Friday, January 27, 2012

The "Red Cape" I Don't Have...

It's become a personal contest inwardly for me to see how many times I can actually keep smiling and say something nice back when I hear those dreaded words, "Are they ALL yours?" I try, with a calm head and tone to reveal a poised, well put together mother who cherishes every moment with her children and I politely  respond back with, "Yes, they are. I am VERY blessed."

Now I respond with this for merely two reasons. One being that if I come back with a positive response, the person looking down on me will most likely then in turn change their attitude towards the day care I so often have trailing me. Reason two, is purely because I am blessed.

But next comes the hard one. The core question I dread as a mother, a woman, a human. Its the shaking head, low tone, sorry for you statement that includes... "I just don't know how you do it."

So I figure I will give it to you straight as  plainly as it is.

"I DO IT BECAUSE THEY ARE MY CHILDREN." Yes, are their mothers that walk away from this daily? Unfortunately so, but obviously you are not looking at that type of mother or I would not be in Target with seven children buying birthday presents for the 14 birthday parties we are attending this week. SO, instead of wondering where my super power comes from and judging the fact that maybe I haven't brushed my hair or teeth in a day (or two), why not give a smile, offer an encouraging word, or better yet just remember to say a prayer for that mother you saw in Target today.

Being a mother is not all roses. Sorry but its not and I've never met any mother who felt that it was. Its work. HARD work. There are days I wish I did sport a lush red velvet cape around my neck or a belt that made me invisible, or a ring that could blast me to each and every event in a timely manner, or better yet, the power to make time stand still. Then maybe after 10 years, I would get a full nights rest.

But ask a mother how she does it, and all you will do is aid her in building her trust in humanity wall higher and higher. We do it because we choose to do it. We do it because we cry just as hard as they do when the fall down. We do it because, when they succeed, a little piece of us wants to hold that trophy with them. We do it because when they are sick, with every fiber in your body wish it was you and not them. We do it because we have to teach them how to do it for their children. We do it because we love them.

John 3:16, children learn by example. So although I don't sport a red cape I choose to do it because I was blessed to be called "mom."

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"Whats in your wallet?"

It's 11pm after a long hard day and here I sit with no sleep near my existing future. I have SO much to do and being a mother of 7 blessings, sometimes we work best at the oil burning hours. (Moms you know what I mean, lol.) But being that I have neglected my blogging lately, I felt compelled to add a tidbit tonight of a fine lesson I myself am learning.

This week, we were blessed to celebrate 2 special boys in our lives. Cooper my oldest turned 9, (gulp) and Brooks (my prayer life, lol) turned 4. Being that we have 7 blessings and that mommy took "off" a year to carry twins, pretty much we have been living on daddy's income and relying on Dave Ramsey (envelope system) to get us through. Its truly amazing what creative things you can come up with when there is no cash to spend, but that's for another day to talk about.

Well, this year I wanted to get "thrifty" more then crafty so Cooper and a friend from school went in together to split a birthday party celebration. It was wonderful. We were able to invite the whole third grade to a skate party from his school and her parents and us spilt it down the middle. Pretty much we had to just bring our own cake which brings me to my lesson.

When we bought Cooper's cake it was a sheet cake with cupcakes around it, so I thought from the picture, GREAT, options for everyone but when we picked up the cake there were 30 cupcakes around a sheet cake that feeds 36-42 people. Needless to say, the cupcakes were gone and we came home with a sheet cake.

So seeing that I have an untouched perfectly good cake, I decided to scrape Cooper's name off and place Brook's name on it for his party this Thursday. I thought it sounded like the best most economical idea and even my hubby agreed to let it not go to waste. That was until my 7 year old daughter got wind of what I was up too. You would have thought that I was re-using some of Cooper's ear wax to mold Brook's birthday candles the way she re-acted. she just couldn't understand why in the world I would dare re-use Cooper's cake when Brooks deserved one of his own.

