Bush who awarded him the Medal of Honor for his service. He was proud of this medal and said will occasionally get it out to wear to church to show the children.
I hugged the man and thanked him again for his service, our conversation, and sharing a Kool-Aid with me. As I sat in the car for a second to process it all, the thought that immediately came to mind went back to his aircraft. He had someone in the helicopter who could see where he needed to go even when he couldn’t. He had to trust this man to guide his every move and even though he was blinded by the situation he had to listen to the voice in his headset and trust that he was doing the right thing. Oh, what an amazing reminder of our relationship with Jesus. I have no idea what lies ahead of me in life. I can’t see it and to be honest I shouldn’t attempt any of it on my own. But Jesus is there and if I trust Him fully and listen, He will guide my every step and get me to where I need to be. I am sure panic and fear could have taken over but he had to listen closely and rely fully on his unseen co-pilot. So should I.
I will never forget this hero I met. I do believe every time I buy red Kool-Aid he will come to mind. He gave me a sweet reminder to listen to Jesus in every situation. I do believe no one has lived that out more than this Kool-Aid soldier.
Enjoying Every Moment This past week my youngest hit a big milestone. She was officially moved from a car seat into a high-backed booster seat. She was so excited and watched happily as I wrestled the mammoth car seat out of her seat. I am pretty sure it wasn’t just held in there with the safety latch system but also a thick layer of McDonald’s french fries, spilled drinks, and crayons. In true wrestling with car seat fashion my neck and shoulder got a charlie horse in it just attempting to wrestle it out. I smiled to myself as it tweaked with pain because I thought I won’t be doing this anymore! No more car seats. No more carrying a bucket seat in one arm with a sleeping infant and the other arm holding on to an overflowing diaper bag. No more sitting in the van quietly while the baby sleeps just a little longer and I fall asleep in the front seat. No more arms stretched back rocking the car seat with an inconsolable crying baby. No more babies. I feel like I have enjoyed every single moment of my kids. But I was the parent who would roll my eyes when people would say, “you are gonna miss this.” Maybe because every time someone would say that phrase they would say it at such a low point like when you are covered with puke, poop, pee or any other projectile. Or maybe when a tantrum had started. They always seemed to use it in such bad timing. Who would miss those things? But there are moments I tear up at thinking, “This. This I will miss.” Late night rocking sessions when the house is quiet. The perfect way your baby curls up in that sweet spot between your neck and chest. The first coo, smile, giggle, any basically any wonderful baby sound. Toddler giggles and creative playtime. I have had a car seat in my car for 11 years between my 4 kids. Now the van seems a little emptier. I will miss it, once my neck and shoulder relax. I have found myself looking at my kids this week and wondering where the time has went. I have had a special moment with each of them and I think oh how my heart longs to hold on to them at this age they are at. Mommas when life gets to be a little too much, look at these wonderful creatures you have and cherish this time. We are so privileged to be raising the next generation. Yes they can be hard sometimes and there may be times you don’t miss. But please slow down for a second and enjoy the moments. It truly does go too fast.
As a working/homeschooling mom of 4 with so many irons in the fire it is really easy to push my self-care to the back burner. Back burner? Thats an understatement. I think I am somewhere in the back of that closet that you never organize or clean because it’s so far gone that you think why start now? For example. I haven’t worn make up in….it’s been years. I just stopped for some unknown reason and thought eh this is just what I look like. But I have been struggling with my self image (corona-pounds, lazy, all that) and I am ready to do the cliché “new year new me” routine complete with a diet, health, and body improvements.
So, I start the diet. I then begin to Pinterest easy make-up routines. Oh my word. The first one swore up and down it was easy and then lasted 10 minutes, used an insane number of brushes of all shapes and sizes, and so many different palettes I lost track. All the while the skinny makeup expert kept assuring me this was sooo easy and was good for everyday routines. I am not sure I am ready for this. So maybe we will just concentrate on the diet. It really is going okay but here is where the greatest dilemma is. I am such an emotional eater. And I justify it every time! So now not only am I watching my food intake and exercise, I have to retrain my mind to stop being emotional or the constant need to justify my actions. My word this new me needs so much work.
