inspiredness TM

Copyright 2013


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Winter in Spring

Crocuses

Sometimes these days–these spring days full of chirping birds, warms winds, pollen flying, cool spring rains–they can seem like winter days. When the soul is overflowing with the busy-ness, the mind is racing with lists, the body only stops for a minute to remember to breathe…breathe! One tends to forget that God is still there, in the midst of the clutter & the full schedules. When you finally get a minute to sit down you feel like you should be doing something more productive! Did I forget to text/e-mail/phone someone? Have I updated my Facebook status (and does it really matter)? Did I put that load of laundry in the dryer? Have I had a drink of water today?

It should be more simple than this! Last days of school should be relished (for moms & for children)…those last moments with friends, those last moments of a {relatively} quiet house with only 2 children. Submerging hands into God’s earth, digging and planting His harvest should be a joy & a means of escape, not an obligation to make your garden the prettiest on the block.

Right now, our garden sits…signs of new buds emerging, weeds quickly overtaking the ground threatening to overtake the delicate new growth. I’m finding my soul to be the equivalent to those fragile buds & the busy-ness of our lives the proverbial weeds threatening to choke out the promise of new life.

“make it your ambition to lead a quiet life” (1 Thessalonians 4:11)

My questions to you:

How do you manage your busy-ness?

How do you find balance?

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Multitudes on Mondays: Two Simple Words

Thank you.

I have vivid memories of my parents telling me, “remember to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ Noell.” To that I would usually roll my eyes…I know, I know.  My father was {and is} pretty insistent on the thank you part of the message. He made sure to give me that stern, disapproving look when I would forget to express my gratitude. And even now, I’ll catch him doing this with my kids, his grandchildren.

After my parent’s divorce when I was about 7 years old and after seeing strangers stare at my developmentally disabled brother anywhere we went…I stopped being thankful for many things and I started being bitter and angry. What was it that I did that made my parents split up? Why can’t I have a “normal” brother? Why did God make me chubby? Why, when other kids’ parents are picking them up from school do I have to open the car door to see my grandpa…every.single.time? I would begin wallowing in my own self-pity and wishing my life to be different. Sitting in my room with the door closed I would read and read and read…taking in all the good things of others’ lives {fictional others} and wishing them to be my own.

What good has all this ingratitude given me? A life full of anger, regret and misery. The depression has always been floating under the surface and when I had my children it roiled up with a vengeance. It manifested itself in rage and hate {mainly for myself and for my ever-so innocent babies}…and really, things that I would never want to experience again. By this time I had been a believer for a good 3 years…why wasn’t I immune? I was constantly looking for answers.

Did I not pray enough? How much therapy and medication do I need before I feel “better”?  Maybe if I read every book on the topic of depression I would find the answer. It never happened and if it did it was a very temporary solution to a debilitating problem. I was willing to try anything at this point.

Gratitude.

When we stop seeing reasons to give thanks, we stop thinking there are reasons to live.

~Ann Voskamp

Oh, how true this is!

I can see the look on my father’s face when I thank him…for the cup of coffee he just bought me, for the time spent alone with him by the river fishing {and not catching a darn thing}, for just sitting there in silence while we have breakfast. His face softens, his eyes begin to sparkle a bit. And all I said was…thank you.

If this is the reaction of my earthly father what is the reaction of my heavenly Father when I thank Him?

 …[A] new study suggests that helping teens learn to count their blessings can actually play an important role in positive mental health. As gratitude increases, so do life satisfaction, happiness, positive attitudes, hope and even academic performance.

~U.S. News

Give thanks! When I fail to see and recognize all the ways that the Lord has blessed me I fail to glorify Him and my life begins to lose meaning. I’m not saying the cure for debilitating depression is to simply say “thank you” but I know that when I say it and mean it the light starts to shine through the dark, luminous cloud of despair.

Dark can give birth to life, suffering can deliver grace, the ugly can be beautiful. God transfigures everything for His glory

~Ann Voskamp

What I am thanking the Lord for today….

