Quiet Confidence

Last week, I watched a video. I don’t often feel invested in videos, nor do I often watch them, I like real people.  But this one drew me in as she talked about family goals, dreams, and desires. It was so thought-provoking.

She asked, “why aren’t we planning for our family’s success the same way we plan for our business success?” Really which is more important?

She asked, Why are we doing what we are doing with our kids, husbands, wives, extended families, etc?  What is our purpose?  How do we grow our children into the people we want them to be?

Do we give them every opportunity in the world? Push them into all the sports, music programs, dance classes, gymnastics, rodeo (this would be the ranch life popping out here), and what have you’s that their little bodies can take so they can figure out who they truly want to be?
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Do we choose select options that really adhere to what our family mission really is? And hope that by establishing purpose and boundaries our children will be teenagers and adults who know what they are about?

One other statement that really reeled me in was this truth,

“The road to independence begins at 3, not 13. It matters now.”

And so, I was left worrying about who my kids are going to be in 10 years.  Will my precious and feisty 5 year old even like me when she is 15?

But then, this week I read this, and it struck me – this is what I want for my kids:

For the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said: “You will be delivered by returning and resting; your strength will lie in quiet confidence…” – Isaiah 30:15

“Quiet confidence” those words really speak to who I want to be, and who I want my children to be. Do you know people who have that? People that have this thing, this something, that allows them to do life in such a way that you see them and say, “She is just so…” and then you lack the word to finish the sentence because you just can’t seem to label it.

It is quiet confidence.

It isn’t over-bearing, I’m going to win it all confidence. It isn’t pride that comes from being outrageously beautiful (or just fitting into that perfect pair of jeans).
It IS something untouchable, something that the French call “Je ne sais quoi” – meaning something that just can’t quite be adequately described.

Friends that is “quiet confidence.”

This is what I want for my children.  A source of strength that doesn’t come from what they do or how someone feels about them or even what I tell them. I want them to KNOW and REST in the truth that they are loved, created by, and filled by the God who is the giver of all good and perfect things. When they KNOW this, when they are SURE of this, when they LIVE in this, then they too will have that same je ne sais quoi.

And the good news friends, is that I can quit worrying right now, because all I have to do is show them Jesus, and then let Him do the rest. Because that “quiet confidence” can’t be taught it can only be found, and they aren’t going to find it in me or in themselves.  They are going to find it in Him.

In answer to the previous question about what we are doing with our kids, the truth is we only HAVE to give our children one opportunity, the opportunity to find their own quiet confidence. Everything else is just doesn’t matter quite as much.

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Re-charging

Thanks everyone for the words of encouragement and good advice on the stay at home business. 

In light of the suggestions, today I took a mommy break (big sis is at preschool and little bro is napping) and enjoyed a cup of coffee and a new book. I call this picture “ah a moment of sweet quiet and pure bliss”. 

PS isn’t my mug awesome. It was made just for by me from a local artist who also happened to teach at the same school I did. 

I am now ready to tackle the laundry basket that is in the background. 

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#The Struggle is Real.

For real.

I usually reserve that phrase for toddler meltdowns, because it is ironic.  Let’s be honest, the struggle in her life is pretty minimal. 🙂

But today, I am struggling.  In the header on of this blog, it says teacher, but for right now I am not teaching anyone but my 3 year old and my one (for three days now) year old.  I am staying at home with my two children.  And friends, this is hard.  img_4221

I knew that staying home wouldn’t be easy – summers are fun, but difficult because they haven’t been our normal life.  But now, one month in, it seems like one big summer, and I am struggling.

This is my struggling face – particularly with packing…

I didn’t think I would ever not work, just because I didn’t think I would.  I have always loved working (not always my job, but finding value in working), and I love teaching.

Out here, the jobs are a little more scarce…like 2 English teachers in this town as opposed to 200 in Wichita.  So, by choice, I am home and wondering how people really do this.  I have so many questions.

 

img_26191. What do you do all day?
At school, I have lesson plans, detailed plans, worksheets, powerpoints, quizzes, etc, so I know what I am going to be doing nearly every minute of every day.  Since interactive powerpoint presentations seems to be a bit over my toddlers’ heads, what do we do to all day to keep me sane, the kids happy, and perhaps learn a little something along the way?

