I’m a Roller Coaster Conductor

Rollercoaster

I am sooo not a daredevil.  I do NOT like roller coasters.  I just don’t like the you-are-falling-and-going-to-die feeling I get down deep in my stomach.  Just like a roller coaster, the back-to-school season of life seems to always throw me for a loop. I get that falling feeling when I am rushing in the mornings, shuffling kids to activities and desperately trying to make it to work on time.  Unlike at Disney World when I was in the eighth grade, I cannot get to the beginning of the line for Space Mountain and then change my mind.  I am Mommy and the conductor of the back-to-school roller coaster.

As the conductor, I get to decide how fast the roller coaster travels (sometimes) and I get to decide when to shut the ride down for the night.  I just need to remember to exercise my “conductor power”.

Two things that I have struggled with as “Mommy Conductor” is finding time to read God’s Word consistently and mommy guilt.

Yep, the more things that I am NOT able to do, the more I hear a little disapproving voice saying…you should have done blah blah blah……GUILTY!

I am leading a bible study with my fitness ministry called Bad Girls of the Bible.  Last week, our leading lady was Eve.  When we were in group discussion, a lovely lady name Vivian Grice said some thing that rocked my world.  She said “when you don’t know God’s plan for you, you will do ANYTHING”.  WOW.

God’s plan for us is that we bring Him glory.

Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth – everyone who is called by my name whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made, (Isaiah 43:6-7 NIV).

The back-to-school roller coaster or the life roller coaster can try to take us up and down and all around scurrying about so that if we are not careful, we will do just anything.  We must exercise our “conductor power” and ask ourselves, “How can I bring God glory in this situation”.  I bet it won’t be doing just anything.

I found two AWESOME reads this week that have helped me find creative ways to read the Bible and let go of Mommy Guilt!

Seven Ways for Busy Moms to Get into the Word (By Courtney Joseph)

Mom guilt.  I’m getting over it. (By Lisa Jo Baker)

The Working Mama Paradox

My daughter’s field hockey team practice was cancelled yesterday due to rain.  Is it bad that I was secretly happy that I did not have to bark out orders to get all of the equipment packed up and drive all the way across town?

Wanna know something else?  I AM NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO SCHOOL STARTING! Boom!

Yep, I have continued my yearly denial techniques:  no shopping on the tax-free weekend (there are NO good sales that weekend anyway) and waiting until the last-minute to purchase school supplies.

Perhaps I am not looking forward to school because we did not have a restful summer filled with “just hanging by the pool” and lazy days of nothing to do. Since I have to be at work at 8am, we still get up early just like during the school year so I can get the girls to summer camp before work.

Although summer offers a reprieve from homework and extracurricular activities, this mama is not feeling refreshed and ready to begin a new school year.

Just thinking about homework and the hurry, scurry schedule gives me a rash.

Totally not trying to be a Debbie Downer–just keeping it real.

Ladies, kids or not….are you rested and full of renewed energy?  Are you happy?

Do you feel like you can efficiently wear all of the hats your life demands you to put on AND look fresh and fashionable?

I found an interesting article and graphic on www.greatbusinessschools.org called: A Woman’s Paradox: The unique challenges facing women who “want it all”.

With studies to back up their claims, the article states: “Despite progress toward “having it all,” research shows that American women are less satisfied and burn out more quickly. And today’s economic realities mean fewer options when it comes to choosing between work and home.”

WOW…

Check it out and let me know your thoughts in the comments section! (Click on the graphic see a larger view.)

A Woman's Paradox
Source: Great Business Schools

Today’s post is part of a weekly meme called Pour Your Heart Out hosted by Shell over at Things I can’t say.

Brave-Writer’s Workshop

Happy Thursday y’all! Today I am participating in Mama Kat’s writers workshop! Each week Mama Kat provides several blogging prompts to help bloggers keep de ‘ol writer’s block away! I chose the prompt: “write a post inspired by the word BRAVE”.

As an adjective, BRAVE is defined as: courageous – gallant – valiant – bold. As a verb, BRAVE is defined as: defy – dare – challenge – face.

The last few months have taught me BRAVE also means asking for help. BRAVE means going to bed when my body is tired instead of valiantly trying to get it all done. BRAVE is seeking truth as negative thoughts swirl around in my mind. But most of all, love is BRAVE.

Lisa Jo Baker described BRAVE as a whisper some days and a battle cry on others. So true.

