Tell me if this ever happens to you.  Let’s say I’m kind of having a not-so-great day.  Maybe it’s that day a few months ago when I had a two year old, a one year old, and an infant, the washer caught on fire (not even kidding), the hose to it popped off and flooded the hallway, and I had to turn the water in the whole house off until it got fixed.  And it was winter.  I’m sure there were other “crises” that day – I’m sure someone blew out a diaper, more than likely I got spit up on, I cooked three meals, and no doubt cleaned up the same toys 16 times.  Even if you’re not a mom, you’ve had this day.

You’ve gotten to work and you had a project due.  Your network went down, leaving you high and dry.  The other guy who was supposed to help you on the project called in sick, you forgot your lunch, and when the network finally comes back up at 3:30, you get busy, until the power goes out.

I mean, right? I’m sure there’s some Murphy’s Law about all this, or some expression about raining and pouring.  There’s a mountain of work to be done, people to be pleased or helped, and these roadblocks leave us wondering if it’s really worth it.  If it really all matters.  Because no one’s calling me a hero for solving the washer problem.

I’ve asked myself a million times what the value is in one more load of laundry, one more encouraging text to someone who doesn’t reply, cooking one more meal, and realized it came down to who I thought I was giving up for.  Who was I giving up my free time, my rest, my night’s sleep, my family time, my vacation,…who did I give them up for?  My kids?  My coworkers?  My parents?  Friends?

It came down to something Jesus said – If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. (Matt. 16:25)

And here all along, the reason I was getting discouraged was I was looking to the wrong people for affirmation, to notice.  I was doing those things for his sake, or her sake, or their sake, but not His sake.

Next time you’re having that day, remember this one – it always packs a punch: “Work willingly at whatever you do, though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” (Col. 3: 23)

I’m Amber Pierre, mother of 3 (ages 3, 2 and 1) and expecting baby #4.  I love to sew, but I’m not that great at it, and I love to cook, and no one has had food poisoning yet, which is totally how I determine that I’m a fantastic cook.  I am home with my kids, and work part-time as a translator from home.  Sometimes the lines of my “work” get blurry, and I wonder if one more load of laundry is going to make any kind of eternal impact.  After doing some Bible reading, I’ve realized that it’s my attitude about doing the laundry (or whatever) that matters…

 

Any of you who have been around for any length of time know that I want this little corner of the internet to be a positive, encouraging place to go. There is so much negativity in the world that I don’t want to add to that. But today I have to be real. I feel like 2014 has not gotten off to the best start.

nashville1-blog There has been health issues for most of the year (which thankfully are seeming to work out right now – my digestive issues are healing thanks to Whole30 and I also got positive news that a lump that I found was just a cyst. my mother being a breast cancer survivor makes things a little more nerve wracking when something is amiss). There have been really hard things going on with people around me that I’m continually burdened by. I can’t elaborate on any of them, but they’re just so heartbreaking. My paternal grandmother passed away a few days ago. Dave’s car pretty much died earlier this year and rodents wreaked some havoc on my car when we were on vacation. My website update has been 4 months of continued aggravation. Of course, there were some amazing things that have happened in the first half of the year – vacations taken, records broken, bills being paid. I’m so grateful for all of those things. {and yes, I know that there are plenty of people that are going through MUCH harder things than these that I’ve mentioned}

nashville3-blog I’m just weary. So I’m admitting that to you all today. I’m tired. I’m sad for some situations around me. However, today we got to get away with my parents and my niece & nephew to relax where there was no cell service. It was so needed and lots of laughs were heard echoing through the trees. I got to sip my IZZE and watch my daughter do the stand up paddle board for the first time. I got to see my dad catch the biggest blue gill that I’ve ever seen. I’m so grateful for moments like this where I can just float, pray and enjoy the beauty of it all.

