Category Archives: Encouragement

Sometimes, It’s Okay To Turn Back

homegrownmommy sometimes its okay to turn backTurning back? Isn’t that like giving up, being a quitter, not having enough faith? Surely turning back is never ever the right choice!

Or, isn’t it?

Today is my first day home alone with the kiddos. My husband has worked from home for the last three years – always someone around to talk to, always someone there to help with the kids, always a team member to pick up the slack.

We were committed to keeping him home and growing our income streams to support our family unit. We worked on it. We prayed.We worked some more.

Then, last week, we looked at each other and knew we had to turn back. He took a great job with a great company who truly appreciates him and his talent. Sighs of relief have been frequent. We feel less burdened.

Initially, I wondered if we were being quitters. Were we losing our faith? Was our success just around the next corner if only we persevered? Are we giving up on our dreams?

Then, I reflected on the other things we’ve “turned back” on …

  • Kids outside the home – to homeschooling – to public school (When my oldest son was little, I was a single mom and he went to daycare while I worked. When my husband and I married, we began the homeschooling journey. Then, my son wanted to try out the public school experience while living with his dad – he is doing well.)
  • Staying put – to moving – to staying put (We’ve moved quite a bit over the years. I thought we were going to stay in Florida forever when we moved. Then, we came back to Wisconsin. We were going to move closer to church – now, we are going to stay where were are because it’s a good middle between hubby’s work and church.)
  • Open dress code – to only skirts – to an open dress code (I grew up wearing whatever – within reason, of course! Then, I made the decision to wear only skirts. Recently, I realized I was doing that as an outward sign of my own righteousness. Jesus is my only righteousness!)

What are you struggling with today? Have you made a decision that is causing some unrest and you are wondering if you should go back and make a different choice?

Certainly, this is different for each person and for each situation. I don’t want everyone to start giving up on those hard-to-live-with husbands or the difficult homeschool year or that really challenging conviction!

But, just know that, sometimes, it’s okay. Sometimes, you have to travel down the road a piece before you realize it’s not the right path. God works all things together for good and He’s watching over you!

 

NEW MercyMe Song – “Welcome To The New” Lyrics

April 8th, 2014, Mercy Me came out with a new album!! It’s awesome!! Here is a preview of the album if you want to take a listen.

My kiddos were listening to kLove radio through the internet while doing schoolwork and noticed some videos with Mercy Me and started playing them. (I’m sure it was on break from school … ahem. Really, sure.)

They heard the title track for the new album and totally fell in LOVE with it! They started writing down the words, listening to it over and over again to get them all. They want to start learning it so they can sing it in church for a special!! I’m loving their enthusiasm!

I wanted to write out the lyrics for you guys. It seems to me that, far and wide, more and more people are waking up to what grace really means. The same is true for our family. Boy, have we been on a journey!! And, this last year or two, we have learned so much more about God’s grace.

When I heard the lyrics to this song and heard MercyMe lead singer, Bart Millard, talking about moving from legalism to grace in his own life, it really rang true for my own life as well.

These lyrics speak to how awesome it is to find grace when you thought you had to work for it all this time. Praise God! It isn’t really about my works!!

(if we have any of this wrong, please feel free to chime in! The song is pretty fast and we did the best we could.)

“Welcome To The New”
MercyMe

(video first, then lyrics after)

Got to live righteous, stay in line
You’ve heard it all at least a million times
And, like me, you believed it

They said it wasn’t works
But trying harder couldn’t hurt
It sounds so crazy now
But back then you couldn’t see it

And now here you are
Eyes open wide
It’s like you’re seeing grace
In a brand new light
For the first time

CHORUS:
Let us be the first to welcome you!
Welcome to the life you thought was too good to be true!
Welcome to the new!

You broke your back, kept all the rules
Jumped through the hoops to make God approve of you
Oh tell me, was it worth it

The whole time you’re spin’in place
Did you stop to think that maybe He is okay with just you
There’s no need to join the circus

And now here you are
A new point of view
And now it all makes sense
Why it’s called the Good News

CHORUS

Look at you
Shiny and new
Look at you
You’ve got the proof of purchase
You were purchased
‘Cuz you’re worth it

Look at you
Finding your proof
Don’t you dare think that you’re not worth it
‘Cuz you’re worth it
Yea, you’re worth it

Forgiveness – How Does That Really Feel?

forgiveness colossian 3 13Forgiveness.

We all know that holding on to hurts isn’t good for us. It’s doesn’t help the situation. It’s doesn’t fix the person who hurt us.

Over the last two years, I’ve been hurt by people I never expected it from. Certainly, I was initially very upset. Okay – I was mad. Angry, even.

