Monday, February 20, 2012

Heart Happy Memories

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When I see my children smile, it brightens my day. It seems I get too busy with my schedule, have too much to do, and get frustrated too often.

When I slow down, look at my family...really look at them, I feel so blessed. Watching them smile, listening to them laugh, and seeing them play are all priceless moments in my life.

I wonder if I offer those moments to my children. Will they carry memories of me smiling, laughing, playing with them? Will they remember musical happy tones in my voice? Will the tired, weighed down tones win out in their memories?

I am working this year on slowing myself down a bit to play with my children.  Read to them. Make things with them, and really experience life in a special way.

We have tried to build those memories recently by playing games, building blocks, and having a candlelit dinner. We have been reading through Little Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan. That has been both heartfelt and fun. I hope we can continue in this pattern and I encourage others to do the same.
Here are some other ways you can get thoughts about Making Life Meaningful Monday.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Desperate Woman Seeking Prune

PRUNES. It is what is on my mind this morning. Food and menu planning is often on my mind, but this is different. I am desperate. We have been given a 24 lb. box of prunes. I really am thankful. I am also stumped.

So my ideas so far include Moroccan Basteeva Pie with chicken in it, as a main dish. Bacon Wrapped Prunes is another fun idea for a snack night. My last idea for now is a Cheese stuffed prunes recipe. I would make some changes here, but the idea is appealing.

Being that I am curious in nature, and also want to know what is in the food I am eating, I thought I would look up the nutritional value of prunes. I know everyone really wants to know just how much fiber is really in those little black bombs. :)

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 cup of pitted
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 6
Calories 408
% Daily Values*
Total Fat 0.65g1%
Saturated Fat 0.15g1%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.105g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.09g
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 3mg0%
Potassium 1244mg
Total Carbohydrate 108.6g36%
Dietary Fiber 12.1g48%
Sugars 64.82g
Protein 3.71g
Vitamin A 0%Vitamin C 2%
Calcium 7%Iron 9%

I am totally shocked that there are 108 grams of Carbohydrates in one cup of prunes! The 12 grams of Fiber is pretty...ummm...amazing too. If more information about the prune is desired, look here California Dried Plums. There is some really good stuff there about antioxidants and such. 

I challenge you to make something with prunes this week, and post a comment with your recipe, or e-mail me and I will mention you in my blog. I need ideas!!  Hoping any readers have a fiber filled weekend. :D  

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sit in the Mess

Yesterday I thought I was going to post tips about the healing process of a wounded heart. After thinking about this more, I think that is unrealistic. Tips for making a better scrapbook. Tips for cleaning a bathroom better. Tips for how to pack your car for a trip. Those are the kinds of things you can give tips for. Pain and healing must be lived out individually. I hope this was no let down. Rather than give tips, I thought I would share my own personal lessons (done with much editing) and thoughts about my own journey. This journey has duly affected my family, hopefully for the better.

My first lesson that I learned was to learn to sit in the mess. In my own situation I felt as though I was in a huge muddy pit and that I just had to climb out and fix this problem. Basically, I wanted to walk away, hide and pretend there was no problem, no pain. What I was learning was that I was to face it. Not only was I to face it, but was to sit down in that mess.

Just what was the point of sitting down in a mess? If I did that in my home, it would look like a tornado came and swept down in two hours. The point was to stop, look around, feel the pain of what I was in. To realize that Jesus was with me, there to help me, and to comfort me. This mess would not be forever. But it would have been had I not sat down and looked at it. I wanted answers. What was I to do? How was I to fix this? The feelings and intensity of pain was mounting and I was told to sit down in that mess?

Honestly, I was fuming inside at the beginning of this first lesson. I was a person of change, perfection, and was the best at covering things up to look good. This was not feeling good at all, however I did sit in that mess, and sat, and kept sitting. It felt like the longest time that I sat there. The pain was swarming inside me and I just let myself face it. I could not receive God's love and forgiveness and comfort if I did not face my own junk and realize what God could do with my heart.

Healing is a slow process, one with a goal of hope and joy and of a bright future at the end. I am still heading there. But I desire to pass along where I have been. God has comforted my heart in amazing ways, and has brought hope. He has shown me that HE knows me and loves me above all else and that no matter what is going on around me, I am still okay, because of HIM.

I pray my readers, if there are any, would also know that you can be okay too. Blessings and peace, Melissa

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Let's Wear Our Real Skin

Women hurt. I am sure of that. I have a heart for women that hurt. Women do so much in the world around them and touch so many lives. They can have an amazing impact on people's lives. I have lived through, and have seen how the pain in a woman's heart can cause so much damage. If pain and disappointment are not dealt with, damaging behaviors and thought patterns can begin. The true source of help and comfort lies in the arms of Jesus, but too often we women try to fix things in our lives. Sometimes that could be called micro-managing, controlling...maybe. I know for me it was.

I have gone through my own junk in life, and have felt a lot of pain. I lived in blissful ignorance for a long time, trying to be perfect, tried to perfect my environment, and then depression came in. Following depression came eating disorders, and more followed that. I am aware that my story is not a lone event. There are others. There are other homeschool mothers, bread baking housewives, and passionate Christian women who fall under the deadly trap that pain can be. 

I desire to see women open up and share more about our life stories. Why do we always feel the need to show a perfect view of ourselves? Why do we not share from our hearts...always holding back? We are in this together...we are all in this world, facing sin and dealing with our own disappointments. I believe if we let down our pretenses and begin to be real, we could really make a lot of change. We mothers who are working so hard, trying to become perfect can be positively or negatively impacting our children to affect the next generation of believers. I truly desire that we live in our real skins, talk openly, and heal fully. I commit to being a part of that in other's lives, as well as my own.

