life's ebbs & flows

I hate it when having a blog aids in helping me feel more behind with life. I have pictures to upload from my parent's visit, a ton of stuff on my mind that I'd love to blog about, and other pictures of the kids that would be fun to get up here.
I keep reminding myself that this blog, like the rest of life, has to take on new shape with each phase of life we're in.

The past few months have felt monumental. More so than other months in my life.
Miles was born and life took on many changes with his arrival, new opportunities {areas to serve and minister} at church popping up, becoming more aware of people all around me are hurting and in need of continual prayer, love and support, and nationwide news that seems to evoke a lot of deep thought and conversation: the horrible shooting in Colorado, the Chick-Fil-A controversy, the Presidential election coming up and more.
Its in these moments I start feeling overwhelmed and like I'm going a little crazy with how much needs to be done and then I step back and remember, its not my doing to do ;-)
God hasn't called me {or anyone else} to fix the world and all its problems. He's called me to be faithful in prayer, faithful in loving others the way God has loved me, and faithful with how I use my time, talents and treasure - all of which He's given.
Understanding that takes the huge load and burden off me and places it at Jesus' feet, where it belongs.

**Just as I side note - I am continually amazed at how God seems to minister to me as I minister to others. Just when I think I might help someone or offer resources to them, God uses them to help me. Don't you love how He does that?! Its a reminder for me to be continually humble and ready to learn.
My older sister comes to mind, as she is dealing with some very... heavy things right now. I think she views me as someone who is able to help her, give counsel, love her and teach her and yet I continually find myself getting all those things from her! Its just amazing to me how God works and keeps me very humble.

Today I started memorizing scripture again. Remember that? You did it when you were a kid ;-)
If you're anything like me, you left that part of your brain back in your childhood and when someone says "memorize" you have a mini {or huge} panic attack.
I'm doing my best to resurface it and so far its going quite well. When I was about 13 or 14 I memorized the book of James and thankfully, its stuck with me. I have a few verses here and there {mostly in chapters 4 and 5} that I need help on, but for the most part, I can recite most of that book from memory.
I want to memorize a chunk of Romans, but I'm gonna start small and work up to more verses over time. I'm starting with Romans 2:1-11 and will go from there.
Do you have any memorizing you're trying to do?

I feel like my brain is a jumbled mess because so much is whirling around in here, its craziness.
I'm learning so much. Every day feels like new lessons and new ideas and new things to commit to prayer, work on, work out, learn, unlearn, teach, be taught, etc... I can't figure out why this is all of a sudden, but it definitely feels that way. I typically love to process what I'm feeling by talking/writing or expressing it in some verbal way, but lately I find myself having a hard time with that. I think during the months of nursing around the clock and caring for 4 young children, expressing anything very coherent feels like nothing short of a miracle ;-)
I love my family and I love my life, don't misunderstand me. Its just finding this new normal to be truly normal and learning how to juggle a few more balls always takes time for me. And I'm a stubborn, slow learner, so that never helps.

Several of you {mostly local friends} have asked me to share more about what I'm learning in motherhood and how I do my days around here, so I hope this helps!
I thought I'd just share some resources that have helped me tackle {and enjoy and thrive in} my hour-by-hour life. And I know my day-to-day won't necessarily match all of yours, but I tend to be the type that enjoys when a fellow blogger can point out tips that have helped her and then they in turn are what God uses to help me.

*I am slowly learning that getting up before my kids {whether its one hour or more} makes a world of a difference in how our day flows. I'm going to assume some of you learned this very early on and you might be laughing at me right now, but bear with me... its something I'm just recently learning and embracing.
For me, if I only get one thing done before the kids get up it has to be time spent with God. I need it right now more than ever. I cannot get through my days gracefully without God's help, so starting the day off with at least some time in His Word {saturating my mind with truth} and prayer is just what I need.
The website she reads truth has come in quite handy for that.

*I have always lived by a rule that seems to help our home flow nicely and that is, to go to bed with a totally clean house at night. This means the kitchen sink is empty, any folded laundry from earlier that day is finally put away, bathrooms wiped down, floors at least swept {I hate mopping and avoid it like the plague}, rugs vacuumed and little piles of paper work and such dealt with.
I don't save all of that for the evening though, or else Jason and I would never be able to relax together. I usually do a lot of it before I start making dinner. The kids typically play outside while I made dinner, so the house doesn't fall to shambles while I'm not looking.
Our 'family rule' is Clean as you go and I have to say, its definitely kept from us having to tackle humungous messes. I'm not sure I could handle that. Honestly, I'd probably throw my hands in the air and say 'I give up' because lets face it, no one wants to tackle a mess like that.
It helps if everything has a place and everyone under your roof knows where that place is.
Also, getting rid of junk helps a lot, but I need to digress here before I get carried away. 

