Mary Moments in my Martha World

If you’ve attended Women’s Bible studies or been in the Church scene for any amount of time, then you are most likely familiar with the story of Martha and Mary.  It’s found in Chapter 10 of the book of  Luke, and it tells of Jesus visiting the home of Martha.  Martha begins to busy herself, cooking and cleaning to serve Jesus and His disciples, while Mary sits at the feet of Jesus and takes in every moment with Him.  Martha becomes frustrated that her sister is not helping with all the work and Jesus tells her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Made in the Image of God

I have heard that echo of “Martha, Martha” in my head so many times.  Combined with the guilt ridden comments of well-meaning Christian women, that take Jesus’ words to an extreme, putting their heaviness over our souls that we need to be a Mary and never have a busy life.  I can assure you one thing; God loved Martha, He created her in His image, and Jesus himself came to her home!  Ok, let’s keep it real for a second…Jesus came to her home!! I’m pretty sure I would be freaking out, running around trying to pick things up and create a 5 Star worthy meal for my Savior.  I mean seriously ladies, of all people to walk through our doors!  If Jesus came to my home, I would want it to be perfect, and meet His every need.  But, the truth is, Jesus is the only perfect one, and I would have missed the most important moment of my life; sitting at His feet and letting Him meet my needs instead.  The beauty of grace itself.

Oh, to be Mary and savor the moment she had in the presence of our Lord, beautiful peace must have washed over her.  I can hardly imagine, and I don’t want to miss those Grace moments in my life.  Here is the freedom in this familiar Bible Story sweet momma, it’s about moments in our lives.  Jesus does not want you to be perfect, your home to be perfect, or most certainly for your children to be perfect!  He wants you, just as you are, to sit at His feet, and hear His voice, feel his peace, and know His passionate love for you.  Nothing more, dear friend.

You are Enough

The truth is, Martha had a home, and one that Jesus came to visit.  Stop right there!  A home takes money, work, food, laundry, the list goes on!  Martha kept a home, and I’m sure she was busy doing it, have you read Proverbs 31?  You know, that Proverbs woman that sets this standard for  all women in the Bible?  Girlfriend was so busy!! Busy, to the point that some of us Christians think she is our example, not dear little Mary.  We think we should be the woman that does it all, like our darling Proverbs 31 example!

Tiny Football Hands

Life is about balance, not guilt ridden extremes!  I’ve already introduced myself as a plate full, always on the go, busy, Mom of Adventure and Grace, and I’m thankful to be just that.  But, in my busy life as a wife and a mom of many, I’m sensitive to the important moments in my life.  Moments of stillness at the feet of Jesus, reading the Bible and praying, praying with my husband, cooking a little slower because the little hands of my children want to help me, stopping my chores because my adorable five year old wants me to through the football with him, spending an entire day in my pj’s and giving our kids freedom to do whatever they desire.  Oh, precious moments with my children, hugs and kisses, encouragement to their broken hearts, laughter at their silliness, walks to the park, moments where I’m present, not distracted, just like sitting at the feet of Jesus.

Little Hands in the Kitchen

Beautiful things happen in the stillness of our Grace moments dear friends.  Don’t let guilt sneak in through extreme teachings of Mary vs Proverbs 31 Woman, it will rob you of the gifts found in our Mary moments, right in the middle of  our busy Martha kinda days.  Savor them, and bask in the grace of Jesus, he loves you just as you are, there is no need to impress Him with living in the extreme, my love.

I DON’T workout to be “SKINNY”

Girl, let’s keep it real, there is so much pressure on us about our bodies!  It’s screaming at us from every direction, and everyone, including that mean girl in your head.  Every look in the mirror brings a inner voice of judgement about our physique, and the analyzing scans of our body by another person wash us with an ugly insecurity.  Too fat, too skinny, too tall, too small, to wide, too much cellulite, too many stretch marks, and please let us not forget those ever pesky flapping underarms as we wave goodbye to our loved ones.  Oh sweet beautiful, it’s exhausting!

So here’s the deal, you are beautifully and wonderfully made in the image of God; and you sweet lady are gorgeous.  You are worth far more than rubies, and your self worth is not dependent on your physical body.  I tell my sweet daughter all the time, “Kloey, your beauty comes from the inside, not the dress you’re wearing, it’s the light of the Lord that makes you shine beautifully.”  It’s the truth, Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,  But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.  (Proverbs 31:30)  That good ole saying, True Beauty Comes From Within, is a powerful truth sweet friend.

