Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sinner over saint all day today

We were totally that family this morning that fights on their way to church. The house was a disaster and we were stepping on toys, marbles, trucks, you name it. The boys were slow in picking up their things, putting shoes on, wanting to bring toys to church and getting out the door.

I was totally that mom, that yelled through a whisper to push them out the door. I hated being that mom, and yet, my crankiness was getting the better of me. In the car I apologized to the boys and told them that I was tired and taking it out on them.

We get to church, its outside in 90 degree weather. As soon as we sit, the boys need to use the bathroom. We go, we get back, then they are really thirsty, so I get up and get them water. Lu has been whiny the whole time, so then I get up and take her to the nursery. I get back and the boys are hungry, so we get a small snack. I am finally able to pay attention of half a second and then I feel the sweat dripping down my dress, down my face, and behind my knees. I think I hate the knee sweat the most.

We make it through the morning with mild complaining, tons of crankiness due to the weather, and we make it back home. We eat lunch and the my oldest is adament to play video games at his friends house. I remind him that his neighborhood friends are outside friends only and I don't want him playing video games. He gets very angry with me and tells me that I don't love him. He doesn't like me because I keep him from all fun things. I took the lashing and it added to my mood.

After lunch the kids go out and play and Paul takes a nap. I clean and clean and clean, not that you can really tell, and put groceries away. When Lu wakes up, I take the kids down the street to the little wadding pool in our park. That's when we meet an angry dog off his leash and discover a car ran into the pool and its closed.


We walk back home and gather our stuff and head to the splash pad for 45 minutes. It feels great to cool off and be in the water. The kids had a blast. I just tried to keep my daughter from drowning because she thinks she can swim and go in the deep end. Geeesh.

After we get home, I get dinner ready and clean some more. It's funny to read how much I was cleaning since my house still feels messy, but the dishes are clean, table wiped down and legos put away, so that means something.

Caleb needed to put all the legos away and he didn't like that decision, so he threw the box at me. That earned him the right to stay in his room until all was back in order. That, and a severe talking too with punishment from mom for such disrespect.

Once I announced dinner was ready, Noah came in and saw it was not what he wanted, he started to complain. At this point, I have nothing left in me. I am way past the point of crabby. I am tired of taking care of everyone and getting no help or appreciation. I was tired, and there was no reward for my work. I was getting resistant at every turn. It ticked me off.

At this point, I am seething in my heart and all sorts of innaporpriate, mean and hateful, dark sarcastic comments are in my head. I'm too annoyed and feel to negeleted to pray. So I just sat at the kitchen table and lived in my head.

My family was playing on my husbands Iphone and I just sat there at the table being really immature. I would scare you with the things going on in my head. I was really mean up in there. I wanted someone to address me so I could lash out at them. I wanted help. I wanted attention. I wanted to yell. I wanted to be mean.

Pretty mature right?

It goes further. I didn't pray. I didn't want to. That's not what got me out of my head. Running out of mean things to say is why I stopped. I started to really watch my kids enjoying peek a boo barn. My kids are pretty entertaining, so it was fun to watch. Then I decided to mature and keep my mouth shut. Not change my attitude, just not to speak my mind which was pretty dark at the time.

After dinner, Paul left to go to work, and I cleaned up dinner. After the kitchen was clean, I got the kids ready for a bath. Lu and Caleb were in the tub. After about five minutes, Noah tells me that the water is all yellow and brown. I proceed to go into the bathroom and notice that my daughter has taken the largest dump in the tub. My kids are essentially playing in the toliet. I grab the kids and get them out, clean the tub for the next 20 minutes and finally get them washed. This was after we noticed that Lu was walking around saying. "Poooh and pee" and grabbing herself. At this point we all believed she did more buisness somewhere in the house since she wasn't wearing a diaper. The boys and I had to get on our hands and knees and feel with our hands all over the carpet looking for pee. Thankfully there wasn't any.

After Lu was in bed, clean and crazy, I read to the boys. We wanted to have family snuggle time on my bed. But my bed was covered in clean laundry that needed to be put away. I put it back in the laundry basket for the fifth time that day, (I had already taken it out four other times and put it back in for some unkown reason I am already forgetting.) So the clean laundry doesn't get put away, just put back in the basket. We read and snuggled and it was great.

We fall asleep and after 10 minutes I get up and head outside to weed my yard. After being gone for five weeks, the yard is unrecoginzable. It is my goal to weed for 20 minutes a day until I find my plants and vegetables again. The bugs attacked but I got a lot done. After an hour, you can see part of my backyard, but I am covered in bites and dirt and sweat. I would shower, but it still has poop in the tub. (I took the kids upstairs to the apartment to bathe.) Frankly, I just don't want to get up and clean some more, and my bathroom reaks.

