Butterfly Prayers

A collection of prayers, thoughts and love for my family

Being Generous

This kid is not a morning person…look at those sleepy eyes. I snapped this picture because you can never have too many pictures of your kids, am I right? 

During our morning commute to school, all of eight minutes, the car is typically quiet. She is staring out the window with that glazed over half-asleep expression and I am being blinded by the super nova sun because my sunglasses are on the dining table…not in my car. It’s not the best set-up for quality conversation. 

We pull up behind the line of cars and before I know it, the mini van door opens and she scrambles out of the car waving her little hand behind her. I shout to her, “I love you, have a wonderful/marvelous/fantastic day,” and her whole face lights up then she rushes into school. 

I drive off and leave a piece of my heart behind, and it is still the hardest part of my day. I have to trust she will be just fine all day without me there to guide and protect her. I know deep down she will be safe and loved, but there are times those doubts creep in and I wonder…

What if some kid is mean to her or makes fun of her?

What if she gets left out or picked last?

What if some kid doesn’t want to be her friend?

How can I prepare my daughter for situations like these? How can I teach her to be secure in who she is and most importantly how can I show her she is and always will be good enough? 

I have decided to choose one virtue/value per week and talk about it with her. I’ve learned mornings are not ideal for those talks, and after school all she cares about is two things: snacks and Xbox. But last night on the way home from work, I turned off the radio and talked to my kid about being generous. A big word for a six year old, but by the end of our talk I felt like she got it so I asked her one last question…”If you have two cookies and your friend has two cookies, but there is one cookie left in the box and you want it, what is the generous thing to do?” She thought for a minute and then said, “We can split the cookie in three pieces so I can have a piece, my friend can have a piece and mommy you can have a piece.” 

I was not expecting that answer, and yeah it would be most generous to give the entire cookie to her friend, but I was still immensely proud of her answer. 

I believe this is just the beginning of many quality mother/daughter conversations and I am so glad I am starting now.

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Lost

Lately I have been feeling a bit lost¬†in my life. Some days I have a clear picture of how I want my life to go, but other days it’s like a jumbled jigsaw puzzle. All these pieces floating around in my mind trying to fit together, but I’m not even sure they belong in the same puzzle. Ever feel that way?

At my weekly mom’s bible study, a friend suggested we get crafty and make vision boards for our lives. We could cut pictures out of magazines and write empowering words and just anything we want to see manifested in our lives. I think this is a great idea and I am curious to see how different our boards will look when it’s all finished.

One thing I love about bible study is how diverse our little group is. We are all so different from each other and in different stages of mommyhood but we seem to fit together in a way that is perfectly imperfect.

We understand each other. We support each other. We laugh together and cry together. We are like sisters trying to make sense of this crazy life.

It’s the one place I don’t feel so lost…where I can simply be me

Even if that means I’m still a little bit lost, I know I’m not alone.

 

 

 

30 prayers for 30

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My husband said goodbye to his twenties a few weeks ago with a birthday celebration fit for a movie star. He even had a red carpet entrance and star with his name inscribed on it. All his family pulled out their craziest costumes and dressed up for an even bigger surprise. I was responsible for bringing gel and sunglasses to transform him into an Elvis personna. It was great fun, but the highlight of the night was hearing stories about my husband from the people who loved him first and longer than me.

We laughed, cried, and reminisced all night and I understood the person I married better that night than in the two years I’ve known him. Before the party ended, his dear aunt gathered everyone together and his brother prayed over my husband and our marriage. There is no question of the power of prayer alone, but the presence of God was stronger than ever with his family praying over us.

I have my own prayers for him and since it’s his 30th birthday, I have prayed these 30 prayers for the next decade of his life.

