Friday, April 30, 2010

A Mother's Rule of Life - Book Review

I can't even tell you when I last read a book and I mean the entire book.  It's been a long, long time.  I have to laugh because the shear fact that I finished the book at all is really a testament to the the book itself.  Knowing "me" a little, I gave myself 30 days to finish it, I've come to the realization that I must start putting end dates on things or it (whatever "it" may be) will not get finished.

So what was the book? 



I read A Mother's Rule of Life by Holly Pierlot which is published by Sophia Institute Press.  I was surfing Sophia Institute for a book and found A Mother's Rule of Life, the bio said "The house was dirty, the laundry undone, Holly felt frustrated, discouraged and alone.  She couldn't find time to snuggle and have fun with her five children or to go out with her husband".  I think for the reasons of the house being dirty, laundry undone and not being able to find time to have fun with her children I ordered the book.

Right from first chapter when Holly said "...did I even know what my primary duties were supposed to be?" I knew this was the right book for me.  I so often have sat in my kitchen thinking what should I do today, which task, or which direction.  Or to start the day with great aspirations to accomplish everything only to tackle a few things and feel like a failure at the end of the day.  All to which my loving husband would say the kids are the most important thing, yet I would still feel like a failure because the house was a mess, clothes were everywhere and I felt miserable about it.  So I kept reading, got out a pencil and was underlining like crazy!

Holly explains that, "A Rule of Life is a traditional Christian tool for ordering one's vocation".  You might wonder what that would mean for a stay at home mom like me?  Well, she goes on to say in the second chapter that, a Rule of Life is not just a schedule, or a collection of activities but rather an organization of everything that has to do with your vocation.  And what is my vocation?  My vocation is to be a wife and mother.  Holly breaks down a marriage vocation with the Five P's:
  • First P = Prayer
  • Second P = Person
  • Third P = Partner
  • Fourth P = Parent
  • Fifth P = Provider
There were a few thought in each section that struck a chord with me. 

In the First P = Prayer Sections:

  •  "...instead of never finding enough time for God in the midst of everything else, I had to work everything else around God." 

I am still trying to figure where things are going to go as I write my daily schedule.  You may remember my friends and I are reading the Bible cover to cover in 180 days, so I am trying to carve out time each day in my schedule.

In the Second P = Person Sections:
  • "...how much sleep I felt my body needed...how much exercise I needed....what types of food..."
I've pretty much have it dialed in that I need a lot of sleep.  9 hours ideal, 8 hours okay and 7 hours can do for a short time.  Sad but true.  Sometimes running it's hard to figure out when I can run.  I so love doing it.  It's good for my person in so many ways! 

In the Third P = Partner Sections:
  • "...(a) loving marriage is the bedrock of family life."
Without a doubt!  I am going to be more mindful of our time together as a couple and not just what I need but what do we need.

In the Fourth P = Parenting Sections:

  • "...my children need me to be mentally available to them...to be fully attentive to them when I am with them...to tone down thoughts of all the projects that filled my head and to make more casual time to talk and laugh and simply be with them." 
  • "As we work to form and mold our children, they in turn, force us to face, and, we hope, to master our own weaknesses. In parenting, saving grace is a two-way street."
  • "A little attention and love, understanding and compassion can radically change a child's general attitude. Let him know he's 'good' and Mummy sees him as good. So often children rise to meet the level of our expectations. If we secretly think of them as rebels, they tend to act like rebels."
Oh man, was time a lesson that was greatly learned after my facebook & twitter fast!  Which really just reaffirms that it was the right thing to do and something I need to be very very mindful of in the future!  Bye Bye Twitter, for good.

In the Fifth P = Provider Sections:

  • "...both my husband and I are called to provide for our family... in his way by going to work and earning a paycheck...in my way by caring for, maintaining and repairing (as much as possible)..."
  • "Part of financial stewardship also involves not just avoiding frivolous spending, but recognizing that all we have has been entrusted to us so that we may fulfill our mission to raise our children and even to help those less fortunate than we.  This means that we need to distinguish between our essential needs and our excessive wants.  For often, rich or poor, we just want more"

