Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mom's Time Out by Gayle Wright, mom of two

I love my morning coffee. Sweet and creamy with a dollop of whipped cream. I can’t wait for my morning treat! The kitchen comes alive with the sputtering machine and the smell of fresh brew. It relaxes me just thinking about it. 

"It’s not easy juggling
all the things a mom
does in one day."

But actually, it’s more than the coffee I look forward to. It’s that precious time I have carved out for myself each day before the non-stop action begins. It is my time to be still; time to breathe a few deep breaths, read and pray. And it gives me a chance to run through the day ahead of me: my pre-work chores, errands to the bank, to fill up the car, to pick up snacks for the kids’ lacrosse practice.

Strategizing to cover all the bases, I lay out my plans and concerns for the day before my heavenly father. It’s not easy juggling all the things a mom does in one day, but it helps to know I’m not in it alone. My morning coffee time helps set the tone for my day, equips me to better meet the challenges ahead. Challenges like … running late for carpool! Oops, gotta go!

Dear God, oh how glad I am that you care about my daily work! Infuse me with your energy and your sense of priority, so I might go about my day well. Amen. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Kids Eat Free by Clair Boone, mom of two

Eating out was a treat that my husband and I enjoyed before we had kids. When our first baby was born, we figured he was portable and we’d just bring him along. Easy right?

Visions of him sitting and just people watching as hubby and I gazed into each other’s eyes quickly evaporated after about 30 minutes of him trying to climb out of his high chair. He’d knock the silverware on the floor and giggle as we picked it up only for him to repeat his new trick. He plowed through the bread we hoped would keep him busy for an hour and then he started yelling for more. It was then that we realized we’d forgotten his bib so we wrapped a napkin around his neck – and he decided to start eating it!
"We’ve decided that meals out
aren’t as fun in reality
as they are in our heads."

Once our meal came, we hurriedly ate and left the restaurant, heads hanging in shame as Isaac screamed his way out of there. Not my favorite memory. But I’ve had a chance to learn from other moms and develop a few tricks of my own since then.

We’ve decided that meals out aren’t as fun in reality as they are in our heads, so we work hard to make regular date nights a priority. And when we do bring the kids along, we opt for places that offer kid-friendly snacks that help keep him busy (think peanuts with the shell on). Finally, if all else fails, we’re not above bringing the DVD player! Not exactly our former idea of dinner and a movie, but hey, whatever works.

Dear Lord, thank for my “mentor” moms. Thank you for placing them in my life and allowing me to glean their wisdom. Amen.

For more creative tips and a list of where kids eat free, visit Clair’s blog: http://mummydeals.org/where-kids-eat-free/.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Ant and the Moth by Liz Sagaser, mother of two

It was a hot Monday afternoon following a hard weekend filled with precarious health, wired kids and a packed schedule. The sun was shining, and I stepped outside to take a walk and clear my head. Life felt more “heavy burden” than “joie de vivre” at the time, and I wondered if I was strong enough to be the attentive and loving mom and wife my family deserves.
"I am often tempted to believe
that my burden is greater
than I can bear."

As I pondered my situation, I found myself looking down. At my feet, I noticed a large moth moving along the cracked pavement. Upon closer inspection, I saw that a single tiny ant was hefting the entire weight of the moth back to its nest. Imagine covering a distance of what would be miles for you and me with a car and passengers lifted over your head, and you’ll have an accurate picture of this ant’s journey.

I am often tempted to believe that my burden is greater than I can bear. But surely, if God gave a single ant the ability to carry up to fifty times its own weight, I know he will give me the strength to care for myself, my husband and my children in the face of life’s challenges. I may have a lot on my shoulders, but God’s got the whole world in his hands – and he is willing to help me carry my load as well.

Dear God, help me hand off my load to you. Carry me through thick and thin, keeping my heart close to yours. Amen.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mama, You’re Beautiful by Tally Flint, mom of four

I’ve yet to meet a woman who doesn’t wrestle with body issues. Some of us can point to specific instances in our lives when we doubted our own beauty. Some struggle with believing we’re beautiful on a daily basis. For most of us, I think our relationship to our beauty resembles a roller coaster ride: we’re either up or we’re down, but rarely going steady for an extended period of time.
"I was made by a God
 who loves beauty,
 for a beautiful purpose."

Motherhood adds a few loop-the-loops on that roller coaster ride. Whether we carried our babies inside our bodies or not, we look different after children come along. Gone are the days of leisurely getting ready in the morning, of painting our nails pretty colors, styling our hair “just so.” And let’s be honest: I certainly never had a chest that resembled empty pastry bags until after I had my kids!

Yes, I look different. I am different. But I’m learning to believe I am just as beautiful as I ever was, maybe even more so. Because I have four little ones who gaze up at me as I step out of my closet to say, “Mama, you are so beautiful!” And as I grow in my ability to believe that myself, I teach them what true beauty is all about: knowing I was made by a God who loves beauty, for a beautiful purpose.

Dear God, thank you for making me beautiful! Help me to see myself as you do. And help me to see the beauty you put in those around me too. Amen.