Monday, May 24, 2010

6:8

Micah 6:8
He has showed you, O Man, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

I need to level with you really quick. I've been disturbed by many people's Facebook status updates, as of late. Such updates never used to affect me, because I didn't put much faith in them. I guess I just never took them seriously, because I figured that you can say ANYTHING on Facebook or Instant Messenger (oooh, remember away messages?!! wow.) and it wasn't necessarily what you were REALLY thinking. But now, with the rise of social media, blogging, and the like, Facebook is the new phone call. This is how we find out how each other is (are?) thinking and feeling. People we wouldn't normally wonder, or care about, let alone solicit opinions from, we are now reading their every thought. And, "...out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." So your heart overflows what's in it, into your speech, or online, out your fingers through the keyboard and blasts itself onto the internet.

What's coming out of YOUR heart?

What do your political affiliations say about you? I'm not talking Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, or Ted Nugent. I'm talking about what you believe about what is going on in this country, no not just this country, the WORLD. Out of the overflow of your heart, your mouth speaks. So does your heart respect the leadership that God has allowed over this country? Don't tell me, "Oh, I love *insert political leader here* but MAN they're screwing things up" and on and on and on. I don't think that counts. Why?

Because the Lord REQUIRES some things of us:
That we ACT JUSTLY
That we LOVE MERCY
That we WALK HUMBLY with OUR God.

You are required to act justly and stand up for those who are being mistreated. This includes illegal immigrants. It also includes the homeless, the orphans, and the widows. Even if they're drug addicts and prostitutes. Out of your mouth, you should be speaking justice. Not justice according to some law or bill or possible law or bill, but justice according to the Lord.

You are required to love mercy and rejoice when others are shown mercy, and show some mercy yourself, while you're at it. So cut our world leaders some slack, why don't you? Shore them up with prayer and support because they're doing their job....which leads me to our next requirement:

You are required to walk humbly with our God. You were not appointed as a leader of nations for a reason. If God chooses to appoint you at some time, then lucky you. But right now, he didn't. So walk humbly with the God of EVERYONE. The God of nations, the God of you, me, him, her, and all those people you don't like in the White House, or Arizona, or whatever.

I understand that Government is getting bigger and a lot of people don't like it. I'm not too thrilled about it myself, but you know what? That's what's happening. To fight against it in such a way that does not bring ANY glory to God WHATSOEVER is to go directly against all of these requirements.

If you believe that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant word of God, then you don't get to pick what's true and what's not. It is all true. So not only must you live up to these requirements, you must also believe that God ordains all authority. I personally believe that God ordains the positions of authority, and I'm not sure about the individual people. I'll ask Jesus about it when I get to heaven. But I know for a fact that if the Lord ordained that there be certain positions in government, that we should respect the positions and their authority over us.

The challenge of these requirements is to view justice, mercy, and humility on God's terms. I'm not saying you should blindly follow anyone, INCLUDING God. But remember that your fingers type the overflow of your heart. Your biting, scathing opinions about world matters can be hurtful and disrespectful to the Lord and His reputation. But He can change your heart. And out of your fingers will flow justice, mercy, and humility, regardless of how much you dislike our government, or anyone else's, for that matter.

Peace.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Giveaway...

.......On someone ELSE'S blog!

Gotcha, didn't I?!

Well, while you're here, I'd like to tell you about Life With Twins and Multiples. It's a blog out there on the interwebs about...you got it! Life with twins and multiples. There are a few different authors, who you can find out about here. These are all extraordinary women who have dealt with EXTREMELY difficult situations, either in their daily lives (um, hello, they've got multiples) or through obstacles they've encountered along the way. Trust me, I know some of them personally. I wouldn't lie to ya.

The lovely ladies of Life With Twins and Multiples are having their very first giveaway! You can win a Little Lasso, like this one: There are many ways to enter, which means many chances to win! Even if you're not a twin/multiple mom, you're welcome to enter! This doo-dad would make a great gift!

Go enter, and let me know if you win!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Operation KidConnect....MONDAY?!

Wondering what this is all about? Click here!

Well HI there! I haven't seen you for a while! I apologize for being inconsistent, but I've had just a few things going on. For the past few weeks, I've been on the hunt for a day care for my son. It is time to re-start my internship, get on with life, and finish my Master's Degree. But as we learned this week, there are many things you can't do in the workplace, and I'd like to add one: You can't bring your 2-year-old with you. I know, right? Surprise, surprise! I hope that amidst the busyness of your week, you were able to make some special, purposeful connections with the children in in your life. It's really difficult! I know! I was in the thick of it this week, ankle deep in work (not yet knee or neck deep, and for that I am thankful) and requirements, and...ugh. The important things just slip away sometimes. I encourage you to find new focus on the little things you do each day to be a positive force in your kids' lives (or other kids).