1. I pray you wake up and thank God for each new day because life is a gift and there are no guarantees.

2. I pray you find a reason each day to laugh, it’s the best medicine.

3. I pray you keep God first in your life.

4. I pray you remember to pray about everything.

5. I pray you take care of you and ask God to show you how to be the best version of you.

6. I pray you forgive yourself when you mess up.

7. I pray you practice self control in all areas of your life.

8. I pray you indulge in the positive aspects of life.

9. I pray you find contentment in your life.

10. I pray you stretch yourself to reach your goals and dreams.

11. I pray you never lose hope, there is always hope.

12. I pray you find financial peace and freedom from debt.

13. I pray you choose love above everything else, even when it’s hard.

14. I pray you strive to be a godly husband and love me unconditionally even if I don’t deserve it.

15. I pray you forgive me when I disappoint you.

16. I pray you love our daughter and any future children we have with the love of the Lord.

17. I pray you take care of your health and any ailments are temporary and mild.

18. I pray you appreciate the little things in life.

19. I pray you are blown away by the miracle of life each day.

20. I pray you find something to believe in and you invest your heart in a cause.

21. I pray you experience love in all forms.

22. I pray you fall to your knees during hard times and raise your hands during good times.

23. I pray you make a difference in someone’s life even in small ways.

24. I pray you let go of your past and heal from your hurts.

25. I pray you see yourself the way God sees you.

26. I pray you are blessed beyond your wildest dreams.

27. I pray you praise God in the storms of life.

28. I pray you grow spiritually in your walk with God.

29. I pray you remember to smile.

30. I pray you never stop singing.

I love you honey and I hope your thirties are your best years so far. I’ll meet you there in a few years ūüôā

Before you were born

Before you were born
I didn’t know
Boy or a girl
Straight hair or curls
The color of your eyes
How loud you might cry
Would you have all your toes
And a cute, button nose
Would I love you right away
And be a good mom
Does God really know
what He’s doing after all?
But then you were born

Before you were born
I didn’t know
How fast and slow
That first year would go
How much I could do
On no sleep at all
How much I would care
About everything so small
Like the first time
You smiled
Or laughed
Rolled over
And Crawled
Stood up in your crib
Hollered mama, your first word
Took a few steps
But then you turned one

Before you were born
I didn’t know
I would count time
In months
And fight you
To keep a bow
in your locks
How scary the world
Would become
And each time you fell
On your head
Or down the stairs
I would cry
More than you cried
Then laugh
When you cracked a smile
But then you turned two

Before you were born
I didn’t know
Your favorite word
Would be No!
How toys multiplied
In the middle of the night
And crayons don’t always
Wash off the walls
That you would
Look like a “big girl”
On that princess potty
How much I would
Jump for joy
When you said bye to diapers
But then you turned three

Before you were born
I didn’t know
How many times
You would “do it myself!”
And all I could do
Was sit back and gawk
At your inside out shirts
And mismatched socks
That I would cry
When you walked me down
Tossing flowers on the ground
And hugged your daddy
Like he was meant to be ours
But then you turned four

Before you were born
I didn’t know
You would only wear skirts
If given the choice
Pretend to be mommy
With babies of your own
But still crawl in my lap
For stories and hugs
Think you’re the boss
And demand to be heard
That you would learn to read
More than just the ABC’s
And write your name
With a backwards C
And then you’ll turn five.

My Latest Project

I haven’t posted on here in a while, but I wanted to share with anyone who reads my blog some big news. I have decided to stop procrastinating and actually write a book. It’s a rough draft, but I am enjoying the process and learning a lot about writing.

Unfortunately, this makes it harder to find time to blog since I am so absorbed with writing this book. I will hopefully find a balance for both.

If you would like to check it out and see what it’s all about. You can go to this link here:

Artifact Hunters

Thank you ūüôā

This is the year…

This is the year…

Every January, this phrase is advertised everywhere you go and it’s even cropping up in churches. I encountered this motto¬†visiting a local church with some friends, and then again during a Celebrate Recovery meeting. What does it really mean? Let’s fill in some blanks.

This is the year to make a small change. 

