Monday, March 24, 2014

Spatulas and pencils

A laptop charger. A spatula. A pencil. What do these things have in common?

They capture my 8-month old's attention for hours.

Ever since our son figured out how to army crawl, he has been exploring everything. At the beginning he would crawl toward something new, look at for a minute and then move on to the next new thing. He loved to explore.

Now he is in the investigative stage. He'll grab a spatula or a spoon and stare at it intently, turn it over, put it in his mouth and try to figure out how it works. As a mom I find it funny how enthralled he is with such simple things.

Children have such an amazing sense of wonder. They are always asking seemingly trivial questions: "Why is there glass in the window?", "Why is the sun yellow and not purple?", "How did that get there?"

We might get annoyed with the questions, but wondering is how children learn. They wonder about everything and wonder in everything. They take time to notice the world around them and then take the time investigate and learn.

I am amazed with the small details my son notices, and what he wants to explore (such as a piece of carpet fluff or an escaped cheerio). He notices the small things, and I've thought how different my life would be if I took a page out of his book and noticed more details in the world around me.

God has created such a beautiful world for us to live in, and we should take the time to wonder in awe at His glory and power. He created this beautiful world so we could see a small daffodil or the deep green of a towering evergreen and remember Him.

We often get busy as adults and forget our childhood sense of wonder. Sometimes it might seem painful to unplug from technology, social media, work, or whatever it is in order to take time to wonder. But imagine how much you could learn if you took even 5 minutes everyday to wonder about something.

Do something today to rediscover your sense of wonder. Go on an adventure. Climb a mountain. Sit outside and do nothing but enjoy the sun. Put away technology and just listen. Paint a picture. Dance in the rain. Foster a sense of wonder in others and do it yourself.

I wonder...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A little bit of light

So a while ago my husband and I were watching the Winter Olympics (yeah, a while ago) and suddenly GRROAAAN...POP! The power goes out. It was instantly dark, and my silly brain starts reminding me of every scary movie I've seen and I begin imagining all the worst-case scenarios. (ridiculous, I know) Luckily, I have a wonderfully level-headed husband who kept my thinking rational.

We went outside to see if we could figure out what the groan/pop noise was and to see if other people on our street had power. We also racked our minds as to where/if we had flashlights. We found one small and very dim flashlight and our vanilla cinnamon candle. (Yay for being prepared...haha) It's a good thing we live with my grandparents or those would have been our only light sources. We couldn't remember where they kept their flashlights, but we did find more candles. 

Not very bright, but even a little light makes a difference.
We live in a more elderly neighborhood, and my husband felt he needed to go around to make sure everyone was okay. He helped one neighbor turn off a fire alarm that was going off (don't worry, no fire), and we found out that the power outage was due to one of the transformers at the nearby power plant going out. Our neighbors said we were supposed to get power back in a few hours.

While my husband was gone, I took sometime to write in my journal and reflect on this experience. I realized how utterly unprepared we were. A dim flashlight and a scented candle...yikes...

I thought I'd share a few of my thoughts from my journal.

"It's weird that when I turn the lights out myself it doesn't matter, but when and outside force does so, I instantly felt scared and not in full control...this is a blessing in a way because it's teaching me to not fear even in dark times."

"Even though it's small, the candle whose light I'm using overpowers the darkness, and my eyes are making the other necessary adjustments, so I can see. Even when times seem dark, if there's a little light we need to hold onto it and make adjustments in our perspective to let more light in."

"I don't need to fear or feel out of control because the Lord is in control, not in a way that restricts my choices, but in a way that assures us we will be blessed if we faithfully keep our covenants and rely on Him. He is that light we can hold to when it's dark."

"I'll be more grateful for electricity when it's back. And I know that after my trials I'll have a greater understanding of God's love for me and I'll be a better person."

I enjoyed having the time to think and ponder. It didn't take too long, but I was able to learn a lot. I think God was trying to tell me to slow down, turn off distractions and listen to Him. I definitely want to be more prepared for emergency situations, but I also want to be more prepared to listen to God when He wants to talk to me. It's funny, but as I wrote in my journal...