Today exhausted me, maybe I should just go to bed. I was faught at every turn, and most of the day I didn't win. But today is over, and tomorrow will allow me to start over.

Hopefully all those mean thoughts won't follow me to bed.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

How God pursues us

The greatest proof of Christ in my life is the body of believers.

It is amazing to me how alone I can feel in the day and then be so overwhelmed by the kindness of friends and family in my life. And I know I'm not alone, but when I spend all day with my kids, I am often alone in my thoughts and feelings. I feel alone when I need to figure out lunch. I feel alone when I have to say no to the treat and snack that the neighborhood kids offer my children and I'm tired of always saying no. I feel alone when I go to the grocery store and spend twice as much time scanning the ingredient labels on everything and trying to make sense of new food products and how to make it good for my kids to eat.

I feel alone and overwhelmed in my head.


I experience both my mother and mother-in-law calling ahead of our visit asking and checking for all the food they are going to prepare and making sure I don't have to think about it when I'm with them. They are thinking for me, and checking and making sure there is nothing in the house the family can't eat.

I get a facebook message from a friend saying she found a really great cake recipe that I can make for my kids! She was looking for me and wanted me to have it.

I get an email from a friend asking if its overwhelming if she looks for recipes for me and sends them to me. She doesn't want to overstep or overwhelm me. Truly? Someone else doing half the work for me! I welcome the help!

I have another gal in my life who truly, by the amount of time we spend together we should really just be acquaintances, but she feels like a very good friend. A three page email of encouragement and advice with helpful hints about where to shop, and what her family did, but mostly encouragement. I couldn't believe how fast it warmed my heart.

We joined another family for dinner tonight and my dear friend went to so much trouble to make sure that there was food we could eat, and always asked if it was OK if her kids had something different, so as not to bother my children. She went above and beyond to make sure we didn't feel left out but loved and cared for.

Then one of my favorites is for the last three months, one of my dearest friends brings a bag of groceries every time I see her. At first I just thought it was my birthday present, but no, every time I see her, she says, "I have a bag for you". She spends time, energy, and money looking, hunting, and reading labels for my family. She wants to find treats that I haven't discovered yet and help support us financially since she knows how much my kids eat and now we are almost all raw veggies and fruit people.

I know I have already used a lot of words, but somehow I can't find the right words to describe the depth of love I feel from these people.

Then in this moment, the depth and awareness is revealed to show me how God's greatest tool of getting into my world is through the community.

The church. (the church being the body of Christ)

The assembly of believers.

Faithful followers to long to love others with the love that has been poured into them.

Through people who may not believe but love as God would dream we all could love each other.

God has spoken plainly to me that although I may not meet with him every morning, and I carry far too much guilt and expectations of myself. And although I may feel alone, I am not.

He has not left me.

He sees me.

He hears me and my silent cries of frustration and emptiness.

He loves me through the people in my life. He reminds me I am not alone by the constant reminder of all the people who are rallying around us to support us. He chooses to provide financial help, emotional support, and loving encouragement through the words and actions of everyday normal people.

I can't help but choose to see God in these things. Even when I feel I have abandoned our quality time together, he is persistent to remind me that I am not alone.

When I feel alone, I have a tendency to close myself off, and who would know that better than the one who made me?

Thank you from the bottom of my heart Lord for pursuing me. For filling my life with love even when I don't deserve it.

Thank you Lord for the hearts of your people whom you have brought into my life. They long to follow you, serve others in your name and love as you loved them. They are such a strong example of what it means to love they neighbor.

I am always looking for the grand gesture, but have learned through this that is most often the small things that matter most and speak the loudest. I want to find the small things in others lives around me and share what has filled my heart.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Stick to your guns

This is for all those tired parents out there or caregivers to children.

This morning by 7am I had a pretty good idea of how bad the day was going to be. The kids were up extra early, around 615am. Both boys had accidents in their beds which is not normal, and Lu was hungry, but for nothing I was offering her. The battle lines drawn, I thought, is this really how today is going to be? It's still before 7!

Right at the get go, Big wanted to watch TV. Wherever you stand on the issue, it doesn't matter to me. In our house, we don't have a problem with TV, but its managed to a strong degree. (with the exception of sports games, a weekly movie, or when mom's sick and can't get up. We're human OK.) I don't like TV in the morning. I think it starts the kids off wrong, and then I can't use it later on in the day when it might be necessary. TV is often a reward, and if my kids don't ask for it, they don't get it. I try to keep them busy doing art and imagination activity.

So starting at 615am Big started asking for TV, which bugs me when he already knows the answer.

Before starting the diet this would have turned into a 45min battle, but now, he asks, I say No, and he humphs. Then he might ask 20min later, which he did, every 20min for over 1 1/2 hours this morning.

I was cranky and I really didn't want to fight this battle. I had Little growling at me, throwing herself on the floor because she wanted to hold her own banana, and Caleb trying to pour his own milk and spilling all over the counter and stool.

