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30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 30} The Greatest Gift of All

1 Dec The Reason For the Season

I was reading to Micah last night prior to our bedtime routine, in an attempt to settle his wild soul down.  So, of course we were reading, “Where the Wild Things Are.”  It was adorable to hear him repeat Max’s phrases, “Be Still!” and “Let the wild rumpus start.”

And as I sat tonight trying to settle my soul into this special season that is upon us, it instead felt like the world declaring, “Let the wild rumpus start!”

For many, the rumpus of the Christmas season began the very night we give thanks for all we have.  What better way to reflect on our abundance of blessings than to rush out and get more, right?  I don’t have a problem with those wanting to get a jump on giving and save while doing it, but the retailers pushing it earlier and earlier is just ridiculous.  I just avoid it all together!  Was the Dollar Tree even running a Black Friday special?  That’s where my DIY gifts will hail from!

We are in a consumer society that teaches us to want more, need more, and be satisfied with none.  Trying to teach little ones what Christmas really means is tough.

I am all for passing on Christmas traditions from childhood, Santa, gift giving, and The Grinch.

But I am all about the greatest and first Christmas gift, Christ.

To be cliche, He is the reason for the season, in this heart and hearth, and I hope in yours.  There is nothing better to give or to get than the FREE gift of God’s grace, wrapped beautifully in swaddling clothes, and delivered in the humble form of His son, Jesus Christ.

But I’ve been struggling on how best to deliver this message to my children’s hearts (and ours) without robbing them of simple, fun Christmas magic and joy that comes in many commercial forms ….

Continue reading

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 18} Answered Prayers

19 Nov Community Worship

It’s Sunday.  In this house that means we spent most of the day at the church.

That happens when you are the pastor’s family.

It was a long day, as most Sundays are, and I didn’t even have time for my Sunday afternoon nap.

After a great sermon by The Hubs this morning, focused on John 3:16-21 and The Gift of Grace, our Abundant Life Small Group provided a spaghetti and lasagna lunch for the congregation, taking up donations to help fund various mission work in the conference.  It was delicious and I am incredibly thankful to share life with this amazing group of individuals.

We were able to have a brief respite at home after lunch, even though I had to run back up to the church to decorate and tidy up for the Community-wide Thanksgiving Service our church was hosting that evening.  I think The Hubs and the boys got a little bit of an afternoon nap, and I did manage 30 minutes to relax on the couch!

We headed back up to the church a bit before 5 and I corralled the kids while The Hubs prepared to welcome a few hundred people into our church. Continue reading

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Days 14 & 15} Motivation and My Journey to Being Soul Beautiful

15 Nov

If you are on Pinterest and have any kind of fitness board, you have probably seen this picture (and pinned it.)

I am on week 12!  I can attest to these statements above as pretty accurate.  I noticed some results around 4 weeks and friends and family are already saying they can see a difference since I started working out consistently.

When I began to work-out, after my second C-section in June, I was at 275.  Not quite the heaviest I had been, but close.  I was sick of not being able to do things I wanted to do, wear what I wanted, and feeling awful. I didn’t recognize the person in the mirror.  Even though I have been struggling with my weight since my knee surgery 10 years ago, I still don’t associate myself with the fat person I see in the mirror, because I know I am not that person.  I’ve been pretty and in amazing shape and I want that person back, inside and out.

I am not comfortable in my own skin.  But sitting around feeling mad or sorry for myself wasn’t going to help.  Only I could make changes to be healthier and happier. Continue reading

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 11} How to Choose

12 Nov Abundant Life

I have a gratitude problem.

However, it is not because I don’t appreciate the people and things I have in my life.

My problem is I have so much that I am grateful for that it is making it difficult to choose what to post about each day.

I know, first world problems.

When I decided to do this Thankful Heart series I wasn’t sure how it would play out.  Would I plan it all ahead or would I decide what I was grateful for each day and be inspired?

Being the emotional being I am, Continue reading

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 8} Breath

8 Nov

Well, Day 8 and the bad/sad news is I did not get the job.

Not going to lie; I cried some.

Sounds silly, but I really wanted the position.  We really need me to get a job and I was hoping it would be one I was excited and passionate about, not just something to bring home a check.

I’m trying to focus on the fact that this was obviously not God’s will for me.  He must have something better in store.  I’m hoping.

Still pretty bummed right now.  I felt so good about my chance to work at the crisis center; I know I would have rocked it!

Oh well.  Time to hit the classifieds again.

