Wednesday, December 30, 2009
You see, Wednesday nights are church nights. And I have the honor of serving as the administrator of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade arena (known at VBF as "The Studio").
This may not sound like a big deal, but in a church our size (nearing 10,000 members), with a prolific congregation, the number of 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders can be astounding. My job, though, is "simply" to organize the teachers, make sure we have enough teachers, select the curriculum, and generally oversee the Studio's efficient administration. Still sounds pretty easy, right?
But every Wednesday, there are at least two, normally three or four, teachers (out of nine), who cannot show up for one reason or another, which leaves me the job of finding replacements, praying the remaining teachers will show up, and generally stressing out. With sometimes 110+ kids to teach, I cannot have only four teachers show up!
And so I make some phone calls, send out a few urgent text messages and emails, mutter around the house fretfully, and generally find myself complaining and anxious, all day long...
As I leave the house for church, with at least one child in tow, sometimes all three, I often think to myself, "I JUST CAN'T DO IT ANYMORE!" (Yes, sometimes, I yell to myself.)
Today was Wednesday, and like most Wednesdays, there were a handful of teachers who contacted me with valid reasons they couldn't teach...family reasons, illnesses, and my favorite, no excuse at all...and I handled it as usual--badly. I have an earache and my hubby and boys are sick too, so my patience was already thin.
I decided to make tonight's church excursion just Kya and I and hoped I could duck out early.
We stopped by McDonald's on the way, and we talked about what we would do when we got to church. Kya wore her light up Cinderella dress. Things were good. As I laid out her burger and apple slices on the table at church, I said, "Sorry mommy couldn't make you dinner tonight Kya." Her reply shook me..."It's OK mommy; you were just too stressed out to cook."
The teaching tonight was on the Good Samaritan...serving and loving...the widow's quiet offering which was of utmost value to God...
I had a moment of enlightenment. I have to write about these when they happen because they come so rarely these bleary-eyed days.
My job...my service and act of love for God...is to help organize the Studio teachers. That is my primary function. If no one ever called in sick or needed a sub, my job wouldn't exist. That is my service, so why do I spend an entire day every week stressing out about my service for the Lord? What a poor example I am settting for my children by being anxious about the very service God has called me to perform...and which God ALWAYS blesses.
See, there has never been a Wednesday that God didn't show up at the Studio. He covers us with His grace and mercy and provides for His children better than we ever could. Some weeks, there are only four or five teachers, and yet, the kids learn about God and are safe and happy when they leave. I always come home thankful and impressed that everything worked out despite me. And yet, each week, I still "stress out."
I think maybe next week, I'll rely a little more on God and be thankful when a teacher texts me that they can't make it--after all, that's my OPPORTUNITY to serve Him...to offer up myself, my time, and show our children that service for the Lord is always good, because He covers it with His blessings, grace, and mercy.
And, although bedtimes are a little later on Wednesdays, that usually means everyone might sleep in on Thursday and it definitely means everyone gets a nap on Thursday...even mommy.
I am still praying about my Wednesday night service because it does take quite a lot for our family to prepare, serve, and recover from it all, but tonight I realized, that is what service is about, and, like our tithes and offerings, God blesses us based on how much we give of ourselves.
It's not always easy or fun, but service is not about those things, it's about giving of ourselves, training ourselves, disciplining ourselves, and teaching our kids, to do the right thing, even when it is uncomfortable or inconvenient.
It probably wasn't convenient for the Samaritan to care for the injured man in the road or pay for his hotel stay. It probably was not fun for the widow to give up her last two cents as an offering to God. But those things God treasures most--when we give not from our excess, but from our very last bit...of energy, time, finances, etc.
I gave tonight, and it wasn't my last bit, but it wasn't comfortable. God knows, God sees. God smiles when we serve...especially from our last bit.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Every mom has certain truths about herself and her family that can make it or break it. For me, I realized, those two things are very simple:
1) If I have enough sleep, I am a better parent, wife, friend, and person; and
2) If I get up before my children, take a shower, get dressed, greenish grayish hair done and face made up (not like I'm going clubbin', but a little foundation, a little mascara and a swipe of bronzer and lip gloss), have some hot water, tea or coffee (pregnancy dependent), and some moments in Bible Study or other inspirational reading, I am a better wife, parent, friend and person for the rest of the day.
