If you were a fly on the wall at my house, you'd be sure to hear your share of fussing, complaining and whining. Maybe even a slammed door or two.

But enough about me.

In the pressure cooker that's parenting, I have exploded more than once. And it's harder to clean up than spaghetti night with a toddler.

So after years spent indulging in fruitless self-flogging, I finally let go of my obsession with getting it all 'just right.' I confess...I'm not a perfect parent.

Whew. That felt good.

Now, when my son saunters in with his 42nd tardy of the school year, I let it go. When I hear myself hollering "Whatever!" at my teenage daughter, I move on.

Having it all together is overrated anyway.

And I've determined not to waste God's grace. I'll never get it just right. You won't, either. So read on, sister. If you see a little of yourself in me, I hope it helps to know that you're not alone. Nope. If you're a mom, face it. You're never, ever alone.

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

I'm Back -- With An Announcement!

It's been a long time since I've confessed here. Believe me, it hasn't been for lack of material! My absence here was spurred by burnout -- not only on blogging, but in other areas of my life as well.

Over the past year since I've been gone, God has done some amazing work in my own life and in my family's life. I've seen Him answer prayers that I had nearly given up on ever seeing fulfilled. Life is still far from perfect. And I'm still a very imperfect parent. But I have a deeper understanding of the character of my Creator and His  infinite trustworthiness despite my many flaws. He can handle them -- and me. And my children. And we're no low-maintenance crew.

Another thing that has emerged over the last year is that I've started a new blog! And I'm not doing it alone, which is such a blessing. Isn't it so much easier to do anything when you have someone supportive by your side? We launched today -- on Mother's Day.

My blogging partner, Kathy, is my best friend and one of the most genuine, transparent and loving people I know. It has been such a blast to create this project together.

Our new blog is called Mothering from Scratch: Where Mentoring Moms Is Our Main Dish. So many of us moms weren't handed down a healthy mothering legacy. But regardless of the quality of mothering we received, we all have to figure out what works for our unique personalities and children's temperments. We're all Mothering from Scratch. And we'd like to help give moms the resources they need to create their own recipe.

I'm not sure if God is done with my Coming Clean blog, yet, but for now you can find me at Mothering from Scratch. I hope that you will come by and visit me there!

I must confess ... I've missed you! 


Monday, June 6, 2011

Officially Taking a Break

I'm finally making it official. I need a break.

If you haven't noticed, I've been on an "unofficial" break from blogging for a while now.

I didn't really intend to abandon you. I'm quite fond of you, my fine blogging buddies. And I love sharing my life and experiences with you.

And yet I've been mysteriously sucked into the blogosphere vortex. Drafted for an episode of "Without a Trace." Rendered more elusive than a good-paying job in this sad-sack economy.

Well, I can't go into complete detail, but I think I owe you an explanation:

1.) I'm in a dry spell. Normally, I'd think of that as a negative, but I'm seeing it as a positive right now. I'm taking this time to get closer to God and He's revealing to me some weak spiritual areas in my life and is exposing some lies I believe -- about myself and about Him. I'm actually enjoying taking this break from writing and just concentrating on deepening my relationship with Jesus.

2.) I'm concentrating on family. I just feel like I'm in a period where my kids need some extra attention, so I've cut my activity level over the past five or six months. Again, I'm enjoying this. I'm seeing fruit from this.

I am confident I will be back. I'm not sure when, but I think it will be sooner rather than later. But instead of limping along like I have been lately, I've decided to just take the pressure off myself, enjoy a break and, God-willing, come back renewed and stronger.

In the meantime, I will miss you.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Winning Wisdom Wednesday: The Simple Life!

I cringe when I think back on it.

My daughter Molly was two years old. It was a busy, stressful morning (as usual). My house was a disaster. The refrigerator was bare and dirty. And I was rushing to put her in the car and running late for a women's group I was leading at my church. Which I was unprepared for because of the 500 other commitments I'd made.

And then I just lost it. I began ranting and raving (to no one in particular) about how overwhelmed I was and how I was late everywhere I went. On and on I went ... I was sobbing. And poor Molly looked at me as if to say, "Pull it together, you crazy woman!"

The fact of the matter is that it took a couple more years of insanity before I hit rock bottom and realized that I had to make some big changes. And that the world would indeed continue to spin on its axis if I wasn't in charge of everything.

One of the books that supernaturally landed in my hands around this time period was called, Simplify Your Life with Kids by Elaine St. James.

Every mama can benefit from reading this book. And the sooner the better.

It gives wonderful, practical wisdom on just about every area of family life from teaching your little ones household chores to limiting the "stuff" to conflict resolution.

It's not a "to do" list for moms. We all need another one of those like we need a hole in the head. It's more like having a really sweet, wise, but firm mother handing down some hard-won wisdom. She convinces you that life really can be slower, sweeter and less complicated -- and gives you the inspiration and tools to make it happen.

