Potty training isn't going so well in our house. The almost-three-year-old isn't interested, and there's not much we can do to change that. He'll get there one day. In the meantime, we're still changing diapers. That isn't that big of a deal, except we moved furniture around not too long ago to move his big boy bed into his room. The dresser we'd been using as his changing table got moved across the hall for his sister to use, and he has a small chest of drawers now instead. And it's not big enough for a chest of drawers. So, we change diapers on the floor now.
His floor has a rug printed with roads and buildings for his toy cars to drive on. He loves it. This causes a problem, because when we lay him down on the rug, he automatically turns over like this.
I don't know if you know this or not, but it's hard to change a diaper when the body is twisted around so that little arms can drive a car on the roads of the rug. He doesn't understand the importance of keeping his back on the ground, his legs in a better position. He just knows it's fun to drive the vehicles around.
And it takes my brain to that verse where Jesus talks about a man plowing. It's Luke 9:62. "Jesus said to him, 'No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.'" He isn't really talking about plowing. He's using something they understand to teach a more important lesson. If you're supposed to be moving (or laying) one direction, but part of you is facing the other way, you're not going to get to where you want to be. Just like when my son keeps turning over to drive instead of staying still to let me snap his diaper in place, it takes longer and he doesn't get to go do what he really wants as quickly as he could. And as adults, when we start out one way, but turn our heads, letting ourselves be distracted by something else, we're not going to get to where we meant to as fast, either.
Lately, my distractions are reading and Facebook. They can both be good things, but when I let them keep from getting to where I need to be, they're turning my head too much. What do you think? What things do you let distract you?
Do you ever catch yourself opening your mouth and hearing your mom come out? It happens to me all the time. My favorite phrase that popped out a few months ago was "Well, if you'd quit counting the bites and just eat them, you'd be done already." Yep. Heard that a few times growing up.
One phrase I used to swear I'd never use on my kids comes out all the time, though. Want to know what it is?
I used to hate it when my mom said that because I figured out that more often than not, it was going to be "no" in the long run. And yet, when my children ask if they can do something, what do I say? You got it. I say one of those phrases more often than not.
My children, though, aren't quite old enough to know that it's probably going to end up being "no." Instead, they look forward to it turning into a "yes."
"Mommy, can we play with playdough when we get home?"
Squeals from the backseats.
Hmm. But it got me thinking.
"Maybe" is sort of one of the answers we get when we pray. God never doesn't answer a prayer. Sometimes, He just tells us "No" or "Not now." Of course, we don't really know which one of those answers we're getting until the door has completely slammed in our face. So, how do you handle it when you get one of those answers toward something you've prayed for so hard? Do you react like my children and squeal thinking it will happen later? Or do you react like an older child whose hopes have been dashed too often and simply give up earlier than you should?
I'd say, before my husband I went through infertility treatments, we probably gave up more often than not. But after waiting for six and a half years, continuing to pray the same things over and over, we're a little better at keeping up at least a little hope while we wait. I know I'd rather be like that. How about you?
For those who don't know, last week, my family and I went on vacation. Fifteen years ago, my husband and I honeymooned on St. Simon's Island, Georgia. I've wanted to go back ever since. Now that we live closer (still not close enough, but closer), we decided this was a good year to go. My children had been begging to go to the beach forever, so that settled it.
It was gorgeous. Even more so than I remembered. We walked and splashed on the beach, collected shells and built a sandcastle.
We climbed to the top of the lighthouse.
We caught a beautiful sunset.
We ate really good food. You have to know it's going to be a great meal when the bread basket they bring out at first contains not only rolls and cornbread, but also pumpkin bread!
We rode a boat and saw dolphins. A whole pod of them!
And all around us were these amazing old oak trees, dripping with moss. It was like living inside a movie. So awe-inspiring. Pretty sure I'm going to set a future book here. We decided it would be a dream to retire there, although I'm not sure how that would work financially.
