Friday, June 29, 2012

Joy Stealing Stress

Stress. Yep, it's been weaving its way through my days of late. I don't know why I let it creep in - it's never good for me. My job stresses me out. My family stresses me out. My lack of time to get things done around the house stresses me out.

I was up at 2:30 this morning and couldn't go back to sleep. Well at least I got some much needed things done around the house - blessing in the sleeplessness. It's almost 6 now, the dishwasher is swishing in the background and I finally have sat down and picked up something to read as I wait for the morning to greet me - One Thousand Gifts once again. I'm actually about 3/4 the way through the book, which is amazing given my lack of down time of late.

I open to page 146 and it starts with stress and how it's very much a joy stealer. Well then. I love how God meets us exactly where we are and nudges us in the most gentle ways. Okay, Big Guy, I hear ya.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Be Still

Psalms 46:10 - "Be still, and know that I am God..."

Today I got some gentle advice. I do say it was timely and right on, and I see the fingerprints of the Holy Spirit all over it. I've been a little rattled this week. A little off my game. A little stressed. Filled with worry about the future and things I can't begin to control. I was beginning to let myself be overwhelmed with it all. Blue feelings beginning to creep in and steal moments from my days.

On a whim I had lunch with my sister. As I sat down at the table, breathless with hurry, I unloaded my day on her and my stresses. I talked a mile a minute. She looked at me and smiled and said write this verse down and look it up later. I wrote myself a post-it on my phone, sighed and enjoyed my lunch with her. An hour to let go and be. Just be.

Back at work, I went to BibleGateway and checked it out. You know a small bible in my purse sure would be a handy idea. As the verse popped up on the screen, I laughed. A laugh fully aimed at myself. Yes, I could use some "be still" in my life. I'm so worried about moments yet to come, I'm missing the beautiful moments in front of me. Yes, be still.

My life is so full of His blessings. So full. So much to be thankful for. I'm right where I'm meant to be. His plan is so much more than my plan could ever be. He knows the desires of my heart better than I know them myself.

And as if He thought I might need a bit more, the verse of the day on BibleGateway was...

Ecclesiastes 11:5 - "As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things."

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Little Things Like Cheese Sandwiches

I'm finally back to reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I started it back in January when the air was crisp and a whole new year was ahead, and then life got the better of me. And that said life has been draining me a bit of recent. I'm stressed often, and I know it shouldn't be that way. I'm so glad I picked up this wonderful little book again. So many beautiful things to ponder...

"And when I give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me." - One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp

There is something so pure and pleasing to the soul to give thanks - even for the little things in life. It centers you. It allows grace to flow and joy to abound.

1. The twinkle of a little man's eyes as he smiles at me
2. Moonlight through lace curtains
3. Baby girl twirling in her dress
4. Living room blanket tents
5. Cardinals fluttering on my back porch
6. Half eaten cheese sandwiches made by little hands

1 Thessalonians 5:18 - "In Everything give thanks..."

By the way, Ms. Voskamp's website, A Holy Experience, has a daily blog. Awesome food for thought. I love her simple beautiful posts. And I love that she often calls herself The Farmer's Wife.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Taking a Step Back

I bought these for myself today. I don't usually buy stuff like this, but today I felt the need. They are my favorite - I love them in orange, yellow and hot pink. I adore their simplicity. And yes, they did the trick - they perked me right up. I've had a lot on my mind of late that has been weighing on me heavily.

I feel like my husband and I were on a certain path for our family and were making great progress on our plans and goals. However, I think the saying goes - "even the best laid plans...often go awry." I think I'm struggling because my pride is getting in the way.

Deep down I know that this possible step back is where God is calling us, but I'm not happy about it. I'm fighting it and I know I shouldn't. I know in the end it's the right decision and what's best, but deep down my pride keeps poking its ugly head up and waving frantically. I'm getting in the way of His plan and I know it. That's the worst part.

A little over two years ago we moved to a small rural community. I've written about it in previous blogs. I love it.  Especially our house. I knew I'd eventually have to give it up when we were finally ready to buy. That was all part of the plan. Down size a bit two years ago, pay off debt and work towards a home of our own. Well, we've come to a little bump in the road, possibly more so a fork in the road if I was being more positive.

