Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Remembering Gratitude

As part of my part time, interim job at our church, it is often my responsibility to offer a children's sermon during the Sunday worship service. Two weeks ago when I did this, I started by asking the children to raise their hands if they had shoes on their feet; if they slept in a warm bed last night; and if they were going to go eat lunch at home or at a restaurant after church. Of course, they all raised their hands all three times. Then, I reminded them that there are lots of people around the world and in our own city who wouldn't be able to raise their hands if I asked them those questions because they might not have warm clothes, a warm house and bed, or they might not know when they will get their next meal. 

Then, I told the children that sometimes we forget how many blessing we have, especially this time of year when we are overwhelmed with thinking about what we want. Stores had Christmas stuff out before most people had even had a chance to take off their Halloween costumes. We get catalogs daily and see way too many commercials trying to convince us  all that we need more stuff. I told the children about some outreach projects the church is doing and encouraged them to think about how they might help others this season instead of just thinking about all the stuff they want to get. 

Sometimes, the children's message applies to all of us adults as well!

I'm guilty. Lately, I've been in a bit of a rut, focusing on all the things I wish I had - a smaller waistline, a fatter wallet, a newer house, a more exciting itinerary. I've focused on the Facebook lives of others, feeling sorry for myself and gotten stressed out about Christmas shopping when we haven't even made it to Thanksgiving yet. After a little soul searching, some reading, and some "me time," I realized that I had forgotten to be grateful for all the things I already have - and, really, I already have so much. 

  • I'm thankful for my husband, who supports me, comforts me, appreciates me, and loves me even when I'm not the most deserving wife.
  • I'm thankful for my children who drive me absolutely bonkers, but also bring me more joy and love than I could have ever imagined.
  • I'm thankful for extended family - parents, in-laws, brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews who make me think, make me laugh, and love me just because that's what families do.
  • I'm thankful for my home. It could use some renovations and I sure do get tired of trying to keep it (mostly) clean, but it keeps me and those I love safe and warm. It's where we have made many memories and where, I'm sure, we have many more to make. 
  • I'm thankful for food. I actually told my husband a couple weeks ago that I was tired of food and that was the truth. I was tired of planning suppers, packing lunches, counting calories, and coping with picky eaters. What a thing to be frustrated about, huh? There are so many children who go to bed hungry and so many people for whom no meal is guaranteed. Despite the frustration, I am thankful for the ability to feed my family and myself with certainty.
  • I'm thankful for children. I'm grateful that my job allows (even requires) me to see the world through their eyes on a regular basis. I'm thankful for their laughter, their unconditional love, and their innocence. 
  • I'm thankful for technology. It is, sometimes, all consuming and incredibly annoying, but it allows me to say in touch with people I care about. 
  • I'm thankful for friends who make me laugh with ridiculous Facebook message threads and who say "Yes!" with out hesitation when I say "Can we talk?"
  • I'm thankful for our minivan. I spend so much time in it, it's kind of like my second home. It allows me to take my children to school and bring them home again. It takes me to buy food and to visit family and friends. It's a luxury some people don't have. 
  • I'm thankful for sunshine and rain; falling leaves and cooler temperatures; the promise of snow days and warm, cozy snuggles. 
Have you counted your blessings lately? What are you thankful for today?

Your Tuesday Ten hostesses are:


The Teacher Wife
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Upcoming topics:
- December 1- December is Awareness Month Awareness Month (No- we did not make that up!), so, silly or serious, tell us about 10 things you think deserve to have an entire month of awareness dedicated to them!
- December 8- is Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day so tell us about 10 days you would like to relive, 10 days you hope you NEVER relive, 10 things you hope to see in the future - you get the idea!
- December 15 - is National Cat Herders' Day. Herding cats would be very frustrating, so we want to know what is frustrating you! Vent a little! :-) (For a better explanation, go HERE.)
- December 22 and 29, we'll take some time off for the holidays. 
- Starting in January 2016, #TuesdayTen will only happen once a month on the first Tuesday. More details to come! 

The Golden Spoons

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Hard Habits To Break

My maternal grandmother passed away before I was born, so I never had the privilege of knowing her. However, I was very close to my paternal grandmother, who we called MamMaw. Growing up, I spent a lot of time with her and enjoyed being the only girl among her 5 grandchildren (until I was a teenager when the family finally got another girl.) 

As much as I loved her, there was one thing I did not enjoy about being at her house - the cigarette smoke. You see, MamMaw began smoking when she was young - maybe as young as 17 or 18. Back then, people weren't aware of the detrimental effects smoking could have on your health. By the time I came along, it was a bad habit MamMaw had been practicing for many, many years. 

