Tuesday, August 21, 2012

SAHM Redefined?

I have a love-hate relationship with money.  On one hand, it can provide the most wonderful things; on the other, it's a necessary evil.

But it's been on my mind lately.
I ponder the self-control it takes to stick to my list at Target and not add additional items to my Amazon cart.
I grieve over the time it takes to clip coupons, find (or create) budget-friendly, healthy meal plans.
I read about the Proverbs 31 wife who "...makes, ...sells, ...delivers, ...works, ...buys."
I sinfully [and shamefully] lust after the jobs other SAHM [stay-at-home-moms] have - SAHMs don't really exist anymore.  SAHMs are teaching online, instructing college students in summer courses, selling Shaklee or Beauticontrol or Scentsy, cleaning churches, working for perfect companies that let them come in any day of the week for any three hours that work best for their schedules, blogging professionally with thousands of followers, etc.
I feel guilty on the 18th of every month as I write my student loan check - was that Master's degree worth it?  I am not using it.  Oh, how I want to be using it - on my terms, of course...from HOME, very part-time.
I get upset and frustrated with myself for being like this - guilty, sinful, desiring more, etc.

As I've spent time in prayer and studying God's Word these last few days, I've been reminded of what my real, God-given jobs are.  I've also been rebuked because my focus has been totally off.

God reminded me of my son: Aidan is my job - to train him up in godliness.
You shall teach them [commandments] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Deuteronomy 6:7

God reminded me of my husband: Even before my son, I am called to be Brian's helpmeet.  One simple example is that I always drive when we travel.  If I had a job, I wouldn't be as ready and willing to let Brian answer emails or study for his sermon in the Jeep.  And driving is simple - it's often the emotional and spiritual support of him that I fail at.
Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him."
Genesis 2:18
God reminded me of my life: It's His.  He made me a wife.  He made me a mom.  He made me a ministry wife.  He gave me a love for students and teaching.  He is the One who opens and closes doors of opportunity.  He, if He desires that I work part-time, will open that door.  Since He hasn't, I need to move forward, by faith, each day trusting that He will provide for all of our needs and give me the self-control to say no to that facial cream that promises to take away all my sun-spots and decrease my pore size.

God reminded me of His view on money: Don't love it.  God will give us exactly what we need, providing for our everything.  It is my prayer that I wouldn't focus on what I don't have or can't do, but that I would be satisfied in Christ alone - for He is all I truly need and He is the One who satisfies all of my longings.  
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.  It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
I Timothy 6:10

So, today, I'm going forward - battling my desires to be discontent and trusting the LORD with everything.  I'm going to be faithful and satisfied with the tasks God has given me today.  May I be a wife, mom, pastor's wife, friend, sister, daughter, daughter-in-law, etc. for His glory.  And, who knows, maybe the LORD will open a door for me to use my Master's degree very part-time to earn a little extra gas or savings money.  In His time, of course, because His timing is perfect.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Saturday Instas

Fun times from last week:

Fun in the Sun

Fun with Biker Gangs

Fun at the Fairmont, MN Fair

Fun with Tractors

Fun with Toothpaste

Fun in the Garage

Fun Decorating

Kept & Guarded

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you rejoice...
I Peter 1:3-6a
YES!  My hope IS secure because I have an inheritance "kept in heaven," and I'm being "guarded", even now, by God's power.

This truth has been so real and true to me lately as life - full of its disappointments and frustrations - whirls around me.  I always pray that the LORD would preserve our Reformed faith and not let us be tainted by the sins of this pseudo-Christian culture around us.  May we never compromise what God's Word says just because it's become a cultural norm.

Thanking the LORD for Christ, His Word and the Holy Spirit today.  What great and precious promises are written for those who believe!  Also thanking Him for guarding my salvation - what a gift.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Loving the Little Years (Part I)

In December I read Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic and recently pulled it out to reread it.  The topics are random - there is no rhyme or reason to her chapter titles or order (as far as I can tell).  At first I dismissed it, but now, because of the excellent content, I'm rereading it and creating my own subtitles under her crazy chapter titles so that I can easily decipher her main points.  This morning I was encouraged by what I read in the first four chapters:

