The Never-Ending Cycle

photo(1)I sighed as I placed yet another load into the washing machine.

I’ve long given up on trying to figure out how three people, one being a child, are able to produce so much laundry.

It’s like the song that never ends. One load in; one out, almost daily.

Separating. Folding. Putting away. Over and over again.

As I stood at the white machine this morning, removing clothes one by one from the hamper to place them in for their weekly washing, I remembered to be grateful for the tasks that do not end.

For one day, they will.

One day, little people will grow up.  And taking their laundry with them, there will be less clothing in the wash than there was before.  I’ll long for the days of grass-stained denim and sweaty Little League shirts and chocolate ice cream with chocolate syrup dripped across faded shirts that are worn over and over again despite a drawer full of new ones because of how loved that one shirt is.

I think about those that are single and how, perhaps, they dream as they do their laundry to one day have another to do such a meaningful task for.  For in the dreariness of redundancy, there is beauty in serving others.

In just a few short months, I’ll add to my load–both literally and figuratively–with spit-up onesies and other let’s not mention it right now types of stains and I know there are women out there longing to see these things in their machines.  For their never-ending cycles are far worse than mine–each month to want the one thing they are not getting.

There are many other “never-endings” in my life, but I want to be the woman who relishes in the goodness and security that they provide than to grow bitter that they do not cease.

And so I put one more load in.  The hamper stays empty for all of twelve seconds before the socks I told him to make sure weren’t left on the floor finally get picked up and put in their proper destination. Right after the load is done.

Yes, the security of those white socks always await me.

And I am happy.

I am blessed.

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Celebrate Motherhood: A Guest Post from Christan Causey

supermomSo, here’s the deal. This motherhood thing is not for the weak. We know that, and we all agree. I regularly swing on a pendulum of feelings…one minute I feel as though I’m on top of the motherhood world, the next I am swimming in a sea of mistakes, failures, and weariness.

Supermom…is there such a thing?

I wrote a blog months ago before my third little one was born (entitled, “When I Leave the Room”). I felt compelled to share parts of that blog, along with some additional recently developed thoughts.

Our days are riddled with statuses, articles, blogs, and more that try to tell us who to be as mothers. What is best for our children? What will make them the most healthy and successful as they grow? If you are anything like me , you regularly become overwhelmed with the need to be supermom.

And, what really does supermom look like? I don’t know that I have figured it out. But, through social media and the internet, the information with which we are inundated tries to convince us of their perception and understanding of supermom. We are desperately grasping at every trend – seeking to know how to be “the best mom we can be.”

Stay at home? Work from home? Eat healthy! Be green! Crafts, crafts and more crafts! 10 perfect discipline tools! Follow these 5 steps to make your kids genius’ before they enter kindergarten! Extracurricular activities are a must for the successful child. How to raise a happy child. 7 Signs your child loves you. And so much more!

I mean, really, these are just a few headlines. Slap “failure” on my forehead and take my children away. How can I be a supermom when there are some days that the last thing I am worried about is if my child is happy? Rather, it’s trying to keep myself from either locking them or myself in the closet. (Of course, I would never do either.) And let’s forget the eating healthy and going green, I hate to cook and love to take full advantage of my child’s love for Sonic.

Did you know that you can search “mother’s guilt” online, and come up with millions of results? Why? Because it is actually a common condition. We mothers are so hard on ourselves.

Imperfection and failure have often been my friends as I raise my three sweet children under 5yrs old. I nodded vigorously, I am sure along with thousands of other moms, when I saw the movie, “Mom’s Night out”. The main character battles these feelings of “not enough”. Yep, understand that.

I’m sorry if I got your hopes up, but despite my blog title, I do not know the perfect path to becoming a supermom. BUT, I am learning a few things. God has and continues to reveal truth to me in regards to this idea of supermom. These truths continue to bring peace, joy, and a much needed confidence to my journey of motherhood. Most of all, He is pulling me away from our society’s worldview of supermom. I have become very choosy about the magazines, articles, posts and more that I read or allow to penetrate my heart.

Here are the things I have learned, and am still learning…

Measure Yourself Against God’s Word

Proverbs 31 is a familiar passage of scripture that we use in reference to motherhood. But let’s read it closely; this Godly woman had many qualities. She worked outside of the home (GASP), she also worked inside of the home (GASP, really you can do both and still be a good mom?), she was filled with joy, strength, confidence, wisdom, intelligence and more. She was responsible and dependable. She was a woman chasing after God. She not only provided for her household, but she watched over the household.

Let me point out it says nothing about specifics…what she did to arrive at those results. Just simply that how she lived her life resulted in these qualities. I believe that God shows each of us individually what our “specifics” are and how we AS AN INDIVIDUAL can reach the result of the above qualities. And I also believe that it will come through God’s guidance, wisdom and His Word. NOT societies opinions…including those of your family and friends.

Love God, Be Healthy, and Take Care of Yourself

As a person of faith, I am confident about at least one thing that causes us to be supermom in our children’s eyes. That we love God with all of our heart, soul and mind. And that we do whatever is necessary to be healthy and balanced in our soul, mind, spirit and body (1 Thess 5:23). If we do these two things, I believe God will give us wisdom and strength to be the supermom HE has called us to be.

I recently ended a year long journey in counseling. And what began as a journey for grief recovery (for the loss of my mom and dad) has now turned into a healing of the depths of my soul. A need of healing that I could never have understood or known if God had not used his Holy Spirit to pair me with someone that professionally knew how to weave through the cobwebs of my soul. I asked God at the beginning to search my heart and show me what needed to be “made new”. Boy, did he.

