Tag Archives: challenges

Brought to my knees by a plate of waffles….

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Have you ever been close to tears due to stress or being overwhelmed and then one little thing happens…and you lose your mind?….

like a sticky waffle…….

When I walked around to my daughter’s side of my minivan, yesterday morning, and saw this, I lost it. A plate of sticky waffles slowly dripping on the floor of my van….and that was my unraveling….

Am I crazy about waffles or something?!

Nope…it was just the final “straw” in being overwhelmed and underheard as a mother……

That waffle was the pebble that, once removed, started the deluge of rocks of thoughts and worries that have plagued my mind for the past few weeks…

Why can’t my kids follow my rules? How do I do all this? Why is my husband traveling so much?  When do I clean? Why are my kids so messy? Am I meeting the needs of all my kids? Why do I have so little time for myself? Why is my family plagued by medical issues?

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I literally feel like I am pulling this ricksha….most of the time…..uphill…. with five kids and a husband inside it…haha.

And most days I’m on level ground so I can carry my own…

and then some days it seems all uphill…..

As I picked up that waffle, I wiped away the tears from a rough few days. And under my breath, I said, ” lord, help me hold this together.”

I took a deep breath as I walked around the van…and all those memories and thoughts flooded my brain.

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  • the constant picking up of random kid items….(Lord knows they all have a place)
  • the weekly menu planning that I continuously struggle to finish

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  • The little annoying messes everywhere I look…(does no one know how to clean)
  • finding the time to scrub floors; wash windows; and do laundry
  • bills need to be scheduled and paid; registers balanced and budgets tweaked

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  • The daily schooling of five kiddos…(isn’t education overrated?)
  • the endless errands: extracurriculars, food shopping, clothes shopping, etc.
  • and then there’s the holidays….Halloween is less than two weeks away.

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  • the two molars pulled, this week, for Sweet Pea
  • the constant nagging of DDD to wear his retainer…
  • The ER visit on friday with the Fashionista for a seizure (um….what?!)

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  • So now we are in the process of appointments and testing to figure out what’s going on with the Fashionista…..

And…this was me…..DONE!!!!

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Yeah…it wasn’t pretty.

“Quit your crying, Taffeta”….haha

But...ugly cries are awesome.

It’s pretty cleansing…..

So…..I tossed out that sticky waffle and I cleaned up any remnants of it on my carpet.

And just like that….I know that I can get through this.

So if you can identify with any of those feelings, or you are at the end of your rope, I recommend a good old “ugly cry”….and then take it to the foot of the cross. 

Sometimes it just takes a “sticky waffle” to remind you that you need to get on your knees and be thankful for your “worries” and what overwhelms you.

Mostly because you have a God that is bigger than all of that.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”- Phillipians 4:13

As for today, God and I have this one covered.

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Tip Tuesday: loveletters….be one….

When I was in high school, I had this amazing religion teacher who taught me about “loveletters” and how to look for them. She taught me that God loved me and showered me with little “gifts” throughout the day. It was my love for him and my desire for a relationship with him that would allow me to see these little “gifts” in my life. Wow??!! What a beautiful thought…..I have spent the last 20 years of my life looking for these little “loveletters” every day.

When you open your eyes to see them…it’s really quite overwhelming.

I would like to share with you one of these profound times in my life. In October 2011, one month before the birth of Miss Missy, my husband contracted meningitis and encephalitis. I can’t begin to explain how emotionally draining it was to be “done” with being pregnant and the emotional “basket case” that the last month of pregnancy has you in and then to deal with my husband’s medical condition at that time. I didn’t know how I was going to do it. I was not sleeping; barely eating; trying to homeschool three children and be at the hospital for the majority of the day so I could monitor my husband’s care; all while trying to keep myself out of the hospital until it was my turn. My mom had come up to stay with me and help me out when all of this first broke out and she was one of my first “loveletter” during that time. She helped bring routine and comfort to my home. She reassured the children while I battled the doctors with my husband.

