..."popsicles on the porch"...what a great afternoon treat and our favorite way to spend time together! These are simple and precious moments! Princess #1 and Princess #2 along with Little Man #1 and #2 are my inspiration for most of these writings.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

What Is My Definition of Success

I am an Assistant Coach at Dale Carnegie, a public speaking school. This is part of the process in completing the requirements for becoming a certified Dale Carnegie Instructor.

As a coach, I offer assistance to the Instructor by providing support to students, helping to facilitate class discussion, and providing sample presentations so that students have a better understanding of their weekly assignments.

This week, I was asked to share a two minute presentation on a defining moment. Something that significantly impacted me, changed my path or view.

Below is my defining moment.....

So there I was… sitting in my Chemistry Class finishing up my final exam. I put my pencil down, turned in my test and walked out the door. As I walked back across campus, that’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks! I knew that I could no longer convince myself that I wanted to be a doctor. I was finally realizing that my entire college life was shaped by what my parents wanted for me rather than what I wanted.

Being that I am a person to whom my faith is very important, I began to pray for God’s direction. As I reflected, I began to ask myself this question, “what is my definition of success?” What I began to realize was that my definition of success was shaped and defined by the standards of our culture. At that time, success to me meant being a doctor or lawyer, someone with honor, someone with prestige. Yet, deep down I knew that God did not measure me by the amount of money I had in my bank account or the title I carried.

This was a defining moment for me because these six words, “what is my definition of success?” not only changed my career course, but also gave me the strength to step out in faith and increased my dependence upon God.

Though I might not be making as much money as originally planned and I don’t carry a fancy title like doctor or lawyer, I have a sense of freedom and purpose like never before. These six words always challenge my thinking and greatly effect my decisions, not just in regards to my career, but also in my family decisions and daily life choices.

It is also the reason that I stepped down from a very rewarding and fulfilling position with an organization that I was growing in and really loved. Though it was incredibly difficult, I knew that stepping down would help me to better focus on meeting the needs of our growing family. Today, I am a stay at home mom and loving it! Though I never really envisioned me ever staying home, as I ask myself this question, “what is my definition of success” it greatly challenges my thinking and causes me to redefine the things that are truly important in my life.

I find it amazing how God keeps bringing me back to these six words, What is my definition of success, time and time again! It is the base line for every major decision I make in life. Talk about challenging! The Christian life is anything but easy...but oh so rewarding and so fulfilling! I love that God continues to challenge me.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Jonah and Shamu,the Whale

Isabella went to Veggie Tales Camp a couple of weeks ago and had a blast! The Veggie Tales Theme was centered on the story of Jonah. Isabella was so enthusiastic as she shared with me all about how Jonah was swallowed up by “the whale”. It was all she could talk about!

As we began talking together about the story of Jonah, I suspected that with all her talk about "the whale" that she might be apprehensive about seeing Shamu at Sea World the following week on vacation (I know, the timing was perfect…right?).

So with much animation, I began sharing with her about all the cool things that we were going to do at Sea World. Just as I thought, upon hearing that we were going to see Shamu, she was a little uneasy and told me very matter of factly, “mommy, no it’s ok…I don’t want to see Shamu…I don’t want him to eat me….remember Jonah and how the whale ate him.” As I looked down at her sweet face with all seriousness and concern…I couldn’t help but chuckle….it was too cute!

All week Tim and I began preparing her as much as possible, without over doing it, for the “big encounter with Shamu”. We reassured her that the whale was not going to eat her and that mommy and papi wouldn’t let anything happen to her. With lots of enthusiasm and excitement we told her that Shamu had learned some new tricks and that we were going to see a real fun show where Shamu could show off all the neat tricks that he had learned! This seemed to put her at ease.

So the big day arrives…not only did we get to see Shamu (which Isa LOVED) but we had up-close seats in the “splash zone” section! Man was that water cold!!

Toward the end of the show the trainers instructed the crowd to do a cheer complete with hand motions....Isa really got into this! This actually signaled to Shamu to come over and splash us. As the crowd shouted...SHAMU...SHAMU, the trainer waived people over to join her around the glass tank on the front row.

Tim of course tried to take Isa, but had no luck. She was perfectly content staying next to mommy...a safe distance from Shamu. Elianna on the hand, didn't get much of an opportunity to voice her opinion before she was whisked away by her Papi to the the front row...boy did she get a surprise!

Though none of us knew that we were going to be drenched after leaving the show, (splashed yes...drenched no!) the girls had a blast! In fact, Isabella asked if we could go back the next day to see "Shamu do his tricks again!"

We had every intention of seeing Shamu the following day, but instead fed and petted the dolphins…that was so cool! (I will be sure to share some pics soon!)

Saturday, July 7, 2007

He whispered, "I Love You"

We show a lot of affection around our household. We tell each other "I love you" every day! I am so blessed when I hear my 3yr old tell her papi, " Ten cuidado, te amo"(be careful, I love you) each morning before he leaves for work or when she surprises me with, "Mommy I love you...I love that you're my mommy!" Wow, these are truly precious moments!

My mom use to tell me, "you'll never know how much I Iove you until you're a mother one day." It's funny how you remember things like this when you're older and how true these words ring today. The other day I caught myself thinking about how much I love my kids and what a precious gift they are to me. I thought about how often I tell them that I love them. I can't even count how many times I tell them per day...just too many! Even though my girls know how much I love them, I too know as my mom did, that they will never truly grasp the depth of my love for them until they are mothers one day.

As I was smothering them with kisses right before bed time, I couldn't help but compare my parenting role with the best parent of all. I thought to myself, Lord as our parent do you ever feel so overcome with so much love for us, that you just feel like bursting?!! Or do you ever find yourself beaming from ear to ear when you see us learning and growing? Do you get so tickled over us that you just want to cry? Do you ever find yourself wondering, especially of those in Christ who profess to know you, if we truly understand how much you love us? Do you hope that we'll have a better grasp when we too become parents?

I know how silly these questions sound...but at times it is so hard to fathom that God squeals in delight over us too! That he gets excited and dances over us, His children! Even though I will never fully undestand the depth of God's love for me until I am at home with Him, I am thankful that being a mother has increased my awareness and given me a deeper understanding of the depth of God's love for me. In the midst of my ramblings, God drew near and whispered... I love you...no sooner did these thoughts leave my head before God gently reminded me of Psalm 139 17-18 that says...

  • How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand!
As he draws me into deeper waters with Him I am discovering more and more how wide, how long, how high, how deep, is the love of our Lord. As I snuggle and smother my little ones with precious kisses as a way of expressing "I love you", He did the same for me when He gave up His one and only son to die for me. My best attempt at expressing "I love you" to my little ones could never compare to the "I love you" He expressed to me through His son, our precious saviour, Jesus.

Wow!! What a humbling thought! Because I am a mother, I honestly don't know how He did it, but I am so thankful for His love that He lavishes on me!