Enough Yelling Already!

Today (or tonight, as the case may be), I am super excited to present some very wise words from a very special lady. I cannot remember exactly how I came across Tyler’s blog. But, at any rate, I’m glad and thankful that we found each other in this great big bloggy world. Tyler, even simply through the uplifting comments she leaves here, has been a great source of encouragement in my life. I know you’ll be blessed as well.

Be sure to check out her blog, especially her Spirit inspired thoughts on “Mommy Anger”. Yeah, it’s about to get real, real quick.

Enough Yelling Already!
Guest Post by E. Tyler Rowan

There has been WAY too much yelling going on in our house this past month. I don’t know about you, but when life gets kinda crazy, so do I. School is back in session, extra-curricular activities resume, and the lazy days of summer are a distant memory.

So much that needs to get done. So much I want to get done. And so many darn interruptions!

Mom, can I have some juice?

Phone rings.

Mom, play this game with me.

Email pings.

Mommy, can I spray the windows?

I already started…

Dryer dings.

Moooooom, she’s not letting me sit on the couch!

Ears ring.

Honey, I’m going to be home late tonight.

Anger zings.

All I want to do is scream, “QUI-ET!!! Can’t a girl just have five minutes to herself every now and then?!” After all, it’s a little difficult to do all sorts of good things for my family (a clean house, a home-cooked meal, folded laundry) and all sorts of Godly things for ministry (encouraging someone on the phone, sending an email of thanks, preparing a talk) when the busy routines of five children interfere.

I’ve never thought in exactly these terms before, but my impatience, irritability, and yelling are communicating just that to my children. My actions (and attitudes) are telling my kids, “You are an interference. You are a distraction. You get in the way of what I really want to do.” Ouch.

The thing is, I know this is wrong! I know that the most important good and Godly thing I can do is invest in my children. I know they need my time and attention. I know I’m being selfish. But knowing doesn’t necessarily translate into doing.

So how can we move from the knowing to the doing?

Over nearly thirteen years of mothering, I have learned that I can’t. Simply put, I am not capable of “getting over myself” and my own selfish desires, my own laziness, my own crabbiness and impatience. I cannot stop the yelling. Not on my own.

But if I’m willing to let Him, God can. (I can see a couple eyes rolling right now. It sounds so cliché! I know, I know. But stick with me.) Here are three things God has taught me about how to let Him change the stuff I can’t.

1. Fill up.

If I am empty, drained, and exhausted, all I can think about is how tired I am and how much everyone demands of me. Of course, there are practical things I can do to fill up. I can get enough rest, I can eat well, I can exercise (yeah, right), I can take breaks… These are all helpful, and they will certainly help like a bandage helps a scrape, but they won’t cure what ails me.

The cure is found in getting my spiritual needs filled by Jesus. I need to go to Him every day and ask to be filled. Not by following a set of “rules” about how and when and for how long to read my Bible, or what order to present my prayer requests in. But by honestly wanting to know Him and spend time with Him, by seeking out His truth on the matters of life, and by returning to Him every time I feel my day going sideways.

2. Adjust.

A friend once told me that the fastest route to an attitude adjustment is to “act in the opposite spirit.” For example, if I am at the computer doing some writing (ahem) and a child comes to ask for something, my typical response would be to tell the child to wait. Instead, maybe I should try to drop what I’m doing and say “Yes!”

It sounds simplistic, yet we all know how hard it is to do what we don’t feel like doing. I find that the more often I act in the opposite spirit, the freer I become. I am less annoyed, less likely to yell, more productive, and more in control.

3. Pour out.

I think we can all agree that children who are “filled up” are less demanding. (Kinda like us grown-ups!) The best way to fill our small peoples’ hearts is to figure out their love language* and make time to speak it to them. The short and sweet version of the five love languages is: quality time, physical touch, words of affirmation, giving gifts, and acts of service.

I have one child whose love language is physical touch. Every time she walks past me (or I past her), she stretches her arms wide and says, “Huggie!” Another child, whose love language is quality time, asks me to play a board game with her virtually every day. If I take a few minutes to ensure the needs of those five small people are being met, I am often surprised by the glorious silence in the house! Spending a few intentional minutes filling them up results in: less sibling squabbling, less bugging, less begging, less whining, and (surprise) less yelling. And if I know they’ve been filled up, I can take set-aside times for myself without guilt. I can say, “Not right now. It’s Mommy’s computer time. But we will play the game in half an hour.”

This week, as I hunker down for another seven days full of packing lunches, doing homework, driving to activities, plus writing, studying, and prepping talks – all with a hard-working hubby who won’t be home in time for dinner most days, I am committed to stopping the yelling. Is there anyone else who needs a fresh start this week? Why don’t you join me?

