Thursday, April 30, 2020

Gratitude During COVID



Louisiana has extended the stay-at-home order until May 15th... UGH. So, I thought it was time for a list of gratitude to combat the craziness. Here goes...

The mental health benefits to writing a gratitude list and ...
(This image was found on Google. I do not own this image.)

Elisabeth's List of Gratitude: (in no particular order)

1) I started working out again.
2) I started drinking more water! 16 to 20 cups a day!
3) Tanner is working 4 10 hour days instead and gets Friday's off (usually) giving us more time to spend together as a family.
4) Tanner only has 14(ish) weeks of Greek left! (Last class of Greek will be over the Summer semester.)
5) Eden is beginning to go in the potty... all of her own desires. We've had the potty for a month and she had practiced sitting on it.. now she WANTS to sit on it and go potty. (The first time she made me sit on the regular potty while she sat on hers. Haha!)
6) My sister-in-law is back to work at her chef job!
7) Tanner has not lost his job at any point because of COVID (the drop in oil prices may change things in the future.. but we'll cross that bridge when we get there. God will always provide.)
8) Zoom. Because of Zoom, we can meet with our friends and still go a version of game night or Life Group or do a devo with the Youth Group.
9) Because of my renewed healthy lifestyle goals and plan, I have lost 3 pounds so far!
10) I'm learning more about Instagram and how to use it to accomplish personal goals.
11) I've stayed with the Riverside Bible Reading Plan! This is the first time I have read my Bible EVERY DAY. I am SO thankful that Riverside came up with this plan at the end of last year to start January 1st. Getting in God's word is SO important and something I've struggled with all of my life.
12) Tanner has done a workout with me and gone on a walk with me and Eden!
13) We started gardening.. sort of. We currently have chives, green onions, spring mix, and basil in pots that are growing! (Thank you Kaylee for the green onion, spring mix lettuce, and basil!) Soon we will have gold potatoes and hopefully spearmint as well! (Still looking for a citronella plant...)
14) Tanner and I did much needed yard work to hopefully make our swamp of a backyard into something Eden can play in.
15) My sister is getting married!! I am over the moon excited for her and her husband to be.
16) DAVE RAMSEY. I can not imagine the kind of bind we would be in if it wasn't for Financial Peace University. I am SO grateful we took it years ago and recently lead our own class and got back to being more Gazelle intense.
17) Online shopping. I am still able to get what I need without the insanity of going places.
18) Family and Friends... just having them is amazing.
19) Coffee. GOOD coffee. And I am grateful that the small company I have become obsessed with (Expedition Roasters) is still up and running as much as they can so I can get my flavored/themed coffee fix on the days I want THE GOOD STUFF. (Seriously. Go check them out. So worth it.)
20) Tanner. He does so much for Eden and me.. working every day and schooling when he gets home while still trying to carve out some family time and us time. He is so good to me. I couldn't have asked for anyone better. I am so grateful for him and that he is the Godly man he is.
21) Eden. I am so grateful that God gave us her. While we have our good and bad days, I am always grateful to be her mom. She is so precious, and smart, and gorgeous and I love her more than words can express.

Well, there you have it. My list of gratitude. This was really great for me and I challenge you to do the same. Remind yourself of all the good in your life and that no matter what GOD IS GOOD. He is sovereign over all of this and he works all things for good. To God be the glory. Amen.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Day 11 of Who Knows How Long...

It's day 11 of the Stay-at-Home order here in Louisiana. There is something psychological that happened when this order hit. Though my life didn't change very much, already being at home most of the time anyway, the thought that I shouldn't go anywhere or invite anyone over made me a little crazy. All of the things I would have done, all of the events that were canceled, not being to go to the church building on Sunday and fellowship with my church family in person, having to really plan what to get at the store and when to avoid all the insanity; it all just boggles my mind a little. And in short, it makes me SO SAD.

