#What Matters Most

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We too often act as if relationships are something to be squeezed into our schedules.  We talk about finding time for our children, our family and our friends or making  time for people in our lives.  I too fall to this many times in my life.  There are too many days where I am concerned about MY agenda; cleaning, laundry, house projects and the list can sadly go on.  I forget that life is about relationships.  Relationships, not achievements or the acquisition of things, are what matters most in life.  When our schedules become overloaded with meaningless activities, we start skimming relationally, cutting back on giving the time, energy, and attention that loving relationships require.

In the past 4 years since becoming a mom, I have realized that life just continues getting more hectic and it’s going to continue getting worse– between kids events, working and just LIFE!  I’ve watched so many of my friends with older kids ‘go go go’ all the time! They go from one event to the next and just do it because that’s the ‘rat race’ of society.  Busyness is an enemy of relationships! We become preoccupied with making a living, doing our work, paying bills, and accomplishing goals as if these tasks are the point of life–They are not!

Love leaves a legacy.  How you treat other people, not wealth or accomplishments, is the most enduring impact you can leave on Earth.  1st place medals, record setting stats and materialistic belonging will mean nothing at the end of your life– it’s how you treated people and the relationships you built with the people around you.

The Griswalds
The Griswalds

Granted we all have a list of family members and friends that we want to have amazing relationships with, it’s tough to reach out to them all and make the time to spend with them. I know, even with my entire family in town, it’s tough to make time each week to spend time together.  Everyone has different schedules that conflict with each others, so when we finally SET a date with each other and spend TIME together, it’s amazing!!  Like this coming weekend for the 4th, we made it a point to all be together at the Lakes– I can’t wait!! The Griswald crew will all be together! 🙂

I need to take this next statement into consideration from Purpose Driven Life and focus on holding to it:  “It’s not enough just to say relationship are important; we must prove it by investing time in them.  Relationships take time and effort, and the best way to spell love is “T-I-M-E.” ”

So my biggest take from my reading today that again, I need to focus on, is to not wait until I’m on my deathbed to figure out that nothing matters more than loving relationships.  We aren’t promised tomorrow.  Circumstances change.  People die.  Children grow up. If you want to express love, we need to do it now!

The bible stresses it repeatedly.  “Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone. Use every chance you have for doing good.  Whenever you possibly can, do good to those who need it.  Never tell your neighbor to wait until tomorrow if you can help them now.”

I know this changed my outlook on my life and I hope it’s made you look at your different relationships and the daily agendas you set for yourself.

Are relationships your first priority?

#ALynn

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#Before I Was A Mom

Before I was a Mom, I made and ate hot meals.  I had unstained clothing.  I had quiet conversations on the phone.  

Before I was a Mom I slept as late as I wanted and worked out when I wanted and never worried about how late I got into bed. 

Before I was a Mom I cleaned my house each day.  I never tripped over toys or forgot words to lullabies.  

Before I was a Mom I didn’t worry whether or not my plants were poisonous.  I never thought about immunizations. 

Before I was a Mom I had never been spit up on, pooped on, chewed on or pinched by tiny fingers.

Before I was a Mom I had complete control of my mind, my thoughts and my body.  I slept all night.

Before I was a a Mom I never held down a screaming child so that doctors could do tests or give shots.  I never looked into teary eyes and cried.  I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.  I never sat up late at night watching a baby sleep.  

Before I was a Mom I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn’t want to put it down.  I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn’t stop the hurt.  I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much. 

Before I was a Mom I didn’t know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.  I didn’t know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.  I didn’t know that bond between a mother and her child.  I didn’t know that something so small could make me feel so important.  Before I was a Mom I’d never gottten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.  I had never known the warmth.  The joy.  The love.  The heartache.  The wonderfullness or the satisfaction of being a Mom.  

I didn’t know I was capable of feeling so much before I was a Mom.   I never knew that I could love someone so much.  I never knew I would LOVE being a Mom.

Our Boys!
Our Boys!

So many truths and now I am a Mom to my two beautiful boys.  There are days that I need to remember all of the above– the days where my two baby boys test my patience.  Being a Mom is the most amazing journey in life!

Some women, as did I, struggle with fertility and read this post and feel like it won’t ever be them– it will happen.  Infertility hits so many women and the one thing that we have to remember is that it’s out of our hands.  That is something I was told over and over again while we went through it and it was hard to hear.  It’s so true though– we all try to manipulate, force agendas and control situations but we need to let go and let God work– we don’t have to always be “in charge.”  Try less and TRUST more.

To mommas everywhere… PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE!! 🙂

#ALynn

Mama’s Don’t Take Your Job Lightly…

By: Lindsay Buthe

#mommmmmy

I have been on both sides as a mom…the “working mom” and the “stay at home mom.” When I was a working mom in the business world I loved the challenge of my job, and I loved an outlet to meet new people and have friends to talk to every day. On the flip side…it was really hard for me to leave my son with someone else for over 10 hours a day when you took into consideration the time it took to drive to and from work. I now substitute teach during the school year so really it is kind of the best of both worlds for me.

