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Archive for the ‘book’ Category

I’ve recently realized how small my world is.  Wake up.  Spend time with the boys.  Drop them off at my sister’s.  Go to work.  Go get the boys.  Play, put down for naps, play.  Jeff comes home.  Do dinner, play, put to bed.  Relax.  Go to bed.

Most days are like that.  I was taking a personality test for work and it asked questions like “Do you have many friends?” and “Do you seek out social situations?”  Umm…no.  Not many friends.  (I didn’t think facebook friends counted.)  And I definitely don’t seek out social situations.

I can blame it on my stage of life.  And it’s true.  It’s just much easier to stay home when there’s 2 young ones involved.

I can blame it on going to a big church.  And it’s true.  Our church is big and it is difficult to meet people, much less make friends.

I can blame it on moving away from friends.  And it’s true. For the first year of marriage, many of my friend lived really physically close to us.  When we moved across town, it wasn’t as easy to just stop in and see them.

But I think it’s mostly my introverted-ness.  I just don’t yearn for lots of interaction like other people do. Every once in a while I do, but really, most often I just want to read and stay in a cocoon.  (By the way, I recently read a great book on being an Introvert – checked it out from the library — Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking.)

But I’m starting to notice its affect on me.

  • When I want parenting advice, I don’t have many people that I can ask “Is this normal?” or “How would you handle this?”.
  • When different discussions come up about financial troubles or hardships, I can’t contribute much to the conversation – I haven’t personally been exposed to many reasons about why life is difficult financially.  Nor talked to many people about what they’ve gone through.
  • When the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision was announced, I didn’t think it was any big deal.  But apparently lots of other people did – judging from facebook anyway.

It’s odd because this is not Work Jayme.  Work Jayme has a big personality.  And is personable. And is (usually) funny and (I think) witty.  And asks about others.  And is informed.  And is usually in the middle of most of the stuff going on, project-wise.  But Outside-of-Work-And-Home Jayme just clams up.  And panics.  And feels awkward.  (Which that introvert book talks about why that is.  Good book.)

So I stay in my bubble.  Which I prefer.  It’s safe here.

I read another book recently about the Life Ready Woman by Shaunti Feldhahn, which I really liked.  It challenged me to think of ways that I can get out of my comfort zone.  Not big ways like move to Zambia.  But in “not related to work” ways that I can do.  Things that I have skills for.  Things that don’t have to take big efforts, but ways in which I could change.  So I’m starting to mull those ideas over.

Because as good as bubbles are, they can sometimes burst!

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Thousand sacrifices

One last thought from “Desperate: Hope For the Mom Who Needs to Breathe” by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson.  In a letter from Sally to Sarah, she writes:

“I always wanted to be a hero – to sacrifice my life in a big way at one time – and yet, God has required my sacrifice to be thousands of days, over many years, with one more kiss, one more story, one more meal. “

I’ve often wanted that.  I wished weight loss worked that way: one big effort (over the course of like 1 day), then you just coast.  Or financial success: one big effort (over the course of like 1 week) and all your past financial mistakes were fixed.  Or if you worked one really hard project at work, you wouldn’t have to work hard again (like ever!).  But life doesn’t usually work that way.

And mothering is one more kiss, one more story, one more meal.  When you don’t feel like being touched anymore.  When you feel like reading something meant for an adult.  When you feel like eating junk food.  It’s lots of little sacrifices.

The good news is that I can’t remember regretting a sacrifice.  I can’t remember climbing into bed at night and thinking “man, I really regret reading ‘I Love You Stinky Face’ 20 times today.” I can’t remember saying to myself “I really wish I wouldn’t have made vegetables at dinner.” I just don’t.  Sacrifices – even the small ones – have a way of reminding you how cool these people in your life really are.

 

 

 

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Another lesson learned from  “Desperate: Hope For the Mom Who Needs to Breathe” by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson.  The quote:

“Many voices in motherhood today want to make a law out of everything – the activities that are best for a child, how to spank or not to spank, and how to secure obedience; working outside the home or staying at home; what clothing is acceptable for our girls; what movies, music, or books are or are not acceptable; dating or courting; adopting; drinking; even eating – there is no place where the grasp of legalism cannot and will not reach.

And yet, Scripture clearly speaks to the opposite.  It tells us in Romans 14:22, “Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.”  The worry of what others are doing or are expecting us to do will indeed kill our souls.”

When I read this, I didn’t automatically think of the supposed “Mommy Wars”, but, instead, I thought of the tendencies inside me.  Oh yes!  This is me!  I want rules that pretty much guarantee good results – in my child(ren) and in me!

I have got to chill out when it comes to thinking that there are easy answers to be had.  I have got to chill out when it comes thinking that there is 1 way to raise a kid.  To have a good marriage.  To live a happy life.  Chill out Jayme!

 

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Enjoy them!

Another thought from from  “Desperate: Hope For the Mom Who Needs to Breathe” by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson.  They say:

So many moms try to micromanage every single behavioral issue with their children and feel a need to win every battle, especially when they are young.  As I observe how God treats me, I realize that I keep learning and growing in my weaknesses, sometimes in areas I was not even awar of.  It seems He shows me one area at a time.