Chapter 2: "In the Rock Tumbler" aka Motherhood is a sanctification process!
  • Motherhood is an opportunity for growth and refinement.  We must always deal with ourselves before we deal with our children.  God deals with us gently and patiently; He demonstrates kindness toward us even though we fail daily.  Why, then, do we sometimes want to hold our children's sin, annoyances, etc. against them?  
  • "God has given us the job of teaching His law and demonstrating His grace.  We are to be guides to our children as they learn to walk with God."  
  • "Sin is just a fact of life.  It is the way we deal with it that changes ours."
Chapter 3: "Picky Chickens" aka Discipline is a way to show grace and build up your children.
  •  Chickens peck at one another.  We must teach our children not to be like chickens - they are not to fuss and bicker with one another.  And, when we view parenting as an opportunity for our own refinement and growth (see chapter 2), it's easier to see how we may be doing just that in our "discipline."
    • "So think about your language with your children.  When they disobey, do you talk about your own hurt?  Are you pointing to all the work that you have to do now that they screwed up?  Do you want to elaborate at all on how bad, bad, bad that particular thing was?  Do you want to see them feel bad, or see them with a clear conscience so that you can have a little snuggle tickle-fest?"
    • "Try thinking of discipline as a different kind of nourishment - a sweet means of grace to your children."
      • They should leave your "table" of discipline feeling refreshed in God's and your love for them - not picked apart.
Chapter 4: "Fruit of the Spirit Speed Quiz" aka Continue to discipline faithfully and you will see fruit (in your life and theirs)
  • The author compares a mother's day to a math fact speed test: Instead of subtraction problems, ours are little tests for "patience, for our peace, for our kindness."
  • In the same way, our children receive little tests throughout the day; we are to treat their struggles with sin like math problems - it takes practice, practice and more practice to overcome them. 
  • Don't be discouraged if it seems like you're fighting the same battles multiple times a day - it's all too easy to forget about their progress.  Look back a month - what problems were at the forefront then?  The problems of today are probably new ones.  Therefore, be encouraged!  You are making progress.  Discipline works.
  • Discipline is a gift you give to your children; discipline gives your children the skills they need to deal with life.
  • "Spank yourself" if your children aren't getting it.  "Because if you are the teacher and none of the students are succeeding, you need to be doing a better job.  You need to think of new ways to explain the lessons.  Change up the terminology a bit.  Give some illustrations." 
    • (I remember a professor telling us once that if we, teachers, were frustrated by our students' behavior, it was our fault.  In my six years of teaching, I found that to be SO true.  Now it's true for me in parenting too.)
    • If your children are having trouble understanding their poor behavior, use an illustration.  "Setting behaviors into stories is a great way to communicate to little people."
As I pull main points out of her chapters, I am beginning to see rhyme & reason to her order.  I just needed to give it a second chance!  If you're a reader with young children, I hope you are encouraged to continue to discipline faithfully each day as you reflect on your own heart.  May our efforts with our children be blessed and not return void!

Friday, August 10, 2012


We've had such a wonderful week!
My mom and Savvy came for a visit (mostly to let me sleep and get emotionally recharged!) last weekend.  It was super fun - we shopped the little shops at Clear Lake, watched Aidan play in the yard, observed Savvy and Leo (bffs) wrestle constantly, and enjoyed rootbeer floats.  Thanks, Mama!  I love you!

Wednesday night was our last bible study for the summer.  It began with a potluck and ended with a study & discussion on the saying, "God loves everybody."  Each Wednesday since June, Brian has dissected common Christian sayings - it was sooo good!  The fellowship and dessert were always a highlight too.

My California Supermom, Aimee, always had her hallway lined with posters for her children. (Must be the teachers in us, Aim?)  Everything I ordered was delivered today, and I went to work making the hallway into "Aidan's school."  I am super excited.  He is too - he loves to walk through there and point to everything he already recognizes.  Today, on his colors & shapes poster, he learned that an octagon has 8 sides.  So fun.

Fridays are Brian's day off, and it's always such a special day to be together the three of us!  This morning we walked along Clear Lake, stopping at a garage sale, the park, and the DNR Fishery.  I love looking at the beautiful homes.

Leo got in the way of the swing.  Aidan would giggle so hard as he tried to touch Leo with his boots.
Oh, by the way, Papa Jake bought him new cowboy boots!
He loves them.

We enjoyed a meal with the Laus this week too!  Thankful for good friends.

Lastly, we spent Monday in Des Moines with the Brittons!  What a special treat it was to spend the day with seminary besties.  It refreshed my soul - great conversations.  Aidan and Isaiah were buddies; they wrestled and ran through the mall.  Brittons are on their way to LA in October because Austin received a call to an OPC church.  Congrats on your new venture, Brittons!  We're praying for you!
(I'm just sorry we didn't take any pictures with them - how did that happen?!)
You can learn more about the Brittons here: The Publican Chest

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Reminder

Life has changed since Aidan's second birthday.
He is still the most wonderful, happy little man, but he's now suddenly very certain of what he wants.
Unfortunately, as Aidan's mama, I need to make sure that what he is doing is what is best for him at the moment.  Sometimes there is a collision between what is best and what he wants.
For example, a few Mondays ago I was busy working on my long "To-Do" list when Aidan continually let himself outside - either into the garage or the backyard.  Exasperated by chasing him down time & time again, I turned my list over and slid it out of sight.  Aidan and I spent the rest of the day practicing asking Mommy to go outside and then finding other activities to do if Mommy's answer is, "Not now."
Even though Aidan - his character, his training, etc. - is much more important to me than a "To-Do" list, it is definitely difficult to let the dishes sit in the sink, the laundry go unfolded and the beds unmade in order to "train him up in the way he should go".  However, I know that my greatest accomplishment each day isn't a clean house or an edible meal, it is nurturing the child that God has entrusted to my care.  As Ginger Plowman writes, "It is my calling, my priority, my struggle, and my goal."