I am currently home with my 10 month old daughter, Leighton, and 4 year old son, Cale, for the summer. If I am going to be brutally honest, I will admit that some days I want to pull my hair out and I feel like I walk around in circles ALL day long. I wake up to a clean house and find that within an hour there is stuff everywhere. Leighton is at the age where she is teething and requires a lot of attention so there is a lot of crying going on some days. Our house is a split level design so we have gates EVERYWHERE. When I do attempt to work out or try and fold a load of laundry I am usually interrupted by either a butt to wipe, a boo boo to kiss, or a mess that I need to clean up. I feel like there are a lot of days I look back and think “what did I even accomplish today?”

#princy
#ChiefCalesy

I was having one of those days that I described above and was telling my husband the other day how I sometimes don’t know if I am cut out for being a “stay at home” mom. Some days I feel like I don’t have as much patience as I should. Some days I feel like I am just going through the routine and in ways wonder if I would be a better mom if I wasn’t home all day with my kids. I received an email from my husband, Tim, that same day that put things in perspective for me. He always seems to have a way of doing that for me.

Honey,

Your purpose right now is being the best Mother you can be. You have a more important job than I have when you think about it. Don’t overlook that responsibility. Put your energy into training Cale and Leighton teaching them right and wrong. I don’t have the time to spend with them that you do. Don’t take it for granted and take your role lightly. We will both have to answer to God on the way we raised our kids. I want to be able to say that we did the best we could and I am certain you do too.

I was ashamed of myself after reading this email. I know that my husband had no intention of making me feel this way but it really hit home to me that I can try to do better at this job. This job that is the most important one I will EVER have. At the end of the day the only one that is measuring what I accomplished for the day is me. The laundry, the dishes, the organized closets and tupperware…there really is no deadline for these tasks. These moments with my beautiful children on the other hand…these moments are fleeting away.

I want my children to grow up and be good people. I want Cale and Leighton to know right from wrong. I want them to have a relationship with God and the desire to serve other people. I have the best job in the world being able to guide them on that path. When I do answer to God someday on how I raised my children, I want him to look me in the eyes and say “well done.” You see the reality is mama’s…it doesn’t matter if you are a stay at home mom or a working mom, we cannot take this job lightly. This job is the most important one we will ever have…the job of “mom.” I needed to be reminded of this on that particular day so I hope this will provide some encouragement to some of you that may have days like I described where the role of motherhood does not seem all that glorious. Your role is important. Do not take it lightly.

#motherhood

#Life #Attitude #Outcomes

Tonight my heart was happy. For the first time in over 7 months when my husband was prepping to go to Omaha, it was for something fun and something he loves to go to every summer— the College World Series.  As some of you that know our family, Omaha has been a dreaded word in our house.  October of 2014 my husband found out he had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma—a very curable cancer when detected early.  As a 31 year old, healthy man and his 30 year old wife and 2 young children, you can only imagine what was going through our heads when we heard the word CANCER—we all hear the word and think the worst case scenario (especially me—the world’s biggest worry wart—besides my sister!).  Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would have to get used to the ‘cancer lingo’.  Long story short, Kip found an amazing doctor in Omaha at Methodist Hospital and started his chemo treatments.  For 6 long months we traveled to Omaha where he received his treatment and as of May 2015, his cancer is GONE!!!

#cancerfree
#cancerfree

This isn’t about the cancer though and what Kip went through, it’s about LIFE, CIRCUMSTANCES, ATTITUDE and LOVE.  Without those 4 words mentioned, it would have been a lot harder to get through the last few months.  Kip taught me about all 4 of these words and made me a better and stronger person.   He made me realize what is truly important in life.  He made me realize that life circumstances are out of our control.  He made me realize that a positive attitude and how we react is how we push through the hard times.  This is KIP, my husband that was battling this disease that taught ME these things while he was the one dealing with everything.  Could he have just thrown a pity party when he was diagnosed and fall into a hole? Yes—but he didn’t.  He would always tell me that things could be so much worse and that maybe God was doing this to him so that nobody else that we loved had to go through it (like our boys).  He did however question a lot at the beginning as to WHY? Why would God do this to him and why right now at the young age of 31?  But Kip’s answer was always “God has a reason for everything.”  It’s so true and this too has pushed me to have more faith and see that everything in life is out of our hands.

What I have learned most about life and happiness in the last 7 months is without a positive attitude and love and support, we won’t make it far in life.  We are so very fortunate to have the friends and family that we do and going through this ‘bump in the road’ has made us realize who these people truly are and we thank them for being who they are—truly amazing!