And yet, other parents let their children misbehave and be out of control so much of the time that their children are a burden to all who come into their wake.

And so discipline is an issue of training, little by little, year after year.  Do not expect a toddler to behave like an older child who naturally has more self-control and maturity.  Learning to be consistent in teaching and training is a way of life.  It is quite exhausting if a parent makes everything an issue for the child and the parent.  And be sure to enjoy each stage of your children-have fun, giggle, distract, lighten up, and win their hearts.  Children are more likely to respond to discipline if they feel loved and affirmed.  Be sure to extend grace to your young children, and also make sure they have lots of time to play outdoors to wear out their energy and fill their need for activity.

This kind of hit me between the eyes, so to speak.  For a while there, I was so concerned about getting the right behavior out of my child, that I wasn’t really enjoying my child.  Certainly, life will never be 100% enjoyable – not with a child.  Not with a spouse.  Not with myself.  There will always be “I wish I didn’t have to do this” moments.  But I had forgotten to ENJOY HIM!  I had forgotten that he was still VERY YOUNG!

I heard it once that “Children define love this way: P-L-A-Y!” and “Your child’s favorite toy is you.”  May I remember that more often!

 

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When did I stop?

A few weeks ago now, I was reading “Desperate: Hope For the Mom Who Needs to Breathe” by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson.  I had seen it referenced by quite a few of the bloggers that I follow, so I checked it out.  I can’t say that it was life-changing or anything, but it was a very encouraging read.

I don’t feel desperate about parenting right now, but I did several months ago – about the time that Finn was 20 months old.  It seems like that was a very rough time.  Stephen was just a month or two old, but that didn’t seem to throw me any curveballs.  It was the beginning of the Toddler stage that was giving ME fits.  He was starting to challenge things he never had before.  He seemed to suddenly get super tall overnight, causing him to be able to reach things that I thought were safe (i.e.: knives on the counter!).  He developed the ability to open closed doors.  Before, countertops and closed doors were boundary-defining.  Not so much any more.

It’s all normal, of course, but this was the beginning of “true parenting” for me.  Until then, I had pretty much just been keeping him alive.  Now the real teaching and instruction was beginning.  And I was uber confident that I was doing it all wrong and it was just a matter of time before the police department brought him home in a squad car for spray painting a bridge or something.  (Remember: He wasn’t even 2 yet.  I was clear over-reacting!  This I know.  But this I didn’t feel.)

Anyway, a quote from this book stood out to me:

“As the undeniable reality of my own sin nature convicted me of how I view my children, I was reminded of something I had read in one of Sally’s books.  In Mission of Motherhood, she wrote about being frustrated with her children.  She felt like her efforts weren’t proving fruitful, and no matter what she did with her children or how many times she told them what to do, it wasn’t working.  Clay said to her, “Honey, at what age did you stop sinning?  Because that’s when our children will stop.”

That really helped drive home the concept that I am in this for the long haul.  There are some things that I’ll have to tell him once and he’ll listen.  But there are many, many, many, many things that I’ll have to repeat myself for.  Just like I know that it’s wrong to be short-tempered or jealous (but I do it anyway), my son knows it’s wrong to put his feet on the table or to throw his food (but he does it anyway).

It was just a nice reminder that I am no better than my son; just a little more sophisticated!

 

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(You can see other Everyday Life posts here.  If you wanna.)

Day #26: When Crickets Cry

I just finished a book in 2 days.  I’m a fast reader, but that isn’t why I finished it in 2 days.  It was just that good.  It’s been a long time since I’ve read something as good as this book was.  You need to read it.  Very well written.  Great story.  Full of faith, but not in a “beat it over your head”  kind of way.  Just wonderful.  I won’t even tell you what it’s about since discovering what the book is about is 75% of the experience.


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The Reason for God

Last quote from Tim Keller’s book “The Reason For God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism”.

From Page 181:

The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued and that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself or less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less. I don’t need to notice myself-how I’m doing, how I’m being regarded-so often.

I don’t have anything to add to this.  Other than to say: Awesomeness.

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Problem of the Pharisees

This is also a quotes from Tim Keller’s book “The Reason For God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism”.   In this particular chapter, he was discussing some people’s tendency to get so wrapped up in rules (aka: being like a Pharisee).  He thinks that:

From page 178:

The devil, if anything, prefers Pharisees-men and women who try to save themselves. They are more unhappy than either mature Christians or irreligious people, and they do a lot more spiritual damage.

I can relate to this!  From my own life – when I’m so focused on doing the right thing just for the sake of doing the right thing, it’s easy to be unhappy.  Because I’m usually focused on the thing that I’m doing and how I don’t really want to be doing it.  Example: I’m not always 100% joyful to cook dinner.  But I don’t like eating out all the time either, so I cook.  I’m doing the right thing, but my attitude isn’t great.