Being that it was Zeke's first week of day care, there were many tears shed...by both of us. We both needed some encouragement, except he's very difficult to talk to, not because he's emotionally unavailable...mostly just because he's two. So I try to encourage him in little, different ways. Every day I tell him what a good boy he is, even after 10 time-outs (because trust me, after a day at day care with no nap, there are at LEAST 10!). I tell him that mommy and daddy love him and love each other. Y'all, it is SO important that our children know that we love our significant other. I know there are many different situations out there--divorce, abuse, hostile marriages, and I honestly CAN NOT speak to those because I am not in those situations. But if you are married (or even in a committed relationship), and you love your spouse, your children need to know. We also give him "special treats." Sometimes we'll go to McDonalds (like we did this week) or sometimes we'll give him some cookies. Really, anything can be a "special treat" if you call it one and make it feel extra-special. Zeke now asks for them: "mama, special treat ice cream!" He's so sweet. One of the main sources of my anxiety over him being in day care (especially this first week) was that he would feel afraid or lonely, or like we didn't love him. So I try my hardest to let him know how much we love him, verbally, and in other ways as well.

On Thursday, my nephew K1 was recognized at a special event at the University of Florida in Gainesville. The event was only for the super-smartiest kids in Florida schools. Just to give you an idea of how smart you've gotta be to attend this thing...you have to score in the 90th percentile of all Juniors and Seniors in High School........

AND be in 7th grade.

That's right, my 7th grade nephew scored in the top 90th percentile of Juniors and Seniors in HIGH SCHOOL. So at the age of 12, he's already scored higher on the SATs than I did. I. Feel. So.....Not. Smart.

But do you know what's really neat? K1 never makes me feel stupid. With the exception of an incident in early elementary school where he stood up on his desk and declared himself smarter than everyone in the class, including the teacher (he got in pretty big trouble, as I recall...once my sister, his mom, stopped laughing), I have never seen him outright FLAUNT his intelligence. He has EVERY right to, by "worldly" standards. The kid is brilliant. But he doesn't rub it in anyone's face that he is so smart he has already skipped a grade. K1 (really, both my sister's kids AND her two step-sons) are extremely polite and kind. So to encourage Kevin on his special day, I sent a card along with my dad (the proud Grandpa had to attend the event!) for Kevin. I, of course, failed to write down the exact wording for you, but it talked about how proud we are of him and that his actions and abilities speak louder than any bragging could. When you've got a great kid (or when you ARE a great kid) there is no need to brag. If the child lives in such a way that others can see their "light" shine, they are living in humility and with a humble heart. And that, I believe, is more valuable to society than a perfect SAT score.

Do your kids know how proud you are of them? Have you encouraged them to be humble and let their abilities speak for themselves? What do you think about encouraging them to do that this week?

**DISCLOSURE: Hallmark sent me some awesome cards from their Kids' line for this project. They did not pay me, and my opinions about the cards (if I even feel like expressing an opinion rather than just telling a cool story) are my own and were not brainwashed into me at some secret lab at Hallmark Headquarters. I promise. You can show Hallmark some love by visiting a store and buying something, or even following their PR department on Twitter. They're great!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tips

If you've been following me on Twitter lately, you know that I just started (really, RE-started) my internship for my Master's degree in counseling. You haven't heard from me much in the past few weeks because I've been trying very hard to get all my ducks in a row, dot the proverbial "i's" and cross those darned "t's"...and put my son in day care for the VERY FIRST TIME. Yes, I cried, and No, I'm not ashamed.

ANYWAY, I'd like to bring some things to your attention, especially you stay-at-home moms. I'd like to help you out. You see, my grand-re-entrance into the work force has not been, *ahem*...smooth. I may, or may not have committed some faux pas while getting reacquainted with my new-ish surroundings. You can be spared the embarrassment if you will but read about mine. I therefore present you with the following...

Things you probably shouldn't do at work, former SAHM!
1. Pick your nose. You really shouldn't be doing this anyway, since you can't blame your child learning the habit on anyone else but you...pssssst...your husband knows. It's* okay.* But really, no one outside your own home wants to see you dig for gold. Did you know that nose-picking is generally socially unacceptable? Well now you do. People WILL look at you funny if you do it, and not funny like your kid looks at you and it's oh-so-cute. No. They will probably walk the other way and avoid you if they see you doin' one of these: 2. Sticking your hand down your pants to adjust...whatever. So this one goes along the lines of the last one. This is a private activity that should be relegated to the confines of a restroom. Or, if you can close the door to your office and you do not share it with anyone else, I guess that's okay too. Yes, I know your pockets are all bunchy in the back, but people really aren't going to notice. What they WILL notice is your hands down your pants.

