Thursday, May 14, 2015

Not So Shiny

My cousin Elizabeth, who is a dear friend and fellow blogger, insisted that I write about this.  So I blame her for the knot in my stomach.

Just kidding.

About the blame, not the stomach.

As the name of my blog suggests, I am a perfectionist by nature but I try to fight that nature in order to be something that resembles healthy.  I don't want to give in fully to that constant pull to strive for unattainable perfection.  But when I'm not actively fighting against it, it pulls me in closer.

One by one, I've had to let go of things I once saw as "perfect."  I'm not the perfect mom.  I'm not the perfect housekeeper.  I'm not the perfect chef or baker.  My kids do not have perfect discipline records.  Even my perfect grades in college are meaningless now.

Well, yesterday I had to let go of one more perfect thing:  my perfect driving record.

I've had my license for 17 years (go ahead and do the math).  I've never even been pulled over.  No parking tickets.  No fender benders.  No red lights run or even an expired license plate tag.  I've had a shiny, perfect driving record.  And I felt proud of it.  Which is probably why it needed to be pried from my kung fu grip.

Here's the kicker.  Not only was I in a car accident yesterday, but I caused the accident.  Embarrassed doesn't even begin to describe how I felt (feel).  I was also so confused.  I am such a careful driver that I'm baffled as to how this even happened.  My dad says they're called "accidents" for a reason. 

I won't bore you with the details, mostly because it still stings to recount them.  The main points are:  I didn't see a car, I hit said car, all parties involved were unharmed, I had Nora in the car with me, Nora was scared at first but then practiced handstands in the grass while I talked to the police officer, the other car had to be towed as a precaution but was basically driveable, my car is driveable but we are not to drive it until the insurance adjuster comes out.  Oh, and I cried.  A lot.  The middle-aged male police officer wasn't quite sure what to do with a crying woman.

The accident happened while I was on my way to pick up our new dining chairs.  I never got the chairs.  That's a worry for a different day.  I'll need to borrow a truck (and have someone else drive as I am not emotionally ready) or beg Pier 1 to hold them longer due to extenuating circumstances. 

So today I'm nursing an exhausted body and a bruised ego.  It's back to life as usual with school, the last dance class before this weekend's big recital, babysitting the two kids I care for everyday, taking care of the house and laundry and meals, etc.  Only it has to be done with one car between Jared, me, and five kids.  We're working it out.

I'm so grateful that no one was hurt, and I'm trusting God to make something out of the rest of the mess.  And now that my secret is out, maybe it'll stop stinging so much.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Star Teacher Appreciation Gift

I wanted to share one more quick and easy gift for Teacher Appreciation.  My friend Michele found this idea and free printable on Simply Designing.

I printed the cards, cut them out, and punched a hole in the top.  I bought two rolls of Starburst for each teacher (they were 2 for $2 at Walgreens).  I chose special flavors just to make it more fun.  I simply tied the Starburst together and attached the cards.  Done!

It would be even cuter to fill a jar with Starburst candies and put the printable tag on the lid. 

On to the next task for May!


Mint Teacher Appreciation Gift

May is CRAZY!  In addition to my son's birthday (yes, he requires a party for family and a separate party for friends), my daughter's dance recital (complete with pre-dress rehearsal and dress rehearsal and performance night), Mother's Day (I may be a mom but I also have to take care of the moms in my life), and all the usual practices and homework (and laundry and cleaning and meals)...this is also Teacher Appreciation week.

Anyone else overwhelmed too??

Well I really do appreciate all the teachers in our busy kid world.  I just don't have time to show them in the most creative way possible!  I helped our Parent Club deliver donuts on Monday and decorate the teachers' lounge.  Tuesday the club gave the teachers fresh fruit.  I already forgot what's being delivered today, but Thursday will be lunch and Friday will be cookies.  I participate in the Parent Club and helped raised the funds used for this week's gifts.  But I still want my boys' teachers to know that I personally appreciate them.

My friend Michele found this "mint" printable and even printed two extra copies for me!  She is a school secretary, and she made adorable little gift bags for the teachers at her school.  You can attach this printable to anything mint-flavored.  I just made it very very easy on myself.

