Take Out the Trash: Eliminating Inner Frustrations

I have a serious beef about the trash. I HATE having the trash overflow and cascade onto the floor. I’ve tried all sorts of ways to get Those Responsible to take the trash…even resorting to calling the guy who takes it out a Hero, and wildly applauding anyone who is willing to tackle the offensive debris!

It gets really bad when the trash can has been stuffed beyond all reason, and begins to regurgitate its contents on the floor. Then Junior comes along and plays with the debris, happily chewing on last week’s pizza crusts! I begin to wonder who I should yell at first: Junior, or the guy who’s supposed to take out the trash!

 

One thing about trash: it MUST be dealt with and removed, or everyone in the house suffers. But trash is like our inner frustrations: they must be dealt with, or the atmosphere becomes toxic! And what’s worse, the trash in our life gets to a certain point, and finally begins to pour all over the place, creating disaster everywhere!!

Why do we get so frustrated sometimes, and how can we Take out the Trash? How can we deal with the frustration and eliminate it? Here are a few reasons why:

  • We get frustrated – because things don’t go our way
  • Because we’re irritated with ourselves, our own laziness and failures
  • We’re irritated that the circumstances aren’t favorable to us…in other words, we’re mad at God!
  • We’re irritated because others are not cooperative (surprise! Kids have a mind of their own!)
  • We’re frustrated because we feel guilty deep down inside

So, how do we Take Out the Trash?

Recognize what’s happening. As soon as we realize we’re frustrated, that’s when we need to deal with the root problem. Why does this bother me so much? Once we discover the “why” behind our irritation, then we can deal with it.

Change the things we can. When we get frustrated at our own laziness, we know it’s time to change. We can do it, if we set our minds to it.

Ask forgiveness for the past. I know it sounds really self-explanatory, but the past really is the past, and we need to leave it there. Our past is over and done, as well as the past of others. Let it go.

Accept the things you can’t change. When Junior steps on an old rusty bucket and gashes his foot open, my day is completely rearranged and the laundry and dishes that need done suddenly take second seat to sitting in the ER waiting room. It’s frustrating! But in all reality, there’s simply nothing I can do about it, so I may as well accept the fact that I now have “forced rest time” and an odd kind of “bonding” with my child in the hospital.

 

As taking out the trash before it spills over goes a long way to ensuring tranquility, so eliminating inner frustrations can help us have peaceful homes. Let’s not let it get so bad that Junior is forced to play in a toxic atmosphere!

What are some other ways we can eliminate inner frustrations? What do you think causes them? Leave your comments below!

Linking up with: Monday:
Alabaster Jar,
The Better Mom,
Raising Arrows
What Joy is Mine

Tuesday:
Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife

Wednesday:
To Love Honor and Vacuum

 

Raising Wise and Godly Young People

“The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise cild shall have joy of him. Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.” (Proverbs 23:24-25)

We just recently bought a house which sat empty for about 5 years. Now there are whole trees growing up amongst some beautiful bushes, the hedge by the fence is about 25 feet tall (complete with a volunteer dogwood tree!) and there are tangles of vines all through the fence. It’s a big job, but with a lot of time and “sweat equity,” we’ll be able to bring it back to something nice again. And when we do, we’ll be able to sit on the back porch, sipping sweet tea, and relaxing in the shade! I am definitely looking forward to that! How relaxing that sounds!

Just as having a nice garden or yard brings a special kind of joy, so does raising a wise, righteous child. By God’s grace, my son and his wife (and my grandbaby) attend the church where my husband preaches. There’s something unspeakably wonderful about being able to bounce a grandchild on my knee at the House of God.

I’m here to tell you that it IS possible to be a joyful mom, and to have children who will grow into adulthood and bring you joy.

We have all the tools necessary to prune and train our little ones: the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, and prayer. These are daily available – all we need to do is use them.

Imagine what it would have been like for me to get this overgrown property, open up the garage door, and find a lawn mower, weed eater, pruner, trimmers, fertilizer, weed-and-feed and all the other yard and garden tools already there! How wonderful that would have been! But for us as Christian parents, that is the supply line we have: EVERYTHING – we – need!!

