Thursday, December 22, 2011

Raising My Strong Willed Child {without losing my mind}



They can pushy and opinionated. Sometimes giving very little thought to what others think or want. They can be selfish and manipulative.
I have a particularly very strong willed child. She has challenged me from the time she was first placed in my arms. Refusing to be put on a schedule. Needing constant attention, always wanting to be held, didn't like to be alone {forget about self entertaining! ha}and was admittedly pretty draining at times {a lot of times}.

She can see through you like you were made of glass. There is never any pulling the wool over this child's always watching eyes.
She challenges every decision, opinion, every move we make is closely scrutinized.

There have been times when  I cried out to God, WHY?!? why is she so hard? I. can't. do. this. I'm not smart enough or strong enough. What make you think I could handle her, raise her without losing my sanity and without breaking her? Before her I was not so patient. I've learned to bend. to wait. Because with a strong willed child it's all about waiting them out! Not blinking first.

Reminding myself {and her at times} that I'm the adult and my husband and I do have the final say, does help. She wears me down fast. She is a little adult in a child's body and doesn't like that she doesn't have a say in all decisions like she wants to.

The days can become one long-drawn out battle after another if I let it.  There are days I wonder if I'm getting through at all. Am I making a difference? I know she's listening even if she is pretending not to.

 But the truth is she wouldn't be mine if HE didn't think I could make a difference in her life. He knew I could do it even before I realized I could. He knew I was capable when I didn't think I was. She brings out things in me that I'm not comfortable with. She forces me to step out of my comfort zone and into her extroverted world of fearlessness.

 My daughter loves big. She is kind and generous. She is a great friend to those around her. And has a heart for the less fortunate. She listens. On those days when I think nothing is getting through, I think about all her wonderful qualities and am reminded that, I am. I do. I am capable enough.

Strong willed children will grow up to be leaders. Leaders of what is up to them. I pray for more leaders of good.  Light leaders. My daughter will make a great leader.

I came across this strong willed child prayer from Kristin click over at Chasing blue skies to read it, you'll be glad  you did!! I sure was, I printed it off and keep it in my bible to read from time to time.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Eve, Was It Worth It?!








One day when I get to heaven I will have a few questions for not only God, but for Eve. The first woman of the earth, the first mother.  One question in particular will be about that blasted apple she bit into and cursed us all with!! Was the apple worth it Eve??

Now I like apples as much as the next girl, but to eat one in exchange for hard labor (work), PMS,  & child labor pains..I think not!

For me I have PMS on steroids. It's called PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder). Luckily for me I have a little anti-anxiety pill I take during this lovely time that helps me and my family survive. Or help me survive my family. :)
I am literally a crazy emotional mess for about a week, sometimes 2 if I'm really lucky.   I cry over everything, I'm anxious, depressed, moody, fatigued, always hungry (which doesn't help with weight loss by the way), bloated, and I can't sleep.  Did I mention FATIGUED?! ughhh. Exercise does help, but only when I do it. 

I hope that when I get to heaven Eve will say, "Yes, Alecia it was a very good and tasty apple, the best I ever had. But worth it? No, totally not worth it."

Thanks for listening, I will feel better next week :)


Monday, December 12, 2011

Tis the Season, falalaahhhh

I love Christmas. I love the smells, the decorations, the cooking, the presents, going to church on Christmas Eve.  I love it all!  But what is it about this time of year that leave me so STRESSED?!  The season is rushing by and so far I'm not enjoying it very much.  The busyness, the money spent, cranky kids, cranky me, I'm almost wishing it were all over with and things could go back to normal.

But as I sit and wonder where my Christmas spirit has gone and if I can get it back before it's too late. I sense God telling me to slow down and just be still.  It doesn't have to be perfect, I'm the only one with that expectation. Everything doesn't have to get done at one time, and so what if the house isn't spotless? And if my Christmas card pictures are going to be less than stellar, or that I haven't even done them yet, so what? I feel like the Grinch that stole Christmas. 
I like to get up early and have quiet time with my bible and journal. It helps clear out the clutter and prepare me emotionally for the day. It was in this time one morning last week that I saw clearly how my attitude was affecting not only me but those around me.