At this moment, TV would have been very easy. It would have cut down the whining, the spilling and the crying. But I HATE TV in the morning. (Again, I have no judgement for those families who do TV in the morning. Truly. I just don't want it on in our house.)

This blog isn't about TV. It's about the ability to find strength to fight for what you believe in. For parents and caregivers to listen to what the truth they live by and stick with it.

Kids cry, they whine, they argue, they debate, they create compromises, they are crafty and they wear us down. Or maybe that's just my family.

Kids wear you down. They wear down the standards you want to live by and it's not easy to stick to your idea, your plan, your philosophy of parenting. It is exhausting to keep with the plan, to explain your way, to continue to say No, or encourage them to get them to do a particular behavior.

When people say parenting is hard, that statement is true, but its also doesn't portray the depth of what it means. Constant is a good word. Demanding is another good one.

It's very difficult to battle everyday to make the family you are trying to create come true. I want to encourage you to find strength in the Lord and fight the good fight. Consistant spiritual discipline is very difficult with small children, so I want to encourage you to find whatever it is that will connect you to your creator and somehow find a time once a week to connect with him.

Find the strength to fight the good fight. Be the parent and stick up for what you believe in and how you want to parent your children to the standards you desire.

I explained to Big this morning that TV alienates him and his siblings from the rest of the family. That he was happily playing with his Lego's and using his imagination. We decided to put on some fun worship music and the kids had a dance party in the kitchen while I made eggs. After breakfast, the music continued to play, and the kids each individually found an activity they could do while I showered and they were singing together. They were joking about all of Little's attempted dance moves and words that she really isn't saying. They were interacting together. They were figuring out how to live in each other's space. More importantly they were being encouraged in their faith through the music they were listening to.

And I'm not gonna lie, the music also changed my behavior (the shower helped a lot in that regard as well, I'll be honest). Our family was participating in individual activities but still were learning to live with one another. The music and happy play set the tone for our day. A day of pleasure, summer fun, and harmony. In my opinion, TV would have just entertained and separated us. It would have divided us right from the get go. No interaction. No encouragement. No team work.

I desire for my children to know how to entertain themselves without the TV or computer or video games. I stuck to my guns this morning and was rewarded.

You will to. I will say it again. Stick to your guns on the issue that you want to give into because it would be easier.

No one ever said the road was easy. From one parent to another, be encouraged, you are strong enough to stick to your guns.

Just a heads up. 1. I don't always win. There are times where my kids watch TV in the morning because I truly am just too exhausted, or I want to stay and snuggle with my hubby on Saturday morning. We aren't perfect and I want you to know that. 2. This also means that you might need to interact more with your children or get their help with your chores, or set them up with an activity. But all of those things are really great options.

Good luck parents. I am praying for you. And as its really late, can you pray for me too! Thanks. Tomorrow morning might be hard!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

In the begining

I was blogging a lot. I loved it. I was blogging every other day, sometimes every day. Blogging for me is a place to get outside of my own head. It helps me see God in my life and the things that happen to us. It gives me an opportunity to get some perspective. And the best part is that it allows you to see into my life and speak truth to me. Call me out if I’m wrong, encourage me if I’m down, or show me a new way of doing something if I’m stuck in a rut. I don’t really know if my blog is about me, my kids, parenting, craft projects, questions I have, frustrations I need to voice, or my speaking adventures. I guess it’s just a compilation of all those things.

Lately there feels to be way too many things happening that I can’t even get inside my brain to figure out what’s going on in there. I’m almost terrified to do any kind of quiet time, afraid of what might happen. But if I’m ever gonna get out of this overwhelmed place, I need to start writing, start thinking and start praying.

What that means for our relationship, me and you the reader, whomever you are, is that some of the things I’m gonna blog about didn’t happen the day I wrote about it. It may have happened while I was on vacation and never had time to jot down my thoughts. (There are so many up here its starting to get a little crazy.)

But they are all real things that happened to me and how I feel about them. It is still our life.




Maybe misguided.

But it’s true for us right now.

Welcome to our reality.

We traveled the better part of the last month and a lot has happened. I will do my best to share our adventures, joys and moments along the way.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

out of the land of Oz...

So the Tietjen's are back home after five weeks of adventures. I haven't posted much because there has just been too much to do and too much fun to be had.

Yesterday was filled with laundry and laundry, ironing our curtains and rehanging them after getting all new windows, and moving furniture back in place.

Today the weird feelings started to creep in. I have no event to plan for. I have no trip to orchestrate. We are just back to normal life.

Usually after big adventures, I have a tendency to crash. My mind and body and soul have to readjust to the normal rhythm of life. That can be hard and boring, and draining after all the excitement that became normal.

I have a tendency to withdrawal, (proof of my lack of blogging) sulk, and waste my days.