My husband’s family delivered hot meals to my home and called regularly to “check in” on my husband….more loveletters. I would often pray on my nightly 45 minute ride home that the Lord will keep me awake….more than once a good friend called at just the right time….another loveletter…thank you, Lord.

The most impressionable loveletter I ever received happened one morning as I returned home. I had spent the night at the hospital with my husband and was coming home to spend some lunchtime with the kiddos. I was spent…exhausted….I missed my husband. I missed the man who I ran to for my problems. I missed the man who held me and assured me all would be ok. He lay in a bed with tons of wires; numerous IVs, and couldn’t speak intelligently. He had lashed out on me so much over the course of that two week span…I was scared and felt very alone. I was worried about how I would handle post-partum pregnancy with four little kids and a husband who really couldn’t function on his own. I needed a good cry…..I sat in my van in front of my house and wept. I was adamant about my kids not seeing me cry. I needed to be strong…I needed to carry this burden solely….“Lord, help me. I feel so alone.”

Then I walked by the mailbox.

“Get the mail”.

I heard it very clear.

What?

Get the mail.” 

I was tired. I just wanted to get in the door. To snuggle on the couch with my kiddos and grab a nap before I journeyed back to the hospital.

Get the mail“….”

“Ok, Lord.”

So…I stopped to get the mail. Then, I did something I don’t normally do…I sat down on the steps of the house and went through the mail. There were three personal letters in there from my household sisters from a Christian sorority I belonged to in college. Each personal letter came with a little gift card: one to Starbucks, one to Subway, and one to Mcdonalds. The floodgates opened and I cried like a baby. “You are not alone”. My heart heard it…….those little cards kept coming for about two weeks. Each letter offered me reassurance from some strong women in my life. Each card assured me of their prayers for my peace and for strength. Oh….I felt it. It’s amazing how much our prayers and our words touch those whom we love.

God answers our cries

if we have the ears and eyes to believe.

Some days we receive loveletters and somedays we have the privilege to be the sender of a loveletter.

So…for this Tip Tuesday…..

Be a sender of a loveletter.

This evening my husband and I had the privilege of having my nephew over for dinner. We have enjoyed having him over a few times a year, while he is closer to us at college, and spending time with him. He is a college student and in the middle of exams. Our little loveletter came in the form of an “exam survival kit” the hubs and I compiled for him.

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We filled it with a bunch of stuff that we “coveted” when we were in college with no money and late nights. (I took this picture before I added the homemade goodies and refrigerated stuff.) Here’s what we included in ours:

  • Wheat bread/Peanut butter/jelly
  • crackers/ cheddar cheese slices
  • fresh fruit: apples and grapes
  • canned pineapple
  • oreos: one of his favorites
  • microwave popcorn
  • small jugs of orange juice
  • small individual bags of muffins

***home baked goods: two tupperware bins: one filled with leftovers from dinner and one filled with dessert leftovers.

***A bag of Halloween candy: the kids gave him 3 pieces of candy from their own Halloween bag. The hubs and I might have thrown in a few extra to lessen our bin.

  • Some other suggestions would be: coins for the vending machine; ramen noodles; packets of tunafish; sports drinks or gum or mints.

 The expression on his face was priceless. It was the same look I had as I glance over that mail. Someone had thought of me. Someone had reached out and realized a need before I voiced it.  It’s a beautiful gift to be someone’s loveletter.

What about you?

Could you be someone’s loveletter today or tomorrow?

How about the next time you say, “I’ll pray for you.”…how about instead you BE that person’s answer to prayer.

Try it.

It’s a beautiful thing to be the hands of Christ.

Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Chris has no body now on earth but yours.” – St. Teresa of Avila.

 

God bless,

 

Tammi

Tip Tuesday: 5 things I wish I would remember….

Five Things I wish I would remember…..

I feel like I’m losing my mind. Call it “mom brain” or maybe I’m just trying to juggle too many things and some stuff just “slips out” but…

I forget just about everything.

