Flowering Prayers

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flowers of prayer
source: Fatma M. via Flickr

In what now seems like another lifetime, I worked outside the home. In my very own little office, with a big old iMac and a filing cabinet and my trusty space heater for when it felt like 45 degrees inside.

Filed under “other related tasks,” I was occasionally asked to read a trade book and see if I thought it could translate into a Bible study. Strangely, one of these was Second Calling, which is about women in their 40s and beyond. When I “retired” from LifeWay, I was 27 years old.

As I’ve read a couple hundred books since then, I don’t remember much about Dale Hanson Bourke’s treatise, except that I really liked it, enough to buy a copy for my mother. But I do remember her talking about prayer.

She said she often had issues focusing when it comes to prayer. Do you? I certainly do. I don’t know if it’s exhaustion, trying to remember 100000 things at a time, or what, but my mind tends to wander endlessly when I pray.

But Bourke shared an image of her prayer life that has stuck with me. She said she imagined sitting with Jesus in a field somewhere and handing Him flowers and rocks. The flowers represented the praises and thanks from her. The rocks are the requests and troubles.

“In my basket are flowers that I give to Jesus with words of thanks and praise. … I picture Jesus smiling as I hand him the flowers. Then I pull off my backpack and take out the rocks. I give him my burdens that are weighing me down.  I give him the tiny, sharp stones that are irritating me. … I visualize handing these all over to Jesus.”

I just loved that idea, and I still do, and found myself trying to hone my mind on something similar this morning. Giving Him those things that were in my arms. Some are flowers – sweet praises, thankfulness overflowing. Some are stones or weeds – petitions for myself and others. Desire for understanding and knowledge.

It’s one way that helps me to pray with my full mind. Do you have any techniques for this you can share?

Quiet.

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the view from here

I listen, in the dark recesses of the morning.

There is quiet. Nothing but the hum of the refrigerator and the tick of the clock. The pages of the Bible turning, the clink of my spoon against the side of my coffee cup, the nectar of 6 a.m.

I need and crave this time, and yet some days I punch the off button on my phone. I do what I don’t want to do, world’s oldest tale, regretting it the minute my eyes fully open and children are jumping on me on the bed.

I am six thousand times more nice when I wake up on my own.

My Bible study this particular morning was a punch to the gut, as most of this study of Malachi has been. I am the teacher but I am also the wrestler. Teaching others to put on their singlets and wrestle alongside.

So clear this morning that I need Thee EVERY HOUR, but the hour I need Thee most is 6 to 7 in the morning. The hour of peace, of conviction, of learning, of writing, of packing lunches or drinking coffee or trying to make a quick breakfast.

In the quiet, He envelops me, and together we face the day.

Saturday Linky Love

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Saturday Linky Love button

 

Sorry for skipping out on SLL last week! I stepped on my laptop last Monday night and had to wait a week to get a new screen for it. And apparently, I don’t read blogs on the desktop. (Sitting in the chair there tends to make my back hurt.)

It’s been a good but busy week. Libbie had her first field trip today; David celebrated a Johnny Appleseed week at pre-school; and Joshua and I hit up a friend’s house, the Y, the doctor’s office, and a playground – not to mention the grocery and other errands.

I feel like I’m desperately seeking rhythm to our weeks and not finding much of it. Adding exercise and essential oils to my days has helped my physical and emotional health immensely, though. I’m making baby steps.

Anyway, here’s some good stuff I read this week. Look forward to seeing your links!

Reading offline: Xenocide by Orson Scott Card (maybe … it just got VERY sciencey and my brain tried to explode) and Quitter by Jon Acuff, plus listening to The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty (narrated by Elizabeth McGovern from Downton Abbey – LOVE her voice!).

So, what did you read that was great this week? Link up here. You can grab the code for the button in the sidebar, if you want. Please link back here and add the PERMALINK to your post, not your home page.

Jessie’s Magic Sleep Potion

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mama's magic sleeping potion

I have always had a really hard time getting to sleep at night. I have a million things wrestling for attention in my head, and I can’t seem to convince them Mama needs some zzz’s. I will lay there and want to maim my husband for being able to fall asleep instantaneously. It is truly miserable!

I’ve never tried sleep aids, because I don’t do well with medicine. When I was in labor with Libbie, I went to the hospital and found I was only 2 centimeters. They gave me two Ambien and sent me home. I spent the rest of the night – IN LABOR – running into walls and going to sleep on the floor because the bed was too far. I am very sensitive to medications and I don’t trust I would wake up to a screaming child or the fire alarm or something if I were on sleep meds.

Researching an article for ParentLife, though, I came across this little recipe for a Honey-Milk bath with crushed lavender flowers. Well, I said to myself, that’s just silly! Why make a mess of crumbled, dried flowers when I have lavender oil right on my dresser?

That night I mixed up some milk, honey, and the lavender oil. And when I got out of my bath, I was too tired to read even one page of a book. I hit the pillow and fell asleep immediately and deeply. It. Was. Amazing.

I’ve tried it twice more and gotten pretty much the same results. For some reason, lavender oil alone in the bath does not seem to have the same effect on me. Something about the milk and honey is relaxing – and it’s good for your skin, in any case!

Jessie’s Magic Sleep Potion

Jessie’s Magic Sleep Potion

Ingredients

  • 3/4 c. whole milk or half-and-half
  • 2-3 T honey
  • 4 drops therapeutic grade lavender oil

Instructions

Whisk ingredients together in a bowl or shake together in a jar. Add to hot bath, running container under hot water to make sure you get all the honey out. Relax for half an hour with a good book. Sleep!

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I hope this helps you relax and sleep easier, too!