With every dance fitness class I teach, I get the awesome opportunity to watch women dance in spite of all that is going on in their lives. But more than that, I see women saying hello to each other. I see women giving much-needed hugs. I see women challenging other ladies in the class to work harder.

Even the little ones get in on the action!  This mama daughter shake contest has BRAVE written all over it!(LOL)

Becky and Edith

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Dear God,

Thank you so much for the very air I breathe. Please continue to remind me that I am my BRAVEst when I surrender my plans and my will to you.

Amen

How do you define the word BRAVE? {Tell me in the comments:)}

Closet Made Me Smile-Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop

Mama’s Losin’ It
Today I am participating in Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop.  One of the writing prompts for this week is to tell or show something that made me smile this week.

I cleaned out my closet last week and as part of our 31 days to clean challenge.  Our 31 Days to clean challenge is based on the ebook”31 Days to Clean” by Sarah Mae.  Go here for more info on our challenge.

After purging and organizing, every time I go into my closet I smile!  I just love the way it looks and I put a sign at the top that I used to have at my party studio that says “Good Girls Always Win”!  Boy do I need that reminder when I head out for my day in the morning.

We are on day 25 of the challenge.  The lesson for day 25 is all about the “High-Low” cycle.  Y’all know how it goes, you start a new diet or you diligently clean and maintain for a couple of weeks and then, right back to messy-business-as-usual. 

This is most definitely not the first time I have cleaned my closet.  Since I had to clean it out AGAIN, you know that it was all kinds of krazee when I started.  I have maintained it all this week but a couple of late nights and mad dash mornings could take me back to krazee closet land very quickly.

Success, my dear Divas, IS Fabulous it just isn’t forever.  Right after success, we find ourselves going down into the slippery slope of despair.  It is often said that we are either in a valley, coming out of a valley or on our way into a valley.

The ebb and flow, peak and valley-ness of life seems unchangeable.  What is a Diva to do?

In the words of Walt Disney:  Keep Moving Forward.

My translation:  Don’t get so comfortable when things are going well that you stop striving and don’t completely fold when you fail.

I think the important thing is to not give up.  Embrace “Imperfect Progress”—slow steps of change wrapped in grace. (Lisa Terkeurst)

Galatians 6:9  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

After each day’s reading in our challenge, Sara Mae gives two challenges:

•The Mary Challenge -Something you do that encourages/engages your heart

•The Martha Challenge – Specific cleaning tasks

The Mary Challenge for day 25 –Pay attention to the days when you are most and least energized to clean.  Look for patterns and then think of ways to better prepare for your low energy days.

The Martha Challenge—Home Office-Clean off and organized shelves. Shine and protect wood floors.

Consider Your Ways-Pour Your Heart Out

The school year has officially started. Both of the girls enjoyed their first few days of school and we have had uneventful mornings. For all intents and purposes, this “back to school” season has been a success.

Just before getting too excited, I began to think of the New School Year like the actual “New Year” that happens every January. In the “real” New Year, people make tons of resolutions and promises to change things. A great many of these resolutions are the same ones from one year to the next  (i.e. stop being late, get up earlier, lose weight). Unfortunately, most of those resolutions are long forgotten by February.

Most new school years in our home begin with the same resolve as an actual New Year: the girls go to bed on time, lunches are packed and night, clothes are picked out in advance and we make it to the on the bus stop on time sans Mommy yelling! I am not sure when the change happens but by the end of the school year, the resolved mornings have turned into teary battles.

Perhaps you don’t have children or your back -to- school days are over. Can you relate to resolving to make change only to end up dissolving into the day to day of life and things remain unchanged or worse?

In the short book of Haggai, God speaks to the Israelites about this very subject:

Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it….. This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord. You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house.”

God had instructed the Israelites to rebuild the temple but they grew complacent and did not finish the work they started. In fact, sixteen years passed after they constructed the altar of the temple and left their work uncompleted. In those years, they turned their attention towards their own affairs instead of God’s. Although they busied themselves, their labor was never enough. In fact, they began to find that they were never satisfied and constantly frustrated. When God commanded the Israelites to give careful thought to their ways, he was essentially calling their priorities into question.

We stay up late, skip out on morning quiet times, grab food on the go, stop exercising, and all kinds of things in an effort to get more things done. Life, with all of its demands (work, school, children, marriage) beats down on us like a hail storm. Sometimes it seems easier to run quickly in the rain towards shelter instead of taking the time to open our umbrella of protection, God. We need to give careful thought to our ways.

Our biblical priorities are: God first, family second and career third.