I ran to Walgreens and bought a 3-pack of mint Tic-Tacs for $0.99 and a tin of cinnamon mints (just in case they want an alternate flavor) for $0.99 each.  I threw those into treat bags I had leftover from Christmas (I skipped the Rudolph toppers...).  I used white ribbon to tie them up and attach the printed card.


The free printable card can be found at Made 2 B Creative.  It says:
Thank You for your
This morning as I watched someone carrying flowers into preschool, I realized that I've spent all my energy on the boys' teachers and forgot about the preschool teachers!  So I ran out and bought two boxes of Junior Mints and two bags of Pepperidge Farms Mint Chocolate Milano Minis.  I simply tied them together and printed two more cards.  Preschool teachers:  appreciated!


Tuesday, May 5, 2015


The topic of praise and worship has come up lately in a few different settings. 

Because people have different personalities and upbringings, there's a lot of variation in the way people participate in praise and worship.

Some enjoy the music but don't ever sing along.  My husband always sings (and truly worships from the heart) and occasionally attempts to clap, but he's not really a hand-raiser.  Some sing with eyes open to read the words on the screen.  Some close their eyes in order to focus on God and not be distracted by their surroundings.

Roughly a year ago, I told my sister-in-law that I was craving more freedom in worship.  I'm part of a Nazarene church, and I attend our more contemporary service.  We have a praise band with electric guitars and drums and all the usual suspects.  We sing songs that are popular on our Christian radio station as well as songs that have been around in churches for years.  Clapping is certainly acceptable, although Nazarenes either don't have the rhythm to keep a clap going while singing or don't feel the need to clap.  A handful of people will raise their hands while worshipping, but it's usually the same folks each time.

And then there's me.  Over the last year, the depth and breadth of my worship experience has grown in an amazing way.

It started with crushing frustration!  You may remember when I was at the Beth Moore conference and asked for prayer that didn't turn out as I had hoped.  Then God challenged me by asking me if He was still worthy of praise.  You can read more here.

I've always loved singing praise songs, especially in a church setting.  I feel the music in me, and I can't actually not move.  I tap the pew in front of me, stomp my heels or tap my toes, rock back at forth, or act as the lone clapper.

I know pretty much all of the songs, so I don't need to read the screen.  I also find that closing my eyes makes me forget about the people around me so I can focus solely on God.

Then there's the controversial issue of raising my hands.  I don't know the churchy explanation.  I just know that for me, sometimes singing isn't enough.  My soul wants to jump out of my skin in praise, and raising my hands is like an outlet for my praise to burst forth toward God.  It can also feel like an expression of agreement or exclamation.  "Me!  Right here!  I agree with these words!"

Being broken and raw before God in a painful way can allow us to connect with him in praise.  That day when He asked me if He was still worthy of my praise, it wasn't just about my unanswered plea for physical healing.  It has become my praise principle.

When I start singing that first song of the service, my mind is still replaying the kids' drop offs or someone's passing comment.

My soul remembers He is worthy of praise.

My mind recounts my current circumstances and the long list of requests I want God to answer.

But my heart reminds me He is worthy of praise.

I think I have to look and sound and act a certain way when I'm gathered with familiar and new faces in church.

God is worthy of praise.

Worship isn't about me.  I don't sing to impress others (I actually have to try not to ruin their worship experience with my voice!).  I don't raise my hands to seem like a good Christian.  When I start wondering how my outfit looks or if the people behind me have noticed the weird spot in my hair that wouldn't curl right, I remember one thing:  God is worthy of praise.

Singing praise and worship songs is like praying without the pressure of coming up with the words.  That's another thing I absolutely love.  All I have to do is think about the words and make them come from my heart.  There's no pressure on me.  Someone else has written the words, and someone else is playing every instrument needed to make it sound beautiful.  I get to simply participate by agreeing.

My worship time has become my very favorite way to spend time with God.  It's like I have a date with Him, and it is the most refreshing way to spend my time!  God has planned our date, and I just have to show up and pay attention to Him.  It's the only time I stop thinking about my world and what I need to do for everyone else.  My time spent in worship is when I remember who God is and that I belong to Him.  Nothing else matters during that time.

I praise God because He is worthy of it.

Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom.  Psalm 145:3