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What should freak me out

servicesFlatTire

photo via

I’m a spaz. I tend to freak out; I have mini panic attacks. If you ask my kids, mini is not the word they will use. But I know it and I’m gradually getting a grip. When I have to make snap decisions on the fly, I “usually” am all over the situation. I’m great at problem solving in most circumstances which comes in very handy with catering. However, I’m not always “calm” in said situation. I don’t start yelping like a chihuahua or anything but I do get intense and can bark at people i.e. my kids. I make things worse when I second-guess myself. For example yesterday, as I drove off to take my cadets to their Civil Air Patrol squadron meeting an hour away with a side-stop to drop off my ballerinas to their sister’s for their ballet lesson, we heard a BAD noise. We had only driven about thirty seconds away and pulled off into a neighbor’s driveway. We had a flat. I was on a schedule and my kids were depending on me. My first thought was to go let the neighbor know I was in the driveway and ask him if he needed me to pull out into the road so I wasn’t blocking the drive. My second thought was to call Triple A. My third thought was to call my husband and ask him what I should do. So I called him first. He said to talk to the neighbor then call Triple A. Hmmm….wish I’d thought of that. o.O

SO, I walked up the driveway and an older gent and his buddy were chatting while having a brew. Wouldn’t you know that the friend who JUST so happened to be there had an air compressor on his truck? Yep, he filled up that tire and we were able to drive the 30 seconds home, throw our stuff into The Great White Beast and get back on the road. God spoke to me through the two old guys and the air compressor. AS SOON as that man said he had an air compressor, God said, “You’re first thought should have been ME!” He gives me this situations all of the time. That He cares that much about me to take time out of His schedule, that is what should freak me out first and foremost. I should also freak out that this flat did not occur on my way to Indianapolis with my two little boys on board or on my way back. I had only been home an hour from that supply run when we left for Ohio. Ohio, where I could have been when the flat happened. But, NO, I was less than a quarter of a mile from home! That freaks me out! Thank You, Lord, for taking care of us! Also, thank You that this was not our flat:

lions-car

photo via

I’m learning to not be shaken, thank you, Building 429.

While it’s the HARD things that try my faith, it’s these little things that remind me God is on my side and if He will take time to fix a tire, He wants to work through the big stuff, too. I need to REST in that. Fretting and freaking accomplishes nothing. It just makes each situation more stressful. Years ago, I bought a little card with a Helen Steiner Rice poem and it’s a prayer I’ve been praying since I was a yoot:

“God, teach me to be patient,

teach me to go slow;

Teach me how to wait on you

when my way I do not know.

Teach me sweet forbearance

when things do not go right

so I remain unruffled

when others grow uptight.

Teach me to let go, dear God,

and pray undisturbed until

my heart is filled with inner peace

and I learn to know Your Will.”

I’m not there, yet, but if you walk in our commercial kitchen when I’m faced with a deadline or a fondant piece just fell off of a cake or there’s no money for the bills or the kids are fighting again or I forgot to buy sugar, you will catch me muttering, “Unruffled…unruffled…letting go….inner peace…unruffled…”

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

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A Stitch in Time

Several years ago, I met a “mom of many” who became a sweet friend but, at the same time, she made me sick. She sewed most, if not all, of her children’s clothes and they usually matched. Sometimes she would even match. Our kids were in homeschool band together and during rehearsal, moms would chat in the nursery and this friend would sometimes discuss sewing techniques she had discovered. I remember thinking, “I need to try that! (except when she spoke of an easier way to make the boys’ ties…my eyes glazed over for that one. I’ll just buy the matching vest and tie, thank you).  I used to sew all the time. In my younger days, I would take advantage of the quiet of the night and sew til 3 a.m. so as to finish my project. My first two girls had a few matching dresses, many that didn’t match, costumes, doll clothes and I made all of the kids’ stockings until child number 8. I have fabric for everyone’s stockings. I just don’t see that hunk of time sew. I asked my friend (we both had “only” 6 kids at the time) how in the world she found time to sew so many outfits. She told me that some days, she only gets one stitch done. Say whut? She said she leaves her sewing machine out with her current design left under the presser foot ready for the next five minutes she can sneak in and sew a seam. My personality type was stymied. I’m the kind of person who wants to get a project DONE in one sitting. I could not wrap my brain around it.

I have implemented that principle of getting things done in bite-size pieces in many areas but mostly with housecleaning and business projects. I can organize a pile for five minutes then stop when the timer goes off. That’s a big deal for me! I did have it down for the sewing at one time but got out of practice. Now I have a new laundry room with a sewing table and I feel motivated and obligated to get back to it.

