Community {not as easy as it sounds}

Remember when you were a kid and you wanted to spend the night with a friend? It usually started with a fun day of hanging out and as the day progressed you realized that your day was about to end. But you didn’t want the fun to end! So you decide you should have a sleep over. Of course being a child, YOUR decision to spend the night with a friend is not the end of it. You needed to convince your parents and your friend’s parents that: “this is a good idea”.

Commence Operation Spend the Night

First you would likely identify who would be hosting this sleepover shin dig which was probably the easiest decision to make.

Some of the variables:

A) who is more likely to say yes?

B) who is more likely to be persuaded with the reasoning that “so and so hasn’t slept over in months!”

Once the hosting house was identified, you initiated step two. Approaching the parent of the child potentially sleeping over.

“Wait a minute” you say, “isn’t that a little backwards?” Of course, in the business world you would secure a location first but in a child’s world, the YES is more important.

So you go up to Suzie Q’s mom and ask if she can sleep over to which mom says, “If it’s okay with Janie D’s mom, it’s fine with me.” I mean, think about it. What parent in most instances would say “no” to their child sleeping over at another child’s house? {FREEDOM!!}

With that conditional ‘yes’, it’s onto the hosting parent for a response. This answer of course is almost a guarantee of a yes. Not so sure? Watch what happens next.

You approach Janie D’s mom, the prospective host, and say, “Suzie Q’s mom said that if it was okay with you that Suzie could spend the night!!! Can she mom? Can she?? Please?”

In most situations Janie’s mom would buckle just under the pressure that Suzie Q’s mom was okay with it and not wanting to look like the bad guy say “yes”.

But. In the event that you were met with resistance, the big guns would come out. Something along the lines of: “Well Suzie hasn’t spent the night in FOREVER. And I’ve gone over to her house a lot lately. Shouldn’t we return the favor. I mean Suzie’s mom already said yes!!”

To which mom almost always would buckle.

Operation Spend the Night: SUCCESS!!!

Are you as worn out as I? That was a lot of work! But ask any child if it was worth it and they’ll say, “YES!!”

Unfortunately, something happens to our relationship building tenacity when we enter adulthood. All of a sudden sleepovers AKA community oddly loses it appeal.

  • It’s too much work to drive to meet up with so and so.
  • Our lives are too busy to do lunch.
  • We have a family now and we’d really rather not keep the kids out past their bedtime.
  • I don’t really know these ladies so I’d rather stay home and be comfortable.

The excuses are as varied as our lifestyles but the true reason is the same.

Building community is uncomfortable.

When you spend time with people you do not know that well, you run the risk of not fitting in, being bored out of your mind, or wait! You just might…enjoy yourself.

Even if you know someone well, making the conscious effort to spend time with them on a regular basis takes…well…effort.

And we need it. God did not design us to be alone. We need each other.

When Dominic was born, a heavy overwhelming fog came along with our bundle of joy. I’m sure that the countless sleepless nights and unending demands of a newborn had nothing to do with it at all {read with heavy sarcasm}

In many ways we felt quarantined to our home; slaves to his routine. And for a season, this is appropriate. I think God designed humankind to begin as small helpless infants for many reasons. But mostly to teach parents to slow down and just be. {another time, another blog}

As Dominic grows and matures and as we grow and mature in our parenting, the fog seems to lessen and the need for friendships and relationships becomes increasingly greater. And just like it’s a big deal for children to coordinate a sleepover, building community as adults can be complicated.

  • Coordinating schedules
  • Getting the kids out the door
  • Budgeting the money
  • Weighing the pros and cons of messing with our kids’ sleep routines

The challenges can add up fast. But taking our cue from children orchestrating Operation Spend the Night, we should be just as tenacious in holding onto and building a community of friends.

Community should be a big deal to us and we shouldn’t stop until we get our ‘yes’.

What about you? Are you building community or building excuses?

What are some ways you could start building your community today?