Eventually and inevitably, it began taking a toll on her health. She had emphysema and just walking from the car into our house required her to sit down and catch her breath. I don't really remember what it was (maybe even nothing specific) that prompted her to quit smoking, but I remember when she finally made the decision. She quit "cold turkey!" Once she made up her mind, she gave all her cigarettes away one day and, as far as I am aware, never smoked one again. She didn't use a nicotine patch or any medication. She just quit. After 30+ years, she just quit.

When I think about it, it makes me wonder why any of us have bad habits really. I mean, if MamMaw can quit something like that after so long, why can't we all quit whatever bad habits we have?

Here are a few bad habits I really should stop:
  1. Self criticizing - Why are we so hard on ourselves? When I look in the mirror, it's like an instinct to find something wrong. Too fat; hair too mousy; clothes too frumpy. I'm in the habit of seeing the bad before I notice the good.
  2. Along with that, I have a bad habit of deflecting compliments. If someone tells me I look nice, I just shrug it off and reply, "Not really!" (or something like that). If someone tells me I did a good job with something, I say "It wasn't really a big deal." (even though maybe it was) What I should do is stand a little taller and say "Thanks! I worked really hard and I appreciate that you noticed!"
  3. People who know me well might not believe me when I add procrastination to the list because I am definitely a planner and an organizer. I have a giant calendar in my home office with a to-do list down the side. I have another to-do list on my desk at work and a Target/Grocery store list on my Notes app all the time. I do, however, procrastinate a lot when it comes to the things I don't like to do and the things that aren't imperative. Only a few dishes in the sink? I'll use these two minutes to play Candy Crush instead. That laundry that just finished drying? It will still be there tomorrow and I can just fluff it up a little. 
  4. Plying Candy Crush and Cookie Jam. See #3. It's like an addiction, people! I play while I'm riding in the car (not driving!), while I'm sitting in carpool, while I'm cooking dinner, and the list goes on. It's a bad, bad habit!!!!
  5. This one is hard to admit, but the list wouldn't be honest if I didn't add speeding. Seriously, I cannot even begin to tell you how many hours and miles I spend in my car each day. Between carpools, errands, and extracurriculars it's a lot and it seems I'm always rushing to get somewhere. Sometimes, I don't even realize how speedy I am until I get behind someone who I think is going so annoyingly slow. Then, I look at my speedometer and realize they are actually doing the speed limit and I am the one who is probably annoying. 
  6. Another thing I should really stop doing is Pinning recipes I will never make. I do this so much, I even wrote an entire blog post about it. Honestly, y'all, I have 15 different recipes boards on Pinterest. Pasta recipes, chicken recipes, crock pot recipes, appetizer recipes, soup recipes, seafood recipes (I don't even like seafood!!)  . . . . . . Why???? I know I will never make even half of them in real life. 
If I think really hard, I could probably come up with a few more of my own bad habits, but since I'm trying to stop self-criticizing {;;wink;;wink;;}, I'll use the last few spots to talk about the people I love and a few of their bad habits. 
  • You would think that, after 20 years of courtship and marriage, my husband could remember that listening to him crunch ice is the equivalent of someone running their fingernails down a chalkboard to me. Yet, he still does it all the time. It's a habit he REALLY needs to break!
  • Another thing he does that makes me crazy? He brings his phone to the dinner table. Once in a while, it's because he's awaiting an important business call, but more often it's not. He's cruising Facebook or checking the stock market reports. I admit completely that I am rather addicted to my phone as well (see #4 above), but I really try not to bring the table and I don't allow our kids to either.
  • Speaking of kids, mine are slobs. They have a terribly bad habit of making messes everywhere. They leave shoes by the front door. They leave cups and food wrappers on the couch. They leave laundry piled up in their rooms. I have tried and tried to get them in the good habit of picking up after themselves, but it just doesn't seem to sink in no matter what I do.
  • They are also in the habit of bickering constantly, especially the oldest two. Sometimes, it's like they cannot even be in the same room without intentionally provoking one another. 
There you have it - some of the most offensive bad habits in my life! 

"Bad habits are like a comfortable bed; easy to get into, but hard to get out of." #TuesdayTen @TheGoldenSpoons @MamaRabia
As I wrote, this the chorus of this 1984 Chicago song kept playing in my mind, so I'll leave you with this video in the hopes that it will inspire you to kick one of your bad habits - at least for today! 

Your Tuesday Ten hostesses are:


The Teacher Wife
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We hope you have enjoyed our #TuesdayTen lists! If so, please link up one of your own and share your post using #TuesdayTen!

Come link up again next Tuesday, November 24th. It will be just before Thanksgiving, so we'll be getting in the spirit by list all the things we are thankful for.
The Golden Spoons

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Date Night Then vs. Now

Back in early August, my husband and I went out for a lovely date night. We went to a nice restaurant and paid too much for dinner. Then, we went shopping for gifts for two of our daughters who both have birthdays in August. It's kind of become a tradition - we do it every summer just before their birthdays. 

