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The Evolution of Motherhood @ Inspire a Fire

by KimHarms 0 Comments

May 17

My monthly post is up at Inspire a Fire.  Talking about motherhood today.

The Evolution of a Mother’s Role

“It was sorta okay.”

That may not sound like much of a sentence, but when as a mother you hear those four words exit the mouth of a child who has been in the midst of a struggle, they are good words. Good words indeed.

From a Tired Body to an Aching Heart

My boys used to be babies. You know, the kind that needed fed all the time and changed all the time. The kind that continually spit up on their clothes and in my hair. The kind that couldn’t verbalize what they wanted so they cried, or screamed or rocked back and forth with a vengeance (Rocking was the go-to stress reliever for a couple of my babies.)

That phase of life was physically exhausting. It kind of felt like I was living the movie Ground Hog Day sometimes. Every day a slight variation of the same thing. An unending cycle of the fatiguing madness of mothering babies and young children.

But those boys are not babies anymore. And mothering them is no longer physically exhausting. They can feed themselves. They can read. They remember to flush the toilet, and I don’t have to fight them to get into the shower. They can set the table, load the dishwasher, empty the garbage and mow the lawn. Two of them can even drive a car. Yikes!

Somewhere between the helpless baby stage and the responsible human stage, there was a definite shift in the type of exhaustion I experienced…

Follow this link to the rest of the story  Inspire a Fire

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Love Proven on a Twisty Slide @ Inspire a Fire

by KimHarms 0 Comments

My monthly blog post is up at Inspire a Fire.  It’s a little tiny blip of the whole story of my friendship with my best friend. I think about 16 years ago, God was like, “Well, these women are going to need each other because I’m going give give them a boatload of boys. I should probably I’m going to introduce them before that first boy arrives.” (We met when I was 8 months pregnant with my oldest.)

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A photo of those 6 boys before they became giants.

Love Proven on a Twisty Slide

A cute little story I wrote about my friend Marti and me was published in Guideposts a couple years ago.

The photo shoot is actually more exciting than the story, so I’ll take you behind the scenes.

It took place in mid-February. Outside. At a park. On a twisty slide. In Iowa. No coats allowed. What?!?

I suggested a photo at a coffee shop, because drinking a hot caffeinated beverage in a warm locale is more our style than balancing precariously on giant plastic playground equipment in arctic temps. But I guess they wanted to give Marti the opportunity to prove she is the friend I claimed her to be in my article. (A fair-weather friend never would have agreed to such unpleasantness. )

It was 20 degrees with an Iowa take-your-breath-away winter wind. The kind that forces tears out of your eyes and makes your nose drip.

In the photo my hand is nicely relaxed on the slide. It had been clenched in a fist in an effort to calm my shivering body, but the photographer told me it made me look like I was cold. With my other hand I held onto the red slide pole for dear life. Marti too was clamping her hand around that pole with all of her strength. (You can see that photo here.)

Read the rest of the story at Inspire a Fire.

 

 

 

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The Santa Dilemma @ Inspire a Fire

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My post at Inspire a Fire this month is about my experience with Lewis and the question of Santa Claus. You can read the first part here and follow the link to the rest of the story at Inspire a Fire.

The Santa Dilemma – Keeping Jesus at the Center of Christmas

“Mom, is Santa real?” my curious six-year-old asked as I tucked him in and kissed his cheek.

‘Here we go,’ I thought. I took a deep breath and went the history route as I did with his older brothers. Speaking truth, but leaving a little to the imagination.

“Well Lewis, there was a guy who lived a long time ago. He was called Saint Nicholas, and he was a very kind man who gave gifts to the poor and who loved children very much. His kindness is how the story of Santa Claus began.”

“Oh. I didn’t think he was real. Tomorrow I’m going to tell Michael that Santa is really Saint Nicholas, but now Santa is dead.”

Not exactly the response I was anticipating.

It is entirely possible he went to school the next day and attempted to dash the hopes and dreams of his classmates. But I’m pretty sure most children would choose to believe their parents over their classmate with a mohawk, so I didn’t feel too bad.