In discussing the Rule she also writes, "...there's a deeper and more fundamental level to a Rule of Life that distinguishes it from a mere schedule: the intent and aim of following the Rule.  A Rule followed for the practical benefits alone is not a Rule of Life; it is a schedule.  Duties attended to grudgingly or with reluctance do not make a Rule, for a Rule of Life must be lived as a response to the call of God."  I had to really think about this.  I've sort of tried a schedule before and never really stuck with it.  I also had "....to adjust my attitudes and outlook toward His vision for my life".  I mean really, look at my wonderful life.  I have a awesome husband who loves me to the ends of this world and three healthy, beautiful, thriving children.  Not to mention how blessed we are to be able to have me stay home with our children.  My husband has a job, we have a house, etc.  Why would I ever look at my life as anything but a dream?  So instead of thinking, "I can't believe this floor is dirty already, I just cleaned it."  I need to think it's my awesome job to be able to have our baby in her high chair throwing food on our floor and not somewhere else.  I've decided to be glad to have all the responsibilities of motherhood and being a wife.  It's my awesome gift, given to me, and it is after all my (and my Mother's) prayers that were finally answered.   In conclusion to that thought Holly writes, " Our heart is where God lives.  Our heart is where we love" 

In the last pages of the book she says, "...the most important things are the relationships God has placed in my life."  As well as "And believe that if God wants you to do it, he'll empower you."  LOVE IT!  Isn't that so true!

At the end of every chapter Holly offers a couple of exercises to help establish your Rule.  She includes charts of  what her Rule looks like and at the end of the book she lays out her Rule further in her Spirit of My Mother's Rule of Life.  I loved this section.  I will be typing out the whole section in putting it on my refrigerator.  I might also say it was like her own mission statement which is something I've thought of doing for myself and for Adam & I, as parents, for guiding our children.

I would highly recommend this book to any mother!  I also want to add that I did a google search and found Holly's website A Mother's Rule of Life.  I read a little bit and then thought I would drop her a line just to tell her I was reading her book, to my surprise she sent a note back the same day.  I thought that was very nice.  I am still working out some of the details of my Rule.

Hope you are having a great day!  As always, thanks for reading my blog!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day 1/2 Marathon

My sister, Tonya (808) and her friend Carrie (1469) ran in St Cloud's Earth Day Half Marathon.  I got up with the kids super early on Saturday morning to make it to the start of the race by 8:30 AM.  Well, I tried to get tot he start but didn't quite make it.  I didn't know where to park or where the actual start was from my parking spot.  The course was all roped off  and miles weren't marked so I had to guess.  I pushed the "big kids" in the stroller and had Sophie in the Baby Bjorn and we just made it to the swarm of people at the start but didn't get to see Tonya & Carrie.  We did manage to catch them at the 4.5 mile area.  Here they are.  Don't they look good?  Like it is a breeze?  They rock!  These gals are training to run Grandma's Marathon on June 19 so a half marathon fit perfectly into their schedule. 



They are fast runners.....unlike me.  Their finishing time was 1:57.  Ya....that's like 8.9 minute miles!  Quite the accomplishment, I'd say!


We walked to the finish line to have a little snack while we waited for them to come in.  The kids were really good and everything went off without a hitch until Henry said he had to go potty.  There wasn't a place around for me to take him.  Thankfully he's a boy and there was a tree close by!!!


Don't they look awesome!  They just ran 13.1 miles!!!  Wow!  You rock ladies!



Happy Earth Day!

Monday, April 19, 2010

My 40 Days of Lent / Re-Cap

I thought I should re-cap on  how Lent went.  What worked and what didn't? 

Here it is:

Fasting:

Overall I'd say I did pretty good in the fasting area.  I am amazed at how I filled my time with more important things rather than the computer. :)  In recognition of this I currently have pretty much discontinued the use of twitter and only briefly use facebook.

  • I didn't have meat on Fridays one single time.  It required a little more meal planning and forethought which was great.  Great because I am seriously going to give meal planning a try

  • I fasted on Ash Wednesday but missed the Friday's but did fast on Good Friday. 

  • Internet....whoa...that one was hard at times but for the most part I'd say I did it.  I tweeted twice.  Once to have my friend call me so I could find my phone (I lost it and was heading out the door and desperately needed to take my phone with me), one time to enter a stupid contest I had no chance of winning.  Dumb.  Lastly, I was on facebook once to get an e-mail address from somebody.  While on I quick accepted a bunch of friend requests and got right off. 