People were talking about my family and I behind our backs. At meetings. In hallways. Talking about things that were extremely personal and making a judgment about who we were and what we were about, without knowing the real story. Secretly.

Then, one person decided to let it all out. We asked leaders and others to verify facts and, the more we asked, the more we found out, the more hurt I was.

Finally, the day came when there was no more to find out. The storm was over as quickly as it had begun. Yet, I was standing in a puddle, soaking wet.

I determined in my heart and mind that I was going to forgive. I prayed. I cried. I forgave.

Didn’t I?

I mean, I said – “Father, I forgive them. It’s over an done with. They are human, just like me. They make mistakes, just like me.”

Then, why do I feel this twist in my stomach when I see something that reminds me of them. A post on Facebook. An old picture. Seeing their name somewhere. It makes my face involuntarily squeeze up. Why?

I forgave. But, what should that feel like? Because, as much I want to forget, I still remember the hurt. I let it go every time – I rededicate my heart to that forgiveness.

Shouldn’t that all be gone by now? Shouldn’t I be able to smile at the thought of them? Of what they meant to me before the storm?

And yet …

… those few hurtful actions and words tend to overshadow years of friendship. I don’t want it to be that way and I am determined to keep working on it and find the answers. Find the feeling that helps me to really know that I have forgiven.

Apparently, forgiveness is more than just a one-time act. It’s part of the journey.

So, what does forgiveness feel like to you?

 

I linked this over at …
and
3dlessonsforlife.com

Inspiration From The River

I received one of the most precious gifts of all today  … Quiet. Time.

homegrownmommy

Whether you are a stay-at-home momma with 10 kids or you work part time and juggle yours and your husband’s schedules in order to actually get to talk to each other – everyone wants {dare I say, needs!} a little more quiet time in their life.

So, I spent my time at the very quiet library, writing and planning and writing a little more.

Our local library sits right next to a beautiful river and there are several tables and chairs lined up by the windows which face the river. Before I started working, I looked out the window to enjoy the scene for a bit.

So peaceful. So serene.

homegrownmommyThe grass, the trees, the benches – everything around that little river is covered with a thick blanket of snow. There are no footprints around those benches, no imprints of picnic blankets, no marks from where people might sit on the wall that embanks the river to fish or watch the waves.

All is at rest.

All but that river. Just watching the movement of the water relaxes my eye muscles, my stomach, my back and shoulders. My breathing slows and becomes even. Clouds of chaos separate and move out from my mind and I feel inspired.

Through it’s peaceful activity the cold does not stop it, the snow does not settle, the waves, though small and quiet, continue on their journey to wherever that flow takes them.

It is always flowing, unstopped by the elements which try to impede its progress. Not fighting or resisting, yet constant and determined.

Life Is Like A River

It reminds me that I can be like that river. I don’t want to stop, blanketed by what life showers over me. I want to keep moving, smoothly, peacefully, happily, toward my goals.

Some days, I don’t feel like I’m making enough progress or I didn’t get as much done or written as I had hoped. But, as long as I keep moving, little step after little step, the cold won’t be able to stop the activity.

For, it’s only in that moment when we quit, when we feel it isn’t worth the effort, when we allow the snow to accumulate – that’s when progress freezes and we sit, as those benches, watching the river pass by.

How about you?

Tell me about something that inspires you or an inspired moment you had recently.

You CAN NOT Get It All Done … And Why It’s Really Okay!

{This post is linking up at the Carnival of Homeschooling.}

There are dishes piled up in my sink … but at least the kids are fed.

Three of my girls share a closet and all their hang-up clothes are mixed in together … but at least the clothes are clean and in any closet.

There’s a box of random stuff under my desk … but at least I’m getting some blogging done.

As you look at your surroundings at any given moment, I’m guessing the question isn’t so much “Is there anything undone?” but more along the lines of “Just how long IS this *undone* list, anyway??”

If you focus only on that part of your life, as I did for many many years, you could drive yourself batty!

I used to focus on the *undone* in this life …

  • the extra language classes we didn’t get to,
  • that awesome unit study I wanted to put together for every grade level in our homeschool,
  • those fascinating books I was going to read.

By the end of the day, I was feeling pretty beat up. Day after day of that kind of thinking and I was an emotional mess. Really – like, a mess of tears, a mess of reading something into what my husband was saying that he wasn’t saying, a mess of near-depression.

As I’ve gotten further down this road of life, I have started to look at things differently. Did I get the important things done? Did I look my kids in their eyeballs today? Did I show my husband love today? Did I do my best today? Little by little, I’m seeing that it isn’t really about that almighty checklist in and of itself. The checklist is good – it’s just supposed to help me get to those things that are the best in life.