I start conversations and then get distracted. I enter the kitchen and forget why I am there. I call someone and have to look at my phone to see who I called. It’s crazy. It’s probably a sign that I need to SSSSSLLLLLOOOOOWWWWW down…

So…while I have a focused mind, here are five things I wish I could remember everyday:

1.   Wake up early, happy, and ready. It’s the days that I jump up before the kids and jump in the shower that seem to go the best. I don’t let my mind wander onto my Thing to Do list until I’m showered; I’ve prayed; and I’m ready for the day. I grab a few cuddles from the kiddos and just start my day off smiling.

2.   Prayer changes everything. Prayer changes me. It gives me the opportunity to ask the Lord to reign over my day. It allows me to ask the Lord for the virtues that I need to conquer my day. It changes the moods of those around you. It can refocus my family if things are crazy. It can calm me when things seem to be out of control or desperate.

3.   I am one of the greatest role models my kids have. This is NOT what I want to be thinking about when I’m yelling for the 10th time or telling my son how frustrating he is. =( How humbling it is to be correcting my kids behavior and yet I’m the biggest hypocrite when it comes to calm and productive behavior. If I want productive children, I should show them how hard I work. If I want my kids to be loving, they need to learn that from me.

4.   Plan, Plan, Plan. Not having a plan leads to havoc. I can’t emphasize this enough in my life. Does this mean no time for a spontaneous day? No…because you can plan to have a spontaneous day. I love when I really focus and finish a two week menu plan. I mean….to be able to do some dinner prep at 2 when the toddler is napping is WAY easier than deciding at 5pm that I don’t want to make dinner nor do I have anything to make. If I can plan and tackle schoolwork and household errands early in my day/week, I will not have to decline fun field trips or possible last minute fun due to poor planning.

 5.   My life is great. Even when I’m stressed, overworked, frustrated, or worn out…I must remember that my life is great. I have an amazing husband, good and loving children, and an amazing network of family and friends.

I’m thinking about printing this out and posting it on my mirror for when I wake up in the morning. I am hoping that these statements will be branded on my brain and on my heart.

Wishing you much peace.

God Bless,

Tammi

Are you a fighter?

My husband is a natural born fighter. It’s one of the things that I love about him. I always feel safe when I’m with him. I know that, physically, he could protect me in any situation…and maybe die trying.

He’s also an idealist. Nothing ever seems clean enough, perfect enough, etc. Sometimes…it drives me crazy. He has these visions of how our children should be raised and how our house should always look (yeah…good luck with that, buddy). But on the other hand, he believes that all things are possible….he’s an idealist!!! He dreams of owning his own business and talks about how we are going to retire owning our own bed and breakfast. If only he married someone who was more of a doer….unfortunately, he looks to me to help make all that happen.  Hopefully, we can make SOME things happen.

In addition…he’s the guy that you want on your side in an argument. He is precise in his thinking…persuasive in his arguments. He doesn’t back down unless he comes to your way of thinking…then heaven help the other side. I love to watch him in a good debate or a family “discussion” for that matter. People are drawn to him when he speaks, which makes him the incredible salesmen that he is.

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My husband with his best friend and faithful “fighter”, his brother Shawn.

He’s a fighter.

He’s passionate about fighting. He can be found sparring in the mirror and he’s been teaching our son to box at night for a few months now. I love to watch his enthusiasm if my son gets a great right hook in. It lights up his face. My son just loves that time. Getting his aggression out, while spending quality time with his dad.

I married a fighter.

But sometimes…I think he misses the ring.

He misses the fight.

Life gets the best of him. He feels old and tired and just gets stuck in the rut of waiting for the next fight. The routine gets old…it seems like the same thing every day. Work, eat, sleep….repeat. I think a lot of men feel this way.

They don’t know what’s wrong but they feel kinda depressed. If you ask them what’s up…they don’t know. They could get snippy, angry or just moody. The family starts to suffer. .. Tension abounds. Then…we, as their wives, or girlfriends start thinking that its “us” or that they don’t care. Our doubt, or insecurities take over and we start a downward spiral. They say, “it’s not about you”. We feel frustrated and helpless.

