When discipline is hard…

Can I just have a moment today to share some honesty on the homefront?  We’ve been having some trouble keeping up with our chores around our home.  My kids like to go, go, go.  They like to play, play, play.  They love to have fun, and their joy is contagious and brings me so much joy in return.  But they don’t like to clean, clean, clean.   I mean, look at how rough it is to just organize some stuffed animals… 🙂

 

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No matter how many chore charts I’ve tried, reminders I give, or – let’s face it – nagging that comes out of my mouth, nothing seems to help some days.  It becomes a frustration for me because I know the investment I’ve made into this house, the costs it takes to replace things that are broken or worn down, and the results of negligence.  They don’t.  And try as I might, they just don’t get it.

So, once again, for what seems like the 25th time, I’ve been trying to find a better system where they take better responsibility for their things.  We’ve had several chats lately about stepping up to help more, now that they are older and capable of more than they realize.  I’ve made new lists for them to try to keep themselves more accountable. I keep hoping and praying they grasp it one of these days.

But then, I take a breath and remember… I’m still learning some of these same lessons myself in other ways.

Discipline.  It’s not fun.  Not the discipline that seems to mean “consequence” for one’s actions, of course.  But not the discipline that means commitment either.  That “stick to it” ness that usually needs to happen before success is obtained.  For example…

I desire to complete a 200-mile running challenge and obtain my medal.  But it will be a long time before I see the reward, so I’ve often felt like moving on to a different kind of exercise long before I’m anywhere near close to accomplishing this goal.

I desire to write a book, but when I have time to write, it often sounds more fun to meet a friend for coffee, or go window shop at a favorite store.

I desire to eat a salad each day for lunch, but that gets boring, and some other food that’s a lot less healthy often looks more appealing.

I desire to spend more time in prayer before starting my day, but a rough night of little sleep the night before makes sleeping in a little longer seem a little more important. 

 

We all have our own areas where discipline is so very challenging.  I wish I could see the bigger perspective that God sees.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  It would help bring so much encouragement to keep on going as we see the end results seeming more worth it.  Yet, we walk and move by faith, and that means pressing on even when we can’t see what lies ahead.  It means trusting that He will complete the work that He started in us.  It means knowing what we’ve been called to, and that we have the daily choice as to whether to continue living out that call.

And that call requires discipline.  But it also means a lot of His grace.  Our Father knows that we are weak and won’t follow through on things in our own human strength.  He forgives, loves, and encourages us in small ways to keep on pressing on.

So I’m also choosing some grace with my kids today, knowing that each one of us will probably struggle with discipline in some way, because we live on this earth full of distractions and lesser important things that tend to pull at us.

Oh, and by the way – I’m four miles away from finally completing that 200-mile challenge.  So be encouraged, my friends.   In whatever you are trying to accomplish right now, the discipline is so worth it!

Now, to get working on that book…

christydsiggy2013

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When we just choose to slow down…

I was on the treadmill at the gym the other day, lost in my own thoughts and staring out the window, when a mom walked past looking like she still had plenty more energy left than I do after a good long workout.  She was headed briskly to her car, but kept looking back behind her.  After a minute or so, I realized why.  About 50 feet back was a little girl, no older than three.  And she was slowly – and I mean, slowly – following her mom.

Now I couldn’t tell exactly what her mom was saying to her daughter through the glass that separated me from them,  but I knew she was trying in the best, most patient way she could, to get this adorable little girl to keep moving.  But it wasn’t working so well.   This girl was stopping to look at everything.  The sky.  The grass.  The cars.  Something on the sidewalk that I assumed was a bug.   She would point.  She would stare.  And she would take her sweet time in observation.

I felt bad for that mom, because I’ve been there quite often.  And unfortunately, those times only seem to become more frequent as my kids get older.  When they were little, we had more time to stop and stare at the grass and plod our way through parking lots before arriving to our car.  We could stop and pick some flowers and spend as much time as we wanted at pumpkin patches and visit the nearby park just to walk around and play.

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But now, my kids are all school-aged.  They have sports practices and ballet classes, violin lessons and tests to study for.   I’m constantly trying to figure out how to get everyone where they need to go and often feel like I’m juggling more balls some days than I can ever hope to keep in the air.  They keep growing, as much as I would like to slow them down.  Life.  It just keeps happening all around me.

