Sunday, February 17, 2008

Weekend Blues

Yes, the weekend blues have hit me. It has been a very interesting weekend at our house. On Friday afternoon, my dad and step-mom arrived for a weekend of re-wiring the upstairs. The goal was to get wire from the basement to the attic, and then from the attic down to what will be Blessing's new room, once it is finished being remodeled.

Well, before Mr. Tall got home my dad began questioning me. He is upset that I am a stay-at-home mom. He feels as if I am wasting my education and the money that I put into my education. He thinks that I should be working full time as a teacher and that we should be putting our kids into daycare. This was a tough blow, especially since it was a tough week of personally fighting with financial issues and the easy solve of going back to work.

As if that wasn't enough, he proceeded to give me a guilt trip on not attending every single family event that occurs down "home" and that the excuse of money being tight was not acceptable. According to him, we go to Des Moines all the time and are never at home. Any of you who know us, know that that is not the case. We hardly ever go to Des Moines or Ankeny any more (because of the distance and gas prices). We do most of our shopping closer to home, especially since Mr. Tall is in town almost every day.

Finally, he proceeded to make me feel as if I was a failure. I had e-mailed my step-mom back in December/January that I was pretty busy. I e-mailed her what my routine was and how things were shaping up around the house. In that e-mail, I also mentioned that I rest or take a nap almost every afternoon whenever Blessing goes down. My dad told me that I wasn't busy and that if I was, I wouldn't be able to take a nap every day. It was so hard to hear that.

I know that we are supposed to work at pleasing and gaining acceptance from our Father in Heaven, but what about from our Father here on earth - especially one that you look up to, respect, and want to please. How are we supposed to get over the fact that our father on earth doesn't agree with what we are doing, even though we know deep in our heart of hearts that our father in heaven does agree and is pleased by what we are doing? Where do we look for acceptance on earth - is encouragement from our friends enough, or do we need it from our parents too - the ones that have spent their whole lives raising us......

I love my father dearly and look up to him tremendously. I think that that is what is making these issues and his thoughts so tough for me to digest. I want to please him, while at the same time doing what I know is right in my heart. I know that it isn't easy and that things are going to be tough, but I feel as if my daughter has such a richer life (not with money) because I am staying home and raising her. I can't imagine having someone else raise her and our baby-to-be.

Needless to say, for that hour when my father was talking with me, I was defending my husband and my choices. I was trying to explain why we do the things we do and why we have made the decisions we have made. I was justifying every little thing that I do and that we have decided. It felt as if I was in a courtroom being closely examined for a crime I had committed.

On Saturday, I had a Pampered Chef show and then came home and scrapbooked while everyone else ran to Ames. Blessing napped during this time and I had some peace and quiet. The men then worked on the wiring and accomplished quite a bit...not as much as they had wanted to, but enough so we can keep working on the room and hopefully get it finished. Mr. Tall and I then went to a church Valentine's dinner. We enjoyed ourselves, but were disconnected and disjointed. I was struggling with the discussion with my father and Mr. Tall was struggling with the fact that things didn't go the way he wanted them. We got home from our date and our guests left. They wanted to beat the weather home and not risk it this morning.

Sunday came around and we made the trek to church, in the start of a mild blizzard. It was a small communion service with the singing of hymns, a communion meditation, and then prayer. It was a nice service, but the drive home was not so nice as the roads were completely covered and the wind was blowing snow and making visibility very limited. We made it safe and sound. Mr. Tall went back to work on the wiring and I hung out with Blessing and played. She stacked small wooden blocks 11 high this morning! Lunch then naps...Mr. Tall kept working. After naps, we played some more and then ate supper. Blessing took a bath and then went to bed. Almost time for us to retire for the night too.....

A couple of pictures from this weekend...

1) Blessing and grandma cuddling on the couch. Grandpa was running the vacuum and Blessing is afraid of vacuums. She typically cuddles with mommy while daddy is working, but this time, Grandma got the pleasure of the cuddle!

2) Blessing and grandpa reading books together. Blessing kept bringing grandpa books, and he kept reading them to her. It was such a beautiful sight - I couldn't pass up the photo, even though grandpa wasn't happy!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Over the past couple of weeks, what life means has been on my mind a lot. I can’t promise you that this little entry is going to solve exactly what life means and how to handle it, but, I do know that I have had many lessons lately that have helped me to understand more of what it is.

