Sunday, 18 March 2012

Mother's Day

Is it only in the television programmes and films where the mum has a peaceful day filled with presents and well behaved, loving children? It's certainly not in my house.

The day began well with a lie in, of sorts, and a cup of tea in bed. Then the noise arrived and I was ambushed with boys fighting to be the first to cuddle me and give me their own card. I tried to be as equal in my thankfulness to each one of them as I could, but it became hard to be heard over the shouting that was going on from one side of the bed to the other. "I want to sit next to Mummy!" "No, I was there first!" I laughed at their funny ways and told them all to go and play.

Lunchtime arrived. Yesterday they had gone shopping to buy me a nice lunch. I expected a lovely roast....but was given a plateful of pizza. Obviously their tastes are rather different to mine.

After lunch the fighting began yet again. This time my 'laughing at their funny ways mood' had worn off. In a desperate attempt to make them think positively I sent Toby and Max to their bedrooms to write two lists:

1. Write down all the things you love about your brother.
2. Write down ideas that will help you to stop fighting.

They skipped off upstairs and I heard alot of sniggering and giggling. After ten minutes, Toby presented me with his list:

1. I love my brother because we usually like the same things, like the way we hate this stupid idea.

Hmmm. At least they were working together, even if it wasn't quite what I had in mind.

Toby leapt back up the stairs, two at a time, and it wasn't long before the crying began again. This time it was Max and Jonah. Seperating them into their own bedrooms, Jared attempted to referee the war.

Now, from my quiet, peaceful sofa, I can hear wailing and howling emanating from various rooms upstairs. I am trying to keep remembering all the good and rewarding things about being a mummy, but they are somehow being squashed out by all the shouting and arguing. Perhaps when I am old and grey, and a Grandma, I might look back and forget about these times. Maybe it won't even take that long - maybe when I have teenagers who sleep for half the morning and can be civil to each other, I might forget these times. I might remember Mother's Day as a perfect day full of sunshine, laughter and happiness. I'm not banking on it - I think these days of warfare will be marked on me like a brand stamped on a slave, burnt and sealed onto my memories with hot, painful wax.

On that delightful note, all that is left for me to say is Happy Mother's Day everyone!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

The Story So Far...


I am aware that some people who read my blog do not have the same beliefs as me. I am also aware that by writing my (sometimes opinionated) beliefs on this blog these people may view me differently. I hope, however, that those who know me will realise that despite my rantings and ravings, I am simply a normal wife, mummy, woman, daughter, sister and friend attempting to live out my beliefs in a world that often thinks the opposite. I still laugh (but not at the rude mealtime jokes) and I still have fun.... If you take offence to anything written in this post, I am truly sorry, but I will not be able to alter the things I see as absolute truth (and I will still be your friend, if you'll be mine!!).

So, with all that said, I am now going to tell you a story.

Almost three years ago, my husband had a dream. I am married to a dreamer and so I have to admit to not taking alot of notice. In the 13 years we have been married he has wanted to be a Preacher (aka Benny Hinn style, for those of you in the know), an A&E consultant, a teacher, a paramedic, a hotel consultant, set up his own soft play business and many many more. So, as you can see I was not so impressed. However, as the year went on this dream became more and more 'urgent' in his mind. The longing to be outside and make it accessible for others became more than a dream. Was this really right? How would the 'breadwinner' of the family be able to give everything up to follow this dream? Was it the right path for us or was it just another good idea?

When he was asking God all these questions, he happened to go to a conference with lots of other christians. One morning a man he did not know, walked up to him and said these words:

"I was praying this morning and God showed me that there would be someone standing where you are, with a green t shirt on." (Jared was wearing a green t shirt). "God says to tell you that what you have on your heart to do is the right thing, and you should go for it."

Well, it wasn't quite writing in the sky but it was good enough for us! And so, go for it we have. There have, of course, been ups and downs and I would not be honest if I did not tell you that there have been plenty of times when I have wondered if we are doing the right thing or not. Should we really be taking our family on this adventure with us or do they just need security? But each time I have wobbled, I have been reminded that my security is not in money or in Jared's job, but in my God. We are on this journey of trust as a whole family, and as we as parents trust our God, then our boys also see there is no better way.

This morning, I looked back in my prayer journal to see what was on my mind a year ago. Most people pray out loud, but I prefer to write down my prayers as though I am writing a letter to God. It's just the way I do it. Anyway, exactly one year ago today, in confusion and desperation, I wrote these words:

"Please make a way for Jared to give up his job so he can really focus more on the business. We totally trust you and trust your ways which are so much higher than ours. Guide us to the right people and places. Walk this road with us, for without you we are nothing."

We had no idea how to make this thing work. Jared couldn't just give up his job, that would not be wise. So, we put the situation into the hands of the One who already knew.

Today, a year later, we are 3 weeks away from Jared giving up his full time job. The timing has been more than perfect. His boss has been encouraging, helpful and positive and has even created a part time role for Jared to do so that he can continue to have a steady (albeit dramatically decreased!) income. He has another day's work each week with Rock UK, an outdoor adventure company and he has a day's work each week teaching Forest School. I am astounded at the way all of this has fit together so perfectly and when I wobble and fear, I am brought back to this truth. My God is faithful. He provides for us. He knows the unknown and he has a plan. His plan is so much better than ours. Even though times are sometimes hard, dark and we can't see the road ahead, he is so good. Despite the fact that he is awesome, mighty, powerful and the creator of the whole universe, he listens to us and even answers us. Compared to his greatness, our needs and wants sometimes seems trivial and yet he still gives us such good things.

Our lives as we have known them for so long are about to change and, whilst it's scary and nerve-wracking sometimes, being on an adventure with God is the only place I want to be right now.

Friday, 2 March 2012

It's the small things...

Inspired by the facebook musings of a friend, I have been thinking recently about the little things in life that bring me pleasure. Being a 'glass half empty' person, this has been quite a revelation for me and I have had to train my mind to find the joy in small things, but find them I have. Here is my list (and if this was about my husband, just the list itself would bring much pleasure to his order-loving mind) of the small but precious things that bring a smile to my face:

1. The first time the sun warms my face after a long, cold winter.
2. Watching my boys, curled up on the sofa, noses into their favourite books.
3. The colour of Autumn.
4. Listening to children (any) singing (not the rude songs, the nice ones).
5. Discovering notes from my boys telling me that they love me.
6. Checking the boys last thing at night, listening to their peaceful snoring and watching their sleep-relaxed beautiful faces.
7. The warmth of a fire after a chilly winter's walk.
8. Seeing the suns rays piercing through the trees.
9. Holding my husband's hand.
10. Warm summer evenings, watching the sun set.
11. Escaping into a good book.
12. Dancing round the kitchen to my favourite 'teenage days' tunes.
13. A delicous meal, cooked by someone else.
14. Clambering into a bed with clean sheets.
15. Fun evenings with friends who make me laugh.
16. Watching my washing drying in the sunshine.
17. Seeing empty plates and satisfied boys after a meal.
18. Listening to the rain on the outside of a tent (not the inside - that is far from pleasant) while I am tucked up in my sleeping bag, warm and cosy.
19. Spring flowers - especially tulips.
20. A barefoot walk along the beach, feeling the sand between my toes.

I am sure there are plenty more to add to the list. It's so easy to get bogged down by the humdrum of life and not remember the things that bring us joy. Despite all the difficulties (and there are quite alot at the moment), I want to lift up my eyes and see some of the good. I want to slowly change my perspective and be grateful for the things I have. How about you? What brings joy to you?