And then:
I was sorry for my pride, perfectionism, unrealistic expectations, and selfishness.  Sorry for not looking beyond my wants and seeing those in real need due to loss of a loved one, sickness, or a family that is struggling. I am humbled.  As the tears fall, I let it all go and give it my Father.  I stop striving. enough.

Jesus came to give us peace and love, what better way for me to show that to those around me, then for me to be at peace and to love them well.

Be still, slow down, and breathe.  Take in each day as it comes, enjoy and savor it. For we are not promised tomorrow. I am reminded of 3 families in my own community that have recently lost loved ones, children.  I then promise myself to stop taking my time for granted to embrace each day and live fully. These families would give anything for one more day with their child, I don't want to take anymore days with my kids for granted. I want to make happy memories and traditions with them. And when I'm relaxed and calm so are they. I thank God again for opening my eyes and reminding me of the real reason of the season, and for again being patient and loving with me. I know I can be stubborn.

I know there is a lot of hurting and sadness going on in the world right now, will join me in praying and lifting up families in our own communities that are hurting. Our prayers make a difference. And maybe God will lay someone on our hearts to reach out to and be the hands of Jesus to them this Christmas season.  I can't think of any better gift.  Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's What You Do




I grew up in the South, also known as the Bible Belt. And in the South you go to church. I grew up in Florida and moved to Alabama as a teenager.  I attended church with my family my entire life. As most other southern families do.

There's a cycle I've noticed growing up, and I'm not sure if it's exclusive to the South or if this is the case all over. This is strictly my opinion and observation.

Here's the cycle that I've witnessed:

1) You grow up in church, maybe get baptized, go till you graduate high school then you either

  a) go to college  b)get married  c) work {during this period is when you typically stop going to church}

When you move out from underneath your parents watch you start to navigate the waters on your terms doing things your way, and your parents can't make you go anymore.

Besides, what did you or any of your friends get out of it anyway? Most of them (probably including you) were drunk or high the Saturday night before and were only in church the next morning because momma threatened and drug you there.

You start to feel like the church is filled with nothing but a bunch of hypocrites.

2) You get married then have one or 2 kids of your own. Suddenly going to church seems like the right thing to do. It's what your family and probably the family of your spouse did. Aren't you supposed to when you have kids? So you go.

3) You go, but you don't really get anything out of it. It's good for the kids though. And maybe for your business, good for making contacts or for the boss to see and know you are involved in the community.  You're there physically but not there mentally or spiritually.

Your behavior and attitude doesn't change much outside of the church walls. Life is still hard, so your not quite sure if this church stuff works. Well, maybe it does for some, the "weird ones" but your not weird and your kids won't be either. So we aren't going to take this church stuff too serious or get too deep with it. Just going is enough. 

4) Finally, your kids grow up. And the cycle starts all over with them.

There's nothing wrong with going to church,but today's church is filled with people like this. They only go because it's the "thing to do."  

Did you know the #1 reason new Christians or unbelievers stop going to church or never start is because of how they see these "Christians" behave outside of church?  Their search for answers end; because of what they witness in these "Christians". 

This breaks my heart and I hope it does yours too.

Unless we stop the cycle and are truly changed, heart changed, church will always be just another good thing on our to do list for the week. Until we let the Holy Spirit come in, settle in, unsettle us, and change our hearts then morning worship is nothing more than catching up with the weekly gossip of who did this or said what, a good message by the Pastor, and uplifting singing and music.

Until we realize we can't do this life thing on our own, our way it just doesn't work and it never will without Jesus, and until we can come to church and ask what can I do? How can I help the body of Christ today? 

 We will always miss the point of church. And our kids will too.

What church should be:  It's a time of worship and fellowship with other believers. A time to encourage others in their life, taking time to seek and ask about those that are hurting, only for the reason to pray for them, not to have something to gossip about later. 

We are being watched, like it or not. And it's a big responsibility. Little and big eyes are on us.  So lets be the difference we want to see in the church. Let's drop our guards, drop the fake smiles, and the illusions of "perfect" lives, the gossip and backbiting.

Because if we can't then we are no different than the unbelievers.  Let's be honest and real and then the church will be transformed. We're only deceiving ourselves. We're dividing not uniting. Jesus came to show us how to love, let His work be not in vain.