We go to the park – A LOT.

2. How many times a day do you empty your dishwasher?
I am now preparing 3 meals a day for 4 people – the hubs comes home for lunch most days – and for real, I seem to run the dishwasher at least once a day.  And as wonderful as clean dishes that I didn’t have to wash are, I hate cleaning out the dishwasher…

3. Nap time…what do you do?img_4052
So the baby – I mean one year old (cue tears) naps twice a day still, and I really don’t know what to do during that time. Today, big sis is with Daddy, and I am writing this blog post. But I am also job searching, Pottery Barn dreaming (why does everything cost 50 bucks?), picture buying, recipe hunting, and email writing. I could also be planting mums, folding laundry, reading a book, doing homework (master’s class – 1 more class to go!), prepping for lunch, cleaning the floors, taking a shower, hanging pictures, unpacking…  So how do I keep from running around like my 5 second attention span toddler from one task to the next, and only kind-of finishing somethings and fully finishing nothing?

img_25484. When do you re-charge?
While this seems crazy, school was my place that let me do what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it and when I wanted to do it (for the most part).  Here at home everything seems dictated by the needs, plans, desi
res of my two crazy, but wonderful munchkins. When and how do you find time to be the grown-up version of yourself that you have worked so hard to become?

I just got my hair done. 🙂  Talk about re-charged!

So how about it, you seasoned stay-at-homers? What advice do you have for this newly crowed and totally stressed full-time, underpaid momma?

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The Time Has Come

After 9.5 years of (mostly) wedded bliss, 2 children, 4 jobs (for me), and so many wonderful friendships, Ryan and I decided to pack up our little family and head to a new time zone.  Mountain Time to be precise.

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I have lived in Central Time for 32, almost 33, years and have enjoyed this little corner of the world.  It has been really good to me.  I have learned to live and enjoy life here.  I have been well-educated (nearly constantly since age 5) here.  I have learned to love here.

We built a house here.  We loved that house, and how it fit our family.  Whew we learned so much building our house.  But now we have a closing date to sell it to a new family, who will hopefully love it as much as we did and make it theirs.  We are excited to see how they change it.

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Our wonderful and amazing friends are the things that made Newton our HOME.  We love them so much and are going to miss them beyond belief.  They threw us the most amazing going away party, that was wonderfully sad and fun all at the same time. They told us we were “One in a Melon.”  They prayed sweet words of love, friendship, blessing, and encouragement over us and our little family’s new adventure.

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As we settle into the mountain time zone, we will be learning all over again how to build a life.  We will need to re-learn the art of making friends, the art of fitting in, the art of new jobs, and what it means to rely on the God who sent us on this little journey.

 

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maelle – 12 months

* I just found this and it never posted…almost 3 years ago.

12 months

Wow!  Can you believe one year has passed?  You, Maelle, are such a joy and so, so much fun.  Just last night you were flirting with a much older man at Jason’s Deli, and both you and he thought you were quite adorable.

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At one year old you are a little mover.  Since you began crawling (quite a while ago) you have not stopped moving.  Now that you walk, you are constantly going somewhere.  You have explored every room in our house at great length and are, unfortunately, most fond of toilets, toilet paper rolls, Finley’s water bucket and pillow, and a drawer full of random Tupperware that you push around the floor until you run into someone or something.

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You talk ALL THE TIME.  You may or may not be following directly in the footsteps of your mommy and daddy.  We are a family of talkers.  However, you only say about 5 or 6 words regularly, the rest is simply baby babble.  The best part is you seem so, so serious about what you are saying.  You look right into people’s eyes and deliver your message in the most expressive way possible while actually saying absolutely nothing that makes any sense at all – to us.  You, however, seem to believe that you have just told us the secret to life, and maybe you have… J  Words you are using are dog, shoe, book, mama, dada, NO and hello or hi.

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You also love to read – another trait that we are super excited about.  You sit cross-legged on the floor and flip the pages to your heart’s content and read us the stories out loud.  You favorite is Peek-A-Who and Barn Dance.  But you will read whatever is near you including the Cabelas catalogue or Time and National Geographic.  You are obviously way ahead of the rest of your age group.

