What I want for you, my daughters..

what I want for my daughters

A few days ago, we walked through one of my favorite stores. You remarked about how I like to go up and down each aisle, and I whispered the excitement of something unique on so many shelves. I gasped over one piece, and you laughed at how I fell in love.

A few aisles over, you were the ones in love. There were dolls, and each of you found one perfect. Your heart yearned for those toys so badly, and faces dropped when I said we wouldn’t be buying them. I thought we were about to have a toddler show down, but it was resolved and you all shuffled away sadly, even as I reminded you how I, too, had just walked away from something my heart fell in love with.

But, sweet girls, our hearts are deceitful. They tell us that something (or someone) will make us happy, and though it may for a tiny bit, it is not a lasting happiness. The truth is, I wanted to buy you those dolls so badly. But, it wasn’t a wise choice, not just financially, but for your character, as well. To give you everything your heart desires would be to cheat you.

There are so many things I want to give you, things you can hold in your arms or play with all day.  But there’s a different list too. A better list. There is a list of experiences I want for you, and this is the beginning of my bucket list for your lives.

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I want you to laugh.

not just any laugh. girls, I want you to laugh at each other. with each other. I want you to laugh when you nervously ride with each other as teenagers with big dreams and small experiences. I want you to laugh with joy when each of you comes to the others with life announcements of wedding bells being planned or sweet new life still hidden away.

I want you to laugh at yourselves when you realize you’ve taken yourselves too seriously. I want you to laugh when it’s late and I have yelled at you to sleep, but you cannot contain the mirth at the moment and you giggle away despite me.

I want you to laugh when it hurts; when your heart is breaking and it feels like your world is ending. I want you to laugh, and I want you to see that laugh as life inside yourself and hope that your world will still go on.

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I want you to slow the rush.

I want you to slow down when the world hurries you on. I want you to slow down when mama hurries you on. I want you to listen, and not just hear. I want you to notice those the rest of us rush past. I want you to take your time and make the good choices. Even if it means we will continue being late for everything for the next 18 years or more, I want you to learn to consider choices and people. Consider God’s will and His perspective. Because sometimes, habits form small. What begins as considering exactly where the location of a shoe has the potential to blossom into “how are my words going to affect her?” Which leads me to the next desire…

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I want you to be a friend

a good one. Yes, I want you to laugh and take your time as a friend, but more importantly, I want you to be a blessing. I want you to say the hard thing, in the gentle way.

I want you to swallow hard and die to self and consider others more important than yourself. Because being a friend isn’t the same as having friends.

I want you to show up with help when you are needed most. I want you to have the blessing of being a blessing. That’s why we’re blessed in the first place.

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I want you to be hurt

now, stay with me a moment, because London, I can already see your eyes getting huge. We know that muscles cannot become strong without exercising them. You cannot be strong without the same.  And I want you to be strong. I want you to withstand the hurt of the world, to look past the lies and cheap shots and stand at the end victorious able to hear, “well done, good and faithful servant.” But, as hard as it is, I know you cannot do that without hurt in your heart, but I want it to be hurt that heals.

True strength is born out of those times when you answer, “I’m good,” but you really mean, “I feel like a crumpled up piece of paper left on the floor.” It comes from times when you have the wind knocked out of you from life’s hard hits, and sit alone processing how to pull yourself together. But when those moments come, that is when that laughter and those friends and each other will pour their own blessings out and anoint you with God’s grace. and, oh, I want you to have that anointing.

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I want you to feel insignificant

I want you to stand before a tree larger than you’ve ever seen. I want you to stand at the edge of the ocean, water pulling sand from beneath your feet. I want you to lie in the dark beneath a star filled sky. And in all of those moments, I want you to feel tiny, insignificant. I want your problems and our world to shrink and God’s majesty to boom. I want you to learn to number your days, and to make the most of our very short time on this very small planet.

Because it’s all a vapor. We are hear for a short breath of time, and then we are called away. You are all so little now, so far from giggling teens in a car or grown sisters whispering heartache over coffee. But, at the same time, it was so little time ago that I held you new in my arms. One eyes wide open, ready to take in the world. One, broken-hearted to be in a new place and away from the comfort you had known for 9 months. The other, so in need of the comfort of your people.

It’ll be here before we know it, girls, these moments of life that kick us when we’re down and make us laugh until we cry. So, I want you to be ready…not ready to take on the moments. You can’t prepare for such. But, I want you to be ready to hold tight to each other. To do the right thing. But mostly, ready to see God’s hand in every moment whether the tears made are from sorrow or joy.

Our new home

So, among all the things I’ve been wanting to share on here, one of those things is a few looks into our new home as we change things up. We’re still working on the downstairs, hoping to work more on the kitchen this weekend. ahem, anyone have any great wallpaper removing skills? oy. WHY, oh WHY the wallpapering over wallpaper???

Anyway, our living room is almost finished. I still have to paint our curtains. (yep, you can do that!) But I thought I’d give the first peak into that room since it’s our favorite!

So here’s the before!

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seriously…those built-ins stole my heart. Here is the after! the photos were taken at different times and mostly for me to text friends asking for opinions on layout and what color to paint those curtains, ha! but you’ll get the idea!