#52 the energy to get through 48 hours with my kids, without my husband

#53 a little girl dressed as a furry animal

#54 those amazing sleeping babies

#55 a big brother loving on his littlest sister

#56 an amazing smile

#57 a refreshing and very yummy breakfast

#58 endless lengths of railroad track on my craft room floor

What are you thankful for?


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Temper Tantrums

(Originally written May 17, 2012)

This has become the common look in our household and not just from Gracie but from just about every member of the family (myself included).

I’m constantly asking myself what is causing these crazy, emotional outbursts. Am I doing something wrong as a mother? Am I  not paying enough attention or giving the wrong kind of attention? Is it due to exhaustion? Maybe it’s a hunger thing? Just a stage? Is it simply because the kids haven’t mastered certain communication skills? Oh, I could over analyze this subject for days, months, years.

The more I think about it, however, the more I realize that even as an adult I have “temper tantrums.” They may not be the classic throw-yourself-on-the-floor-and-scream tantrums but they are emotional outbursts of another kind. I might pout to myself, I may literally bang my head against the wall when I’ve had enough {as I did the other night}, I may be so hurt and angry that I can’t stop crying hysterically.

Toddlers typically throw tantrums in order to express fear and anger and according to Freud, tantrums may be a subconscious way of the tantrum-thrower to force a punishment on himself as a way to put his sense of guilt to rest (Sigmund Freud, Case Histories II (PFL9) p. 257-58). It’s also suggested that tantrums {at least in toddlers} are a result of a blow to the person’s inflated self-image (H. and I. Goldenberg, Family Therapy (2007) p. 172).

I think all of these postulations are valid and definitely true for me when I throw my “temper tantrums,” what about you? Do you ever feel like the world is out to get you, that things aren’t going your way and they never will? Do you ever feel embarrassed or humiliated by your failure and lack of perfectionism? Have you ever gotten caught doing something vengeful, spiteful to someone because you were hurt by that person? Do you ever wish that someone would just slap your hand for the sins that you’ve committed so you wouldn’t feel so bad about having committed them? I can probably raise my hand to all of these {and more}. These are “perfect” reasons to throw an adult-sized temper tantrum!

So go ahead…pout, scream, shout, bang your head on the wall {literally or figuratively} and as bad as it sounds, yell at God. Give Him your anger, humiliation, sadness, guilt, feelings of worthlessness…give it all to Him! Guess what? He won’t slap you on the hand or put you behind bars or disown you as His beloved son or daughter!

I have loved you with an everlasting love…

Jeremiah 31:3


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What was life like before?

Before the babies, the all-night feeding sessions, the dirty diapers. Before the time when taking a shower every 3-4 days was something I only did when I was camping.

What was life like? Sometimes I have a hard time remembering. I didn’t have to pre-plan when I was going to use the bathroom. I didn’t have to feel rushed to make a meal because I just need the whining and screaming to stop! I didn’t have to sneak upstairs to fold the laundry and hope that I could get five minutes of peace and quiet.

And from what I remember I never really had a problem taking care of myself…at least not the previous couple of years before the babies. I remember sleeping in, taking a hot shower just about every day, eating a meal while sitting down at the table, taking quiet walks, feeling the sweat roll down my back while doing Bikram yoga, stretching my body. All this seemed pretty instinctive before the babies. Now that I’m in the thick of raising these little dependent people I’m having trouble wrapping my brain around what I need to do to take care of myself. I’ve tried to make lists of what I thought were the essentials…getting all the beds made, doing 1-2 loads of laundry a day, planning meals at least a week in advance, organizing all the incoming mail/paperwork/clutter into neat little cubbies with color-coordinated labels. When I reread these lists, however, I began to realize that none of these things are essential to taking care of myself! Rocket science, right?