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And love like I’m not scared
Give when it’s not fair
Live life for another
Take time for a brother
Fight for the weak ones
Speak out for freedom
Find faith in the battle
Stand tall but above it all
Fix my eyes on YOU

{fix my eyes, for king & country)

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Hello Summer! The day after the kids got out of school we headed down to Orlando so that Dave could do his annual flight training and so we could have a family vacation. Dave’s parents came along – I’m so grateful that we get along so well.

pool-fun2 cypress-gardens pool-fun1 legoland IMG_0625blog palms2dave-kids-cypressgardens banyan-treedaveandI family-faces palms family mommas-boy disney As you can see, there were tons of good times…we had a lot of late nights, delicious dinners out, fun in the ocean and at theme parks, and swimming in the pool. We also had a few snags…both kids got stung by wasps on the playground (at different times) and I got barbed by a sting ray about an hour into our beach day one day (talk about intense pain). We love going on family trips but don’t get to go as much now that both kids are in school. We love making memories. They’re my favorite.

Last week hubs had a few days off so we went down to Nashville with his parents to a friend’s 100+ acre property. Being outside does my body good. We enjoyed the weather (and got sunburned necks), did some fishing, canoeing and hiking around the lake. It was a wonderful day and much needed. What a difference a day of relaxing can do.

cabin canoeing lake1 fishing lake2 lantern panoramic tiny-fish{somehow, I always manage to catch the smallest fish as well…}

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Every time I get to a new stage with my kids, I feel like there are 1,067 things I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN. I mean, how did I get to be this old, have read this many books, have done this much schooling, taught this many children, and I somehow failed to get all these tips/tricks/information I absolutely NEED to know? Because that’s really the astonishing thing here.

So, my oldest is all of 3 right now, and then I have a 2 year old and a 1 year old. We’re swimming in toddlers over here. And here are the top 10 things it would have been so much easier if you had told me.

10. Motherhood was, is, and always will be a competition. This one from previous Top 10 lists just continues on past pregnancy, early infanthood, toddlerhood… it never ends. Yours took longer to potty-train, eats from only one food group, sleeps less every night, taught herself to read, colors in the lines better than mine. This is the real Olympics for women – motherhood.

9. Buy costumes, dress-ups and princess dresses. Out the wazoo. Everyday is a new opportunity to reinvent yourself if you’re a toddler.

8. When you’re a toddler, throw around big words you don’t really understand, like a new college grad. I just heard something like this today: “Mommy, I usually shutted the door indeed because Daddy wasn’t here.” Just throw those around like confetti – they’re hilarious. Really – gut-busting hysterical!

7. Completely irrational fit-throwing becomes an art form. I know that I know that my kids are betting with and daring each other to throw the craziest, most outrageous, most absurd fit over the color of a sippy cup. They speak in code, with hand signals. I know they do, I just can’t prove it yet.

6. When your child is melting down in line at the store, a sign magically appears on you that says, “Give me advice about this situation.” “Please stare at me and give me advice.” You’re sweating so much, even the ice cream in your cart is melting faster, and another helpful woman thinks what you need is a new trick. So whoever you are in this scenario, BITE YOUR TONGUE.

5. PRESCHOOL IS LOOMING. Just when you think you can start to relax a little bit, your kid is talking, eating mostly on their own with utensils, putting on their own Crocs, starting down the potty-training road (I’m going to get to that one – hang on), someone drops this A-bomb on you at a playdate, “So, is Claris starting preschool this fall? Did you already sign her up?” Sweating. Blood pressure goes up. Preschool? Seriously? Is it already time for that? Hyperventilating.

4. Preschoolers are fickle; completely unpredictable. Today I might like taking a bath, tomorrow I will not. Today I might like Dora, tomorrow I will not. Today I might like broccoli, tomorrow I will not. But I will alwaysalwaysalways love macaroni and cheese. Every. single. day.

3. You still have that baby weight. Just get over it. You can run when they graduate.

2. Around about this time, they decide they need less sleep. And there goes nap time. But you know what, not all the time. Not everyday. Just sometimes. Refer back to #4.

1. Potty training. I have done a lot of things in my lifetime. Not necessarily Nobel Prize worthy, but I’ve taught school, I’ve translated books and had them published, I’ve worked in college admissions, I’ve waited tables, and nothing – NOTHING – compares to potty training. And you “we-did-it-in-3-days” people, just stop talking. Because nothing even comes close to training a child to do their business in a toilet. So even if someday I do invent a cure for malaria, potty training will still go at the VERY TOP of my resumé. Forever.