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The wall color we chose is Behr’s Anonymous. I loved it so much that we also used it for our entryway and upstairs hallway! I’m attempting to paint a room something other than a shade of gray, but I love gray so much! Thanks for joining me on the beginning of the tour! Eventually, I’ll share the update on what I did with my curtains and other pieces still left to update in the living room too. 😉

 

Refining silver, rock tumblers, and little girls

Hello! So, it’s been a long time, and for that I apologize. Anytime you leave a blog for long, you come back sheepishly ducking your head into the door cheeks red from the embarrassment. It isn’t that I didn’t have things to say! we all know that’s not the reality. and I’m grateful to those of you who contacted me during my short holiday.

It wasn’t really a holiday, of course. It was MOVING. Oh my word, y’all. I’m never moving again. It’s most unfortunate that our bedrooms are all upstairs because I’m still going to be here when I’m old and those stairs may do me in. BUT, fortunately, my husband is a physical therapist so I’ll have me some live-in help until he’s too old too. (If he were here, this is where he would point out that I’m more than a year older than him, and therefore, will be “old” WAY before he will…sigh. men.)

Anywho, we moved! First, I actually rocked the single mom thing for 5 weeks while he lived here and we stayed at the other house. which reminds me, I need to start making my christmas list early this year and include every single mother I have ever known or met. One day, I’ll blog post about all my incredibly over-organized tips I learned from moving. The color coded duct tape to code boxes to rooms instead of hand labeling? YES. MA’AM.

But today, however, I wanted to share another bit of advice, and ask for yours in return. News flash: I am not perfect. and guess what? my kids sure aren’t either. I may be wrong, but I feel like homeschooling gives us a little more insight into that lately…because, we NEVER leave each other. We do have a lot more space in this house compared to the 950 sq ft in our last house, but people still share bedrooms here. We still have three meals a day together. We still do chores together, school together, and play together. I made the mistake of tallying it up this morning while doing dishes and realized that I do dishes for 3 meals a day, for 5 people. That’s 15 place settings a day. That’s over 100 plates or bowls or whatever that particular meal called for!

I’m not gonna lie….sometimes, that makes me grumpy. and sometimes, sisters who live with each other this much day in and day out get a little grumpy too. Which….makes me grumpy. and the cycle can quickly spin out of control until I am sitting in the living room floor completely losing my cool over board games not put away correctly!!!! ahem. so…we’re not perfect.

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God says in His word so so much about this topic, but my favorite verse on it has always been Malachi 3:3 when is says He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver. A refiner is someone, like a silversmith, who will continually put his work into the fire to boil up the impurities, remove it to work on it, then put it back in again. Over and over again until basically, it is so shiny he can see his reflection in it. See where He was going with that in His word? He continuously places us into the fire, or the difficulties in our lives, to bring out those impurities while he is careful with us, always watching and protecting and never leaving us in too long. He molds and corrects, until the finished product one day will be a masterpiece of His that reflects Him completely.

Beautiful, right? When I first fell in love with this image, I was single and had no children or husband. The words of this promise washed over me and it helped that I was just so darn spiritual. Now, most days I still love the image, but some days, the image of it all makes me cringe. He is faithful to continue His good work in us, even if that’s uncomfortable and means I have to go apologize to my girls for going mommy psycho over board games.

But the truth is, what refines me the most is living in the midst of their sin. In their natural selfishness that says, “I don’t care that I’m not currently playing with it, I still don’t want to share it.” Or with their lack of compassion that means they don’t see me working hard for them already, they still have more demands to make. I feel like I have some of my own sin finally under control, only for the friction of their sin rubbing up against mine enough to unleash it. And boy, is my sin bigger than their’s. It’s like having a bunch of baby cows all in the house being annoying yet slightly cute while they’re messing stuff up. Then eventually, the giant bull comes in charging and breaking everything. …..I really have no idea where the cow to sin analogy came from, but I’m leaving it in. It’s fantastic.

But, the reason their sin can get to me so easily, is because often, I forget that they aren’t perfect. I forget that they are unrefined in their youth. And that’s when I have to pull out my bracelets and wear them around. Last year, I bought myself three bracelets. They are raw stones on a cheap stretchy band. I have one made of raw amethyst, one of sapphire, and one of ruby. They were super cheap. Why? Because they are unrefined and unpurified. If I were to throw them into a tumbler, they could stay in for a looonnggg time and eventually come out as tiny, beautiful, jewels. Then, the world would see them as valuable. But, they are valuable to me right now, because they are the birthstones of my girls. My beautiful, precious unrefined jewels. One day, after a looonnnggg time in this rock tumbler of a home and bigger rock tumbler of a world, they will slowly become refined. But for now, they’ve only just entered the first phase of their tumbling. They beat against one another and me, all day long. And that hurts, and it’s uncomfortable, and annoying. But, weeks and months pass, and I notice a small shiny spot on one of us that wasn’t there before. Someone gave compassion where they previously would not have. Someone shared a toy without being asked. Mama took a deep breath and swallowed her words. And we’re one step closer to reflecting His face.

What about you? What helps you to take a step back and remember to breathe? What reminds you to give grace?