Needless to say, we had a great week.
But, I also learned (or re-learned) that I am not very good when schedules aren't adhered to. I can be flexible to a point, but sometimes it's hard to slow down and remind myself that it doesn't matter if we don't leave the cottage at the exact moment I thought we should. Vacations are supposed to be laid-back and relaxed. It didn't kill us to get places a few minutes later than I had originally planned.
I didn't get much reading or writing done, but I did a little. I enjoyed Autumn Macarthur's newest book, Brett. And delved into Chautona Havig's book Corner Booth. I recommend both. And I wrote about 3750 words one afternoon. But that was it. The rest of the time was spent GOING!
Also, you can handle any circumstance in short doses. My children slept on air mattresses in the dining room and hallway. Not very great for sleeping when other people are still up and wandering through those areas. But we made it. And my kids had GREAT naps on Saturday as they made up for some of the missed sleep earlier in the week.
They're both still talking about the beach and the lighthouse and the dolphins. Obviously, St. Simons now holds a special place in their hearts as well.
How about you? If you could vacation somewhere, would you go beach or somewhere else? Do you get stressed out trying to squeeze everything into a few days of vacation or are you better than I am at relaxing and going with the flow?
Today's guest blogger is my writing friend, Heather Greer. Her story is super sweet. I think you're going to love it.
By the way, I just read her first book lately, and it was excellent. I highly recommend you check it out. Read all the way to the end for more information.
My husband and I have something not many people can claim. Our everyday romance is a real Hallmark story. Literally. Twenty-five years ago I started my first job during my senior year in high school. The week I started this job (which I only had for a month, but that’s another story), Andy was finishing his last week filling in for a regular employee who was out on vacation. A few days in either direction would have kept us from meeting. But that isn’t what makes ours a Hallmark story.
We’d gotten to know each other and flirted with each other as young men and women who find each other attractive often do through the course of the week. We found out neither of us wanted to get into a relationship due to previous failures in that department, but still, we flirted. (Don’t judge. I’m sure during dark times you’ve told yourself the same lie about never getting into another relationship and then taken it back when the cute guy at the coffee shop smiles at you.)
We weren’t scheduled to work together that Friday. Andy would get off right as I was coming in for my shift. I was surprised he was still there when I arrived. He said he had something for me in the break room. My curiosity sufficiently peaked, I followed. He opened the door to the fridge, and I saw several white carnations. He pulled out a flower and handed it to me. It wasn’t white or a carnation. It was a single red rose. As nice as receiving a rose from a cute guy is at any time, the moment was made sweeter because we’d talked earlier in the week about how none of the guys I’d dated had ever gotten me flowers, much less a rose. That was the beginning of our romance, but it isn’t why ours is a Hallmark story.
Through the years Andy has done some amazingly romantic things. He wrote me a poem to ask me to marry him. As cheesy as it was, I still said yes. On one memorable birthday he decided to rectify my horrible prom experiences. He secretly bought me a fancy dress and all the accessories I needed promising me in the note he left that we were going to dinner at one of the nicest restaurants in the area. Dinner was amazing. On the way home he stopped at a little venue where he had our friends and family waiting, dressed in formal wear, for our own prom. And at my latest job, Andy would take time on his rare days off to bring the ladies I worked with doughnuts, making sure there was at least one Boston Cream doughnut in the box because they are my favorite. But all of these romantic gestures, big and small, aren’t what make ours a Hallmark story.
Andy and I have had a great marriage. We have four wonderful children, two of which have found the co-star for their own Hallmark stories, and one grandson. We’ve had moments when our love for each other overflowed coloring everything around us with joy. We’ve also had moments when we wondered if there was any way even with God’s help if our love would survive. There have been twists and turns that have blessed while others have sent us to our knees. And that is where we found what we needed to not only keep going but also put our marriage back on track during the hard times. Our faith in God and openness to allowing Him to change us as individuals and a couple have made our marriage stronger than it’s ever been. We still have our rough times, but God has shown us what it means to love each other through them. But even this is not what makes ours a Hallmark story.