So, once I discovered these two truths, in that peaceful, beautiful hot hot shower, I thought to myelf, "These two things are simple and yet I have not made any effort to ensure that every day has these two things in it. That's not very smart...and I am a smart lady darn it!"
So i thought about what the common denominator is in making these things happen...
That's easy, and so I'm not sure why I didn't think of it before--maybe I did and wasn't disciplined enough to implement it. Maybe I've just been too lazy and tired the last few years to really commit to bedtime enforcement (my Achilles' heel as a parent.)
The simple answer is that both require me to put my children to bed consistently at 8:00PM so that I can go to bed by 9:00PM (9:30 at the latest). This will ensure enough sleep for me and the ability to get up when that alarm wakes me up at 5:00AM (maybe 5:15) for my own quiet time and self-preparation.
What are your truths? What are the things you KNOW will make you a better mom, wife, friend or parent each day? Have you implemented the simple changes you know would help? Well, maybe if you can pray for me to be strong enough to implement bedtime (and I really need help with this because I'm a big ol' softy) then I can pray for you to do something powerful and meaningful (and probably pretty simple) for you and your family!
Blessings fellow travelers!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
I was reminded tonight of Luke 1:41 when Elizabeth's baby leapt for joy in her womb at the sound of Mary's voice.
I'm pretty sure our baby leapt for the ice water I was drinking, not so much for spirit-filled joy, but it is still so neat.
Monday, December 21, 2009
But, luckily, the crabbiness is only for like an hour a day and usually relates to getting a specific task or occurrence accomplished. For instance, before we left for Disneyland, I had to prepare the food and clothing and lists for my dad who was staying at our house with Caden.
I also could not leave the house in the state it would usually be in for my sweet father because he most certainly would have tripped and fallen into a large pile of laundry/trash/toys, never to be heard from again.
I also had to prepare snacks, clothing, diapers, etc. for those of us going to Disneyland (which included Wyatt, Kya, Scott, myself and...my mother.) Now I love my mother so very much, but
I just wasn't sure if this journey with two small children all the way to L.A., with the inevitable whining and meltdowns, and poopy diapers, and potty stops, was going to be her cup of tea...and the walking...and the annoying people...and the possibility that the van might be too hot, or too cold, or...I don't know, I was just nervous that she wouldn't be comfortable, and I wanted everything to be just right.
I also needed to make sure we didn't have to purchase anything while at Disneyland. I vowed we would not have to purchase food, drink, or weather resistant clothing at their astronomical prices!!! Which meant packing smartly and efficiently.
And if I didn't get to all of these things, in addition to styling my grayish green hair, I was going to have a bit of a meltdown, because I wanted this trip to BE PERFECT DARNIT!!! (I was close to saying something less appropriate there, so you would really understand my feelings of crabbiness, but I refrained.)
So, the morning was kind of miserable for anyone in my path. My poor husband was privy to the biggest meltdown, complete with tears and a big "I'm just sooooooooo tired of having to plan everything for this family!!!" climax.
He was very quiet the rest of the morning. I was sad I said that.
As everything got completed and we headed down to the Magic Kingdom, my mood lifted and I was ready to chat, laugh, and enjoy the scenery. After all, there was nothing left to be crabby about and I had gotten my crabbiness out. My mom was in a fabulous mood and so we just had a grand time.
As I often forget, my major meltdowns always have a lasting impact on my husband. I snap out of it and he is left reeling. I am laughing and he is still bleary-eyed and hurt from words I said in the heat of my selfish miserable moment.
He is never rude and never argues. He is just hurt and very quiet, for a time. And I don't blame him. My crabbiness fallout is lasting and as I look at his sweet, loyal, gorgeous face, I just wish I could take it all back and start over, but I know I can't.
