Guest post

Something to Sing About

We can go from blissfully happy to my day is ruined faster than it takes us to go from the parking lot into the store. But this is the day the Lord has made. And we have the choice to wallow in our ruin or persevere through and count it all joy.

I could hear her saying something as I buckled the baby into the shopping cart. Okay, so it was actually more like yelling but bless it if I could even tell. I had totally crossed over into the Mom-Zone.

You know, the place where the world could be ending but all you hear is the inner-monologue-of-the-now, “Must get the baby in the seat before a car runs over us.”

The consequence to this stealth focus?

You agree to anything.

And apparently I had agreed in thirty seconds of non-listening to sing a rousing rendition of  “This is the Day” while we moseyed through Target.

Sweet heavens.

Now my girl has got vocal direction down, y’all. I mean I thought I knew the song but I DID NOT. When she started with a “This is the day…” I was all like “This is the day…” And I was met with a sigh and an “Um, Mom, no. You sing ‘That the Lord has made.’”

But sadly, I had entered the Zone again…

So we went through this exact dialogue about five times until she finally she broke through it with a, “Mom, I really need you to focus!”  I mean, c’mon now. Shouldn’t I be delighted that we are singing about Jesus in Target?!?!?

And BAM.

I got my act together, we found our rhythm and we did our thang. But alas, when we hit the “together” part of the ditty, things fell apart. I’m all “This is the Day” and she’s all “Jesus Loves Me.”

Shortly after this confusion and preciously right as we walked up to an unsuspecting cashier, my girl bellows with ear piercing volume, “IT IS NOT THE DAY THAT THE LORD HAS MADE!!!!”

And Jesus loves us, this I know.

I suppose you are wondering, “Sara, what in the what does this have to do with an everyday truth?”

Well, I’ll tell you…

We all have these kind of days as a parent where things get ridiculous and veer off course and all we know gets drowned out by the our inner-monologue of “IT IS NOT THE DAY THAT THE LORD HAS MADE!”

But it is.

We can go from blissfully happy to my day is ruined faster than it takes us to go from the parking lot into the store. But this is the day He has made. And we have the choice to wallow in our ruin or persevere through and count it all joy.

I’m not talking about some kind of false “Oh, today is magical!” when you are knee deep in poo. I’m talking about being grateful for the gift of a new day. I’m talking about how it’s really pretty great to have the chance to sing loudly in the aisles of Target with someone you love.

Because it’s in those kind of moments that you remember…

He loves me and He’s given me a new day.

And really?

No matter how you look at it, THAT is something to sing about.

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew, one-year-old Sophie, and her new little miracle Maddie.  When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers.  But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful. She recently began her own blog called Where Feet May Fail.

Beautiful Together

beautiful together Her sweet little hand grabbed tightly onto mine as she brought a piece of paper right up to my nose and said proudly, “This is me and you, Mommy. You are making me all better.”

“From what?” I asked.

“From this, of course,” as she shoved a little thumb in my general direction and pointed to a red mark the size of a pin prick. I smiled with a “Looks terribly serious.” She nodded a bit and sighed, “So do you like the picture, Mommy?”

I squished her a little and then looked down into her big, brown eyes while I melted into my reply, “I think it’s beautiful, sis.” To which she scrunched up her button nose, looked up at me and said, “Yep! It’s just you and me being beautiful together.”

And just like that, off she skipped…and there I stood, taking in an all too familiar inventory.

My dirty yoga pants. My newly drawn surgery scars. My less-than-lovely purple toenails.

My this and that. My what and what. My blah to the blah, blah, blah…

But something kept tapping at my heart…it was her little voice echoing in my mind with such unabashed certainty, “Yep! It’s just you and me being beautiful together.”

No hesitation. No pause. No time for inventory.

In her eyes, I was beautiful. Not because I was sporting a new pedicure or a perfect body or a fabulous new pair of jeans. I was beautiful because I loved every single bit of her.

Be it in kissing a nonexistent boo-boo or cutting the crusts off her sandwich or taking her to the bathroom at Target four times in thirty minutes. Be it in squishing her close when she cried or playing the Cinderella game 20 times or taking the 10 outfits she’d tried on in a day out of the dirty laundry. Be it in anything so utterly mundane that the world might find it unimportant.

For her, it meant everything.

And somewhere in all that complete and total love, she found beautiful and made me see beautiful too.

For a mama’s beauty isn’t a put-together, perfect picture, chasing-youth kind of a deal. A mama’s beauty is in her broken---be it her body, her heart or her laugh-lined face. It grows beside hospital beds and sleepless nights and broken curfews and shattered little dreams. It is often forged in tears and exhaustion and the precious effort to put one blessed foot in front of the other. It is not reflected in something so insignificant as a mirror but rather, it is most clearly seen in the eyes of Jesus as she faceplants at the foot of His throne.

Mamas, it is this kind of beauty that our sons and our daughters need from us. So that when he endeavors to love the mama of his children, he sees her dark circles and worn out body as something breathtaking and precious. And so that when she looks at her stretch marks, she does not wince or retreat, but instead she sees beautiful.

So. That. When.

Years from now, as she comes to me frayed by the daily of mamahood, I can sit her down, look deeply into those big, brown eyes and say, “Let me tell you the story of a little girl and a picture. Her mama with bouffant hair and she, with googly eyes dancing. Let me tell you about her scrunched up nose, her sweet little hand and the words that changed it all. Yes, my sweet love, let me tell you a story…”

A story of just you and me being beautiful together.

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew, one-year-old Sophie, and her new little miracle Maddie.  When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers.  But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful. She recently began her own blog called Where Feet May Fail. Be sure to check it out.

No Matter What

No matter what This post may contain affiliate links.

Ah, the charming family dinner.

I am sure somewhere, someone is having one.

Riveting conversations. People who sit at the table. Food that is actually consumed.

But here?

Eh.

Take the other night, for example. When somewhere in between bouncing the baby on my knee and trying to avoid getting drool (hers not mine) on my plate, I threw out this little gem, “What do you think our New Year’s resolution should be?”

The confusion was palpable. There were blank stares galore. Finally, my eldest saved me with, “Hey mom, what’s a resolution?”

“Oh yes. That’s right, you are only 9, 6 and 4. It’s something you would like to accomplish this year.”