Change is scary. There is no getting around that. We are creatures of habit, and we like our comfort zones, but change is necessary in order to grow. Even the smallest changes can make a big difference. Here are some small changes I want to make this year:

  • Make my bed every morning. Don’t really care about doing it, but it makes the room look better.
  • Read a daily devotional before I do anything else on my phone.
  • Drink way more water. I spent most of 2014 unknowingly slightly dehydrated.
  • Write something everyday.
  • Put down my phone when I am spending time with others. It’s rude, distracting, and a problem.

This is the year to stop doing something.

Stopping anything is hard work, especially if you love doing it. Sometimes, the things we love are no longer good for us and inhibit our spiritual growth. Other times, we want to stop something we don’t love doing, but are paralyzed to make the change. I’ve got a list of things I want to stop doing, and at the top of my list is this one:

  • I want to stop caring what other people think.

All my life I’ve wondered if people think I am good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, talented enough. I’ve lost my own decision making power to trying to please others. This fear has grown into caring what people think about my choices, my marriage, and my parenting. It’s destructive and unhealthy, and I want to stop. In 2015, I want to only care about what God thinks, and if my choices and decisions are in line with His word, then who cares about what everyone else says. God’s opinion of me is pretty great anyway.

This might be the year for a lot of things, but so far this is what I feel ready to work on. I always jump into my new year’s resolutions headstrong, and burn out a few weeks later, so I’m trying something different this year. I’ve got God in my corner, and I know he will give me strength.

‚ÄúThen you will shine among them like stars in the sky.”¬†(Philippians 2:15)

Dear God,

I pray for guidance and strength to stop caring what other people think. My true identity lies in You, and not of anything found in this world. I forgive those who hurt me and caused me to feel less of a person. This year is about finding who I am as a daughter of royalty, and choosing to be that girl day after day. I know it won’t be easy, but I know You are with me and I can do this. You believe in me, and I am motivated to believe in me too. Thank you Lord for the chance of a new year, and the opportunity to change.

Amen

Write to dream, dream to write

I’ve always wanted to be¬†a writer. I recall being six or seven and writing my first story. It was three, maybe four pages of pencil highly inspired by “my little pony”, but I somehow made it my own. I played make believe when I was a little girl, but I took it one step further and scripted out stories in my mind that were as real to me as life itself. I crafted characters, plots, settings, themes, conflict, climax, and resolution before I knew what those terms meant. I was a natural story teller and could weave a tale out of imagination and playtime any day.

At eleven, I found Jesus in a room of other preteens while listening to the words, “It is the cry of my heart to follow you.” Poetry. Beautiful poetry drew me to Him. Those words saturated in my soul for the night, and I discovered it was the cry of my heart to follow him. I wrote my way to Jesus, because it was the language of my own heart and I knew He would understand. He made me this way.

I grew up some, about as much as a teenager is considered a grown up. I had a little more depth and life experience to hold my writing up. I experimented with poetry, the emotional caste of writing. I was both in awe and terrified at the words that would spill out after a heartbreak. I would be lost in a daydream while my pen scraped across the paper and at the end I was left holding a heavier page, but a lighter heart. I piled notebooks full of scrawled out emotions. I was coping, but I didn’t know at the time I was also¬†praying.

I took a writing class junior year of high school, and no surprise it was my favorite class of the day. It was more structured than my personal free writing, but I learned the bare bones of writing that year. How to construct a sentence with the right amount of tenor and vulnerability. How to rhyme more than words together that ideas could rhyme as well. I discovered the layers of color, the dimensions of shapes, and the magnitude of a single syllable. The most important lesson I learned in creative writing class however is this:

“Writing is heart, skill, and hard work.”

I wrote my heart out that year, and it landed me third place in a local writing contest. It was worth every second of scrutinizing, editing, and second guessing. I didn’t care so much about where I placed in the contest, but it was one less story stuck in my head, and the moment I planted a dream. I wanted to write a book.

Over the past ten years, I’ve written when I didn’t feel like I could and stopped when I needed to the most.¬†I’ve carried that dream with me all the way into the present moment. It sits on my shoulder, watching me pound my thoughts out, waiting for it’s time. I always read the acknowledgement page in any book I read. It’s a reminder of how much help you need when writing a book. At the top of the acknowledgment page is, “I want to thank God” followed by family and friends, editors, publishers, and other random people. Why do these authors thank God first? I can’t answer that question for them, but I know why God would be at the top of my own acknowledgment page. It’s simple and profound.

