Making sweet love on a bad day

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“Finding myself, this morning struggling with the beginning of my day, I was reminded of a story from a few years back. From a time when my littlest one was usually naked, and my oldest one was still learning multiplication and I did the usual thing  I do when I’m struggling. 

Lost it. In one way or another.

If you are finding yourself like me this morning, or any time at all, really… struggling to get yourself together – perhaps my broken life can lend a little hope to yours, and help your day shine bright.”

February 2011~

Today was a bad day. I was a very cranky momma.

Oh, it’s hard to pin point the exact reason. I started the day out “by the book,” up early, before the kids. Time in the word, time with my man, I made a sweet little homemade breakfast, read to the kids. It should have just worked out right; right?

Wrong.

And looking back, I can’t quite figure out what finally made me snap. Oh, it could have had something to do with the three hours it took one of my children to be ready for her day and start school; just too many rabbit trails to find herself on. Or, it could have something to do with the extensive handwriting lesson one of my other children had to do because her brother almost suffered a concussion when he hit his head on the coffee table during a fun pushing game.

Or it could be the 100th phone call I knew I had to make to AT&T because they can’t seem to bill us correctly and they like to make me sit on hold for 20 plus minutes each time. Maybe it was because I am crazy and allowed my children to get three kittens for Christmas?

Perhaps, the wonderful cold snow isn’t so wonderful anymore; or maybe it’s because we just moved to the town I grew up in and I’m secretly afraid someone will knock at our door and see that it is absolute chaos, and I’ll have to use the line… “Hey, at least we’re learning.”

But then again, It might just have been one. of. those. days. But, perhaps I could just chalk it all up to a girl thing and blame it on my psycho thyroid and the fact that I have yet to find a doctor down here to get it under control.

Whatever the reason may be, I lost my temper, yelled at the kids. Felt the sweet momma in me run dry and went into my room and cried.

So then, I dried my eyes, gave myself a little pep talk, realized that I’m a total worthless parent without God and continued on with my day, teaching Judah the letter X, helping Jordan read the word, frog; again, talked to Alli about how Italy is shaped like a boot, and put Emmyn on her sweet “big girl time blanket” to play with blocks.

At lunch, we talked about Making Sweet Love.

As the children ate, I put before them, four little cups.

One overflowing, three empty.

We talked about the marshmallows, how yummy and sweet they are. They resembled our sweet love. The love we have to share with others. I asked the kids, how can “Mommy share this love with each of you?” They said things like,

“snuggle us”

“kiss us”

“read to us”

“take us places”

with each thing they said, I gave them some of my “love.”

Eventually, their little cups were full of love and mine was empty.

I said, “Oh, no… look! Where is mommy’s love?” (Of course, Judah reaches into the bag of marshmallows, grabs a big handful and says, “Right here, mommy!” But the girls understood. “You’ve given it all out to us.”

Then I told them about how a mothers love is like Jesus, it never runs out. But unlike Jesus, mommas get tired and need some love.

I perked up, “SO! Who has some love for momma?”

“I do!”

“I do!”

“Here is a kiss”

“Here is a thank you”

… the list went on and on, they were racing to see who could fill it up quickest. All of a sudden we all had plenty of love, to equally share. And we were all happy.


And Jesus Said, 

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.  John 15: 12-13

Oh, The day carried on like normal, we got on a good track, the house was a complete disaster, we learned, played, laughed, got in more trouble, made really delicious chicken and noodles, and after we were all finished,  sat and rested a while during tea time.

We sipped on coffee, nibbled on egg whites, and enjoyed a glimpse of summer with delicious juicy oranges while we listened to a story, my very favorite story of all.

I haven’t read it since March. Unable to handle the truth of it all, afraid I would come unglued. Each time I read it, silly I know; but I feel like it was written just for me.

And I was right, my eyes filled with tears, my mind filled with thoughts and it was almost more than I could handle.

I. read.very.slowly.

Breathed.very.deeply.

Max Lucado writes:

“He deserves lots of dots,” the wooden people would agree with one another. “He’s not a good wooden person.” After a while Punchinello believed them. “I’m not a good Wemmick”, He would say.

