lets go to the lake for lunch

Its what Ethan suggested a couple weeks ago. "Lets take our lunch to the lake today!" My first thought was to go on and on about how much needed to be done at home and how dinner needed to be prepared, but I looked outside, saw the Spring like beauty and knew we had to jump on this great idea.
So we packed our lunch, popped a chicken in the oven to bake {always my 'last minute' dinner} and took off for the lake... And we had a blast!

 Rachel kept saying things like, "this is the life." and 
"this is what I call relaxing." :) 

                          he found a shell! 

 "this is how I smile when the sun is touching me." 

 I totally get that some moms get annoyed with the comment
"soak up these young days, they go by so fast" and I understand 
why it can be annoying to hear so often. I can't help but say 
how true that statement is though! Ethan turning 7 really brought me into reality. 

Its going by very fast.

I can't tell you how weird it is to look back at pictures when he was 4 and 
Rachel and Kara were 3 and 1. It shocks me to see how much life has changed. 
Life takes on a very different form of busyness and definitely adds different 
challenges when kids get older, but whether you love the baby/toddler stage or not, 
its gonna be gone before you know it.

I feel very aware of how fast my childhood went by. 
And I wasn't the "I wanna grow up fast" type. 
A few of my Mom's friends are friends with me on Facebook and its 
very weird to see them in the Grandma stage, 
when I feel like they were where I am, just a few years ago! 
I'm starting to do things and experience things I remember my Mom doing 
with us when we were little.

So yes, it can be such an annoying comment to hear, when you're in the 
throws of it all. But truly ladies, soak up these years. 
As tiring and physically taxing as they are, they do go by SO fast. 
Enjoy the book reading, cuddling at a movie, tickle wars, 
simple walks to the park, playing make-believe, 
letting their little pudgy fingers help you cook/bake, 
and appreciate the days when "because Mommy said so" is enough ;-) 
I don't want to look back and have a bunch of "I wish" feelings. 
We only get one shot at parenting our small children. 
Make it worth it. 

I feel like there are SO many distractions for stay-at-home-moms these days. 
Make sure your husband, kids, and home are your first distraction.
That's at least what I personally keep learning over these years.

I'm not sure our kids are going to complain someday because we didn't spend enough time
on the computer, or scrapbooking, or phone chatting, or texting.
I don't think they're going to remember how nicely decorated their rooms were.
Or if their clothes were brand named.
Or if vacations were the fanciest, most expensive, exotic getaways.
Some of my best memories would probably make my parents laugh.
Because I think we fool ourselves into thinking our kids need more than they do.
They need to know they're loved and cherished and that home is a safe, happy place.
A place where God is honored and His word is lived out.

And please don't mistake this as me saying I think its odd if you struggle.
I get that life's not as simple as 1,2,3.
I know the daily challenges.
Been there, done that.
My husband gets texts sometimes where all I say is,
"please pray for me- I'm struggling today." 

One thing I think blogs can do is give the impression that trials are
never experienced. People mistake the happy pictures as
"they must always have happy, obedient kids & a Mom who never gets stressed!"
I know at least for us, its not true.

I'm struggling these days to know what to post online and what to keep private.
I feel like the Internet makes us privy to way too much information about each other
and while I'm not a fan of hiding things or pretending to be what you're not,
I do think certain things should be kept private or between you and close friends.
If I am really struggling with one particular child, I will be more encouraged
to seek prayer/council from a few, rather than just dumping
my issues and my child's struggles all over the world wide web ;)
As our kids get older I'm also learning there's going to be a certain
amount of their lives they will appreciate me not blurting out to the world.
I know it would've bothered me if my Mom was constantly blogging
about my disobedience, or venting about a certain character issue I had
that bothered her. I'm not sure it would've helped me at all.
I worry sometimes that blogs can do more harm than good. I hope mine isn't that way.
I follow a few people I've never actually met personally and I have to
remind myself that the overly edited, perfect looking pictures are just that -
edited pictures of what was once reality.
There's nothing wrong with edited pics, don't get me wrong.
For me, its all about what my mind believes. What I process and internalize.
Does that make sense?

Remember that online, you see glimpses.
on Twitter you see 140 characters.
on Pinterest you merely see pictures and ideas.
on Facebook & blogs you see/read opinions and whatever
pictures that person decides to post.
You're not seeing that person's actual day-to-day,
minute-by-minute reality.
That's not really practical anyway :)

Don't be discouraged if you see a mom doing things better than you feel like you're doing.
Be encouraged that she's in your life and learn from her.
Women can be catty, this we know. Instead of feeling envious or resentful, remember you're the Mom God gave to your children. You're the wife He gave to your husband. You don't need to be another family. You don't need to be another woman.
Learning, asking questions, and even taking ideas from others is great, but don't use your time online or with other friends in person as a time to pick apart who you are.

God has created each one of us in His image and yet He hasn't cloned us to be identical in any way. We are each unique individuals. I'm not terribly creative and its actually okay with me and my kids. We learn to be creative in less creative ways :)
Instead of being super crafty and sewing all the clothes we wear, or hand carving our furniture, we get creative in other ways that we're most comfortable with.

I've reached a point in life {finally} where living my life before God is all that matters. 
I don't care if its not up to par with the way someone else does their life. 
As long as I know my heart and mind are fixed on bringing glory to God, 
I'm not sure anything else matters. 

When we teach our children {by our example} to truly live out Christ like love, I think we've done more for them than we'll ever know. We do more harm when we talk the talk, but don't even walk the walk, 
behind the closed doors of our own home. And I hope that doesn't sound like I'm bragging or saying I've arrived. Because I haven't. Neither has Jason. We have a lot to learn and plan on learning until 
we die. We love the saying "tomorrow is fresh with no mistakes in it." Even if we stop and realize something we're doing with our kids isn't working, we don't have to get depressed and feel like we've failed. We can ask God for more wisdom and we can start over tomorrow.
That's a blessing. 