Then I look in my closet and begin to ponder when the last time I bought anything truly new. I mean I have been given stuff and bought used clothes but when had I bought something brand new because it fit just perfectly and I loved it. I haven’t the slightest clue and that’s a little sad. My closet needs major updating but I refuse to buy clothes to cover up my corona pounds. Maybe I will lose some weight and reward myself with new clothes. If I ever lose weight. Why isn’t it just flying off like I want it to?
Okay. So, the new me isn’t exactly off to a roaring start. I have no make-up, no clothes, and this one day of dieting did nothing for my figure. Wow this is super encouraging right? But what I am telling myself is this. The weight didn’t get put on in a day and unfortunately my God won’t work that miracle and take it all off in a day. I can’t just go out and pull a Julia Roberts in pretty woman (minus the hooker thing) shopping spree and buy a whole new wardrobe. And I like art and painting but I am pretty sure I won’t ever be able to paint and contour my face enough to look as good as the skinny makeup artist. But here is what I can do.
I will give myself some grace.
I will be patient and understand that there will be good and bad days.
I will continue to try because honestly, I am worth that much.
So, new me? You best get yourself ready because I have been in the back of the closet for long enough and I am ready to take care of myself this year better than I have for a long time. There. I hope my self-pep talk encourages you too.
One of my favorite songs that we sing during Christmas at my church is called Noel by Lauren Daigle. It’s one of those hauntingly beautiful songs that is so much fun to belt out at the top of your lungs. My favorite line from the song is in the chorus:
Noel, Noel Come and see what God has done
Noel comes from the Latin word “natalis” and was an exclamation of joy at the birth of Christ. We hear this word often used during the Christmas period. This is all interesting but the line that follows it is what really gets me. Come and see what God has done. God did something great at Christmas for the world. He gave the world a great reason to rejoice on that precious night. But that song also makes me think of my own Noel shouting moments.
I have had many moments in my life where God has appeared and done something amazing. I was once hit by a drunk driver while driving and my husband was behind me in the other car and watched the whole thing unfold. It was terrifying for us but God protected me and I walked away with very minor injuries. Noel! Come and see what God has done! We have lost two babies due to a miscarriage and ectopic pregnancies. We struggled to have children for 2 years after the first miscarriage. I was receiving an ultrasound at my job for a training employee’s practice and they purely by accident found a tumor that I had no knowledge or signs of. Surgery was needed, was successful, and we were able to conceive a short time after. I now have 4 healthy beautiful children. Noel! Come and see what God has done!
We all have those moments where greatness happens. The check comes at just the right time for the late bill. The Dr. calls and the tests are clear. Marriages are saved, families restored, love is alive. It gives me such a surge of joy to look back at these moments and think wow look at what God has done. I believe we all have Noel moments if we will sit and think for a second. Let those moments be an encouragement to you in troubled times. Tell others of your Noel moments. Let’s celebrate this season what God did on that wonderful night and what He continues to do every day in our lives. Noel!
Friday the 13th always seems so omninous. The morning started off nicely. I got home from work and slept a short bit before having to run the youngest Poole to her first eye exam. She nailed it, no glasses needed (yet), and all is well. We went to the library and loaded up on goodies, books, and movies. All is well. We then had to go home to get a backpack for preschool.
Then things took a drastic turn. We opened the front door and was immediately blasted with a smell that was so putrid I immediately went into search and rescue mode. My son started the classic gagging noise of “whouhhhaaaa” I immediately hollered stay outside! Upon my tiptoe investigating our elderly dog had had a major accident in the dining room floor with a pond like puddle of pee, and not 1 but 2 piles of explosive diarrhea. Bad right? Nope not even close.