I take no issue with families who play the Santa game. Who create elaborate schemes to keep their kids believing in the jolly fat guy for years. I can see the fun in it. I just couldn’t do it. When my son asked me point blank, I could not look him in the eye and tell him this guy actually exists.

The rest of the story… The Santa Dilemma

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Milk Cartons, Tears and a Change in Seasons

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(In my September post at Inspire a Fire, I reflect on the change of seasons in life and reminisce about the day I sent my baby to school.)

Homemade cheesebread with marinara sauce.

“Oh no, what if Lewis can’t open his milk carton?”

Those were the first five words on the back-to-school lunch menu and that was the thought that ran through my head sending a fresh waterfall of tears down my face. Yes, I read the school lunch menu and cried. And cried. And cried.

That was several years ago, but I remember it like it was several blinks ago.

Lewis was (and still is) my baby. The one I had to myself for four years while his brothers were in school. The one who sang wonderful made-up songs, daily made me laugh out loud and liked to wear the same way too small orange shirt. Every. Single. Day.

The one who wasn’t supposed to grow up.

What if he can’t open his milk carton? What if he gets lost? What if he gets hurt and wants his mommy? What if he gets tired and needs a nap? There was no end to the (often irrational) thoughts that filled my head as I sent my little man off to begin his own life adventures.

But I know deep down the reason I kept crying was not because Lewis might not be able to handle school. It was because I might not be able handle life without Lewis…

Head on over to Inspire a Fire to read the rest of the story – Milk Cartons, Tears and A Change in Seasons

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The Funny Thing About My Inspire a Fire Posts

Inspire a Fire June

I’m beginning to think my posts at Inspire a Fire are working against me. 😉

Last month I wrote about our moving lifestyle. How it works well for us, and how I have learned to enjoy it.

But about a week after it posted, it hit me that we are about to do this thing again, and that we don’t know where we are going next. And though I’m ready for it, it didn’t stop me from having about a 24-hour period of some serious anxiety. I’m a planner. And planning for the unknown is a bit tricky.

This month my post is about marriage and choosing love when you are not feeling it. In it I mentioned that Corey and I have learned to argue better since breast cancer because we don’t want to waste our time letting things simmer when we should be dealing with them and moving on.

A few days before it posted, we had an argument.

Next month I think I’ll write something about beach front property in Hawaii and hope for the best.

Here’s a link to my June post:

Have A More Meaningful Marriage by Choosing Love Every Morning

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The Blessing of Moving (@ Inspire a Fire)

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My monthly blog post is up at Inspire a Fire today. I reflected on our moving lifestyle, and why I don’t think we’re crazy. 🙂 Below you can read the start of the story and find a link to the full post.

I remember the day I realized I married a mover.

I’m not talking about a guy who drives a big truck and makes his money relocating other people. Corey wanted to move me. Every two or three years.

“It will be a great financial investment,” he said. “Plus you’ll get to live in a brand new house every few years.”

“Are you on drugs?” is what I wanted to say, but what came out was more like, “Can we explore our options before we decide on that game plan?”

I appreciated Corey’s goal. I understood that as a construction engineer, he could probably build a home economically, and we could make some money from its sale. But I was pretty sure he had grossly miscalculated the actual work of moving.  And what about putting down roots and turning a house into our home?

I lived in the same house from birth to age 18. To me,home had a specific non-changing address.

I wanted to settle into a cute little bungalow where we’d mark our kids’ ever-changing heights in Sharpie on the trim of a doorway and spend summer evenings relaxing on a front porch swing.

But that was not to be.

It was with much self-pity that I reluctantly gave in to my hubby’s desires and packed up our first
little house. As I bubble-wrapped dishes and mourned the loss of our plum trees, I had to remind myself that it wasn’t the end of the world.

I survived that first move, and I quickly grew to love the new home Corey built, secretly (or maybe not so secretly) hoping he would not make me move again.

Head to Inspire a Fire to read the rest of the story.