Judah asked, “Momma, those real tears?”

I paused, “Yes, Judah they are real tears.”

I continued the book. Reading about Eli, the Maker.

Eli explains, “The stickers only stick if they matter to you. The more you trust my love, the less you care about their stickers.


“I’m not sure I understand”, Punchinello says.

I understood today.

I asked the kids, like I always do, “Do you ever feel like you have a lot of grey dots?” I continued, “Mommy does.”

I said, “Like when momma yelled today…” “You see,” I said; “When momma does that kind of stuff, I spend the whole day feeling terrible,  like I am not a good mom, like I’ve let God down in the job he has trusted me with.”

I continued, “But, that isn’t the truth is it? That isn’t trusting God’s love, is it?”

Oh mommas, it is a hard day sometimes. Always wondering if we’ve made the right choice, always regretting something we’ve done or said. Battling things from the past, hiding emotions we are having and putting on smiles for our little ones. It isn’t always easy, and it doesn’t always happen. And when our little cups run dry of marshmallows and we cover ourselves with gray dots… all we can do is fall back into the arms of our Maker and let him stand us back up straight ready to right the good fight for one more round.

Eli smiled. “You will understand, but it will take some time you’ve got a lot of marks. For now, just come to see me every day and let me remind you how much I care.” 

-Max Lucado

Alli whispers to me afterward, “Mom… thanks.”

And she gives me a wink.

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Why you don’t need to have family devotions

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It is the hardest thing to do as a family.

We can gather for a movie, gather for work in the garden. We can gather for a family game, even gather for tea-

every.single.day.

But you mention devotion– family time talking about God and his goodness- and it’s like the earth spins in a different rotation.

Everyone needs to sit still. Everyone needs to be ready to listen. The person delivering the devotion needs to be well prepared. We need to have at least 30 minutes to an hour of uninterrupted, totally silent time.

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Why?

Maybe it can happen- right there. Where other stories are told. Where we share about our day. Where we talk about last nights game, yesterdays lunch menu, silly stories of childhood; next weeks plans.

Where the random sock sits waiting to be put away.

Maybe in the car, waiting at the doctors office, walking around the track? What about while shopping for groceries?

Maybe there, we can just share a little bit of that Jesus goodness with our children. With our spouse. With our mom or dad.

Maybe 10 min a day adds up to over an hour a week. Maybe something magical happens when we just make it “normal” to talk about Jesus?

Maybe thinking of it as just “life” rather than “devotion time” it will actually happen.

Even with the socks sitting on the table.

Much love,
Kati

Excellent family devotion resources:
The Adventure Bible & Devotion
What’s in the Bible
Our 24 Family Ways Devotion Book
Bible flash cards from your local book store; you can usually find them for around $1.99

Ideas our family loves:
We have a basket that sits on our sofa with bible books and bibles. When the kids wake up in the morning- they tip-toe out to the sofa and dive into those books every morning. The kids know, these are the only books they can look at when they first wake up. (shhhh, they’re learning quiet time and they don’t even know it!) This is the delight of my momma morning! ❤

The Living Bible Translation is easy for children and new Christians to understand (psssttt… it’s my favorite) =)

Related Posts:
How to trick your kids into love
That Stinkin’ Proverbs 31 Woman Again


GUESS WHAT?! You have asked and I have FINALLY listened! writingwithintrees in on Facebook! Check it out by clicking HERE! writingwithintrees on facebook! For those of you who ask often for the link to share with friends, feel free to invite them to “like wwt on facebook, that way they can stay up to date with posts also! I don’t have a personal facebook, so feel free to reach me here.  Much love. 😉

The reality of mothers day.

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Walking from my bedroom into the kitchen I find this:

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Curious to what the surprise may be–I grabbed the bell.

I walked the hallway ringing the bell.

Smiling big.

From the closed bedroom door peeks my oldest daughter.

“Don’t come yet- mom. Triston peed his bed and he’s in the shower.”

This.

This is Mother’s Day reality folks.

Happy day!

🙂 Kati

There are hundreds of reasons why I’m not a good mom.

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Throughout my day- I hear them.

I hear them all.day.long

The voices.