I'm sad for my sister who didn't get to go back to Harding after Spring Break and show off her engagement ring and do all the fun things that go with that. I'm sad that she won't get to be Piper Meredith again because everything got canceled. I'm sad that her graduation that she worked so hard for was pushed to August.

I'm sad for all the seniors in High School who are missing all the fun things that come right before graduation.

I'm sad for all the kids who will be moving to different schools next year and are missing these last few weeks with the friends at their current school.

I'm sad that the Women's Retreat was postponed until January. I'm sad that the Youth Beach Retreat was canceled.

I'm sad that people are losing their jobs. I'm sad that people are trying to figure out how to work from home and home school their kids at the same time. I'm sad that hours are being cut and people are suffering.

Y'all. I'm SAD.

However, it's okay to be sad. And while God is sovereign over everything (EVEN COVID-19), there is a period of mourning that is allowed to happen. We NEED to mourn the things that we are missing out on. To try and move on without acknowledging the grief of all that we were looking forward to would truly be insanity.

So, if you're at home and you're not being as productive as you could be. It's okay. If you're just sad and want to sit on the couch and binge watch shows. It's okay. Take the time to mourn. Take the time to grieve the loss.

But whatever you do, DON'T STAY THERE. Grieve and let God heal you, then get back up and LIVE. We may not be able to do all the things we want to, but there are lots of things we can do. Pick up that to do list of things you keep putting off because you never have time. Call a friend. Video chat with a friend! Take a walk outside. Have a picnic outside. Enjoy the time you now have with your family.

In all things, PRAISE GOD for he is GOOD.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Exhausted

I have the best job in the world. Being a stay-at-home mom is really the best.

It's also the hardest job in the world.

There are no words of wisdom or warnings or anything that could have prepared me enough for this job. Especially now that my wonderful 9 (closer to 10! 😭 ) month old is crawling and pulling up on everything. And trust me when I say, I was warned and I believed all the warnings.

My job is the most rewarding and the most exhausting. Because it's not just about raising her, and keeping her fed, and changed, and bathed, and healthy, and out of trouble, and alive. Nope. It also means that I am the manger of the house. Which means keeping the house clean (and hopefully company ready), doing the dishes, doing the laundry (and putting it away), doing the budget and paying the bills and managing our finances (because I'm the nerd and it's just what I do), making dinner, planning meals, grocery shopping, keeping the calendar (again.. I just like to be organized and make sure we don't double book or anything), and organizing the house. Then, of course, I have to take care of myself! Which means, making sure I eat (healthy), getting some exercise in, and making sure to take a shower hopefully once a day, and try to squeeze in some me time so I don't go completely insane. By the end of the day, I don't want to do anything except sit on the couch and watch something or read a book.

And as an insight, as I write this, I still haven't gotten my exercise or shower in.. so I'm still in my workout clothes..

And let me tell you. There is nothing like a small child to open your eyes to the mess and chaos of your home. It doesn't matter if you have hardwood (or a look-a-like), tile, concrete, or carpet; your floors are dirty. SO dirty. I am struggling to even wrap my brain around how to get my floors clean so I don't have to wipe her little hands and feet off all the time. Because I can't just vacuum them.. No.. That would be too easy. With my downstairs (which is where we are 99.99% of the time), we have vinyl that looks like hardwood. (I struggle to see why it's such a fad..) So, not only do I have to vacuum or sweep the floors, I have to mop them as well! Add all of her toys and such that I need to pick up or do something with before I clean the floors and my brain just spazzes out.
(Seriously.. give me carpet any day over these floors.. not to mention, carpet is softer to fall on. 😛 Though I do understand them in the eating, bathroom, and kitchen areas.)

It doesn't stop at the floors either! They learn to pull up, and you realize even more that the nicely organized shelves are no longer safe for.. well.. anything. So, now you need to find a new place in your home or buy new furniture so you have a safe place for the things in those now easy to reach places. For example. I have craft shelves with gel pens and cards and such. There is currently and obstacle in front of these, yet my dear Eden has still managed to find a way to try and grab them. So, I'm shopping storage furniture as there isn't another good place for these things.