A few thoughts came to my mind:
1. Brooks can't read so really he has NO IDEA that's not his name
2. Its a Star Wars cake and all I have to do is poke light sabers in the holes where Cooper's candles were
3. He's turning 4 and pretty is much more interested in the water park than cake
4. And lastly, ITS A PERFECT CAKE and I'm not wasting money

So how do you do when dealing with money? I'm not asking you to email me your budget plan for the month or even show me your envelope system but how do you do with the things the Lord has blessed you with? Do you share your wealth? Hide it? Do you squander it on silly things? Trust me. I'm preaching to myself here but look at what the bible says:

"Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the first fruits of all your increase..." Proverbs 3:9
"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil" 1Timothy 6:10

So you ask how did I get all this from a birthday cake? Honestly, I went around a corner, came up a slope, slid down into the gravel, and jumped on to home plate and there I found my answer. So instead of me preaching to my young one about responsibility of money, we talked of the less fortunate. Those who maybe have never had a birthday cake to call their own. We talked of children far away and close by that maybe haven't eaten today and most of all we talked about how to share our blessings with others.

So yes, you can learn a lot from a birthday cake. From school aged children and from yourself. So next time, a path is put in front of you and you wonder whether you should scrape the name off that birthday cake, just remember what debt was paid for us.

Happy Birthday Cooper and Brooks!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Oh Ye of Little Faith!

So its been a while since I updated my blog and my apologies to my 19 followers. (snicker insert here) Things have changed around the Howton Homefront and two more blessings have arrived. Kalynn and Camden were born March 11, 2011 and are just the most amazing babies. They are SO wonderful and sweet. We could not be happier, or more tired......which brings me to my topic.

As most of you know, I am a Facebooker. (Yes, its a word.) I enjoy catching up with friends, family, and making new ones too. I have Facebook on my computer as well as the phone that is attached to my hip. One of the many features of FB (Facebook) is where you can update and look at people's recent posts, called the "News Feed." I enjoy this just so I can stay updated and honestly when you sit for five hours a day at random times feeding babies, its nice to have something to do.

Well, just today I was thinking just how tired I was. Cam doesn't sleep all that great and Brooks is not having the best week of going to bed easy, plus the twins get us up at 5am and we go to bed late...yada, yada, yada... I don't even like hearing me complain. And this is why.

Today, a dear friend posted online that she would like prayers please on her and her husbands behalf. My friend was due with twins in July and this was her first pregnancy. This couple was so happy to learn of twins and we chatted often  and I "tried" to help her with useful facts about twins and what to expect. Well, at 28 weeks, she lost her babies.

I know your jaw dropped as did mine and I know your heart hurts as does mine. And this my friends is why my faith is stronger tonight. Tonight I will cherish Camden waking up every hour. Tonight I will hold Brooks and tell him what a good boy he is and that's why he needs a good nights rest. I will smile when the first cry at 5 am beckons me and I WILL count my blessings and name them one by one.

I urge you to do the same.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Handicap Bar, Grab Hold!

So when Jason and I sold our home almost 5 years ago, we never expected it to sell in 6 days. Don't get me wrong. WHAT A HUGE BLESSING! But I was also due with baby #3 any day so what were we to do? Well, long story short, we sold the house, moved out 6 days postpartum and moved into a 800 square foot apartment with three babies under three years old. Let's just say, it was hard.

So, as Jason went back to work, I became the house hunting guru. I would load all the kids, with snacks and sippys in tow, nurse the baby before we left, and pack the car seats in our sweet Realtors car, (that was NOT designd for car seats, SIGH!)

So, after four months of looking, I found a house. Not just a house but a house that when I approached Jason about it my exact words were, "Now just imagine..."

Needless to say, this house was dated to be at least 102 years old. It was actually the first Radio Station in Florence, AL. It was commissioned by President Roosevelt for the Wilson Dam workers, so the history was kind-of cool behind it, however, the life time warranty wool carpet flooring, 1960's wallpaper, and the tango orange kitchen cabinets complete with free standing in the middle of the room stove, were more to be desired.

Jason and I both knew we had our work cutout for us but we were up to it. Although only having three blessings at the time, this house boasted 7 bedrooms, so we envisioned a playroom, office, guest bedroom, etc. So we took the plunge, bought the house and gave our handyman the keys for two weeks and said "GUT IT."