So for now I am grateful to just keep breathing, even in the midst of disappointment and discouragement.

God is in control, not me, and that makes all the difference.

BTW, if anyone knows of a great non-profit social services job, or you want to hire me, drop me a line!

Gracefully~~Heather

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 7} Discouragement

7 Nov

No, I am not grateful for discouragement, although I am discouraged.

It has been a long day where if you would have offered me an anxiety pill, I would have asked for seconds.

Instead, I prayed, and prayed, tried to distract myself with two darling boys, was prayed for, and yet the anxiousness remained.

The source of the anxiety is a job offer I am hoping to receive.  I interviewed last Tuesday for a position as a Case Manager at a domestic violence and sexual assault crisis intervention center.  I went to the interview certain that I was a good fit for the position and it would be a job I could do well.  Upon leaving the interview, I was positive that this was the job I had been searching for.  I mean I WANT this position.  It felt like a calling rather than a job and my heart is aching to hear whether or not I landed it. Continue reading

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 4} And He Rested

4 Nov rest_here

The Bible tells the story of creation.  It was a process that took seven days to complete.  Each day God created, working hard to make something beautiful, functional, and wonderful from nothing.  Each day God admired His work and said, “It is good.”

The seventh day God took in all He had created and said, “It is very good,” and then He rested.

I can imagine that after all that creating something from nothing, God had to be a bit worn out.  Ya know, if God got tired.  However, God is known as being all-powerful and I am pretty sure that comes with a big helping of not needing things like sleep.

What I think is that God rested and took time to reflect on all He had done.  He took time to look back over His week and reflect on what took place; what worked and what didn’t. He took time to enjoy and appreciate the time He had already spent before He moved on to the next task, like directing Noah to build an ark. Continue reading

10 Scriptures to Soothe Mommy’s Soul

24 Sep Harried Heather at the end of my rope

(Fair Warning: This is a lengthy post.  My lack of posts has built up and is now overflowing.  Read it through…it’s worth it.  I’m also biased!)

Yesterday (Sunday) is often considered to be a day of rest.  Sabbath.

Not so in my world.

We are a ministry family.  My husband is the senior pastor of our church and that means Sunday is a work day, and not just for him.  I’m currently the children’s ministry director and even when I am not teaching on a Sunday, I am checking in with leaders, counting little heads, hands, and hearts, and collecting the change in our Children’s Change Jar.  By the time the service is over and we have fellowshipped with as many congregants as possible, chased our almost 3-yr old son  all over the sanctuary (altar rails, chairs, stage…), and consoled our now cranky almost 4-month old, we are wiped out.

But the day isn’t even over!

If it’s a good day, I will have a delicious crockpot meal simmering in the slow-cooker.  The scent will tantalize our tastebuds as we drag in through the front door.  We can sit and eat in relative relaxation for a little bit, but let’s be honest; we haven’t had a relaxing meal on a regular basis in almost 3 years.  Hmmm, why is that?

If it’s a fantastic day we will splurge and endure the craziness of eating out with two children under the age of 3 and indulge in Mexican food.  Pass the salsa and chips please!

Yesterday was a good day.

I had dinner on low and slow in the crockpot so we had gourmet turkey sandwiches for lunch.  Micah (the 3 yr. old) wanted PB crackers and squeeze fruit.  He ate the fruit and pushed the crackers around his plate.  He was hungry later.  Not surprised.  All was normal and even calm in the Tiger house.

Then it was time for naps.

It needs to be said that Sunday afternoon naps are a sacred and time-honored tradition that Aaron and I treasure and have made a priority in our relationship for the past ten years.  Come hell, high water, or a second kid, we will have our Sunday nap.

Unless there is a football game on.  Or a ministry meeting.  Or a family function.  Or a preschooler with a stubborn streak a mile long.

You get the picture though.  We don’t just like our rest.  We NEED our Sunday refueling nap to sustain us through small groups, meetings, and any other church event that might be scheduled.

Aaron took Micah back to his room to settle down for naptime.  I was nursing Kasen, ready to swaddle that little bug and get him drifting off ASAP so Mommy could settle in for a long Sunday snooze.

Both boys had other intentions.

Micah dug in his tenacious little heels and refused to settle, sleep, or even stay still.  I was tagged in to take over for Aaron.  Kasen was handed off smoothly with no fumble.  Micah cared for the change in coaches about as much as the NFL is loving the fill-in refs.  He yelled, he screamed, he kicked, and he flopped.  If the Emmy’s handed out an award for Best Dramatic Tantrum, he would have it in the bag.

