Monday, February 1, 2016

It is His Kindness

I have, very recently, been feeling really convicted about a certain subject. I was in the grocery store a
few night ago and I arrived at the deli counter just a few seconds after another woman. The grocery clerk came up and asked me what I wanted and I said- oh that lady was here first, and that lady looked over at me, smiled and said thank you. It took the grocery clerk a few minutes to finish her order and meanwhile she walked over to me and started having a conversation. We talked for about five minutes mostly about the weather, how we're supposed to get a big snowstorm here and that was that. What really struck me was I thought, gosh what would've happened if I had just let the woman help me first, knowing this other woman should rightfully be going before me.

God brought the scripture to my mind- it's his kindness that leads us to repentance. His kindness.

And as I pondered this today, I was suddenly convicted of the way that I respond to my children and my husband when they behave in ways that I don't like. I mean often times if I am happy with things, then I respond nicely, and if I'm not happy with the way things are, I respond…not so nicely. But what if God treated me that way?? I would be devastated, he treats me with kindness time and time again and he treats me with mercy when I sin- again and again. His love for me and the way he treats me is not based on the way I behave. His kindness is what leads me back to him. And if I'm a representation of him to my children and to my husband, then I should be modeling kindness, no matter what the situation is. Even if I'm disciplining my children, I can still be kind.

And then I came across a quote in the devotion I'm doing right now called "You Are Loved" by Sally Clarkson and Angela Perrit. It says-

"There may be non-Christians in your life who need to see your love before they will ever believe in the love of God."

What if my kindness is what draws them to God?? As I allow myself to be an open vessel, God can use me to be kind and loving and a witness for him to people who may not step into a church or be ready to read the Bible.

I think loving others is an intentional mentality where we purposely look for ways to be a blessing to someone. Our love must come out of Jesus's love for us and others. The biggest truth I am learning right now is that Jesus's love for me is not and never has been based on how I behaved or behave and neither should mine. I should never withhold affection due to behavior- that's not love. God gently leads us by kindness, he does not allow us to stay in sin, but he is compassionate and full of mercy.

This really blew my mind, and it's so simple. It's as simple as a smile to someone, as a question of how are you doing and really listening, as bringing a meal, as taking a woman's grocery cart who has her hands full with her children and putting it back for her (this happened to me recently by an elderly gentleman and he just made my day).

And then bringing it home, which seems to be not so simple.... It's like I'm much more susceptible to having a bad attitude towards my kids and my husband. But I really want to work on treating them the same, whether me and my husband get into an argument or my kids do some behavior that I don't like or agree with. And again if I think about the way God treats me, it's not like that, he treats me with love and kindness even in the midst of my sin. He will discipline me and correct me, but he doesn't treat me based on how I behave. And I am so thankful for that!

So, this is something I'm working on and want to become better at. I especially want to practice it at home, because I am modeling God to my children and I want them to understand the kindness,  the compassion, and the mercy of the Lord. And as I make it a habit, it will overflow to people that I meet- people that need to experience the love and kindness of God.

“It is because of the Lord's mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not. [Mal. 3:6.] They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness. [Isa. 33:2.]” Lamentations‬ ‭3:22-23‬ ‭AMP‬‬

“....God is kind, but he’s not soft. In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭2:3-4‬ ‭MSG‬‬

I love the message translation of the last verse, because being kind does not mean letting people get away with things. God doesn't let us off the hook, he just leads us in kindness. I don't know about you, but I much more willing to receive correction when it's done in a kind spirit. And I'm imagining everyone else in my household is the same way…

So, this is a challenge to myself and hopefully to you to- to be kind and remember that it God's kindness that leads us to Him!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Tap Dancing in the Kitchen

We had been staying with my in-laws for about a month. They live in a beautiful small mountain town just west of Colorado Springs. It was the perfect setting for our transition from upstate New York (farm country), to a larger, more bustling city. We arrived in June of 2015, and at first, driving into Colorado Springs made me nervous because of all the people!! I mean I was used to the nearest Walmart being 25 minutes away and the closest Starbucks 45. So it was a good fit.

And..from the moment we arrived in Colorado, I started feeling the flutterings of something that I hadn't thought of for a long time.

I've always loved musical theater, but haven't done anything on stage since...before my oldest was born (like 13 years!) So, once we got to CO, I started looking at auditions. I had done my last show at the Fine Arts Center, and figured that was as good a place as any to start. They were holding auditions for White Christmas in August. So I signed up! I knew I would need some help with the accompaniment and audition piece etc., so I looked on the internet and found my old high school vocal teacher. She was so sweet and said of course I could start taking lessons with her again. I was super excited, it had been so long since I'd done any kind of vocal training. And then I figured I better watch White Christmas the musical on YouTube or something. Well, I didn't realize how much tap dancing was in the show.....umm. It was a lot! How did I not know this?? OK so I haven't tap danced probably since high school. But I just so happened to have saved my tap shoes.... They were still in the POD with the rest of our stuff at the time, so I just had to use my feet, naturally.