One area I struggle with the “one stitch at a time” method is writing. For example, I need to quit right now and head to the shop to carve a cake and make curly Q fondant strips for the mane but I’m having a hard time stopping because I’M NOT DONE, YET!!! Oh, fine….I’ll be back….

Okay, I’m back. It is not easy to get back on the train of thought after being derailed by the to-do list. So…where was I? Oh, yea…early this morning, I took a moment to read a post from one of my favorite bloggers and guitarists, Mark Lee.  His latest post is “Embrace the Chaos,” which totally describes my life, talks about learning to blog amidst the nuttiness of life rather than wait for that ideal day or idea. He also suggests working this habit into other aspects of life.

That takes practice and an attitude of “must write.” People often ask me, “how do you do it all? How do you balance the big family, homeschooling, theatre, owning a business?” Balance? Um, no. We have had to learn how to blend.  Having babies constantly in our home became a part of our norm. Home educating became a part of our lifestyle. Theatre came into our lives and it’s just “what we do.” The catering scene has become a big part of our days and that’s just it, it’s something that becomes a part of our schedule. Sometimes we work what needs done for the business around our homeschool; sometimes homeschool is worked around the job that needs done. I know I need to squeeze in two loads of laundry a day in order to maintain the piles and keep everyone in clean socks and underwear. I use a lot of post-it notes and checklists to stay on track. I’ve also learned to use a timer to limit time spent decluttering or cleaning projects. If I didn’t, I would spend the whole day on that one project until it was done. I have other things to do! Like write. I have blogged many times here about how I haven’t been blogging, yet have not once considered quitting. I don’t think I can. Some of us think through the written word! I need to blend the writing into the batter and stop treating this as if it’s “extra;” something I can do after I get everything else done. Being  practical, if I need to set a timer, I’ll have to learn to stop then pick it up later and add “another stitch.”  I received a Bluetooth keyboard for Christmas and it’s one of my favorite tools. I fumble around with texting and trying to email on my phone.  My keyboard not only removes that frustration but I can sit in the car waiting for play rehearsal to finish and start another post on the WordPress app…which I have done. But you’ll have to wait for that one…it needs a few more seams.

I did it. I have proven to myself that it’s possible for this “must finish” personality that I can step away from the project and come back to it later then just  add to it in between the other parts of my day. Guess what else I did today? I started hemming some jeans I found at Goodwill. I only have them cut and pinned…and waiting for the stitching to begin.

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

 

My Big Fat Mouth

I come from a long line of complainers on one side of the family and a long line of critical hot-heads on the other. I’m not worried about any family reading this because they will either know I am right or complain and criticize no matter how gently I put it. Left to my own devices, my mouth is a going concern. I am a complainer and have been critical of others. I have let expletives escape and I, man, can I gossip.

My mouth has been getting on my nerves. That realization occurs whenever I notice that other people’s mouths are getting on my nerves. I hear their tone or talking smack of others and ask myself, “Self, is that what you’ve been doing? Do you speak in that tone to YOUR kids?” When the answer is yes, I sometimes reel it in or I criticize and complain about the people who aren’t controlling their mouths. You all do it, too, you know it.

 God gave us mouths for his purposes and to eat pizza and chocolate. Our mouths should be used to encourage others, share what God has done in our lives, teach, pray and sing. However, God did not make us robots and will not control our mouths for us. A lot of people blame God for all the evil in the world. Do you know how we know? Because they used their mouths to tell us so. If God put a muzzle on every critical complainer, folks wouldn’t have the freedom to be atheists or mean, verbally-abusive husbands or foul-mouthed gang members making a drug deal in a back alley or the church leader persuading his followers to believe a falsehood as gospel. Blame God all you want, it’s our choice to control what comes out of our cakeholes and it ain’t easy.

James 3:3-5 says, “When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.”

 When I think about how this comparatively small muscle covered in taste buds and used to make goofy faces and lick ice cream can steer what direction the rest of me turns toward, it makes me a little nervous. A lot nervous. This thing we use to sing lullabies to our baby we also use to lie, cuss, and manipulate. I came across a pile of MEMLOCK cards this morning. Memlock is a Bible verse memory system we use with our kids. It uses cards with “trigger pictures” on them to help you remember the verse. Anyhoo, the card on top read as follows, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29

Here’s the trigger picture:

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SO, when I hear my kids’ mouths doing their thang, I tell them to eat a “Let Donut.” Finding these cards on the tongue was a smack upside the head. I’ve been letting my mouth do the thinking for me much of the time. There are several other verses in this pack of cards categorized as “TONGUE.”

Proverbs 10:19 When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.

Psalm 141:3 Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.

Proverbs 12:18 Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

You don’t have to be a believer for these verses to make sense! There are so many more but suffice it to say that the very BEST way to get control of our mouths is to use it to pray for our mouths. For me, I want what comes out of my mouth to steer me in a direction that blesses others, helps the hurting, encourages, empowers and, to me, most importantly, leads my children closer to Christ each day. I want to be an example worth following and I’m not sure I’ve been that.

