Sunday, July 31, 2016

It's a Mom's Life...


I've seen the phrase before, and right now I can totally relate to it. If you are a woman, you can probably relate to this quote, and if you are a mom I'm guessing you have just nodded again in agreement. If you are a man, please don't stop reading, I'd love to hear your take on this when you are done reading. Within hours of posting this blog, my husband had his own response titled "Organizational Specialist."

For the generation that might still struggle with making the connection of "tabs" and one's brain, let me explain the technological reference. You know when you click to open a new site on the internet and it opens a new tab? That is what I'm referring to at the moment....when your mind keeps popping up things that need to get done and every time you remember something else a little bell goes off and presto another tab is open. THAT is what I'm talking about. I had contemplated calling this blog "Closing Out Some Tabs," but thought my parents might start to worry about what I've been doing in my free time and the places I've been frequenting. 

I like lists, and I think many people do. There is a certain satisfaction with being able to cross something off a list. On my walk this morning I started my new list. By the time I got home and was eating breakfast, this was the result.

I'd be willing to place large bets of money on the fact that many of you out there have a list something like this. I'm not going to lie, a slight panic attack started forming when I saw this. Granted, some of these tasks will take 2 minutes, and some more like hours or days, but most of them then lead into another task that will then lead to a new to-do list....WHOOPS! That just opened some new tabs.

But wait, look what is not on here...the basics of life like meal planning, cooking, doing dishes, laundry, cleaning the house, etc. Yep, I just did it again, tabs are popping up all over the place. But then as I think about the latest tabs it shoots into the fact that I'm remembering things such as:

- I still need to start my spring cleaning. Yes, I'm fully aware tomorrow is August. 
- Thank you notes from our trip need to be written. Wait, I never did thank you notes for our Christmas gifts!! True story...
- The girls' keepsakes from our trip should be scrapbooked. Another epic mom fail since I haven't scrapbooked since they were 1. 

By now the tabs are exploding exponentially until my brain crashes. Why start? Why begin that list? Then I remember that one tab I read once that said something to the effect, "Don't worry about the dirty dishes and loads of laundry because your kids will only be little once." While that is sweet and sentimental and I KNOW it to be true, there is a point where responsibility (and reality) kick in and you still just have to do the basics. 

As you can see, writing a blog was on my to-do list, but you may be questioning my judgment on picking this task versus other probably more pressing things. Well, I'm the type of person that feels better once I talk about what is on my mind or write about it, so I chose to do this. After I write about it, then I can move on. Have I solved the eruption of tabs opening? Nope, but now that I have spoken my mind I can move on and focus on the other tabs in my face. 

I hope you other woman and moms with tab explosions take comfort that you aren't alone. This blog wasn't written to give amazing solutions, but merely to laugh a bit about it, link arms and face those tabs with determination, strong will, and the feeling that just maybe one day we'll be caught up. Wishful thinking, I know...but let's smile about it. The fact that I have a big to-do list means I have been blessed over and over in countless ways. I don't say the following enough. "Thank you, Lord, for everything." 

Simply put....I'm closing a tab.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

His Plan....His Promises

You plan a trip, a trek to the grocery store, a lesson plan, a meeting agenda, etc. Often if you have planned well you are prepared for whatever comes your way. Obviously the world isn't perfect, so the occasional surprise pops up.

What about your life? Did you plan your life? Did you map out where you were going to live, what job you were going to have, how many kids you'd be blessed to have, where you'd retire and so on? I know some people that actually have, or wanted to at least. I'm not talking about the "dream" that people concoct but actually planning how life will go. 

I admit I had thoughts, but wouldn't go so far to say that I planned my future. I guess growing up rooted in the Word I knew that my times and days are in the hands of an all-knowing God. But, due to sin in the world I often got clouded to that fact. 

While I was enjoying a walk through beautiful New Ulm this morning, my mind went to the fact that this Thursday we'll be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. I was reflecting back to 10 years ago, and thinking about what my 30 year-old mind was imagining for our future. At the time I was working at MLC and making a nice salary, and Jesse was going to be moving up to New Ulm. We didn't worry too much about him finding a decent job. We were living in an MLC home, so our living costs were minimal. Life was comfortable. Life was good.