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Among the toys strewn out– all over the yard. The mower that man of mine still leaves parked right in front of the house.

The voices tell me.

“You’re such a failure.”

Any mom could do better than you.”

“What were you thinking? Six kids? Half of a dozen? Maybe more one day? They would be better off — only children.”

“You.yelled.again.”

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It happened all of a sudden. My body decided to go against me. Go against my to-do list. Go against my plans, my work, my mothering, my everything. And I wound up lying empty in the hospital on my sons eighth birthday needing an emergency surgery.

Right there, written on my arm– the words of strength. “She is clothed with strength and dignity– she laughs with no fear of the future…”  You know. That Proverbs 31 Woman.

Well. This momma worries about the future every single day. And finding myself broken down, sick, and empty was just another easy target for the enemies lies to sink deep within my mind. Fighting for my heart.

You see, those words written on my arm don’t do a very good job at keeping the lies away or the hospital bands away– they don’t even keep the ugly hospital gown away. ; )

My savior has to do all of that.

There are hundreds of different reasons I am the worst mom in the world.

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But from very moment I became a momma, thirteen years ago, those voices have been telling me that.

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And every day since I surrendered my life to that sweet Jesus; HIS voice keeps telling me,  “I’ll trust you with more.”

“I know you can do it.”

“Slow down. Speak soft.”

“You’re lovely”

“You’re beautiful.”

“They.love.you.”

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And when the voices say,

“I don’t even know why you keep that scripture in the window? It’s not like you practice it everyday…”

My savior says, “You think those verses are only for you?”

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And when the voices say, “You’re just the same girl you once were.”

My savior says, “No, my dear. You’re not.”

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And when I think, nobody ever even notices-– He simply reminds me:

“Six little souls are watching you closely.”

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“And someday? Someday they will say…”

“You were perfect- flaws and all.”

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For the mom who thinks she’s never good enough. For the mom, like me, who thinks there are hundreds of reasons someone else could be doing this job better…

THIS is for you:

God made you, you. And he doesn’t make mistakes.

You, my sweet one, are loved.

Happy Mothers Day. 

Kati

Sharing is at the heart of the God story.

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This is the beauty of stories:

A few years back a friend of mine from highschool contacts me, via Facebook, out of the blue. “Hey Kati” she says, “What age is your little girl? I have some clothes I’m needing to pass along and wondered if you’d be interested.”

At the time of that season change we really did need new clothes for our little Emmyn. Her message was right on time.

May this story  encourage you to contact someone today– just out of the blue. May you be the answer to their prayers today. May you be the one who shows them what Jesus looks like.

All because you took the time to share.

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Spring 2012:

She tip toes from her bedroom, sleepy eyed and messy hair; still half asleep from her nap.

Quietly, she asks me a question,

“Momma… are these for me?”

With a great big smile– I get to say, “Yes, they are.”

 

My two big girls and ‘Ting’, the foreign exchange student we had at the time ask, “Who are they from?

I reply, “A friend from high school.”

“Who?” They ask.

“A lady named Andrea.” I reply.

Ting asks me, “She just gave them to you?”

“Well, yeah” I say.

“Why?” He asks.

My response? “Well, it’s a blessing. God knew our little Emmyn needed some clothes.”

“…always God,” he says.

always.god

 

There are so many clothes, we put a whole bag away for next years size.

Meanwhile, my little Emmyn changes clothes all night long saying, “Look mommy, look how pretty.”

She felt special and pretty all because someone shared.


As I folded all the clothes my friend had passed along to me:  I couldn’t help but smile real big. My mind flooding with memories. Memories of fancy dresses, boys, nail salons, tanning beds, and getting our drivers license.

Now, she thinks to give me clothes.

It’s a total God thing. … “always God.”

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We’ve been blessed by many, many, many people over the past thirteen years of parenting with great hand me downs and are so very thankful. However, there is just something so special and surreal to see how this web of life continues to spin me in crazy directions of “I cannot beleive this.”

“A friend from high school named, Andrea.

Sharing is at the core of the God Story. 

Last year, after the Community SHARE (a little thing our family does to help in the community) was all over and done, someone approached me asking how it went. After telling them all the great things about it, they had just one question.