The chapters are super short, to the point and easy to apply.

Here's an excerpt from the book:

One of the reasons we end up doing too many things at one time is that we're trying to do it all. Not long ago I met a single mom with three sons, ages nine, thirteen and sixteen. Her kids are polite and well behaved. She works full-time, her house is reasonably orderly, and she appears to have her life together.

I asked her how she did it all.

She said, quite frankly, "I don't do it all. I don't even try. I work full-time, and I spend the rest of the time with my kids. Period. I don't bake for anyone but the boys. I don't accept social invitations unless the kids are invited too and we all really want to go. My kids are my top priority right now; everything else has to wait. And I'm okay with that." ...

Whether you're a single working parent, part of a working couple, or a work-from-home or stay-at-home parent, the pressure to do it all is enormous. One basic way to simplify your life is learning to discriminate between the essential and the nonessential.

So figure out what your top two or three priorities are, spend your time and energy on them, and let the rest go. Simply accept that it's not possible to do it all and that it's all right if you don't -- in fact, it's immeasurably better if you don't. You can have a happy and fulfilling life while doing only part of it. People have done that successfully for years.

Your Chance to Win Some Wisdom:
Each Wednesday, I post a thought-provoking, interesting or encouraging quote from a parenting book I've read. On the last Wednesday of the month, I will give away one of the books (winner's choice) that I've quoted from throughout the month.

How do you enter? Simply leave me a comment on my Wednesday "Winning Wisdom" posts during the month. I will choose a monthly winner from all those who have commented. The next winner will be chosen on June 1st.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Winning Wisdom Wednesday Winner!

The winner of this month's Winning Wisdom Wednesday is .... Graywolfie! Congratulations!

She'll get to choose from the three parenting books that I featured over the last month:

Boundaries with Kids by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend
Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas
Revolutionary Parenting by George Barna

All three are excellent, so you can't go wrong whatever you choose, Graywolfie!

Do YOU want to win some wisdom next month? Here's how:
Each Wednesday, I post a thought-provoking, interesting or encouraging quote from a parenting book I've read. On the last Wednesday of the month, I will give away one of the books (winner's choice) that I've quoted from throughout the month.

Simply leave me a comment on my Wednesday "Winning Wisdom" posts during the month. I will choose a monthly winner from all those who have commented.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What's the Big, Honkin' Deal?

I am so excited to have my very good friend Dina guest posting today. Dina is not a blogger, but she should be. And I think she's about thisclose to taking the plunge. Dina and I met about 9 years ago and have spent many hours solving the world's problems in our kids' school parking lot. Which, by the way, is the setting of a funny, entirely all-too-relatable experience she's sharing with us today:

My anger can be an ugly thing. Especially when it’s on display in my children’s Christian school parking lot. At least it wasn’t directed at any family members this time (I’m hoping that’s a step in the right direction). Perhaps I’m just in a bit of denial.

Okay, let me explain. On a recent morning, after dropping my kids off at school, I was exiting the parking lot. You can only turn right or left out of the parking lot into a 15mph school zone. There was quite a bit of traffic coming both directions so I knew – okay , I thought - I had a minute to look down and dial a number on my phone. (Talking while driving is a topic to be discussed at another time.) Well, apparently I missed a prime opportunity to pull out because the person in line behind me gave me a nice long honk. Point taken. Phone down. Begin exit from parking lot.

But wait, I can’t pull out – too much traffic is still coming. Not to mention I’m totally distracted now because the honking has continued very obnoxiously and as I look in the rear-view mirror I see that this man’s lips are moving violently. He's alone in the car, so I realize that he is honking and yelling at me. My first instinct was to throw the car in park, make him wait even longer and go back there and give him a piece of my mind. I didn’t want to be rude to the other people behind him though. Instead, I waited until I had a nice long break in traffic, pulled out ever so slowly, rolled down my window, craned my neck, made full eye contact, and proceeded to scream at the top of my lungs, “THIS IS A CHRISTIAN SCHOOL – YOU COULD ACT LIKE IT!!!”

At least I didn’t swear.

Fast forward to the next day. God must have wanted to test me because as I was coming to school guess who pulled out right in front of me? You guessed it - Mr. Horn Honker! I could feel the anger rising up in me again. I indulged my impulse to ride up on his tail for a minute, until my level-headed daughter reminded me that "I am a Christian and should probably act like one." Ahem.

I know that I should have ignored this man to begin with. I know it was wrong to yell out the window at him. But this type of thing gets to me. I was burning with rage and continued to stew over it for at least an hour. I could have made a list: “40 Ways to Torture the Honking Hellian”.

However, I decided to spend a little time with God, ask forgiveness, and get my head back on straight. Proverbs 29:11 reminded me “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control”. I might tape this to my visor. Maybe the next time I’m confronted by another hostile honker, I won’t act like a fool.
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