We have the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, and prayer, and if we need wisdom on how to use those tools, He tells us all we need to do is ask. “If any of you lack wisdom, let Him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5)

Unfortunately, nowadays people don’t look to the Word of God for answers…if they have a question, they Google it! That’s like sitting at home and complaining that the yard is getting overgrown, and then running to Walmart and buying a pair of scissors to cut the lawn with, when you have a John Deere riding lawnmower in the garage! The Word of God is quick and powerful….and it’s right in your own home!

When we follow popular theories of child training, rather than the proven principles of the Word of God, we spend all our time cutting weeds – the root issue never gets resolved. I could be spending hours on my hands and knees snipping my overgrown lawn, running from weed to weed, and never get the lawn done properly. But the person who uses the proper tools, the John Deere and the weed-and-feed, will be finished with her lawn long before!

Here are a few other suggestions to help us as we strive to train our children for the Lord:

Use other tools as well: good books and movies, with stories of courage and integrity.

Early and definitely dedicate your children to God

Learn from those around you, especially those with older children. Dave Ramsey says that if you want to be rich, do rich people things. In other words, if you follow the same process, you will meet with the same result. So we can learn from others, especially those who have godly older children, and do what they did. If you see children going astray, observe. Or even gently probe to discover what happened.

Give your children the benefit of a wise and godly home atmosphere

Teach and train your children in how they should act, respond and live

Most importantly, personally practice everything that you are trying to teach your children! Your own godly life will have a greater impact than any other single item or activity.

It seems like it will never happen, but someday it will. God has given you everything you need, and you will be bouncing your own grandchild on your knee as you worship the Lord in His House.

It’s even better than sitting on your deck and sipping sweet tea!

Your turn to share:

What do you think is important to raising godly young people? What have you learned in your parenting from observing other people? How about through your own experience? Let us know, so that we may all be encouraged!

Linking up with: Monday:
Alabaster Jar,
The Better Mom,
Raising Arrows
What Joy is Mine

Tuesday:
Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife

Wednesday:
To Love Honor and Vacuum

 

Routine Happiness

The other day we had some wonderful family time out in a cute little town not far away. We spent most of our afternoon in a cute nursery, which also has a few small museums. But the nursery was by far the best part. It was incredibly beautiful, with blooming flowers, bushes and trees of all kinds set neatly among small fish ponds and comfortable benches. It was a wonderful place to while away an afternoon.

Spencer’s Gardens is a beautiful place. In fact, it’s a peaceful and restful place – but it didn’t get that way by accident. Someone had to work hard to create a peaceful atmosphere, and someone has to continue to put in the hours to keep it that way. A beautiful garden requires work.

In the same way, being a joyful mom requires work. Oh, I know, work is a four-letter word, and we Christians are not to use those! Well, here’s a four-letter word that we need to learn, and use regularly. But when we establish good routines in our daily lives, we make room for peace and joy!

How can we establish good routines?

  1. First, we need to sit down and write out what we would like our home to be like. Perhaps you have a home that’s all covered in dirty dishes, stinky laundry, and trash. You may wish it were at least somewhat neat! Just write down your goals for your home. Don’t get up and try to clean it all up right now!
  2. Next, understand that probably part of the problem is that you don’t have routines established for those activities. When I was newly married, I only did the dishes when the counters were completely covered in dirty ones, and there was not even a bowl or spoon left on the cupboard! Now, I do the dishes right away after every meal as a matter of routine, so I save myself having to scrub 3 day-old gunk off my glass pans just so I can make dinner! You will need to do the same thing – develop routines to get these things done.

For some of us, we secretly hope that “someone” will come and help us. Perhaps a friend will bail us out, or our mom, or, most likely, our husband. We hear of husbands who come home from work and then do a bunch of housework and wonder why our hubby doesn’t do that. Well, don’t expect it from him, especially if he’s out working all day. He needs a rest, just like you do.