**It's a dangerous thing growing up believing you are saved when maybe you aren't. Living in an area that is saturated with churches on every corner, growing up knowing what is morally right, and growing up in church make for a lot of head knowledge of Jesus and religion, and make you think yeah,sure I'm a Christian I believe in Jesus. But until Jesus gets into your heart and starts messing with you, your just another fan of his, not a follower.

What about you? Have you grown up in a Bible Belt area, is it hard or easy?

 ***9/20/12 Update~This is one of my very first blog posts :) and we had just moved out of the South, about this time last year. I had a lot on my heart as you can see. I left feeling frustrated and worn down by the church. This is pretty lengthy post for me, sorry, I tried to go in and cut things out, but even still, it's pretty windy.

A podcast I came across this week that talks about this very thing. It's called The Demonic Danger of a Church on Every Corner, hope you have time to check it out {it's the fifth podcast down}!


Linked up at:: Imperfect Prose, Life in Bloom, Thought Provoking Thursdays, Faith Filled Fridays

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving

This weekend we are preparing for our trip back to the south for Thanksgiving.  yahoo!! 15hrs in the car with 2 kids,  Lord help us! Fun memories will be made, that I'm sure of.  I can't wait to spend the time with my family and of course eat all the yummy food that will be made. But it also has me thinking of all the things that I am thankful for, and there are many.... but here are a few:

My family-God love em' they drive me crazy, but they make me laugh and smile like no one else
My Health
Our new church- so different, but so AWESOME!! I wish everyone could experience a church like ours. The kids LOVE it!! and as a mom that is trying to be intentional in teaching her kids about faith, that is AWESUMMMe.

The kids new school. Their teachers and their new friends.  God has once again gone above and beyond in answering every single one of my prayers concerning this.  Moving was hard. New school, new friends-hard. But for them fit right in like they grew up here, like they've been here their whole lives. That's God my friend. So very, very thankful for this one. It's more than I dared to hope for, or pray for. We are supposed to move again next year sometime, I hate it. But if God was faithful before then I know He will be again.

God works it all out, and in the midst of a crisis it's hard to see how anything will get worked out. In Romans 8:28 it reminds me that God works it all out for those that love Him. And He does. Every time.

I am thankful for the chance to be a stay at home mom. Most people don't understand it. Think I'm throwing away my life. But I know I am spending special time with my kids that I will beg back when they are older.



I am most thankful for a God that is real, that loves me no matter what I do or don't do, who thinks I'm beautiful no matter how ugly I think I am, and who sees me when I feel invisible to the world.

Happy Thanksgiving!! What are you most thankful for?  "The truly thankful person is a truly peaceful person." ~ Lysa Terkeurst
 Amen

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's all Good


-These thoughts ramble around in my head, reminding myself I'm OK. I am good enough, just as good as they are. I am good enough, I am good enough.
If I keep repeating it, maybe my heart will finally believe it too.

Don't apologize for who you are
You are you; there can be only one.
No one smiles the way you do.
Walks the way you do.
Talks or Laughs the way you do
You are Special, Loved, Chosen, Pursued, Found, Forgiven, Redeemed, Accepted
You are Seen

We all fall short. You get knocked down. But don't stay down. Brush yourself off and get up. Keep moving forward. Learn from your past. Just don't quit.
"The One whom is in you is greater than the one in this world." 1John 4:4

"O Lord, You have searched me and You know me."  PS 139:1
You know me. Out of all of the millions of people on this earth You see me and Know me! Thank You God!!

Don't compare. Someone will always do something better or different. It doesn't mean you aren't just as good, just different. unique. That's how He made us.

Be who you are. Be different. That's what makes you, you. It's all good!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

HomeMade {whole wheat} Cinnamon Rolls

Oh Yeah, I got ambitious this week. The weather is turning colder, slight chance of snow flurries later tonight and for the Midwest, snow flurries is NOTHING! Makes me crave warm, comfort foods. And the South.  Since getting on the whole foods kick. I've learned to make our favorite foods from scratch! It's not nearly as daunting as you'd think. I was actually surprised by how easy it really is. And it tastes so much better too. Not to mention the health aspect of not eating all the chemically processed, high fructose corn syrupy, processed sugar stuff anymore. We feel better, look better, and no more sugar crashes. I shop differently and think about where my food is coming from more and take it into serious consideration before buying.  The Farmer's Market is our new place to go on Saturday mornings. The kids LOVE it!!

