Instead of perfection…

A few weeks ago Sarah and I were back at the hospital for another diabetes clinic.  We typically go every three months, but this time it had been closer to 4 1/2 and I was nervous.  To be honest, I’m always nervous at these appointments.   The team takes a look at all of Sarah’s numbers that have been downloaded from her pump, and they look at her A1C – a quick blood test they do that shows the over-all amount percentage of sugar that has attached to her red blood cells – and together this shows the team how well we’ve been managing Sarah’s diabetes.

And although that sounds benign on paper, as I’m sitting in the room waiting for the doctor to come I’m quaking on the inside.  I thinking of all the times that I forgot to give Sarah insulin, or we didn’t count carbs right and how often her numbers were higher than they should have been and then I feel like I’m  waiting for exam results.  Like they are going to come into the room and tell me if I’ve passed or failed, and all I can see in my mind is a big red “F” stamped on Sarah’s medical chart.     Now, in saying all of this I’m doing a disservice to Sarah’s wonderful medical team who has NEVER once treated her diabetes care like this, it’s just me.  It’s a heavy burden I put on myself and I’ve usually got myself so wound up before these visits I often shed some tears.

However on this visit I was so relieved to find that we passed!  hahaha   Sarah’s A1C’s had come down slightly (which is good!) and the doctor was fine with what her numbers had been over-all and I could finally relax.  I thanked the doctor for being so good to us, and always being encouraging rather than judgemental.  He asked me if I had heard his space-ship to the moon story.  I hadn’t, so he told me.  He told me the story about how U.S. President John F. Kennedy wanted NASA to put a man on the moon.  Finally in 1969 they were ready and Apollo 11 started it’s journey into outer-space.  The doctor then asked me how many times during that journey the rocket was actually headed in the right direction towards the moon.  My guess was 75% but he came back and said, “Nope, 5%”.   I was really surprised by that number… wow!  The doctor went on to say that we need to take that perspective with diabetes care.  We are always striving for the moon and those great numbers, but have to realize that it’s a process, that it’s going to constantly need tweaking and small changes here and there, but the most important thing is to keep going.  It’s a journey.    And I liked that.   Perfection is obviously what we are striving for, but the fact that NASA did something amazing without perfection has really made me think about Sarah’s diabetes care in a new light.  It give me a long-view sort of mindset – one that takes some pressure off the here and now, knowing that we probably never will perfect, but there is always tomorrow.

But God clearly wanted to bring this idea into other areas of my life, and one of those is my anger.  My anger and frustration with my kids when they aren’t listening or they argue with each other, or they don’t do what they are supposed to do, and how I can just get mad when life doesn’t go my way.  I get frustrated because in my mind I’m telling myself, ‘It’s not supposed to be like this, why can’t everyone just do what they are supposed to do so we can have the happy life that I want?’

I read this line regarding parenting from Auntie Leila over at Like Mother like Daughter the other day… “The sooner you learn that frustration is part of the process, the happier you will be.  Our worst enemy is thinking that things should be perfect.”   This quote almost knocked me over!  And it struck me that it’s so true!  I was looking at problems completely the wrong way, thinking that they shouldn’t exist at all, instead of realizing it’s just a part of life!

It’s kinda funny because my friend Tania is currently parenting 4 little girls, 3 years of age and under, and we get a kick out of 2 of her children who get frustrated so easily, even when they are trying to accomplish things beyond their skill level.  Like her baby who gets frustrated because she can’t crawl around as fast as her older sisters can move around, and so just puts her  head down and howls.  We laugh because we know it’s part of the process.  We don’t expect a baby to just stand up and walk one day… we know that it takes lots of practice, lots of falls and lots of frustration on their part and we accept that it is part of the process of growing up and learning a new skill.  So why have I decided somewhere along the line that things in my life have to be perfect all the time?  I’m not perfect, why would I expect this of others?   Clearly I need a paradigm shift.