I know there will be more meltdowns, because that's what happens when you are nauseous all the time and don't get enough sleep, and have a lot of very (yah, right) important tasks to accomplish, but I know I can be better, and I know I can stop throwing blame where it doesn't belong. And I need to remember that the whole reason I want all those other things to be perfect is FOR my family, not in spite of them.
I love you husband, and I'm sorry I ruined the Magic Kingdom for you!!!
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Sometimes I feel serious and contemplative when I am blogging, which leads me to find irony or deep meaning in daily events.
Today, I am tired. My sweet kiddos did not sleep much the past two nights (and mommy stayed out waaaay too late at Christmas Bunco on Monday night (and drank caffeinated iced tea there like a BIG dope so I couldn't even sleep when I did get home)).
So, here are some reflections from this tired mommy on this day of sick kids in no particular order (list format stolen from Jennifer at "for the praise of his name"):
- "Light ash blond" on the box can actually mean grayish light greeny brown;
- One year olds cannot be left alone, ever;
- Brothers and sisters who are close in age CAN be great friends and comrades;
- Husbands who smile at you even after a hard day and even when you have grayish green brown hair are priceless;
- Facebook is not for the undisciplined;
- Wash poopy clothes in hot water to kill germs;
- If you know you are going to be nauseous and tired from noon on, get all the things that require standing done BEFORE 11:30;
- A nice clean cuddly child can erase hours of grumpiness;
- Friends who are honest about themselves and their struggles are a treasure;
- God is with us even when we don't feel Him or acknowledge Him, but He'd rather we acknowledge Him.
- When I go through the day without acknowledging Him, I have a hard time snapping out of a grumpy mood; and
- I am so thankful for other blogging moms who provide endless encouragement, advice, ideas, and research, to challenge me to make my mommyhood exceptional rather than just tolerable.
That's all for now. All our children are sleeping, which means early to rise. Blessings from this preggo sleepy thankful mommy.
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
"Why Tara?" you may ask.
Well, let me tell you! Every year, the sparkly lights and Christmas decorations at all our friends' and neighbors' houses beckon me..."Buy more! Shop more! It's not Christmas without sparkly bright stuff everywhere!" It is also this time of year when I think, "I really could use a house makeover and I can't possibly have family and friends over with this old, worn, tattered decor."
In the past, our home has embarassed me at times. I am ashamed to say that I have ever seen our 1600 square foot home as anything other than a blessing. But, this year especially, there have been times I secretly (and not so secretly) cursed this house and its lack of storage, lack of space, poor paint job, clutter, and sad landscaping (we have converted most of our "landscape" to productive, but not pretty, fruit, herb and veggie gardens...and let's not forget the chicken coop!)
And then...a new friend mentioned an author to me who talks about these materialistic ideas and how we Christians might live differently, and perhaps should live differently...
I began reading and reading and reading...about the way Christians are living in third worlds (and non-Christians for that matter.) I began seeing our lives, our excesses, my own personal "buy more" obsession, in a different light. I began to realize today that our lifestyle is more than enough. It is more than most people in the world could ever hope for. I am so happy today with our home. And I feel free, like I can breathe again, after this major realization.
And I actually smiled tonight when I saw the hole in the side of our red love seat...because I was sitting in a warm house, clothed in warm jammies, with a freshly bathed little boy on my lap, books to read, light by which to read, and a wonderful spirit of thankfulness enveloped me once again and I wept. I wept because I am pregnant, but I also wept because I was so so so thankful that God did this work in my heart today.
I think this Christmas is going to be different around the Haner home. The Joneses be darned.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Anyway, if there had been people in the stands watching my mothering this afternoon, they would have booed...especially during the part when I cried and told Kya her behavior was making me so frustrated, I had no choice but to sit in the corner and cry. I'm sure she will spend hours in therapy as a result of that little meltdown.
But, the kitchen is clean. And I apologized, and we did learn a little about Jesus today. And I have one tiny tree up in the kitchen and Christmas placemats and towels out.