Anyway, way off topic, back to the cinnamon rolls. I use white whole wheat flour, store bought. I would love to grind my own flour, maybe one day.  The white whole wheat flour isn't as heavy as the whole wheat stuff and still just as healthy! :) When making the switch I knew I was going to have to do something, bc the ww stuff wasn't cutting it, it was just plain gross.  I came across this website www.heavenlyhomemakers.com, and it's a great resource for Whole Foods cooking. Love all her bread and muffin recipes. It's actually where I got the cinnamon roll recipe from. My kids love it, especially my son, who is a very picky eater.  It makes me feel good knowing that I am giving them healthy food that is helping their bodies to grow and think, instead of the other stuff. AND they LIKE it!!

See, this is him enjoying his homemade cinn roll for breakfast :)  Look at that bed head!


And this is my daughter, I got a half-smile, better than nothing :) She's picking it a part and eating it instead of just shoving the whole thing in her face like her brother. Hey, both methods work and get the same result.  Perfect for a cold almost winter, but feels like winter, morning.

Cooking is one of the things I always did, but now that we have moved 800 miles from everyone we know and love :) I've taken it a step further. What else am I going to do? I live out in the middle of a corn field in Iowa now. But I've realized I actually enjoy it, and I love the way the house smells after a day of baking. The kids and hubby aren't complaining.  We eat out a LOT less and really don't miss it.  I've even gotten the kids more involved. I want them to know their way around the kitchen as well, so they won't live off ramen noodles when they grow up!
 I guess country life is agreeing with us afterall..

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How to Be Whole



My daughter, to know her is to love her. To raise her, is to pray you survive her ! :)   She was born in this world with an all-knowing, willful, spirit that is surpassed by none. I envy her boldness and take charge ways (sometimes). I am neither. But I want to mold and bend her without breaking her.  She loves freely, gives from her heart, and she loves her some Jesus!!  But she has one weakness, one that I can only identify bc I have it too; she's needy.

I'm needy in the way, that I look to people to fill the voids to try and make me feel better about myself. After I was married, I turned to food and became an emotional eater.  So you can imagine my lowest of low points are when I feel betrayed, hurt, or rejected by the people in my life.  And oh how it hurts when my pants grow smaller, bc I needed chocolate or an extra piece of pizza!

She is needy in the way, that she can't do anything alone; sleep, play, watch tv... you get the picture. Never has been. She never wanted me to leave her or put her down even as a toddler. She hung and clung to me like my little monkey.

I love her dearly, but I need my space sometimes. As she gets older it has gotten better, she will do more things by herself, but not for long.  I try to spend quality time with her, but she always wants more. I would never get anything done if I spent my days entertaining her (which is way I'm here, according to her :)).  Are most girls like this??  Maybe I just can't remember.  I worry bc as she gets older will she crave that kind of attention from boys too. Right now she loves having friends to hang out with and have sleepovers, but they can't fill her every need, just her social ones.

How can I to teach my daughter to be whole and look to God for all that she needs, when I don't always look to God for what I need?  I need to fix and work on me first, so that I can guide her with her decisions as she gets older.

Shortly thereafter I read a devotional on getting your needs met by God and God alone. Not through people, they will disappoint, not through talents, jobs, or anything else. Just God.  He won't disappoint, let us down, leave us, reject us, or ever judge or condemn us.I had heard it before, but wasn't sure how to move from believing it in my head to believing it in my heart.

 I want to stop looking to people for validation.

 I have recently started reading "A Confident Heart"by Renee Swope  and I LOVE IT!!!  Through the Bible and her book I've started filling the holes with Him. So hopefully I can teach my daughter that the only one that can truly, deeply, fully satisfy her is HIM.

How about you how do you look to God to fill your needs or in what areas do you need to start?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Mama Bear in the Morning

It happens more than I'd like to admit. I lose it. Especially in the morning. It doesn't matter that I alone can't get anywhere on time, but then add in 2 procrastinating (I wonder where they get that from), half asleep kids and well let's just say my motto "better late than never" gets used so often it's embarrassing.