  1. Finally, attach those routines to something you always do. For me, it’s a meal. After I eat, I clean up after the meal, put on a load of laundry, and do a quick clean up. It all takes about 15-20 minutes, and the place is set to rights again! You may want to attach your activity to something else, like feeding the baby.

One last word: if you do nothing else, do 1 load of laundry a day, 1 pile of dishes a day, and take out the trash once a day (even if it’s not your job!) Just those three activities will keep you ahead of the ball, and will open up the floodgates for peace in your home!

Being a joyful mom may require a bit of work, but it is much more fun to be able to relax with the kids and frolic with them when you don’t have a mound of laundry threatening to collapse and smother the family! As you develop good routines in your day, you’ll be buying time to rest and relax!

Attack your day – before it attacks you!

Today’s Joyful Mom assignment: sit down and decide on a good routine which includes 1 load of laundry, 1 batch of dishes, and the trash. Be prepared for an amazing transformation of peace!

Linking up with: Monday:
Alabaster Jar,
The Better Mom,
Raising Arrows
What Joy is Mine

Tuesday:
Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife

Wednesday:
To Love Honor and Vacuum

Smile, and Give Your Face a Rest!

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I have no idea what causes it, but sometimes something happens that makes a day go sour. Maybe we got up on the wrong side of the bed (how can you do that when your bed is against the wall??) or we didn’t get enough sleep, or perhaps it’s hormones – ah, yes, those toothy monsters that run around inside our bodies causing every imaginable emotion – but we crab at the kids, kick the cat, and growl at hubby. Before we know it, everyone is in on the act.

Junior pushes the baby down and Chloe cries because she can’t seem to color in the lines. Everyone is all out of sorts and nothing seems to be going right! How can the family get out of such a rut? Is there any way to remedy this horrible situation? Ah, yes! There is a cure: Laughter! And, more specifically, Mom’s Laughter!

My mother, bless her heart, was never very coordinated. Because of vision problems, she didn’t learn to walk until she was 2, so grace was not one of her strong points. It was not uncommon for her to trip and spill the milk, knock over a glass of Kool-Aid (horrors!!) or simply run into something. I clearly remember her dumping a glass of something-or-other, and laughing, saying, “Well, that was good, June! What’s going to be your next number?” as though she had just successfully completed a difficult dance move. Then she would continue to chuckle and clean up the mess.

She saw humor in a fairly hopeless situation.

How can we an Awful Day into a Great Day? Here are some good ideas:

1. Smile – There’s a saying that goes, “Fake it till you make it!” That especially applies to smiling! If you greet your kiddos with smiles every day, it’s amazing how nice the day starts. So even if you don’t feel like it, Smile! Soon you will feel like it.

2. Sing – God wants to hear our praise – yes, He DESERVES our praise – any time, but especially when times are tough. Can we sing in the valleys? It may be tough, but if it were easy, everyone would do it. I’ve sung in the shower with tears streaming down my face, and do you know what? When I get out, I’m still singing…and smiling.

3. Read/listen to the Psalms – My husband has a saying, “There is balm in the Psalms.” There is a soothing, healing salve in the Word of God. Many of us have not just one copy, but many copies of the Word of God. At the first sign of trouble, we can just stop and open up our Bibles and read for just a few minutes. And if we’re too busy to read, we can always listen to the Bible online. The Gloomies cannot long withstand an onslaught of the Word of God.

4. Rise 15 minutes earlier than the rest of the family – To me, this is a HUGE key to starting the day off right. It’s not easy, but to just give yourself 15 minutes to wipe the sleepies out of your eyes and enjoy a little bit of time to merely use the bathroom uninterrupted is wonderful! If you can do nothing else, try getting up just 15 minutes before everyone else. It will jump start your day and put a spring in your step.

5. “Swallow your frog 1st thing in the morning” – Mark Twain once said,
“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” If we find the most distasteful thing that we need to do, and do it first off, it will make the rest of the day easier! For some of us, it may be cleaning or decluttering, some may despise yard work, and others may hate meal planning. Tackle that despised item first thing in the morning, and the whole day will be better.

6. Stop and drink some water or get a little snack – It’s amazing how we are inextricably tied to our bodies! If we’re low on fuel (food,) we’ll get grumpy. For me, sometimes the best thing I can do is stop and get a little snack. That keeps me from strangling my little ones mid-morning!

Next time your tempted to kick the dog, bark at the cat, and growl at the kids, try one of these suggestions. You may find yourself laughing before long!

Your Assignment? Do you remember how you used to stand in front of the mirror and make faces at yourself when you were little? Well, go to the mirror and SMILE! See how much better you look? It even makes the bags under your eyes go away…kinda. 😀 Practice smiling, even when no one’s watching!

If you’re brave, take a minute to tell me how it’s going!

Linking up with: Monday:
Alabaster Jar,
The Better Mom,
Raising Arrows
What Joy is MineWhatjoyismine.com

Tuesday:
Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife

Wednesday:
To Love Honor and Vacuum

Bad Attitude = Bad Life

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Right now I’m sitting in a hospital waiting room, while my husband has a cardiac ultrasound. He’s been in the hospital since Saturday night, when I brought him in because of pain in the chest. Lord willing, he will have a clear bill of health and be able to come home tonight! For those of you who have been praying for us, THANK YOU!

Meanwhile, I write this in the ER waiting room, so if it reads a bit choppy, that’s why!

I’ve had a multitude of responses to my many pregnancies over the years. Of course, the larger my family got, the more stares and jaw-dropping my round figure elicited. Folks were surprised and some were shocked, but after meeting my children, almost all of them said, “I wish I had more.”

Except once.

I was going through the checkout one time when I was pregnant with my 6th child, and I (of course) had #1-5 with me in line. The cashier took in my family in one quick glance and said, “I wish I had never had any kids. I had 5 of ’em, and it was **** the whole time. I hate them!” It was my turn for my jaw to drop! I couldn’t believe it!

When I left the store, I couldn’t help but feel terrible for that woman. She could not have been happy when she was younger, and she sure wasn’t happy now. How awful her life must have been.

Since then, I’ve been through a few valleys (like hospital waiting rooms!) and on some mountaintops, and I’ve had my share of heartache, but deep down, I’ve always had joy.

Last month, we looked at how we can improve our marriages. If you missed any of the posts, you can find them here. And on Facebook there was a lot more discussion and some additional ideas.

But for the next month, I’d like to examine Joyful Motherhood, and see if we can find greater fulfillment in our lives as mothers.

To become a joyful mother, we first need to understand what the purpose of motherhood is.

As women, we have the unique opportunity to actually bring a new life into this world. Think of it! That God would use us to add another soul to this earth is incredible.

But being a woman, and more specifically, being a mother, is more than that. It is the dramatic opportunity to shape that soul and to make him useful to God and to others. The saying “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world” is still true today.

Every king, prince, or president has been taught and trained by a woman. Every athlete, writer, or doctor has been shown love and life by a woman. Every preacher, entrepreneur, or manager has been inspired by a woman. That woman is mother.

Our purpose as mothers is to train up children for the glory of God. Often we tend to have this backwards, and we want to have children for ourselves. When we have children for selfish reasons, there is no fulfillment, because we cannot find fulfillment in selfish pursuits.

As I walked away from the store with the unhappy cashier, I realized that she had had her children out of selfishness. Perhaps she just got pregnant accidentally, or maybe she wanted to have children to show off to others. Whatever her reason (or neglect of a reason,) she ended up hating her children, and ultimately, her life.

Being a mother has the potential to bring much joy…or much misery. It depends on our attitude.

Attitude check! Take a few minutes to write down three things that you love about being a mother! If you feel brave, share them with us here!

Linking up with: Monday:
Alabaster Jar,
The Better Mom,
Raising Arrows
What Joy is MineWhatjoyismine.com

Tuesday:
Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife

Wednesday:
To Love Honor and Vacuum