Don’t set yourself up for failure and depression. You just can’t get it all done no matter who you are, no matter what is on that list. And, tomorrow, some of those things you got done today, will be undone again. Go figure!

breathe.

It’s really okay.

I used to really really stress out when a room would get messy no less than 5 minutes after I deep-cleaned and organized it. But, really? In the grand scheme of things? It didn’t amount to as much as I had made it out to be. Life is supposed to be lived and that’s what’s happening in your home and mine!

I’m not saying you should never aim beyond the kids being fed and clothed {in clean clothes, no less!} and the house not stinking. But, if getting beyond that is causing you to melt into tears regularly, if it’s causing you to feel horrible about yourself and your true abilities, if it’s getting in the way of doing better, get a new perspective! Here’s how …

  1. Focus on what you did RIGHT today! There’s more to that list than you might think!
  2. Ask your kids what they think of your ability! I bet it will warm your heart!
  3. Sit down with your kids and do something everyone loves – whether it’s reading aloud or playing a video game. Enjoy the smiles and the down-time.
  4. Realize that maybe everything feels out of control or different because you are about to welcome some kind of change in your life. Maybe all the kids are entering a new phase or you’re learning something new. Pay attention.
  5. Do you need some more quiet time in your day? Every time I squeeze in even just 15 minutes of stillness into my life, that whole day goes so much better. It was worth dragging myself out of bed just a little bit earlier.
  6. Rearrange the furniture in the room where you spend the most time. It sounds silly, but it really works in some cases!
  7. Set realistic goals for your day. Just one room clean instead of every room. One load of laundry done from start to finish rather than laundry and grocery shopping and finishing all those corrections. Have your spouse or another objective person look over the goals for a loving reality check.

What other ways do you help yourself or someone else get a new perspective when high and unrealistic expectations get you down?

Surrender To It

There are some days when it just seems like everything is a battle.

He’s daydreaming again when he’s supposed to be doing his math work.

She’s bothering her sister again.

I thought for sure I just finished all those dishes!

No matter where you turn, someone or something is pushing back against what you’re trying to accomplish.

You feel like that some days, too, don’t you?

Okay. Do this for me. Put your hands out in front of you, palms facing each other. Now, push your hands together. That’s called resistance – one hand is resisting the other and you get that pressure in the middle.

Now, pull one hand away, still pushing with the other hand.

No more pressure. No more resistance.

Sometimes, I find myself pushing spiritually against my children, my circumstances, my environment. When I realize what I’m doing, I pull back in my spirit, take a big breath and realize everything is going to be okay and just stop pushing. I focus on love and acceptance and all that tense resistance floats away – makes me wonder why I didn’t do it sooner!

When you feel that tension ball up in the middle of your gut, back away from the situation and think of the resistance with your hands. How can you eliminate the resistance?

Certainly, the math work needs to get done – he can’t daydream over it forever. But, when the spirit around you and your instructions come from a place of love, not resistance, that work gets done much quicker.

How To Have A Great Marriage – Part 3

how to have a great marraigeKeep dating!

This piece of advice is just that simple. I could end the article right there, really.

But, then, an article that short on this mommy-blog is just not what you came for, right? (I think my average article word count is about 1,000!)

Now, I will say that I totally understand that real life happens in married life. When you mix in a handful of kids and homeschooling and church events and other obligations – real life happens a lot. So, I totally understand that you aren’t going to dress up as if you were going out for a date every single day. You aren’t going to feel like flirting with your husband every night. You aren’t even always going to be that excited to see him. It’s real life.

That said, I think one of the things that first starts to lag in a marriage is the idea of dating your spouse. When I say *dating*, I mean behaving in your marriage like you did when you were dating.

When We Were Dating

When we were dating, I made extra time to put myself together if I even sorta thought that maybe he might be where I was going.

When we were dating, I didn’t care if I didn’t like the hairstyle – if he liked it, I wore it and was happy to do so. Not because he demanded it in any way. I paid very close attention to when he said I looked good and I did that more often. Because I wanted to impress him!

When we were dating, I wanted to be by him doing what he was doing.

And, many more things I can think of that I did when we were dating that I have not always done since we’ve been married.

Do you feel like there is something missing in your marriage that you had when you were dating? Do you wish you could improve your marriage but you aren’t really sure where to start?

Start Dating Today!

Sit down the very next opportunity you have – write yourself a note so you don’t forget. Write down the things that you used to do for your husband before you were married. Pick the easiest things to recreate right now, at this point in your life. There is something – I promise. Don’t go into this exercise thinking that there is no way to relive those dating days.

Then, do it! Keep doing it until it works.

Do not try this one time and, if you don’t see noticeable results, decide it didn’t work and move on. Keep at it until you are a little further up the road to an amazing marriage!