“How do you know they aren’t taking advantage of you?”

I replied, “Well, I don’t. But it’s not my job to make sure they use it correctly, it’s my job to give in love and let God do the rest.”

“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”  -Luke, in Acts 20:35 NIV

Over four years ago our family returned to our home town. Moving home was hard. It wasn’t the part of “home” that was hard. It was leaving what had become home behind that was hard.

One of the hardest things was finding a way to help those around us. Where we had moved from, my man worked in a church– opportunities to love and serve were all around. Well, how do you, in the “real world”, create those opportunities?

Think about it.

As a Christian, we use our church as a platform to love, serve, and notice need. If we happen to work in the corporate world where we’re surrounded with people everyday– we can use that outlet.

Well, I stayed home and my man worked with his Dad.

We thought we were going to die for lack of ways to help. So, out of pure desperation, we created ways to help. We got out into the community and started helping. And people always asked (still ask)  “Now, tell me again… what church are you with?” and we always reply.

Oh, we’re just a family.

Friends– we are the church… don’t forget it doesn’t take a building. It takes the sweetness of Jesus pouring out of us. Don’t feel you have to stay behind the walls of a church to love.

Remember what Jesus said :

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

The people on the receiving end of that word from Jesus didn’t run to the church building and start a planning meeting. They didn’t set a budget, ask an evangelist to come, or even beg for volunteers.


They just went and did.

We can witness through love at work, at walmart, at school; or at the gym. We can spread love like wildfire through social media, email, letters; and sweet gifts. We can even love through random acts of kindness in the community. We don’t have to rely on the church calender to match up to our schedule [we don’t even have to rely on their approval].

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Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.  James 1:17 NIV

THIS is the great thing about giving:

it’s all about grace.

Someone can take your free stuff, your story of the cross, your kindness, your mercy, your compassion and not use it to it’s fullness. It’s true, they can. Makes me sit and think, I sure am glad God didn’t withhold grace from me, contingent on what I would do with it.

 John reminds us,

“If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” 1 John 3:17  NLT

Ah, how simple. We see. We help. Then, Jesus takes control and the Holy Spirit does the work.

Aaaannnnnddd that’s probably best– considering I’d make a pretty lousy Holy Spirit 😉

Blessed to humbly share this broken story with you today,

Kati

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Some of you have asked how to receive posts in your email: it’s simple. On the lower right hand side of the screen there should be a “follow” button. Click and enter your email. It’s totally safe.

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Um, yeah… is there an ad below here? A creepy ad  (yes, directly below here, some strange video, perhaps?) I didn’t put it there = / And I didn’t choose what it will advertise. Sorry about that.

Fellowship with daughters: the very best thing I do with my girls.

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Remember when you were young and passed notes to your best girlfriends?

I do that with my girls. =)

Those girls of mine, all crazy four of them– they need love. They all need loved in different ways too, and that can be tricky.

I have one who speaks the least but feels the most. She loves words like me. We talk about everything from Jesus to dresses. Another of mine, she’s one for attention– she always wants to know when we’re going somewhere again. Then there’s this one who is new to the whole mom thing and she’s just happy to write. Then Emmyn, my littlest, little? Well, she makes pretty drawings. =)

In order to keep up with all of their girly goodness, we have momma journals. Each one have a decorated journal that is between just she and I. When they feel they need to talk, they pass the journal my way.

Sometimes, it’s on the stand next to my bed– other times, it’s lying on my desk. I’ve even found it next to the kitchen sink.

A cutie-pie picture from when my little Jordi pie started her journal a few years back?

It’s a place where we can be total cheese heads, encourage each other, love each other with our words, and it’s all right there, in the book– a book we can keep forever.

{ ok, ok, and it helps with handwriting practice ; ) }

Simple & silly love, today and always~

Kati 

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Some of you have asked how to receive posts in your email: it’s simple. On the lower right hand side of the screen there should be a “follow” button. Click and enter your email. It’s totally safe.

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Um, yeah… is there an ad below here? A creepy ad  (yes, directly below here, some strange video, perhaps?) I didn’t put it there = / And I didn’t choose what it will advertise. Sorry about that. 

sometimes dreams just don’t come true.