It's enough to make one dizzy or go mad. And I'm exhausted.

This is where I take a deep breath.

Because I'm not doing all of this completely alone. I have a wonderful husband who works daily to bring home paychecks to make this all possible. I couldn't be home with our baby girl if it wasn't for him. He's the best.

I have friends and family that are willing to help if only I'd reach out to them and ask. (I'm really bad at asking...)

And most importantly, I have God on my side. He is the giver of life and peace and the great provider. He is mighty!

So, if you read this and can empathize with my plight. If you can relate on so many levels. If it sounds like exactly what you're going through as well. First of all, you're amazing! Remember that you are loved and that you have the almighty God on your side. He will lift you up and walk right beside you. Reach out to your family and friends when you are feeling overwhelmed and in over your head. (I know I need to.) You're not alone. We are better together.

And if you have any helpful suggestions on any of my predicaments, seriously, leave a comment! Shoot me a message! Find a way to let me know! Because I'm all ears! 99% of the time, you know something that I would never have thought of in a million years. So, thank you in advance!

To all of my exhausted parent friends out there, you got this. Keep on keeping on.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Mother's Day

Mother's Day is this Sunday, May 12th. This year will be my 2nd Mother's Day. I know what you're thinking. "Isn't your daughter only 7 months old?" You are correct. But here is how I see it. Last year I was 19 weeks pregnant, and just 9 days shy of finding out if the life growing in my womb was a boy or a girl. Thus, last year was my first Mother's Day as a mother. I can hear the skepticism and the "Well, sure, technically, I guess."

But here's the thing. A pregnant woman is called an expecting mother. And if we all agree that life starts at the point of conception, then a pregnant woman is carrying her baby. Yes, said baby hasn't been born into the world. Yes, you can't hold said baby in your arms. But that life is still a BABY. Thus, making the woman carrying said baby a mother.

If we limit Mother's Day to only include those who can hold their children, we are doing a disservice to many people. We exclude those who are expecting, those who lost their child before birth, and those who lost their child anytime after birth. How cruel is that?! Not only is this demeaning and demoralizing to the mother, but it harbors the mentality that the being growing in her womb isn't a child. We have got to change this mindset.

So, to all of you who are expecting or have lost a child, Happy Mother's Day. Own this day.

Happy Mother's Day to ALL you moms out there.

(P.S. This goes for fathers next month on Father's Day too.)

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

"Hate your Father and Mother."

This past Sunday I looked over during worship and saw one of our friends with his grandson. They both had the biggest smiles on their faces. It was the cutest thing, and while I was filled with joy at watching them, my heart sunk. I SO LONG for that to be Eden and her grandparents!

But a thought occurred to me as I watched them and wallowed in my longing. It was almost audible.

"Hate your Father and Mother."

Which I acknowledged as a reference to Luke 14:26.
If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. (ESV)
I have always had difficulty with the verse because I love so deeply. I understood it as in comparison to my love of Christ my love of my family looks like hate, but it always bothered me a little.

But sitting there in the "pew" chair feeling sad that I wasn't closer to family, I had a realization of what that verse meant. Doing ministry is almost equivalent to "hating" my father and mother.

God has us here in this place for a specific reason. He has a plan for us, and that plan has us here. Tanner is now Ministry Leader of the Youth and is working alongside of the Youth Minister while he works on his Bible degree through Harding University's online program. I am still involved with the youth and the women's ministry as much as I can be with our delightful baby girl.

I can not do what God has called me to do if I am caught up in longing to be somewhere else. If I am preoccupied with wishing that I lived closer to my parents (or his parents), I can not spread the love of Christ to those around me.

So, as much as I want to be closer to my family, I will be happy with the times I can see them and choose to focus on where I am and what God has for me to do. He put me here for a reason and I know he has big plans for me and my family. I just have to remember to focus on HIM first so that he can use me to spread his Kingdom.