(Photo Credit: SadLoveStory.us)

Why Does It Work?

Do you remember how you felt when you first noticed him? Kind of light-headed, maybe? Did that little zing of electricity shoot through you every time he {accidentally} brushed up next to you?

When you start thinking about all those fun times, it is so much easier to rekindle those fun feelings that went with the fun times. It reminds you of why you fell in love with him in the first place, rather than what he did to make you mad last night.

Put on some of those songs you used to listen to. Go to the places you used to go.

I’m not saying you have to live in the past. But, it certainly is a good starting point to revive that spark!

Do you have a story about dating your spouse? Have you rekindled a dying flame with a date? Let us know!

How To Enjoy Your Children

It’s that advice you always get, especially from those who have children that are already grown. And, it is definitely good advice.

But, I always had a hard time figuring out how to really do that in day to day practice. In my mind, when I saw myself enjoying my children, I was sitting down playing with them, talking to them, pushing them on a swing, being completely and totally present and only focused on them.

{Can you tell I’m an all-or-nothing sorta gal?!}

So, yesterday I met a man who just dropped his son off at the university for his first year of college. He looked at me after finding out that I have six kids and, in the most serious and somber tone, he said, “Oh, please enjoy the heck out of your kids while they are small. It goes so fast.”

And, I found myself in that place again. Envisioning this out of touch event where I would finally have everything caught up so that I could just sit down and enjoy the heck out of my kids. It’s almost a scary feeling, like, really? how am I really ever going to pull that off for more than a little bit here and there?

Today, as I was cleaning up our house {when, exactly, did this tornado rip through? I’m sure I never saw any warnings on the weather?} I was contemplating that idea – enjoy your kids while they are young, they grow up so fast.

And, then, it occurred to me – I can enjoy my kids while doing all the stuff!

OK – so it isn’t exactly a major revelation, complete with an out of body experience.

But, it impacted me. When they say, enjoy your kids, what they really mean is to connect with them in the everyday-ness of life. Be fully present, mind and body. Say yes as often as parentally possible.

Be  on purpose. You will be amazed at how much more you remember and how much more you enjoy your children!

How To Have A Great Marriage – Part 2

If you didn’t get to read part 1 of How To Have A Great Marriage, you can check it out here!

Falko and I were talking the other day and the subject of great marriages came up. He pointed out something that made a lot of sense. It’s one of those *perspective* things – where guys can see it from a whole different angle.

Let Your Husband Lead – His Way

Most of you already know that I am a Christian. We run our home as much the Bible-way as a human can. Certainly, some days are better than others, but every day we keep working toward that goal. I can sum it up in one sentence …

“And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” Ephesians 3:19

Every group needs a leader. Leaders help the ideas and excitement and energy of many to form into something that can focus all those resources into something that actually moves forward.

My husband is our leader.

Yes, I Got To Keep My Brain When We Got Married

My husband asks for and truly listens to my opinion. Sometimes, he changes his mind because I made a good point. Sometimes, he had a better thought to begin with.

But, he always asks.

He always includes me in the process because we are a unified team. I have been a trust-worthy and level-headed right-hand-man {most days} and he has come to really treasure how we work together.

What’s The Point?

Okay, here is the point of this little tip for having a great marriage. You have to pick a leader and you have to let him lead, his way. We have seen many couples who *said* that the husband was the leader because they felt it was the right thing to do. But, in practice, it was much much different.

We were friends with one particular couple who illustrated this point all too well. One night, the husband was over at our place talking – he found it easy to talk with us about what was going on and asked us for advice on how to fix. Honestly and sincerely, I really felt that he was doing his absolute best to have a great marriage.

He talked about how he really did want to lead – but every time he did, she told him he wasn’t *doing it right*. “Lead this way, not that way!” is essentially what she was telling him.

My husband pointed out that, by complaining about the way her husband was leading, she was effectually being the leader.

When You Follow Your Husband’s Lead, You’re Following God

So, ladies, this will take some trust in the Lord. Inevitably, you will have a day where the path that your husband is leading seems strange, crazy even! Boy, have I been there!! Maybe someday I will write about some of it here. Not that my husband is crazy but sometimes our perspectives are a little different.

When you feel like he is headed somewhere you didn’t expect – close your mouth!! Wait on the Lord! Pray and ask the Lord for the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. TRUST. If your husband is really trying his best to do what is right, the Lord will order his steps just as He promised.

Write down some verses about how the steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord and how the Lord wants a home to be structured. It will give you strength on those days. When you look back a year or two down the line, you will be so glad you did!

Faith – walking all the way out to the edge of all the light you have been given … and taking another step!!