Little man has some special needs and the small financially strapped school system we're in isn't the best for what he needs. As he has gone through this Kindergarten year the issues have slowly presented themselves. It's been a rough year, but yet a beautiful year of firsts. First day, first bus ride, first school lunch, first recess, first school program, first parent/teacher meeting and the list goes on. I've so enjoyed watching him grow and learn, but I know 100% that if we switch school systems he'll be far better off and get the help that will allow him to reach even higher.

We've talked to teachers, counselors, OTs, our doctor...we've researched. The clear answer is in front of us, but yet I am fighting. I'm doubting. I'm second guessing. And still through all that, Jesus meets me where I am. He gently shows me the way and tells me I can do it, and it will be okay. Let go and trust. As I struggle with all of this, He sends me gentle reminders and some times big bold ones that I can't ignore no matter how hard I try.

As I drove home from the store tonight, listening to KLOVE with my hot pink Gerber Daises in the seat next to me, I realized it's just a step back, no big deal. A few years ago I took the biggest personal step back I could have ever imagined, and it changed my life in amazing ways. I'm more so on the path that God intended for me as a woman/wife/mother than I ever have been. One day I'll find the words to write about that, for it's stories woven within stories and His fingerprints are sprinkled all throughout, but I still can't quite get the words out on that one.

I'm pretty sure our life is changing a bit come Fall, and I'm pretty sure it doesn't involve my little yellow house with the wrap-around porch. But one step back is going to equal a whole lot of little steps forward for little man, and that alone is enough for me. It's just a house and after all, it's not really mine at all.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Tea Time

My sisters are coming for tea next week. I'm thrilled! I adore simple things and having tea on my porch fits right in with that. Keeping my fingers crossed for warm and sunny, unlike today's chilly and rainy. For months I've been on the search for unique tea cups. I've looked at Goodwill, antique villages/malls and small gift shops. I got lucky and found all I needed at a new small vendor consignment shop in my town. A hole in the wall kind of place that you can lose yourself in all day as you take in all the old items around you full of a past of their own. Each booth within the store was different from the next. Some with themes and some with a random collection of items for sale. I loved it and was so glad I had chosen to stop in by myself that day. Savoring it all on my own. I slowly moved along the narrow path in the store and took it all in. I knew I was on the lookout for the tea cups, but there were so many other wonderful things that kept grabbing my attention. I think the things I like the most are the old pitchers and basins, along with old jewelry.

My mother used to have a large white pitcher and basin in her room. I was very taken with it as a child. Why she never used it puzzled me, how it was always just displayed. The funny on that one is now I have a large white pfaltzgraff great bowl that just sits a top my kitchen cabinets on display. Giggle on me on that one. I adore it but I use it maybe twice a year for homemade German potato salad and Asian slaw. I guess at aleast I use it. Now as for the jewelry, I love to think of the woman that wore it before and the things she did and what it had meant to her in her life. I have an old necklace of my Grandmother's. It's a long gold link chain with amethyst like stones. It means a lot to me and I wear it proudly. I love to think of my Grandmother wearing it and going about her day. I love that it ties me to her.

I guess I'm just a girl who loves things that come with a story! I like simple things. An old farm kitchen table (can't wait to find one of those one day and make it mine), flowers in an old pitcher, whimsical flower pots on a porch, simple pretty jewelry with a story and tea cups with a past. I wonder who the ladies were that sipped from these cups before my sisters and I? Did they dress-up and wear their best hats while enjoying tea in the garden? Did they giggle over stories on the porch? Did sip alone, cozy as the morning greeted them? Or possibly over a good book by the fireplace? The wonder is endless. I ponder if someday someone else will come across these same tea cups and wonder about their journey. How delightful that now my sisters and I will be added to their story. They will have been witness to our moment in time with one another. Our chatter, giggles and hugs; and our treasured moments become intertwined with the others.

I'd take something old over brand new any day, well unless it was a sweet new baby...

Here's to a simple tea and sisters! Two delightful things indeed.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Top 10 Mommy Commandments

I'm in a bit of a mood this month. Work is stressful. Extended family is a little stressful. My kitchen still has Christmas stuff up. Kids are giving me a run for my money daily. What's a girl to do?

I'm trying my best to take it one day at a time. One moment at a time even. Slowing down and asking myself at the end of the day what really matters. I keep pondering the words of a speaker that I was blessed to get to hear last week at my M.O.M.S group. She was a regular mom just like me. A confessed imperfect mom. I loved a lot of what she had to say. One of my favorites was that our life experiences shape our ministry. How very true. However, I'm still wrapping my mind around the idea that my mothering of my children and my role as wife to my husband is a ministry in itself.