My One Thing

Three years ago, my husband and I moved to Texas. We had been traveling a lot with work and this position in the company had no plans of travel on the horizon whatsoever. When you’ve lived out of a suitcase your entire first year of marriage, that sounds heavenly.
So we moved to The Colony, Texas (a very awesome decision by the way) and started living life. Not too deep into Marshall’s new position, he was introduced to a concept called ‘one thing’. In a nutshell, your one thing is the one thing that you aim to do daily that will prove you are doing your job well. I loved this concept. Even recall saying: “I want a ‘one thing’!” {insert whiny voice}
Fast forward 2 and a half years. I’m a mommy to a new born, teaching part time at a preschool and struggling to regain ‘me’. All mommies know what I’m talking about. That postpartum haze. The fog that robs you of your mind, takes your emotions for a roller coaster ride, and wreaks havoc on your personal identity. You start asking yourself: Who am I?
That was me. I was involved in a lot of good things but I wasn’t happy.  The problem was they weren’t the best things for me to be doing. They were activities that I could do, but so could anyone else. They were committees and events that didn’t make my heart skip a beat. And to be honest my contribution didn’t really turn any heads either. I did my job and did it well. But only because someone asked me. Only because there was a need. And well someone had to do it.
Then one day I realized that I had a bad attitude. And I didn’t care. I knew these causes I was connected to were so incredibly important. They were making a difference. But not because of me. In spite of me. I was filling needs.
When the light bulb in my head came on so did the memory of my husband’s one thing.
I needed a one thing!
With a clear concise one thing, I could easily separate the needs from the callings! {excitement building!!!}
And so with very little editing, I drafted the following ‘one thing’ filter:
To reach children and their families by showing them the love of Jesus in a fun and creative way.
I did this last December. Since that time, I can’t think of a single event that I’ve participated in that did not fall quite nicely into my ‘one thing’ prerequisite. If an opportunity came up that didn’t line up with this ‘one thing’ there was only one answer to give: “Thanks but no!!”
Does this mean I say ‘no’ to anything that doesn’t have to do with children or their families? No. If someone needs me to set up a few chairs, I’ll happily do it. If you need me to make a few phone calls, sure. But I won’t be heading up a committee to fundraise for a new roof or singing a special on Easter Sunday.
But you might catch me dancing with toddlers and carrying around a plush heart with arms tenderly referred to as Huggy Heart by my little friends. You might see me speaking passionately about families and the importance of Dedication of Home and Family. You might even catch me doing a Science experiment in my backyard just to make sure it will work before trying it at school. And you’ll definitely catch me on translategoogle.com trying to stay one step ahead of my budding Spanish bilinguals.
I’ve found my one thing and it feels great.
What about you? Do you know your one thing? Are you living the dream or spinning your wheels?

A Pinterest Inspired Moment

So there’s a lot of thoughts on how Pinterest is the most amazing thing in the world. Then there’s the converse: it is the overtired, overworked, overlooked home-maker’s worst nightmare.

Personally, I love it. But that’s not what this blog is about. It’s about a moment that started last night as I was perusing Pinterest.

As a part time preschool teacher, I am constantly looking for ideas to incorporate into my classroom setting. Due to the unique role I play, there’s a need to be well versed in activities that would go over well for ages 1-5. But that isn’t what this blog is about either.

As I was looking, I came across an idea for a water activity that I thought would be something super awesome to do with Dominic, my inquisitive 15 month old. I told my husband all about it and emphatically proclaimed that this water activity would be on our agenda for tomorrow.

Well tomorrow is here. We got up, ate breakfast, played for a bit, vacuumed, ‘threw’ the ball around. Then, Mommy wanted a moment to sip her coffee so on the tv went. Not that The Dom really watches it but there’s one particular program that catches his attention during the music transitions. So on went Eebee’s Adventures. I mentioned I taught preschool right? So, (being transparent here), I thought: “I can sip my coffee. Dom likes the music. AND I can get some more ideas for Music and Movement for my ones and twos. Fantastic combination!”

So we settle down to watch this little puppet Eebee playing with water. My preschool teacher wheel’s are turning. “This is great,” I think. “I need to make a water play supply list for next year!”

Then I remember. The water activity!

Dominic didn’t know we were going to play with water, but I did. And we hadn’t. Cue Guilty Mom Conscience.

So I did an odd thing. I pulled out the finger paints, grabbed my shave gel, pulled Dom’s clothes off and put him in the highchair. And we finger painted and played with shaving cream and then mixed finger paint in shaving cream.

{Getting started with the shaving cream}

 

{We got a little messy!}

My point is not that Pinterest is awesome or not awesome. (We didn’t even do the water activity I found!)

My point is that these moments with our sweet babies are precious. I am seeing how fast my little guy is growing and I don’t want to look back on Dom’s early years and have a ‘board’ full of ideas I never executed. Or that everyone thought I was an amazing preschool teacher but I poured more time and energy into the lives of other people’s children than my own sweet child.

Bottom line: Regardless of where your inspiration comes from, do something! Spend time with your children and even if it means you have to mop the kitchen floor before the paint stains or that your child has a melt down in the middle of your activity. It is worth it.

{I'm done mommy!}