Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Pink Square of Comfort

Normally, I blog in my favorite color- red. It's my husband's favorite color, too. (Which is why we have a RED tin roof.) We are Georgia fans, so there is LOTS of RED around here.

But today, in honor of our baby girl's lost lovey, I am blogging in pink.

My sweet baby girl was never too partial to a pacifier. She took it in the hospital the three days we were in there. Let me clarify, she took it begrudgingly. When we got home, however, she got downright furious when we tried to give her one. We tried several brands. No luck.

Momma was the paci. And, at first,to tell the truth, it was exhausting, but I tried to savor every moment. They're only this little and have this need for only so long. Besides, my husband and I told each other, we wouldn't have a paci habit to break!

After her birth, our Sunday school class brought us meals. (Such a blessing! You don't know what a blessing until you've been on the receiving end!) One of our friends has four little ones. During her visit, we were discussing the paci situation. Her youngest two didn't take pacis either; like me, she was the paci. She did suggest a 'lovey' and that we start introducing it right away.

That was one of the best pieces of advise we've ever gotten. We'd received several loveys, so our baby had an abudance to choose from. For several months she showed no preference. She loved them equally.

Except the BLUE one. One morning, all the loveys needed a washing. I threw in her big brother's old lovey in the wash for good measure. As I was folding the laundry, I tossed the loveys on the floor. Our son and I laughed as we watched her crawl from one pink lovey to another. She would crawl to one, 'nurse' against it for a minute, drop it and crawl to the next. She did that with all of them except the BLUE one. She totally ignored it!

Then, one day, she picked her favorite. A pink one, no doubt, with a hot pink flower and her name embroidered on it. Oh, how she loved that thing! We carried it everywhere with us. Whenever she got upset, she would snuggle it up to her face and settle down. When given the choice, she always picked that one.

To tell the truth, we had both gotten dependent on that thing. I would get frantic if I couldn't find it. We'd left it at church once, our friend had been keeping nursery so she made sure to take it with her to give to us later that evening when we'd see her. Our daughter absolutely would not go to bed that night until Daddy brought home the left lovey.

It was then I knew we could never lose the lovey.

This week we lost the lovey.

Somewhere between Kohl's, Publix, and Aldi we lost the pink square of comfort.

I was so upset I posted it on Facebook. An awesome friend saw that post and went to those places to check before I could even get back to town. She went without telling me; I ran into her on my trek back to town once my husband got home so I wouldn't have to drag the kids back out.

The lovey was lost. Gone forever (unless a miracle happens).

I did the ugly cry all the way home. I imagined sleepless nights and naptimes bygone without the lovey. Nothing weighs so heavy as a mother's guilt over things that are beyond her control. So, my prayers went from, "LORD, please let this lovey be there!" to "LORD, forgive me for putting so much trust into a pink piece of fabric."

Truth be told, the pink square of comfort had no special quality or skill or power. It was just soft and pink.

Turns out, I took it harder than she did. Naptime had came and went with no great wailing and gnashing of teeth over the missing favorite lovey, except maybe by Momma. She took one of the 'spares' just fine. At bedtime, she did again.

Lesson learned. I put my trust in something that is fleeting; instead of where it belonged. When I changed my prayer from, "LORD, please let me find the lovey" to "LORD, forgive me for putting so much trust into a pink piece of fabric. Please, let her be able to sleep without it and release me from this guilt." He answered my prayer.

Accidents happen. Kids lose stuff. Momma gets a little side-tracked sometimes. It's ok.

What's not ok is putting my trust anywhere but God. He alone provides all the comfort I need and He cares enough to take care of the little things. Remember those extra loveys? We have plenty on hand. He took care of the need before there even was one.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Plan

Well, it's happened. Something we never really anticipated.

We have outgrown our home, our beloved "Under the Red Tin Roof."

A few weeks ago when we were in Sunday school, during prayer requests and announcements, I asked for prayer for selling our house.

When asked why we were selling, which was the nicest way and tone we'd been asked, our answer was simple. We need more room, specifically a school room.

It wasn't a thought when we built the house. It wasn't part of the plan. To my, "This was our dream house. We never wanted to move." Our comedic friend quipped, "And you wouldn't have, if it hadn't been for those meddling kids!" Ha!

This wasn't the plan. We planned for me to be a stay-at-home-mom since we began courting. We knew that was the plan. Then, when the very last baby entered kindergarten, I would be returning to work teaching. That was the plan.

Then, something happened that change the course of our lives. The test said, "Pregnant."

Something inside me triggered that said, "Five years isn't enough!" Actually, that is an understatement. Every fiber of my being seemed to scream, "Five years isn't enough!"

And, over the last almost six years, my husband has come to the same conclusion.

So, here we are, in a home that we had planned to be in until we went to our heavenly reward, but we clearly see that God is calling us to move.

We simply need more room. More room to grow. More room to learn. More room to spread out books, papers, projects. More room to create. More room to make a mess.

Somewhere we can work in, learn, and close the door on when the day is through and not have to pack up everyday.

We're in no rush. No deadline to meet. Just a calling to follow. A test of faith. Leaving what is familiar and  comfortable for the new and unknown.

And I don't like the new and unknown until it becomes familiar and comfortable. At which point, God calls us to the new and unknown. Again.

