Monday, December 31, 2012

Embrace Authentic

I really blew it last night. I didn't feel well at all yesterday; didn't even go to Mass. I REALLY did not feel well. But I did laundry. My husband and I just traded rooms with our youngest daughters, so I did a little bit of cleaning there. I came downstairs to see how things were going to find our artificial Christmas tree's base had broken; the tree had fallen. It was now propped against the stair rail. Taking down the tree had not been on my agenda, but I began wrapping ornaments and boxing them up. For the most part I worked alone. My husband fixed supper; we watched "Lorenzo's Oil"; and I went back to work on it. I had let our youngest three decorate the tree and it was LOADED. Hubby and my eldest were on computers; three children were upstairs; the 8 yr old was unwinding ribbon from the tree while I was trying to remove the lights. They were tangled. Tightly. I was huffing. No one got the hint. I started taking the tree apart to get the lights off - throwing the pieces in front of my husband's open office door. I was ticked. My self-talk had me with "never anything nice - this broken, old tree - have to take it down by myself - he's always on the computer - I feel so ill and no one cares or helps...." On and on. Bill finally came out of his office to ask what was going on. "I can't get these lights off and you care more about that #*%@ computer than you do me!"

A lie. And a petulant one at that. I regretted the words the instant they flew out of my mouth. Not only did I basely accuse my husband of not caring for me, but I did it within earshot of three of my children. My teenager ran upstairs, he was so upset by my outburst. I apologized, of course. I am so not where I want to be in this journey of Christianity, marriage, motherhood.

Time was when I would mull this mistake over and over in my mind; castigating myself. Sliding into a depression
because I am so not perfect.  Guess what? None of us are.

Jill Savage's new book No More Perfect Moms has hope for all of us striving to be better Christians, wives, and mothers. Starting tomorrow there will be a 31-day Email Challenge for which you do not need the book. Simply sign up! Check out the No More Perfect Moms website for great resources and the authentic stories of other moms. Finally, buy the book, but wait to do so until Feb 4-9. We're hoping enough people will buy the book in this first week of its release to get No More Perfect Moms on the New York Times Bestseller list. This will serve the purpose of getting the book into the hands of even MORE women who desperately need this message.

I have read the book through once as a member of the Launch Team for this wonderful book. I am now reading through it a second time and taking notes so I can blog my way through it. Check back often. Until then - embrace authentic!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

No More Perfect Moms

This is the title of Jill Savage's newest book, to be released in February. I've been looking forward to reading it since I first heard it was in the "birthing" process because I am, face it, a Mom who needs these words of wisdom. I have felt a flat-out failure before when I have blown it with my kids. I am very, VERY guilty of the comparison game; and I always come up WAY short. Of course, as Jill points out, I'm comparing my insides (which I know are dark and squirmy) with other women's bright, shiny outsides. The sides they only show to the world. I have several friends who have it all together - or so it seems - and I so want to be like them! But I have no idea what they may be hiding in their dark and squirmy insides. On the outside they're...perfect. And I'm...not. I am so not perfect. So I waited anxiously for Jill's book to be released.

Guess what? I no longer have to wait! I've been chosen to be part of the launch team for No More Perfect Moms! How exciting is that?! I get to pre-read the book and write a review to be published wherever I can send it. I get to pre-read the book and present it to my Mom's Group, because it contains a message we all need to hear. I get to pre-read the book! I am looking forward to the blessings God will bring from Jill's writing.

If my friends are interested in No More Perfect Moms (as well you should be!), please do not pre-order the book. Wait until it is released in February. Let's see if we can get Jill on the best-seller list! More to come from me about this topic!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Overcoming the World

"These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you shall have distress: but have confidence, I have overcome the world."
--John 16:33

"Live like no one else so you can live (and give) like no one else."
--Dave Ramsey

"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!" Sometimes. "Walking in a Winter Wonderland." Actually, it's been one of the warmest Holiday seasons I can remember (I'm not complaining, mind you). "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." It's barely Advent! In the course of general, every-day errands, I've had occasion to hear all these songs and more in the last two weeks; frantically urging me to get in the "Holiday Spirit" and SPEND already! Give, Give, GIVE to everyone I know, the bigger (i.e. more expensive) present the better, so they will be sure to they're loved.

Guess what? Love cannot be bought.

I have been struggling with the world's notion of the Holiday season this year. Everything is so rushed, so materialistic, so meaningless. Our consumer-driven society simply adds to this sense.

My husband and I recently completed Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. We are valiantly trying to get our fiscal house in order. This time of year is especially tough for me to do that because I am by nature a generous, giving person. I LOVE to find just the right gift(s) for the special people in my life; imagining their joy in receiving this well-thought-out choice. So the frenetic pace of Christmas-upon-us and the turtle-speed of our Baby Steps is discouraging to me. And we're trying to have a less expensive Christmas; so I'm left with a general enviousness. A dis-satisfaction. Not good. After all, that's not what this season is about, anyway.

I really like celebrating Advent. A time of waiting, anticipation, looking forward to the birth of the Lord. And to His second-coming. We "build-a-tree"; putting a few purple ornaments per evening on it (one per child). On Gaudete Sunday we start putting pink ornaments on the tree. Usually we cannot wait until Christmas Eve to fully decorate the tree, but it's always the last week of Advent. We light our wreath, with readings and "O Come, O Come Emmanuel". We do a few service projects as a family (we can always give, even if not monetarily).

Our family is getting used to being... counter-cultural. We are a "large" nuclear-family who truly enjoys the company of each other. We homeschool. We live on one income. We make nearly all our meals (including bread, yogurt, etc.) from scratch. We are faithful Catholics. We celebrate Advent before Christmas. We do not have credit cards. This list could probably go on...we do not want to be like the world at large.

With God's grace, we don't have to be like the world. Christ has overcome the world. Our goal is to model Christ. This has been extremely comforting to me as I try to stop struggling with what "I" want to do, to give, to buy and focus instead on the true meaning of and pace of this season.

Happy Advent!