I don't know how it happens, but I wake up everyday, with one thing on my mind get the kids to school on time! I think if I were more organized, more with it, this wouldn't happen. But I don't know. I swear I'm not gonna lose my cool. I pray for patience and grace and for Him to just take away my yelling voice :). They ask "Why are you so mad?" and then I feel bad. They don't get it. I don't blame them. But how do you light a fire under two rump roast's that are completely indifferent to a thing called time and the fact that they have to be at school by a certain time and not a minute later...homeschool? :)


There has to be a better way. I'm open for suggestions!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Not Yet God

Have you ever in a time in your life acknowledged that there was a God and that His ways are not your ways?  I mean was there ever something that you really wanted to do, people that you really wanted to be friends with , a boy or girl you really wanted to date and you would do just about anything to do it. Ignoring that little voice in your head. Saying don't do it, not this way, wait your time will come.

Well I have. Never more than when I was in high school and college. I wanted to fit in I needed to fit in. You see, I had grown up in Florida and the summer before my junior year in high school we moved! Talk about being insecure. I needed to find my place there, not that I had really found my place in Florida, but here I needed to find it, it was a fresh start, time to come out of my shy little shell. So I went out with boys I shouldn't have, just to not be alone. I hung out with friends that maybe I shouldn't have. I drank, gave myself away physically all to be accepted by those around me.

I was hoping God understood what I was doing. I felt God calling me but I kept telling him not now, right now I'm going to live my life MY WAY. You can use me later, when I'm older, just not now. I didn't want to be rejected by the people around me, who does? No one wants to be considered a goodie two shoes at that age. I didn't want to look back on my life and have regrets of not living life to the fullest when I was young. I wanted to party it up and have a bunch of fun stories to tell later in life. (side note: I use the term "party" loosely, I was pretty mild compared to others)

But man, did I have it wrong. I know now that if I would have listened to that voice telling me "don't go down this road," "this isn't right," "It will only bring you heartache," "Trust me". I wouldn't have so many regrets now.While I was overall considered a nice, good girl, I didn't feel that way.  I didn't trust God's best for me because I though His ways would mean that I would be alone. Besides everyone else was doing it, right? 

Fastforward 10 years after graduating from college, getting married and two kids, I see that God can use those times for His good. After having my daughter, I recommited my life to Christ. She is stronger-willed than me so I pray she never buys into the lies like I did. I want more for her. So one day I said ok God, I'm tired of doing things my way and I'm going to start doing things your WAY. 

I've come a long way from the person I used to be and I know God's not done yet :), he still has a lot more work to do. But I try make sure that I tell my kids everyday about God's best for them and encourage them to have their own relationship with Him. I hope that they know they don't ever sell out to this world to try and be accepted and loved, bc the God of the universe accepts them and loves them more than anyone in this world, including me, ever could.  I just wish I could've figured that out sooner.


 My prayer for them is that they won't ever find themselves saying "Not yet God". But embrace and always walk with Him!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Am I Enough?


Some days I think I'm doing a great job. Everything is going great, kids are getting along, staying busy, husband seems content. But other days, more days than I like to admit, I feel downright defeated. Not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, fit enough. I struggle to find my worth. Lies. I've believed them for so long that they have become apart of me. Who I am. I'm not sure when I started to let them define me, but without enough affirming words to counteract them that's what they ended up doing. People pleasing, though I hate to think of myself like that, that's what I am. I've always made up excuses for it, tried to sympathize with other people's feelings, but to an extent of getting lost myself. If that makes any sense. Always worrying what other people are thinking or saying about me. And getting so overwhelmed with it, that I end up just retreating. Withdrawing from the ones that God put into my life. Scared of what they think and their judgements. Scared that they will confirm what I think about myself already.


I'm reading this book called "A Confident Heart" and I have realized these thoughts aka lies, are straight from satan himself. Boy has he had a field day with my emotions. I am trying to focus on what God says about me, like "I am beautifully and wonderfully made" Ps 139:14 and that I can take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ (2Cor10:5). Bc God's word is the truth, he cannot lie. If it doesn't hold up to what God says about me then it is a lie!!


~sigh~ truth, real truth about who I am and who God says I am. Now that's something to dwell on.

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