God is a story teller. He thought up the universe, created it, and brought it to life. He crafted characters, plots, settings, themes, conflicts, climaxes, and resolutions. I think to be a writer is like borrowing a speck of creation, molding it into a story, and breathing life into it the same way God breathed life into the world.

I dream to write a book someday, and truthfully I have about three chapters of one in the beginning stages. It’s messy, unpredictable, bare, and underneath all that dust, there is life.

Reason for the Season

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I took an unexpected blogging break during December. I meant to write, tried to write but one week I burnt my finger and it hurt to type. Then, my family caught the flu. I never had the flu, but I was sick with something and had an awful case of vertigo. Learned a lot about how the inner ear controls balance and mine was filled with fluid. After the flu, my husband got bronchitis and coughed more than I’ve ever seen or heard in my life. By this point, celebrating Christmas seemed out of the question.

I should have hit my knees and prayed through every new challenge, new sickness and financial event trusting God to see us through, but I worried instead. He saw us through and we made it to all the Christmas parties and had a wonderful Christmas together anyway. Our first Christmas as a family.

And on Christmas Day, we watched the joy spread across our daughter’s face as she shredded wrapping paper, revealing shiny new toys for her to play with. I tried to snap a picture of her face when she saw an enormous doll house under the tree, but it came out a blur. After the day was done, we wondered why we had stressed so much. It was all worth it in the end.

Oh and the whole house smelled like a giant candy cane exploded. Husband’s fault. He used too much peppermint oil.

I missed the purpose of the Christmas season this year. It got lost in the rolls of wrapping paper and gift bags.  The joy was sucked out of it by high fevers and runny noses. I forgot to see past the shiny ornaments and twinkling lights. I wanted our first Christmas to be perfect, but when things went south, I lost my spirit.

I was teetering on the edge of a breakdown Christmas Eve. I couldn’t take one more…

Phone call asking for money.
Thermometer that read anything higher than 98.6
Cough that triggered a gag reflex.
Temper tantrum about having to wait to open presents.
Request for toys at every single store.

I was done with Christmas before it was even here. So, on Christmas Eve…I shut myself in my room, in the dark, and cried out to God.

All the stress, worry, anxiety and perfectionism melted off my shoulders and I breathed in a heavy dose of Jesus. It was just what I needed.

As I look back on this Christmas season, two simple moments really stand out:

The first…
The night we played “Oh Holy Night” and remembered what Christmas was all about.

The second…
Reading the story of baby Jesus together as a family.

I don’t know how your Christmas season went. I don’t know if you were sick or healthy. Stressed or relaxed (probably both). I don’t know if you were surrounded by family or all alone. I don’t know all your family traditions, but maybe you had a Christmas like mine.

I made a Christmas bucket list and checked off about six of twenty things.

Things we did:
Drive around look at lights
Watch Christmas movies
Decorate tree
Go on hayride
Make it to Christmas parties
Watch kid Christmas play

We didn’t make cookies, bark or fudge…too germy

We forgot to make ornaments

I can count on one hand the number of times I moved Bell, our elf.

We missed candlelight service.

No family pictures.

But how much of that really matters? Sure, it’s fun but why does Christmas have to be another challenge to fall short on. Next year, there will be two things on my list.

Get flu shots!
Remember Jesus is reason for season!

Anything else is a bonus.

December has been one wild ride and right as the chaos lifts, I run into the tv stand and break/jam/severely injure my pinky toe. Oh well.

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

Wednesday Worship: Stronger

Last week, I was driving along listening to Christmas music on the local Christian radio station, and during December they play a mixture of Christmas and worship music. It’s a nice alternative to the all Christmas music stations. As I was on the way to pick up my husband from his carpool location, I was stewing about how much had gone wrong throughout the week and how down I was feeling about situations I have no control over when the song, “Stronger” came on. Now, this song is popular on the radio and I had heard it plenty of times before, but this night I was tuned into the lyrics. In particular, this one:

“And your asking why it’s always raining on you. When all you want is a little good news. Instead of standing there stuck out in the weather.”