Apparently perfection isn’t always a good thing anyway.  I recently read an article from John Piper entitled  “Parents, you can’t build heaven here”.   He said that too often we try to make heaven for our children in the right here and now.  We try to bring too much perfection in a child’s life – guarding them from too much or trying to give them too much in the name of our love for them, but this actually back-fires because it teaches children that they deserve perfection.  And then when life (as we all know too well) falls very short of the perfection they are used to – these kids don’t know how to persevere and deal with problems.  Instead of helping them,  we’ve actually hindered their growth.

The verse that is used in John Piper’s article is Philippians 3:12, such a great verse….

12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Phil 3:12-14

Paul is telling us to keep going because we haven’t obtained perfection.  Yes, it is our goal, but we have to keep forgetting what is behind and straining forward towards our goal.  He doesn’t beat us up for not having obtained it… obtaining it is a future thing to look forward to, through the hard work of living and trying and striving.

I can see that it’s time for me to accept that frustration is a part of my life I can’t escape and so just deal.  And if that frustration causes me to stop and refocus, or learn something new, or teach my children something new, or make changes along the way to my final goal (which in my life is to be more like Christ), then right now I am willing to take frustration instead of perfection – knowing that when perfection finally comes it will have been well worth the fight.

 

Advertisements

Don’t be surprised…

I’m very happy to announce that Sophia is over her bout with croup.    Croup is NOT fun… the complete opposite of fun.  If fun were being at the beach on a hot summer day than croup would be like being at the beach on a snowy winter day…. in your bathing suit, holding your pail and shovel.    Yes, that bad.    Now  I wonder why Soph gets croup when my other kids never did?   Whatever the reason,  if you have a kid with croup and you spend every night steaming her in the bathroom, don’t be surprised if your bathroom paint starts to peel from all the humidity.   And that’s even if you wiped down every square inch of your bathroom with a towel for 5 consecutive days straight, in the middle of the night to boot.    I think the silver lining here would be that I can look at it and enjoy the fact that my bathroom has never been so clean.

So my sleep was disturbed for numerous nights and then I seem to be getting a cold, so I was pretty tired last night at 10:00 pm when I sent Jason to the grocery store with broad instructions to get some things for the kids lunches because the cupboards were bare.    Now, if you send Jason to the grocery store for granola bars and cookies, don’t be surprised when he comes home with a smore’s version of a granola bar,  Fudgeo’s for the cookie and Reece Puff’s breakfast cereal to boot.     All healthy good stuff that I was happy to feed my kids today.  I feel weird admitting here to the world that I fed my kid’s the equivilant of chocolate frosted sugar-bombs for breakfast this morning, but don’t worry they ate a banana with it so I think according to the box that was a complete breakfast.   Jason has a heart of gold and is a wonderful father and husband, but when it comes to making healthy choices at the grocery store, well, I’ll leave you to your own conclusions.

Now, if you decide to put your husband’s grocery shopping escapade in your blog and then decide that you probably should tell him that you did so, don’t be surprised if he tells you that he’s never going to go grocery shopping for you again. 🙂

How do I?

So how do I move past the things that I have to do, to get to the things that I want to do?   Seriously, it’s a huge struggle for me!   From the Flylady I have learned to keep the house fairly tidy and organized… routines and my timer have helped immensely in me  keeping up on the boring everyday work that goes with keeping house.   And now with 3 kids in school things are looking up and I seem to have more good days than bad days… good days in that if you dropped by the house it wouldn’t look like a tornado hit it, maybe just a small wind storm.    But even on those days when the house is tidy and laundry not too far behind, I never seem to have the time to hang the pictures back up on the walls that have been off since we painted in August or spend time making cards like I want too!!

See by the time I get the kids up and dressed and fed and out the door for school,  laundry done, house tidied, food cooked, snacks prepared, house cleaned, bills paid and shopping done, there just doesn’t seem to be too much time for anything else.      And then too, I know that if I start into a big project that everything will just go to pot and I’ll be really behind, so maybe part of me is just scared to start.     Evenings aren’t much better – by the time we get the kids all to bed there doesn’t seem much time left in the night to do any worthwhile… even when William does help out by reading a bedtime story to Sophy.   It’s kinda funny that she picked the potty book that night…

Now maybe if I did limit my computer time,  put some priorities on paper and planned better I would get to painting the shelf I want to paint,  find material to make curtains for the living room,  clean out my crawl space and hang those pictures!!!  But like I said, the day-to-day things I have to do just seem to take up all my time, and I don’t even go to work everyday  or home-school my kids like alot of people I know!

So I’m asking you dear reader for advice.  How do you find time to do those extra things that you want to do?   How do you balance keeping the house and redecorating or organizing your house or even doing crafts?  I would love to hear from you… see there are some things that desperately need to get done here and I need all the help I can get!

Let’s back the truck up….

This morning I was going through my old Word documents and I found this.   It’s over two years old, but reading it brought back so many memories that I thought I would share it.   I just copied it and plunked it in here word for word…  so here goes…

What I’ll miss about being pregnant:  by me – 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant!

The attention!

Back rubs from Jason every night

Feeling the baby kick

Knowing a new life is growing inside me

Watching my body change to accommodate a growing baby

Sharing the experience with the kids

Having the older kids feel the baby move

Hearing the kids ideas for names for the new baby

Anticipating meeting the new baby

Getting to see the midwives – they are like old friends!

Getting excited about nursing a newborn

Getting excited about holding a newborn

Getting excited about the cute clothes the baby will wear

Being able to sit and put my feet up without feeling guilty

Eating whatever I want, when I want

Having a good reason to be ‘hormonal’ and crying lots

What I won’t miss about being pregnant

Having to wake up every 2-3 hours to go pee

Not being able to bend over

Being grumpy with the kids when I’m tired

Going over-due when I just want to meet this baby!

Going over-due when I’m soooo uncomfortable

Just wanting life to get ‘back to normal’

Wanting to move on to the next phase of life

Being able to cuddle without my tummy being in the way

Being able to hold and carry the kids without my tummy being in the way

Looking at things that need to get done, and knowing I can’t (like weeding my flowers)

Being awake from 4:00 to 5:30 am writing this list because I can’t sleep

Having no control over my own body

___________________________________________________

Well there you have it.     When I first opened it and read it today I got a little teary remembering what I felt like back then waiting for Sophia to arrive.    There is something so incredible about bringing a new life into the world, even though it’s obviously not the most comfortable experience in the world.

But here she is today almost 2 1/2, and I have moved on to the next phase of life and it’s wonderful too.  It’s just nice taking a peek back once in a while.

Walking with the Wise

I wanted to let  you know about a great kid’s CD put out by Sovereign Grace Ministries.  It’s called Walking with the Wise and the songs are all based on Proverbs and they are so catchy!  I love listening to them – along with the kids of course – and nothing beats hearing your kids sing,  “To tell the truth is what I want to do, because you love the lips that speak the truth.  To tell a lie leads me away from you, so help me God, to tell the truth.”    Just one of the many great songs on the CD.  We also love “Lazy Bones” and “A Cheerful Heart”…. I would HIGHLY recommend this not only as great tunes, but also a great teaching tool for your kids!

You can download it directly from Sovereign Grace here, but be warned that although a bit cheaper, it does involve unpacking it and copying files so if you like things easier, you can also get it from iTunes.

Happy Dutch Women

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while but when you decide to combine back-to-school with re-painting your kitchen and living room, things are bound to not get done.    The painting should actually be done tonight, and so my house is almost back in order, with a huge emphasis on the ‘almost’.

A few weeks ago, Macleans our Canadian news digest,  published this article about how Dutch woman are some of the happiest in the world.  I loved it.    The reason they are so happy?   They don’t work full-time!  Most of them work part-time and some don’t work at all.     One of the women interviewed in the article stated that she has only ever worked part-time… “to have time to do things that matter to me, live the way I want. To stay mentally and physically healthy and happy.”   I say, “Right on!”    Now of course this means that these women aren’t trying to become CEO’s and hold other top positions in companies,  in fact the article also states,  ” Dutch women rank consistently low, compared to those in other Western countries, in terms of representation in top positions in business and government—and rank consistently near the top in terms of happiness and well-being.”      So incredibly enough, they’ve traded working away their lives trying to reach the top, a cog in a world of faceless cogs, to  make a more fulfilling life for themselves and they are  HAPPY.  Happy, that rocks.