How can we practically do this? I will blog more about this tomorrow with some of my own perspective's idea of how to heal.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Competitive Children

Competitive? Me? I never used to think that I was. Once I had children, I did not want them getting involved with organized sports, thinking that a competitive spirit was not good to develop in them. Time has passed now, and the reality of parenting has settled in. We will ALL be competitive whether we want to or not.

 We are in a race the Bible says. We need to always be on our toes to fight the enemy, at least to be watchful. Competition is a fact of life. There is competition in many parts of, trying out for plays or sports, interviews for jobs, among other things. Those are parts of life that we must face and learn how to deal with while we are young. I think that as parents, we need to help guide the competitive spirit, help our children to have self control, and encourage them to be gracious and humble when losing becomes a sad fact for them. Sports for children offer a great way to learn team work, and goal setting.

 [Check out Make Life Meaningful Monday. My friend Michelle, shares her thoughts about goal setting and its importance in life. She inspired me to write this blog entry, and is also helping me along with learning about blogging. (Thanks Michelle!)]

All of that to far, my children have not been part of any organized sports. It requires a little creativity, not to mention a good savings plan, to enable my children to be involved in sports. Unfortunately it is costly to do, when there are five children who all want to participate. I have it on my heart and mind (and bank account), to make this work for the following school year.

In the meantime, while our finances are establishing, we are encouraging our children to set some goals and compete in 4-H. My children love 4-H. They do compete on county and state levels, but mostly they compete against themselves. Against themselves? Procrastination, laziness, or lack of creativity or preparation are some of the most common setbacks that homeschool children can suffer when it comes to competitive activities. 4-H encourages children to step up, and battle those internal issues in order to win, to receive a ribbon, and to be able to compete on the next level. There are many other reasons why I love 4-H, and I could go on, but will stop here for now. If anyone is interested in more information about 4-H, or have questions about it, please comment and I will be happy to answer.

Again, Thanks to Michelle Changed by the Maker for inspiring the blog idea.  ~~~Melissa

Monday, February 6, 2012

Friendship Conundrums

I don't trust people. There, I said it. It is a hard thing to admit to, and a harder thing to deal with. I have been pondering friendships lately and wondering what kind of person makes a friend like God wants us to be. What is a "God" kind of friendship? I know that we are to strive to be like Jesus, to love one another. Jesus had a purpose on earth, but I am not sure it was to be friends with everyone. He lived out his life for God and carried out His purposes. I know He stopped to eat and fellowship with others, and that he was loving and friendly, no doubt.  I really feel baffled by this friendship thing.

I see many different kinds of friendships out there. There are shopping friends. Facebook friends. Next door neighbor friends. Casual friends.  There seem to be the kind that call each other with every change of the tides and share every last detail of life with one another. There seem to be friends that thrive on drama and nonsense, crying and then hugging and so on. I don't say this judgmental..I too have done this crying and hugging and then laughing.  I notice what seems to be "friends to your face" kind of friendships. Those are the kinds where people are nice to one another and have great camaraderie for a while and then with great hugs and waves good-bye, move on to the next friend with tidbits of gossip about the last one. I know a lot of people that are truly loving and kind, but they don't seem to be caught up in the drama, nor do they go on gossiping about the last person they heard from. They don't come across with a prideful, know-it all, judge the world attitude, and yet, they do not have "best" friends either. This leaves me baffled.

My latest conclusion of this dilemma is that though it would be great to have that "best" friend with whom I share my shoes with and laugh over lipstick application at the bathroom mirrors, for now it may not be for me. I desire to continue to become more of a friend that God would want me to be. I want to learn as I relate to my children, and my husband, and my family. I want to become closer to Jesus and hopefully become more like Him. The trust issue...that is something God is working on in me. In the meantime, I will be busy in my home focusing on my priorities and trying to love others well in my life, and if best girlfriends don't come along in my lifetime, that is okay as long as I have my Jesus.

My desire for closeness with people grows. I would love to share life with another woman, with out the bitter jealousy or judgment. I would love to share ideas, recipes, joys and sorrows. To have someone to hold hands with and pray with would be grand. To have a friendship void of the pretense and the fears would be wonderful, but is it realistic? I plan on trying to practice these things one at a time and even if Female Superfriend never comes along, I want to enjoy life with my Superfriend who knows me best and loves me to the heavens and back.

I am processing life and trying to figure things out. I mean no judgement on anyone and am thankful for all of you in my life, and desire a deeper closeness with any friend I do have. Enjoy your Superfriend too. May we all be more like Him. Melissa

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Discoveries

A few years ago, I was so exhausted. I was broken and completely empty. Any part that resembled "me" was gone. God has used all of that for good in my life. Coming to the end of "myself" has been so good for me. I truly thank God for what He has done, and is doing even now.

At that time, I could not even read a sentence and remember what it said. Watching movies was completely purposeless. I could not remember any appointments and forgot whether I had even showered that day. I am thankful for the opportunity to learn again. I am able to read again and retain information!! I remember details and conversations!!

This past weekend, I read three books about Ancient China, am learning how to watercolor paint, have started blogging again, and not only remember things, but am able to begin to think ahead and plan. I am enjoying the ability to organize and do things for others outside my home. I am enjoying the chance to randomly think of others and how they might be doing in life. I feel free. I feel like a load of bricks has been taken off my back.

I am enjoying my chance to explore new things. Learning about blogging, and Pinterest can be a bit time consuming but is oh so fun. It makes my every day life a fun hobby. I hope any readers are able to enjoy new things in their life. If not, please know you are not alone. God bless, Melissa