A Mother’s Prayer

A few weeks ago, I was talking with a friend of mine about praying for our kids. She shared a prayer list* that she’s kept in her Bible for many years, although she memorized the words long ago. I thought it was a beautiful reminder of the blessings we as moms want for our children. 

Each day, remember to pray for…

Physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

An abiding sense of safety and security.

Courage to face the problems of each day.

A calm spirit to hear the voice of the Lord.

A willingness to obey.

A clear mind, both to learn and to recall.

A generous spirit toward family and friends.

Wise teachers, mentors, and counselors.

Unshakeable self worth and personal dignity.

Eternal salvation and a home in heaven one day.

As I read through her list, I realized that I have a prayer list of my own, but I’ve never written it down in such an organized way. I’ve kept a prayer journal for some time, so I can look back and see God’s hand at work. If you look through my journal, there are some things I pray for consistently… so often that I’ve developed a kind of shorthand.

That their hearts, minds, and bodies would remain pure, and that they would grow to understand what a precious gift they have been given.

That God’s voice will be louder than any of the other voices that compete for their attention each day.

That He would bring Christian friends into their lives who they can truly rely on and learn with.

That they would be unashamed of the Gospel, and that they will have the opportunity, desire, and strength to share their faith with others.

That the Lord would reveal their weaknesses and help them become strengths.

That they would make an authentic connection with their Savior. That He would be real to them, and that they would be able to talk with Him like they would to a friend.

What is on your prayer list? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

*I’ve looked for the original source, but so far, I haven’t been able to uncover it, so if this is familiar to you, please let me know!

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Let the Madness Begin

Today I am thankful that we have a working shower and hot water heater.

I’ve spent most of the day cleaning. Not because my house was so dirty (although, ahem, it could use some help, too). But because I told my kids that they needed to get rid of the things they’re not using. We start this massive annual declutter every November in preparation for the holidays and the new year. I am trying to declutter our entire house, and convince the others who live here that we need to be less attached to things.

Their goal this year was 30 items each. 7 year old Charlotte reached her’s easily, because, while she may have a ton of stuffed animals and Littlest Pet Shop pets, she doesn’t have a lot of junk. I convinced her that she didn’t need 5 pillow pets (thanks, grandma) and that some of her toys were just not being used or in very good shape, even though she’s taken good care of them. It did take a little prodding, but she did the bulk of the work herself.

My 9 year old son is another story.

Despite a warning not to do this, his first offering included 5 broken toys, 10 pieces of broken toys, and some tortured little green army men.  His next two attempts were not much better. I ended up doing a massive clean up (and yes, he was right there alongside me) getting rid of all the trash he and his brother have accumulated in their room, discarding broken toys, and serving as the judge of what they would keep and what they would donate. By the time we were done, I was in a rotten mood. It really bothers me how carelessly they treat their things, when I know that there are so many kids who have so little. It makes me wonder where I have gone wrong as a parent.

How do you deal with this in your home? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Sunday

Blessings {Thankful Tuesday, on Wednesday}

Surprise! I actually meant to post this list yesterday but was distracted by the baby’s birthday — although it was certainly a welcome distraction. We’ve had a very busy day today. First, we ate two Thanksgiving Lunches at the kids elementary school. In between the lunches, we came home so Caleb could eat his own lunch. After we were home from the school, I had to set up some technology and do some housework while the baby took a short nap, and then once the kids were home we had to go get haircuts and pick up dinner because it’s Awana night. Both kids finished their starter books so they’re moving on to the “real” program, and both are very proud of themselves.

In other news, the new blog design is on schedule. I’m still working on the organization end of things, but I hope to have it fully launched by December 1.

I am thankful for so many things this week. Here are just a few blessings that I’m thanking God for today:

— Both of our families were able to get together over the weekend to celebrate the baby’s birthday.
— All of the kids are healthy.
— I have two children who are excited about learning the Word of God, and are happily spending time at church (no fussing about it!).
— God has put new friends in our lives lately who have similar family situations (one has a husband who is away for work and kids the same ages and another is a mom to a large blended homeschooling family). I’m so thankful that God is helping us build a support system.
— We’ve had some cool fall weather. It might have been in the 80s today, but I still relish the slight snap to the air after sunset. This is my favorite season and I so love those windy cold-front days.
— And thank you, Lord, for yesterday’s rain! We need it so desperately here.

Museum Day!

Getting chased by a T-Rex adds some excitement to the trip.

We went on a family field trip to the Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land today and had tons of fun. The one thing that could have made it better? If the biggles had been able to come with us. We almost had the museum to ourselves, and the docent even let us choose which movie we wanted to watch in the Dome. Next time, we’ll probably go to the big campus downtown, but this was such a great day trip. Even the baby enjoyed himself.