I am glad tomorrow's mercies are new.
Prayer: Lord please help me renew a right spirit toward my children tonight while I sleep. Thank you. Amen.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
MARGINS: the space between your load and your limit.
If you have no margins in your life, you end up speeding through life (on the freeway for instance.) You try to cram more into less time and you forget things (like keys, purse, etc.) You become edgy, moody and grouchy.
Too much on the calendar: If you pack too much into your life, you begin to endanger your health, constantly on the move, on edge, stressed out. (Don't live life like Emmet Smith plays football--picture Pastor Ron wide-eyed, juking through a defensive line, always looking for the next hole to run through.)
How to Get Margins in Your Life:
Matthew 26:41 Pray that you don't enter into temptation
SOME INTERESTING QUOTED STATISTICS:
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
So today, I dubbed the Haner's Fridays, "Do Something Nice for Someone Friday."
The thought here is that this is the only day all of us are home together all day. We have no outside activities, no preschool, and usually by the end of the day, no sanity. So, we needed a focus. Conveniently, my friend Dani had a baby last week, making it the perfect opportunity to start DSNFS Friday. Thanks Dani! Next week, I intend to have the kids brainstorm all the people in our lives and write them on slips of paper; then we will pull one out each Friday and decide what nice thing we could do for that person. I think we'll add one slip for "Random Person We Don't Know" just for fun.
So, the kids and I prepared a list of grocery items we needed to make fruit pizza and tortilla soup for Dani. We grocery shopped and then made the food--enough for both families. (The kids helped with OUR family's food--it's not really nice to have preschoolers help fix food for other families what with the constant taste testing and finger usage for stirring.) I took lots of pictures...none of which I have energy to download/upload right now.
We also had an exciting morning prior to going grocery shopping for DSNFS Friday. After breakfast, I made the very sillly decision to talk on the phone to my dad...with all three children awake and activity-less. As a result, Wyatt (2) and Kya (4) took to playing with the kitchen blinds, and as I tried to negotiate with them and not be rude to my dad (this involved lots of angry gesturing), I finally just turned around and, like the proverbial ostrich, buried my head in the sand to the whole ordeal.
I turned to find that the entire water cooler (newly filled by my frugal husband with fresh-from-the-tap water) had been completely knocked over. Wyatt, obviously struck with grief and horror, looked at me as though perhaps his little life might end right then and there. I was so proud of myself though. I was filled with DSNFS spirit and even this two inches of water flooding my ENTIRE kitchen and entryway could not set me off on a bad parenting tirade today.
Calmly, I said, "Please go get some towels and then get out of the kitchen," and then I leaped to save the new laptop cord from immersion. I hung up on my dad. I explained why it is important to be careful and how to be polite and courteous while mommy is on the phone. I also mentioned calmly that when mommy gestures like THIS (waving arms madly and shaking finger back and forth) it means to STOP the activity in which you are currently engaged...for future reference. I don't think they were following me at that point.
And now the kitchen floor is clean...and I believe in the power of doing something nice for others, because for me not to scream bloody murder in response to the water cooler incident is truly miraculous. Thus sayeth the Lord, "Love one another." Pretty smart God. Pretty smart.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Because I know you want to ask, here are answers to the three most commonly (and often rudely) asked questions we have received since breaking the news:
1. Yes, we have a TV, but no cable.
2. Yes, we know how this happens.
3. Yes this was planned.
We have been so blessed by the lives of each of our children. They teach us daily to be more patient, more innocent, more faithful, more hopeful, more diligent, more consistent, and more loving. They have served to strengthen our bond as a couple too. Scott's provision for our family has taught me to be humble and thankful in a way I have never previously known. His commitment to raising our children to be kind, caring, God-loving people only makes my love for him stronger.