The problem is, I honestly don’t know if I can tell you! At one point I went to a therapist and she actually had to tell me what I needed to do…eat, drink water, sleep, move. You would think this would be pretty instinctual! But now, I see that list and I think, sure of course I need to eat but there has to be more…what am I missing? What is the key ingredient that will all of a sudden make things run smoothly again? Do I really need to pay someone again to tell me what to do? No, I know I can figure this out myself…but how?

I’ve been called an extremist by my husband. I’m all-or-nothing. If I can’t eat well all the time, I won’t eat at all. If I can’t exercise all the time, I won’t exercise at all. If I can’t sleep all the time, I won’t sleep at all. And the list goes on. I get so angry that I can’t do these things 100% perfect, 100% of the time. It seems that I might be “type A,” a perfectionist…doesn’t it? Sometimes that’s funny to joke about, other times I see these tendencies in my 5-year-old and my 3-year-old and it really worries me. I don’t want them to go through life feeling like if they can’t be perfect they aren’t worthy. I don’t want them to give up easily because they can’t do things right the first time. I don’t want them refrain from making goals or starting projects because they aren’t sure they can see them through in their entirety. I don’t want them to sacrifice their health and well-being. But if they see a role model do all these things how will they learn otherwise?


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{Un}inspired

What do you do when you’re feeling…uninspired?

The words don’t flow freely. The thoughts are all gummed up. The body is feeling heavy and tired.

The energy was there yesterday, but it had to be. Babies needed their diapers changed, children needed baths. A normally relaxing day spend wandering the zoo was a mass of people and a mass of irritable children, parents and grandparents. Boys were spitting, girls were crying, faces & knees were dirty. And this mama…somehow got through the day in one piece having only gotten overwhelmed, anxious and irritable a few times! By sunset bellies were full, bodies were clean and the blankets were covering those spitting, crying, irritable, sweet little messes.

I guess after all that…I rest and do it all over again {and know that the inspirationwill come back}!


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Walk with Him Wednesdays: Sacrifice

“The next 3 weeks, as we walk with Him towards Easter, might we consider: The Practice of Sacrifice. We look forward to your thoughts, stories, ideas….”~Ann Voskamp

I thought I knew what ‘sacrifice’ meant when I became a mother. I filled my head with the idea that if I hadn’t taken a shower for three {or more} days that was sacrifice. If I fed my children before I even attempted to feed myself that was sacrifice. If I cleaned, cooked, played, read book after book before I thought of taking a break {and sometimes this meant just using the bathroom}…these were sacrifices.

Yes, it’s true…these are all sacrifices of sorts. But really in all these “sacrifices” I’ve sacrificed myself and led myself down a very rough road. A road that took me to the depths of depression, thoughts of suicide, feelings of hopelessness. I thought I could do it all…be “super mom.” And when I finally wore myself down to the very earth that I could no longer stand on, all the pretending I had done…pretending to have it all together…gave way and left me vulnerable.

Vulnerable is not a spot I like to be in. Being in this place means I have to trust…I’m not sure I inherently possess this…trust. I did it for a moment though, this trust thing. I trusted God…that He would take care of me through the people who were taking care of me. It took going to those ugly depths to trust Him.

I’m not as deep as I was almost exactly two years ago. I’m not crying every minute of the day. I’m not thinking of locking myself and my kids in the garage with the car running. I’m not afraid to leave the house, afraid that someone will see the ugly marks of depression on my soul. Praise the Lord for this!

But…do I truly know what sacrifice is?


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Multitudes on Monday {March 5}

#51

Hearing my little sunshine hum along to a song in the car…the one that I listened to while pregnant with her

#52

Babes giggling while playing with their daddy

#53

Listening to Gracie roll play with her dolls

#54

A heating pad in bed warming me up when my husband cannot

#55

remnants of play, dolls well-loved

#56

sleeping in warm sunshine

#57

commotion in the house, kids laughing, fighting, playing…knowing one day it will be quiet

Your father’s blessings are greater
than the blessings of the ancient mountains,
than the bounty of the age-old hills.

~Genesis 49:26