We loved the Discovery Zone.

Equality

In preparation for the baby’s first birthday party, I’m trying to get some pictures up on the hallway wall. You know, that gallery space that I’ve been avoiding for about 18 months.

Why? Because of equality.

I’m a photographer. Because of that, the two middles were heavily photographed when they were younger. I mean, like, formal portraits at least once a month, and candids weekly. I have boxes and boxes of prints from each of their first five years, and in my old house, my entire wall gallery was devoted to these two. I also used them both for studio samples, so I have several ginormous (really, like 30×40) canvas wall portraits of each of them. And where are all of these pictures now? In the hall closet, in archival boxes or high up on a shelf to avoid water damage in case of a broken pipe. (Yes, I’m that kind of planner).

The biggles were not as well photographed. I’m not just referring to quality. They’re not all “just” snapshots . I’m referring to quantity. And to the way those photographs were preserved. Most of the pictures we have were treated pretty poorly… shoved into drawers or on to shelves, bent, water damaged from spills. They have not been as lovingly preserved, and next to the middles pictures, they look pretty forlorn.

photo by thebrowser.com

So I have avoided the issue.

The living room gallery space is a good example of why. I knew that I had to have an equal number of photos of each kid, and made myself sick stressing out over which ones to choose. I knew that if I put them up, that someone would complain about being underrepresented. And sure enough, one of the biggles came in before I was finished hanging them and left the room in tears, because “her family” was not as represented. I took all new photographs for that wall and printed them all in black and white, to be as fair and balanced as possible. Once it was done, the tears were over. But it really drove home that I wasn’t just worried about a “what if.”

So now I’m pouring over our collected photographic history, trying again for equality. Trying to avoid bad feelings. Trying not to do anything that will strain anyone’s relationships. Trying to figure out how to display some of my cherished treasures from the middles and the baby’s babyhood without it being obvious that we don’t have much from the biggles.Trying to remember what is truly important here and trying not to fall into frustration.

I know that I’m not the only parent from a blended family that has faced this. How have you dealt with these issues of inequality in your homes?

At Just the Right Moment… {Thankful Tuesday}

The baby is sleeping. The laundry is spinning. The beds are made… and all is right with the world. Thank you, Lord, for these small, quiet moments!

God is blessing us in so many ways this week, big and small.

I am thankful for a small boy who is continually joyful. Yes, he has his fussy moments, but if you met him in person, you’d never believe that he spent the first four months of his life screaming in pain with colic. 24 hours a day. Non. Stop. But now, he has a grin for everyone, and it’s such a blessing to see how his joy touches people all over town, all day long. Wherever we go, he leaves a path of smiles in his wake, as he passes his along.

I am thankful that God is letting me see Him at work in the lives and hearts of my children. I do a devotional with the middles every night, and it always seems that whatever topic has been troubling them that day is the one that we talk about that evening — and this is not “mommy magic,” because we use a dated daily devotional book. They have been able to really experience God’s voice during these devotional times, and that has opened up all sorts of doorways for discussion. I am so thankful that they are able to hear His voice so clearly right now, because they needed Him to be real during this time of transition. Even thought the biggles aren’t here as often, our oldest has also begun to pay attention to His voice, and hearing her observations and how she is beginning to tie them in to what God says is a huge answer to prayer.

And finally (for today), I am thankful that God’s hand has moved at just the right time for us financially. When we are faithful stewards, He has blessed that faithfulness and has given us exactly what we needed, at just the right time. Just last week, we received a “surprise” check in the mail — a refund for the district insurance premium from my old job — that was exactly the amount we were lacking for the budget this week. Thank you Lord for taking care of us, and for blessing us in ways beyond what we could have hoped for or imagined.

Fall Back

Photo from Craziestgadgets

We turned our clocks back one hour last night. Grrr, says the sleepy mommy. When I was a kid, I loved that the end of Daylight Saving Time meant that I got an extra hour of sleep on Monday morning, but since having kids I have come to dread both the spring and the fall time changes.

Babies can’t tell time (and if they could, they wouldn’t care anyway). So it doesn’t matter that the clock says it’s only 4am, Baby Coco’s internal clock tells him it’s time to get up. We were at my mom’s house, where he doesn’t sleep well anyway, and so we’ve had a rough day schedule-wise. Naps were sporadic and short. His breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks were all at the wrong time. So, as you can imagine, bedtime tonight was rough.

I always feel as if it’s almost torture. My internal clock will be messed up for at least three days, and I know that the biggles and middles will feel the same way, even if right now they’re celebrating that extra hour in the morning. Give me a week and I’ll laugh about my time-change grouchiness. Until then, expect to see me eating lunch at 10 am and dinner with the Matlock crowd.