Why Does It Take a Snow Day?

I like to live life at a different pace.  Life is slower in our home than in many.  My husband and I made a commitment early on to keep the frantic pace of life at bay.  Some may call us boring.  Some say we are depriving our children of opportunities. Others I am sure think we are not social enough, and lack thereof keeps our children from future success.  We know many though who envy our choice.  We have had many ask us how we do it.  Most walk away saying they wish they could, but they’re already too invested in the frantic.

I don’t really know why we made the choice we did.  I know in part, it was a result of working with youth before we had our girls.  We listened to the kids complain about exhaustion, talk about playing sports they really didn’t want to play any more. We saw them slip away from church as athletic practices and social events took up their time.  We heard them discuss grown up topics-things they were too young to be thinking about.  Life events around us also impacted our thinking.  We watched marriages crumble.  We have seen depression set in and three different friends commit suicide.  We lost Paul’s mom early in our marriage and long before her time should have come.

We live a slower paced life.  We have made it a priority to eat meals at home.  We eat breakfast together and eat dinner together every night.  We have made it a point to have uncluttered weekends-time for just us-time just to clean cars, work in the yard, watch television.  We have made it a point to take family vacations-alone.  No extra friends.  Just us.  We have told our girls we expect them to do their very best, but we have not pushed them to be “advanced”.  In fact, we have treasured watching our girls be kids, enjoy being kids.  We want that innocence and unencumbered life to last as long as it can.  We want them to grow in wisdom, not just in knowledge.  We want them to know rest and what it means to “be still and know that I am God.”  We want them to have strength to serve.  We want them to know that home is always their safe place to fall.

We have made many mistakes along the way.  We fight.  Our girls complain.  We may have to pay a little more than others for college tuition.  I don’t know.  What I do know is it always makes me a little sad to see how many talk about or post about enjoying time with family, having a break from the hectic schedules, eating dinner all together for the first time in months… all because it snowed.  Why does it take a snow day to get us to slow down?  I fear we are addicted to the hectic.  I fear living fast paced keeps us from dealing with our realities.  Yet, the majority are exhausted.  Our children are losing faith-literally walking away from their faith.  What if we lived every day as if it were a snow day?

It’s NOT About Consistency, It’s About Constancy

consistency

 [kuh n-sis-tuh n-see]
Spell Syllables
noun, plural consistencies.

1.a degree of density, firmness, viscosity, etc.: The liquid has the consistency of cream.

2.steadfast adherence to the same principles, course, form, etc.: There is consistency in his pattern of behavior.

3.agreement, harmony, or compatibility, especially correspondence or uniformity among the parts of a complex thing: consistency of colors throughout the house.

4.the condition of cohering or holding together and retaining form;solidity or firmness.
I recently returned from Leadership Development training for my Mary & Martha business (www.mymaryandmartha.com/shana).  As we toured Dayspring and attended conference sessions, we were reminded repeatedly of the importance of “the daily”.  Success does not come from some grand act.  Success comes from daily activity.  As one of the founders of Dayspring defined it, “Success is the next step of obedience.”  
We often talk a lot about being consistent.  Most of the time we are talking about adhering to principles.  However, I think the success comes from constancy.

constancy[kon-stuh n-see]

Spell Syllables
noun
1.the quality of being unchanging or unwavering, as in purpose, love, or loyalty; firmness of mind; faithfulness.
2.uniformity or regularity, as in qualities or conditions; invariableness.
Our success comes from regularity.  The regularity creates the consistency.  We will never be consistent though until we are constant.  Regularly doing something and being unwavering in our purpose, our mind.  I know it seems trite, but so often until I stop to really think about and define my actions, I can get on auto pilot and find myself moving more slowly toward my goals.
I get up early to read scripture and spend time in prayer/communion.  This is a constant act.  The daily act of getting up early and reading helps me to be a more consistent woman of faith-my actions matching my values/beliefs.  I drink a gallon of water daily (well 75% of the time).  The constancy of this behavior helps me stay consistently full and healthier.
We have been iced in.  (Now mind you, here in AR that means we have 2 inches of ice and freezing temps, so the world shuts down.  We couldn’t handle the 6 feet Boston got!)  Anyway, the days at home have given me opportunity to think about what other behaviors I want to make more constant, so I can have a more consistent faith walk, more consistent good health, more consistent sales in my business and more consistent growth in my business team.
Is there something you need to start doing constantly, so you create consistency?  Have you gotten off track with some of your New Year’s goals?  What is the next step of obedience?  Remember, success comes from daily actions, daily actions repeated over time.