1) Life goes by so quickly, enjoy the little moments.
I have come to this conclusion while having sleeping issues with our 19 month old
daughter. Blessing has been challenging mommy and daddy, especially when it comes to bed time at night. Nap time hasn’t been quite as much of an issue (except that she screams after about 45 minutes of napping). However, bed time has been another story. Blessing decided that she wasn’t going to go to sleep, even after mommy and daddy rocked her and laid her down. We didn’t change her routine at all and haven’t had any problems with her sleeping since she was about 10 months old. Two weeks ago, Blessing decided that she was going to scream after we put her in bed. All she wanted was to fall asleep in mommy and daddy’s arms while being rocked and then sleep there all night. That was not a possibility as mommy and daddy needed their sleep too! So, the other option was to rock her for a little bit, then put her in her crib. Normally she would fuss for about 10 minutes and then fall asleep. That was not Blessing’s idea – she decided she was going to scream for over an hour. Mommy and daddy had to give Blessing some tough love, and let her cry herself to sleep. We would check on her every 10 to 15 minutes, but had to stop ourselves from picking her up and touching her. It was such a tough time, however, she would always wake up in the morning happy and glad to see us. During these two weeks, Blessing has become such a daddy’s girl. She hates to see daddy go to work and loves to see him pull in the driveway. The “DADDY” that she screams when she sees him coming down the road melts my heart. Also, the times that she wakes up from her nap and wants to be cuddled also warms mommy’s heart. During these two weeks, I had the opportunity to hold Blessing as she fell asleep in my arms. This had not happened in several months. As Blessing was sleeping in my arms, all I could do was look down into her face and smile. Blessing, even though she had frustrated mommy and daddy with sleeping problems, taught me to enjoy the moments in life that seem so small and take time out to create the little things.

2) When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives you a mix of lemons and oranges, create citrusade.
Ok, so I made the last part of this one up, but it makes sense to me. I have mentioned before that we have been struggling financially for several months now. At the beginning of February, I didn’t know if we were going to be able to pay all of our bills or not. However, God provided for us, and we were able to pay everything. The middle of the month arrived, and once again I didn’t know how we were going to be able to make it. After paying bills, I had approximately $150 left to make it until the first of the month. My loving adorable husband, not realizing where we stood, came home and mentioned that he had spent $130 of that on oil, oil filters, and valentine’s gifts. I love my husband so much that I didn’t have the heart to tell him what kind of a pinch this put us in. I smiled and accepted the valentine’s gift lovingly and appreciatively. He had got a paraffin therapy. He needs it almost more than me right now, as he has been in a high amount of pain due to his amputation. He was so excited to be able to put it together and start using it that I couldn’t imagine crushing his pride. So, I took a tough situation and one that could have become a sour one, and made it into a sweet, enjoyable situation. As a woman after God’s own heart, I have been working extremely heard at being a supportive, respectful, appreciative, and encouraging wife. It is not always the easiest task, however, it is one that I am striving towards. I have other Christian friends who are striving towards the same thing and it has been so helpful to be able to bounce ideas off of them and know that we are all struggling with some similar issues and circumstances. I have a friend who also had very little money as her husband has not been working the past 3 weeks due to the weather. Needless to say, they were struggling in many different ways. I spent a few hours with her last week, and even though she says that I encouraged her and helped her, little does she know the impact that she had on me. It is amazing how God works and helps us to make citrusade out of lemons and oranges – to turn yucky situations into successful situations. I know that I don’t always succeed at being a loving, supportive, Christian wife, but I do know that I am trying so hard to succeed 80% of the time and working at being a better person. That is the sweetest part right now!

3) Finally, take time to renew yourself.
I am not the best at this statement. I always put myself last – after my husband, kids,
friends, and extended family. I have been trying, especially the last few days, to take at least a few minutes for me each day. Whether that is in the form of a nap or reading a book, it has made a difference. I tend to feel more refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the day after those few moments. Even though I don’t get it done every single day, it is something that I am attempting to do. Renewing yourself is such an important part of life. We can wear ourselves down so much that it feels as if life is overtaking us, instead of us taking control of life. Take time to renew yourself.