There is so much we miss when we hustle.   There is so much beauty all around us that has been given to us to enjoy by the Master Artist.  And we won’t see any of it, if we aren’t taking the time to look.

Rainbows after big thunderstorms, that we only see when we turn our heads.

Natural light that shines all around us, but we only see when we look up from our smart phones.

Rabbits that come out and play around sunset, that we only see when we look out the window.

Children who offer sweet words of encouragement, that we only hear when we take the time to tuck them into bed at night.

I keep thinking about that little girl, longing to be more like her.  I want to find new ways to slow down – because I don’t want to miss any of the “right now” being too focused on the “not yet.”   Matthew West just came out with a beautiful song called “The Beautiful Things We Miss,” and it’s resonating with me right now…

I don’t wanna miss it
I don’t wanna look back someday and find
Everything that really mattered
Was right in front of me this whole time
Open up my eyes, Lord
Keep me in the moment just like this
Before the beautiful things we love
Become the beautiful things we miss

So don’t miss it today, my friend.   There is beauty waiting all around us.

We just each may have to become more like a little child to see it.

christydsiggy2013

 

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Never enough…

I get asked this one question all the time… How do you do it all?  Working three part-time jobs… homeschooling my kids a couple days a week… trying to care for a house that seems to always have some issue that needs fixing (that I usually don’t know how to fix)… trying to be physically and emotionally healthy myself… and most importantly – making sure my kids are well taken care of, nurtured, and loved.  … {…Read More}

Adopting… or not adopting…

The date passed once again recently… July 20th.  The date we once celebrated as a family because our adoption dossier was now officially in Ethiopia and on file with the Ministry of Women, Children, and Youth Affairs.  The date we knew would bring us one step closer to the little girl we’d dreamed about and had a special place for in our hearts, even though we had yet to know her name or see her … {…Read More}

To the Single Mama on Mother’s Day…

I know you’re out there, sweet single mama.  In fact, according to current research by the U.S. Census Bureau, there are almost 10 million of you out there just in the United States alone.  You may feel unseen, unknown, or forgotten by those around you, but you are not.  And Mother’s Day is a great time to remind you of that. For some of you, Mother’s Day may serve as a painful reminder of what you … {…Read More}

The beauty of the slow brew…

I will never forget the way our house used to smell each morning after I brewed a pot of coffee. It wasn’t just any old brand of coffee, either. This was coffee made of rich Ethiopian beans that we would get through a company supporting fair trade and small business opportunities in developing countries. And, as an extra bonus, five dollars of every bag bought went to help fund our pending adoption. B never really enjoyed … {…Read More}

When birthdays become life lessons…

Calling all the mamas out there today… Yes, you, with the child you feel like you are constantly disciplining for the same old reason.  The one who wears you out with the way you have to stay on top of them with a balance of discipline and love, wishing you could just love without the discipline for just one day.  Isn’t disciplining so exhausting?  It wears me out and makes me long for a day … {…Read More}

Why honesty {to ourselves} is the best policy…

I think sometimes, the hardest person to be honest with is myself.  Anyone with me? I would consider myself a pretty honest person.   I guess you could say I’ve been blessed with a pretty strong conscience that sends flares off to the rest of me if something’s not right.  I desire peace with the people around me at almost any cost, which isn’t always a good thing for my own well being.  But it does … {…Read More}

When loneliness becomes a gift…

I’m back.  But it feels like I should write that as, I’m baaaaaaack.  Because it seems like forever since I’ve written a blog post.  I’ve missed it, not because anyone out there really needs to read what I have to say, but because I feel like I need to write.  It’s this push in my heart, but there are seasons and breaks and busyness and things that get in the way. For us, it was … {…Read More}

A call to gratitude (and a book review)

My least favorite time of year, when it comes to parenting my kids, is when the toy catalogs come out.  Right around when the holiday decorations start being seen around town, our mailbox starts overflowing with its own décor – catalogs galore.  And not just any catalogs, but catalogs that appeal to little people with big eyes.  Eyes that are prone to see all that they don’t have, that their friends do. We are blessed … {…Read More}