The other thing she mentioned was that she kept a framed "Top 10 Mom Commandments" for herself in her home and had given her children copies. Ten things she kept herself accountable for in her ministry of motherhood. Each was shaped by her life experiences and very close to her heart. Also, they were all things she felt she needed to often remind herself of and each were tied to scripture. Her first one was "always be a lady of courage." Her sister had died young of cancer, but she had done it with such great courage. It was something that left a lasting impression on her and shaped her life, her soul and her very motherhood. The remaining nine, were about listening, believing, praying, celebrating and so on. Each with a verse that accompanied. I wish I'd had paper with me to write it all down, but just maybe that wasn't the point. Truly a list of my own wouldn't look exactly like her list. It would be all me with some grace sprinkled in from above.

What an inspiring idea indeed! Each of us have experiences that have shaped us to our very core. Experiences that really define much of who we are and what we stand for in our lives. Experience that shape our motherhood. I'm not quite sure I'd call mine Top 10 Mommy Commandments, but possibly a Top 10 Mommy Play List? I do love music and often find inspiration in song lyrics, and I do happen to be a wife of a coach too. Hmmm...

The wheels are turning. I see a list of my own taking form and coming soon. Stay tuned.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Turning Inward For Lent

I've been giving much thought to the approaching season of Lent. Careful thought. I want to take advantage of every moment of Lent this year to turn inward and take a look at myself and my own walk with the Lord. Lately my job has been getting the best of me and been somewhat overtaking. There's a lot of turmoil and that's a hard environment to be in daily. I've not been enjoying the journey and I feeling as if it changing me in ways I'm not okay with - taking from me the things I have always liked about myself. My easy smile and joyful nature. I find I'm a bit cynical, unfriendly and stressed of late.

However, each morning a "Minute Meditation" pops in my inbox from - I love starting the day with these. Often I feel like God speaks to me through the quotes of the day. This past week was no exception. The meditations through the week were clips from a book called Rediscover Lent by Matthew Kelly. I found myself thinking that was exactly what I needed to do - rediscover the beauty of Lent and grow closer to my Savior. Quiet myself and listen to His call in my life. Discern the direction He has planned for me and my family. Turn inward and rediscover the woman God calls me to be.

I know it might sound funny but whenever I need to pump myself up and lift myself to continue about my daily tasks and all that God has entrusted to me, I love to play Whitney Houston's I'm Every Woman. When I was little my older sister and I used to dance all over the house with our hair brush microphones to Whitney. Those memories are close to my heart and I've always loved her voice. But that one song, just speaks to me in ways I can't quite put into words. To me that song is my personal reminder of the woman described in Proverbs 31. The woman I haven't quite being feeling like of late and need to work my way back to. And with all of that said, I can hardly believe Whitney left his world just this past week too. Very sad indeed. But what beautiful inspiring gifts she left us all in her music. And through another song's words that I adore just as much, "And with your final heartbeat, kiss the world goodbye, then go in peace and laugh on Glory's side and fly to Jesus..." I believe it's called both Untitled Hymn and Come to Jesus. It's one of my very favorites, but more on that another day.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Little Man Quotes of the Day

I often have others tell me I really should journal the things Little Man says to me each day. A keepsake to show him some day when he is grown. His insights range from hilarious to very wise at times, and for a six-year-old very deep. I often find simple moments of grace in the things he says. His words laced with the beauty of a child's view of the world, and often there are undertones and whispers of the Holy Spirit, nudging me in my own life through his gentle comments.

I happen to have the blessing of getting to drive him to afternoon Kindergarten most days. As a working mom, I really savor this. I know most women in my situation, don't have that perk. I love how he runs down the path of his morning sitter's house and jumps in the car each day. His eyes twinkle, and he is always delighted to see me. He chatters about his morning activities and the things still to look forward to in the day. I carefully take in each word. As we drive, he comments on the things we pass along our route, like favorite landmarks and houses we like. He often asks questions too about things on his mind that he wants to understand better. I absolutely adore our conversations each day and our time together, just he and I. It is all so special to me, something to savor and tuck away deep in my heart forever.

Here's just one of our little conversations. It actually happened just this week. I took out the actual names. I never like to use their full names in the blog for privacy reasons.

Little Man: "Mommy, did you know my real name is ____ ____ ____ ____, and my LUCKY name is ____?" (Yes, the poor boy has two middle names. We couldn't part with either, so just gave him both. And his lucky name, as he describes it, is his nickname, what we have called him since birth.)

Me: "Yes, I did know that was your real name. But how did you get that lucky name?"

Little Man: "Mommy, you're silly! You gave it to me."

I love how his little mind see the world. How very interesting to think of one's nickname as their lucky name in life, and that I was the one to help him get that lucky name! Very endearing indeed. My cup runneth over. My cup runneth over.

As he jumped out of the car that day, grinned at me, shouted I love you Mom and ran to get into line with his friends, I pondered his words. What really is in a nickname and why do we feel like we need to dish them out? Am I as attached as he to my nicknames? Have they been lucky in my life?

nick·name/ˈnikˌnām -
A familiar or descriptive name added to or replacing the actual name of a person, place or thing.

Recalling my own nicknames bestowed lovingly over the years - ones given by my parents, my siblings, my college friends, my husband and even my children, I do have to say out of all of them my favorite is by far Mommy.

Monday, January 23, 2012

It's National Pie Day

So today is National Pie Day! I'm curious why one would choose to have a national pie day in January. Seems to me it would be a better fit for June or July or even September, but I guess any day is a good day for pie. Flaky crust with delicious fillings. Strawberry pie, blueberry pie, apple pie, pumpkin pie, cherry pie, coconut cream pie, chocolate silk pie, sugar cream pie, pecan is there even such a thing a bad pie? Even pot pie is delicious.

Well seeing how my blog is called Sugar Pie Blessings, I thought it only fitting to celebrate National Pie Day! And out of all the sugar pies out there, I do believe I have the sweetest...little man and baby girl. The best sugar pies that have ever crossed my path! Two perfectly scrumptious, wholesome, sweet to the core little people. I make a point to savor each and every moment I can with them, just like a slice of sugar cream pie.

And if you have never had an actual sugar cream pie, you are missing out on a little slice of heaven. It's my absolute favorite and an old fashioned Midwest favorite too. It's actual the state pie of Indiana. Smart Hoosiers! It's made from simple ingredients - cream, butter, sugar, flour, vanilla and nutmeg. Maybe one day I'll attempt to make my own, but until then I'll leave it to the professionals and savor each delightful bite.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Personal Theme Song?

So someone told me this week that this song makes them think of me every time they hear it. Something about my cheerleader ways and cheerfulness in the morning. Something she has always teased me about, in her not morning person kind of tone. Hmmm...didn't know I had a theme song, but I like it. I think she's on to something. Great song and yes totally me. I think we should all have a theme song, don't you? Something that speaks to your soul, makes you dance around the room, throw your head back and laugh and say to yourself, "It's a Good Morning!".

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Nurture the Sacred Within

Tonight was the first evening of a M.O.M.S group at my church. I wasn't quite sure what to expect. My only other experience was a moms group at my previous parish, and I only made it to a few meetings due to it being during the day and I work full time. I was thrilled when I saw the opportunity come up for this group in the evenings at our new church.

I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this first night. I hadn't realized, but it's been some time since I took time to nurture the sacred within myself. I was definitely due. I've always felt it's a blessing to be a mother, and I take great awe in the gift that God has given me in our children. I know am truly blessed. But sometimes I think motherhood can be overwhelming too and can get the best of us and our good intentions. We need to take time out to be quiet in the Lord, time to strengthen our spirits and refresh our souls, time to open our hearts and let the Lord speak to us and guide our daily steps and our very motherhood.

I'm glad I took a time-out tonight and journeyed to the M.O.M.S group this evening. It lifted my spirit and reminded me that motherhood in its self is a ministry. I'm called to minister to my husband and my sweet sugar pies in all I do each and every day, no matter if it's doing the dishes, laundry or putting a band-aid on some one's knee. I'm called to do it all in His name and with love.

There's a picture that I adore. It's called the Polish Madonna. It always reminds me that no matter how hard things are, how tired I get or how thankless a chore may seem...Mary was there before me. She did laundry just like me, she potty trained Jesus just like I potty trained my little ones, she wiped His little mouth, she snuggled Jesus in her arms before bed and so much more. She walked this very path I walk as I mother my children. What a beautiful role model Jesus has given us through her.