We won’t be “trying harder,” or making fancy schedules, or enlisting elaborate discipline strategies. Instead, together, we’ll let God do His thing. Let’s let Him fill us up and adjust our attitudes, so that we can turn around and fill them up. Who’s with me?

*The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman is a great resource, both for understanding our spouses and our children.

Tyler’s time is shared between her roles as wife, mother to five, homemaker, speaker, writer, and women’s ministry consultant. Her desire is to see women experiencing the freedom and fellowship that come from leading transparent lives, developing strong spiritual habits, and discovering the power of Christ in their lives and ministries. She is currently working on her first book, Mommy, Why Are You Angry? You can find Tyler on her blog, Titus2:3-5 and on facebook.

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Why I’m Thankful for Moving Day!

Well, it’s been “moving day” for about a week, but the big “move the furniture and pack the kitchen” day is tomorrow (I hope!). Everyone hates moving, so instead of making a gripe list about why I agree and why I’m dreading having to move [again] after the winter, I thought I’d start my day with a little “Why I’m Thankful for Moving Day!” post. Because truly, I am.

  • This move proves to me, in a whole new way, that God tells me what to pray (fills my heart with His desires) and then answers those prayers in loving ways. It’s been roughly six months since Papa Bear and I asked God to free us from materialism and prepare us to be a funnel of blessing. A winter spent without a washer/dryer/dishwasher/closets should accomplish that quite nicely! 😉
  • I’m so thankful for how incredibly low our bills are going to be this winter. I usually dread wintertime because it is so expensive to live in the mountains from November through March, but this winter we’ll be warm and well-fed. I’m kissing last year’s electric bills goodbye!!
  • Yesterday, my front porch looked like the clean up from an episode of Hoarders. Seriously, and I cannot believe that I didn’t get a picture! A local charity came and hauled off about sixteen bags of clothes and shoes, two big boxes of toys, a box of kitchen stuff, a car seat, an activity seat, an infant bouncer and three or four bags of books and other miscellaneous items! I pray they will be a huge blessing to someone! They certainly weren’t doing us any good (although each thing had served a purpose at some time and we are very grateful to those who gave to us). Moving gives me the opportunity to clean up! Moving to a cabin, sans closets, allows me to be the minimalist that I’ve always (as in the past five or six years) been in my head.
  • Moving lets you know who your friends are. I haven’t been able to put anyone to work yet, because I’m the kind of person who has to go through closets on my own. But we have friends coming to help tomorrow and so many others have offered! What a blessing to be part of the Body of Christ!

For the next couple of weeks, our internet will be sketchy at best. I will be online at least once a day, and I will still be posting. But anyone who is itching to guest post here, feel free to contact me.

Have a great day and a wonderful weekend!

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A Tub Full of Tears….and Faith

Last night, I received one of those e-mails that keeps me blogging. I put a lot of effort into this blog, much more than I would if my goal was simply to keep a basic record of our family’s doings, and sometimes I wonder why the heck I’m bothering. Especially when I ask people to “spread the word,” and I receive answers like, “Oh, I LOVE your blog and I would love to tell everyone about it…only I’m afraid that they’ll think I’m having a problem in my marriage.” Sigh. And, yes, if you weren’t aware of this before you now know that I’m a big, fat baby because I do let that response get to me a little bit. 

And it’s not that I think I know so much or that this is the blog to read. I mean, I am aware of people like, for instance, Ann. But, at the same time, I do believe that God is behind my fingers in much of what I write (and delete!), and I do want people to read it. 

Anyway, it’s nice to feel like my life’s message is having an impact (and by “nice” I mean friggin’ terrific), and that’s where your e-mails* come in.

*By the way, I believe that I am completely caught up with e-mail (although I plan to take another look tomorrow morning). So, if you’ve written to me wanting a response, and you haven’t received one yet, pleeease give me the benefit of the doubt and assume that my SPAM folder ate your words. It’s entirely possible that this scatter-brained mother of five lost your e-mail, but if you do your best to assume otherwise, I’ll sleep much, much better at night!

Last night, I received the following:

 “We need a miracle and I believe that’s the only thing that it’s going to take for us to stay together…he NEEDS to get back to the LORD. How did you do it Sarah??? I read your blog posts and I have cried along with you (even though I read them years after you wrote them) thinking to myself that you are SUCH a strong person to stay with your husband through all of what he put you through. I admire your strength SO much and I guess I’m just looking for some insight on how to stay strong in the Lord through these very hard and dark days. How did you not be so angry at your husband (or the Lord for that matter) at what you were going through? But more importantly what made you wake up every day and just keep praying, again and again and again??? I am a very optimistic person and I am trying to ONLY be positive through all of this and keep focusing on praying for Hubby to come back to God. How did you do it??? What prayers did you pray over your marriage and your husband?? 

