Thursday, April 23, 2015

Great Worth

Some days I struggle with being enough.

Ever feel like this?

To be the wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend I need to be.  The list goes on and on.  As a woman, it seems a natural tendency to compare ourselves against others.  To wish to be as pretty, funny, organized, together, or successful as someone else.

This morning, for some reason, I was feeling very less than.  As if all my shortcomings just came flooding across my mind.  A movie of negativity.  Over and over I replayed things I did or didn't do and everywhere I fell short.

I'm pushing 40.  My weight has never been where I wanted it to be.  I've started over in a career. These facts make it very easy to focus on my weaknesses and where I am not enough.  

And then God whispered...

Your value doesn't come from numbers.  

Whether it be your age, the scales, or the amount on your paycheck.  This does not equal your worth.

My value doesn't come from numbers.  Yes, I repeated this to myself over and again.

My value comes from the One who created me, who knew me before I was formed, and says I'm more precious than rubies.  And that is where your value comes from too...

You are not a number.
You are beautiful.
And more than enough.

Monday, April 20, 2015

It is Well

I left my dr's office on a high last Wednesday.  It was the first time I'd been there in a year, since my last physical.  The scale showed a lower number (yay, me!) and I had nothing to complain about.  In fact, the doctor and I just sat there chatting about loving life.  What a treat!

That in itself was worth throwing a party.  For I can't remember a year in the past decade that I didn't frequent the doctor on multiple occasions.  There truly is something to be said for reducing your stress and how it affects your health.  Although more exposed in my current job to illnesses, I'm sick way less often.

However, despite sanitizing and upping my immune boost, I left my wellness visit with an unknown illness.  Isn't that ironic?  The next day a tickle in my throat and fatigue was a tapping on my shoulder.  Try as I might to ignore it, by Friday, I was in the bed with a migraine.

So not the way I planned to spend my afternoon off.  Or weekend.

Just about everything I had planned was pretty much thrown out the window.  That sunshiny window of spring beckoned me from my bed.  Boxes still surrounded all the rooms of my house and the living room begged to be put back together.  My closet still hasn't been swapped out for the season.  And my spring cleaning list hasn't been completely checked off.

The goal was to use my Friday afternoon to knock a bunch of it out and surprise the family.  Instead they got the shock of finding me bundled up on my couch when they arrived home.

Normally, I would love a do-nothing weekend.  Cuddling up on the couch is one of my favorite ways to spend the day.  But not when I had other plans.  Sadness.

And isn't that just how it often goes?  It's easy to never be satisfied with our current situation.  To long for something else.  To spend so much time complaining or wishing that we end up missing the blessings that are there.

Despite the fact that my ear throbbed continually and my throat still feels like I swallowed thumbtacks, there were many good and simple joyful morsels to be had.  Gladly, I'll count my blessings...

I'm thankful for family that pitched in and helped mom when she was down.  Tim and the kids put the house back together in record time.  (A double date fishing at the lake may have put the pep in our teens' steps though!)  Hubby gladly went shopping for me and went down the girly aisle without hesitation.  Love him!  Even my doggies were extra snuggly, sensing I didn't feel well.

Grateful for a collection of essential oils to help ease what ails me.  Whether soothing my throat or stopping my cough, it's been a blessing to have them.  Messages from friends and family wishing me well from missing church were a sweet surprise.  Glad our church offers a podcast!

I'm fighting sleep deprivation from the coughing spouts and don't recall everything from the weekend, but last night when my son and I were giggling for no apparent reason, I remember lifting up thanks in the very moment.  It physically hurt to laugh, which just made nothing even funnier.

And today, I'm thankful for not needing many sick days the past year as I need two days off to recuperate from this nasty bug!  Yes, it stinks to suffer through a virus, but no matter how bad I feel, it is always well, well within my soul.

Sunday, April 12, 2015


Whew!  What a busy and productive weekend.  Well, week actually.

We've been in full remodel mode, as we await new carpet installation.  Everything has been ripped and cleared away.  

(Have you ever seen the amount of dirt under a carpet and padding? ICK!)

After my slight panic attack, it allowed me to fully spring clean my living room, wiping down walls from top to bottom and even spraying the base floor with a natural, homemade "febreeze" I created using essential oils.

Other than the fact it looks like we're moving and our voices echo in our empty room, it's rather peaceful inhaling the fresh and clean.

Sitting in the empty room and seeing stain spots, I've been a little misty eyed reminiscing of days gone by.  We moved into this house when Noah was barely two so our boys had a lot of growing up within these walls.  Oh the stories these stains could tell!

And even though I've cleaned heavy in the past few years - nearly every spring and fall, as I rubbed fingerprints and stain smudges, I wondered if any of those lingering were Austin's.

He's been on my mind a lot this week, probably a result of the season bursting forth.  Spring was his favorite time of year.  It meant mowing and baseball, his two favorite pastimes.  

Between the emotions of missing him, the tiredness that comes with a major house project, and the stress from the chaos of packing up the central room of your house, I haven't been the most pleasant person to be around.

Last night was my breaking point.  Home from picking up one of the kids, I see piles of carpet in my front yard.  I was gone literally 10 minutes, which meant my husband had started without us.  Which also meant he shuffled the couches on his own, hobbling on his still injured foot.  (Awaiting results but we think it is a torn Achilles heel).

Seriously this stubborn man is a pain in my heel some days!

Worried about him injuring himself, and unprepared for the dust from the process, now all over my kitchen and dining room floors, my mouth opened and ugly came out.