Not Enough

I looked at my husband through eyes filled with tears.  “I can’t do this any more.  I have nothing-I only hear the message, ‘You are not enough'”.  In that moment I felt drained.  I honestly felt like any ability to extend grace, love generously, even think, was gone.  I had two discontent teenage daughters pecking at me, I had not been able to take care of something my husband needed done, I had received a message I wasn’t spending enough time with my mother, I had not called my mother-in-law and thanked her enough for Christmas (according to my father-in-law), I was behind on laundry, I was out of groceries, and my business had not met my expectations for the month.  The day before I had also received a call asking that I take a large leadership role in a ministry engaging women in our state.  While I desperately wanted to serve in this way, to engage again in ministering to women through a structured ministry, I knew beyond question my answer at this time was to be “No.”  It wasn’t what I wanted the answer to be.  In fact, I wanted to ignore what I knew to be true and say “Yes.” I was disheartened by the clear direction to say “No”.

It was a melt down  moment.  There was nothing my husband could do.  There were no “Sorry mom” statements big enough. There was no deleting the messages.  The only way to say “Yes” was to act in disobedience.  With wisdom my husband simply took the girls on to their respective activities, never saying a word.  And I, well I was left to fall into a puddle of what felt like complete overwhelm and despair.

Frankly, I wasn’t in the mood to talk to God.  I didn’t know what to pray.  Yet, I didn’t want to be angry.  I didn’t want to feel defeated.  Joy.  That was supposed to be my word for the year.  Only weeks into the new year and Joy felt like a universe away.  As I sat there motionless, empty, 2 Corinthians 12: 9 began to play through my mind.  “My grace is sufficient for you, My strength is made perfect (complete) in weakness.”

I am not enough.  That is the truth.  I can not do it all.  I can not, in my own strength, be all I need to be.  I am not enough.  I am not complete.  There was nothing to do in that moment but to release the emotions and lean into His grace-grace that is sufficient for me.  A part of obedience is not only doing the stuff, but it is the letting go and leaning in.  It is the acknowledging.  It is the accepting.  I am not enough.  The message didn’t need to be defeating-that’s what Satan would like.  The message simply needed to be an accepted truth that would prompt me to act in obedience, leaning into Him, His grace, allowing Him to complete me, to strengthen me.

” I am not enough, but His grace is sufficient for me and His strength is made perfect in my weakness.”  That is the message I need to let run through my mind.  That is the truth.

grace

An Unexpected Post-Because I Needed to Hear It

I don’t usually post on Tuesdays, but this post came across my feed today and convicted me.  The kind of conviction that sticks with you, makes you want to grab your kids, grab them and hold on tight.  I will admit it.  I have had those days when I yell at my kids.  Those days are always full of regret.  And most often those days are not the days my kids have done something wrong, but are more often the days I have not planned well, I have over-committed myself  or have failed to get the rest I need.  They are the days I let other people’s schedules dictate mine or allow the pressures and perceived expectations rise above my priorities.  I know you have been there.  In reality, as moms we will probably all be there again.  It’s not o.k. But, just as we grant grace to our children, our heavenly Father grants us grace and gives us the wisdom to know what to do and the strength to do it.

http://www.thebettermom.com/2015/1/26/dont-say-something-permanently-painful-just-because-youre-temporarily-ticked-off

I love the Better Mom blog.  I encourage you to follow.  I pray this post convicts you too, but more importantly I pray it leads each of us to guard our priorities, our hearts and our thoughts.  I pray it leads each of us to be Better Moms.

Are You Ready-Hospitality

Now that we are settled into our new home and I am in the midst of this incredible business Mary & Martha, I have a renewed desire to carry out one of my passions – entertaining.  I love inviting people into my home.  I love that quiet time, set aside to focus on friends, family and even strangers.  I love the conversations, the laughter.  It’s easy to let life crowd those moments out.  It’s easy to compare ourselves, our homes, our abilities to others and talk ourselves out of opening our homes.  Little good can come from that.  Real conversations are hard to have sitting in a coffee shop or a busy restaurant.

I am challenging everyone I know.  My Mary & Martha business holds me accountable in this area.  My Mary & Martha business helps open doors encouraging other women to welcome friends and family into their homes.  My Mary & Martha business provides products to help all of us entertain with ease.  I LOVE it.