Let me stop here to make a quick point…..you deserve the best! Did you know that? Do you really know that??!!! Expect it….demand it….dream big. This is where I plug an awesome book that I read a few years ago….

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Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge

“Most women think they have to settle for a life of efficiency and duty, chores and errands, striving to be the women they “ought” to be but often feeling they have failed…..but her heart is still there.  She loves to be swept up in a romance, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, to be the Beauty of the story.”

Could your heart be longing for more?

Are you afraid to ask for it?

Afraid to admit it?

Throw this book in your amazon cart if you haven’t read it. You won’t regret it!

Learn about being the beauty. Starting with your worth as the daughter of a heavenly king.

Ok…..sorry…I’m random.

Now….back to our main blog point…..

 What if we challenged these fighters????…….

what if we gave them something to fight for???…..

This was what my husband heard when he entered our kitchen a few days ago. It was really quiet and I was washing dishes. He had been emotionally distant and I finally had a few minutes to think about it. I started thinking about what was really bothering me about his behavior. I know I have an incredible husband and father but…I thought I deserved more…

This was our conversation:

Hubs: What’s wrong? Are you crying?

Me: yeah…I’ve got a lot of stuff to talk to you about. I’m just not happy.

Hubs: Please stop crying…it makes me so sad. What’s up?

Me:

…….. I want you to fight for me. I want you to wake up every day fighting for the chance to be loved by me. Only me. I want to go to bed knowing that you loved me in the way that only you can. I want to be assured of your love on a daily basis.

Hub: So…you don’t think I fight for you? (thinking…)

Me: nope.

Hub: ok….

Me: I think you rest on the notion that I love you and will always be here. I don’t think you try and “keep” me here. I think you can sometimes take me for granted.

Hub: wow…ok. I need to think about what that means.

Me: Well…you are heading out of town. Take some time and think about it. It’s going to be something for us to have a big discussion about.

Hub: Ok…you know I love you. (embraces me)

Me: (smile)…yeah.

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Talk about throwing him a right hook. I started the fight…..a fight that I hope will last a lifetime. Now for some reassurance…

Through a text on this ride, he received this…

Please read this later…..

I am madly in love with you. I have been since our first deep discussion as we walked the campus in college. I don’t EVER want to doubt that you feel the same way. I want to know it. I want it to be integral to who you are. We need to be the FIRST thing we work on….otherwise nothing else matters….

I got this text back, from the hubs, that afternoon…

             I read your message. I love you madly as well. I am thankful for you in my life. You are the best thing that ever happened to me. I love you.

vacationing in Puerto Rico, this past Spring 2013

vacationing in Puerto Rico, this past Spring 2013

The hubs checked in with me several times a day while at his conference. Some to tell me that he loved me; to check in on my emotional state; and to let me know in the words of Kevin James on the King of Queens, “I’m thinking of you!!!”

When he returned home Wednesday night, all the kids ran to meet him at the door. I walked happily behind them.

When he kissed me, he said,

 “I’m going to fight for you. Everyday.

Sometimes I think all I need, when I’m in a funk, is you. I need you to remind me of where my focus needs to be.”

While he was away, I secured a sitter to watch the kids on Thursday night. We did something that we rarely make time for. We didn’t get dressed up. We didn’t eat at a fancy restaurant. We grabbed our laptops, papers, pens and our cell phones and we had a business meeting at Red Robin.

We talked about our schedules and our family.

Our house and how to make it more of a home.

Our children and how to make them better Christians.

We are fighting for our family.

Are we finished?

Nope….

we just entered the ring.

Is this speaking to your heart?

Is this possible for you to have a discussion like this with your spouse or loved one?

Are you in the ring fighting for something?

Or are you not even aware that you, your husband, or your family are worth fighting for?

My challenge is for you, me, and everyone……

…….to be fighters.

To fight for our marriages.

To fight for our loved ones.

To fight for something.

You can read Part Two: Are you a fighter? here.

God Bless,

 

Tammi