So, here we go. Letting go so that we can grow.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Gratitude Attitude

Well, it's mid-October. I haven't posted in three months. Although, if we're friends on Facebook and if you're on there on a regular basis, you know what's been going on UTRTR.

Still, a lot of times that is superficial fluff. Funny things the kids say or do. What dazzling feat they have mastered. Which, by the way, we have had several accounts lately- a big first birthday followed a week later by first steps, followed a week later by LOTS of steps! First grade. First goose egg. First family vacation.

Okay, I digress. It's October. I'm getting a jumpstart on my New Year's Resolutions. And I never keep them, so I'll call them my "Turning Over New Leaves" since we're in the thick of glorious fall. So, I'm going to aim to do two things- the first to blog more and the second I've already been practicing and making into a habit, with the good LORD's help.

Lately this song from my childhood keeps replaying over and over in my mind. I don't remember all the words, but it goes something like this, "Catch the gratitude attitude! Gratitude attitude, catch it everyday! Oh, give thanks to God each day for all the things He brings your way, catch the gratitude attitude everyday!"

Lots of words are missing, I know. The tune rolls round in my mind several times a day. I suppose it comes with having kids. Things I learned in childhood are forgotten, then something with my children triggers those misplaced memories and while some pieces are sketchy, others are crystal clear.

Trying to instill in my children not just manners (although, that's a post for another day!) but a genuine appreciation for their blessings weighs on my mind.

Right now they're young. Still, I desire to teach them by example to have a grateful heart for all our blessings. I caught myself probably a month or so ago, grumbling to myself about making the bed I had slept in! Silly, I know. We've taught our son how to make his own bed. (Might I add, most days it's impossible to tell who made it him or me- he makes his bed that neatly!) This day I was pulling up the covers wishing my husband had had a couple of minutes to spare so he could have done this task.

Really. What did it take out of my day? Two minutes.

It was at that moment that I remembered the "Gratitude Attitude" song.

Coincidence? Most certainly not, I am certain that it was the Holy Spirit's gentle prodding. "LORD, forgive me for my ungratefulness," I prayed. And, while I finished the task, that there was a list of several things that I was able to thank God for.

- We have a bed to sleep in and sheets and a quilt to keep us comfortable as we sleep.
- My husband usually does this task for me if he has a few minutes before work.
- That we're healthy and are able to get up.
- The blessing of work- that my husband has a good job and that God has entrusted this home and all who live here for me to minister to.

Very humbling when I think of all the blessings! This has created in me a new appreciation for counting my blessings and has totally turned my thought processes upside down!

So, I've been trying this out in all areas of my life.

When I'd like a few minutes of 'me time,' I think instead, "Thank You, God, for entrusting these little ones to me. Thank You for the time I get to spend with them. Help me to be the momma they need. Thank You that they are healthy and noisy and thriving. Thank You that You have called me to pour myself into them so they can become who You've called them to be because of and despite me. Thank You for this time; before I know it, the house will be silent and I'll have all the 'me time' in the world. Help me to be grateful for each moment."

When I've got a sink full of dishes (again)- "Thank You, LORD, that we have food to eat, that my family has a good appetite, that we have the means to cook and clean up."

When the laundry has piled up, "Thank You, God, that we have been so busy having fun that I haven't had time to wash all these clothes You've blessed us with. And thank You that my washer and dryer run smoothly!"

When there are errands to be ran and groceries to be bought- "Thank You, LORD, for a safe car to run our errands in, for money to buy groceries with, and that You always provide for us. Thank You that my kids get to go with me and learn that these things don't just magically happen. Thank You that they get to interact with the clerks at the post office, the cashier at the grocery store, and the librarians. Thank You that these people know my children by name and that my children get to see them working hard and with dignity and learn to treat them kindly."

When school needs to be done, "Thank You, LORD, for this calling in life. This is not where we thought we'd be, but there is no where we'd rather be! Thank You for this time with our children and for this time for my children to be best friends. Thank You that my husband leads, supports, and encourages us every step of the way. Give me the grace I need to teach dropping the silent e before adding -ing and -ed. Again.Thank You that we get to see all the firsts."

-When the house needs to be cleaned, "I love our home, LORD. Thank You for providing a comfortable home for us to enjoy. Thank You for bathrooms to clean, so much of the world doesn't have this. Thank You for my vaccuum and how easy it makes my life. Thank You for the ability to keep it a safe place for my family to enjoy."

Now, I shared all that, not because I'm some holier than thou Christian. I'm not. There are many times I slip up and complain. Hey, I'm not perfect. I'm forgiven!

And, especially lately when we've been studying about the Israelites complaining about manna and quail or when we've read about the disciples moaning and groaning, I see my own self there. It's mirror image. God always provided everything they needed and so often, they complained and wanted more. I read and I think, 'Tsk, tsk, tsk! They shouldn't have done that!' Only, how many times have I been guilty of the same thing?

So, instead of looking for new ways to complain when things don't go my way, I look for new ways to praise.

We're running late? God may have been providing divine protection to keep us from a bad accident.

Things didn't go as planned? No, they went better, or, it was a learning experience.

The house hasn't sold yet? (Okay, it's only been two weeks.) Well, He's just preparing the right people for our beloved RTR. Or He's getting our new home ready. Or both.

Yep, I'm coming down with the gratitude attitude, and this is certainly something I pray that my children catch, too.