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I wrote this story a few years back after a trip to town with my littles. Today, while a repair man was here at the house– he overheard the lesson I was teaching the kids during homeschooling. Each day, I give the kids a “quote to ponder”;  the quote to ponder today was:

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall” – Confucius

The repair man, in the other room, calls out “Amen to that! I’m in the middle of that lesson right now.”

His remark reminded me of this story- May it be an encouragement to you today as you chase those great big dreams of yours.

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We’ve always liked to pack up and head somewhere “special” to learn little things– create a memory.

In Missouri, it was books and cookies at the library coffee shop {yes, it was a.m.a.z.i.n.g} sometimes, it was books and donuts early in the morning at the local donut shop. Then of course, there’s always the park.

I think school at the park is Chapter One in The “Typical Homeschool Trends” handbook; along with baby carriers and long skirts, ha!  (That book doesn’t really exist)  🙂

Typical or not, it’s what we do.  Sometimes it’s history, sometimes is devotion, sometimes it’s just a silly book that makes us all laugh loud and heads turn. This week, it was The Tale of Three Trees.

It starts with loading cups into bags and books into hands. Yes, always take your own cup, refills are around 59cents compared to $1.40 for a drink in their plain ‘ol not special at all  their cup.  We’re mug people around here, everyone has their favorite.

Then we head out. No big deal right?

Today, I walked into our towns little grocery store with no kiddos, a rare thing indeed (ooh, maybe Daniel is my secret servant this week?) I was all alone, in my own little world, price comparing and trying to get the best deal on chicken.

Greeting the clerk a friendly, “Hi how are you today”, then moving my stare past her onto my items,  watching those sought after good deals move across the scanner, wondering if the clerk would see the $2 off instant coupon on my smart chicken… the check out girl, a senior in high school, says to me–

“I saw you the other day, are those your kids?”

Totally confused, I ask “You saw me? Where?”

“At the store, reading to your kids.”

“Oh, yeah” I reply,  “Those are my kids. Wait, Unless they were bad then they aren’t mine” I said, with a silly smile.

She continues, “Yeah, I heard you reading to them.” 

Sliding my chicken across the scanner, removing my coupon, she goes on to tell me how she heard me asking the kids what their dreams were for when they were grown and she listened as Judah told me he wanted to be an NBA Player. Continuing to listen, she heard me bring it back to the book, where the three trees had big dreams but God used them to fulfill those dreams in His way, not looking exactly the way they had planned.

She says, “I heard you ask him,

What if God has a different plan for you?”

Then she heard his reply,

“Oh, he would never do that to me, it’s my dream and he’s given me the skills to do it.” 

Telling me my total and reaching her hand out for the money, her eyes tear up and she turns her elbow towards me to see her scar.

“That was my dream too and it seemed so reachable, until I fell and broke my arm just this year before my senior year of high school. I can’t play like I use to and now no schools will choose me.”

She smiles real big, tears still welling and says,

“I don’t know why it wasn’t His plan but I know somehow, it’s all going to be used to give Him glory–  I know he has a plan.”
 

Slipping into my van, chicken loaded carefully in the trunk, I see the book there on my dash. I walk back in and say, “I still had the book, why don’t you read it.” 

She smiles that real big Jesus smile and says–

“Oh wow, thanks!”  

For everything there is a season,
      a time for every activity under heaven.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 NLT

Oh, NBA seems like a big unreachable dream, doesn’t it? Well, I’ve had dreams both big and small that never happened. Hopes, dreams, goals, and wonders that at this time in my life, God just didn’t answer.

No matter the size of your dream- it’s yours. And if it doesn’t happen– it hurts.

My prayer for us is this: May we find grace and give glory in each season, my friend. May we live today with the crazy peace and comfort that only our great big God can give.

May you find comfort today in knowing- God’s really big and He’s got this.


May Mercy, Peace, and love be yours in abundance. Jude 1:2

Dreaming Big, 

Kati

 

yeah… if there’s an ad below here—> a creepy ad  (yes, directly below here, some strange video perhaps?) I didn’t put it there = / And I didn’t choose what it will advertise.