3. WEDGIES. Just let it ride until you can get to a bathroom, for the good of all involved. Please.

4. Adjusting your belt. Again, restroom stuff. Yes, you should be proud of losing the baby weight. But if you adjust your belt to cinch in that last belt loop in front of others, especially if you are standing up and they are sitting down, they will PROBABLY think you are taking your pants off. No one wants to see you take your pants off in the work place. At home, you can take them off whenever the thought strikes you, so you don't think "wow, someone might think I'm taking my pants off when I'm really not." Well, think again sister. You must remain clothed in the work place, and people are on guard about that kind of stuff.

5. Bodily functions. Try not to burp, fart, run screaming to the bathroom because you've got to pee or...whatever. This may seem like common knowledge, but especially after having a baby, these things just.........happen. You gotsta control that! Do your exercises. Please.

5 and 1/2. While we're at it... you don't have to call it a "potty." "Restroom," "bathroom," and "Ladies/Men's room" is juuuust fine. Everyone knows what you're talking about. ALSO... you can go ALONE! SCORE!!

6. Wear your jammies. You've been wearing them until the baby naps and you can get a free moment to shower and put at LEAST a clean shirt on, but honey, the rest of the world wakes up and gets ready BEFORE 1:00 p.m. Shocking, I know! Trust me, it threw ME for a loop. Your Eeyore pants are NOT proper office attire. Neither is your Eeyore shirt, even if it's covered by a jacket and EVEN if it's over those super-trendy leggings. Wear. Something. Else.

So there's a few of my tips...you know...because I've seen people do this stuff and I want you to be WAY cooler than THEM when you go back to work.

RIIIIIIIGHT!!

Any tips YOU'D like to share?!

Beauty...

I hope you all had a very happy Mother's Day and either were treated like the special lady you are, or treated SOMEONE ELSE like the special lady she is.

Now, I am not Mormon, and I do not believe what Mormons believe, but I cannot deny the fact that Mormons are some of the kindest people I have EVER met. And you are stone-cold in your special heart-place if this video does not affect you. NieNie is beautiful, inside and out. I want to be like her when I grow up.

Friday, May 7, 2010

My Last Day...

Today is my last day at my current job.

Starting Monday, I am no longer a Stay-at-Home Mom.

Zeke will be starting day care while Josh goes to work and I essentially go to "work" and only get paid in academic credit.

Today, I took Zeke to his new school to check things out. He's found a new friend, "Ducky," a yellow duck puppet that I played with as a little girl, and he refused to let it go when we arrived at school. But once we got out on the playground, Ducky was promptly dropped on the ground in favor of the slide with the steering wheel and the many tricycles. In short, Zeke was fine! He had fun with the kids in his class, although he had a little bit of trouble sharing. I guess that's to be expected since he hasn't had to share with anyone except his playgroup friends (maybe once a week) in the last two years. I even got on the floor and read several stories to the group.

I actually started my internship yesterday (my mom took the day off of work to watch Zeke), and I can't tell you how much I enjoyed it. It's amazing how quickly the time flies when you're around other adults! At the end of the day, I felt accomplished and tired in a new and different way. I obviously know how difficult being a SAHM is. There were days when I felt accomplished at the end of the day, but it's different. Yesterday showed me that I am ready. It's time.

So starting Monday, I will be a working woman with my child in day care. And....

I'm really looking forward to it!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tempting Fate

In January, I won a contest sponsored by Steaz. The prize? A full-conference ticket to Blissdom! I had the time of my life. Really, I did. I learned so much and made so many new friends. At the end of it all, I hoped that the relationships I developed would continue and grow into teenage slumber-party type relationships with curlers and jammy pants and late-night movies. And we wouldn't have to even call each other on the phone, y'all, cause there's TWITTER!

*insert sound of a car screeching to a halt*

Well, that isn't QUITE reality, now is it? Here's the reality: I connected with a LOT of great women (sorry to say I didn't meet BusyDad, one of Blissdom's token males) and made some surprisingly deep friendships in a short amount of time. BUT, they live ALL over the country. And none of them lived in rural Missouri, where I lived at the time, although Amber comes close because we could have met up in Bentonville, Arkansas, about an hour away from me. Well then I moved back to Orlando, and you'd really think that there would be a lot of tweetin', bloggin', super-hip chicks in this here city, but the truth is, I haven't found many (although there are a few! Hi Erin! Hi Anna! Although you ladies barely count because Erin, I went to High School with you, and Anna we're practically related. Anyway.). I know, I know, I'm just not looking hard enough. Whatever. ANYWAY, while I still tweet with my Blissdom friends, the connection, like all friendships, is ebbing and flowing in a beautiful way...but it's hard to stay close! It's like we met at Summer camp, promised to write, and then got really busy.