We love our chaotic, unorganized, loud, and very joyful life--and it's OK if everyone thinks we're crazy. We are getting used to it and take it as a compliment! :)
More to post tomorrow. I have a rare night to myself and the bubble bath is calling.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
I sit here researching uplifting things, reading blogs of old friends I feel I haven't heard from in ages, and smiling inwardly at the silence of my sleeping family! Yes, all of them are currently sleeping! Even daddy! And it's 2:37 pm on a beautiful Fall Sunday. NFL football is on in the background. What could be better?
I just had to share these tips from the Above Rubies website, which I desperately love. These are things we all know, but often forget in the daily grind. Between getting everyone dressed in the morning, chores, meals, meal clean up, doctors' appointments, playdates, MOPS, Bible Studies, kids activities and laundry, I find myself wanting often times to put off until tomorrow what I have taken on daily...the task of bringing up these kids. Bringing up...not just tolerating, managing, or keeping reasonably well fed and clothed...but really bringing them up, teaching them, and training them to be powerfully good people in this scary world.
I am going to read these reminders daily and try to incorporate them into my life. I know I need some help remembering to be an excellent mother, not just a mom who reacts to situations that arise...sometimes reacting with impatience and bitterness.
If you missed the hyperlink above, go to Aboverubies.org, under the heading, "Articles," then the subheading, "Projects for Children," then the sub subheading, "Time Management Tips for Busy Moms."
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Ours will be happier for sure now that we have a working computer! :)
Friday, October 9, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Image taken from addicted to costco.com
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Friday, September 18, 2009
Add one can of Pepsi (I use caffeine free because that's what we have, and I am quite sure any soda would do just fine) to one box of yellow cake mix and add some chocolate chips. (The amount depends on your child; she may choose to add an entire bag when you tell her, "just a few," and it really doesn't matter...more chocolate, happier husband!)
Mix well with a big spoon (or stick or small craft dowel--whatever you can find!). Bake in a lightly greased cake pan (all I could find was my big tub of margarine that I never use for anything else, so I smeared some of that around in there with a paper towel) at 350 until it is golden brown and firm to the touch on the top (no jigglies--if you take it out before this hardening occurs, you might as well just eat the batter--which is good too...call it pudding!) Cut into squares and enjoy with a nice glass of milk after dinner.
So easy, a four year old can do it! (That's our gigantic cat, "Cliff," on the floor hoping for some batter drips.)
Follow our blog at: http://hanerhome.blogspot.com/ I can't promise it will be edifying, but it will be mildly entertaining from time to time.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
My world is consumed with mommyhood and wifelihood. (Yes, you're right. I don't want to look it up, but I'm pretty sure it's not a word. Thank God I don't have an editor for this thing.)
I watch my children playing outside and instead of thinking, "Oh, how nice that I'm playing outside with my kids," I think, "How can I blog about this?" Or, "Gosh, I hope something funny happens so I can blog it." I find myself searching for my camera, trying to catch the right angle when something painful, interesting, ironic, or intriguing occurs, because after all, my readers need a visual! Worse yet, I occasionally find myself thinking, "Oh, I better update my Facebook status about this because it's pretty funny and I bet I'll get a lot of comments."
It's a sad existence when your main feedback from a day's work comes through the computer from "readers" and "friends." FB users, you know why that's in quotes.
My personality thrives on feedback, so the sporadic, "thank you for my juice mommy," or, "thank you for wiping my poopy behind..." Oh wait, that never happens. Why don't we make our kids thank us for changing their stinky messy sometimes explosive poopy diapers? I guess that's a blog for another day...
Anyway, does anyone else find themselves thinking in terms of blog entries and Facebook statuses? If not, perhaps I should take an e-break until I can think outside the social networking box again.
There are some things so pure and beautiful that you can't help but smile. I'm going to try to watch this anytime I am feeling sad or frustrated because it is so wonderfully uplifting...and really, the idea of four babies the same age gives me a little perspective as well. :) Thanks Stacy for posting this. If you are reading this on Facebook, and cannot see the video, please go to our family blog at: http://hanerhome.blogspot.com/
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Wyatt after water wars strutting his stuff.
"Isn't it my turn to climb the wall mom?"