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Where I’m From – Family Heritage @ Inspire a Fire

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It’s my day to blog over at Inspire a Fire. It’s just a short sweet post about childhood memories including my own version of George Ella Lyon’s poem Where I’m From.

If need a creative challenge on this lovely Saturday, try writing your own Where I’m From.  It’s a lot of fun (unless you are not a word person, in which case it could be a torturous experience.)

Where I’m From – Family Heritage @ Inspire a Fire.

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New Year’s Resolutions and God’s Daily Renewed Mercies

by KimHarms 0 Comments

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I have the awesome opportunity to be a monthly blogger at Inspire a Fire.  The assigned topic for the month was “Setting Goals for the New Year.”

Goals are great, but I rarely (I can’t remember if I ever even have) set New Year’s Resolutions. You are invited to read the post to see what I have to say about it.

I have to be honest, when I sat down to do the final edits on this little post, there was a serious disconnect between my brain and my fingers on the keyboard. Sometimes your day just doesn’t go quite as planned, and that leads to non-cohesive thoughts. To quote my husband, who was quoting one of his favorite movies, “Officer, we have had one doozy of a day.”

So I guess what I’m saying is give me grace as you read it. 🙂 It’s quite possible that I misspelled my own name.

Goals and God’s Never-Ending Mercies

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The Cost of Being Too Busy

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“You know, it’s okay if your primary ministry focus is your husband and your kids.”

I don’t remember the details of the conversation with my mother-in-law leading up to that comment, but those words were the impetus to a change in my mom of small children perspective. I knew I wanted my primary role at that point in my life to be wife and mother, but it wasn’t until someone else said it out loud that I started to seriously think about what it meant.

My husband was a project manager for a construction company and depending on what point he was at in a project, he could work some pretty long hours. On top of his job, he was heavily involved in ministry. His roles as worship leader and youth leader required hours and hours of his time.

I was a stay-at-home mom, and I was involved in more things than I could balance with Corey’s commitments. I volunteered at a crisis pregnancy center, led our church missions team, substituted as a children’s Sunday School teacher, freelanced for the local newspaper and took part in an in-depth women’s Bible study.

I had convinced myself that since I didn’t have a real job, (mama’s of young kids out there who are reading this, please know that being a stay-at-home mom is very much a real job) I should have plenty of time to juggle a number of outside commitments.

I was wrong. Having too many commitments was causing undue tension and frustration.

Finding a babysitter so I could volunteer was an ongoing burden. The mission team was always looming in the back of my mind. I felt like I needed to be doing more, and do what I was doing better. Subbing in Sunday School was really not stressful, but each time I subbed, I missed out on being in class with my husband – something we had chosen to do together because we didn’t have time in our schedule to be in a weeknight small group.

Often my commitments and Corey’s would coincide, and we were left with the question of what to do with the kids. All of these things led to stress that left me a half-empty wife and mom, and cost me the ability to support my husband and love my kids like I wanted to.

I decided to take my mother-in-law’s advice. I sorted through my priorities and cut down on my commitments. In the end, I was left with Bible study and freelance writing.

Stepping back from outside ministries cost me some things I was passionate about, but allowed me to have a full tank for my family.

Photo image credit, Kim Harms.Because I had very minor outside responsibilities hanging over my head, I was able to focus more time on things like meal-planning and outings with the kids. And our family discovered an unexpected benefit of focusing on our home life. We found we had time to practice some hospitality. We started inviting a group a teens from the youth ministry over every Monday night for dinner and games.

Because I was able to step back and evaluate my priorities, I was blessed with the opportunity to have a role in one of my husband’s ministries. And my children were blessed with some pretty terrific teenage role models.  Monday evenings were in many ways a gift to all of us.

Our kids are older now, and I’ve taken on more outside responsibilities, but I will never regret the years I cut back in order to make our home a happier healthier place. An added bonus? Now it’s our teenager’s friends who come eat dinner with us on Monday nights. I love it!

Sometimes we need to take the time to evaluate our commitment level. Though our culture would have us believe otherwise, busy is not always better.

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