Finally, being outside is your favorite place to be.  Every time we go outside, you do your little jump dance.  You stick out your arms and legs and open your mouth really wide and jump.  It’s hilarious.  And you really only do it for a bottle or being outside.  It can be frigid out there but you don’t care at all.  You look directly into the wind, smile and squeal.  Maybe you have been taking lessons from Finley on that one.

This year with you has been humbling, amazing, hard, so fun and so many other things rolled into one.  We love you with our whole hearts!  

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the upside of jury duty: a revelation

the upside of my jury duty summons is a fully paid, non-vacation day, day off.  i was not one of the chosen 12 and was dismissed with a have a nice day and thank you for fulfilling your civic duty.

well, mr. judge with a humorous streak and a positive attitude, you are quite welcome and thanks.  thanks for a free afternoon to read a book and enjoy a frothed coffee beverage.

i saw the movie quite a while ago, and was so intrigued by some of the deep thoughts that downloadthe movie brought to light, that i decided i  needed to read the book to fully explore its contents.  i almost never read books after watching the movie, but in this case it was totally worth it.

while, i don’t agree with the character’s religious beliefs, i still feel like some of the philosophical notes run deep and demand attention.

“…it occurred to me that the voracious ambition of humans is never sated by dreams coming true, because there is always the thought that everything might be done better and again.”

this thought struck me.  i read it about five times before it truly sunk in and revealed its meaning.  but it’s there.  it’s a harsh reality to face.  we, as human beings, have dreams and desires, things that we long for, hope for, pray for.  and sometimes, our longing, hopes, and prayers are answered, granted, met. we count ourselves lucky and speak prayers of thanksgiving.

and then we seem to immediately begin to long for, hope for, pray for something better, a chance to do it better next time, a bigger experience, so we live in a constant state of “voracious ambition” rather than in a state of contentment and thankfulness.

while it is not at bad to have dreams and desires, in fact, i believe we should. but we need to spend our time experiencing the beauty of the dreams and desires that have already been met.  we don’t allow ourselves time to experience contentment or joy in our current state – good or bad.

Paul wrote to the church at Philippi,

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound…”  Philippians 4:11 – 12.

Paul also wrote, to Timothy,

“Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment…It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” 1 Timothy 6:6-11.

in the last year, ryan and i have faced tough decisions and some family trials.  and in it’s wake i am looking back instead of grateful contentment i see my discontent, my continued desire for more.  God has granted me many wonderful blessings and has brought me some of the greatest desires of my heart. and instead of resting in the gifts that he has given and the truth that he has spoken into my heart, i have chosen to rest in my insatiable desire for more.

in this book about teenagers facing death and facing the reality of a fallen world, they teach a valuable lesson, to notice the world around you, to find contentment in the life that you have been given, because like it or not, the truth is it is the only earthly life we are given.

joy and contentment will come when my deepest desires and dreams take root in the promises and faithfulness of my God and Savior.

“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart…” Psalm 37: 3-5.

how i long for the desires of my heart to be in line with His desires for my heart.  how i long to overcome the “voracious ambition” of the human heart and find the satisfaction of the heart of Jesus.

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feeling jaded

do you ever feel that way?

i am there.

thank goodness for Thanksgiving break.  i need some time off from kids that are not thankful for anything in their lives except maybe money and Kanye West and their latest pair of kicks.

it’s killing me.

sometimes it feels like it is me fighting against the world’s influence over these kids.  and right now, i am losing.  big time.  seriously, it is hard to compete with the world, when i struggle daily to overcome it myself.

my sails are void of wind, and i find myself wallowing in the doldrums hoping for a brief but water stirring breeze.  something to fill me with the promise of hope, something to keep pushing me to invest my time and heart and energy into people who are seemingly just ignoring it.

i know i chose to teach.  and i love to teach.  i love kids and i am just aching because of the disappointment i know they will face if they continually base their happiness on what they see on tv and in the world.

so my friends, sorry to be the debby downer this week and after a long blog hiatus, but i ask you to do the following for the kids in your life:

  • teach them what true happiness is
  • teach them consequences
  • teach them love
  • teach them that life has a purpose
  • teach them good and bad, and that they will be both
  • teach them about Jesus.

I am trying to teach those things to my kiddo, but most importantly the last one.  If I can just show her Jesus, the rest will follow.  And that, is the answer and the hope – Jesus.


 

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