She goes on to say motherhood, "[Is] about molding character, building confidence [in Christ], nurturing, training, and guiding...A mother's influence has enormous potential to shape the person a child becomes, for good or ill."

Thomas Edison said wonderful things about his mother, "My mother was the making of me.  She was so true, so sure of me;  and I felt that I had someone to live for, someone I must not disappoint."  George Washington said, "My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw.  All that I am I owe to my mother.  I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual, and physical education I received from her."

The mothers of these great men reached their hearts, by God's grace.  Moms, let's pray daily that we may be faithful to our high calling of nurturing our children in the LORD.  Aren't we so thankful that God works even through sinful us, for His glory?!  I sure am - it's so humbling!

Lastly, the girltalk blog is doing a series on Motherhood.  It's so good.  I encourage you to head on over and be encouraged in your calling.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


On Monday, Brian traveled to Cedar Falls for their Bible Conference.  His former professor at Wscal was speaking - Dr. Michael Horton.  Horton is like the Michael Jordan of theology - he's so big time.

You can imagine, then, that there was much rejoicing when Horton asked Brian if he had lunch plans after the morning lectures.  Horton invited him to the lunch for the speakers.  Brian was quickly tucking in his shirt and trying to look as nice as possible as they drove up to this super fancy restaurant on a hill (yes, Horton rode in MY Jeep!).  (I am such a nerd, I know.)

Dr. Horton was also lecturing in the afternoon.  Brian was sitting halfway up the aisle on the left side, and Dr. Horton got to the podium, started to speak, stopped, started again, stopped and said, "One moment," walked all the way to Brian, asked him if he had plans after the conference, and then walked back to the podium and gave his theology talk! 

When the conference finished, Brian and Horton drove around trying to find a good cigar place.  They did, eventually, and chatted for nearly 3 hours.

I am so thankful to the LORD for this opportunity for Brian.  I had prayed so hard that the LORD would give Brian a chance to chat with Horton and I am simply amazed at how He provided.  There have been so many trying things in ministry these first two years and Brian has no one to talk theology with.  I am so grateful for the ways Dr. Horton encouraged my husband.  It was such a blessing - one that touched this wife's heart!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

"Paci Gone"

Aidan loves his paci.
Mommy has begun to hate his paci - especially after a trip to Fairmont on Sunday.
He threw his paci on the floor of the car about 10 times.
Each time, Mommy had to unbuckle in the front seat, turn around, find the paci, and give it back.

In addition, I've recently been embarrassed by the fact that Aidan is two and still has a paci.  So Brian and I discussed it and, for the last few weeks, I've been casually mentioning to Aidan the possibility of giving away his pacis to the cows (cows are his favorite - and I saw this idea on another "mommy blog").

Yesterday the opportunity arose.  Kathy, a farmer from church, invited us out to pick up some cucumbers.  I asked Aidan if he'd be up for being all done with his pacis and giving them to the cows at Ms. Kathy's farm.  He was super excited about the idea; he went around the house with a bag and collected the pacis.

"Paci cows, paci cows."

Darryl and Kathy were very sweet about helping us give away the pacis.  Aidan set them in their feeding trough.

I'd wrapped up a stuffed dog for Aidan as a gift from the cows to replace the pacis.
 Aidan calls him Roy.
Roy is his favorite color and matches his blankie perfectly.

Aidan even rode the Gator (& ate two whole cucumbers) before we headed home.
Thanks, Darryl & Kathy, for your help and generosity!

Last night, I went out with a friend and left my husband to put Aidan to bed (thanks, Brian!).  Brian said he cried on & off for about two hours, asking for his paci.  Thankfully, today was much better.  He asked for it at naptime, but didn't shed a tear.  "Paci gone; paci cows," was all he said.  Our morning was more peaceful; we weren't always looking for paci, I wasn't constantly asking him to remove it while we chatted, and I wasn't always picking it up off the floor to keep Leo from chewing it.

I was surprised, though, by the response from my parents and Brian's grandparents when we told them that Aidan's pacis are gone.  "But isn't he just a baby?" was their response.  I'm hoping we didn't make the wrong decision or traumatize our son in any way.  I've been praying for him a lot, asking the LORD to comfort him and help him to soon forget his paci.  Please pray for him tonight as he goes to bed - thanks!