Yes. Exactly how I was feeling, God. I recognize there is a lot of good in my life, and I have been blessed in many ways, but last week I was focused on all the storms of my life past and present. I felt defeated, alone, scared, and depressed. It was one of those weeks where it’s one thing after another, and by the weekend you are just scrambling for a breath of air.

Stronger. “This is gonna make you stronger” is the key message in this song. I know that whatever I am dealing with, even if it seems beyond my power and capabilities there is still one who is in control of it all. The one who brought me to it, so He can bring me through it. I know this without a shadow of a doubt, but there is still that small voice inside that questions God’s hand in my life during difficult moments. Those times where he seems to have vanished in thin air, and it’s hard to hear his voice anymore. It happens from time to time, and I know God is teaching me something and when it’s all said and done, I will be stronger.

Listen to the lyrics of this song, and remember God is right there even when it doesn’t seem like it. Things will and do get better, though it might not be in the ways we thought, it’s in God’s time and God’s ways.

30 Days of Thankfulness: Days 22-30

Tomorrow is November 30 which is the last day for 30 Days of Thankfulness, and I am eight days behind!! I don’t know how that happened, but I skipped a few days because I was taking care of a sick kid, and then I came down with something myself. I love to write, but I’m not superwoman and realistically hammering out eight full blog posts in two days would be almost impossible. I don’t even want to attempt it, but I do want to finish out the challenge.

Therefore, you have the pleasure of enjoying eight days of thankfulness in one post.

Day 22- I am thankful for my brothers. I have two younger brothers, and now I have three older brother-in-laws. Jeremy, for his knack for fixing cars. Connor, for his fun-loving attitude. Eric, for his entertaining status updates. Matt, for his preaching and being cool with almost everything. Nathan, for his intelligence.

Day 23- I am thankful for my aunts and uncles. There are way too many to name, but I love each of them for so many reasons. I am thankful for their time, their conversation, their aide, their kindness, and their love.

Day 24- I am thankful for my nieces and nephews. From the youngest nephew at 6 months old to the oldest at 14, I am thankful for all of them. They are smart, gifted, talented, and kind and I have a place in my heart for each of them.

Day 25- I am thankful for the seasons. I am thankful for Spring because of butterflies and flowers and also my birthday. I am thankful for Summer for days lounging in the pool and cold popsicles. I am thankful for Fall for the leaves everywhere and the crisp air. I am thankful for Winter for those rare Georgia snows and hot cocoa.

Day 26- I am thankful for my cousins. They were my first friends in the family, and the ones I could count on when my siblings were being annoying. I was really close to a few of them growing up, and sadly we don’t see each other as often, but I am still thankful for them.

Day 27- I am thankful for first moments. Like the first time I flew in an airplane, and went on a trip without my parents. When I saw my daughter for the first time is another one. The first conversation with my now husband. First moments are special because they only happen once. After that, they are only second and third moments.

Day 28- I am thankful for Holidays. I love the merriment and surprise of Christmas morning and decorating the tree. I love the campfires¬†and resolutions of New Years. The love in the air feeling of Valentine’s Day. The fun of wearing green on St. Patrick’s. Easter for the resurrected King and hunting eggs with my daughter. Fourth of July for cook-outs and fireworks. Halloween for the costumes and candy. I love Thanksgiving for home-cooked meals and thankfulness moments.

Day 29- I am thankful for the big events in life. Graduation, Marriage, and Having Children. I may have done a few of those out of order, but my life wouldn’t be the same way if I had done things the expected way. I look forward to many more big events in life.

Day 30- I am thankful for my walk with Jesus, the Holy Bible, and worship songs. I am thankful for Christian friends, my pastors, and church. I am thankful for the freedom to worship God and forgiveness.

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