Saturday, February 25, 2012

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Have you ever had a moment when you were both proud and a little embarrassed?  I took 2 of the kids to Target to buy a birthday present for tomorrow's birthday party, and had asked my oldest daughter to clean up her room while I was gone. 

When I came home, she was online, looking at this... She was on step # 7. It was a proud moment, as she has seen me do this many times before, looking for a detailed list of how to clean the bathroom, kitchen or other room, so she was doing as she had learned by watching me.  She watches me!  :)

But, then the doubts started to creep up from that little dark place where doubts hide.  I was also a little embarassed.  I should have taught her the correct way to clean her bedroom, right?!? Shouldn't she know what she needs to do first, second and so on to get her room clean? 

After a moment, I realized that I am doing my job as a mom. I may not teach her everything she needs to know about how to clean a room, or cook a meal, or even everything she needs to know about God, but I have taught her where to find what she needs to know. She knows that you can look online to get detailed instructions for cleaning up around the house, but more importantly, she knows that you open up your Bible to learn about God. 

Want to know the best part?

Now, she can find her Bible!

31 Days to Clean: Day 2, Part 2

After the cookies were baked, decorated, and half eaten, the kids started bouncing off of the walls and decided to start playing with the couch cushions.  Ordinarily I would turn into "monster mom" and insist that they clean up the mess RIGHT NOW.  Instead, I made a suggestion.  I'll be honest. I had moments where I wondered what on earth I was getting myself into, I mean...there is still laundry to do and we really need to run to the store for a gift for tomorrow's birthday party, but I took a deep breath, joined in their play, and asked if they'd like to build a fort. Joy spread across their faces and through the house as they collected nearly every single one of the pillows and blankets in the house and created this...

The door is right there underneath Spiderman's foot.

But, check out the inside...

Their completed fort had 5 rooms, one for each of them and a "courtyard" area. The squeals of delight were wonderful to hear and the mess?'s just part of the work of homemaking AND play.

It's the smiles that make it ALL worth it!

Now, I need to get on with Martha's the fridge and freezer. EEK!

31 Days to Clean: Day 2, Part 1

Day 2's Mary Challenge from asks me to think about how I can make my home come alive...

Wow! With 4 children, it feels like our home is always "crawling" with life, but I think that the point is really trying to figure out how to "live" in the middle of our lives. How do I "create life" in the midst of the regular activities? How do I elevate our home from just getting through the day to day and toward LIVING?  I know that it has a lot to do with my priorities. It means letting go of some of my before mentioned perfectionistic tendencies and moving towards involving my children more in the  work of homemaking. It also means that I need to get more involved in the work of play.

So, today Auntie Ashley came over and we baked some "unvalentine" cookies.  We all had a great time decorating the sugar cookies with a sweet butter frosting dyed purple, yellow or pink. It was nice to let go and not worry about what the kids cookies look like or how much frosting ends up on the cookies...or doesn't and just enjoy the moment.

Sometimes when you let go, you get cookies like this...  

And sometimes, you get cookies like this...

 But you almost always end up with faces that look like this...

or this...

We all had a great time! I wonder if the kids noticed the difference...

Friday, February 24, 2012

31 days to Clean: Day 1

Yesterday, I started reading a book that I saw advertised on one of my new favorite blogs,  The book is called 31 days to Clean: Having a Martha House the Mary Way, written by Sarah Mae. You can find it here:  As I was thinking about the real message I want to convey to my friends, family and children regarding my wannabe quest to become a "true" homemaker, the Holy Spirit quietly reminded me of the Mary challenge from Day 1 of Sarah Mae's book. I think that is a great place to start for me...

So, why do I want a clean home?

I don't really want anyone who walks through my doors to bow down and praise me on my highly organized rooms and "so clean that you can eat off them" floors, do I?  No! Not really.  It would be nice to know where things are when I need them, but it is more than that!

What I really want is a haven. A clean home would free up my mind, so that I can get busy creating that haven, and the memories that come with it, without being bogged down with all of the to-dos dancing around in my mind.

I want our home to be the big sigh of relief at the end of the day for my husband and children, the place where all who enter feel welcomed, appreciated and loved. I'd like for them to feel so loved that they leave with an abundance of that love to give away. I want our home to be an ever so slight whisper of a hint of heaven on earth, so that those who reside here and those who visit can't wait to come back, whether it be for hugs, giggles or brownies.  I want those who don't know Jesus to leave with a hunger for knowing him, this is, if they don't exit walking hand in hand with him.  That home doesn't look a certain way. You can't find that home in Better Homes and Gardens, Contemporary Living, or even on Pinterest. That home has a feel to it that is God-breathed. The only way to get that home is for me to stay so close to God on a daily basis that His spirit flows through me and into all that I do.  Forget what I said before about a perfect home and the perfect woman. I don't really want that at all. That woman doesn't even know that she needs Jesus! That woman just might think that she is Jesus.  

Joshua 24:15 As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord... and I will start at home with a  servants heart for my family

God doesn't want me to be perfect!

Thank goodness, God doesn't want me to be perfect. It is through our imperfections that we are able to set aside our to do list and live in the moment and love on our kids. Right now, I could be cleaning my kitchen, but when my little guy woke up, all he wanted to do was "watch a movie in your room".  So, putting off the kitchen for a bit in favor of a little Team Umizoomi with my sweet babies.   Later, we'll clean it together.

Perfectionist Desires for my Home

If I told you that I am a perfectionist, you would totally laugh if you could take a quick peek into our home. We are talking rolling on the floor, clutching your belly, snorting through your nose laugh (my cousin does this, by the way, and it is AWESOME)!   You would take one look at the floor, which clearly needs a vacuum, a mop  a BULLDOZER, glance over at the heaping laundry pile in the hallway (laundry baskets are currently either in the laundry room basement waiting on the load that has been dry for a few days or in the girls' room acting as a dresser), the dishes in the sink (they were clean yesterday) and not even want to open any of the doors for fear of what you would find. That would be a very smart move.  So, it's no wonder that I have some perfectionistic desires for my homemaking.

I want to have the clean home, where we can receive friends, family, or even vacuum cleaner salesmen at a moments notice and not be horribly embarrassed to open the door or make excuses all the while picking the errant dinosaur, barbie or *gasp* dirty plate up off of the floor so that they can get to the sofa to sit and chat a bit.  I want to prepare healthy meals that nourish my familys' body and soul all the while teaching my 3 daughters and 1 son the correct way to chop an onion, dice some carrots and make authentic Mexican dishes so that they don't lose touch with their Mexican heritage.  I want to have a full hour every morning to sit and pray and worship and pray some more, studying my bible and spending time with my God, filling myself up with the wisdom, love and patience that I will need for the day of being with my children, the people that I work with and all of the other people as well (other peoples' children, parents, crazy drivers, bank tellers, cashiers, etc).  I want to have a healthy body and set healthy examples for my children (daughters especially) so that as they grow into their womanly bodies, they love themselves and know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made just as they are by a creator who loves them more than anything. 

I want to be THAT woman. Do you know the one? The one that looks like she has it together all of the time. Her home is clean. Her children are clean and neat and well behaved (even in the grocery store). Her spices are organized alphabetically, in the pantry on shelves that she built all by herself with her husband's power tools. She knows right where her bible is as any given moment, can quote scripture applicable to any given situation, and never, ever has to worry that you will need to use her one and only bathroom while you are chatting, for fear that someone didn't flush (or worse).  I know that she doesn't exist. I know that she is a figment of my imagination. But I want to try...