We had a brand new kitchen made, as well as Jason and I put new flooring in. Our plaster walls were patched and re-textured, painting of ceilings, walls, molding, and doors were a daily chore. We gutted and pretty much made anew everything. Everything that is but the bathroom.

It was in well working order so we figured we'd conquer that later. Really my only pet peeve was the handicap bar the stretched across the shower wall.
It must have been placed there back in the 70's I'm sure for the previous owners. And really its not that big of deal but the blessings see it as a swing toy, which means many nights of "stop swinging in the shower."
So after five years of showering and bathing with that bar, tonight I finally came to a full appreciation of the thing.

Being that I see myself young still and in NO way need of help, (gulp) I was trying to lift this 32 week pregnant body out of the tub, using the water as my hopeful buoyancy leverage, and it hit me, why not use the bar. AND GUESS WHAT?? IT REALLY DOES WORK!!!

I was beyond excited to have that bar there at that moment. I could feel my baby weight shifting into an urge to fall forward and low and behold, that wonderful, silver polished, Barbie holding, Star War figure carrying bar caught me. It was wonderful.

So for now I'll keep the bar. I'll keep my first opinions of it to myself for now, till I find myself not "needing" its help anymore.
But for me, it also reminded me of our Lord, who is ALWAYS there to catch us. Although many reject His presence and only want to use Him when its right for them, He is always there. He is and will always be our silver polished handicap bar that will catch you. Its just your decision to reach out and grab hold.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A New Year... Same old, same old!!!

CHANGE!! This isn't a word most people enjoy but leave it to me to LOVE it. And I don't mean the kind I always find in the dryer, although I do enjoy those moments of .57 bliss. :) I am referring to the kind where you actually have BIG momentous occasions that are life altering. Journey's that are so noteworthy that blogs and Facebook status's get updated, (with coordinating pictures). We are talking big things!! More like, items need to be bought for this certain something or a new outfit has to be found. THAT KIND OF CHANGE!!!

Its these kind of changes that make me gitty the night before. When you can't sleep, so you lay there till 3am trying to go to sleep but your mind keeps racing and you work through EVERY scenario that could possibly happen and you have pretty much have every detail figured out. Now all you need, is the change to occur.

I guess that being said, you can tell who the thrill seeker is in the family. Yes, I'm the mom who refuses to go to Disney while pregnant because I can't ride the roller coasters. Selfish I know, but I can't stand the thought of sitting there on the "grand-parents" waiting bench. Yes, you know the one I'm talking about. When you come off a ride, they are ones sticking their necks out so high, hoping that this batch of drenched kids has some of their party included. The ones, that are holding all the strollers and bags and melted ice cream because lil' bit will have a hissy if he comes out and his ice cream is gone and lets be honest, who wants to pay $9.00 for another ice cream?

So back to change, I guess the reason I feed off of it SO much is that my life changes SO MUCH and I've just learned that honestly, I can't stop it. I would love to control it all, have a planner that has every detail of how life goes laid out but what I learned from being a mother of a quiver is that those planners make GREAT drink coasters. So I say bring on the change. Bring on the backwards potty training days, bring on the house renovations that last twice as long as expected, bring on the twins instead of the singleton, and bring on the burnt casserole. Besides, we always keep a frozen pizza just in case.

Change doesn't have to be a dirty word or a word to be confused with "you life is ending as you know it." Change can always be for the better and I pray that's what I find each day.

In the story of Samson, he had a major change. Imagine having this GREAT capability and it all changing due to a love struck heart.

When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, "Come up again, for he has told me all his heart." Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hands. 19 She made him sleep on her knees. And she called a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him. 20 And she said, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" And he awoke from his sleep and said, "I will go out as at other times and shake myself free." But he did not know that the Lord had left him.
Judges 16:18-20 (ESV)

How sad to know that Lord had left him. This had to be a HUGE change for him from going to strength to weakness but whats I find comforting in this story and throughout life is that, no matter what the change is, no matter what the change may bring, no matter what the change does, the Lord is always constant and NEVER changing. We as humans and sinners are the ones who change and run, but He is always there. And that's the beauty of a never changing God.