Finally, I just want to say that I definitely don’t have all the answers to life, and these few paragraphs don’t even touch all the thoughts on life that have passed through my mind lately. It is just a snapshot of how I am being touched during this long, cold, snowy winter. Also, with a little life growing inside of me, I have been reflecting a lot on God’s creation. I know that I am tired of winter – all the snow and cold weather – but, being stuck inside has helped me to reflect. This long winter is going to make the spring and warm weather so much more enjoyable once it gets here. If at all possible, attempt to enjoy the last few weeks of winter – even if it means bundling up the kids and yourself and going outside to get some fresh air.

Friday, February 1, 2008


Perseverance - steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., esp. in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement

Over the past couple days, this is the word that keeps coming to mind. If I just persevere, then things will be good. Things will change and I/we will make it through this tough time.

I honestly think a lot of it has to do with the exceptionally long winter we have been faced with this year. It didn't start too early, but it has been filled with ice storms, snow storms, and extremely cold weather. The quote usually stated is "life is short." Right now, life is seeming extremely long with extremely short days, even though they are getting a little longer each day! Hooray!

As winter drags on, and we spend more and more time cooped up in the house with our kids and husbands, we start to get grumpy and antsy and just down right upset. We have cabin fever and are not sure what we can do to get rid of it, because there is no money to spend and it is too cold to just go outside for a long walk on gravel roads with no houses for windbreaks!

Well, perseverance has paid off for me this week. At the beginning of the week, my husband and I were not getting along very well, I was grumpy, and my daughter was just a handful. She was a handful basically because I was not in a good mood, or at least that is my conclusion! Around Wednesday, after talking to a couple of my girl friends from church, I decided that I had to make the most of these days in the house, change my attitude, and change the course of the week.

I got home on Wednesday, after working in the morning and having a visit/play date with a girlfriend, and cleaned the bathroom and made supper for my husband. My husband and I had had a few words with each other earlier in the day because our diesel truck wouldn't start, a telltale sign of how cold it is outside. Also, he didn't put the garbage out to the curb for the garbage man to pick up. All I could think about with that scenerio was the money we were "wasting" by paying for garbage pick-up and not using it. Anyway, he came home, our daughter was excited to see him as always, and I had supper ready for him on the table. After supper, I made some homemade pudding for him - something he enjoys tremendously. Then, we played with our daughter together, had an excellent conversation, and just hung out. It was a fabulous night!

Yesterday, I set out to accomplish some tasks around the house. My husband has been complaining about our bedroom, which is temporary, being hard to get around. So, I worked at putting clothes away that were in boxes from the move, organized a few other things, picked up trash, and cleaned. I did all this while my daughter was engrossed in the television. (We only have one tv in our house, and it is in the master bedroom. Therefore, our daughter doesn't spend much time around the tv. It has changed how creative and inventive she is. Even though it drives me nuts at time trying to occupy her, it has been a great change. If anybody is up for a challenge, I say go for it. It has changed our life.) Enough on the sidenote.....After working in the bedroom, Blessing colored while I worked on her scrapbook. I drained some pumpkin and worked on getting 5 loads of laundry done.

When my husband got home, he carried in 3 beautiful pink roses. If you could only smell them. They made our whole downstairs smell beautiful. So fragrant. I felt as if the last two days had paid off. I warmed up some soup, as the wind had him extremely cold. We ate supper and then spent some time with our daughter together. He then took our daughter upstairs and played with her while I worked at cleaning up my desk and paying bills. We then put her to bed for the night. I worked on pampered chef stuff and then we ordered our seeds. It was a great night together.

A little note on paying bills - many of you know our situation. We have moved and 95% of our bills are due at the beginning of the month now. This is a change from where we last lived. As a result, I have been very stressed and uptight about the 1st of the month coming. I had it in my head that we were not going to be able to pay our bills without dipping into savings. My husband brought home a pay stub on Wednesday night with an unexpected pay check. Plus, it was a free check as no insurance was taken out because it was the 3rd paycheck of the month. This was not an "extra" check, it just happened to be how the month fell. However, I didn't realize we would get an extra check. As a result, we were able to pay all of our bills, except our icky propane bill, without dipping into savings. God truly blessed us and really made me realize how much I need to trust him to bring us through. It is so easy to not trust and take finances into our own hands, when really it is God's money to begin with. I know that I needed that reminder this week.

I guess the moral of this post is to persevere, even when the winter is long and all hope seems lost. Know that Spring will be coming soon, the grass will be turning green, the seeds we plant in our gardens will germinate and grow, and the sun will shine and warm up our hearts and the temperature. Even though life is difficult right now, we just need to stay on that steady course and keep on keeping on.