I believe in working out and getting my sweat on, not because I’m on a mission to be skinny.  I workout because I think it’s a life-line of being a Mom of Adventure and Grace.  Working out gives us mental and physical strength and health.  I’ve worked out so many of life’s battles on the gym floor; sweating, punching, running, and bicycling.  There is really nothing like putting on pink boxing gloves and hitting the bag when your feeling frustrated or even sad, it just brings out a fight in you, it’s strengthens your perseverance to push through life’s obstacles!  It’s powerful ladies, and it’s amazing what an hour of hard physical exercise can do for you, the release of endorphin’s is a natural high that fights stress and depression!  Physical exercise is like God’s little happy pill for us, and He gave us these feel-good neurotransmitters for a reason ladies, don’t let them go to waste!

Newton’s law is a theme song in my life, “A body in motion, stays in motion”.  When we are physically fit, and working out regularly, our body has more strength and energy to enjoy our adventures.  It’s about being the strongest, healthiest you, so you can fulfill your call in life to the fullest.  Maybe for you it’s going on walks with your children, hikes with your husband, spin class with a girlfriend, hiring a personal trainer, workout videos in your living room, or even starting physical therapy for your injuries or illnesses.  Whatever it is, commit to it!  Start enjoying the benefits of endorphin’s and the peace of mind and physical strength that comes with exercise.

I know consistent exercise has helped me be a more joyful and energetic mom and wife.  I’m no longer on the side lines watching my kids laugh and play, I’m running right beside them…or hiking, swimming, biking, dirtbiking, playing soccer or basketball with them.  My personal journey to a more healthy life has included my dear trainer, Mena at MRI Fitness.  She is a motivational blessing, and frankly, I need to be yelled at to be motivated in the gym 😉  She says it best, “Life’s adventures deserve your very best physical and mental being.  Exercising and eating healthy are the most important aspect of making that happen.  It’s not just good for the body, but good for the soul as well.”  Mena, is a rock star mom and wife, and inspirational to so many of us!

Mena Spodobalski, Trainer, Wife, True Mom of Adventure and Grace!

Mena Spodobalski, Trainer, Wife, True Mom of Adventure and Grace!

The Power of Mornings

D Reading the God's Word

I often get the question, “How do you do it all?”, especially since we doubled our family overnight.  So, I want to be very clear, I don’t!  I absolutely do not “do it all”, quite honestly most days I leave more of my to-do list unchecked than checked. (I know that drives us Type A mommas crazy to even read)   My busy life is all about priorities, there is one thing that I never put on a to-do list, because it is not optional, I can’t put it on a list and run the risk of it being left undone because, that would surely leave me undone.  Quiet time with the Lord; reading His written Word, praying, pondering on things of Him, reading books that encourage my faith, these moments are a must in my hectic schedule, and they hold tender mercies that fill me up so that I may be poured out like an offering the rest of the day.   The things that fill our mornings set the tone for our entire day, and quite honestly they set the tone for our husband and children’s day too.

Today was a perfect example of what happens if I don’t fight to protect my quiet time with the Lord, and I rush through my morning, and my crazy to-do list without first seeking Him.  Oh boy, here is another dose of keeping it “real” on my blog.  I imagine if my family was on a reality tv show, that the commercials leading up to the Season Premiere of the “McBogan Family” (our blended family nickname), would include images of my face distorted, barking orders at my children, still in my pj’s, and hair a crazed mess,  as I’m spilling food and coffee all over the kitchen, in my crazy morning rush!  Oh ya, it would be beautiful.

In my frantic rush of trying to get my darling husband out the door at 6:30 am with a cup of coffee, breakfast, lunch, and a loving kiss goodbye, followed by,  making six more healthy lunches, getting dinner into the crockpot, rushing my teenager out the door at 7:20 for High School, feeding, clothing, and doing the hair of four more kiddos then, reminding them to feed the dog, the fish, and the lizard; to make their beds and to find their shoes, and jackets and to get in the car, all while trying to make myself presentable for work; I lost my cool and I was a hot mess.  Oh, I can see the reality show trailer now, the freeze frame of my crazed face with a caption “tune in Mondays at 8 for a new season of the McBogan family-Frantic Chaos for your viewing pleasure!”

An early morning appointment took an hour out of our normal weekday schedule and it felt like it took three hours out of our schedule.  It caused such a rushed, chaotic morning, and it lacked loving kindness on my tongue, and God was not even finished yet.  On the way to several different drop-offs of children my car broke down 15 times, yes I said 15 times ladies and gentlemen. Repeatedly my car died, mid-freeway, mid-intersection, just died, no power at all, and a little light came on that said “Reduced Engine Power”.  Perfect!  As I stopped with my hazard lights on staring at that “Reduced Engine Power” light, angry drivers honking at me, kids yelling they were going to be late to camp, I called my husband frustrated and feeling helpless, and then I hung up and couldn’t help but laugh at the irony.   Oh what a mess of a morning, and what a thick skull I have!  Thank you for the reminder God, that I was running on reduced engine power.

Mornings, sweet precious mornings, are the start of a new beginning.  Lamentations 3:22-23 reminds us that the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases and His mercies are new every morning.  His loving kindness is a resting place for us to be renewed each and every day friends.  When we fight to carve out time in our busy schedules and seek Him first by reading His Word and delighting in His truth, he meets us there and fills us with everything that He knows we will need for the day.  “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you”  Psalm 119:11.  Oh, the strength and beauty that comes from hiding God’s truth in our hearts.  “…For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” Luke 6:45.  Then, loving kindness and the law of grace can be on our tongues with the children God has entrusted us to train up in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6), and with the husband that God has called us to love and respect (Ephesians 5).

When I’m faithful to spend time with my Father in Heaven every morning, he is intimate in his love for me, he heals my brokenness, restores my hope, fills me with joy, and covers me in his armor so I can be victorious in life’s battles.  God is so lavish in his love that He doesn’t even stop there, he has given me the most beautiful moments with my children as well.  Especially with my sweet D, he is my early riser and lover of the Bible.  With the exception of crazy mornings like today, my children know where to find me when they wake-up, I’m always cuddled up by the window with a blanket, a cup of coffee, and my Bible.  Most of the kiddos come greet me with a hug, then they go about their morning.  But, D always snuggles in next to me with his own Bible and reads the word of God.  He loves our morning time together and enjoys teaching his siblings about the verses he reads.  It’s precious, it’s a gift to my often weary momma heart.  I encourage you to make morning quiet time a high priority in your life, one that doesn’t go on a to-do list but that is a life line that your whole day hinges upon.  God will meet you there sweet friends 🙂

O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You;  My flesh longs for You; In a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.  Psalm 63:1

Searching for Rainbows in our Storms.

God's gift of a rainbow in my front yard.  His promise.

God’s gift of two rainbows in my front yard are a reminder of His promises to us.

If I’m going to take on this new adventure of writing and blogging then, I’m going to do it my way; real truth, vulnerable, raw and transparent.  Not just the good times and mountain-top views of my life and my walk with God but, the door slamming, heart breaking moments that refine my faith, that make me stronger and gentler at the same time, the moments that bring God glory because the only way I survived them was by his God’s grace and through His miraculous power!  So hold on ladies and gentlemen, it’s going to get “real” up in here 😉

I have walked through some small rain storms in my days, as I’m sure you have, but I have also bunkered down in some crazy tornado storms that tried to rip me apart, storms that tore at my family, my relationships, my faith, and my self worth; the unbelievable kind of storms that leave you stunned, asking “what just happened”.  Perhaps you intimately know these kinds of storms  as well?  They are defining, they make you dig deep and choose what you are going to believe as truth in your life.  For me personally, it comes down to my faith; the personal promises of God’s Word, that He loves me, that He will never abandon me, that He will never forsake me, that He will protect me, that His grace is sufficient in my weakness.  Ah, even writing those promises brings a peace over my heart and the tension from my current battles are lightened.

If I’m honest, I would vulnerably tell you that the past few months have been brutally painful for me.  That the bitter sting of family betrayals and the hurtful decisions of others seized my heart and threw me into a depression and a state of fear and pity like I have never known.  I questioned every thought and decision I had every made, I questioned my self worth, and my faith. My sadness and pain felt like a darkness around me that was so thick, I could not feel Jesus anymore.  The encouragement of loving friends and family fell to the floor of my darkness and disbelief. I became a bitter, short tempered crying mess, and my husband and children suffered the most.  I’m so very sad for that.

But, the good news is God is faithful to restore his beloved sons and daughters.  I’ve had some dark days of self-doubt in my life but, my sweet Jesus came through my darkness with a fire, an amazing refining fire, filled with hope, and love, and best of all JOY!  I thank my closest prayer warrior friends for standing beside me and lifting me up in prayer when I could no longer bear to stand alone.  Your are treasures!  Here is the biggest beauty that came out of my recent struggles; joy and hope are found in thankfulness.  Jesus never promised us an easy, problem free life – he promised us eternal life; found through his death on the cross, and that gives us reason to rejoice and hold to the hope found in Him.

Dear friend, if you’re in the midst of a little rainstorm or a big ‘ole tornado, I encourage you to search for God’s gifts, for the evidences of His grace in your life.  Look around you and whisper a small thanksgiving to Him, it’s amazing the healing it brings. When we look at our life searching for the blessings, we can’t help but be satisfied, content, even joyful.  As the storms rage on in our lives, we are more steadfast and hopeful in the midst of them.  All of a sudden we can actually sing praises like David did in the midst of his battles.  The amazing Psalms, read them!  They were a healing balm over my heart, and I think they will give you great encouragement.  God loves you dear friend, He is transforming us into the image of His Son, he is refining us and turning our ashes into true beauty, oh there is such great hope and joy in that 🙂

“I am always aware of the Lord’s presence; he is near, and nothing can shake me.  And so I am thankful and glad, and I feel completely secure, because you protect me from the power of death.  I have served you faithfully, and you will not abandon me to the world of the dead.  You will show me the path that leads to life; your presence fills me with joy and brings me pleasure forever.”  Psalm 16:8-11

 

 

 

 

Hanging Bunkbeds by my Handy Daddy

One thing is for certain, my kiddos have a very Handy Daddy!

Whatever I dream up, or find on Pinterest, my husband can create, and make it even better than my dreams.  We were blessed to add our niece and two nephews to our family several years ago, but that meant we needed a bigger home, and that kiddos would be sharing rooms!

In an attempt to save space, I showed my husband some ideas I found on Pinterest to hang bunkbeds from the ceiling.  He pondered for a while and said he would do it, but his way 😉  Being a plumber by trade, he came up with a fantastic industrial looking bed!  Best part, it is unique and sturdy!

He’s amazing 😉

Hanging Bunkbed

Hanging Bunkbed

Custom Hanging Bunkbed

Custom Hanging Bunkbed

Downside, I do not have plans to share with all of you.  But, I can give you a summary and I’m sure you or your Handy Daddy can make it 😉

The base is made out of unistrut, with 2 x 4 wood planks screwed into it.  My Handy Daddy screwed 3/8″ All Thread into the Unistrut attaching it with.  The All Thread goes through the ceiling and is bolted to more Unistrut, that is laying perpendicular over the rafters.  There is also Unistut screwed into the studs in the wall for additional support.

The top bunk is twin size and the bottom bunk is actually a full size platform bed, made with Unistrut and 2×4 wood planks.  My Handy Daddy even made a custom ladder for the boys!  Such a fun room for our boys, I hope it inspires you to DIY something special for your own home.  There is such an adventure to be had in building your own furniture with your children.  Enjoy 🙂

God is not through with us yet!

God created the world out of nothing, and as long as we are nothing, He can also make something out of us. ~Martin Luther

As the New Year approaches, we can often look back at the last year with analytical eyes, and at the future with new determination to do things different, to have more control, in one way or another.

I hear the weary words of my fellow moms crying out with sadness over what feels like a year of failure with their children, of wanting to be “more”; more present, more gentle, more playful, more active…”more”.

I hear the discouraged words of moms wanting to be “less”, feeling the full weight of the lie that they are “too much”; wanting to be less busy, less distracted, less emotional, less indecisive…”less”.

I hear the broken-hearted words of the wife wanting to be “loved”. To feel passion, to feel heard, to be protected, to be desired…”loved”.

I hear their cries echo in my own heart. My own battle with all of it, my own doubt and pain, and regret. But, then God whispers his amazing truth-truth that sets us free dear girlfriends!

You are “enough”, but not “too much”, you are “loved”, you are perfectly made in the image of God, and He loves you with an everlasting love; and the best part…God is ALWAYS about his business, he is always loving and transforming us into the image of His Son, and that my friends should be the focus of our New Year! To worship The Lord with a thankful heart because he is not through with us yet!