We ignored him.  We talked calmly and soothingly to him.  We carried him back to his room and shut the door (that does not have a lock?!) I held him tightly in a loving hold to stop the flailing. We gave him options.  We attempted to reason, reward, cajole, and bribe the child to stop throwing the fit.  We FAILED!!!

I even attempted singing a new temper song we had learned just that morning watching PBS’ Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, even though I knew I was messing the words up.  “I’m so mad I could roar, but instead I’ll count to four.  One. Two. Three. Four.”  Something like that.  It even seemed like that was working.  Until it wasn’t.  The fit resumed in full force after a few calmer, shuddering breaths.  I should have sung the song to myself a few times.  After a slap in the face (my face), elbow to the stomach (yep, mine), and a scream in the ear (mine too), I lost all my patience and my mind for a moment.

Savage Mommy Tiger roared.  Right in the face of her little tiger cub.  Continue reading

From Storms to Smooth Sailing

7 Aug

Hello sweets!  I know that it has been an extended absence on my end, and while I apologize for no new posts, I desperately need some grace.  I’m struggling to find my place, rhythm, and routine since Kasen’s joyous arrival into our lives, and this blog has been a casualty of that wandering war.  When I have found moments where I might put my “pen to paper,” I find myself utterly lacking in inspiration, leaving my blog stagnant but my draft box burgeoning.

Even in the midst of the struggle there are great rays of light and I give thanks.  I am learning to embrace the content life, but in this I am not my usual fast learning self.  I have found a friend!  Yay!  I will fill in those details later.  She has been a true blessing and I am enjoying the moments of growing together.  We walk early in the morning 4-5 x’s a week and it is not only good for my body, it is water for a parched soul, just getting to spend that hour communing.

But there is still longing; still fixing, healing, restoring that needs to happen.  There is the discontent that I am trying to stare down.

Facing the storms of life head on

As I was making my way through my incredibly long list of blogs I read, I stopped by the ever-gifted Leanne Penny at leannepenny.com and was once again blown away at her words and the way she always seems to reach right in to my heart and pour in hope and grace.  She was writing today about connection of the husband and wife variety; the very kind I have been missing so much.  She threw down a connecting gauntlet and idea sharing challenge.  Read about that here and contribute your own connecting tips and insights.

This was my response…. Continue reading

Good to Grow

16 May

This was my Mother’s Day present.  My pretty little purple teacup orchid.  I love orchids and it may be one of the few plants I can actually keep alive and help flourish.  My husband had gotten me another purple orchid plant about four years ago, and it was a glorious beauty. When we moved home to Oklahoma from Kentucky I left my plant in the care of my good friend, Heather, as a sign that our friendship would continue to flourish after we left.  It has.

It was a Just Add Ice Orchid, meaning I literally only had to add 3 pieces of ice, one time a week and keep it in indirect sunlight, and it grew and grew.  While this new one is not the same “brand”, I am hoping that adding 2ish pieces of ice a week to hydrate my little lovely will produce similar results.

As I sat gazing at my pretty present that was meant to celebrate me as a mother, I started thinking of how my plant was not the only tender thing that I was responsible for nourishing and growing with care.

I sat, almost 37 wks pregnant with my second son, looking at a portrait of our oldest son as it hung behind the orchid, and the enormous responsibility and gift of these little lives struck me with such intensity that I lost my breath for a moment.

Am I a good enough mother?  Do I know enough?  What if I make mistakes?  What about my flaws?  Can I give them what they need?  Is my love enough?

Am I enough?

My gaze didn’t have to travel far from the flower to linger upon the cross nearby.  And I had my answer.

No.  I am not enough.  But God is.

His love and grace, poured out through me is enough.

When I am weak, He will be there.  When I fail, His plans will succeed.  When I stumble, He will pick me up.

He will be the guide for my journey as a mother, and a light for my boys to seek and follow.

His love will be enough to nourish and grow them even when mine may fall short.

I can tenderly care for my plant by keeping it watered just right and providing the right amount of sunlight for growth.  If I neglect it or accidentally leave it in the shadows it may wither.

By trusting my boys to God’s tender care, I can trust that I will know the right amount of love they need for their souls to be nourished, and the perfect place of the Son in their lives for ultimate growth.

Why?

Because God is enough.

 

(This will be my only post for a little while as I finish preparing for the parsonage open house during our church’s 10 yr celebration, and Kasen’s very soon impending arrival.  Have a great week!)

Gracefully~~Heather