People Who Give Rest

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Do you have a friend who gives you rest? Someone you feel good just being around. Not hurried, not rushed. The kind of person who makes you feel better about yourself even when you’re not a “better” person. Just being with them boosts your self confidence and makes you want to just sit down and “be” for a while. And when you leave you feel like you have more life to give than you did when you entered.

I know someone like this.

And I would like to be this kind of person.

The other week in church our pastor asked if anyone knew someone like this. Immediately a name popped into my head. I thought about how refreshing is was to be around this person.

That night my husband asked me if I thought of anyone when our pastor asked that question and I said yes. Then I asked him if he did, and he said yes.

He asked me who. I asked him who.

Then we both answered at the exact same time, “Donna”.

We laughed.

People like our friend Donna are special. They have the gift of bringing peace and rest to others. And anyone would be lucky to be on the receiving end of their gift.

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I love this verse. I could use some rest from this exhausting life. But God’s rest seems so elusive, intangible. How do you get your hands on some of that holy peace? Reading God’s Word and prayer are essential to that quest, for sure. But I think God uses people like Donna to bring His peace to others. What a blessing.

I would like to bring some of God’s rest to those around me.

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I asked my husband what he thought made her so easy to be around; what about her made us feel comfortable and relaxed.

We came up with two answers. I’m sure there are many, many more, and many intangibles too, but these seemed to be the main two for both of us.

1. Non-judgemental – No matter what you are telling her you never feel judged. Maybe she hides it well, or maybe she doesn’t feel judge-y. Either way it is a main reason the two of us feel peaceful around her. You always feel you can be honest and still be accepted. It’s so refreshing.

2. Listens well – Sure she has plenty to say too, but she listens really well – with interest. She seems genuinely interested in me and what I am talking about. Maybe we share a lot of common interests, but it goes way beyond that. She appears truly interested in my life – every time.

Then there’s me. I think my judgmental looks give off all sorts of clues that I couldn’t care less about what you are talking about. I have a lot of work to do if I want people to feel comfortable being with me, let alone feeling peaceful and rested.

But, I’m going to try anyway because It’s worth it if I can give someone a little rest in this crazy, busy life where the ability to rest is slipping quickly from us.

Cupcake Wars Birthday Party

It is birthday season in our home and we are making all sorts of plans for different people’s parties. Big plans. Fancy plans. Fun plans. I will have pictures soon!

This year number 1 is trying to top her party from last year, which will be hard to do. Here are a few pictures from that event:

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We made our own aprons that turned out soooo cute. They are just inexpensive aprons from a craft store that we sewed ruffles onto.

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We decorated bakers hats and competed in our cupcake decorating contest.

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The goodie bag was to take home a few of their cupcakes. I, of course, forgot to take pictures of that!

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The night ended with a beautiful scene on the patio. Beautifully imperfect!

The Big Board Game

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I saw this idea the other day that I thought It would be fun. It’s a life-sized board game.

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It was so easy to do!

Here is what you need:

Sidewalk chaulk
A square box
Marker or white dots

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Building the game:

I grabbed some sidewalk chalk and made a bunch of squares about 2 feet by 2 feet (give or take) in a nice path around the driveway. Then I wrote instructions in each square like: move forward 3, quack like a duck, do 10 jumping jacks, lose a turn, and included a start and finish square.

My oldest two helped build a “die” out of a fabric storage cube we use to store toys in. We used duck tape to put a top on and then cut out circles and used glue dots to affix them to the new die.

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Playing:

Each player rolls the life-sized die and moves forward the number of spaces shown on the die. Once they get to the new square they must do whatever the box tells them to do. If their space tells them to go forward or back, they do not have to do what the second space says, their turn is then over.

I really enjoyed making the game, and my kids said they had fun playing it although no one won because they all lost interest along the way. In the future I would not make it so long!

Play on!

 

My Kids Took Over the Kitchen This Summer

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This is the new sign in my kitchen. It all started when I told my daughter I hated my life. Statements like that are excellent confidence and security builders – you should try them. You say something like that to your kid and stand back and watch them flourish.

I’m kidding of course.

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It was a real humbling moment for me.

All summer our kitchen has been riddled with crushed cereal, half eaten fruit laying on counters and cabinet doors wide open with snack boxes ajar. Little ones eating in the living room and crumbing all over my rugs and furniture. Snack wrappers stashed under sofas and chairs… you get the picture.

One day while getting breakfast for everyone I ran downstairs to get some milk (because the fridge in our kitchen was not working) when I realized someone (not me) left the basement refrigerator door open all night. Everything gone. On my way upstairs I noticed a half eaten apple sitting on the basement floor. Ants all around.

Later that day the subsequent trip to Costco, post fridge disaster, was still stacked high on the counter when my oldest decided it was time to bake something. Trying to give her freedom to be a big kid I decided to let her continue. While I cleaned off the table and floor (by myself) from breakfast, lunch and snack, she was making a new mess on the small portion of the counter you could still see. Looking for help I glanced into the sitting room to find four other kids watching TV and playing on electronic devices while I was cleaning up their messes.

It was then that I reached my boiling point and words flew. I didn’t really mean what I said. I was just frustrated with the situation I found myself in. I had just then decided they should be helping me but I wasn’t making them, in fact, I wasn’t even asking them to. But I was mad they weren’t helping me anyway.

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That night at my Bible study this statement struck me. “Your emotions are an indicator, not a determiner”.

OK, so my feelings don’t dictate, or determine how I must react. I am asked to have self control with my actions and words. That is a choice that I have to make in the moment and I take responsibility for that.

I know this, but I blow it once in a while. I’m not perfect and I’m not going to be perfect. Even God doesn’t expect me to be perfect. Ahhhh, sigh of relief.

But the most freeing piece of that statement was that my emotions are an indicator.

For some reason I have a very difficult time feeling justified in creating household rules based upon my feelings of frustration or irritation. When I am frustrated with some behavior going on in my home I feel like I need to “deal” with my emotion rather than changing the situation that is causing my frustration. So for me this was liberating to realize that my feelings of frustration over the constant state of my kitchen were an indicator that something was wrong in my home. And it was not only ok, but my job as mother, to change the situation.

In this case it was straight forward. I have the right to insist others clean up their own messes and respect our home and if they don’t they lose some privileges in the kitchen. While it isn’t ok for me to say hurtful things, it is ok for me to insist on some appropriate behavior around our home.

So for now the hours of operation were posted. This enables me to manage the meals and enforce the cleanup without hanging around my kitchen ALL DAY LONG.

I apologized to the kids that night for my actions and I prayed in front of them asking God for forgiveness as well. Then we discussed how out of control the kitchen had been lately and I told them the kitchen was going to have open hours each day until I knew people would clean up after themselves. I expected a lot of groaning and moaning, whining and complaining, but instead, I think they appreciated the boundaries. Imagine that.

We are all beautifully imperfect!