Saturday, July 23, 2016

New Mercies. Hallelujah.

After the debacle that WAS all the things yesterday afternoon/evening, today's chapter in Proverbs offered (as usual) an awesome nugget of truthful goodness. 

"Apply your heart to discipline, and your ears to the words of knowledge."
~Proverbs 23:12


I don't know if Solomon knew much back then about overcoming the struggles a SAHM who's husband worked about 459 hours over the past two weeks and weekends has, or if he ever had to find strength and encouragement and sanity in a household that's plagued by summer tuberculosis on top of it, but it sure sounds like he did. And I'm so grateful for it. 

::fist bump::

If you're not reading the dates corresponding chapter in Proverbs as part of your daily Bible study, let this be an encouragement to start. There's SO MUCH good stuff in there y'all. You won't be disappointed. PROMISE. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Choosing. It's Hard.

This is a tough one to write, y'all because I blew it as a parent today. BLEW IT WIDE OPEN. Zero "Mom of The Year" medals were awarded to me today. It.was.rough. FOR ALL OF US.

This afternoon disintegrated around me faster than I'd ever thought possible and in an effort of self preservation, I may have put all three of my kids to bed tonight at 7pm just to be able to put an end to this day. Mercy sakes. 

Ten hours earlier, I'd been drinking coffee at my kitchen table with my Mom, never suspecting the brittle and broken edges that the day would leave me surrounded with. 

You see, the kids were pushing my buttons all afternoon and I knew it. Moms, you know what I mean because you can see the storm coming. The horse playing began to become more and more "enthusiastic" and their selective hearing worsened with every rebuke aimed their way. The supper I fixed (including homemade mac and cheese, THE NECTAR OF THE SAINTS) went largely untouched and month old stale marshmallows were begged for like they were manna from Heaven. RUDE. Nobody wanted to pick up puzzle pieces or have their teeth flossed. A cup of milk was mysteriously splashed all over every single surface in my kitchen, but NO ONE SAW IT HAPPEN. A pillow sprang a leak and there were suddenly 328 tiny feathers sprinkled all over my freshly vacuumed living room rug. 


Today found me making choices and I didn't make good ones. I chose anger instead of peace. I chose reacting instead of responding. I chose temper over grace. I chose the emotions that were easy for me to access instead of the fruits that would've taken work to acquire.  

I chose poorly. And I knew immediately, as I thundered and stormed and rained around my house and my kids and my dog and my cat that the choices I was making, while they may have felt easiest at the time, were going to be the ones that were going to leave me with a bitter taste in the back of my throat but I didn't care, because losing my temper felt good in the moment. Yikes.

But here's the thing, y'all: Feelings are fickle. They can change and evolve and morph in moments. What "feels" good in one moment can leave you feeling shameful and guilty and drained in the next. (Ask me how I know. ::cringe::) Feelings shouldn't be allowed to rule over my spirit- My spirit should rule over my feelings.

And you see, knowing the right choice and choosing to make it are two totally different things. And that's where my big mistake came. I knew the choice I should've made, but I didn't chose it. Why? BECAUSE I DIDN'T FEEL LIKE IT. The good choice was hard. The bad choice was easy. And today- I chose easy over hard. And I hate it. I hate it so, so, SO MUCH.

So tonight, before I go to bed, I'll lay it all at His feet. I'll empty all this awful, heavy, hard baggage I'm carrying and leave it there. I'll go to sleep knowing that I've cried and snuggled and repaired things with both my kids and my Savior. And tomorrow, when I get up early to drink my coffee and read my Bible and start my day- I'll be able to humble myself and begin again. And, my prayer will be that when the choices come, that I'll have the strength to chose the right one even if it's the hard one. 

And I'll have a huge batch of homemade apology blueberry muffins waiting for the kids, too. Because breakfast pastries are their love language.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

I Gave My Kid Cavities. (Alternately Titled: SO THIS IS MOM GUILT.)