*The most influential book for parenting {in my world} outside of Proverbs and other books of the Bible has been this one. I highly, highly recommend it. It is very basic, very Biblical and one of the best approaches to training up our children I have ever come across and I love it.
I feel like I've become a calmer, happier, more in-charge Mommy and our kids seem to be greatly benefiting from it.
*This one is also a little gem. And I say little because its totally short. A few trips to the potty and you could have this one finished! I'm not the only one who reads on the toilet, am I?
*This book came highly recommended through our Sunday School leader at church. She asked all the teachers to read it and said it would greatly bless us in our parenting and she wasn't kidding. I'm not done with this one yet, but what I've read, I love.

Now to answer the two most popular questions I get asked {at least weekly}
1.) What do you do for meal planning?
2.) When do you find time to work out?

The meal planning question gets asked more often than the working out one. Probably because feeding our families is a little more important than exercising ;-)
I have tried many, many different methods and for me personally, this one worked best.
I start out making two meals. Lets say its a Saturday and I'm making one meal for Sunday and the other is for Monday night. However, when I get to Sunday, I make one more meal, even though I already have one for Monday. Then on Monday I make a meal, even though I still have one for Tuesday - the idea is for me to always stay one meal ahead of myself. So if we have a terribly busy day and I never did get around to making dinner, we can always grab dinner for tomorrow and eat it tonight. Does that make sense?
I know several ladies that bake a whole month in advance or they at least do a whole week in advance- for whatever reason, that never did work for me and I always gave up.
**Also, on the days when we were gone all day and I never made dinner, we sometimes just have 'simple dinner'; something easy to make and grab out of ingredients already in the fridge. That way I don't throw off my meals and have to start over.
So that's  how I 'meal plan'.

The working out thing is tricky since Miles was born.
Because my days/nights are so unpredictable, I don't have any set routine going on. If we have no where to go, I tend to work out in the middle of the afternoon. I usually do my house work first to get my body really moving and then I jump into one of my videos.
Otherwise I've found it best for me to work out around 8pm at night. Jason gets the kids in bed and does that routine and I get my 30 minute work out {sweat fest} going.
But like I said, because I have a 3 month old, I hold to no real routine these days or else that just leads to frustration and I hate being frustrated.
I laugh when women ask me this only because I would never ask ME this question. I still have plenty of 'pregnancy' weight to lose and am in no real hurry to lose it, so I do find it odd when people ask me about this stuff.
I have never ever been able to get up super early and work out. The times I've tried it, I pass out. And yes, I start by eating all the things 'they say' you're supposed to eat. Apparently my body just doesn't want to pop out of a deep sleep and kill itself with a work out ;-)
I know plenty of ladies who swear by this though, so I tell people "figure out what works best for you and your family and just stick to it."
I also don't run {for many reasons} and LOL when I get told I look like a runner. Mostly because I didn't know runners have a 'look'.

So there you have it! I know this won't necessarily help many of you. I'm mostly just answering questions I get asked a lot and a few of you {especially you, Sarah!} keep asking me to blog about these things. So there you go.
Sorry this post is so wordy.

I'm going to try and get a bunch of picture posts ready so I can share the fun things we've been doing in July and now {gasp!} AUGUST!

3 {comments}:

Erin said...

I totally understand about the bit about usually processing everything in your brain by talking or writing it out, but sometimes it is just.too.much. It just has to sit a brew for a while. :)
I have given the same description about "loving the little years" to others - it is a sitting on the toilet sort of book. Ha!
I'm going to check out She Reads Truth. Sounds cool. I have never gotten up before my kids on a regular basis. Getting up to nurse & take potty, etc through the night keeps me needing sleep. But, Kendall is almost weaned. So, this is a goal of mine. Not to work out though. I hate morning work out, too. Put the coffee pot & rest with Jesus sounds good to me. :)

Stef said...

AH! I'm so glad its not "just me". I feel like part of the blessings of being in real community with others (whether on the blog or in real life) helps me to realize, its not just me.
The morning working out is something I wish I was a pro at. But I cannot handle it, so I've given up trying to make it work.
I'm not nursing too much in the night these days, but if I were, I'm not sure I could rise too early either. That's always a tough one and I don't want to be Mrs Grumpy pants from no sleep :)

Gideon said...

Thank you for sharing your tips and what works with your family. I like the idea of cleaning up everything at night so you don't have a mess in the morning. Fabulous idea!


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