Mary & Martha is in the midst of clearing out for our new product line.  I get to go to Siloam Springs, AR next week for my first Leadership Conference.  I can’t wait to worship, fellowship and learn.  I can’t wait to get to see Dayspring headquarters (our parent company).  I can’t wait to get ready-ready for a year of growing my business, sharing hospitality, modeling hospitality and encouraging hospitality.

Our flash sale has been extended one day only.  Ends tonight at midnight, January 16.  If you have never shopped the products this is a great opportunity to sample some at great prices.

Jan2015FlashSaleJan2015FlashSale3Jan2015FlashSale2Jan2015FlashSale4

To shop go to http://www.mymaryandmartha.com/shana or click on the Mary & Martha button.

Clear Out, Clean Out-Get Ready

There are a million de-cluttering challenges happening right about now.  People are busy setting goals, clearing out the clutter in their lives, their homes, their offices.  Cleaning out the garage, the attic.  I’m doing it too.  New stuff has arrived at our home and well, we’ve got to make space.  I don’t want cluttered closets, crammed full of stuff I can’t find or use.  I’m also busy making sure I have my mind and calendar cleaned out and ready.  Ready to experience all that God has in store for me this next year.  I want to be ready.  In fact, I have determined 2015 holds to “Words of the Year” for me.  My first was Joy.(http://simplifiedorganizedstyled.com/2015/01/09/joy-do-we-even-know-what-it-means/)  Ready is clearly my second.

As I have been wrapping up my read through the Bible I have been convicted and struck by the number of times Christ directs his listeners and disciples to be ready. They weren’t ready for His crucifixion.  They weren’t ready for His resurrection.  I wouldn’t have been either.  Who could have imagined.  Who could have really understood?

I want to be ready this year.  Being ready means preparation.  I don’t know about you, but too often this is where I fall short. I procrastinate.  I lack the discipline.  I want to do better in all those areas this year.  I don’t know what the year holds.  And as my verse for the year reminds me, it may be difficulties, sorrow.  I want to be ready.  I want to experience JOY-not the giddy, happy feeling we tend to think of, but the peace, the sense of assurance that comes from JOY in Him.  I believe a huge part of getting to experience that JOY will be a result of my being READY, having prepared my heart and mind.

Things are a Part of Your Legacy

As my girls approach college years, I find myself thinking more and more about the legacy I am leaving them.  Often that revolves around memories, behaviors, lifestyle.  But things are a part of the legacy too.

I love antiques.  We are blessed to have a number of family items.  Nothing that would be of much value to anyone else, but they are a part of our family’s history and hold memories.  One of the girls has their dad’s mom’s childhood desk.  Our dining set, which I have broken up and used throughout the house, is from my mother-in-law.  Each girl has a childhood rocker passed down from my family and my husband’s.  I love those sorts of things.

I love dishes and hospitality items even more (hence my job as a Mary & Martha Independent Consultant).  I have dishes from my grandmother, great grandmother, my husband’s mother, my own collection.  Love them all, use them all, and pray my girls find enjoyment in them.

Baby Shower 003

Last year I was challenged by an acquaintance to read through the Bible on behalf of my girls.  The challenge spoke to me. I hadn’t read through the entire Bible in a year in quite a while.  I journal for my girls, but this spoke to me in a different way. What if I could take two old family bibles and read through them.  Not only would I be leaving them notes, highlights and thoughts from my own experiences and knowledge, but I would be leaving them each a Bible- read, used, loved by someone else in the family.  That makes my mamma heart happy.

I just finished reading through the first Bible for one of my daughter’s.  I chose a Bible we had purchased for my grandmother, who spent a great deal of time with me and my girls.  This particular daughter was especially close to my grandmother and had helped pick out this Bible for a Christmas gift.  Reading through the Bible on behalf of my daughter was a great experience.  On some level it was as if I was reading through the Bible highlighting and noting the things I would want to say to my 16-18 year old self.  What did I want her to take note of in scripture?  What struggles did I anticipate she might face and what scripture would I want to direct her to?  What stories were my favorite and why?  It took me a little over a year.  My old perfectionist self might have been upset, given up, but being a recovering perfectionist I chose this time to  persevere.  It was so worth it.  I am so glad an acquaintance challenged me.  I am glad I took the challenge.  I am glad my legacy includes behaviors, beliefs AND things.

In all honesty, it was an emotional journey, so I’m gonna give it a year before I read through for the next daughter.  But… I already know which Bible I’ll use.  She is named after her grandmother.  I was lovingly given one of her daily Bibles when she passed away.  It will be the perfect Bible.