Sunday, September 29, 2013

My Calling: The Mother

I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life. -Abraham Lincoln

Mothers are all slightly insane. -J.D. Salinger

It's been a long couple of months. We're all tired. We're all ready for this season to end, to get into our own beds, our own place, back into our routines. As we're all tired, tempers are short, and I feel like mine is especially. I, unfortunately, snap a little more often. Tomorrow, we start our last week of the long commute and move into our new home on Friday. My stress level is already rising as I think about packing up the stuff we have "unpacked" -- so now our evenings will be spent getting the boxes filled again. Which means, I will snap at the girls more than they deserve. Which means, I really need to spend more time in prayer. 

Courtney at @womenlivingwell writes about this in her new book, "Women Living Well" [on sale October 1, 2013]. Actually, she devotes TWO chapters to this with "Motherhood Mess Ups" and "I'm Gonna Blow My Top." I'm thinking these we're written for me, in this exact time! This weekend, filled with driving to Sioux Falls and back, a lot of crappy but easy food, lots of walking & playing and SUGAR, attempting to do laundry [it'swashed & dried, but not folded], getting our dog back from our friends who have kept him these past 2 months, a big homework project, time outs and to top it off, no naps, well who would be surprised at some snapping?

I want to raise girls who are kind, loving, gentle [at least to each other!], God fearing, curious, etc etc etc. I'm pretty sure the same prayers most others have for their children. Courtney covers this in her book when she talks about teaching and training. 

Teaching is giving our children the information the need to be successful. Training is giving the the discipline to carry out what they have been taught. "Women Living Well" Courtney Joseph, p 137

Wow. Conviction. I'm pretty good at teaching, but training? Probably needs some work [yeah, and for me too.] If I loose my temper, why should I be surprised when my girls act the EXACT SAME WAY? I need to be better about taking a moment to think ... To breathe ... To PRAY. Courtney lists several verses from Proverbs about tempers. 15:1 is one of my favorites: "a soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." This always works with Jessie. When she's upset, soft, calming words show her and help her to "be calm." Why do I forget?? [because I'm painfully human].

Courtney also reminds us that real women aren't perfect and perfect women aren't real. She pulls out Galations 6:9 (do not grow weary of doing good). To raise strong Christian women, I need to pray. For them, for Rocky, for me.

October 1, 2013 I will open a give away for a SIGNED copy of this awesome book along with a book review. I was given a free advanced copy in exchange for writing about the book on my blog and offering a giveaway as part of the book launch team. Blessings!

Friday, September 27, 2013

My Calling: The Wife

"Respect is an attitude of the heart that will be displayed by our actions." Women Living Well, Courtney Joseph

“Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.” C.S. Lewis

She brings him Good not Harm all the days of her life. Proverbs 31:21 

It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages. Friedrich Nietzsche

I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life. Rita Rudner

This area was a struggle for me. I went into the book with, unfortunately, an attitude of what I thought Courtney would say: women should stay home and raise their children. I assume there would be a lot of "submitting," and, well, there is. But not in the ways I expected. One of the first sentences in this part of the book that jumped out at me was "The biblical principles we apply to our marriages should be the same, but how this is carried out in our homes will look different. There are no cookie-cutter marriages." pg 57

From Ephesians 5 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

Courtney writes more about Respecting our husbands, which can include submitting if there is a disagreement. But it's less about whose in charge and more about following Christ and the words Paul wrote 2000+ years ago about marriage. And it really comes down to respecting your husband. Interesting that we aren't commanded to love them!

I kind of like this. Today's world hasn't changed respect into something you "feel." Respect is something  you choose to give. Now some have taken this into something you earn. I disagree. You choose whether or not to give another person respect. Sometimes it is something earned, but more by the nature of your title. Like President of the United States -- love him (or her!) or hate him, you should still show some respect for the office and the leadership role in our country. Your boss. Your co-workers. Your pastor or choir director. Your teacher. Why are these titles easy (most of the time) to show respect to, or have people defend that you SHOULD respect them, yet your husband, not so much? The TV sitcoms that I love so much? The husband is usually the butt of the joke. TV and movies are definitely NOT the place to get marital advice!

I'd like to think I have always respected Rocky, but I know that's not the case. I have made poor decisions and not taken the issue to him, which shows a lack of trust & respect. He has always forgiven me and here we are, almost 10 years of marriage, 12 years together. Every day, I make the decision to love him and every day, I must make the decision to respect him. And every day, I pray for the wisdom and ability to do so.

Courtney has some ways to show respect to our husband:
  1. Respect his knowledge, opinions and decisions -- ask for his opinion! Value this above other's opinions.
  2. Don't nag, criticize or assume the worst of his actions.
  3. Watch for sarcastic and disrespectful teasing, eye rolling or bitter attitude.
  4. Respect his desire to work, protect, provide & lead (so when he wants to come along on a 2 hour drive, it's not because he doesn't think I can handle it. Not that this has come up recently.)
  5. Respect his need for physically intimacy (so hard right now, living in someone else's house!)
  6. Know his likes and dislikes -- when tempted to try something new in the kitchen, I will usually show Rocky the recipe to see if he thinks he will like it.
  7. Do not wait for your husband to deserve respect. We are all sinners and fall short.
Respecting and submitting to our husbands does not mean that we are not equally important members of the household! If your husband is following his Biblical command to love you, he will value your opinion, your thoughts, your whole self.

I consider myself a feminist and believe that men and women are equal and deserving of the same treatment. Some feel that this is in conflict and I've thought that in the past as well. I'm learning -- and who would have thought that a stay-at-home-mom's book would help me!?! -- that God doesn't see this as a conflict. He loves my husband and I equally, but has different parts for us to play in our home. And now that I have truly said Yes to God, and to my husband, I know how amazing our marriage can be. And Is.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Happy birthday Maggie

Eight years. Wow. My first baby, reading chapter books, breezing through math class, still loving animals. She wants a jungle theme in her new room - which she will share with her sister [we'll see how long that lasts!]

Maggie is my mini-me. I get how her mind works -- she is a people pleaser, wants to be first, but wants things to come easy for her. She wants to want to try new things, but loves her comfort zone [though she is more willing to step outside that zone than I was at that age].

She is a beautiful girl, inside and out. She is somewhere between a tomboy and girly-girl. Earlier this spring, the hair stylist we went to in Billings gave Maggie an up-do because Maggie wanted something different. Maggie was so pleased with the results; she wanted photos taken; even talked about keeping it in for a couple of days. But by bath time, she had enough and out came the bobby pins.

She loves to play and is slowly making friends at her new school. Neither Rocky nor I moved as kids and never had to attempt to make new friends at a new school. I'm sure it's difficult for her, but as she seems to be okay just playing by herself sometimes, I'm not too worried about it. She doesn't talk about it much. And she is that one word answer kid when you ask her about school.

Maggie is bright and quick with a smile. She doesn't care much for sports -- which is probably good with how easy her feelings get hurt. She loves Girl Scouts and movies and books and of course animals.

And a 8 years old, here are a few of her favorites:
Food: Sushi (so she says. she will typically get chicken & french fries when we go out)
Sport: Soccer
Animal: Giraffe
TV Show: Teen Titans Go!
Movie: Rocky & Bullwinkle Movie
Favorite thing at school (that isn't recess): read during quiet reading time
Color: Yellow
When you grow up: zoologist
Song: the Itty Bitty Dance (from Nova Theater Summer Camp)
Book: The Giving Tree
Season: Fall -- but I kinda like all of them
Holiday: Christmas
Snack: apples & peanut butter
Friends at School: Carmelle, Braxton, Summer, MacKenzie, Maya
Places you want to go:  Sioux Falls Zoo

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Jessie's Cows

As we have been commuting between Brookings and Watertown as we wait for the house closings, we have been able to enjoy the sun rise and the fog along the water ways and fields. We watch the cows helping to glean the fields. [And Jessie always calls them "my cows."] And with the cows comes that wonderful aroma. One I had forgotten about. The girls are definitely not used to those smells and almost always pipe up with "Eww! What stinks?!?"

The other afternoon during the drive, Jessie pointed out "her" cows and said: "Who pooped on the ground? My tcows poop on the gwound. And den I pick it up and frow it away." If only it were that easy!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

My Calling: The Homemaker

"...Do not grow weary in your mundane tasks. Mundane tasks are the hidden treasure to creating a home that is a haven." Women Living Well. Courtney Joseph

She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Proverbs 31:27

Housework can't kill you, but why take a chance? Phyllis Diller

When it comes to "housework" I'm probably more like Phyllis Diller than the Proverbers 31 Woman. I'm a sweep the dirt under the rug kind of gal. Or just throw it in the dishwasher [I'm sure I can fit just one more thing in there and still get everything clean ...] I'm blessed with a husband who long ago agreed to divide the chores [it probably was his idea]. He cleans the house and is responsible for the outside stuff (like mowing & snow shoveling) and I cook, do the dishes and laundry. We have gone through seasons in our relationship that have changed this somewhat, but we always go back.