So enjoy life's changes. Make sure you include laughter when they come. Change can be a good thing and more of a blessing than you  think so let the change occur and greet it with a smile and consider it a .57 moment of pure bliss.

In Him,

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Guess Who I Took a Bath With???

As for most holidays, you always have the before hand "rush." The house cleaning, the grocery shopping, the famous modesty of "Why Yes, I am always this neat and tidy and my laundry baskets never have laundry in them." Yeah, back to reality, its the holidays and stress can really get the best of some of us. SO, in my quest for that not to happen, I decided to stay on top of things this year and really be on the ball. HA HA HA!!! And Double HA! That didn't work so I resorted to what I know best?


And I don't just mean that "warm" bath. I mean the ones that your skin comes out so red and you have to sit outside the tub for a few minutes because you are light headed from the heat. OH YEAH! You know what I'm talking about, ladies. Those are the soaks I look forward to. Most often I do get one a week but they are usually around 10pm or so, while the blessings are tucked away and the hubby has a good book to read. That's my cue to soak.

So on this last scurry before the holidays, I actually was able to get in a good bath before the blessings were in bed. Its rare but I had the chance so I pounced like a mother lion to her prey. I had it all ready too. The warm bathroom with the heater already going, steam billowing from the tub, ice cold drink located on the left side on the tub, magazine placed on the towel with a pen snapped to it for the occasional crossword. Rolled towel ready for behind the neck and a LOCKED door. That's right, a locked door. I was in the zone.

So as I begin my soak, now keep in mind that its HOT, you have to do the toe dip thing. You know where you start one toe at a time followed by the foot but not to be fooled to place them all in at once, because they will most likely melt away if you do? Yes, you are on the page with me. Well as I began the soak, I went for the eyes closed "AHHHH" moment. (I don't have to explain that one. You know what it is.)
So after the moment had passed I started to press on to the cool drink, due to the fact that my body temperature had risen to 105 degrees and there they were.

It was like they had been waiting there the whole time. Watching, non-blinking, staring in complete silence. Most likely making fun of the road map that now embraces my growing belly. Gawking at the awe of this very pregnant mother attempting her best to fit her oh so wide hips into the narrow 1950's ceramic tub. I stared back. Giving them a run for the own game but alas, they had me. I was outnumbered 6 to1 and I had no way out. There I lay as, 6 Star Wars figures beamed back a stare that was as haunting as Elm Street.

Its like they knew I was afraid of them. I quickly swung my leg up to knock them off their pedestal and then shortly realized my leg doesn't swing like that anymore and a hot wave of water rushed over my neck that I hadn't been ready  for. So I showed them. I sat up and tossed every one of them to the floor with no remorse. I even gave them a bit of the Godfather gesture so they knew who was in control here, and then the peace came, well sort of......

Then I felt bad. I had thrown Coopers toys out of the tub and actually dislodged one commanders arm. So in my motherly way, I got out of the tub, robed up, and proceeded to find the super glue to fix my damage. Upon my expedition, I was stopped for the much wanted juice cup, a diaper change, a load of clothes had just buzzed, and "Mom,  your phone is ringing." After tending to all their needs I proceeded with stealth like positioning, back to the bathroom. I was welcomed again by the warm heater, cool drink, and magazine awaiting me. The figures were gone. I doubled checked for left over Barbies and once in the clear I started the toe dip.

But as you can imagine, I had no idea the time that had passed while I was on my superglue excursion and I found myself, two footed, in a tub full of lukewarm water. Not desirable to even bathe in. So I called it a night and decided I would try again another lone night.

Now, I do my best to take experiences like this and learn from them and really find the humor in them. But this particular one had me thinking more of my spiritual life. You see, I equated everything to being ready for the BEST EXPERIENCE. I had every sense ready for pleasure. Just the way I wanted. I truly was on top of my game, but when something didn't go my way, I resigned. I opted out for easy road and decided that it wasn't the time or place for me.