More. Blank. Stares.

Lucky for me, the 9-year-old rescued me again with, “Popcorn. I would like to eat more popcorn.” Naturally, this brightened the eyes of the boy who affirmed his sister by saying, “I’m good with the popcorn thing.” But then, for some reason, I followed up his agreement with, “Now, buddy, you need to come up with your own idea…”

So he did.

“Movies.”

“I’d like to watch more movies.”

It was shortly after this epiphany that I began having visions of my 80-year-old self riding an electric chair down the stairs to find all my children (now in their fifties) still living at home doing nothing but eating popcorn and watching movies…

Thankfully, Nathan’s voice interrupted my random musings with “Sophie, why is your shirt hanging from your neck? And where on earth are your pants?”

Now it was all I could do to keep from adding, “Great. Now I will have three kids in their fifties in my living room eating popcorn and watching movies in nothing but their underwear!” Instead, I was cut short by the pantless one who announced, “Excuse me, I have an acclomplishment. My acclomplishment this year is to take a bath.”

Really, kid?

I mean, I knew it had been awhile. A few days maybe. But had it really gotten so bad it was an “acclomplishment” in this house to take one bath for the ENTIRE YEAR?????

My private angst was finally cut short when Nathan addressed the pantless one with a practical, “Sophie, put on your shirt and eat your dinner. We can talk about acclomplishments later.”

Boom.

My man is all about the business.

My pantless wonder, however, is all about the drama.

A mere two seconds later, she threw her face into her hands and cried, “This is boring, boring, boring.” Not to be outdone, big sister piggybacks with, “You think this experience has been bad for you…how do you think I feel? This is the same meal we had that night I puked. Frankly, I am having a very hard time eating.” Which prompted the third and last contribution from the boy, “And by the ways, I think we forgot to pray.”

It was then I turned to Nathan and said, “WHERE DID WE GO WRONG?” to the tune of simultaneous praying which culminated with someone shouting, “LORD, WE THANK YOU FOR THE CHRISTMAS ORANGE!!!!”

Say what?!?!?!?

Now the point of this very random tale is that even though we didn’t find our resolution (shocking, I know), this little slice of life reminds me of the very thing that has sustained us in 2014…

Grace.

His absolute, unfailing grace.

In diagnosis…

In healing…

In doubt…

In hope…

In tears…

In laughter…

In death…

In life…

In fear…

In strength…

In the gutting…

In the gentle…

In every sweet and bitter second…

His. Grace. Came.

So that even in our weakness I can boast of this as we head into 2015:

His grace will be sufficient for us. His power, made perfect in our messiness. For when we are weak, He’ll bring the strong.

No matter the chaos. No matter the crazy. No matter the year.

No matter what.

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew, one-year-old Sophie, and her new little miracle Maddie.  When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers.  But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful. She recently began her own blog called Where Feet May Fail. Be sure to check it out.

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Fingerprints

fingerprints I wrestle with little white lights to cover the burnt-out section of a well-loved tree…

And I find fingerprints.

I squeeze underneath the bristly branches as the bell on the skirt sings a jingle jangle…

And I find fingerprints.

I hang each stocking marked with silver, glitter-splotched letters from berries of red…

And I find fingerprints.

I gingerly pull each ornament out as if to gently touch each memory it holds…

And I find fingerprints.

I string the garland, tie the bows and polish the candlesticks...

And I still find fingerprints.

I set the timers and the lights aglow to the sound of little voices in shades of “oohs” and “ahs”…

And once again, I find fingerprints.

Everywhere, there are fingerprints…

My daddy’s fingerprints.

Found most alive on our mantle where a merry little Santa sits. A little something that was left in my hospital room last year so that when I came back from surgery, I would see it. His way of telling his Christmas-loving girl that even though he wasn’t there to say it, he loved her.

And just like the little ones that fill my windows halfway up, my daddy’s fingerprints are a beautiful and indelible sign of life and love.

As much as it aches, it also reminds me not only of the love he gave me here on earth but also of the love he left behind. And as I trim the tree and bake the cookies and play with the Little People nativity set, I am very aware that I am also leaving fingerprints behind on my four little loves. I am writing, marking and leaving them changed.

So this season, this remarkable life-changing season, I am asking myself what kind of mama-prints will be left in my coming and going--what marks will I use to say I have loved them and will love them even when I am not here to say it…

Will my prints speak of love and mercy? Will they write a story of grace? Will they sound clearly through the noise?

Will they sing of my Jesus? Or will they speak more of me?

Will they write agenda and control in my babies’ hearts? Will they shout frustration and anger as our years are unpacked and counted? Will they hurt or will they salve?

And what will my loves remember when I am gone and they wrestle with the twinkly lights and hang the stockings and string the garland?

Jesus, I want it to be You.

I want it to be You in me, through me and in spite of me.

Mark every print with Your unshakeable peace and every word with Your mercy and every mess-up with Your grace so that when the moment for life without me comes and only memories are left, they still hear with resounding clarity, “I loved you then…I love you now…and I love you for all the years to come.”

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew, one-year-old Sophie, and her new little miracle Maddie.  When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers.  But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful. She recently began her own blog called Where Feet May Fail. Be sure to check it out.

 

 

 

Something Precious

A

I have a mommy confession.

Wait.

Scratch that.

It’s more like I have a mommy obsession.

Every fall, I find myself in valiant pursuit of that one precious all-the-children picture.

And every year, there is one backdrop that has never let me down…

The Weston Red Barn Farm.

It’s rustic and charming and surrounded by all things precious.

But this year, as I pulled out my camera, I sensed failure when my husband said, “Honey, do you think we should just go to the grocery store fall thing?  I mean Weston is a hike and…”

To which I interrupted with, “But it’s tradition and lovely and the kids can ride the pony and remember the apple donuts?  DO NOT forget about the apple donuts.  Heaven in a bag, babe.”

(Truth be told, I had him at the word “donut.”)

So we went to the charming farm.

I knew we were toast the second we got out of the van and Drew said, “Mom, I am SOOOOOOO hot.  I think I might die.” But I still shot him my “Suck it up, kid.  It may be 80 + degrees and your long-sleeved black Halloween shirt may be an oven but this is for posterity.”

B

Not two minutes later, I was with him, dying and all.