Prayer:

I failed here miserably. 


  • I didn't finish my study on James.  I did get to it a couple of times, but alas, did not finish.  My bad.  I can honestly say that I don't think I will finish it in the next six months either.

  • The devotional book I decided I didn't think it was for me.  I really just didn't like the particular book. 

  • Confession.  It's on my mind a lot but still haven't gone.  My bad, again.
Alms-giving:

I say this was a success.  We still have things that we are finding to pass along but for the most part we donated all of our kids clothing that was not size appropriate.  I will only say it was a lot!  I was happy to have that task completed.  Toys, I did some toys but Sophie still plays with some of the smaller baby toys so I hung on to more toys than I thought but we will be going through those again when she is just a little bit bigger.  I'd say in the Fall we'll go through those a little more.  All in all, this was a success.  Also, now that we have our camper we can pass along all the extra stuff we've been collecting "for the camper" that we aren't going to use for the camper.  This will make for a easy move when/if we ever do!

My spare time has been filled with keeping our home cleaner, making more food from "all the way" scratch, spending more time in conversation with my husband, playing with the kids more and reading a book!  Starting May 1 my friends and I will be reading the Bible cover to cover and that will take some serious time management.  We will be on a schedule and I will not want to get behind or too far behind.  Oh, and I'm still training for a 1/2 marathon!

There it is....my Lenten re-cap!

How was your Lent?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Family Re-Cap

Here's a little of this 'n that with each of us.  I'll just get right to it!

Henry is loving being outside.  He loves "driving" my car and pretending anything under the sun.  Today while we were at the doctors office waiting he sat in her chair and said he was the doctor.  He checked Sophie's ears, looked in her mouth and listened to her heart.  Then  he said she was good to go!  Anyway, his vocabulary has expanded and his understand of the world around us has widened.  He's doing more for himself which is such a blessing and he's been really getting into being a big brother to Sophie.  It's so awesome to see them giggling at each other.



At every turn Karley is amazing me.  She's growing up right before our eyes.  She loves helping me make blueberry muffins, coloring, reading books to herself, being read to, and she still loves her puppy.  Her vocabulary has expanded as well.  Her hair is getting longer....really it is!  She's such a doll.  I was looking at her baby pictures today and just was saddened that this time has gone so very fast.  Here's our beautiful girl and our beautiful niece Hailey.  



Sophie just got over two consecutive rounds of antibiotics to treat infected ears. Poor baby. We went today to make sure they were all cleared up and got a good report. Yeah! I was so glad as I wasn't looking forward to another round, making it 30 days on meds. Yeah, good ears!  My little baby isn't all that baby anymore, minus the fact that she doesn't roll over, (except for the one picture I got).  She does sit, just today she has one lonely tooth that finally popped the surface, she loves her blankie AND her puppy, she is eating all big people food,  she absolutely loves her big brother and sister.  Just this morning Adam got her out of her crib, brought her and after she was done looking at me I swear she started looking for Henry & Karley.  Big girl.  Sophie is now eight months old and I keep thinking that she is closer to her one year birthday than her birth day.  Her first year is going by even faster than Karley's did.  These two pictures show my favorite shirt that the girls wore.  Sophie is wearing it today but as the weather has turned this will probably be the last time.    I also wanted to add Karley when she wore it.  





Adam has been slow at work and then the next week he's super busy.  He's planning a salmon fishing trip with some of his friends.  I am glad he will be getting out and doing something for himself.  He has a few irons in the fire so to speak.  He's got some tree planting to do in the next couple of weeks, (Adam & Dave started 100 evergreen seedlings that need to get into the ground), endless work around the house, his job is busy and Dave & Adam are doing some stump grinding for two suburbs of Minneapolis.  All this not to mention the "honey do" list.  I'm just kidding.  I don't have one of those!  Well, right now I don't have one of those. :)



Me.  What have I been up to? 

Well, I've been pounding the pavement for Grandma's 1/2 Marathon.  Last week I ran a total of 16 miles.  We were at my sister's house last week and she got me to go out with her for 4 miles.  That was all well and good until I realized the whole run was hills.  As much as I was moaning (literally) on the last hill, it was a great work out.  I should mention that we did it in the same amount of time that I run four on a relatively flat surface!  Toot, toot (my own horn)! 