Do you ever feel that way about your faith? You have everything ready and when a bump, stumble, or lukewarm water finds you, do you turn in haste and say "I'll try again another day?

The bible says, Matt 24:44- Therefore be ye also ready, for in such hour ye think not, the Son of man cometh...

Can we really wait another day to find our faith? Do we opt out for the easy road and pray that nothing happens between now and the time when "you" are ready? We prepare ourselves for so many adventures and tasks during our daily lives, but we forget so too often about what truly matters? Our soul.

So this week, as you prepare for the New Year grind, don't consume yourself, with "who you are taking a bath with." (You know what I mean.) But be concerned on your preparedness to meet our Savior.

Happy New Year from the Howton Quiver

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

All I Want for Christmas..... a MANUAL!

There are two things in life that really can place me in some kind of mood. Its like they only can draw the energy I need placed on something important out of me. I have NO IDEA why I let them get to me, but they do and I have tried countless times to find a cure, a solution, a route less taken but nevertheless, they seem to always win.

Now I know what you are thinking. OH, this is big, juicy, Facebook gossip stuff but no it really isn't. Its honestly petty, foolish, and childish but I can't bring myself to jump the hurdle of adulthood when it comes to these matters. Maybe some of you can relate or at least have small pity on me but my two biggest peeves are,
  1. Having to read manuals
  2. Fresh, out of the dryer, unmatched socks with no companion to be found
I told you. Dumb I know, but I can't help it. Its like pulling my teeth when these two obstacles come around. So here's the story...

First off, I'm not the biggest reader. I really don't have tons of time and I do good to get my daily bible reading in and digested. Its not like I don't enjoy it, I just don't make or have the time. (Its one of those reasons. I just know it.) So the problem steps in when we get a new toy in the house. A washer, dryer, stroller, stove, etc. Now I must say being married to an engineer that LOVES to read and enjoys manuals, often times this is a quick fix for me, with a "Hunny, can you come show me how to run this washer, etc." Which in his mind is, YES, time to sit and read the manual and learn and come to my wife's rescue. So now that I have boosted my man's self ego, its off for me to do what needs to be done and come back in an hour to learn in five minutes what would have taken me 3 hours to actually learn in black and white.
WIN WIN for me.

Now as for the socks, ACK!!! That's a whole different story. Years ago I learned that with a large family you go with whats easy, so for me, white socks it is. Only daddy and Cooper have dress socks for Sunday that aren't white. Its just easier AND when one outgrows that size, we simply place in the next younger ones basket. Easy fix! That is until, I get the loner sock. Its that one sock that will drive you batty because you have paired 15 matches together and you have only one left, stranded on the dryer. Its so annoying to me that I have to actually bring back my labor breathing techniques. Seriously!

So the search starts. Looking in the washer, dryer, baskets, under baskets, under beds, etc. And it just seems like the longest quest in the world for me. Sometimes success is found and located. But honestly most of the time, success comes about a week later and its in the last place you would have ever looked.

Now I do try to keep my stress level at a minimum when it comes to the socks. I have a "small" basket that is allocated for missing pairs and really I do pretty well at keeping it to only maybe two or four socks in it at a time but those socks have a time limit. If the match isn't found in a months time, to the trash they go. Yes, its harsh but momma has no time to deal.

As small as this may seem and silly to most, I do have to sit back and think about what might this be teaching me. Many people ask for manuals when it comes to babies, marriage, life, etc. and SO many authors have tried to accommodate that request. I'm sorry, as good as some books may be, no one comes close to the Bible. God already has set a manual for us and yes, you can't be lazy and ask your hubby to read and give you the cliff notes, but you can take one step at a time and absorb His beautiful message.

And unlike me and my time limit for socks, God has no limit for us. He wants to be with us and wants fellowship with us and after a months time, He doesn't throw us out. (Even though He should, most likely)How comforting is that?

So as you come upon one of those peeves of yours that really rock your boat, remember that manuals can always be listened and watched online, for you who like I can't bear to take the time to read black and white AND more pairs of socks can always be bought.

Phil. 4:13- I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength