Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pride Before Stress ..2

Thinking of our Stress List, how many things on there can we attribute to things that are there because of pride or lack of humility?

How many things are there because we don't ask for help, because we cant admit a plan doesn't work or that something is out of control, because we can't get over something or because our pride won't give it up?

I can think of a few examples from my own Stress List ...

I am having some difficulty with my neighbor. There have been letters, angry phone calls, threats of calling animal control (my dumb dog), actual visits from animal control, cd's made of my dog barking ...yeah. its been a good one. I stewed about it for a few days, trying to plan my response that needed to be graceful yet pointed.  One day I realized it was being incredibly prideful by not simply apologizing for  our part in her frustrations and work more diligently (we had worked hard to start with, but it wasn't enough to really relieve the situation).

It was not easy (I got me some pride)...but a little humility has allowed me to mark several things related to that situation off my Stress List (not sure about hers, but here is hoping).

Mount Laundrymore is a big issue in our house. I constantly struggle with keeping it under control. But managing the laundry of four boys who seemed to create dirty clothes exponentially was just more than I could handle, but it took some humility to ask that. This week, I finally asked my husband to help me with it. I have enlisted my boys' help too. A little humility has helped me stay caught with my laundry all week, which helped that part of the Stress List.

How often have I not let go of processes, plans, subscriptions, unfinished projects and outgrown clothes to the detriment of my Stress List? Many times, I can tell you.

Pride can be a huge contributor to our stress ...and it takes some humility to recognize it.

It takes some humility to use our Stress Strategies ..each and every one of them. It takes humility to get rid of, get done, get control of, get over, change our plan and be willing to change our perspective on things. It takes humility to realize that God is only one with the divine power to give us our "everything we need" and to be willing to accept it.

What is on your Stress List today that you can relieve with a bit of humility? ..comon' you can admit it ;)

Pride Before Stress

I have been mulling this post for a couple of weeks now. It is inspired by someone I don't know, who shared a struggle at a meeting of moms that I was guest of earlier this month.  She shared her heart regarding a need for support and a confession of the pride that had prevented her from seeking it for far too long.

The struggle itself was one I can relate to, at least in small part. But it was the emphasis on pride that affected me the most. She spoke of how pride had kept her from sharing her burden with others, how it had prevented her from reaching out to those who loved her the most and how it was the reason she had suffered through it for so long.

I can completely relate to that struggle.

It has began a root of thinking in my own mind, as I have realized myself how pride can keep us from fully accessing our "everything you need" of 2 Peter 1:3. I have realized the last few weeks how pride can stand in direct opposition to situations when God desires to bless us, and we deny him the pleasure of doing so because of our lack of humility.

We girls do this alot I have noticed. We like to be martyrs. We like to be the ones that are juggling it all, and somehow like the satisfaction of knowing we did all ourselves. I have had several situations arise the past few weeks in my own life, where I realized God was giving me what I needed in the moment and I pushed it away for the sake of pride.

Maybe a friend offers to watch the kids on a day when I am frustrated and overwhelmed ..."no, no ..I am okay." 

Or maybe my husband offers to do whatever he can to help .."no, no I got it."

Or maybe we take on more than we can handle because "should" be able to handle it or because if we don't we will look bad (or so we think).

Maybe we don't admit we need help because then people will know we are overwhelmed, frustrated and weary.

Maybe we don't let others help us because it would give them upper hand somehow.

I know it takes a considerable amount of humility to be able to accept what God has given us, when we need it. Pride can easily get in the way of what he gives us on a daily basis, both in our own spirits and through the support of those around us.

I know my pride has, many times.

And, while we are at it often does pride effect our Stress List?  That warrants another post for sure ....

{hey ifellowshippers ...hope you will check out Pride Before Stress...2 before you leave :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tis the Season

No, I am not thinking Christmas...yet.

I am thinking of a season of another kind. I am thinking of the seasons that King Solomon wrote about in Ecclesiastes "..there is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven.." (3:1)

I love the extremes of the passage that follows that truth ..."a time to be born, and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance..."

These extremes remind me that such influx of emotion, experience and seasons are just part of the life ..some days are good days and some are bad.

That is a good reminder for me, because I am up early this morning trying to mentally shake off the day I had yesterday. It was one of those days when all bad extremes were "in season" ...uprooting, weeping, tearing down, giving up, throwing away ...whew, it was a doozy.

It was one of those days when it all comes crashing down, and the unfairness of all my tasks and my inadequacies collided. I was trying to be productive, but literally for everything I got done someone was undoing or creating more work for me. I would gather a load of laundry, while the 18-month old was emptying out his dresser drawers. I was dusting my bedroom (that never happens) while he was in the laundry room spreading dog food all over the floor, and filling the dogs water bowl with it as well.

When I was upstairs getting something done, they were all downstairs tearing up previously decluttered spaces, emptying cereal boxes or escaping out the front door (oh, what my neighbors must think of me!).

At every point of the day one or all of them were screaming, yelling, tattling, jumping off stuff, destroying things, pulling on me, demanding something, crying get the picture.

All the while I was mentally beating myself to a pulp over being overweight, inadequate, frustrated, ungrateful, irritable, impatient ...

It was a doozy.

It was in the middle of this perfect storm that my sweet husband returned from his much deserved morning of golfing with a friend. His quiet, stress-free morning of leisurely walking from hole to hole, not one person undoing a single bit of progress he had made on the course {sigh}.

Since it was pretty clear that I was on the edge of the cliff of insanity, he sweetly emptied the dishwasher and puttered a bit, before he asked "Is everything okay?"

Bless his heart.

What followed was an ungraceful display of martyrdom at its best. There was whining, crying, arms waving and foot stomping,.. I am not gonna lie, it was ugly.

I wish I had a bit "but...I learned" at the end of this mommy-confession. BUT, I don't a super great one.

Except that despite the frustrations, despite the willingness of my sweet hunny to do whatever I needed to feel better, despite my kids' apparent lack of notice of my hissy fit ...this is just a season.

Its part of it. Its part of the joy of having an abundant life, full of kids, a home and hormones. Its part of doing my best to run my home. Its part of my desire to use my resources wisely (ironic, I know). Its part of the craziness of my life.

Sure, there are things I can do differently to help myself not get there again but I am sure that the stress will mount at least one other time before my kids are all out of diapers. I can work to better control myself and doing everything better but I am sure that my inability to balance it all will come together in a dramatic fashion again at some point.

Tis the season, afterall.

"...a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace."  Ecclesiastes 3:5-8

Monday, October 10, 2011

Less Stress Tool: Steam Mop

Its funny, I have started this post about 3 times over the last year and I am not sure why I never finished it. I think because I wanted to give this tool its due and I wanted to take the time and do it right.

This is one of my favorite "less stress" tools because it is something that I use on a regular basis to help me with one of my must needed, but much hated chore of cleaning my floors. I have LOTS of wood floors, like both floors of my house ..wall to wall, everything but the stairs.

I also have three boys, a husband, a cat and a dog. That is 24 potential muddy feet whose owners are acutely unaware of the degree of messiness the underside of their feet carry into my house on a daily basis. If you were to do a scientific study on my floor you would all manner of things in your sample, water, mud, various and assundry bodily fluids, and an unidentifiable sticky substance throughout.

All these things require me to sweep, and (blech) mop it regularly (which is a relative term, btw).

Since I hate this chore (it seems sort of pointless?) I have added in a great tool to make it less stressful for me.

My steam mop.

There are several of them out there, I have used a few of them. Only one stands up to my high standards in the area of cost versus quality. High, because if I am going to spend the money on it I want it to work and last more than 5 minutes.

That one for me is the Haan Steam Mop.

It uses steam to clean the floors, using a microfiber pad that is washable. The one I bought came with two, so one is always available to be used.  You just turn it on, it heats up and you can mop away. 

I do not stress over using chemicals around my kids, but I love that it uses water only because water is cheap.  If you do stress over using chemicals around your kids, you will love this thing.

I love that I can mop while my kids are running around because it dries as I mop - no wet floors to worry about. That is helpful, since I usually clean my kitchen floor as I am working on supper or something.

Its super light. I can carry it up and down my stairs with no problem. It has an adjustable handle that works great for me or or my super tall husband (if I can convince him to 'mop' :)

I purchased mine about two and half years ago, haven't needed to purchase any replacement anything. It still works great. I still use it all the time. I am still thrilled with it.

It retails at about $86-99. The best deal I found was on (disclaimer ..I get NO compensation whatsoever for using this link, its just a link from one housekeeper to another) for $86.

 Anyways ..thought I would share. I was using it in my boys bathroom this week and thought I should share that one with you really is a less stress tool for me :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Showing Grace

Wow. So, I am having to remind myself of what grace is today's undeserved favor to and from us to others.  Grace to me, is when I have been given something (salvation) and daily receive blessings in abundance that I certainly do not deserve or have not earned.

Grace to others is the same. Grace to others is when I offer something, like kindness or gentleness that is not earned or deserved. Perhaps because it is not asked for, or would even be well received. Perhaps that in giving it you are not given any 'credit' for the gift, or maybe that your role in the giving is not appreciated.  Perhaps it will be misunderstood, or misinterpreted,

Grace to others means to extend a hand of favor, or even simply not act out what your first reaction would be based on hurt pride, anger or frustration. Grace to others is a decision that must be made, to put to death that fire that rises up when one is offended, frustrated or feels they have been unfairly treated. It means to realize that surely there are times when one 'deserves' a harsh word, a hurtful response or an unkind reaction ...but that we have the power in us to chose something that is not deserved.

It means extending the favor of a kind word in return or a gentle response to those who may not appreciate it, who may not desire it even.

Grace requires humility on our own part. It's part of the dying to those natural reactions. Its how you can offer grace without being haughty or self-righteous about it.

Humility allows for understanding why a person says the hurtful words, why they respond in a hateful way, or why they react they way they do that offends us.  It paves the way for compassion, love and forgiveness.

Its not easy. It takes every single gift of the Holy Spirit, and sometimes requires that you write a blog post about grace so that you can talk it out and be reminded of how to love people they way we ought to be loved :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Seed of Faith Giveaway

 If you are visiting from Seeds of Faith ..welcome! 
This week LPLS is hosting a giveway of one of my favorite Thirty-One products, the Organizing Utility Tote. I wanted to share how I use this bag on a daily basis to help me live
...peacefully less stressed :) 

{originally posted  June 11th, 2011}

I am in my hiding place again today, and I brought with me something that just dawned on my as being a wonderful tool.  Even after my hiding place goes away (a.k.a., when the neighbors get home from vacation) I am going to keep using this tool as a great way to store and tote my study stuff.

The last two days I have been using a "study bag".  This morning, it was so great to grab my coffee that I had set up on an automatic timer, my Study Bag and head out the door to go hide :)

I am recalling now, Emilie Barnes, in her book Spirit of Loveliness encouraged a woman of God to have a "prayer basket". This is a basket that holds all you need for your prayer time, so that these quiet moments with God can be anywhere that you can carry your prayer basket.

The same idea, I filled up my Study Bag with the things that I would use in my quiet time, and the things that would help me get my mind working in the right direction this day.  I used my every faithful Organizing Utility Tote by Thirty One. I chose this one because it can handle my slue of books without falling apart. It also has a ton of pockets, so I can put my pens, highlighters, small notebook and phone (for when my hiding is more than my family can bear :).

I didnt read or even look at all the books in my bag in one sitting, but because I never really know which way my quiet time will lead I make sure to have lots of options :)

Having this bag ready to go helps me be able to take my quiet and study time anywhere in a moments notice - to a hiding place, to my bedroom, or to Starbucks for a cup of coffee with God :).

I am also loving that I have a place to store my stuff, instead of all of it just being stacked all over the table all the time :)

The only problem, is that the bag I am using  for my study bag is the one I use ALL the time for other stuff also ...SO, I think I just found a great excuse to get another Thirty One bag! :)

If you would like to enter the giveaway for your own Organizing Utility Tote, head on over to Seeds of Faith and leave a comment! 

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