And now that I'm reading through Courtney Joseph's book Women Living Well (on sale October 1 -- pre-order for some awesome give aways!) I'm thinking about my various roles in our family, one is of course the "Homemaker." I struggle with that title. While I like to be home and hanging with my family, I am not a "stay at home mom/wife" person. I worried a lot about our move to Brookings because I thought I might have to stay home for awhile -- I'm sure that gave the Lord a good laugh as He had an amazing job opportunity planned for me. And made me profess my faith in that many times. Yet, I "get it," one of my responsiblities in my family is that of the house and making it our home.

As we prepare to move into a new home [and believe me, I am counting the days until we are there], I'm planning the ways to make it ours. Thinking about what do do in the girls' room to give it the jungle theme that Maggie would like. How to organize our towels [fixated on this for a while, not sure why]. Changing some of the closets to give us more storage. What will be the first meal I cook [thinking a nice crockpot full of chili] and how to get back to meal planning. Family walks around our new neighborhood, helping Maggie ride her bike, pulling Jessie in the wagon with probably 3-4 naked Barbies. Trick or treating in our new neighborhood [does Rusty get a costume]. What pictures go where. Breakfasts at the kitchen island. Watching movies and eating popcorn in the family room. Turning those walls, roof and floors from a house into our home. Into a place that, should we move again, I will hate to leave. A place that I will walk through and remember all the blessings that happened. Where we laughed and cried.

The mundane tasks are not just about who makes the bed or does the dishes. And sometimes they can be frustrating. Some mornings, you just don't want to make the bed. But sometimes, it's not about having a bed that looks neat and tidy. Sometimes, it's about taking that step outside of me.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Wait Training

As I mentioned before, I was recently invited to be a part of a book launch team for a new book by a Christian Writer, Courtney Joseph. I've been following her blog for some time. I don't agree with everything she writes about, but I enjoy her writing style and God has spoken to me through her posts in the past. When I saw the opportunity to be a part of the launch team, I decided to apply. The Lord has been doing some amazing things with our family since moving back to South Dakota. I feel like this is a way for me to give back to Him.

I read through the book last weekend and started back through this week to dig a bit deeper and look for ideas for posts. Today, I stumbled upon page 29: "Wait Training." We have spent the last few years waiting for God and wondering where we would go. The silence was deafening. We would pray, and got lots of Nos, but no Yeses. I kept hoping His plan would let us stay in Billings. We had a church, friends, a home we all loved. See, though I was asking for God to lead us, I kept trying to get Him on board with MY plan. God tried gentle nudges, then slight pulls, and finally a couple of two-by-fours "Trust me. Say Yes." So, finally I did. I willingly said Yes to whatever God had planned.

And here we are. He is blessing us beyond belief. His timing is perfect. And in our hindsight, we can see it. Paraphrasing Isaiah 40:30-31:

He has renewed our strength!
We have mounted up with wings like eagles;
We run and can continue
We walk and He keeps us up

I know I will need this reminder again (and again and again and again and ...) I often forget how wondrous His plan is and how much smoother life can be when I go along.

Keep following my blog for more details about a give away of an autographed copy of Courtney's book "Women Living Well." Posts specifically about the book will be shared in early October. Check out her blog for details about an awesome deal if your preorder her book today!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Rose by Any Other Name ...

We are no longer Montanans. And there are A LOT of Daileys in South Dakota. So, I need a new name for this blog. Right now, I am not sure. I still love to keep track of what the girls are doing and write about them [and some day I really will get to that empty scrapbook that's in one of the boxes]. But I've taken to writing more prayers and faith based posts and I recently applied to be a part of a book launch team for a book written by Good Morning Girls founder Courtney Joseph. I will write more about that on early October. Rocky also got me the book "What Happens When Women Say Yes To God" by Lysa TerHuerst for my birthday. I've read through it and would like to go through it a little slower. I said Yes to God very recently [wouldn't be living in my in law's basement if I hadn't!!] and I think that it will be worth writing about how we have been able to see God's hand in big and little things. His timing is perfect.

For now, we will remain Montana Dailey news. I'm open to suggestions ...