Its just an area I've definitely seen growth in myself, because for me, it wasn't always that way. 
In the past I struggled with trying to do things the way that woman does it. Or keeping my home looking the way 'she' keeps hers. Or cooking food the way that woman cooks for her family. Or trying to enjoy things I've told myself I'm supposed to enjoy to be a good wife/mom. Those can quite often just be lies from Satan. For me, those are areas I've been tempted to feel defeated. I don't get distracted by the 'beautiful' women on magazines in the store. They're airbrushed and fake - even my 5 year old daughter knows this. Most of their marriages are either falling apart or about to. I don't find myself envying fleeting beauty. The anti-wrinkle creams actually make me laugh. Anti-wrinkle... like, defeat the process of life God has set forth for us?? No thanks. 
I'm okay with aging. But I know some people aren't.
We're all going to struggle in different areas. 

I have some ladies in my day-to-day life who I love very dearly.
I love the way God intersects our paths and blesses us with real, genuine friendship.
The kind of friendship that feels more like we're long-lost family members.
What I love most is how different we all are and the different stages in life we're in.
One of them is my Mom's age. I love her. I should probably tell her that. She's a huge blessing to me and I love when we can chat. I met her through a Community Group at our church. Her youngest is college age now and yet when we get together, there are common bonds that don't get in the way of our age difference. I love hearing her talk about when her kids were young. I love hearing what she thinks about these years I'm in now that she's done with them.
Another lady is a bit older than me, but her kids are younger than mine and she's a single Mom. She's become more like a sister to me. I'm blessed by her in so many ways and thankful for our friendship.
Thankfully I did recently tell her that ;-)
I learn from her, she learns from me and together we very much enjoy a very real friendship.
Another friend is younger than me and only has one child. We do play dates and enjoy talking and texting and reading each other's blogs and seeing each other at church - when we see each other there.
I love watching her with her little boy. I love being reminded of life with one.
I love how much of a servant's heart she has. It inspires me not to slack off in those areas of serving, just because I'm a busy wife and Mom.

Those, of course, aren't my only friends. Don't feel bad if you weren't mentioned :)
I can't get over how blessed I am by friendships even in other states, where all we can do is chat online, send emails back and forth and chat on the phone - when time and sanity permit ;-)
I love how each of those women brings a different blessing into my life.
So many of your blogs are some of my favorite to read. You're not professional writers, you're not getting paid to take your pictures, your homes don't look like what we'd see in a celebrity magazine, but you write from your heart and are as genuine as you can be, online. I do love that we can keep in touch in this world of technology and I hope we're encouraging to one another and not discouraging. 

So ladies, this post is genuinely meant to encourage you. 
These are things my husband has encouraged me in over the years, 
when he's seen me go down the path of "making comparisons". 
Enjoy your family. 
Enjoy your babies and enjoy your big kids. 
Don't allow the online world to become a distraction or discouragement for you.
Be blessed by it and reap the benefits from it. 
Just remember its not always really reality
Reality is what we're living. In person. Right now. 
Face to face friendships. 
Deep, meaningful conversations. 
You won't feel happier having 600+ Facebook 'friends', but you will be blessed by a few sweet,
faithful friendships that you take time to cultivate and grow, in person. 

I'm glad so many of you tell me you enjoy my blog. Sometimes it amazes me.
I'm not a great picture-taker and I ramble on far too much- this post is proof, yes? 
Obviously I want you to like what you read and see. 
I'd never want you to leave feeling like it was a total waste of your time. 
But just remember, its a glimpse into our life. 
Its not necessarily our day-to-day reality
Our close friends and family get to see that :) 
Just like my husband gets to see a side of me none of you do. 
Isn't that normal? 

Don't feel pressured to expose it all and be exposed to it all. 
I find when I'm prone to expose too much, its usually because I'm looking for your approval 
and praise and not being truly satisfied with God and my family. 

 she takes her pebble throwing very seriously. 

Go enjoy your kids today. 
Tell them you love them. 
Even if you're really struggling with them. 
I see my kid's little hearts soften so much when I stop in the midst of 
their issue and say "I love you so much." 
I've never had one of them give me a dirty look at that or turn and walk away. 
Gain your children while they're young - you won't be able to start when they're 
teenagers. These early years are so very important. 
Again, make the most of them. 
Don't despise them or wish for all the things you can't do. 
I have a feeling when we get our cherished 'freedom' back; when they're older and 
moved out of the home, we're all going to agree... they went by too fast. 
And maybe we won't all agree and that's where our differences come into play :)

So while you glance through these pictures, just keep some things in mind.
We had a great time at the lake. A great time.
But not a picture perfect time.
I had to repeat myself more than once.
A brother had to be reminded to treat his sisters with
kindness and gentleness.
One sister needed to be reminded not to be selfish.
We talked the whole way around the lake about all the beauty
God's given us and the ways we take His creation for granted.
Only to have two kids, moments later, fight over
who got the last cookie.
Typical day for us :) 
I love these crazy people
and I'm really glad God is blessing us with another.

2 {comments}:

Gina said...

So glad you took the time to go to the lake. It's all too easy to justify why not to go--believe me, I do it all too often. You are SO right--the time flies for spending time with our kids. I already miss the fun-filled days I had with the boys when it was just them--it was so much easier to get out then. :-) I need to take advantage of spending time with my kids more (fun time) and letting other tasks wait. Thanks for the inspiration!

Liz said...

I love that you went to the lake! So much wisdom in your words, my friend!


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