So dear friends take care to always nurture the sacred within. It only betters the woman within as she works on her own holiness and her own ministry of motherhood.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Grandma's Hands

I came across a story today by Amy Julia Becker called Arms Like My Grandmother that touched my heart. I think mostly because I can recall numerous times my little man having similar comments of my mother's hands. He is always so intrigued by her wrinkly hands and arms. He takes them in his own hands and turns them from one side to the other looking them over and then he always says to her in a concerned little voice, "Grandma, what is wrong with your arms?" Her responses is always the same. She throws her head back and laughs with a twinkle in her eye and tells him that Grandma is just getting old and it happens to the best of us. He usually then throws his arms around her and says, "Grandma I love you."

I keep meaning to take a photo of their hands one over the other, so I can tell him that story when he is grown some day. I really need to do that soon.

I think it is so easy to let one's self get consumed with what the world says beauty should be...but to me there is something special in growing old and loving the woman you've become over the years, even with the wrinkles, extra pounds and gray hair. Something simple and beautiful about embracing yourself as you are and just letting the love inside shine through to the world. I think it may just be called being authentic, kind of like The Velveteen Rabbit.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bedtime Stories

One of my favorite things is when little man and baby girl crawl up in my lap for a story before bed. It never gets old for me. Never. I adore it. We turn off the TV and get the house all quite so all can enjoy the story to the fullest. Tonight we read a book called "This Little Prayer of Mine" by Anthony DeStefano. It's one of their favorite picks, and we read it almost every night. Little man and baby girl think the brother and sister in the story are themselves. Well, I guess since I add their names as I read, it helps create the magic a bit... Baby girl points to each page and squeals in delight, "It's me."

Grandma started the tradition of giving them a book at Christmas a couple of years ago and I love that she does that. It's a wonderful Christmas tradition. My sugar pies have received two stories by this particular author, and I can't say enough about how wonderful his books are. Perfect reads for helping children understand God and start to build their own little relationship with him through prayer. How special that my own little one's have grown to love this book and pick it often. I know its message is sinking in for them too, because as we read each page, they comment on things in their own lives that fit the pages and how God helps them through their trials. It fills my heart with joy to see their own little prayer lives forming. What blessings they both are to myself and my husband. I thank God each and every day for sending them to us. They are both beautiful little souls, and I know He has great plans for both of them.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Beauty of Gratitude

As the crisp January air is all around, I'm cozy inside my sweet little yellow house with the white wrap-around porch. The very one that I happened to whisper to God about in a prayer, saying it was the house of my dreams. And there it a town I never imaged I would live in. And here I am inside its cheerful walls, with a cup of hot tea in my hand and soulful inspiring music playing in the background. My heart is ever so happy. He truly does know the desires of our hearts and in His time, if they are meant for us and His plan for us, He brings them to us or us to them. They may not be exactly as one dreamed, but they will be what you need and perfect per His plan.

He amazes me all the time. In the big and little. In the people in my life. In my husband and children. In beauty of nature. In music. In His Word. It all reminds me there is so much more to be grateful for in this life, than things to worry and fret about. So many blessings and so many reasons to shout to the Lord with joy. Even though we all have trials, hardships and even a bad day now and again, deep down there is so much more good, beauty and wonder out there. I recently stumbled upon a blog and author, Ann Voskamp, that I have come to quite adore. I love her simplicity. I think I might just take her dare... I just ordered the book. It's on the way from Amazon. Can't wait to blog about my ponderings as I read. Here's to One Thousand Gifts in 2012.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

It Happens In a Blink...

Where did 2011 go? It seems it passed me by even quicker than years past. We had a lot of big things happen in 2011, possibly why it flew by with such speed… My oldest sugar pie started Kindergarten and my youngest turned two. I started a freelance side career, and my husband went back to full-time work. We changed parishes. The first of my nieces got married, and my very much missed sister finally came home to us all.It was a year of much joy and blessings and a few tears too. It was a year to work on my own holiness, surrendering to His will and being the humble servant He calls each of us to be. A year of journaling and finding treasures in scripture.
Like the freshness of new fallen snow, a brand new year sits before me. What shall I do with its gifts and promise? I think I shall treasure the lessons from this previous year, hold on the progress I’ve made and fix my gaze on the path ahead… For there is much work to be done, children to nurture, a husband to encourage and lift up, sisters to laugh with, friends to share stories with and memories to create.
Hello 2012 – may you be a year of abundant blessings, love and laughter.