And I thought, this morning, that I’d include an excerpt from my reply:

“At the lowest point in our marriage, after I found out about the affairs and realized that I was essentially married to two completely different people (who were quickly melding into the one person I didn’t want), I tried, unsuccessfully, to just suck up the pain and make it work. I knew that I wanted the marriage and that my desire was a God thing. However, after about a month of watching him try to recover, I watched him begin to throw it all away. It was at that point that I kicked him out, still hoping that our marriage could be saved but feeling like I was fighting all on my own.  

Every night, after just barely making it through the day with somewhere around a C+ in life and an E for Effort in parenting, I would lower my pregnant body into a hot bath, and I would cry and pray until the water turned cold. They weren’t always powerful, faith-filled prayers, either. Sometimes they were “I can’t do this. I can’t do this!!” cries to Abba. There was one particular night, though, fairly early on, where I was echoing Satan’s “I can’t do this!” whispers and God answered back, “You’re absolutely right. YOU can’t.” And then He said the thing that I’ve clung to, ‘If you stay (speaking to my somewhat rebellious heart that I was in NO way REQUIRED to stay), I will make a miracle out of your marriage.’

And that was that…pretty much;) I’m not going to pretend that I never again had thoughts of hopelessness. And it was about nine months later before we were both truly on the path of recovery. But that night I made a decision. I let God write on my heart that I had truly heard from Him, and that my life and future were in His hands.” 

Faith is the evidence of things not seen.

And with that, I’m going to log off and get to my day. A great big snuggle monkey just crawled into my lap, and since she and I are the only ones awake this morning, I’m going to lie back and soak this in for a little while.
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We’re not using one particular kindergarten curriculum. I’m asked that often, so I thought I’d go ahead and mention it. It’s not that we’re without books, however; it’s just that we have a hodge podge of things. Right now, I’m staring at one School Zone and two Prentice-Hall workbooks. Those are what we did our grammar lesson from this morning.
After Bible, Reading and Grammar, we work on our Geography with a map of the U.S. that we are coloring….one state at a time. This segment of our morning could also be considered Coloring inside the Lines 101. Or, “Mama said to color New Hampshire blue, please only color New Hampshire.” While they are coloring, I read off a fun fact about the state, show them a picture of the flag and have them repeat the capital name. Right now, they’re remembering little more than, “Grammie lives in the capital of Colorado. The capital of Colorado is DENVER.” We review each state and its capital (up to what we’ve colored) each day, though, so I think more will eventually take root.
There are a few very cool science books that I want for next year, but this year the science is courtesy of Google. After we’re done with everything else, they get ten minutes to “ask Mama anything.” Mama knows some stuff, but Mama also has a teacher’s aid who sits nearby. We ask her everything Mama doesn’t know.
Yesterday, they wanted to know about cows and milk. We watched a few dairy farm videos on YouTube, and now I must find a cow for the kids to torture milk.
Today, they wanted to learn about magnetism. And no, they didn’t say magnetism, they said magnets. I found a video on Netflix that was way over their heads; still, it gave us some good ideas.
As long as we’re having fun and everyone is smiling, I feel like it’s a very successful morning. It’s when Cuddle bug sees “Al” and reads “dinosaur” (simply because Al is a dinosaur and she’s paying more attention to the danged pictures than the words!), that I still have to bite my tongue.
Lord, help me to bite my tongue!

If you homeschool (or you have in the past), what’s your absolute favorite thing about it? And, let’s be honest, what’s the thing that makes hair leap from your scalp without even being pulled?
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Not to Brag…

But I’ve been up since six.

I’m a night-owl. For me, somehow, I think my body prefers to sleep when the sun is out. I, know, I know Ellyn. I’m really a vampire. It’s just as dark at six as it is at midnight, so I’ve decided to try making that my quiet time. Novel idea, right? Yeah, I’m way behind the curve on this one.

My body is still operating sans sugar, but I did eat two hot dog buns (with hot dogs, of course) on Saturday night, so I haven’t been as strict as I planned to be. I skipped the marshmallows while the sugar roasted all around me, so I’m still pretty proud of myself.

I’m trying to use my six o’clock wake up time to read my Bible and blog. It’s eight-thirty now, and I’m just sittin’ to blog while the kids crumble pumpkin muffins into the carpet. There were a few e-mails that took priority over blogging this morning. But I chose wisely, I think.

God led me to II Corinthians, which was quite the reprieve (since yesterday it was Joel). I didn’t think I’d make it through the first chapter, because tears streamed over whispering lips as I read versus three through eleven over my own life. And my hand might have involuntarily shot into the air, like a charasmatic old lady, on three specific occasions. I’ve got to get to school time with the kiddos, so I’ll just leave you with the short little passage that initiated my private Holy Ghost meeting this morn. I hope you all have a wonderful and blessed day and that your hands are the Lord’s in whatever they find to do!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.


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