Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Bearable Lightness of Being

One of the craziest things about parenthood is how God can literally use anything to show you something new.  I know this isn't exclusive to parenthood, but sometimes the context of raising little ones isn't exactly conducive to what I would usually consider fertile grounds for deep thoughts!


The other day, watching Curious George for the millionth time, I understood a new perspective I hadn't considered before.  In this particular episode, Curious George discovers his shadow (remember, he's a good little monkey, but always very curious!).

He follows his shadow around town, learning how the sunlight affects his shape.  Suddenly, as he steps under the shade of a tall building, his shadow disappears!  Of course, as grown-ups we understand that small shadows get swallowed up by larger shadows, making the individual shadow seem invisible as the sun is blocked by a larger object.

The analogy of darkness and light representing Satan and Jesus is nothing new.  Scripture uses this metaphor many times, and it is a helpful as we look to God's creation for reminders of His guidance.  Certainly nearly everyone has, at one time or another, read or heard 1 John 1:7:
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

This verse came to mind right in the middle of watching Curious George!

Shadows.  Sin.  Darkness.  The shadows are mysterious, intriguing, even captivating - but totally reflective of my self.  If I continue to follow my shadow, I will be drawn to other shadows, into a shady realm where I will inevitably lose myself in spite of following my self.  The darkness would swallow me up.  It would destroy who I was originally designed to reflect.  It would drain me of any definition I had previously held and continue to darken as time goes on.  Shadows can be very dangerous, and the longer we are in them, the harder it is to see where the light is coming from.

But, OH, how I long for the light!  Consider John's context in the verses surrounding that famous "walking in the light" quotation:

If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:6-9

Hallelujah!

We all have shadows.  Sometimes my heart is bitter from longstanding grief I want to try to control.  Other times I'm faced with very present in-the-heat-of-the-moment impatience or frustrations over the smallest things.  Sin is current, surrounding, and always looking to steal our light.  But, the light is always there, seeking us out and ready to envelop me in it's warmth, comfort, protection, and beauty.

Maybe Curious George didn't ponder his need for a Savior while chasing his shadow all over town (this is why I don't write for children's programming!) but, I certainly found myself dumbfounded at how the Holy Spirit can move with just the tiniest grains of consideration.

Don't ever think that God can teach you something right where you are - even if it's on the couch cuddled up in blankets with your toddlers sipping milk and munching on snacks.  Ask God to use your surroundings to reveal Himself to you, wherever may be.

After all, a little curiosity can go a long way!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Makeover Monday: Summer Collection

Can you believe summer is halfway over?  Well, no one told the mosquitoes in my yard that autumn is just around the corner...and there is still plenty of sunshine to soak up before backpacks and new jeans cover up the restless bodies of summer-stir-crazy kiddos!

If you haven't visited the PARDYMAMA eStore for AVON lately, you gotta check this out:

(Regular price is $42 - that's 54% SAVINGS for you!) 

DEAL ALERT:  

Summer 4-Piece Collection for only $15!                             

My absolute FAVORITE in this collection is the Bug Guard PLUS...it's an SPF and a bug repellant in one.  I'll admit I was leery at first whether it could do both well, and if it could - does it stink to high-heaven, or would my kids even want to wear it?

Well, as some of you might know, my Daphne has VERY sensitive skin.  I haven't been able to EVER use any kind of sunscreen on her skin (even super-organic, no-chemical, crazy-expensive kinds of sunscreen lotion don't work).  Her skin always breaks out in a red rash and I end up having to bathe her and give her Benadryl - totally not worth it.  BUT, she can't miss out on all the outdoor fun all summer long - so I decided to give this Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard plus SPF a try.  (Only $6!)

I was SO grateful that (for whatever reason) she has NO reaction to this product!  It keeps her skin safe in the sun AND keeps those nasty buggies away.  WIN WIN!  I can't explain why this works so well for her - but, I can honestly attest that it does!  As a mom, I'm just glad to have found something that works.  And, as a bargain hunter and AVON rep, I'm glad to pass on the news to you that it is worth every penny (and ON SALE at such a great price in the 4-Piece collection!)