My sweatshirt was now a sauna. My hormones, a hellish monster. And had another minute passed, I would have wholeheartedly launched into the pig trough for sweet relief but mercifully, I was distracted when I heard the word “pony.”

(Sweet heavens, if I hadn’t promised them all a pony ride.)

The pony was up the hill…the heinous hill of no return.

Combine the not-so-sturdy Snap and Go with pebbled terrain and my not-so-graceful gait and we might as well have been climbing Everest.

Not to mention that I had already said “excuse me” more times in that one hour than I have my entire life.  Every time I tripped and stumbled, I bumped someone. Because to the point, THERE WERE SO MANY BLESSED PEOPLE THERE.

(I swear someone told them about the donuts.)

But for tradition’s sake, we still oomphed and umphed and excused ourselves up the hill. It was only after reaching the top of the precious thing that we came to the tragic realization that THERE WERE NO PONY RIDES.

Bless. My. Sweatshirt.

So we turned around, trod back down the pebbled path and just about the time I convinced myself that the disappointment would build character, my dear eldest pipes in with, “This is boring,” which prompts me to say, “I’ve got nothing, sister…just go jump in the straw.”

C

(Try not to be intimidated by such mom awesomeness.)

It was at this point my hubs felt the need to reiterate, “I think the fall festival two miles away would have been a way better tradition.” I didn’t even protest. “Ugh…you are probably right…why did I think this would be magical?!?!?

The hubs wisely stayed silent.

But as we made our way back to the pumpkins, I barfed the most unholy words,

“Let’s just try for one more picture.”

So we did.

And then it happened…

D

Children screamed.  Babies were almost dropped.  Sophie bolted through the barbed wire.

And I kept promising donuts to anyone who would listen to me.

Then the picture-taking devolved into pumpkin-picking and to the entire public that visited the farm, I wholeheartedly apologize.

We were yelling.

Not “I’m so mad” yelling.  But the “Lord-please-don’t-let-us-lose-a-child-now” kind. We were just so close, so focused, so intent on getting the hoot out of there that we just had to keep it together.

It was ugly. Full-on. U-G-L-Y.

But remember the donuts? Across the street? The ones I referred to as heaven in a bag?

Well, I ate FIVE...and it helped.

Seriously, y’all.

IT. DID.

But even as the cinnamon and sugar dripped most gloriously from my mouth, I came to a conclusion.

Precious pictures are needed.  They remind this memory-challenged mama of how I really feel at the end of day when all the chaos has quieted.  When I can run my hands through their sweaty bedheads and touch their perfect little noses and see the messy beautiful so clearly in each of them.

But I’m finally to a place where I need the 29 ridiculously accurate pictures too.

If only to shout, “WE ARE A REAL FAMILY!!!!”

One that messes up and falters and falls.  One that skins their knees and has to apologize.  One that can plan to have a magical experience and end up with the pumpkin patch on steroids.

One that needs Jesus, people.

Oh, how we need Him.

So as you plan the Thanksgiving dinners and take Christmas card pictures and deck the halls and all that jazz, remember my family and the yelling and the donut therapy and rejoice in this:

Real people have real families that really need Jesus.

And even though we may have more pictures that end up awkward and bizarre and more crazy than cute, in the end, when we’ve tripped and stumbled and fallen all over ourselves, when we’ve tried and failed through all those 29 moments in-between, He surprises us with what we have been looking for all along…

Something precious.

E

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew, one-year-old Sophie, and her new little miracle Maddie.  When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers.  But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful. She recently began her own blog called Where Feet May Fail. Be sure to check it out.

Love in a Green Coffee Cup

green cup My dear friend Sara Cormany, who posts here on the first Friday of every month, said goodbye to her dad for the final time last week. In honor of her dad, I want to re-run this beautiful post Sara wrote back in February. Please keep Sara and her family in your prayers as they deal with this unexpected loss.

When I think about the love of my father, I think of a green coffee cup.

I know it seems an odd thought.

That a silly little thing that found its way onto our wedding registry from Crate and Barrel years ago would reflect 36 years of father-daughter affection.

What is perhaps even odder is that there was a time where my husband and I actually thought we were Crate and Barrel people.   I assure you, we are not. We are mismatched, ever-loving messes.

Our dinnerware.  Our sock drawers.  Our linen closets.

We matched once upon a time and then life took over.

Plates broke.  Washers ate socks.  And beach towels became bath towels.

But somehow, even in our mismatchiness, the mugs have made it.

I suspect it is because they are never used save for the days my Daddy comes to visit.

The tradition began nearly eight years ago when my Grace was very young.  Every time Pops would come to dote on his grandgirl or babysit, I would find a green mug sitting on my counter.  At some point during his visit, it had been pulled out of the cupboard and filled with water to wet Pop's whistle.

And every time I would find it, I would smile.

I mean, who uses a coffee cup for water?

My Daddy, that’s who.

It was shortly after I realized how much it warmed my heart that I made it a point to tell him,

“Dad, promise me you won’t ever stop using those green cups…each time I see one on my counter top, it reminds me you were here.”

In his quiet way, he smiled, laughed a bit and nodded.

And every time since, even if he hasn’t needed a drink, just before he leaves, my Daddy pulls a green cup down from the shelf, fills it with water, takes a sip and says,

“Just so you know that I was here!”

Makes. My. Life.

Sometimes, I rinse it out right away, smiling as it goes into the dishwasher.  Other times, I leave it next to the sink so that when things get rough, I see it.  And I am reminded just how much I am loved.

But no matter how long it stays, the sight of it strikes me to my core.

Because a father’s love can change everything.

Especially when you are in the nitty, gritty throes of mamahood.

Yes, this gig is rewarding and fleeting and precious. But it is also tough and daily and sometimes, thankless. And what will often keep us moving one foot in front of the other are the tangible reminders that our Father is with us, loving us, holding us.

It may come from a friend bringing you that life-giving cup of coffee.  Or the kind words of a stranger that lift your heart in the precise moment you’d given up.  Or the little note your baby leaves you that says, “Mom, you rock!” two days after she said she didn’t like you anymore.

Those are God’s green coffee cups.

So don’t miss them, girls.

Because as simple and unsurprising as they may seem, every blessed one will remind you just how much your Daddy loves you. How specifically He has heard your heart’s cry.  And how closely He will bend down to salve a need.