So here is where I tempt fate a second time. Sears Portrait Studio is sponsoring a contest for one lucky winner. The prize? A ticket to BlogHer '10! I don't know if you know this, but tickets for that conference sold out in like, 2 seconds. I know I already won a ticket to a conference, but I know someone who's mom got struck by lightening twice, so it's not impossible that I'd win this too, right?!

Attending BlogHer would benefit me (and any blogger, really) in untold ways. Personally, I would like to selfishly continue to make connections with other women bloggers. Professionally I need the networking and education sessions to help my work with Social Girl Media. I am relatively new to this. I feel like a total newbie although I know there are others just starting out behind me. I guess I'm afraid I'll lose my online momentum and that all my hip, cool, online buds will forget about me!

*sniff sniff*
*wiping a tear*

Yes, that's a little bit melodramatic.

Sears Portrait Studio, although I have never used YOUR portrait studio, I am a lover of fine professional photographs, as long as they're done right. I prefer the candid shots that weren't even meant to be part of the session--especially with families. They show the true feelings and love between family members that seems to die when you say "tilt your head a little bit to the left...now a bit to the right...a little more to the right....no your other right...there you go Princess." And I love blogging and making connections.

So, if your random number generator sees fit, I would LOVE to win your contest!

*Disclosure: This post is an entry into Sears Portrait Studio's BlogHer '10 contest. We were asked to tell why we want to go to BlogHer and why we like professional portraits. All drama, heart-string tugging and violin-playing is mine.**

Monday, May 3, 2010

Plan B.

Many of you know, but some of you don't...

I am in the middle...or maybe just the beginning (who can really say?) of a "Plan B" situation.

Or is it "Plan C?"

Who the heck knows?
ANYWAY...

I've spent the last few weeks reading "Plan B," by Pete Wilson, husband of the fabulous Brandi Wilson. He's also a pastor or something like that at some teeny, tiny, unknown church. I kid, I kid.

Ok here's the deal: I've been through many Plans B in the recent past. Let's recap, shall we?
*I had a baby whilst in the middle/end of my Master's degree.
*I had postpartum depression
*My husband, son and I followed God's leading to a whole different state, away from both of our families; thus taking the biggest leap of faith we ever had as a family.
*Six months later, we moved back to Florida
*We are living with my parents
*My husband is currently not in vocational ministry.

The list could go on, and if I could, I'd expand those little asterisks with many bullet points underneath them.

You've been there too, huh?

Don't you feel like you missed God's plan? Like, you made one, just one mistake like moving to another state (with the best intentions, following a clear path from the Lord), and now it's all over. God is now bringing in his "B" team of angels to fix things and get you back on some semblance of the track, while you fumble around, dizzy from the upheaval of it all.

That is absolutely false. And thank you, Pete Wilson, for helping me realize that. Pete's book does not in any way, shape, or form, answer the question on the cover: "WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN GOD DOESN'T SHOW UP THE WAY YOU THOUGHT HE WOULD?" Not in the way any of us would like, at least. Upon first hearing about the book and fighting to request it from BookSneeze (the number of folks requesting the book overloaded the server within the first 30 seconds of it's availability), I wanted answers. My bitter heart was ready for vindication and the secret formula for how to make my life work again.

What I found instead was far more valuable: Validation. If nothing else, reading this book made me feel like I was not alone. It reminded me of a concept that was very important to me in the past, but that I had forgotten along the way: God knows. He knows what's happening, what's happened, and He cares. And perhaps the most important piece of all:

I did not screw up God's plan.

Although I have doubted it in the recent past (and am sure to doubt it in the near future), I am absolutely certain that God led us to move out of state and we did the right thing by following. Whatever led us back matters less than the fact that we must continue to trust Him through this time. "Plan B" is still a plan. It's still God's plan. God will use our circumstances whether we like it or not. But if we choose to RECOGNIZE that he is using them, we will be healthier and (more) whole. And you all know that I'm all about mental health on this here blog.

The greatest thing Pete's book has shown me is really very simple:

It's okay.

Did you hear that? It's OKAY. God can turn this Plan B, C, D, Z...into something used for His glory. And how I react to it will not change how much or if He loves me, but it will change my character. I get to determine if it will ruin me and my relationship with the God I love so much, or if it will strengthen my relationship with Him, my husband, and my family.

This can change us. For the better. There is hope.

As a good friend of mine once (or twice or a million times) said, "Thank You Lord."

Now if you want to read some of my other, more objective thoughts on the book, head over here to my Amazon review. I just thought you'd like to hear what it meant to me.

*DISCLOSURE: "Plan B" by Pete Wilson was provided to me for FREE by BookSneeze. All I had to do was agree to review it in a couple of different places. AND be very patient, because Pete broke the internet when it was first made available to us. GOSH, Pete! Sheesh! Oh, and the opinions are my own and not influenced in any way by anyone.