Disclaimers: I am not a doctor and not dispensing any medical advice! Just sharing what works for me. I am (very recently!) a Young Living distributor, and if you want to chat about the oils, let me know! I’ve used both YL and Eden’s Garden oils in this with success.

A Week of Lunches (for a Picky Eater)

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I’ve been sharing Libbie’s lunches this week on my Facebook page. I love getting inspiration for lunches, as I want my kids to enjoy a variety of foods. With Libbie being a fairly “selective” eater (ahem), it can be a little bit of a struggle. And it feels like most of the lunches I see on Facebook or Pinterest either involve lots of foods she wouldn’t eat or things that would take me two hours to assemble. Which is cool, if that’s your thing! But it’s not mine.

So in hope of giving you inspiration, here are Libbie’s lunches from this past week, with recipe links. For those of you who have also seen these on Facebook – would you rather see them in a weekly digest like this or with the daily pictures or both? I’ve enjoyed conversing this week on FB about lunch foods and freezing tips!

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Monday : Maple Roasted Turkey, cheese cubes, apple slices, half a banana, pretzels, no-food-dye candy pieces from EarthFare. I toss the apples in water with a little lemon juice so they don’t brown.

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Tuesday: Ham and cheese sandwich on homemade wheat bread, more Maple Turkey, tortilla strips, golden melon balls, grapes, and a few mini marshmallows.

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Wednesday: Cheese stick, whole wheat strawberry-cinnamon baked doughnut, raisins, apple slices, pepperoni muffins (my kids do not like this … now I know), and a slice of the turkey.

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Bonus: this was David’s lunch on Wednesday. He is my less-picky eater. He had a cheese stick, a sliced peach, and Banana Bread Pancakes. He does eat a snack before lunch at school, so he’s not as hungry at lunchtime.

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Thursday: Ham, cheese, and Italian bread “kebabs”; fruit and cereal bar; trail mix made from raisins, craisins, peanuts, and chocolate pieces; Spinach Cake Muffins; grapes.

lunch091914

Friday: Homemade spaghetti-o-penne with cut-up hot dog, the same Spinach Cake Muffins she didn’t eat yesterday, banana, raisins. The spaghetti-o’s recipe I use is from the Once a Month meals Survive Before 5 e-book. It’s similar to this one, but different enough that I keep going back to the original in the e-book.

So are you a lunch-packer? Does your kid buy? Do you send the same thing every day or try to mix it up a bit?

Kindergarten: One Month In

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first day of kindergarten

Libbie’s first day of kindergarten was August 12th, and as of August 14 she was a full-time student. Wow, has it been so much more confusing and strange than I thought it would be, honestly. I was sure Libbie would love school, and it would be an easy transition. She does like school, but wow. My expectations were wildly out-of-whack.

Libbie has had epic meltdowns, the worst tantrums she’s ever had at almost 6 years old, and spends her time at home either loving David (3) to pieces or trying to rile him up in any way she can. This is not limited to hitting, kicking, outright lying, screaming, saying, “That didn’t hurt! Don’t tell Mommy!” and other methods of manipulation. The worst was the two weeks before she started and the first week or two of school, but it still surprises me what may bring out a temper tantrum. We are trying to stay calm … without letting her murder her brother.

She is INCREDIBLY tired by the end of the day. I figured she would be, and I imagine this also helps the tantrums and whining. Libbie still took a nap half the time until two or three months ago. We tried to break her of napping this summer, but it was hard. She was still used to having some afternoon quiet time, at least, to recoup. Even though I consider Libbie an extrovert, she recognizes that sometimes alone time helps her to center herself and release some of her strong emotions.

Unfortunately, given that her school is a lottery-type public school drawing from all over the county, it lets out later than normal elementary schools. We often don’t get home until after 4:30, and she goes to bed around 7:30. In that time, we have to address playtime, homework, dinner, bath, reading, and our nightly routine of family worship, brushing teeth, and tucking in. It’s a lot to cram in a few hours and really does not allow her downtime during the week when she’s not asleep. It makes me sad.

Smiling Libbie

Which bring me to, I definitely had the ARE WE DOING THE RIGHT THING crisis about 2 weeks in. I really hate that Lib is not home more. I hate that we have so little time with her during the week. We were absolutely convinced public school was the right choice for our family; as I have said many a time, I am pretty sure Libbie and I would kill each other if we homeschooled her. I love the structure of a local, Christian, small private school – but we live on a teacher’s salary and will have three children in elementary school. It is just not going to happen. I found myself chatting with JessieLeigh one night, unable to sleep with my stomach twisting and churning and my mind wondering what we could do.  (JL is extremely wise, has kids in public school, and her children are just a couple years older than mine.) She talked me off the cliff and helped me understand that there is no perfect choice, but you have to do what works for your family.

There is definitely an adjustment period with this schooling thing. I did expect that, but I keep forgetting it.

I feel totally lost. This isn’t preschool, where everything was laid out for me in a row, and I got a gold star for completing each task. (OK, not really. But you know what I mean.) In preschool, I walked Libbie in each morning and talked to her teacher directly if I had any issues. In kindergarten, I drop her in front of the school each morning and get her off the bus in the afternoons.

I have to do volunteer hours because it’s a lottery school, but I can’t figure out when or how to do them considering Joshua is with me all the time. I don’t know how to help Libbie do her “neighborhood” project when we live on a school campus. I don’t know when they are doing special things unless I have to pay for them!

It’s not preschool. It’s hard. I hate not feeling like I have all my ducks in a row.

So, that’s where we are, Lost Jessie the First-time Kindergarten Mom. Someone tell me it gets easier. Please?