I love the way Joyce Meyer summed this principle up.  She said:  “The key to having God’s “abundant life”—His love, peace and joy—is keeping Him in His rightful place in our priorities.”

The start of a new school year is a great time to realign our priorities.

Realigning our priorities sounds great but how do we even get started?  I would love for you to join me in a seven day challenge to make scripture the first thing that we read each day–(yes even before email, texts and facebook)!

Things I Can’t Say

Back to School Already? Wal-Mart Gift Card Giveaway

Y’all know I keep it real so I gotta just say it, “I am so NOT looking forward to school starting!” I have really enjoyed letting the girls just BE without barking out marching orders to the next activity. Not having homework and projects has been fabulous. There have actually been a couple of evenings I was able to come home from work and kick my shoes off. Ahhhh.

Perhaps it is just me, but my eyes seem to roll on their own every time I see or hear the words “Back to School”.  In years past, I waited until the last minute to shop for back to school.  Since it was last minute, the lines were long and I ended up frazzled.

The frazzled feeling seemed to be a common theme for me last school year.  The crazy hurried mornings, the tearful commutes to work after losing it with the girls, the frantic evenings trying to throw something at the stove, make it to extracurriculars AND get in bed at a decent hour, are all great reminders of why  I LOVE summer.

I am overwhelmed by all the things that need to get done in preparation of  “Back to School”.  I did manage to get the school supplies but our hallway closets and both of the girls closets need to be purged and organized.  In an effort to corral all the the mail and papers that end up on my kitchen countertop, a kitchen command center would be awesome.

Just thinking about doing it ALL while balancing work, children, husband and everything else makes me feel lethargic and demotivated.

I am reading a book by New York Times Best Selling Author, Lysa Terkeurst, called Unglued (Making wise choices in the midst of raw emotions).   In the book, Lysa uses an amazing term called “imperfect progress”.  She defines imperfect progress as: “slow steps of changes wrapped in grace”. I just love the sound of that! (Vist the Unglued website to purchase the book and get freebies)

So, if I had to chose one thing to do as a small step of change, I really think a kitchen command center would give me the greatest bang for my time and money.

Here is my inspiration:

I just love the simplicity of this AND the flower notebook contains meals for the week and a cleaning checklist!  (Shut the front door!)  I found it over at Lovely Crafty Home.

Looking through the lense of imperfect progress, I am able to celebrate the fact that I did get the school supplies.  I am also able to clearly see the wisdom of making a plan to do what is reasonable considering my schedule demands.

Imperfect progress allows for inconsistency, mistakes, the need to apologize and start over.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (CEV) We often suffer, but we are never crushed. Even when we don’t know what to do, we never give up. 9In times of trouble, God is with us, and when we are knocked down, we get up again.

Imperfect progress is still progress.

Dear God, as we prepare for a new school year, keep us keenly aware that perfection is unattainable and unnecessary.  Help us to remember that you are our true power sourceIt is because of you that we CAN imperfectly progress.  When we fall down, we can get back up because of you.  Thank you for being our refuge and strength.

I will post pics of my version of the kitchen command center next week.  School starts here on August 27, 2012.

Have you done any back to school preparation?  How can you remember imperfect progress?

Would a $25 Wal-Mart gift card make your back to school process eaiser? If so enter my giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post is part of a weekly meme hosted by Shell @ Things I Can’t Say and Women Living Well!


Nyquil Please!–Pour Your Heart Out


After doctoring on everyone else, I finally contracted the cold that has been circulating around my house. Sniff, cough.

What happens when mommy doctor gets sick?

Well in case you didn’t know let me inform you:

1. Her nose runs like a faucet while she holds her head down while helping with homework.

2. Her head pounds while fixing dinner and STILL arranging schedules.

3. Breathing while running errands feels like snorting hot peppers in her left nostril.

4. She gets a little exasperated with little people calling her name who are old enough to understand that mommy doesn’t feel well, yet they keep calling her name!

5. Just before complete exhaustion, she takes some sniffling, stuffy head, sore throat so-she-can-rest medicine and goes to bed!

Housework be darned! There is another perfectly capable adult in the house who is a big boy and can handle two little girls and dinner clean up!

So totally not being mean to hubby AT ALL! I am just a keep on going even when it hurts kind of girl! Well, this time I just went to bed and I am sure everything will be just fine!

Divas, sometimes we gotta just let GO!

Psalm 127:2 The Message:
It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don’t you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves?

This post is part of a weekly meme hosted by Shell at Things I Can’t Say!