That's the thing with words.  Once you say them, you can't take them back.  He was hoping to get the bulk of the dust out before I made it home, knowing how I suffer from allergies.  And as always, he never thinks of himself or the risk he did to his ankle.  Needless to say, we both went to bed hurt and irritated, in addition to the bone tired.

It was a night of sleeplessness for me though, as I tossed and turned, replaying the event in my head.  I didn't like how easily the flesh took over and caused discord in our family.  Feeling weak and defeated and still achy from the weekend's work, I pondered even going to church this morning.  Satan jumped all over that open invitation to hiss in my ear about how I wasn't worthy of being there.

But instead of giving in, I turned harder to Him.  Opening my Bible, I prayed for peace and answers, to calm my spirit and nudge me in the right direction.  And you know what, that's all it took.  God gave me the heart hug I needed but also the kick in the pants to get up and get going.

Within moments of walking in, my mood shifted.  The tension between Tim and I dissolved.  We came home for a quick lunch and tackled the rest of the project together in unison.  

Moving the couches out to the deck to tear the final section, I noticed how dirty they were in the sun. And I set to dusting and scrubbing them clean too.

Funny how that is.  All it takes is a little light from the SON to shine on the dirty and help cast it away.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Pick a Pepper

We took the kids for a mini weekend getaway as a treat for spring break.  I told them it was a pre-thank you for all the work I knew they'd be doing later in the week.

The rest of their days will be spent packing up our living room, as our 15 year old hunter green holey carpet will finally be replaced.  (Yay! I can have company again!)

Before we hit them with the details of taking down bookcases and tackling dust bunnies, we enjoyed a few days in Nashville.  It was a teeny vacation and I'm still jealous of the beach pictures on Facebook; but just getting away from the house, sleeping in a hotel, and letting the kids raid a convenient store for ice cream and Fun-Yuns after 10 pm was a much needed retreat for us all.

One of our stops was letting the kids experience the Grand Ole Opry.  Neither of them huge country fans, it wasn't something they expected to enjoy but I think they were pleasantly surprised.  Tina thought the "legends" were cute old men.  Noah had fun squishing Tina in the pew and purchasing an overpriced ink pen in the gift shop.  He was already queuing up music from the singers on our short ride back to the hotel though, so I know he liked some of the songs.

Prior to the Opry, we ate at a new restaurant for us, a rule when we travel.  It was highly recommended from several of our friends.  I will say the fried pickles were yummy, Noah actually ate their coleslaw (which he never eats) and their chicken tenders were good, but otherwise I wasn't overly impressed.  The highlight of the visit was the giant rocking chair, playing Ms Pacman in the lobby, and watching Noah eat a pickled pepper.

Our chef-in-training, he's always open for a new eating opportunity.  And he does enjoy spicy things.  Whenever he cooks at home for us, we never quite know what concoction he'll whip up.  Sometimes the spices he chooses make no sense, but they work together.  Anyway, I spied an odd shaped bottle of white peppers on our table and Tina dared him.  The rest, as they say, is history.  He snorted, choked, we laughed.  Good times.

On our way home, we visited the giant mall.  For our kids, where the biggest shopping option is Wal-Mart, this mall is always a fun adventure.

Timing was probably not the best though, I was fighting a stomach bug and my hubby was hobbling on a hurt foot, but we muddled through for the kids.  They talked Tim into getting "real" tennis shoes and kicking off his work boots.  He couldn't believe how much lighter the rest of his walk was.  Silly hubby.... I attempted to find a dress on the busiest dress-shopping day of the year.  Silly mommy... Tim took lots of breaks and utilized every massage chair the mall offered.  I found Tina two cute dresses and strappy shoes and decided to shop my closet once home.

As we neared the corner to Bass Pro Shop, I knew we'd survived the loop, but realized Noah was leaving without anything.  Seeing a pepper shop, I offered for us to stop in, as I knew Tim would take four hundred hours at BPS.

Perusing the rows and rows of hot sauce (who knew they made so many kinds), I noticed their sample section.  Mustards, salsas, wing sauce, dips, and lots of yum.  There were even handy charts telling you the heat ratio so your mouth didn't get a surprise.  Tina, being a wimpy mouth who sometimes thinks ketchup is hot, made me sample everything she wanted to try first.  Surprisingly there were a few things she liked.

Noah went right to the extreme heat-get your momma's approval section.  You had to be 18 or over to even sample.  His build easily lets him pass and I decided, what the heck, we're on vacation...let him be wild!  His palate was feeling the heat after testing out many 8, 9 and 10 on the spicy scale.  He and the pepper guy were hitting it off, sharing chili stories, and Noah was trying to decide which bottle would give his secret recipe just the extra kick he's been wanting.

His eyes kept venturing to the last bottle on the sample row.  The FlashBomb hot sauce actually required a waiver, due to the heat.  He shuffled his feet, muttering how much he wished he could try it, knowing without a doubt this overprotective momma would say no.  But, to his surprise, I shrugged saying, "why not" and the pepper guy agreed.

Noah took a chip and dipped, getting only a tiny dot of fiery sauce on the corner.  He chomped down and we waited.  At first he seemed a little disappointed it wasn't very hot, but then he coughed, gasped, and his eyes watered simultaneously.

The pepper guy said, "Just's not even kicked in yet."

At this point, momma panic set in but I managed to keep an outer cool.  The pepper guy started a countdown.  3...2...1

Insert cartoon whistle and smoking ears.

Once I knew he was going to survive, Tina and me got a good chuckle out of it.  His dad too, when Noah ran all the way to Bass Pro for a couple dollars to buy some milk.  Mom had already spent the remainder of her money buying his hot sauce.  And I think he was grateful we didn't purchase the hottest one!
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