So six months ago, after three or four cavity free dental check ups, when I took my kids to the dentist for our routine cleanings- my oldest's teeth were He's five, and was just old enough then to have his first round of X-rays. When they scanned those bad boys, there were SIX CAVITIES smushed all up in between his molars. 

I felt about half an inch tall, y'all. (Probably less, if I'm being honest.) I may have cried right then and there in front of our dentist and our hygienist and the receptionist and the guy delivering the Kentwood water jugs. It wasn't a pretty day. My throat got all hot and my eyes got all stingy and watery and before I knew it those hot, wet, embarrassed and scared and angry tears were being blinked all down my cheeks and my nose was as red as Rudolph's. (Also to be noted- I am an ugly crier. Always have been.)

I sort of sniffled and guiltily looked at the ground talked with our doctor about what could've caused these ground breaking (and bank account breaking, FOR REAL THOUGH) rot spots. Do they drink Cokes? No. Did they eat candy? Only tootsie rolls at church on Sundays and Wednesdays. Do they chew gum? No. Gummy worms? No. Sugar by the dump truck full? Ummm, No. We are a healthy family! 

I didn't get it. My kids ate balanced meals. I brushed their teeth every day! I even gave them vitamins at bedtime to make sure they were getting all the goodness and vitality and nutrients that their growing bodies needed. I thought I was doing everything all the good moms did! Every single night, after baths and teeth brushing and Bible reading and prayer praying and snuggle snuggling, I'd slip them each their gummi dose of daily vitamin C and D and Iron and Calcium just to make extra sure their bodies stay healthy. 

But HOLD THA PHONE. Did I just say gummi vitamins?? I think I did.

Lemme check that vitamin label. Hmmm. Ingredients: glucose, glucose syrup, high fructose corn syrup... SAY WHAAAAT?? Are the first three ingredients in my kid's vitamins really- ::Gasp!:: -sugar??!! 

YES THEY ARE. And, as it turns out, giving your kids what basically amounts to vitamin powered sugar glue every.single.night mere seconds before their precious heads hit their pillows is kinda an awful idea. And it's also really, really, REALLY bad for their teeth. 

Aaaaha! So this is what suffocating and insurmountable MomGuilt feels like. And it ain't fun y'all.

Luke was a trooper. We went back to the dentist four (or maybe five) times to get his cavities filled and he was an absolute CHAMP. They used some "magic medicine" ::shiver:: and numbed his precious mouth and he never really complained. The staff remarked over and over about how compliant and brave and funny (of course!) he was through it all. I could bust my buttons off being so proud of him. He's such a fantastic kid. 

But the last filling was a doozy and they did eventually have to get the laughing gas out to help him through it. **The recovery was awesomely hysterical and if I didn't value at least a tiny part of his privacy, I would post it publicly  but since I do try to have some boundaries, y'all will just have to trust me when I tell you it was the funniest thing I've ever seen. The saga behind that tooth was far from over, however that's another story for another day. But for now, know that Luke is amazing and I never give the kids their vitamins in their beds anymore. 

And oh! I wouldn't be a good friend if I didn't lay it all out like I did and pass on some helpful tips that my dentist gave to me that fateful day as I stood in her hallway and cried in front of a handful of strangers. I followed her directions EXACTLY and when we went back for our cleaning this week, all three kids were cavity free. HALLELUJAH AND AMEN. I'm pretty sure angels sang in Heaven along with me. 

Here's what I learned: 

*Brush twice a day. (This is obvious. Morning and night, before breakfast or after, it doesn't matter. Just get those bad boys brushed 2x a day.) 

*FLOSS. (Ok, so before the great CavityGate, I didn't floss the kid's teeth. Horrible, I know, but I'm being honest. I didn't. But afterwards I grabbed a pack of those flosser pick things and y'all- THEY ARE GENIUS. Also to be noted: I timed it, and flossing all three of my kid's teeth took just over 1 minute total. It took loads of self discipline to really make this a habit, but y'all it's really a game changer. Floss.those.teeth.) 