I then in a panicked thought realized the DEEBOT (floor sweeping robot) had begun his morning chores. Our sweet elderly dog let’er rip right in front of the docking station. THE DEEBOT SWEPT IT UP AND CARRIED IT THROUGH THE HOUSE.!!! I then began hunting for the Poop-bot and found that it had lost its poo spreading battle with an abandoned sock that was laying in our bedroom floor. I have never been more thankful for single socks.
At this point there were poop tire tracks through out the top 5 rooms of the house. I was at a delirious stage of not knowing whether to laugh or cry uncontrollably. I quickly soaked up the pee, opened the windows, and grabbed the youngest to take her to preschool (couldn’t miss it was snack day which I didn’t have yet)
I call my husband while in Dollar General to cry/complain to him about the travesty at home. While in line telling him of the event he is growing more and more apologetic. He then confesses: “I fed them leftover taco soup this morning because we were out of dog food. I am so so sorry.” When I say I lost it I mean it. I am hiding my face behind a bag of holiday oreos crying and laughing hysterically while trying not to scare the other 6 people in line.
I did forgive him. I swear. But not before I sent him updated pictures of the cleaning process that I was involved in. Poop. Everywhere. I did also tell him that I will be requiring major payment for the amount of stress this afternoon has been. Pizza and Big Red is a good starting off point.
I will forever see those little robot tire tracks in my head like a hillbilly robot who was muddin on a Friday night. Friday the 13th 2020 well done. But please move on to your next opponent.
3 of my children are in karate. They have been in it for about 2 years and love it very much. Today was a big day as they all broke their first real wooden board today during class. They had been practicing on their form and speed for a week and today was the day where they put it to use. They were all so excited after class running to show me their pieces of broken wood they had in their hands. Excited over broken things.
We tend to get upset when things are broken and with good reason usually. People tend to look at their rough pasts, hard moments, or hurting hearts as broken. But what if we changed the vantage point?
Our heavenly Father thrives on making beautiful things out of broken moments. What if we looked at our shattered pieces as a starting point for joy and beautiful beginnings. My kids were so proud of these boards. What if we were to look at our own torn pieces with a sense of pride of what we have been through and done and now what will become of them. It may hurt, it may feel so raw, but you can do it. God can take your broken heart, pieces, life and turn it into a beautiful future. Show Him your pieces. He will take it from there.
I use the phrase “put on your patience pants” from time to time in my house. The phrase came from a back to school sermon my husband and I wrote for our kids church classes. We were talking of getting dressed for school with the fruits of spirit as the clothes we need to put on. We put “patience pants” as an article of clothing and thought it was so funny (maybe just to us) that it has stuck around. I often remind my kids at times when they are not being to patient to put them on and wait!
Sometimes I think I need to do a double check for myself and make sure I have my own patience pants on. I mean life is crazy sometimes and I have walked out of the house way too many times without checking my appearance in the mirror only to realize once in public that I am quite the sight (and not a good one). So it is totally possible (okay it happens) that I don’t have my patience pants on. Kids aren’t moving quick enough, things aren’t going as desired, and the reasons tally up to a potential blow up. If only I had put on those pants.
I also want to make sure when wearing said pants that I am being patient with myself. I can get pretty hard on myself pretty quick. I am my worse critic and don’t give myself much of a chance sometimes. I think in our lives we need to show ourselves some patience. We are a work in progress through most of our lives and we can’t expect results instantly. If that were true I would have loss this Covid weight a lot earlier. But with patience and determination we will get there…eventually.
Next time you feel yourself getting agitated with a little one, a spouse, daily struggles, or yourself, do a quick glance down and make sure you are wearing your patience pants. If not head back inside and put those on. Oh and check out the rest of you too.