"Sometimes it takes something as dramatic as a power outage to get a lightbulb to come on. :)"

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Just a little hug

My son is not a snuggler. Sad, I know.

Gone are his newborn days when he would fall asleep on my chest, head nestled under my neck. Now any time I try to hold him close for too long he pushes back and turns around so he can see everything around him.

I miss those precious moments I had to hold him close, soak in his newborn smell and nurture our mother-son bond.
 But, I'm also glad that my son isn't needy. I'm glad he knows we are here to take care of him, but he doesn't need us to hold him 24/7. I'm glad he has a sense of adventure and wonder. He wants to learn about the world around him and be independent.

I hope my son knows that no matter what his dad and I are always here to help him. But we'll also let him out of our arms to explore, fall, bump, cry, etc., so he can learn and grow to reach his potential.

Despite his non-snuggling nature, my son has recently started to give me hugs. Occasionally when I pick him up he rests his head on my shoulder as if to say, "Thanks mom. I love you." I squeeze him back and say, "Thanks buddy. I love you too."

They are small moments, but I cherish them all the same.

As I thought about this new sign of affection, I thought about our Father in Heaven.

I know there are times when I feel that I'm alone, like I'm out of my Father's arms trying to make it through life. But just like I'm helping my son by letting him be independent so he can reach his potential, God is helping me learn and grow by letting me make choices, make mistakes and become better.

Sometimes it hurts when we have to learn things on our own. But those lessons are the ones we remember most. God is always keeping a watchful eye over us, so He can help us when we turn to Him. When we're feeling lost and weary, afraid and hopeless, He gives us a little hug to remind us He is there.

His hugs come from the service of a neighbor, the smile of a stranger, the beauty of a sunset, the majesty of the mountains. Whatever touches your hear and reminds you of Him. That's His little hug for you. That's the moment He's inviting you to cherish and remember Him.

"My child, I love you."

He'll let you keep learning. He'll let you keep working through your challenges, but He'll always be there for you with a little hug along the way.

Photo credit:

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Believe you are wonderful

Have you ever experienced the following situation?

Someone pays you a compliment such as, "You look great today", "You are a valuable asset to our company", "You are a great mom" or "You are such a kind person."

Out of your mouth comes a gracious reply such as "Thank you", "Oh, you're so nice" or "Haha thanks."

But in your mind you're thinking..."Haha, yeah right. If they only knew what I know about myself" or "Could they really be talking about me?"

I've had a few of these moments this week. When someone has paid me a compliment, I initially believe them and am sincerely grateful, but then the doubts enter in.

"What, me wise?" "You think I'm pretty? I haven't showered in two days and my hair is greasy."

Tonight I had an experience that sparked the idea for this post. My grandma passed on a compliment from a friend of hers who I met just a few days ago.

Her friend said, referring to me, "Before she opened her mouth to say a word, I knew she was a wonderful person."

I felt grateful she would say that about me, but I didn't really believe it. Let me tell ya, I sure don't feel wonderful right now. I'm tired, stressed, overwhelmed, messy hair, messy house...yeah, not feeling super positive.

As I started to have these negative thoughts, I had an important realization. These thoughts were not coming from God. They were coming from someone who wants me to be miserable, someone who wants me to feel worthless so I'll doubt myself and turn away from God.

Satan wants me to think I'm worthless because he knows how much worth I have. He wants me to stop trying because he knows how much I can accomplish. He wants me to reject God because he doesn't want me on God's team. So I decided I'm going to do better at believing in myself and believing the positive things people say about me.

Sure, we are our own harshest critics, but we can also be our own biggest cheerleaders. So cheer away! Tell yourself you are wonderful. Believe the compliments when they come. Kick out the negative thoughts and doubts. When someone pays you a compliment, it is God's way of telling you He loves you and reminding you He's there. Sometimes we don't hear His quiet whisperings in our heart, so He uses the voice of another to send His love:

"I made you. I believe in you. I love you."

Believe you are wonderful. Believe you are capable. Believe you are incredible. Believe you are [insert every positive adjective here]. :)

Marianne Williamson beautifully states:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” 

Belief has power. So believe you are wonderful, and help others do the same. :)