Let's see what else.....I've been keeping up on baking my own bread.  I still haven't bought a loaf, although my husband did one Sunday morning when I didn't have any made.  The store bread was super duper soft, I'll give it that but really, not much else about it was IT for me.  Dare I say I'm getting to be a bread snob?  Ha! 

I'm reading a book called, A Mother's Rule of Life, by Holly Pierlot.  I'll be doing a review of it when I'm finished at the end of April.  Then in May some friends and I are going to start reading the Bible cover to cover.  We plan on doing it in 180 days.  We will be gchatting once a week to see how we are all doing.  If anybody out there would like to join us just let me know.  We do have a schedule that we will be following to help us keep on track. 

Television has been left by the wayside with one exception, okay maybe two, News and Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution.  Do you watch it?  Makes me sick to think what we (as a nation) feed our children.  Poor kids.  I can't say that I haven't been there or sometimes still go there but I feel like I am making an effort.  Some of my efforts are have been to rid my house of anything in a box and to do as much scratch cooking as possible.  It can be hard.  I will use up what I currently have (which isn't very much because I gave up box meals and the like a long time ago)and then little by little take my cooking/baking one step further. I still have cake and brownie mixes from a box.  I think I could go way more hard core but I still have a hubby who liked Doritos (as do I).  We got half of a grass fed cow, which will be really nice to have some nice steaks to grill this summer! 

Adam & I got bikes and two bike trailers so we can take bike rides with the kids either from home, on trails near our home or when camping.  Speaking of camping we are in the process of getting our camper ready for the summer.  We are so looking forward to camping with our friends, extended family and just the five of us as well. 

I just got a hair cut otherwise I was sporting a different look at our Easter Egg Hunt.



Well, I think this is quite the post so I best end.  I hope you are doing well!  Do you have anything fun planned for the summer?

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Zoo

Last week we went to the Zoo with our friends Kris, Dylan and Cole to efforts to see the baby farm animals.  We didn't get to see them instead we had to hustle back to the main part of the Zoo before the rain came.  Good thing we did.  It was a downpour.

I only took a few photos and these were the best ones I got this time.  All I can say is thank goodness there was glass.  And speaking of glass....it wasn't even remotely possible to fiddle with my camera to not get the glare.....sorry.

Enjoy!








Do you think he was hungry?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My Easter

I sat in the pew with my husband, my father-in-law and my three beautiful children.  Our church was decorated so beautifully, you couldn't miss the cheerful feeling.  The choir sang joyous hymns, people were dressed with colors of Spring, and little girls wore their best Easter dresses. 


All of a sudden it hit me.  I can't pin point when it started, but it did.  I cried.  Tears of joy, tears of thanks.  I could have kept crying but thought it best to try and collect myself for my tears may be misunderstood.  My kids might wonder what was wrong as they are too young to understand tears of happiness.  I don't even think my husband would have understood what was happening to me.  Did I even understand fully?  Maybe not right then, maybe not even now.  Happily I still have the feeling and hope it won't ever leave me.  In case it does this will be a reminder of how I feel today.


I am so thankful to that Jesus died on the cross for me, for all of my loved ones, for all believers.  I am so happy for all the gifts he has given me.  While sitting in church I looked at my husband and my children and thanked Him for allowing me to love them and be loved by them.


 
This is my Easter season, being thankful and enjoying my husband and our three beautiful babes. 



 
We are so blessed. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Black & White Wednesday

It's Wednesday already...again!  My days are flying by so I went back to look at a few photos of my baby before she's not a baby anymore.

I just love feet.  Actually, I don't.  At all.  Except baby feet and little kid feet.  Otherwise, I'll skip any kind of pictures of feet.  And please don't let your feet touch me.  I'll freak.

These feet, I actually kiss these feet.


To join Black & White Wednesday visit Lisa at The Long Road to China.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Our Easter Egg Hunt

Saturday afternoon we had an Easter Egg Hunt at our home.  We were all hustle bustle Saturday morning hiding eggs and what not (you know the last minute stuff you don't get put away that  you throw in a closet and hope nobody sees). 

We had the Neaton's, Matter's, Bignell's, Hoese's, and Slavik's over all of whom we so enjoyed our afternoon/evening with!

Here's proof:



















We can't wait to do this again next year!!!!