Monday, February 28, 2011

Mama Monday

I am so happy to bring you today's Mama Monday.
Layla has been a friend of mine for at least 10 years. We have known each other for a long time, and have kept being pregnant and having babies at the same time. Let me tell you what kind of person Layla is...A couple of summers ago I was having a difficult time in my life. Layla had just given birth to her fifth child. She actually offered to make me a meal and bring it over, knowing I was struggling. Of course I told her, "no"!!! *smile* But just the thought of her wanting to bless me when *she* was the one who needed a meal told me what kind of person and friend she is to me.
She is so very thoughtful in all kinds of ways.
Ladies, I am happy to bring you Layla:

Greatest thing about being a mom—
I love being the ONE my babies want. When nothing else will do, except for MY lap and MY arms, I just melt knowing I'm their most special person for this short season. I love being the only one who can translate for my toddler. I love seeing my children play together and love on each other. I love when the little ones aren't so little anymore, and they begin to share my interests and develop their own. I like playing silly family games and laughing so hard with the people I love most, that I feel like I'll burst. I adore their sweet blue and green eyes, their sleeping faces, their everything. I love that they are the reason I push myself, and they keep me from forgetting just who I REALLY am underneath the mask of who I'd like to be.


Hardest thing about being a mom—
Facing my failures every day and still moving on, knowing I am going to fail again tomorrow. Having faith that the Lord will use my teaching for good in spite of these failings. Trusting Him to keep my children healthy and safe when I am prone to worry. Who am I kidding, it's all hard!

Favorite blogs/websites—
My favorite websites are lainesletters.com, blueletterbible.org, welltellme.com, wikipedia, e-bay, and sierratradingpost.com.

I don't read many blogs, so all of the ones I follow are my favorites. I love this blog, because Andrea is so honest about real life. I also love Hillary's Hmmm because Hillary is so funny in a goofball kind of way. I like Children of Eve because it's filled with creativity, just like Eve's mind. I also love being constantly challenged by Natalie at One Thing Spoken, Two Things Heard. I love that I actually know three of these ladies in the flesh, too.

How do you find balance in your life—
I still haven't found it yet. But, I try to schedule everything so that I won't neglect the same thing over and over. I do my best to do it all, then go with the flow when things don't work out. You should see my calendar. It's color coded for fun family activities, relationship building time, personal time, educational time, ministry time, business time, etc. I have also found that if I don't clean my house as much, I have more time for the important stuff. Seriously. I used to be a cleanaholic and devote two hours each day to hard core cleaning, so this is big for me.

One word that describes you—
This is another tough one. I think I'm going to have to go with"Tinker." A long time ago, my friend, Michelle, said that she thinks of my as Tinker because it is the Irish word for a Gypsy. At first I laughed and didn't get what she meant, but as I sat here trying to think of one word, they all seemed incomplete, and all of them were somehow related to her choice. So, I guess I'm an Irish Tinker after all. :-)


Favorite color--
Am I the only one who thinks this question is impossible?? It totally depends on what I'm choosing. I like black furniture because it hides stains. I like green shirts because they bring out my eyes. I like charcoal grey because it goes with every color, mood and occasion. I like yellow kitchens because a kitchen is meant to be welcoming and sunny and cheerful. I think earthy browns are comforting. I like lilac just because it's pretty. {Such a "Layla" answer. I love it. ~Andrea}

I will always eat--
I could list about a zillion things here, like chocolate, bread, salad, fruit, popcorn, and just about anything in front of my face. But, I think my absolute favorite food is CHEESE. I love every type of cheese: crumbly ones like feta and bleu; spreadable ones like neufchatel and port wine; smooth, creamy brie and dutch; sharp ones like swiss, cheddar or provolone - oh and I love gruyere, too. Really, though, I have never met a cheese I didn't love.


Hobbies/interests---
Oh, boy. Aside from my kids? For the past eleven years I have been so busy being a mom that I don't even know what to write. . . I have always loved to read, but I rarely have time for it anymore. I enjoy relaxing outside when it's warm, but NEVER when it's cold. As I type this, I realize that it has been years since I have done both of these at the same time. I think I'll resolve to read outdoors this summer and let other things go. I like to bake and design houses that no one will ever build. I like learning new things and then being able to use the information for something helpful or practical. I am interested in natural home remedies. I like being able to help people who need to feel loved, and nursing homes are filled with people who need love. I used to love riding, and it is something I would really like to do with my daughters, since they share my fascination with horses. I really love foreign languages and cultures, and I hope to one day study them. I used to write a lot of poetry, but now I don't have the energy to feel the level of emotion necessary for good writing. And I know this one is strange, but I like to edit publications or advertisements to catch errors that no one else did before it went to print.