Life still IS good. Even with that fact, on my walk my mind wandered to the one main stress that has overtaken us since after Ziva was I know financial stress is one thing that most couples deal with, but it is the one thing I wasn't expecting to deal with too much. It was NOT something that I planned for in our marriage. We had been more than comfortable.

I'm going to spare you the details, but in a nutshell.....Life happened. One thing led to another until it all compounds and the bills start and soon the debt is multiplying until you feel like you are climbing up a hill of quicksand. You can't stay afloat. I don't tell you this to make a sob story, but to explain the beauty of the comfort we are given. 

This year I started the devotional/journal The 364 Days of Thanksgiving by Rev. Andrew Schroer. It has been such a blessing to me. It is actually going to be the topic of a future blog, but to sum it up you are challenged to write one thing you are grateful for each day of the year. It has revamped my perspective, and shown me how blessed we are every day.

That being said, this morning I struggled to find joy. It was not part of our plan 10 years ago that we would stress about this. That is why when I walked into church this morning and sang the first hymn I got choked up. I have always loved this hymn, but loved it even more on a day where I found myself doubting and struggling. These beautiful words of reassurance rang out. 

Speak, O Lord by Stuart Townsend and Keith Getty
Verse 3
We are blessed. We have a house that is dry and warm and keeps us safe. We have clothes to wear and food to eat. Our children are healthy. And, time and again the Lord has provided when we least expected it...sometimes in the most unusual ways. 

After we sang this hymn I thought again about the verses we picked to be the basis of our wedding sermon. I still find it slightly uncanny that we picked these because they aren't typical wedding verses. Do I need to remind you that bodily need was NOT what I was worried about? It wasn't in my plan. 
Matthew 6:25-34 
To you, the reader....I'm sure our financial stress could equate to some other equally stressful struggle in your life. I won't pretend to know about the loss of a child, an illness, the difficulty in conceiving...the list could go on. These are all things that are NOT planned for by anyone. What comfort in knowing that His plan, even though we might not understand it, far supersedes anything we might plan.

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not in what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."  
~ NIV 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ~

Keeping this in mind, I will continually strive to focus on the blessings we have rather than the stresses. "Life" will continue to happen. We will always be blessed AND stressed. It will be how I choose to deal with both that sets the mood for the next chapter of my life. The reminder of His plans and His promises will be to what I choose to cling.

Simply put, focus on the unseen.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

I'm No Jillian...

I have a love/hate relationship with Jillian Michaels. If you have ever done one of her workouts you probably know what I mean. Her workouts are awesome, but often so intense I find myself yelling at the TV screen. If you don't know who she is, she is probably best known for being one of the coaches on the hit TV show The Biggest Loser. She is both a fitness and nutrition guru.

I'm no Jillian, but I'm about to venture into some of her territory. While you have been accustomed to reading about the possibly mundane aspects of my life ranging from slightly comical to a bit serious and downright sappy, I'm now going to add in some nutrition and exercise topics as well.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm a tad nervous about this because those topics can tend to be delicate topics. Depending on your crowd you don't ever want to come off sounding judgmental, critical, condescending, arrogant, etc.

I'm also worried about people judging my qualifications due to me being an amateur of sorts. Why would anyone want to read what I have to say? I'm not a nutritionist or a physical trainer. I haven't had any formal training in either field. I don't have six-pack abs or biceps to write home about.The longest race I've done is a 5K. I make my family mac'n cheese once a week. I don't like brussel sprouts....wait....does anyone like brussel sprouts...and is that even related? I digress.

So you many wonder, why would I write about health and wellness and why should you read it?

Why am I Writing About Health and Wellness?
First of all, staying fit and active has always been something important to me. I'm a different (and better) person when I exercise consistently and eat healthy. If you aren't currently exercising and eating relatively healthy I'm fairly confident I'm not the first person to encourage you to do so. My hope is that by writing about it, I may encourage someone to take that first step. I'm well aware that I won't be giving any advice to prep any of you for a marathon, or start a crazy diet that I know nothing about. I'm just here to encourage.

Also, as many of you know, I work for a health and wellness company (, so I firmly believe I should "practice what I preach" as well. How can I explain to customers that our products are a great complement (not a replacement) for a healthy diet and exercise when I don't do it myself?