I’ve also seen how this kind of attitude in Christians does damage to other people.  When people are so law-focused (even on good laws), it can really grate on others and it really is a big turn off to Christianity because the law-focused people are miserable.  Unfortunately, the example that comes to mind are some people who hold the position that parents should not prevent children/pregnancy.  While I think their heart is in the right place and I believe that they are truly convinced of this from God and Scripture, sometimes they way they go about expressing this belief is so off-putting that it keeps me away from them.  And I mostly agree with them!  Imagine the reaction someone who disagrees with them?  Probably not good.

Anyway, I thought it was a sobering thought.

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The Reason for God

A couple of months ago, I read a wonderful book (checked out from the library!) by Tim Keller called “The Reason For God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism”. I can’t remember how it got recommended to me – it had to have been one of the blogs that I read. It was fabulous!

His goal was to present common reasons that he, as a pastor of a large church in New York City had encountered for why people don’t believe in Christianity. And his reaction to those reasons. He also presented reasons (independent of people’s objections) of why he is a Christian. It was an encouraging book. It was a logical book. It was so well-written. For those reasons, it was easy to read.

I won’t talk about all of his reasons, but I do want to share a few quotes that I really liked.

From page 49 of the book:

“For a love relationship to be healthy there must be a mutual loss of independence. It can’t just be one way. Both sides must say to the other, “I will adjust to you. I will change for you. I’ll serve you even though it means a sacrifice for me.” If only one party does all the sacrificing and giving, and the other does all the ordering and taking, the relationship will be exploitative and will oppress and distort the lives of both people.

At first sight, then, a relationship with God seems inherently dehumanizing. Surely it will have to be “one way,” God’s way. God, the divine being, has all the power. I must adjust to God-there is no way that God could adjust to and serve me.

While this may be true in other forms of religion and belief in God, it is not true in Christianity. In the most radical way, God has adjusted to us-in his incarnation and atonement. In Jesus Christ he became a limited human being, vulnerable to suffering and death. On the cross, he submitted to our condition-as sinners-and died in our place to forgive us. In the most profound way, God has said to us, in Christ, “I will adjust to you. I will change for you. I’ll serve you even though it means a sacrifice for me.” If he has done this for us, we can and should say the same to God and others. St. Paul writes, “the love of Christ constrains us” (2 Corinthians 5:14).”

I love this! God has adjusted to us! So many times I think of life as “God’s way or the highway”, but that isn’t so. Since we have a relationship (not a dictatorship) with God, there is a give-and-take (to reasonable levels – God isn’t going to tell me that murder is okay). And even beyond that, our relationship with God is only possible because God adjusted to us first. God sacrificed for us first. God changed for us first. Long before I was here on earth, Jesus was. AMAZING!

And the really convicting part is that we should do the same for others. I do this, to some extent, with my husband. I have changed for him. (He has changed for me too). I do this with my children. But I can do more changing and adjusting and serving. And, I can do that changing and adjusting and serving with a better motivation – not just because it’s nice of me to do so, but because the love of Christ motivates me to do so.

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Okay, another post on the things that I learned/was impressed by in the series of Thomas J. Stanley’s books that I finished reading not too long ago.  (They include: The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy, The Millionaire Mind, and Stop Acting Rich…And Start Living Like A Real Millionaire).  This time, it’s on the fact that most millionaires aren’t DIY (Do It Yourself-ers).

Although most true millionaires are frugal people (considering their income), most millionaires don’t do many DIY projects – like landscaping or carpentry or fixing up houses.  Seems kind of strange since doing things yourself is usually a cheaper option than hiring someone else to do the work for you.  But that isn’t necessarily true – for this group of people, anyway.

  • Since they typically have higher incomes, it’s more cost efficient to hire a handyman at $25.00/hour than for them to do the work.  Reason? They can spend that hour making money and they’ll make far more than $25.
  • Additionally, since the millionaire isn’t likely skilled in that area or have tools for the job, a professional can do in 1 hour what might take them 3-4 hours to do.

The exception is if the millionaire likes to do that kind of work.  Some millionaires like building things or landscaping.  For them?  They’ll do the work themselves – not motivated by saving money, but motivated by spending their down time doing what they enjoy.

For us, we don’t DIY much.  Some, but not much.

  • I do our own decorating painting, but when we moved into our house, I hired someone to paint all the walls.  They could just do it much faster than I could and had the right experience for a bigger job like a whole house.  My time was better spent packing and coordinating everything else.
  • I did install our own ‘board & batten’ looking thing in our back entryway.
  • I do our own landscaping, but honestly?  To call it landscaping is quite a stretch!  It’s just grass and some hosta plants.

So, see!  I already act like a millionaire when it comes to DIY projects.  There’s just 1 problem: We’re not millionaires!  Which, since I’m not, I do want to do more DIY stuff, but mostly just the things that would save us money (ie: there’s no sense in me learning to re-plumb a house when I’m more likely to cause damage than to fix damage!) or things that interest me (like the board & batten type project).

I guess this is a good time to learn this – we just bought a new house this weekend!  We don’t close until end of September, but this is a house that will have lots of opportunities for me to DIY some things (should I decide to!)

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