What I want to get across most in this post is that we ALL struggle with different things in our lives, nobody has a picture perfect life (but if you do, would LOVE to meet you)—we all like to sometimes pretend, but it’s not realistic.  Finding the positive within those negative circumstance is what is important.  So make sure you reach out to people who are struggling.  Find a support system—whether you’re struggling with family issues, weight issues, personal insecurities, financial issues or whatever you may be dealing with—find someone to grasp on to and ride the waves. I know I couldn’t ask for a better partner to ride our waves— having him has made me a better and stronger person!

#RideWaves

#ALynn

#PurposeDrivenLife #Day1

In my first #Faith post I had said I was going to begin reading this book–today I have started!  A journey with a purpose– the title of the first part of this book written by Rick Warren, hits home to me because why are we truly here on Earth?  The Purpose Driven Life will help one to understand why we are alive and reveal God’s amazing plan for each one of us.  It All Starts with God– was so hard for me to understand after the first time I read this book but makes so much more sense now.  Is it hard to ACTUALLY live this way?!? YES!! We live in a world where everyone is so self-centered and worried ONLY about themselves that we forget the big picture. IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU!  “You were made by God and for God–and until you understand that, life will never make sense.”

I mentioned in my first #Faith post that my husband and I have really been trying to focus on our faith and building our lives around God. It’s tough at times to understand it all.  It’s tough at times to realize it’s not about us, our families and our careers.  “Everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him.” Colossians 1:16b.

My faith has definitely grown these past 4-5 years since we started attending Sunnybrook Church in Sioux City Iowa, but it’s a journey that we are still on, as a family.  I have to be honest that I struggled finding any meaning of Church/God as I grew up in the Catholic church— never would I bad mouth the church, but it never made sense to me and I had a hard time getting myself and husband to go.  Sometimes, to find your faith, you need to venture out and find a ‘church home.’ Where you are comfortable and where things make sense.  Where you can be you and FIND YOU & YOUR PURPOSE!

The question for me and maybe you today:  In spite of all the advertising around us, how can we remind ourselves that life is really about living for God, not myself?

#ALynn

#SundayLife

So today started out as a usual Sunday does– I get up early to workout so I can get myself ready before the rat race begins with getting the boys fed and ready before leaving for church.  7:15 rolled around and I heard Kip’s alarm going off and him ‘snoozing’ it– which frustrated me because I KNEW he wanted to get a 30 minute workout in before we left at 8:15 (so him and the boys could get some breakfast at Sunnybrook Cafe before 9:00 service).  So I kept going in and attempting to be a motivator (although I believe I was only being an annoyance)– and he finally got up at 7:30. I knew it was going to be a crazy morning from there though and he would never make it upstairs and shower before we had to leave so he could eat in time. — I truly don’t think men think sometimes about what it takes to get everything ready to go before leaving the house (clothes, food, diapers, “potty mommy”, oh Kollin pooped his diaper– and the list could go on!!).  I love my husband dearly, but some mornings like this he is so selfish (in my eyes) because he thinks about his workout and getting HIMSELF ready 🙂 — OK, there was my rant! BUUUT I was right on about not making it in time for breakfast– but I did snap these cute ‘GQ’ photos of the boys before–

There’s a big difference between men and women and being a dad and being a mom– the responsibilities are different.  Kip is a wonderful dad and helps with the kids all the time.  He gets irritated quicker with them because he isn’t around them as much as I am (especially in the summer)– he doesn’t realize what it takes to get a 2 year old and 4 year old out the door in a timely manner!  Some days I do believe it’s just easier to do it by myself– and that’s what gets me on Saturday and Sunday mornings when he IS around! I’m not used to him being there and we have a good routine, just the 3 of us, during the week. Is this common in your households?  Who does the majority of ‘kid work’?!?  Kip works his tail off at his job and provides for us more than I could ever think to— so I see that as HIS job and the house and kids (daily routines) as MY JOB– is that bad??  Is that normal?

Our Sunday did turn out great though– after the tiff in the morning.  Grill out and swimming up at my mom and dads– the kids LOVE swimming! Was a little tougher for Kollin because he just got his tubes on Friday, but he kept his little ear plugs in pretty good!   Hope you all had a GREAT Sunday!! Here’s to a good week!!     #ALynn

#Nerves #Ears #Tubes

As I’m sitting here typing (when I should probably be in bed), I’m thinking and worrying about tomorrow.  My plan is to get up at 4:30 so I can get my workout (21 Day Fix Extreme- Cardio Day)in before we have to bring Kollin, our 2 year old, to get tubes by 6:15.  Our oldest had them at 15 months, but my nerves get the best of me when thinking about them putting him out.  I know I need to have more faith in God and just let it be, but I struggle with it. It’s something I know I need to improve on! Do any of you get this way?  It’s a procedure I know has been done millions of times, but I still stress! I have grown so much in my faith but have so much further to go— any ideas?!?

This is my first real post on my blog and thought I would start with something REAL and how I am feeling as I’m going to bed— more posts to come and promise they will be more intriguing 🙂

#ALynn