Why Should You Read What This Amateur Says?
I'm your Average Jane kind of person. I'm a 40 year-old wife and mom of two kids. I love food. I have a busy schedule. Life gets in the way of exercise. I love food. We don't have lots of money to spend on a gym membership. That lack of funds also directly relates to the amount of healthy food that gets thrown in the cart. I still love food. I love food. Yes, I just said that twice in a row....because I LOVE it.

Can any of you relate to that previous paragraph? I think many of you do, and it is for you that I will write these posts. It is for you that I will encourage YOU to get up and take that first step, to write that first goal. If you are looking for serious advice from a professional dietitian, nutritionist or physical trainer, you will NOT want to read this. If you are an Average Jane kind of mom like me that wants to get started putting one foot in front of the other, my periodic posts on this topic might interest you.

Well, this should be an interesting new venture in this blogging adventure of mine. I'm curious myself what I'll churn out. Remember...

Simply put...I'm no Jillian.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A Priceless Story

I love old things. I do. Some people look at it as junk, but I look at it as a story waiting to be told.

I find it so utterly fascinating that every old object, picture, letter, etc. has a story. Even if I have no personal connection to it, I still would love to know the backstory to it. The people, the places, the events that unfolded...I want to hear it all. When it does have a personal connection to me, then I'm really enthralled.

Last month we moved my parents out of their home they've lived in for the past 36 years. During the downsizing process my parents often asked one of us,"Does anyone want this?" Many times my first response was,"Did this come from someone in the family?" If so, my interest in that object instantly increased at least ten-fold not only because it was something old, but it was owned by someone in my family. Those objects were part of my history...from people that helped shape and mold generations before, and in turn, me in a way. There are two objects now in my possession that I absolutely love. 

The date on this appears to be June 7, 1925. 

The first one was my Grandpa Meyer's trunk. My Grandpa, Henry Meyer, was born in 1907. This trunk was used to ship all his things to college at then Dr. Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN. I love this trunk because not only does it look cool, but it amazes me that he sent all his belongings in a trunk. Nowadays people load up Uhaul trucks to move into college dorms. Now that I live in New Ulm, it is like the trunk is "back home" in a way. 

This wasn't one of the two objects I was thinking about, but had to throw in this beauty while discussing packing for college. My dad also went to school in New Ulm during the 60s. Like some other students, he didn't have a place to get his laundry done, so he sent his laundry back home to get cleaned. Yes, he used this little suitcase to mail his dirty laundry home. We all wondered what he wore while he was waiting for it to come back. :)

The other treasured possession switches to my mom's side of the family, and it is my Grandma Scharf's charm bracelet. I have never thought of myself as a charm bracelet kind of person, but I very much wanted a piece from a woman that I so greatly admired. My Grandma, Irene Scharf, was a quiet, but very strong, devoted Christian woman. Her bracelet shows many aspects of her...all the love and care that she showed to those she loved whether it was at home or at work.

Engraved on the back of  the mustard seed charm, "If ye have faith as a mustard seed...
nothing shall be impossible unto you." Matthew 17:20

There is no possible way for me to sum up in this blog the stories that I remember from my grandparents, or the ones that I'd love to know. I regret the times when I was younger that I didn't take time to listen longer or ask them more questions. While there will be stories left untold, I am confident in one thing that has been carried from generation to generation on both sides of my family...their love of our Savior and what He has done for us. Their foundation was their faith, and that is why I love that one of the charms on my Grandma's charm bracelet is a mustard seed. What my great-grandparents instilled in my grandparents was passed on to my parents, then to me. Out of all the stories I've been told, this is what I hold on to most dearly, and am making sure my children will hold dear to their hearts as well.

Possibly my favorite wedding present we received was a scrapbook my sisters made. It had messages, marriage advice and funny stories about marriage they had compiled from our friends and family. My Aunt Marie, who knows my love of family history added in wedding pictures from former generations. I love that present and will treasure it forever. When I was looking for pictures for this blog I reread what she had written to us. I thought it was so fitting I had to include it here.

What story are you passing on to those you know and love? While a cool trunk or charm bracelet are awesome heirlooms to hold onto now, nothing compares to the precious story we carry in hearts and the comfort of knowing that we will all be reunited someday in heaven. No antique dealer would ever be able to put a price on that.

Simply can't put a price tag on some things.

P.S. I added a few wedding pictures for any family reading that were interested. I can share more if you'd like...just let me know! They go back several generations...