Be it in big ways, in small ways or in silly ways.

For in every remembrance, we are reminded just “how great is the love our Father has lavished on us…”

In coffee. In kind words. In love notes.

All that comes as an answer to anguished and exhausted prayers.

Our Daddy purposefully pulls down a cup from the cupboard, fills it with water, takes a sip and says,

“Just so you know, sweet girl of mine, that in every minute, every moment and every mismatched mess, I was here.”

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew and one-year-old Sophie.  When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers.  But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful. She recently began her own blog called Where Feet May Fail. Be sure to check it out.

Update on Sara

It's been a busy morning around here. I didn't get up in time to write something new. I'm trying to get my daughter in to see a doctor about her foot that doesn't seem to want to get any better. So between making lunches, combing hair and getting everyone out the door, this post hasn't gotten written. Instead of sharing what's on my heart this morning, I'm going to send you over to Sara Cormany's blog so you can read an update on her status with her high-risk pregnancy. Everything is going well right now, but I'm warning you that her post will make you cry. I'm also asking you to cover her and that precious life inside of her with your prayers.

I know many of you have been blessed by Sara's First Friday posts here at Everyday Truth. I'd love for the Everyday Truth family to be blessing Sara and her family with prayer and encouragement in these next few months.

Enjoy Sara's post "In the Hallway," and I'll be back on Monday.

First Friday: Remember When You Were Awesome

Awesome The longer I live, the more I realize why Jesus thinks little kids are the bee’s knees.

In a world that is cynical, cold and obsessed with junk, it’s our kids that rock the norm.

Not only do these tiny peeps live on the brighter side of life. But warmth also spews out of them. Fighting the cold and telling whoever will hear, “Hey, I’ll share everything and anything---even my boogers!!!”

God bless them.

(And the mamas and papas who must be better than Kleenex.)

Kids sing in the middle of grocery stores. They dance down hospital hallways.  They travel to Africa and back IN THEIR HEADS.

THEY. ARE. FANTASTIC.

And they know it.

Not in an arrogant or pious kind of way.

But in a “If God says I rock, then clearly I do.”

I feel it every day as my son jumps out of the car and shouts back at me, “I’m gonna go be awesome today, mom.  Now you go be awesome, too!”

I see it every time we go to the grocery store and my 3-year-old rocks an Ariel dress, two different sparkly shoes (one that is her sister’s and flops when she walks) and a big giant red bow that only barely covers her syrup-matted hair.

I hear it in the enthusiastic projection of my 8-year-old as she belts out “Let It Go” for the (bless me) 902nd time.  It all screams, “Broadway, I’m fabulous.  And if you haven’t heard me sing yet, watch the hoot out.”

It is an unabashed confidence that  says, “Listen up, y’all. I am fearfully and wonderfully made!!! And if you doubt it for a moment, let me show you what makes me special.  ”

They are the best of us, uncomplicated and without baggage.

And even though they still have moments where even we as parents realize they need Jesus, our kids model daily how to take the truth of our “made in God’s image” selves and rock it.

That is if we learn.

Now the world will work very hard at wearing down that confidence.

It will call them what I often call myself.

Too flabby. Too scattered.  Too slow.

Too against the grain.

But as much as I have accepted those labels for myself, when I see how my kids view themselves and the world God created, I want to fight against those negative monikers.

I want to cast off every piece of nasty baggage and see myself the way my Creator sees me.

Fearfully and wonderfully made.

And it’s why I am keeping three pictures for my babies.  Tucking them close to my heart.  And waiting for the day I hear, “I’m too flabby.  I’m too scattered.  I’m too slow.”

Because when those days come, I will break them out and say, “See this...”

Graces note

“Grace?”

Drew Bowtie

“Drew?”

sophie pink

“Sophie?”

“These are words or this is the look of someone who thinks that if God thinks she’s awesome, then it must be so. Chase that. Want that. Wear that. And no matter what happens, don’t let it go.”

Then I’ll hug her and kiss him and pray crazily over all three, eventually tucking the pictures close to my heart once again.

But before I do, I’ll take one long last look at each and remind myself again of a little boy’s drop-off farewell…

““I’m gonna go be awesome today, mom.  Now you go be awesome, too!”

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew and one-year-old Sophie.  When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers.  But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful. She recently began her own blog called Where Feet May Fail. Be sure to check it out.

 

This Motherhood Thing

We’re 12 years into this motherhood thing, and this is not what I thought it would look like when I dreamed of being a mom. There are so many things that no one tells you about motherhood, so many moments that you wouldn’t have believed could happen even if someone had told you.

I didn’t know motherhood would include so many tears, so many moments of laughter, so many days of exhaustion, so many situations where I don’t know what to do. I didn’t know motherhood would be the best job in the world – and the worst. I didn’t know there would be days when I felt as if I was on top of the mountain – followed by days in the lowest valley.

I'm guest posting today on Mom 2 Mom Monday over at My Joy-Filled Life. Read the rest of this post by clicking here, then check out Sarah's site and leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by. I'll be back with a new post in this space tomorrow.

First Friday: More Than Crumbs

crumbs

My darling eldest girl has a penchant for the dramatic.

And I’ll freely admit my part in it.

My side of the family most definitely has DNA code written for the stage.

My brother. My sisters. My mama.

D to the N to the A.

And as for moi?

Forget about it.

I not only own my drama, I also taught the masses how to be MORE dramatic.

Penchant. Firmly. Planted.

So I hardly balked at the overblown Scarlett O’Hara sighs coming from the living room the other day as I heard her chastise baby sister, “SOPHIE!!!! You got crumbs ALLLLLLLL over the FLOOR!”

Without a beat or interruption of my laundress duties, I bellowed back from above,

“In this house, people are more important than crumbs!!!!”

“Mother, what does that even mean??!?!!???”

“Well, sister, I’m glad you asked…..”

And thus began the crumb project.

A mad gab of input by my three in an attempt to create a little we-love-you-more-than-crumbs manifesto.

The process was in a word, hilarious.  The ideas, a bit novel.  And the hearts behind it, pure if not Purelled.

Call it our own little way of reminding ourselves this holiday season that no matter the busy, the guest, or even the heartbreak, people are our purpose.

Always.

 

MORE THAN CRUMBS

We love you more than crumbs, we do.

We’ll show you how to love you too.

We’ll kiss your boo boo’s before we clean.

We’ll wipe your tears and stop the mean.

We’ll make crazy cool doors for you to walk through.

We’ll share our cows and goldfish too.

We’ll poop in the potty and not on the floor.

We’ll say, “PBBBLT to crumbs, we love you more!”

We’ll give you a show or two or ten.

We’ll even add drums, just tell us when!

We’ll give you Christmas day after day.

And we won’t give up on you if you run away.

We’ll search for you with all our might.

Just like we did for Sophie last night.

We’ll scour the halls and the in-betweens.

We’ll look high and low and over fairy wings.

We won’t slow-up until we see your face.

And then to you we will gladly race.

We won’t care a hoot from where you came.

We’ll just love on you and shout your name!

We’ll break out the goldfish, the best we’ve got.

Maybe even a cow if you like that a lot.

We’ll dance.  We’ll sing. We’ll even shout.

And you can best be guessing we’ll get those drums out!

We’ll wash your hands and feet and face.

We’ll clothe you in Avenger gear or even lace.

We’ll kiss your boo boo’s and say “Don’t cry.”

Pray with you or sing a sweet lullaby.

For it must be said right now, right here.

You are the gift we expected this year.

We missed you like crazy, that much is true.

But more than crumbs, we love you!

 

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew and one-year-old Sophie.  When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers.  But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful. She recently began her own blog called Where Feet May Fail. Be sure to check it out.

 

Inspired Holiday Bundle - 25 products for holiday inspiration at only $25 #InspiredBN 

 

Sock Monkey Theology

For the past two weeks, I have armed myself with copious amounts of coffee in a series of rather unsuccessful attempts to write this little post. Not once. Not twice. But up, up, up and away to some ridiculous, forgettable number.

All in the sweet name of giving you something pithy or poignant or even pitiful.

(FYI, I just used “pitiful” because I couldn’t come up with any other way to end the alliteration.)

But I’m afraid my poignant well has run dry. This past month has just been that way. It’s been about survival, plain and simple.

Well, truthfully, it’s been actually been about two things: survival AND sock monkeys.  Confused? To borrow a line from The Princess Bride, “Just wait ‘til I get going!!!”

Er, where was I?

Ah, yes, the monkeys.

Remember the brief journey this June into our summer schedule? The one where I sung loud praises to my doting Dad for inflatable sprinkler things?  The one that began our week with Make-It-Monday?

Well, my dearest Daddy read that post.

Feeling quite proud of his contribution, Dad decided to step it up a notch.  So in honor of my birthday, he gifted us with our very own, make-it-yourself, Rockford Sock Monkey kit.

(And all the craft-challenged mamas wailed in unison a cry of utter agony.)

But then yesterday, it rained.

Yes.  That’s right. I did it.

I got that kit out and committed to the longest project in Make-It-Monday history.

Four-and-a half blessed hours to come up with this…

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It’s okay to laugh, really…

I blame the false advertising…

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Whoever thought this was sensational in any way shape or form should have been told what sensational actually means…

In my world, sensational does not even broach me stuffing my face with chocolate as my eldest inquires, “Mom, is this a little too much for you???

Sweet heavens, child, YES!!!!  Do you see this monkey?????

I didn’t even notice an arm is MISSING…

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But then Drew responds, “At least he has one arm?????”

Why, yes, son, there is joy in that.

So we push onward…and make a hat…to which the eldest again makes this blessed comment, “Well, that didn’t really improve the situation, did it?”

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AAAAACCCCKKKKKKKK!!!!!!

At this point, I am shoving the last of the chocolate in my mouth and sewing on a tail and an arm that don’t have any stuffing in it because I just can’t fathom the thought of one more appendage failure for the day.

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Shameful.

Just shameful.

My apologies to all the women who can sew, craft or stuff.

And as for me, well, just bless my EVER-LOVING ROCKFORD SOCKS!!!!!!!!!!

Now, you may ask yourself why I share any of this other than to make you feel AWESOME about your crafting skills.

Well, here’s the deal…

Ironically enough, even a month that is boiled down to survival and sock monkeys, God can use in all its hysteria.  He can reveal truth out of it, among it and through it.  He can even lead a mentally done mama to write down a little sock monkey theology in hopes of bringing you a little real-world encouragement in the back-to school madness.

Let us begin with…

Lesson #1 : Sometimes life just doesn’t follow the instruction manual.  You want sensational and you end up with one scary sock monkey.

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Expect it.  Embrace it.  Understand it.

Life is going to be full of scary monkeys but once we get done navigating the entire manual and blow this craft-making joint, we get a forever of sensational.

Trust it.

Lesson #2: We will all get our stuffing knocked out of us.  But fortunately, our Creator’s whip stitch is way better than mine.  And unlike me, He won’t give up…

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God will heal and restore and remake you perfectly.

Every time.

Lesson #3: Smile.

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Seriously, how can you not?

Lesson #4:  When your face looks like this, it is time to put the monkey or the to-do list or the calendar down and BE STILL.

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(Okay, okay, maybe eat some chocolate too.)

Lesson #5:  The world may call you ugly.  The world may call you unlovable.  The world may point out every crooked stitch.  But the One you were made for????

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He happens to think you are absolutely beautiful.

(Even when you don’t.)

So bless my Rockford socks.  Yours too.  And should this little pictorial lesson have taught you nothing, forgive me.

I was too busy making sock monkeys.

And maybe, just maybe, that’s the blessed point.

Friday Introduction: Learning to Be Still (Allison French)

It’s not quite 9 AM and the dishwasher is going, the laundry machine whirring in ritualistic harmony. I’ve worked out, written three emails, balanced the budget, changed two dirty diapers, held an attitude adjustment session, conducted a short phonics lesson, fed three hungry little birdie mouths, started dinner, written a few paragraphs of this blog post and yet still not made a much of a dent in my to-do list. My educated guess is that those reading this blog have had a similar morning. Such is the life of a mother. blog6

There are times in the day where I achieve a thrill, a “high” if you will, off of back-to-back accomplishments, seamless multi-tasking, that moment when my juggling act reaches its peak with balls suspended mid-air, and I am super-woman, super-mom soaring untouched on my own strength, my goals, my ambitions, my vision. This flight may last seconds, minutes, hours, or, if I am stubborn enough, maybe even days.

Regardless of the length of the flight, however, the crash is inevitable. The balls drop, reality hits, the tremble of an anxious heart breaks through. My nerves are frazzled, my patience thin, and, once again, I am not enough for all who want me, need me. You’d think I’d learn, time after time after time. And yet, too frequently, this is what it takes to bring me back to the deep longing I have for “the gentle and quiet spirit which is so precious to God.” (1 Peter 3:4).

As the shepherd of my children, I believe it is not only my responsibility to shelter, nourish and grow their little bodies and sweet minds, but their tender souls as well.

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Just as my Shepherd “makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside quiet water refreshing my soul” (Psalm 23), I’ve increasingly so felt the weight of the calling of modeling and making this same rest for my children. With three children under four, my personality, the roles I play and the dynamics of these factors combined, it’s not an easy thing. We all have our challenges to practicing this peace. The practicalities of motherhood are very important, deadlines don’t disappear, tasks must be checked off. And yet, a wise older woman once impressed upon me to, one: prioritize this peaceful practice and two: to start young.

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Beginning in small but frequent increments, setting aside “quiet times” for our children and ourselves to sit is imperative to calming busy hands and flighty minds. It’s a certainly a discipline, and specific personalities take more readily to this practice, but the rewards are perhaps more impactful than any other life skill we can teach. Academically, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, the ability to be still is not only rewarding but necessary.

blog5 In our home, this quiet time is spent in separate chairs at several points in time throughout the day. Starting at a little over a year-old, I’ve invested hours upon hours helping my children learn to sit in one place with no other toys or stimulus than their small selection of books. In the beginning, a few minutes was an accomplishment worth a lavish celebration. Now, a timer can be set for a half-hour at a time.

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I’ve watched my little ones blossom in this ability as the whining and complaining we inevitably worked through in the beginning has developed into something beautiful; my 3-year-old can be heard whispering rhyming words to herself, humming quiet preschool songs, my 20-month-old can be seen turning the pages of a book, pausing to contemplate the pictures. As a former teacher, I can appreciate the fact that my children will be required to do this someday in the classroom and are strengthening their imagination and independence now in preparation.

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As we all know, this quiet, still time is not only coveted but many times necessary. There have been many times where I’ve called upon my children to use this skill when we are out and about; recently my youngest required an x-ray and my 18-month-old had to sit by himself on a chair outside the room until we finished. It was an amazingly freeing feeling to know I could trust him to stay quiet and safe in one spot for an extended amount of time. At home, many times I can catch up on a phone call, a counter clean, a meal prep, but often the greater reward is when I find my own seat with just my journal and Bible, joining them in silence.

blog3

This all being said, this morning’s rate of activity will most likely be repeated tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day. I know full well that life can not be paused.

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There is a season for everything. However, I’m writing today to share the joy of this revelation. 1 Kings 19 recounts the prophet Elijah’s encounter with the Lord. A series of loud, tumultuous events takes place, but it is after that, in the stillness that the Lord whispers to him gently. Setting aside time to “Be still, and know that (He is) God.” (Psalm 46:10) has been one of the most beautiful, rewarding, sanity-saving practices I have been introduced to, and it’s been a privilege to impart this joy to my children.

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Allison French lives and photographs in Kansas City with her college sweetheart hubby and three children. She loves her babes (all four of them), Pippy Longstockings, her dog, all the lovely members of her constantly-in-contact family, her camera, writing and a good long run. She blogs about the daily life of motherhood and tries to get as much of her own beautiful everyday chaos from behind the lens as she does for others.

First Friday: A Sacred Love

Our 25 Days of Giving series will return on Monday. For today, enjoy Sara Cormany's reminder that Jesus came to bring us a sacred love.

The sacred can be found in the most humble of places.

You may find it waiting at home. Or standing vigil in a hospital room. Or even lying in a manger.

But no matter where you discover its presence, there can be no denial of its existence.

Even in a world full of cynicism and selfishness and general unhappiness. the sacred cries out in hope that we will stand up and pay attention.

I heard it cry one Tuesday evening.

And believe it or not, strange or no, it began with a pot of salty soup.

Enter me, standing at the stove furiously stirring a pot of potato yumminess, courtesy of Bear Creek Soup Company and my ability to add water.

Nearly five minutes to soup perfection, I began to add a little spice here, a little pepper there. And then came the salt. But alas, there was nothing little about this addition.

In fact, it was more of a salt dump.

I quickly transformed from Martha Stewart to Mad Madam Mim.

The transformation was made complete with shrieking, squawking and communicating general distress. Ended only by a tub of sour cream. And my nearly 7-year-old’s admonition, “Mom, you HAVE to calm down. It’s only soup.”

And it was only soup.

But it was the soup I was bringing to a sweet family whose Mama was walking her final leg Home. It was the offering I wanted to make to a dear friend who had been there for me, even when it appeared I had one foot here and one foot in eternity. And I wanted it to be perfect.

But time ran out.

And so salty soup and all, we hopped in the van, headed to the nursing home and picked up a bag of Hershey’s kisses on the way.

Because really, chocolate makes everything better?

Right?!?!?

Now I am sure you have already come to this on your own but just in case, the answer is no. Even chocolate, I’m afraid, cannot best Alzheimers. Or the pain of saying goodbye.

Coming to this truth just a little too late, I began to feel as though I understood what the wise men must have felt when they offered their gifts to a King. As I walked through the parking lot, my salty soup, salad and chocolate seemed so small compared to the incredible sacrifice of its recipients. Ridiculous, even.

But the moment I walked through that nursing home door, my offering, my insecurity and my unworthiness faded quickly into the greatness of the precious offering in front of me.

It was an offering of love given faithfully and willingly not for mere hours or days, but for years. Every dark circle, unsteady hand and slowed step communicated a never-giving-up kind of love. And in the midst of seeing such a precious family immersed in the final leg of an exhausting journey, I could not help but be struck by the beauty of their battle scars.

It wasn’t just any beauty, mind you. It was the kind that punches you in the gut. It was the brand that takes your breath away, the eternal kind that doesn’t even seem possible here.

This was the real deal. This was the sacred.

It lined the walls of Mama’s room in sweet handprints on bright yellow paper, lovingly made by grandbabies. It shone through the photographs on the nightstand, the mementos on the shelf beside the door, evidence of a life well-lived and well-loved. But most of all, it brought a spirit of hope into a room that I had unwisely thought would have had none.

But Hope was there, my friends.

Even in the tears and the heartache and the sacrifice, Hope was most assuredly there.

Maybe it was that which made the tears flow all the way home. Maybe my heart just needed to cry out for the love of my friend. But maybe, just maybe, it was being so near to Jesus, so close to His sacred love and the promise of eternity, that I had nothing left but tears to give.

In a world where love can be selfish and arrogant and short-lived, I had been privileged to stand spectator to a love that was willing to go to hell and back, not once, not twice but every day for the last few years.

And in that remembrance, I found a piece of me that went back in time. To a stable and a manger and an offering of eternal love. It wasn’t comfortable or easy or earthly beautiful.

It was so much more.

With every cry in the straw, every insult to His name and every thorn in His crown, Jesus gave the world a glimpse at a never-giving-up kind of unfailing love. In every wound and scar, this love shouted, “This is what beauty looks like!” And it wasn’t just any kind of beauty, mind you.

It was the punch-you-in-the-gut kind. The brand that takes your breath away. The kind that doesn’t even seem possible on this side of eternity.

This, friends, was the real deal. This was the sacred.

It lined the edges of His swaddling clothes, lovingly wrapped by a mama’s hands. It shone through His healing touch, His care for the weak and His love for the unlovely, all testament to what a life well-lived and well-loved closely holds. And in His precious sacrifice, He brought Hope into a world that had none.

But most of all, Jesus redefined the meaning of love for all of humanity.

He gifted the world with a love that trades the selfish for selfless, arrogance for humility and the short-lived for the eternal. Be it in a crazy girl’s meager offering or in a hospice room or on a Cross, real love will journey wherever it is asked to go.

Even when we’d rather not, even when it hurts, even when it’s hard, Jesus cries to us,

“Precious ones, choose my love. Even on the days where you must go down to the very pit of hell and back, please, please, please choose my love. I know your fear, your hesitation and even your hurt, but rest in this truth, I’ve paved a path all the way to eternity that will show you how it's done.”

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew and one-year-old Sophie. When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers. But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful.

Learning From Failure

Sometimes we simply fail as moms, but we can learn from those failures. I'm guest posting today over at my new friend Paula's blog, Hopeful Future. She's running a series on what we can learn from our failures. Be sure to check it out. Here's a sneak peak:

I sit in my chair with a book on my lap, not reading, not even trying to read. My brain wanders back over the day.

My 11-year-old came home from school with a failed math test, and I think, “I could have helped her prepare better.”

My 9-year-old was frustrated with not getting enough attention and chose to get in trouble, after which I drug her out on the back porch and yelled at her, and I think, “I could have handled that better.”

Read more here.

The Great Adventure

This journey with God is a great adventure, but too often we get caught up in teaching our kids it's all about rules. I'm guest posting today over at Christian Supermom about ways that we can get our kids to view their journey with God as a great adventure. Click the link and join me over there. You don't want to miss it. You'll even get a free printable.

Here's a sneak peak. Just click the link at the end to read the rest.

My younger daughter has been asking tough questions about God, Jesus and faith lately. She’s nine and she’s trying to wrap her head around the big concepts of God and salvation. She hears different things from her friends than she hears from us, and she’s trying to make sense of it all.

As we try to answer those questions and teach our kids about God, about His amazing love for us, about the great sacrifice of His Son, it seems like serious business – after all, eternity is at stake here, right? Amid all this seriousness, though, it’s easy to forget that God designed this life to be a great adventure – an adventure with Him.

Read the rest here.

First Friday: A Prayer of Thanksgiving

 

A few nights ago, I was reminded that prayer with small children is a lot like Chutes and Ladders.

Sometimes, you win. Sometimes, you lose. And sometimes, you take a direct slide right back to start.

But sometimes, you end up where we did that night...

Right off the board and into the land of “Not a chance anyone will ask us to share our technique on how to teach a preschooler to pray.”

EVER.

It began innocently enough.

Negotiations as to who would be first. All in all, fairly civil. And then, as I was somewhere between the fridge and the dining room table, mayhem ensued.

Underneath the dull roar of Drew’s voice, I heard Grace praying. With every word, her brother’s “I need to be first!” got louder and louder and louder. Not to be outdone, baby sis joined in with intermittent shouts of “I needs to pway!!!!”

Before Grace even reached her “Amen,” with clenched teeth, Drew yammered out something like this, “Bless this food to our body’s use and I am supposed to pray first!!!” The conclusion was equally impressive as he shouted a spit-spewing “The end!!!” in Grace’s face.

Grace, the usual peacemaker, offered to pray again. Not really sure as to what was even happening, I mumbled, “Uh, okay, but can Sophie go first?” Grace waved her on as only a princess amongst the peon public could.

Taking her cue from her big sis, Sophie broke out into her usual, “Mahna, Mahna, Mahna, Mahna...”

And just about the time you expected a merry band of Muppets to add a rousing, “Doo, Doo,” she looked up. Made sure everyone was paying attention. And finished it off with an ear-piercing, “Ameen!”

Just relieved that the noise had ended, I turned to go get the napkins I’d missed when I heard Grace saying the same prayer she’d prayed before but mumbling at warp speed. Miraculously, when she was done, Drew sat back with a certain satisfaction as if to say, “See, I was supposed to be first.”

Phew.

Just reliving that makes my eye want to twitch.

But although our prayer time landed us into the realm of “what not to do when you pray with small ones or shoot, even big ones,” I realized something that night.

The prayers I utter, particularly those of thanksgiving, often mirror our dinner blessing disaster.

Sometimes, like Grace, its just to get it done. Other times, like Drew, its just so others hear me. And even other times, like Sophie, its mimicry of words that I have uttered before.

Take the Lord’s Prayer, for instance. Our very instruction on how to pray. Words I have known since I was very small...

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)

I hear them. I read them. I know them.

And yet, somehow I have forgotten to implant the truth of these words in my heart.

A truth that should be spoken in moments of plenty and want and joy and heartache.

Perhaps that is why today, I leave you with my prayer of thanksgiving. One I hope will be rooted in my heart and will live through my hands, even on days when I fall right off the board into the precious land of “Jesus, please help me.”

And so it is, without pretense, facade or further ado, I offer up this humble sister’s heart’s cry:

Papa, how I long to be with you, know you and hold you in the presence of angels and saints and my precious Savior. May my heart remember this longing. May my life speak of your infinite majesty and love. And may Your name on my lips do what it has in this simple offering, where the mere mention of “I am” takes my very breath away.

Papa, I promise to be diligent about the work you have for me on this earth. Please use me up. Take every piece of me for Your holy purpose. And when I find my way Home, let me be singing and shouting and praising Your name, even if my voice has been silenced, my body broken and my mind torn apart. Let me love you that much.

Please give my soul abundant gratitude. Let me not be so caught up in the want of tomorrow that I forget the abundance of today. And should I have to look beyond this day’s limits, let me find comfort as I consider Your faithful care in all my yesterdays.

Forgive me. Forgive me. Forgive me.

I know the sin you’ve washed from me. Remind me daily of the grace and mercy you have poured out on me. Let my forgiveness stand ready to honor the forgiveness you’ve given me time and time again.

Papa, let me be ever mindful of the Enemy. Give me boldness. And mold me into a mighty warrior. When I have the choice to choose the world or choose eternity, empower me to choose You.

You, who embody mercy and joy and hope.

You, who originate peace and love and strength.

You, who found me, and I, who so desperately need you...

Forever and ever and ever.

May my praise never cease even as I whisper,

“Amen. Amen. A thousand times, Amen.”

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew and one-year-old Sophie. When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers. But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful.

First Friday: Finding Treasures

Sometimes, life just doesn’t go as planned.

Wait.

Scratch that.

Sometimes, life just doesn’t fit our plan.

Over the last few years, I have learned this the old-fashioned way:

Through knockdown, drag out, real-life experience.

You see, my body has always been a little different than the average mama.  But over the last few years, it has made an impressive leap into the “So not my plan for what I will have experienced by the time I turn 35” category.

Mild stroke.  Septic shock. Infertility.

And what I will simply refer to as “other stuff.”

Please accept this final category in lieu of specifics. I assure you this is not the kind of “stuff” one wants to be discussing on a Friday morning. Particularly following breakfast.

Trust me.

Most recently, the kiddos and I braved my recovery from a minor surgery.  Toward the end of six weeks, after being virtually housebound, I found myself regretting all those snide comments I made about moms who had appeared on “Nanny 911.” Instead, I secretly wished Jo Frost could swoop in and save me or at the very least, clean my toilets.

On one particularly challenging day, I had run out of interesting things to do within our four walls.  So, out of sheer desperation, I said with enthusiasm, “Let’s look at pictures on Mommy’s computer!!!”

And it worked.

For about ten minutes.

But as we were perusing, I found a picture that, at the very least, entertained me.  It was a photo of baby Grace and I.  I was young, fresh-faced and rested.

I hardly recognized myself.  

And yet, in that moment, I wanted to sit that younger version of me down   Buy her a cup of really good coffee.  And tell her what I wished I had known six years ago.

I imagine it would have gone something like this...

Take the time to run, jump and dance with your kids.  There may come a day when you can’t.

When in doubt, leave the dirty toilet alone and paint little fingers and toes instead.

Write.  It doesn’t matter if you are Seuss or Shakespeare.  Some day, those words may remind your kids of who you really are and who you really love.

Remember, wet pants happen.  And it could always be worse.  Poopy pants happen too.

Marvel at the wonder of each pregnancy.  Forget the morning sickness.  And remind yourself that someday, you might give anything to have an amazing reason to gag.

A happy heart beats a broken spirit any day.  Besides, dry bones hurt.  And require steroids.

You may think that the perfect way to celebrate a 10-year-anniversary is a trip to Venice.  But you will find that holding hands in hospital rooms, marveling at a makeshift bed in your minivan made just for you or hearing whispers of “I love you too much to lose you,” beat a gondola ride any day.

Please, for the love,  put down the parenting book.  If you have the energy to read, tackle the crowd fave, “The Princess and the Potty.”  And don’t forget to do the voices.

Even if you have a rough day, make sure you end it with hugs and kisses and “I love you to infinity and beyonds.”  You may find yourself fighting for your life the next morning.  And desperately wishing you could go back in time.

Grace.  Grace.  Grace.  It is sufficient for every fall, every foible and every mess up.  Even yours.

When you have the option to laugh or cry, laugh.  Tears typically don’t let you choose.  

In some seasons of life, your house will look like some kind of clothes-toy-food bomb exploded.  Don’t sweat it.  It just means you were doing more important things.

And finally, sweet sister, if you can listen to nothing more, hear this:

Jesus loves you.

He loves you so much that he will carry you through the deepest of valleys.  Up to the highest of heights.  Straight over the unimportant.

And even though you might protest and shout along the way, “This was not the plan!”

Jesus will wait.

He will wait until the day you reverently whisper, “Yes, Jesus. Yes.”

“This was the plan.  You have lovingly turned my eyes from the things I am without.  And mercifully and purposefully fixed them upon the treasures I already hold.”

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew and one-year-old Sophie. When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers. But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful.

Check Out My Guest Post at Celebrate Every Day With Me

You get two for the price of one today. In addition to starting The Best School Year Ever series, I'm guest posting today over at Celebrate Every Day With Me. If you haven't checked out Kristen's blog, you should. I know you'll love it as much as I do. Today, I'm talking about being intentional with your kids during the school year. Here's an excerpt:

We enjoy the lazy days of summer around here. Trips to the pool. Hours spent playing board games. Time with friends. Vacations. Books to read. And plenty of time to be intentional with my kids.

It seems like during the summer, we have time for those conversations about the big stuff – who we want to be, how to treat our friends, what kind of words we should use. I’m always really intentional about making time to teach my kids in the summer. We have a schedule and a plan. And we have plenty of spontaneous moments in which to talk.

We’re three weeks out from starting school here, and I’ve begun to realize that I’m not nearly as intentional with our time during the school year as I am with our time during the summer.

To read the rest head over to Celebrate Every Day With Me.