I couldn't live without—
Aside from the obvious things like my Savior, my husband or my children, I don't think there is anything I really couldn't live without. I really like indoor plumbing, though. I think that would be next on my list because the times in my life when I did not have a washer/dryer and had to wash my pots with the hose have made me really appreciate these conveniences. After that, I guess I would say that I couldn't live without learning. I think that I would go crazy if I couldn't look answers up and discover new facts. The Internet is great for this! {ps. Layla is such an encyclopedia!}

What helps me through tough days---
Prayer for help, tea for comfort, and spirulina for energy. And, of course, my kids. many times they are the reason I am having a tough day, but it never fails that one of them will have a moment of sweetness that totally outshines all of the surrounding turmoil. There's also my mother-in-law, who has been known to show up with something to make my day easier, just when I really need it.

What the Lord has been speaking to you about lately—
I have been learning two very painful lessons about myself that I had no intention of sharing, but since you asked, I will. First, I am starting to see that I am very self absorbed, and that I do not value myself enough. These two ideas may seem to contradict each other, but in my life they are feeding into each other. There are days when I feel so disappointed in myself for the things that I have failed to do or have not done well enough, that I become wrapped up in myself. So, while I should be moving on and praying for grace, I focus so much energy on myself and what I need to do to be better, or feel better, that I stop focusing my energy on others who need it. I don't quite have it all figured out yet, but you can pray for me. Second, I really need to find my emotional stability in my relationship with the Lord, not other relationships in my life. Sometimes I get so discouraged about my marriage not being what it should, that it begins to affect my spiritual walk, which in turn affects everything else. Only the Lord is truly dependable, and I really need to make that relationship be the one that feeds all of the others.

What do you like best about yourself—
I don't think I have ever really thought about this before. I guess I like that I am still not fully "me" yet, so there is always room for hope. Some people seem to have very clear ideas about themselves and where they fit in, but I don't feel that way. I feel like I still need to be open to everything and hang on to those childhood dreams and crazy notions that most adults would have given up on by now. Rather than trying to see where I've ended up or who I have turned out to be, I just think of myself as being on my way to whatever is still to come - like when you read a book, and it seems as though everything is all squared away, but you know that there are still two hundred more pages of adventure to get through, and you have no idea what's in store.

If I could encourage a new mother, I would say--
Relax and just spend time with your children. You are going to mess up, and you are going to worry that you aren't good enough to do it all, but that doesn't matter. Just be there. When your kids are grown, it won't matter if you were the best cook or if you taught them everything ahead of schedule, or if you provided fancy vacations, or even if you lost your patience a bit too often. What matters is that you were always there, being a part of every memory and every milestone, making them feel secure and loved and never alone. That's how I feel about the Lord in my life, and he is my example in parenting. He may not have given me the most exciting abilities, or kept me from every pitfall, and we have had rough patches of rebellion and painful lessons, but when I look back on my life so far, I can see His loving hand, urging me forward every step of the way.

One book you would recommend to read--(besides the Bible)
As a wife, I got so much out of Debi Pearl's book, Created to Be His Helpmeet. (http://shop.nogreaterjoy.org/product_info.php/products_id/84) I know it is a controversial book, and I have wanted to tear it up or throw it so many times. But there is never a battle unless Truth is involved, so I finished reading it through - more than once. And I will need to read it many more times because I very easily lose perspective regarding my marriage, and this book is like a swift kick in the pant.

Thank you Layla!! I hope you all enjoyed her answers as much as I did!!

4 comments:

ROBBIN (with 2 b's) said...

Layla, I have always thought of you as being so confidently "you". So full of pure delight and deeply kind in a sweet sweet way. After reading your answers to Andrea's questions, I begin to see a much more vulnerable and searching sort of little girl in you that just makes me want to know you even more. Thank you for sharing and being real. That is what we really all need from each other. Truth. The hard truth. The truth that reminds us that we are still clay in the potter's hand and that is exactly where we belong.

Famaddict said...

Thanks, Andrea, for including me in your Mama Monday tradition. :-)
Robbin, thank you for that sweet comment. I think it's so neat to see how others perceive me, so I appreciate your kind words. I look forward to getting to know you better, too.

sarah k said...

Thanks--this was very helpful. Especially the part about being there for my children--and the comment about self-absorption sometimes going along with not being giving yourself enough grace(Layla worded it differently but that's what I'm remembering). I frequently spiral downward when I am feeling guilty about being behind schedule with everything in life, getting angry with my kids, etc. I need to just move forward in grace instead of obsessing over my failures and trying to figure out how to "fix" myself. Thank you.
Btw--very clear and well-written answers, too. I am also an edit-for-fun kind of girl. :)

Natalie said...

Hey, I know that face :) How fun to "read" all about you Layla! I can totally relate to your struggle with disappointment leading to self absorption, although I never put that together in my mind. Thank you for your kind words about my blog :)