How could a Third Day song NOT come to mind? Nothing At All was the first song my husband heard from this awesomesauce band and drew him in. The pictures used in this video certainly depict what I’ve been talking about (click HERE for lyrics):

 Then, of course, we can’t forget Thumper:

 My admonishment for the week – “What did your FATHER tell you? Eat a LET DONUT!”

Be blessed,

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

Off To A Bad Start

I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions. Opportunities to start a new happen at any given time throughout a year, changes happen, the school year starts, the summer begins, a baby is born every other year here (usually), and stuff  just happens that requires starting over. But after the year I’ve had, I decided I needed to be resolved. Resolved to get my house back, get back to scrapbooking, taking my kids on road trips again, getting organized and getting back to blogging. It is January 7th and I’m just now writing. And I’m so pathetic, I’m writing about how I haven’t been writing.

I have people asking me quite often to write a book. A blog is the best I can do, folks. I’m not sure why anyone would want me to write a book but I am flattered.  There’s a plethora of books out there by large, homeschool families so I don’t think we need another one. There are plenty of cookbooks so not sure I want to tackle making another one interesting. Anything I could write about has been covered, I believe. Man, I’m being a downer, aren’t I? So, here’s the deal, I love to write, always have. It’s therapeutic and, occasionally, blesses others so I told myself I’d get back to this but I’ve already procrastinated a week. I could make it a goal to blog weekly but then I’d procrastinate to a month later so I better just find where I laid my self-discipline so I can get back to it.

A new year does lend itself as a convenient time to go back to the drawing board so that’s what I’m doing.  I have organized my calendar already and I think I’ve found a way to tackle my to-do lists without getting overwhelmed. I just opened up Memory Manager and downloaded some photos and did some editing. There may be hope for me, yet. I’m writing this post, lame as it is, but it’s better than what I wrote yesterday which was nothing. I might actually get the hang of this resolution thing. Oh, and I worked out again, something that had been neglected last month.

Wish me luck and hang in there with me! I’m still here!

What’s not shared is lost~

Michelle

You’re causing me to stumble!

Reckless words pierce like a sword but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18

Sometimes I wonder why God blessed me with children because my mouth isn’t always a blessing to them. I’m focusing on memorizing verses that focus on the tongue so I will have those handy reminders stuck in my head and heart so they will nudge me whenever I open my big fat mouth. We’ve memorized these verses together as a family but the problem with being the one holding the verse card is I’m not memorizing or reviewing; I’m making sure everyone else has “got it.” So, I’m working on these on my own and will start sharing the responsibility with my olders so we can all learn together. That being said, I struggle with thinking before speaking sometimes! God knew I needed work in this area so, for this and a plethora of other reasons, He, in His Wisdom, gave me children. For those of you with small children and are thinking, “Oh, I feel your pain,” I’d like to say…you have no idea. Yes, it’s hard when they’re small. But when you have a young adult i.e. a thirteen-year-old boy with a built-in argument mechanism or a rebellious daughter who can get your blood a’boilin’…on purpose, there is a whole, different dynamic! Of course, there’s something to be said for child training when they’re young. That’s another blog post. But the self-control that must develop when you live with adolescence can only be accomplished with exercise and supernaturally! There is NO way anyone can withstand the temptation to verbally retaliate against their mouthy yoot without God. I’m convinced of it. It’s hard enough when God’s got your back. Compound that with today’s trend to raise brats (through lack of training) rather than responsible, contributing adults, and you have a formula for disaster.

SO, as I’ve been trying to focus on replacing a bad habit of being reckless with the good habit of being wise, I’ve asked my kids to be patient with me and to forgive me when I mess up (another good habit to teach your kids via example). There are times when I’m worn out from all of the exercising the self-control muscle and just want it to be “easy.” You know, so I can be lazy. :oP I know…endurance, perseverance and all that. That’s how the supernatural exercise works. But I’ve decided some of the “responsibility” does fall on my brood. I’ve starting reminding them that they are not being “wise” with their mouths by telling them….”Hey! You’re being a stumbling block! You’re tempting me to sin. Knock it off!” He he. Okay, it doesn’t sound very deep but it does bring a chuckle. They say laughter is healing, right?

Moments that are not shared are lost,
MF

I May Never Pass This Way Again

I haven’t been blogging because I told myself that Quickbooks and Taxes are a priority and must be done first. BUT…I’m cheating by blogging that I’m not blogging for said reasons. I hope to have my part done by the weekend then dump it all in the accountant’s lap. Pray for the woman.

(In my best Arnold accent) I’ll be back….