A couple of times this week while doing various tasks it was mentioned that a man could do that for me. They were not implying at all that I couldn’t but more along the lines of letting a man handle something I was doing. Now hear me out I am not a full blown feminist. This isn’t a “I am woman hear me roar” post. I am quite comfortable in my womanly role of raising babies, keeping a house, and doing all the things. But these moments stuck out to me.
I take pride in doing hard work. I enjoy manual labor, sweat and grit, and then enjoying a job well done. I am not exactly (okay not at all) a girl to sit back and let someone else do the work. I really enjoy rolling up my sleeves and doing the hard stuff. My mother wonders where I got it but I know it came from her directly.
As long as my body is up and able I will lift the heavy stuff, get dirty and sweaty, and work till the job is done. And then I will head inside cook a meal and take care of the kids. Okay so maybe this is a hear me roar post. Whatever it is, I’m your girl. Roar….
This phrase has been mulling around in my head this week. I hear it every so often and picture it on written beautifully on a canvas painted with a beautiful night sky or a crashing wave. Those are my favorite sights to see. Perhaps I will paint it one of these days.
I believe it is there telling me to take a chance. So many times when we are presented with an opportunity we say no because….and then insert a long line of the no’s. Too risky, no time, no money, no qualifications….something. But what if we say, “why not?” and go for it? I mean yes it could go south and end up not going well, but what if it didn’t? What if it created wonderful memories, lessons, and moments that you are so thankful you took the chance. It can be so easy to sit back and let our lives pass by that we miss moments that we can give a “why not” and go for it.
Don’t let fear hinder you from living. Take a chance and experience it. If it goes wrong, hey lesson learned (please learn from it). But if it turns out amazing then wow what a memory you now have. I want to give “why not” a chance. Maybe its echoing in my brain for a reason. Here’s hoping its a great one.
This morning I was a great mom. I woke up had my devotion and prayer time. Got 3 out of 4 breakfast (the oldest took care of himself) then sat down to play Barbies with my daughters new house. It was such a nice morning. I had given plenty of warning of what time we had to leave to go to home school co-op and surprisingly enough we were staying pretty close to that schedule. It was an all around pleasant morning.
Then the sweater. My son, who was the first dressed and ready, when told to go and get his coat came out in a sweater with snow boots and athletic pants. He looked ridiculous and hadn’t put on his coat. I remained somewhat calm and told him no to take it off and get his actual coat. It went downhill from there. Somewhere in the madness from getting 4 kids into a minivan to leave at appointed time, dressing myself, a now turtle like child who was trying to rearrange his entire clothing choice to include the sweater…I lost my cool.
I exploded. There I said it. I took our pleasant non-rushed morning and upended it in a crying/shouting match between my pokey son. He eventually did dress in somewhat matched clothing, had a coat, and tennis shoes. When I plunked myself in the driver seat I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Why? Why does it have to go from 0 to 200 like that?
As I looked back at my son I explained to him my frustrations, he shared his, I apologized for the blow up and then I offered this suggestion. I hovered my hand above the dashboard I said, “Look. Do you guys see this button?” The kids all looked at me and each other as if saying Yup she officially did lose it. I went on, “Guys I had such a great morning with you and I am so happy to go to co-op. But I don’t want that bad moment to set the tone for the rest of our day. So when I hit this button it will erase everything and we get a new start.” I then plunked my hand down on the dashboard and said “There. We are all set to start our day!” Smiles all around. And much like my son’s backpack and pencils that were still in the house all was forgotten.
Momma, some days are tough. The kids won’t listen, you need a break, and sometimes even though we don’t want to we explode and get upset. We are far from perfect. But can I suggest something to you? Find your button. With one push of that big button our attitudes changed, school was great, and my pokey son found a new best friend which he talked about all day with a big smile. That button sure does work magic. It somehow took the exploded pieces and swept them away so we could have the day we envisioned. Could I have kept my cool? Yes but I am not perfect. Neither are you! Isn’t it great?