Category Archives: encouragement



    moms-48-birthday-copy     Although most people see me as very friendly and outgoing,  I’m actually rather shy.  I enjoy my own company and being alone.  I like to think.  

     When I was 19,  I went to a Bill Gothard seminar, and he said that you ought to ask questions about other people if you had trouble talking.  So I started thinking about general questions I could ask (I think Bill actually gave a list you could use).  Bill said that you will never lack for conversation if you do that because everyone loves to talk about themselves.  I found that is generally true!

     Over the years, I’ve developed the ability to ask questions and discovered that as I asked people to share about themselves, several things happened to me.  Initially, I became more insightful about people’s spiritual needs.  Often allowed me to ask better questions that let me get below the surface of a person’s life.  In turn, that helped me to care about people more deeply.  Finally, that led to me being able to pray better for them, and also to offer more helpful words of advice or encouragment.

     Starting in my 20s, I had several long-term relationships with people who were in intensive counseling for various issues, usually including depression.  During these relationships, I came to realize that people who are having emotional problems have often cut themselves off from many of friends and relatives, or have been ostracized because people don’t know how to handle their difficult issues. 

     Furthermore, I also came to realize that a counselor is not enough to help a person heal.  People need friends who can also listen and still love them when they have heard everything that is inside. I’ve had a chance to be one of those people and the privilege to see women heal and go on to have ministries to others (I’d love to tell some of their stories but would have to ask permission). 

     Not everyone needs lay counseling, but most of us do need someone to listen to us and hear our heart.   Mothers have a chance to hear the heart of their children every day.  Usually, it doesn’t even require asking many questions.  Children have a tendency to spill out what they are thinking or feeling.  We may need to work harder to hear our spouse, or a neighbor, a parent or a friend.  We may need to be willing to be interrupted, to put our tasks on hold for a while, to pay attention, to listen to the same story once again, and yet again  to ask questions.



Giving Up


Ok–I published my blogsite for the first time in my newsletter even though I’d only written three posts and only published two!  So now I feel I need to just jump in and go.  So here it is, the day after Christmas.  Definitely not the time of the year when I have a lot of extra time to fiddle around with my blog site.  When my family of 7 is home is when my job really begins.

     That has been one of my great revelation over the last few months.  I’ve been pondering my life next year when Steffi goes to kindergarten and I am facing the challenge of what I want to do with my life.  I have been a mother of preschoolers for 13 1/2 years, which is longer than I did anything else in my life, including going to public school myself.  Most of that time, I’ve had two or three at home.  Seven of those years I have worked part time as a lecturer in English.  The first two years I did not teach, but I was working on my (never finished) dissertation.  The last four years I have not taught because I’ve been caring for my in-laws who have Alzheimers.  So I’ve been busy.

      But what lies ahead for me?  I’m 48, so I guess I could say I have about 20 years in my next career.   Before I got too engrossed in thinking through the possibilities, however; I’ve run head long into some cold, hard facts: ie:  even when they are in school, my family takes up a lot of my time.  There is, for instance, laundry.  One or more loads a day.  Then there is the cleaning.  And the cooking.  And the shopping.  Not to mention the doctor’s and dentist’s appointments, the van service to swim team and church activities and even the occasional friend’s house.  That is when it hit me:  my job really starts when eveyone gets home.  I’m used to taking the last hour or two of the day for my personal time.  My time to relax, do some crafts, catch up on email, read or even surf the web.  Now I’ve realized that while I may get some time to myself in the evening, I’d better be sure that I take the time I need to be relaxed and refreshed before the troups come home because my husband needs my time too, and sometimes the only time he can get is that last hour before bed.  So I need to be ready to listen to him then and not be eyeballing my yahoo account.  Ok, so he usually does have to come in and find me ,and I usually am on my computer, but I do make a concerted effort to turn around, face him, and really listen to what he has to say. 

     That said, I think my Christmas revelation is that when everyone is home and everyone is having fun, I need to be willing to give up parts of my job in order to save my sanity and be a better mom.  In other words, I need to just give up on actually cleaning the house.  Now, my mother has been telling me this for years, “Don’t worry about the house, it will just get messy again later.”  However, I’ve also come to realize that the cleanliness of my personal space is very important to the calmness of my heart.  It isn’t that I have a perfect looking house.  It is that my house has to have a certain order which appeals to me.  That being said, I think this vacation I’ve needed to expand my ability to endure chaos, stuff of the floor and even dog hair in the corners of the room.

     The revelation wasn’t really planned out.  It was sort of forced on me by the extent of the mess and my personal exhaustion.  At some point in the afternoon of Christmas day, I surveyed the mess and contemplated gathering up the energy to get started picking up.  Then suddenly I decided, “I give up.  I think I’ll watch a movie with the kids.”  Suddenly I felt so much better! 

    So today, I did get everyone breakfast and I did the dishes, but then I looked around and instead of picking up—I went and got one after Christmas item I’d spotted at Walgreens–blue and white LED snowflake lights.  Chris and Brendan even put them up for me (braving the neighbor’s concern that we were decorating on Dec. 26) and I love them. Later I took the three little girls to the zoo.  December in Texas is quirky.  Today was close to 80, and although it was windy, it was a nice day for the zoo.  Besides, it meant I didn’t have to look at my house. 

   My mom called as I was heading home and I toldher my strategy.  She suggested that if anyone came over I could just “rally the troups to get them to help clean up.”  I explained to her that she didn’t quite understand, “NO ONE is being invited over” at this moment. 

     Ok, so tonight I did do the dishes and vaccum around the mess.  There were ants going after the popcorn on the floor. Maybe I’ll be ready to face the rest tomorrow.  Maybe not.  We haven’t been to the Mayborn museum yet……