There were many discoveries made. Amongst them was my need for perfection, my battle with mother’s guilt, and my major unrealistic self-imposed expectations. I also learned and accepted that my mom failed me in many ways, just the same as I have already failed, and will continue to fail my children. However, because of God’s grace these discoveries were game changers for me. I received the tools I needed to apply truth and operate in that truth, rather than operating in lies and unrealistic expectations. And hopefully, I will do my part to be balanced and healthy – so my children receive what I believe is the best mom. Only you and God know what you need to do to be healthy, but whatever it is, I encourage you to fight for health in all areas of your life.

Finally, take time to give yourself what you need to be rejuvenated and refreshed. Pamper yourself, celebrate the victories, and do things regularly just for you. Things that will bring you energy and life. For me, it is time alone, time for creativity, and time for working in ministry. Again, everyone is different, but discover what it is for you and fight for it.

Live in Grace

Give yourself grace. Receive God’s sweet grace. Move in and through it. In grace, you will find strength and joy to rise above failures, weariness, and uncertainty. Abandon self-imposed expectations, and clothe yourself in His grace. Know that you are “His beautiful work, created to do good things” (paraphrased from Ephes. 2:10). And each day as you simply love your children, you are doing great and beautiful work. Remember that “His grace is all you need, for His power works best in our weakness”. (2 Cor. 12:9)

I have included a video to the song, “When I Leave the Room” by Natalie Grant. I love it. It’s my heart. I have made already thousands of mistakes, but “when I leave the room” I leave my babies with Jesus and I do my best.

My mom made a million mistakes with me (I am sure yours did too), some small and some big. But one thing I can say about her is that “when she left that bedroom and entered eternity” she left me with a love and knowledge of a Heavenly Father that would carry me through. I remember sitting there with her the day she passed “fingers intertwined” – my heart crying out in pain. Yet, knowing she was leaving me with the faith I would need to continue on. She did the main things right, and I hope my children can say the same thing about me.

You can read more about Christan’s story and who she is by clicking here. She would love to hear about your ups and downs as a mom, and how God is giving you grace to not just survive – but THRIVE! Visit her blog at www.gracefindsme.com.

Email subscribers, click here: “When I Leave the Room” by Natalie Grant

*Picture via

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Christan is my best friend’s sister, but to me I consider her a friend as well!  I approached Christan because she is the mom to three very young children and I wanted to know what that was like.  (Hint, not easy!)  Her faith encourages me and I pray her words and blog will encourage you too.  Thanks for sharing, Christan!

Daily Cleaning Tips

cinderellaWhile going through some paper work the other day, I came across a notebook where I used to jot down daily “to dos.”  Taped to the front was a list of daily chores that one could do that takes less than 30 minutes per day.

I’m at a place as a homemaker where I do not need to refer to a list like that anymore.  It is very much ingrained in me how to keep my home tidy with little to no effort.  I am not talking about a deep clean!  I’m sure you will find enough dust bunnies under my couch to fill your Easter basket, but simple cleaning techniques that make you feel good to be in your house!

I did not know where I cut out the list from, but leave it to the good old internet to find it for me. Actually, I could not find the original article on Real Simple (one of my favorite resources, btw!), but ended up finding it here:

How To Clean Your Home in 19 Minutes

From there, you’ll be able to click on links that will take you do an expanded article on the actual Real Simple site for each room.  They will also provide you with tasks you should do monthly and then seasonally.

I cannot stress enough how much of a good habit this is to form if you are not already doing it.  I rarely have to “deep clean” because by wiping everything down often, messes don’t build up.  It’s also to your benefit if an emergency comes up or someone happens to drop by–your own is always at the ready.  I love leaving my home knowing it’s not in disarray and coming home and not having to do any housework if I’m not up to it!  Everything is wiped and put away.

Have any housekeeping questions you’d like to ask me?  Feel free!  It’s not a glamorous topic, but it’s something I know I want to write about on the blog; how to keep a home without going crazy.  I’ve only been at this a little over a decade now, so I’m no expert (That’s my mom!) but I have definitely found things that worked–and did not work–along the way.

If you’re like me and to need to keep these types of task lists in front of you, I’ve created a Word document that you can print out and hang up somewhere .  Again though, there will come a point where it’s second nature and you’ll laugh that you ever even needed to refer to a list.

How To Clean Your Home in 19 Minutes
{printable}

Happy Cleaning!

{Funny e-card above via}

Some helpful tips.

This post will consist of things that, yes, I have Googled.  Or Bing’ed.  Or Swagbuxed.  (Google totally got the monopoly on that verb.)  If I needed to look them up, I’m sure someone reading this might say, “Oh, that’s good to know!”

How to Dispose Cooking Oil
Place used oil in a sealable (non-recyclable) container and discard with regular garbage.  (In other words, DON’T put it down your drain or flush it down your toilet like your mother does!)

Be sure to wipe excess oil off of pots, pans, etc. with a paper towel before washing.

How to Dispose Medication
I know NYC has special collection days if you want to get rid of old medicine.  But if you must throw it in the trash, put it in a bag and throw it in the trash.  There are other methods (that I did not write down), just do not put medications down the drains!

How to Clean a Washing Machine
1) Fill your washer full with hot water to the largest load setting.  When it begins to agitate, add four cups of distilled white vinegar and 1/2 cup of baking soda.  Let washer agitate until mixed well.  Turn machine off and let sit for 30-45 minutes.

2) Let the washer run through a whole wash cycle.  (If possible, turn the knob to spin cycle as the water drains.)

3) When the washer is empty, take a rag, a 1:1 part solution of hot water and vinegar and wipe down the inside.  Remove fabric softner dispenser if possible.

4) Allow machine to air dry before use.

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I did not write down references in my notebook as I looked these questions up, but I can say I’ll look at a bunch of sites and pick which is the most thorough and gives (what seems to be) accurate information.

So let me know if you handle any of these questions differently!