Monday, March 29, 2010

Sacrificial Blessings

Ever just have one of those weeks where you're in a bad mood?  There's no's just the way it is.

My poor husband....he deals with my moodiness better than anyone else ever could.  He's so patient, although he does have his breaking point when it comes to dealing with a bad mood that lasts more than a couple of days. 

Well, this bad mood has been very persistent.  Can't seem to break out of it for some reason.  And it's so frustrating because there is no real reason for it.  My husband didn't forget to do the dishes.  He didn't NOT put his clothes up.  He didn't bring home a boat-load of crap from work and leave it on the dining room table all weekend, while failing to pick up a single thing to actually work on.  His dirty underwear managed to find its way to the hamper.  And, yes, these are all things that we have argued about in the past (as if you couldn't tell)....but not this past week.  He is so very helpful and does way more than his fair share around the house.

It's not my kids.  They haven't left a trail of toys around the house for days and days.  They haven't been excessively whiney.  They haven't argued anymore than normal.  Their rooms haven't looked like tornadoes ripped through them.  And, yet again, these are constant battles we have with them....but it hasn't been more than usual this past week.  They've helped put away their laundry.  They have been very compliant about picking up the playroom and their bedrooms without much "but I...." or "aaawwww, Mom". 

So why the bad mood?  And, why, oh why, will it not go away? 

My bad mood really has nothing real meaningful to do with the rest of the post, but continue reading if you want to know what has finally snapped me out of it.....

God has really been bringing the word, "blessings", to my heart lately.  And I haven't really been sure why.  Yes, I know we are so incredible blessed.  In more ways than I could ever list here....but here's a start:  We're all healthy (yes we deal with the occasional bout of vomit, ear infections, strep throat, or Lou's persistent stomach issues), but in the grand scheme of things, we have absolutely nothing to complain about and we're so grateful for our health each and everyday.  Our families are parents and grandparents especially would, and have, dropped anything and everything to come to our aid whenever we need them.  We couldn't ask for better friends.  They, also, rearrange their lives to accomodate us when we need them to....and we have great friends who are there to listen as we ride this rollercoaster called "ministry".  And I could go on and on and on.  But you get the gist.

So, as the word "blessing" keeps coming to mind recently, I am especially mindful of the two incredible ways we have experienced someone blessing us in just the last few weeks.  First of all, there is someone who is anonymously making an occasional payment towards our student loans.  And I'm not talking about a couple of dollars here and a couple of dollars there.  I'm talking about $1000 every 5 or 6 months.  Can I just say WOW?!!?  That someone would do this for us is just amazing.  And, second, just today, my hair stylist called and said that someone has paid for me to get my hair cut and colored.  I don't know who it is...they wished to remain anonymous...but can I just say WOW?!!?  Does this person know that getting my hair done is one of my favorite things in the whole wide world?

Oh how I wish I knew who these anonymous blessers are so I could thank them....although there really aren't words to do justice to how truly appreciative I (we) really am (are).  Money is tight, I won't lie....but it's tight for almost everyone I know.  What a sacrifice to bless someone with such wonderful gifts!

God uses people to bless us.  He uses their kind words, their acts of service, their random acts of kindness, their hugs...and I could go on and bless His children.  We don't deserve it....but He does it despite our feeble attempts to live our life according to His Call.

Back to my bad mood:  Recently, like I said, it has been hard to snap out of.  Part of it could be pure exhaustion (but who's not tired?).  Could be I just haven't felt great for almost two weeks (but who's not dealing with allergies right now?).  Could be a bad case of the "i-don't-wannas" (but who doesn't get those occasionally?).  Could be who knows?  But I do know this....God, despite my half-hearted attempt to be the wife my husband needs or the mother my children need lately, is constantly using people to bless me.  How humbling is that?   Seems silly and somewhat trivial that someone paying for me to get my hair cut and colored is just the thing I need to snap me out of this "funk", but I truly believe that God knows our personalities so well, that He knows my love for getting my hair done, that He would use this "gift" to bless me in such a way that I feel a bit refreshed....a bit renewed. 

Here's something that hit me today as I was recalling how these couple of people have blessed us lately:  Our blessing, our being blessed by someone or something, is someone else's sacrifice. 

And that, folks, is what has snapped me out of my "funk".  As we are in the middle of Holy Week, and are approaching Easter, may we remember that Christ has blessed us with the Ultimate Gift...and how truly Blessed we are because of this Gift.  Because of his sacrifice, because he chose to lay down his life for me, for you, and for every single human being that ever has, or ever will, lived, we have been blessed beyond all measures.  Our blessing is the eternal life we will have with God.  We have the Hope of Easter quickly approaching....may my children know by my actions, by my mood, by my words this Hope and may their actions, moods, and words reflect this Hope for all their days!  May our actions, moods, and words bless others so they may experience the true sacrificial blessing that Jesus has bestowed on any and all who choose to accept it.  And may others see the Hope of Christ's resurrection in each one of us and may they experience this Hope despite us (bad moods and all). 
Blog Signature Brown

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Evil Forces

Conversation Lou had with Madilyn tonight:

Madilyn:  Guess what, Daddy?

Lou:  What, Honey?

Madilyn:  The devil doesn't kill bad guys because cause he is part of their evil forces. 

(Lou chuckles)

Madilyn:  No, Daddy....I mean, he is in charge of their evil forces.

Blog Signature Brown

Friday, March 12, 2010

Three Down.....One to Go!!!

We now have only one child in diapers for the first time since Noah was born.  And, what's even more exciting than that, is there is the finality that once Noah is potty-trained, we will buy diapers no more.  Actually, we've been buying diapers non-stop for over 7 years.  SEVEN YEARS, people!!!!  Without a break.  About half of that time we've had at least two in diapers at the same time...AND there was even a short period of time where we had 3 in diapers at once (well, two in diapers and one in pull-ups).  Anyone want to add that up for me?  If you do, please don't tell me the total amount....I might start to feel a little nauseated, dizzy, or light-headed.

For about two weeks now, Jacob has worn only big-boy underwear.  We said adios to the Pull-ups forever!  I got tired of him pooping in them...tired of him being too lazy to get to the bathroom to pee, so he'd pee in the pull-up....and most importantly, tired of buying them.  He's been in pull-ups for a year and a half.  So we said goodbye to those over-priced, but extremely convenient, disposable underpants, and said hello to 24/7 big boy underwear.  And, let me tell you, I've never been more proud.  He's done FANTASTIC!!!!  He's only had one night-time accident, no naptime accidents, and only a handful of daytime accidents. 

And just in the nick of time.  He turns 4 years old in about 16 days.  For months, I've been so worried he's going to be going to Pre-K in diapers.  But, if you know Jacob, you know he has to do things on his own time and in his own way.  We have been working on the potty-training for about a year and a half....never have I been more frustrated as a mom.  But he, eventually, came through. 

Now, we just have Noah in diapers...but with very little cost.  See, about a month and a half ago, I decided to switch to cloth diapers.  Not sure I'd like them or if I'd even stick with it, I started out with a starter package....came with 5 diapers, 10 washable liners, and two rolls of biodegradable liners.  After the first day, I was hooked!  I LOVE it.  It's not an awful lot of extra work (yes, I do have to wash a load of diapers every day or two) but it saves us a TON!!!!  I had quite a few disposables left, so we do use those for church on Sundays or for MOPs....but the rest of the time we use cloth.

So, while we do still have one in diapers, for the first time in 7 years, I am not taking a trip to Sams at least once a month to buy a big ole box of Pampers.  In time, my bank account is really going to thank me. 
Blog Signature Brown