Tonight Paul and I got to run to the store to use a Christmas gift card (how wrong is it that its taken us this long!) and I noticed he was not himself.

After our fun week in SD for family camp, we drove immediately to Iowa to attend Paul's grandfather's funeral. The loss of such a wonderful and dear man is finally settling into our systems.

We are all in a weird place.

The loss of family and a piece of family history.

The readjustment to every day living, which is for the most part not mountain top experiences.

Finally being a place to fully embrace our new diet and explore new things.

The realization that my kids bikes were stolen, their favorite summer time activity. This one has been harder to process than our home being broken into at Christmas and all my jewelry being stolen. I guess it might have to do with someone violating my children.

I don't know how to put it all into words. Things have moved so fast we haven't been able to digest each new thing.

So for all of you read this, I'm sorry if my thoughts are jumbled in the coming weeks. I'm sorry if there isn't anything insightful in my ramblings, but just thoughts rolling around in the old tin can up there.

The Tietjen's are in a weird place.

But I am so thankful, that no matter where we go, physically, emotionally or mentally, God was there before us, is with us still, and won't leave us alone.

Friday, July 15, 2011

one too many things

I am really excited for our family to leave tomorrow for the black hills. This is something that we have done for the last two summers and is quickly turning into a wonderful family tradition. My husband plays music for family camp and we all get to go just to hang out. This trip is coming at the end of the a three week long vacation to MI, WI and then here in MN with friends of ours. After our friends left we had three days to regroup and pack.

Well, pack we did, clean we did not. I'm kind of that person who likes clean sheets when she comes home and the kitchen clean with empty garbage's and no laundry waiting for me. Instead on this trip, I will just come home to new windows!

For the last year and half we have been in this process with a government based program that is striving to eliminate lead in older homes where young families live. To do this, they change all the window's and seal the lead away. It is very exciting to be getting 27 new windows! Four of our front windows have been boarded up since the tornado and I can't wait to see out the front of my house again!

However to prepare for the team to come, all the window dressings need to come down, and all the furniture moved to the middle of each room. Also, in order to prepare to be at camp all week with high dietary needs, I have needed to bake our own granola and muffins for breakfast, cupcakes for dessert and hummus for lunch. Lots of food to purchase and pack and we can't forget flash lights, books on tape, and rain gear.

So, my house will stay a disaster, but I got to spend time with friends, my husband and do some fun baking. I guess it will all still be here when I get back.

It's good for my control freak characteristics to not have everything in order. However, if I die on this road trip, I will be highly embarrassed when they come to my house to get my things in order. Oh man... please don't die.

Talk to you next time from the beautiful hills of SD!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Today was my birthday and I love my birthday. In my house growing up, you were celebrated on your day. Everyone shared Christmas and Easter, but birthday's were yours and yours alone.

Today I felt so very celebrated. My kids woke me up singing. I heard "Happy Birthday" at least 12 times today. I got 32 colored pictures, a room decorated in "fun" and a song made up just for me. I got to take a walk around the lake with friends, enjoy a delicious lunch, drinks, and treats. In the evening, I got to go out to dinner with a small group of friends where we enjoyed the view from the rooftop seating area. We closed the evening with dessert and coffee and laughs.

One of my favorite things to do on birthday's is tell the birthday person your favorite thing about them. I have often found that the people closest to you are the ones that don't hear your good opinion of them. We rarely express our deep appreciation and love and respect for those we love the most. This is what makes this little tradition so fun. My brother in law got married years ago on my birthday and my three closest girl friends pulled me outside of the reception and gave me the gift of their love and appreciation of my life. It was the best gift I ever received. To have the women I respect the most share their high opinion of me, deepened our friendship and made me desire to strive to be the person they saw in me.

If I get to celebrate a birthday with you, most likely I will demand to shower you with this gift. Last year I was in Haiti with my dad and 15 other people, and it was amazing playing this little game on the bus on our way to the work site. I saw people dig deep and get real and share their love and appreciation for my father. I witnessed him get uncomfortable and shy at the love that was being poured out on him. I watched him start to see how much he meant to all of those around him. He would never have known without us forcing ourselves to be vulnerable and share how we really feel. I now don't have to worry ever that I never got a chance to share with my dad all that he means to me.

Tonight my heart is full by how much love was poured out on me. I feel overwhelmed by God's grace in my life, by the richness and quality of people that are in my life. I wonder how I got here, and most of the time don't feel I deserve it, but I make you this promise; I do not take for granted the gift of the people in my life. I will work to honor those around me with my life. I will live to give God glory so that others may know that God can use anyone to share love and change the world.

I encourage you, when it's someones birthday, take the tradition and start loving on the people around you. Do they know what they mean to you? Do they know what value they have and the qualities that make them strong and admirable? Don't wonder, make sure they know. They will never forget that gift.