Unfortunately, that's the only time we regularly have a date night. Most of the time, the closest we come is sitting not he couch watching TV in our pajamas while the kids are in the other room watching something else on TV. 

We really enjoy our date nights, though, and it's important for a couple to have some time alone together no matter how long you've been married. It's something we should do more often, but we don't.


Mostly because it's just too complicated. In fact, we were supposed to have a date afternoon a few weeks ago because his parents were going to take the girls on an outing. However, one kid got sick and all those plans went out the window. Typical. We've got three kids, jobs, and busy schedules. We rarely have a evening "free" of other obligations and, when we do, we are so tired we just want to relax at home. 

The fact is that date night is more needed than ever these days, but making it happen is just far more difficult and complicated than it used to be.

Remember how is used to be? Before these dang kids got in the way?? ;-)

Then: Preparation would begin about an hour before it was time to leave. You would shower and agonize over what to wear. You would carefully curl your hair and apply just the right amount of makeup. Your husband would shave and dab on your favorite cologne. You would casually head out about 7:00 pm.
Now: Preparation begins days in advance because, now, you have to compare calendars and find a free evening. Then, you have to secure a babysitter. When the day arrives, you make lists of phone numbers and bedtime instructions. About twenty minutes before you walk out the door, you grab you best pair of jeans, slap on some makeup, and throw your hair into a ponytail. Finally, you say "Bye!" to the kids, pry them off you leg, and scurry out the door about 5:30pm.
Then: You chose a restaurant with a party atmosphere. It likely had cheap appetizers and a great bar with giant, rainbow-colored “fishbowl” cocktails that you could share.
Now: You choose a restaurant with a quiet, calm atmosphere. The wine list is extensive.
Then: You discuss the latest celebrity gossip, friends, and maybe work. You also discuss your plans for after dinner.
Now: You swear you will not discuss the children and then you do it anyway. You might manage to squeeze in some discussion about work, politics, or schedules for the coming week.

Date Night Before Kids vs. After Kids #OneWord @TheGoldenSpoons @JanineHuldie
After Dinner
Then: You head to a late movie, go bowling, or take in a concert. That was often followed by hanging out at a coffee shop or meeting friends at bar for a few more drinks.
Now: You might see a movie, but it’s more likely that you will use the time to run errands, shop for kids’ birthday presents, or end up perusing the aisles at Barnes & Noble.
Returning home
Then: You get home sometime around midnight and slip into a little lingerie. Eventually, you would fall asleep knowing that you could sleep in the next morning and go out again the next night.
Now: You are home by 10:00. You thank the sitter, check on the kids and give them each a kiss. You tell each other that you must make an effort to do this more often. Then, you slip into your comfiest pajamas, and go to sleep knowing you’ll be wakened bright and early. And it will, in reality, be quite some time before you do this again.

Honestly, I wouldn't trade my kiddos for anything in the world - not even a fancy date night. It just means we have to work a little harder to make it happen.

Have you had a date night recently?


This post was part of the One Word Blog Linkup hosted by, Janine of Confessions of a Mommyaholic and me! This week, the word prompt choices were Then and Break. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Inspiring Kindness

November 13 is World Kindness Day. Kindness really seems like such a simple concept and it should be so easy to do, but sometimes it gets lost and swept under the hustle and bustle of life. Sure, we might be polite enough o hold the door for someone, but we don't put forth the effort to be intentionally kind to others on a daily basis. At least, I don't. But, I should. We all should. So, in honor of World Kindness Day here are some quotes about kindness that, hopefully, will inspire all of us (myself included) to make a habit of being intentionally kind. 

"Every act of kindness benefits the giver as well as the receiver." ~Katrina Mayer

"Carry out a random act of kindness with no expectation of reward, safe int he knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you." ~Princess Diana

"If we all do one random act of kindness daily, we just might set the world in the right direction." ~Michael Kornfeld

"Never underestimate the power of a single act of kindness. Your act may just be the added lift that someone needs to of to flying from falling." ~Zero Dean

"Your acts of kindness are iridescent wings of divine love which linger and continue to uplift others long after your sharing." ~Rumi

Need some ideas? Check out this list, this list, this list, or this one.

"No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted."~Aesop #TuesdayTen @TheGoldenSpoons @MamaRabia

Your Tuesday Ten hostesses are:


The Teacher Wife
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We hope you have enjoyed our #TuesdayTen lists! If so, please link up one of your own and share your post using #TuesdayTen!

Next Tuesday, Nov. 17, is National Smokeout Day, so we want to know about the habits you need to quit! List them and linkup!
The Golden Spoons

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