Well I started googling, and it turns out that YouTube is a smorgasbord of tap tutorials. I found a few that I liked and I started doing tap tutorials in my in-laws kitchen (or living room) every day- they have tile and a place to set me computer. Haha!! I'm not sure exactly how they felt about it, but they humored me at least. And geez, talk about a workout- seriously. 

Here's the thing, as soon as I started doing these tutorials, googling the definitions of tap moves, watching white Christmas and gearing up for the audition- I began to realize how much I enjoy doing something for me. It really made the rest of the day exciting. And honestly, it wasn't like I was spending gobs and gobs of time on it, but even a half of an hour- just doing something for me and something I loved, was enough to fill this space in me that was longing to to be filled. 

Back to the tapping.... And I did learn a song for the audition, which was really fun, it was great to see my teacher again and reconnect with her (which has since been a huge blessing). Actually, I'll just tell you about the audition. It's funny. So I show up for my audition, and I give the lady my form, she asks me if I have a headshot to go with, I don't. I also did not arrive  in show make-up. I found myself surrounded by mostly college somethings, who were in full make-up and looked way more prepared. I'm fairly certain most of them do this for a living. I totally felt out my league, but I just kept telling myself hey, you have to try anyways even if you feel like an idiot. 

We did a tap dance audition first, in front of full length mirrors. The choreographer started teaching us this number that was so fast I was laughing. I did try and keep up, and honestly I feel like I did the best that I could. But they started putting us in groups of five and we had to do the number with the piano, and it was so challenging. If you want a good idea of what it was like- watch this- And this video does not show any arms...we had to do arm movements too. Getting my brain to tell me feet to do one thing and my arms to do another was just not happening. Lol. 

Then we did another dance audition, and she was saying all kinds of terms I had no idea what they meant. I got the general idea, and that one was actually much shorter and easier than the tap dance. Still mostly laughable. But I TRIED. And failed, I will say that. I did my music audition...everyone but me had brought a change of clothes to kind of spiffy up before the music audition so as to not show up in your sweaty clothes... well, you live and learn. And I definitely learned a lot from this experience! 

I did not get a callback for that show, but it did teach me a lot. And I just kept telling myself good job for trying. And I continued to try.......(more on that in future posts).

That experience (plus some other things that's I've been learning), sparked a desire in me to keep searching and trying to fit, even small things, into my daily routine. Things that I enjoy and that cause me to learn and grow and thrive. 

I think it makes me a better wife and mom. It shows my kids that you're never too old to stop learning and growing. And hopefully I am inspiring them to go for their dreams- even if it means they don't go pro at something or become famous- I'm hoping they can see that you can still be a part of something you love, even if it takes some (or a lot) of failing at first. And really, the fulfilling part is just going out and trying it and being a part of what you love to do. Or maybe you end up hating it, but at least you tried!

I want to be doing something, even if it's tiny, every day that helps fill my soul. Lighting candles, drinking coffee, spending some alone time, a nice hot bath, doing a play, exersizing, reading one chapter of a juicy book, whatever! Just something.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

New Day, New Name

So, I've decided to change the name of my blog… Carpe di Mom. I know,  translated is something like "seize the mom", hahahah, but the basic idea behind this is I feel like I'm in a different stage of life where I'm trying to find things that really move me and cause me to enjoy life. I want to be a mom and seize the day.

Having Kids is Fun was really an anthem for me when my kids were little and I was feeling so overwhelmed. It helped keep me accountable. And I still think it's important to have fun with your kids, and I do think having kids is fun, but as my kids get older, I find myself in a different arena. I also think that there are stages and seasons of life. A lot of what I've been learning lately is that it's important for me to find things that I love and just go for them! Of course I'm trying to do it in the context of still being a wife and a mother, that hasn't changed:).

I find myself searching for things that were possibly buried deep inside, things that I've always wanted to try or do or used to love doing and stopped. Some of the things I'm trying have been laughable, but I'm doing them anyways because it's meeting a need in my soul :). I'm also just attempting to purposely look for beauty and fun. Because let's face it, sometimes being a wife and mom isn't very fun. It's demanding. It's hard and challenging. And somewhere along the way, I sort of lost the idea that I was my own person. So, I'm in the process of finding me again, the wifey, mommy, 30's something version of me :).

It's been an exciting phase of life. And I'm excited to start writing again, I've taken a while off:).

My next post? How I had forgotten I loved to tap dance.

Until then and Happy Thursday, which is almost Friday. Yes.