If You Give a Mom a Minute

If you give a mom a minute, she might gaze out the window as she washes the breakfast dishes and she’ll notice how filthy with splatters the window over the sink is, so she’ll decide to wash the window.

When she’s finished, she will realize the screen is even dirtier than the window, so she’ll pull that out and scrub that clean. Then when she puts it all back together she’ll notice that the wood surrounding the window is grimy and dull so she’ll get out the special wood soap and wash that too.

When she sees the bucket of water outside she’ll decide she should wash the dining room screens too. She’ll probably notice the windows and the wood that goes with those screens is icky too, so she’ll work to clean all of that as well. When she sees how clean and shiny those windows are, she will notice that the other windows and screens and wood in the house reveal that spring cleaning never took place, so she’ll wash those too.

When she’s on the patio washing all those screens she will notice how dirty the patio is so she’ll get a broom and sweep that up. When it’s all swept up she will realize it would look even better if she were to spray it clean. Then she will remember she has a patio in the front of her house that also needs to be swept and sprayed. While outside she will notice the dog poop in her yard. She will go to the garage to get a bag to clean that up.

When she walks through the garage she’ll see the ladder golf game that fell apart the other day so she will get in her car to drive to the store. When she gets in her car, she remembers the dog beds that need to be returned to Target. After she completes the return she almost walks through the store “just to see” but realizes she had spent $168 there the other day so she will quickly turn and leave.

When she gets home she will decide to load her car for her trip the next day. When she opens the hatch she will decide to vacuum the sand that is everywhere. Once that is clean she might decide to vacuum the dog hair in the backseat too. Then will probably notice the dog slobber on the windows, so she will want to wash those too. Since the back of the car is clean she will likely clean the front seats next. When she goes to put the dog seat cover on the seat she will realize it smells really bad, so she will decide to put it in the washer. But the washer will be full of her son’s laundry so she will move that to the dryer first.

When she finally moves the dog cover to the dryer and takes her son’s dry, clean laundry upstairs to his room, chances are she will close his window, and if she does that she will realize that she only cleaned the windows on the first floor, but….she will just go to bed.

If you give a mom a minute, she might just stretch it into an entire day!

This post was originally published over here.

The Great Thing He Never Told Us

We never get good news from our youngest son. I’m not a fan of the words “always” and “never,” but I believe “never” applies here; he just does not like to share positive news. Now — if there is bad news, or somebody (including him) chose very unwisely, we’ll hear a-l-l about it. If he discovers a hole within the program he is residing in currently, he will be all over telling us how he discovered the hole in leadership, training or supervision. You name it, if he found a weak spot, we will most certainly be quickly in the loop on that!

Recently in a meeting with the director of the program to talk about our son’s progress, he asked if our boy had shared some positive news about a choice he had made not that long ago. We, of course, had heard nothing of this news, so he went on to tell me the scenario that had unfolded. It was incredibly encouraging news — a decision our boy made all by himself that would have made us so proud of him … but he never told us. I was caught between encouragement and frustration.

While we were visiting him the next week we told him we had heard of the decision he made, and that we were very proud of him for making such a healthy decision for himself. He offered a little window of insight into what was behind that decision; incredibly, it was all intrinsically motivated. He knew he was making a good decision for himself. In a group where everyone chose one thing, he chose another.

I realized that the very thing that had frustrated me — him not sharing his good decision with us — in a way, is one of the very things we are parenting to. One of my highest goals in parenting isn’t that my kids will make decisions to please me (or anyone else), I want them to learn to make decisions that are good and healthy for their own sake. There will come a time (and has come a time for our college kids) when obeying and pleasing us is not what matters. The end goal has always been that they will make wise decisions that will be beneficial to their own bodies, minds and souls — regardless of who knew or didn’t know what they did … or didn’t do.

So he never shared with us the great thing he didn’t do, that’s OK. As much as I could have benefitted from that little golden nugget, what matters most is that he made a good decision in a not very good situation. It seems I am encouraged after all.

Big Empty Squares that Will Lead Somewhere

We are a full week into 2014 and it’s as if I’m just realizing it’s January. I went to the grocery store today for the first time in three weeks. (Running in for milk or wine does not constitute a grocery trip!) This particular winter break has been like one on-going, never ending Saturday. With Courtney and Zach on break from college, and Erin not returning to high school (due to the snow, cold temperatures, icy roads or whatever else is keeping the schools closed), it’s been a season of late nights, cookies, movies, friends coming and going, indulging in rich, delicious cooking, sleeping in, shoveling, games and more.

But it IS January. Bills had to be paid, we ran out of real food, laundry had to be done, my husband returned to work after being home for 12 days and people started talking about resolutions. I’m not a big resolution maker, but what I do like about the New Year is a clean, clear calendar. Big empty squares. A fresh beginning. A new opportunity to intentionally decide what should go on those squares, the things on which I will spend the only time I have — that should be intentional.

In light of being intentional, the other day I made a 2014 To Do list. There are some practical things on it like “clean my closet” some fun ones like “go to Minnesota and see my sisters.” I also included items like “pay taxes.” (This guarantees I’ll experience some success since I KNOW that will get done!) Matters such as “use time wisely,” “function on a schedule,” “be calm” and “feel joy” are also on my list. “Read my Bible,” “prayer” and “serve” also show up — I don’t want to just squeeze these in, I want to keep these spiritual disciplines a priority.

I believe what we all want when we make our resolutions (or our lists), is forward progress. We want to be a better, stronger, more developed, mature, disciplined or wiser version of ourselves. We want to grow. I don’t want to look back on the last year and realize I am exactly as I was — that nothing is different. I want to look back each year and see I’ve actually journeyed somewhere — even if it is within myself.

This post originally appeared on Moms.FortWaye.Com