To understand why our story is what it is today, we have to go back to where our story began. Because our story began where I got my first job at a local Hallmark store. And that is why ours is literally a Hallmark story.
Heather Greer grew up as a pastor’s kid in rural southern Illinois. Though completely unexpected, she became a pastor’s wife thirteen years ago, when her husband answered the call to preach. Heather has had the opportunity to minister to all age groups, but teens and women tend to be where God most often leads her. When she isn’t writing or working with various ministries, Heather loves to bake and spend time with her husband, children, and grandson. Of course, she’s always willing to sit down with a cup of cocoa and watch the latest Hallmark channel movie too!
Social Media Links:
Website and blog: www.heathergreer.com
About Heather's Books:
Sometimes it’s the unexpected path that leads you on your journey back to faith.
Katie McGowan left her parents and their faith behind years ago. However, when faced with a devastating betrayal, Katie is ready to go back to Carbondale, Illinois to help her elderly parents despite their tempestuous relationship. Drained by the constant friction, Katie finds emotional support and encouragement in Austin. His practical, simple faith speaks to Katie, and she finds herself yearning for a new connection to God. As their friendship grows, so does the attraction between Katie and Austin.
Before her fledgling faith and thoughts of romance have a chance to take root, Katie’s cheating fiancé returns, remorseful and promising change. Can her tentative faith strengthen their past love? And if her heart breaks again, will Katie’s journey to faith end before it has really begun?
When dreams turn into nightmares what’s left to hold onto?
Katie McGowan knows her fears are irrational. They’re also beyond her control. Her mind says her fiancé is faithful, but the betrayal of her past love ignites a fear stronger than her trust. Attempts to overcome it are unsuccessful. Nothing banishes her panic attacks for good. Dreading Austin’s response if he finds out about her struggle to trust, Katie hides the truth nearly destroying their relationship.
It takes a lesson in hope to start healing. Katie is released from the nightmare holding her captive to enjoy the blessings God has given. But when tragedies change her life forever, Katie’s understanding of hope is challenged. Unresolved anger and disappointment leave Katie doubting the sincerity of her beliefs. Desperate to prove her faith and minimize her failure as a believer, Katie buries her feelings beneath all the right words.
"Step on a crack and you'll break your mother's back!"
Remember that rhyme from growing up years? I'm not even sure where it started, but I remember being so very careful to watch where I was walking as a child, for fear I hurt my Mama. Now, it's my turn to be the mommy, and my four-year-old and almost-three-old take it seriously. Especially the younger one. He is careful to the point that he insists on stopping and jumping as high as he can over each and every tiny crevice in the parking lot. This sometimes adds quite a bit of time to how long it takes to get into a store.
A couple of times one of them misses and steps on a line. "Oh, no! Mommy, I'm sorry I stepped on a crack."
It's just a little old wives' tale, a silly rhyme that children have passed down for years. But after hearing it only once, it's taken as absolute truth by my kids.
And then I think about things I've heard over and over again, much more serious than some silly rhyme to give kids an excuse to jump across a parking lot. How many times have we heard "don't gossip" or "don't lie." Those are direct commands from God. Do we stop when we catch ourselves at the edge of one of those and try to jump over to avoid the sin? Or do we step on it and then say, "Oh, God, I'm sorry I stepped on that crack!" Or do we not even notice it at all, anymore?
Because we hurt God much worse than our kids hurt us by stepping on a "crack."
I hope we all have faith like our children, that we can not only believe something will happen, but that we take all the extra precautions we can come up with to avoid any resemblance of evil.
What about you? Are you a jumper? Or have you ceased to notice those little crevices around you? Are you breaking God's back?
This is a place for me to share thoughts and ideas not just related to writing. Thoughts about what's going on in my life, about an idea I got that I thought shareworthy, or just a funny anecdote.