If you read the whole article you will see that there are those who aren’t happy about this.  They feel that women should be striving for equality in the work-place and that refusing to do so is a slap in the face to feminism (which I’m not a fan of anyway)  and to stay at home or work part-time  is setting a bad example for their daughters and the one critic also goes as far as saying that Happiness is over-rated!  Happiness over-rated??    But the Dutch women simply respond that they should be able to choose to make the life they want,  and so they should.

What I love –  being of sound mind and one-hundred percent Dutch-blooded – is that these women are prioritizing things that they love over money.   And I’m sure money is why many women here in Canada feel they need to work full-time and maybe they do,  but we are a one-income family and yeah, we probably live more simply than others, and give up somethings that we couldn’t afford, but I don’t miss any of these things.    (And I even dare-say that we are on-par financially with many dual income families)   And to have the time to make my house a home, to care for my children and husband, to bake cookies and drink coffee with my friends…  yes, I would have to say I’m very happy too.

My thoughts are with those…

who are picking up the pieces after Sunday’s tornado that ripped through Goderich and Ben Miller.  We were packing up at the cottage just 30 minutes north of Goderich at the time it happened, but obviously knew nothing about it until an hour later when on our way home we were stopped at a police road-block and had to turn around.    The officer was helpful with directions and said that there had been a tornado… which completely shocked us as although there had been storms earlier in the day, it was bright and sunny by then.    And even on the out-skirts of town we  saw trees with limbs ripped off, a huge solar panel shredded and debris everywhere and then we found out that it had hit Ben Miller too..   a tiny little town with a beautiful Inn that we normally drive through on our way too and from the cottage.    Trees were down blocking the road,  roofs were ripped off and I was grateful that our timing hadn’t been off.     The first information we received on what had happened came from  101.7 Fm and on their website you can see pictures of the destruction… praise God there was only one fatality.

It does make you stop and think about how one minute everything is fine, and the next minute everything can change and in this case clearly not for the better.   I am thankful every day that I can trust completely in God my Saviour,  I know that I am in his hands, my children are in his hands,  and the Bible is clear He is all-powerful and nothing can happen to me that He has not allowed.     If  He does allow times of suffering, I know that they will be used for His glory, even when I can’t see it.   And again,  He teaches me not to be anxious…  in Philippians 4:6&7  he says, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.

And isn’t that what we all want… peace in the eye of the storm?  So my thoughts and prayers are with those whose lives were turned upside down,   and in my heart I ‘m thankful that tornado’s or sunny skies, God is in control.

Herding Cats

Well if this is a typical book that you would take away from a 7-year-old who is reading it under the covers with a flash-light after lights-out… I guess then Erik is your typical 7-year-old.

And after Jason confiscated it tonight, Erik’s words were… “Oh man, but it’s sooo good!”   Of course it is Erik, and I’m sure when you are done you can pass it around your grade 2 class so that everyone else can enjoy it too.

And he has the nerve to blame his taste in books on me because he says that I’ve read “Dummy” books before.  Which I have, I’ll be the first to admit I love a good “how-to” book, but I think the ‘Dummy’  book I read was how to be a be frugal mom trying to raise 4 kids on a single income, NOT how to learn Power-Point.   I do often wonder how Jason and I ended up with this child and I also wonder if his teacher’s prediction of him becoming an Astro physicist will come true.  Although I just looked that up (I didn’t even know what it was… dummy!) and apparently those guys are on a quest to figure out how the universe was made and so I’ll betcha that not many of them are Christians.  If they were then their thesis could contain just one word…. “GOD”…. but I betcha it probably wouldn’t go over too well.

So as my little Einstein sleeps,  I bake another batch of midnight cookies, this time for William’s “graduation” party – and I use that term in the loosest sense of the word as we are celebrating with his classmates tomorrow his and their completion of Senior Kindergarten.   It’s very exciting.

So another day of herding cats… this is what it has come too… or what it feels like… trying to get my children out of the door in the morning when all of them are doing their own thing with their own agendas, none of which seem to be getting dressed, eating breakfast or walking out the door.

Thank goodness there are only 4 MORE DAYS LEFT OF SCHOOL!!!!

 

Some moms are smart, this one this not

The other day I was sewing and I was having a hard time figuring out how to sew a seam inside out and backwards and I said under my breath, “I’m not smart”.  Well this was overheard by Sarah who was hanging out by me and since she was rather bored she decided to turn it into song.  For  quite a while afterwards she was singing the above refrain, “Some moms are smart, this one is not”.  It kept making me grin,  and she probably couldn’t have been more right if she tried… but I’m fine with that.  I might not be smart, but I’m sure I’m good at other things, I’m sure of it.

And since I’m not smart, I’m so happy to learn from other’s who are.   Our church had the privilege of having Donna Otto from the Homemakers by Choice ministry  come to speak to our women this past weekend.  It was wonderfully encouraging!

Just one the things I took away from the weekend was when she talked about people often feel disconnected from each other, but most long to be connected.  Church is a great connector of people, but even in that there can be room for improvement, and that is why she advocates for mentors.   Older women who come along side a younger woman and mentor them.  Just like in Titus chapter 2 where Paul instructs in verse 3-5 that older women are to teach what is good and “so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands so that the word of God may not be reviled.”  There is a lot in there and I won’t even attempt at “unpacking” it as our Pastor Norm says, but just imagine,  to have someone with life experience raising kids and being in a successful happy marriage,  mentoring you to help you along and encourage you, what a tremendous blessing!!!

And I need help.  I need help raising my children to be competent independence adults.  I was talking with my neighbor the other day about how we like and rather expect our friends to parent our children when we aren’t around and I got to thinking about that and how important other people’s input into my children’s lives are.

Our first instinct might be to protect our children from others, but I think that could end up back-firing and being rather dangerous.    Our children are going to be independent adults someday, away from us protecting them,  and they need to know how to deal with all sorts of people;  nice people, not so nice people, strict people, fun people.   Not everyone is going to treat them like we do and nor should they!   My mom treats my kids differently than I do and that’s GOOD.  And the teacher’s at school treat my kids differently than I do and that’s GOOD.   Sunday schools, same. Friends the same.   It’s not always easy, but I want my kids to learn how to respond correctly to people, to be respectful of authority and so they need lots of practice.

Wow, that was quite the bunny trail…   but I will leave you with a picture of my Sophia, (of course) that my good friend Laura took on the soccer field last night.

Looking at her makes me realize afresh that I don’t want to mess this parenting thing up, I need all the help I can get!!   And I do thank God for the wonderful friends and mentors in my life but now I’m pretty sure I need more!


To my neighbour’s maple tree

I am a lover of nature.  I love birds, I love flowers, I love sunsets, I love lakes and streams, I love trees, I love maple trees. But to the maple tree in our neighbors yard that sheds all of its 100 million trillion maple keys over our deck and into our pool every single year… I do not love you.  

Even though you are a magnificent specimen of a tree,  your prolific scattering of your helicopter-like spawn is truly excessive.  It makes me wonder if you are trying to reforest this tree-cutting-loving town on your own.   Or perhaps you are so consumed with your own mortality that every spring in desperation you do everything you can to leave a Maple-tree legacy for future generations.    

But even for that, a mere 100 would do.  I could clean up 98 maple keys leaving 2 to grow, I could kept my deck swept and my pool skimmed.  I am begging you to reconsider this flagrant reproduction.

So to the maple tree next door in my neighbour’s yard,  I repeat – I cannot love you right now.  Maybe when you are sheltering me from the hot relentless sun in July, I will reconsider, but that seems a long way away.  

Signed,

the girl next door