Monday, March 31, 2008

MOMMY (Caregiver/Mentor) MONDAYS (#8)

I've been reading a really great book by Lisa Whelchel, you know, Blair from the Facts of Life TV show. I think that I remember someone telling me after I was an adult and the show had long gone off the air, that Lisa was a Christian, and had been since she was a young girl, meaning that she was saved when she starred as Blair on the show. Evidently, I had forgotten though, and was surprised to remember that fact when I walked in LifeWay and saw she had written books, one, The Me in Mommy, which we'll talk about today and has her own website chock full of useful information. This book was on sale and, after reading the inside and back flap and back cover, I thought it would be a great book to purchase and read...over and over and over. It's like a reference tool and a good read all in one. I got to discover Lisa in a whole new way reading her book, which has excerpts or bits of her testimony here and there. I can't wait to go on her website. It should prove to be very useful and interesting. I can find things that I don't agree 100% with in her book, but I don't think I've read too many books in my whole life that I agreed 100% with. The huge majority of this book is good, interesting, useful, fun, and thought-provoking. She not only gives great ideas, but she has what's called "Rest Stops" so that you can ponder over what you've read and then read on for great ideas and how to make the ideas practical. Those qualities alone make this a book worth investing in IMHO.
Here are some things I think are worth sharing in case you never buy the book (although I think it will be easy to venture on her website and find some information on some of this stuff):
Lisa tells her readers from the beginning that moms and caregivers can't be effective in their families, churches, and communities unless they take care of themselves properly...WITHOUT GUILT!! What mother or caregiver doesn't struggle with that? First of all, who has time? Then, when we discover that we do, we decide that our time is better spent on someone else. That's great and selfless. I think that women are wired that way and we can't change (nor should we want to) our wiring. What we can do is change our attitude about what it means to take care of ourselves. If it's done right, we will still answer to the natural tendency to give selflessly, but we'll be happier and healthier and more effective doing it. That cannot be done to the highest degree possible until we invest in ourselves. I have to learn this lesson over and over and over. I think I will fight it the rest of my life. (Maybe that will change drastically when the kids are older and out of the house:)) At least when I start forgetting the reasons I need to take care of myself, I can pull out this book and others to remind myself again. Anyway, back to things I want to share from the book:
Lisa Whelchel says that you have to nourish your spirit, body, and soul. Okay, yeah, you've heard that before. It's cliche. Well, what makes this book different is her fresh approach to these things and HOW (which is what we're always looking for and in some books, it seems to escape us) they can be done with many ideas to choose from. A quote from her book says, " As moms, it is critical that we "live and breathe" Jesus, because what we inhale is what we'll exhale" on ourselves and others with our attitudes, speech, and actions. Whew!! What a thought. We can do something about our attitudes and actions just by breathing in Jesus (with meditation and prayers), the reading of His Word, and praise and worship. Does this seem overwhelming? I mean, does it seem like something you want to do, but it seems impossible because you don't know how and/or there is not enough time in the day? I promise you, if you read this book or check her website, there are so many choices to doing these things and one or some of them WILL fit in your schedule!!!
So how can we fill up with the Word? I will tell you one among many that I know works for us: put Scripture in places where you can see it regularly. I was already doing this before I read her book, so I was delighted to know that this was one of her ideas that worked too. I write or type Scripture on little cards or square sheets of paper and tape them to the edges or corners of my computer screen, bathroom mirror, even the wall in front of the commode. I think we have some on the fridge too; anywhere we'll pass by or come in contact with a lot. Right now I have John 14:21 and Psalm 84:11-12 taped to my computer screen while I'm posting this to you. I like to look up from working and meditate on Scripture or look at it frequently so that I can memorize it without going through a lot to try and do it. Your kids can get in on this too. As a matter of fact, my kids pick out new Scripture they're working on every week and tape it in the bathroom. Sometimes it's their verses for church and sometimes it's just ones they want to memorize for themselves. Other ideas the book gives is to tape it to your visor in the car, medicine cabinet, hide it in your purse or wallet, use it as a book mark in your books or Bible, etc.
Take time to just hang out with Jesus. How? This nourish note was easy: just talk to Him daily, as you go along, as if He were there. Lisa takes a quiet moment in the mornings in her bathroom and sits on the toilet where she talks to God as if He were literally sitting across from her on the side of the tub. I've also read books where great men of God (specifically Brother Lawrence) would practice the presence of God by talking with Him throughout their day, during chores, during devotions, during comtemplative periods while walking, etc. The idea is to start looking at the God of the universe as your friend, your confidante, your comforter, your day-starter, your everything. Look at Him like He is what He is, your Father. Some more great opportunities to talk with the one whom will help you throughout your day is to talk with Him while you fold laundry, pray in the car, pray with your husband at night before you go to sleep, etc.
Fill your days with worship. Put on your favorite inspirational, praise, and/or worship music CD's. Go back to listening to some of your favorite hymns. Sing some of them to yourself or actually, you would be singing them to the Lord! Sing while you're in the car with your children. When you go to your favorite Bible book store, pause and listen to the music piped in. Go to the church that you've been lead to on Sunday. You get to participate in singing great praise music to the Lord and you can fill these hours with things of the Lord and learning.
Keep a journal. Write in it every day, once a week, or even once a month. Write praises, prayer requests, and follow-up (meaning seeing how God eventually handled your prayer request--this will help you to see His hand in your life DIRECTLY!!). Do a blog-that's a computerized journal.
Take care of your body. Your body is not yours to neglect and abuse. It is yours to carry out your life in and do the will of God. It needs to be taken care of to function to its optimal levels and highest potential. Your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit, which, if you're saved or have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior of your life, has taken up residence in you permanently. You need to keep His temple in order! This is not only going to help you praise Him, worship Him, and carry out His mandates, but it will help you all day every day with the earthly family He has given you. You're of no help to your family, and you cheat them out of the best of you when you're run down. This is where women get into trouble. We think we're the Energizer Bunny (R) and can keep going and going. Think of it like you do your car. It won't go unless you put fuel into it; the right kind, the right amount, etc. Same as your own body--it won't function right without the proper rest, relaxation, meditation, exercise, dietary habits, etc. And it (your body, mind, and soul) won't do anything at all when all of these things have been depleted and not replenished.
The book goes on to talk about so many other topics like dressing to make yourself look and feel better, food journaling, easy exercises, weight loss ideas, pampering that you can realistically achieve with limited time, hobbies, having fun with friends and/or family, and lots more. I highly recommend this book for ease of reading and practicality. I read it while I traveled this weekend, because that's about the only time I get to read a book without much interruption. You see, there's another idea. If you don't have much time to read and "feed your brain" at home, let someone else drive for a change, if you can, and let your seat back, relax, and read. Take Bible study notes, put in your earphones and listen to good music, catch up on writing your thank you notes, update your schedule or calendar, make lists; you can do lots of things during this time.
I'm glad to be back posting again (had to be away out of town and don't own a laptop), so tune in the rest of the week for more stuff. I pray you have had a wonderful Monday, and I pray that you take time for yourself, unselfishly. Yes, it can be done and should be!!

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