There's not much summer left - but we might as well enjoy the days in the sun right now before school schedules and Fall weather sets in!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Frenemies

"Frenemy" (less commonly spelled "frienemy") is portmanteau of "friend" and "enemy" that can refer to either an enemy pretending to be a friend or someone who really is a friend but also a rival. - Wikipedia
My girls love each other...fiercely.  To the point of hugging so hard that it almost immediately turns into a random act of violence rather than the random act of kindness it started out as.   Sisters are a unique breed, and having two girls so close in age (just 20 months apart) their rivalry began as soon as I brought Daphne home from the hospital...and Matilda stole the socks right off her feet!

Matilda will never remember life before Daphne, and in most ways I think that is just wonderful.  Frankly, it's hard for me to remember days before Daphne, back when Matilda was the sole bearer of my mothering attention.  Now, they are a package-deal to me.  They are my dynamic duo, my double-trouble, my mimicking monkeys who go tit-for-tat over every nuance of the day.  Anything at any moment can spur bickering OR jubilation, each event triggering both competition and companionship.

Sometimes it's hard for me to tell which way these little frenemies will sway.  As they play together (Barbies, puzzles, coloring, blocks, trains, dress up...the list goes on and on) there will be sweet moments that take my breath away followed almost immediately by bursts of outrage that escalate out of control and lead to tears and time-outs.  I'm raising some spirited girls here, no doubt.

But, I take heart.  I have hope because I chat with my own sister on a regular basis and look up to her and love her dearly.  We're only friends now, not enemies to any degree - but, this wasn't always so.

While my sis and I are nearly 5 years apart in age, growing up on a farm in the middle of the country kept us indoors and in each others way the majority of my childhood.  For the most part, I wanted to be her - she was older (and therefore got to do more "fun" things that little ole me), better at everything (again, older), super pretty, and very popular.  In "sister world", this translated into totally justifiable reasons to seek constant revenge on her.  To sum up:  I was out to get her most of my childhood.

I was pretty awful to my sister.  We laugh heartily about it now, but make no mistake that my shenanigans brought my parents plenty of grief over the years.

For instance...
I remember one family vacation when we were road tripping as a family and stopped at a gas station for snacks.  I decided upon a giant blue slushie as a treat (one of those big gulps you fill up at the machine) and as we were walking back to the car, my sister was in front of me, opening the door to the mini-van.  Her back was turned to me, and without a second thought, I launched my slushie at her back!  FOR NO GOOD REASON!  It exploded into a glorious, gloppy mess, and I burst out laughing at the sight of it. (You have to admit, you kinda wish you were there to have witnessed it.)

There are many stories like this...unfortunately.  And, while they make for wildly entertaining anecdotes to pass on, they don't exactly paint the picture of sweet girls in matching outfits that every mother dreams of when she's raising daughters.

Yet, this competition served my sister and I well in the long run.  (Years of maturity works wonders).  Her creative and ambitious spirit encouraged me to strive harder, achieve more, and believe in myself.  Over the years, as we each developed our own independent strengths, I was able to more easily appreciate our gifts and aspirations.  To this day, we learn more from each other and support our ongoing ventures, whether their silly (Should I cut my hair?) or serious (Should I go back to school?)  I pray my daughters grow into their friendship the same way.

My girls have a gift in one another, and it's a crazy-awesome-scary sight to behold.  While I hope that I won't be cleaning up slushie-attacks any time soon, I certainly wouldn't put it past my girls.  I know their relationship will ebb and flow in the years to come, but like my own relationship with my sister, I want them to know that no matter what - they've got each others backs - even if it's a little stained from slushie now and then.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Makeover Monday: Hand Creams

Who doesn't love soft hands?

I feel like I'm constantly battling dryness with my hands.  From washing dishes to changing diapers, Lord knows a mother's hands take a beating on a daily hourly basis.

ON SALE NOW!
One thing I think of when I hear "AVON" is "great lotion". Whether it's a Skin-So-Soft Replenishing hand cream or Moisture Therapy skin defense, AVON's got your hands covered!

Truth be told, I haven't tried them all...but, that's also one thing I love about AVON's hand care line - lots of options!

There are SO many options, in fact, there is bound to be one that is right for you (or left for you?)  One thing's for sure - your hands will be CLAPPING when you hear this:

DEAL ALERT:  HAND CREAM SALE!


Think ahead and stock up now - great stocking stuffers, perfect sizes for travel or to stash in your purse, a fun way to top a pretty gift...now's the time to buy!

And check out the rest of the PARDYMAMA eStore for other fabulous deals (*HINT* The ENTIRE Moisture Therapy line is BUY ONE GET ONE FREE!)