*Fluoride. (So my dentist gave me a tube of grape flavored 3M ESPE 0.4% Stannous Fluoride to brush on their teeth once a day. And THEY HATED THE TASTE. So when I went back for Luke's fillings I got a tube of the bubble gum flavored and they like it so much better. It's an average sized tube, but you literally only barely have to get the bristles wet with the stuff so it'll last you for like, EVER. I even found it on Amazon, so you can grab a tube online, too. It doesn't heal cavities (BUMMER.) but it does protect the healthy enamel from weakening. I brush it on every night because you can't eat or drink for like 30 minutes after application. Bonus: It's eliminated the bedtime drink begging situation. Win/win!!) 

I don't know if your kids have had cavities. I don't know if you've ever given your kids cavities like I did. But if you have- I AM RIGHT THERE WITH YOU SISTER. I SALUTE YOU WITH MY TINY FLOSSING PICK. And if you haven't- BLESS YOUR INNOCENT SOUL AND FLOSS THEIR TEETH ANYWAY. Because having to hear your child cry out for you from a dentist's chair is one of the hardest things you'll ever have to hear. Trust me, it's like ripping a part of your soul from your body, dousing it in gasoline and setting it on fire while you stand in tied to the stake in a pile of fire ants.

So don't be like me, y'all. Floss those teeth and say those prayers, because Jesus and plaque germs are everywhere. 


And thanks for stopping by!  ~Katie. 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Searching For Sanctuary.

{completely unnecessary} Disclaimer: I AM NOT A BIBLE SCHOLAR. 
But I dug a little deeper into Isaiah this morning anyway. 

Because things are so hard right now, y'all. 

The world is hard. The news is hard. Social media is hard. Life- it feels like- during these past few days, has been hard. 

And I've found that it's during hard times when my faith grows because it's then that I search for my sanctuary the most. Don't we all? 

I was reading through Isaiah earlier (Nerd alert, I KNOW.) and I came across a few verses that felt like a balm to my hurting soul. They're in Chapter 8, when Isaiah is telling all the people about all the hard things that were going to happen to them.

And interestingly enough, Isaiah felt so strongly that he wrote this warning on a scroll and display it to be read publicly and THEN ON TOP OF THAT, he named his second son with the same warning. (I don't have a scroll in my hand, don't worry. And I'm not renaming the kids. Whew.) But even still, it meant that he had a message and he felt really strongly about delivering it. 

He's talking about the future fall of Damascus and Samaria, two kingdoms that were uniting to try and overthrow Judah, the smaller southern kingdom of divided nation of Israel. It was a scary and hard time. Things were a straight up mess. Kings were corrupt and were leading their people in corrupt lives. Idol worship was the norm and child sacrifice was an accepted part of it. Life.was.hard. They'd turned their backs on God and the nation as a whole was suffering because of those choices. And something about that feels sorta similar to me.

But anyway, then verses 11, 12, 13, and 14 happen. 

"For the LORD spoke to me with a mighty power and instructed me not to walk in the way of this people saying, "You are not to say, 'It is a conspiracy!' in regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, and you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it. It is the LORD of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, and He shall be your dread. Then He shall become a sanctuary..." -Isaiah 8:11-14a

And that's what got me, y'all- the part about where Isaiah was called to put his fear and reverence. His respect and awe were called to be focused on God and not on the wicked nation surrounding him. That struck a chord because there are just so many scary things that are attracting my attention lately. Everywhere I look there seem to be new social and political and racial situations that fill me with fear. It's hard. But Isaiah knew hard times, too. And he knew how to find sanctuary. 

And so for me, as I walk through hard times here when hard things happen and hard situations are surrounding me, I'm able to take courage like Isaiah and focus my fear where it belongs and find a sanctuary where he found it. With God.