A Mother’s Sacrifice…and Reward

Like I do just about every 2 weeks, I’m sitting at the local beauty school waiting for my very long and thick-haired daughter to get her as-yet chemically untreated natural mane of crowning glory washed, conditioned, and braided by a lady with a little more patience and a lot more skill than me to do so.  The significant difference is that instead of reading and watching the clock between bouts of entertaining her for 4-5 hours while she gets coiffed, tonight I am springing an extra $8 to get pampered myself.  Granted, I am well able to wash and roller set my own hair (as I generally do between relaxers), but today I decided I’d enjoy the treat.  Wow – what have I been missing?!?  My scalp is way happy right about now as I sit under the dryer conditioning and waiting for my stylist to finish coloring someone else’s tresses.

As mothers, we often forget to allow ourselves time to be rewarded for the many sacrifices we make on a daily basis.  But when we remember, it really helps us to keep our serving and caring for others in perspective.  All giving without being replenished and restored leads to imbalance – honey, don’t I know it!!!  Yet, an occasional splurge (within reason, of course *wink, wink*) doesn’t hurt.  As a matter of fact, it helps.  When we feel relaxed, appreciated, and renewed, there’s no end to the benefits our families reap.  On the flip side, we all know what pent-up resentment coupled with overtiredness and frazzled feelings lead to…and that untimely explosion ain’t pretty!

So do yourself a favor and have that cup of coffee made by someone else; take an extra 10 minutes driving home to enjoy some different scenery; lock the door and luxuriate in that monthly (or quarterly) bubble bath.  Without guilt.  Because you’ve earned it.  If your family can attest to your sacrifices (and most of them speak for themselves), then you more than owe it to yourself to enjoy a reward from time to time.

Who knows?  Next time, I may even add on the $6 manicure.  LOL 🙂

  © Copyright 2009 by Kayren J. Cathcart

”She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.”

(Proverbs 31:27-29)

The Perks of Faithfulness

Gratefully, we arrived safely in Myrtle Beach, SC for our 9th anniversary getaway through a mega-rainstorm (termed by The Weather Channel as the East Coast’s “Winter Wollop 2009”).  At least we were driving away from the direction where snow was forecast. Our reservation (at the hotel where we’d celebrated the previous 2 anniversaries) had been made well in advance.  My hubby had graciously done all the driving (perhaps he didn’t trust the combination of my 20/15 LASIK vision with darkness, torrents of rain, and questionable windshield wiper performance), so he was ready to get comfortable.  He quickly unpacked, then prepared for a shower.  The water ran cold for 5 minutes, and the sink and tub drains were clogged – what a welcome!  He asked me to call the front desk.  I did. 

The gentleman who answered placed me on hold.  After I’d waited patiently for over 2 minutes (sorta), my husband took the phone from me – ready to get some results.  When the hotel staffer got back on the line, my hubby relayed the situation to him.  The man noted how unfortunate it was for us that we were on the side of the building where the water often heats up slowly…I won’t even begin to express my incredulosity and more than slight irritation that he already knew they had an issue with this.  He offered to send someone up immediately to unclog the drains, but we’d still have tepid water temperature.  Calm and collected, my husband asked what he could do for us since this was our anniversary weekend and we’d received good service during our prior visits.  The hotel staffer (finally) offered to move us to another room, which my tired husband was a little more than hesitant to accept.  We were on the top floor, and no other rooms were available on that floor.  The man said, “I can put you in a Junior King Suite with a balcony two floors below” (never mind that it was cold and pouring rain outside).  I vigorously nodded my head “yes!” and my hubby reluctantly accepted the inconvenience of relocating.  After he re-dressed and re-packed, we dragged our bags back down to the front desk to get the new keys we’d been reassigned.  The man assured us we’d like the room.

When we arrived in the suite, we were pleasantly surprised at the level of upgrade we’d received; the suite was triple the size of our initial room, had more than ample walking space, plus a separate sitting area and a Jacuzzi.  Additionally, there was an internet connecting wire (conspicuously missing from the other room) and an even more spectacular ocean view from a different vantage point.  We were well-pleased and started the hot water.  I ambled over to glance at the door and discovered that our suite would normally charge at $1,000 a night for single occupancy and $1,200 a night for double occupancy.  I was amazed and share that info with my hubby; we blessed the Lord together as we reflected on the $80 per night we’d booked at online.  We opted to order something light from room service instead of braving the wind blowing rain sideways.  It was worth the $39 – an elegant serving table complete with cloth tablecloth and napkins rolled in with crab bisque, chicken strips, and French fries for both of us.  Delightful.

Upon check-in, we’d been given complimentary breakfast tickets for both days of our stay that cancelled our need to trek down the street to the local pancake dive.  At about $20 value each day, it more than nicely made up for the $5 daily parking fee in the adjacent garage.  The next evening, we went for a lovely early dinner at our favorite beach restaurant (early in the week, I’d signed up online and received a $5 coupon – cha-ching!).  We got a great server (with no attitude – priceless) and were told we’d receive a complimentary bananas foster ($7.99 value) for dessert since we were celebrating our anniversary with them.  We arrived before 5:00 p.m. and ordered from the lunch menu – our specials (catfish fillet prepared 3 ways; salad included) were executed in excellence.

What can I say about the work it took to get to a lovely weekend where we just enjoyed each other’s company and laughed a LOT?  Perseverance pays off.  We had a blast – each of us accompanied by our best friend – relaxing and taking a break from our daily routine….not to mention sinking into the pillow-top king bed, duvet covers, and down pillows.  Scrumptious.

Our children are safe, well-cared for, and having a fun time with dear family friends.  Mommy and Daddy have become “honey” and “baby” and didn’t have to fix anyone Saturday cereal at 7:00 a.m. while pleading for an 1 more hour of sleep.  Instead, this weekend, we got to reap the fruit of hard work and commitment to living daily in a godly marriage.  I’m glad we’re faithful to God and to each other.  It’s definitely worth it.  The rewards and perks of this weekend were just icing on the cake.  Bon appetit!

© Copyright 2009 by Kayren J. Cathcart

“Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”

(Psalm 37:3-5)

Anniversary Eve: So Many Reasons to Celebrate!

Tomorrow (12/16) is my 9th wedding anniversary, and geez, am I excited!  God has brought us a mighty long way (did I mention LONNNNG?) – both as a couple and as individuals.  I have much to be thankful for in the areas of growth, development, and maturity.  And I’ve learned a LOT (because someone forgot to slip me the “Perfect Wife Manual” though I’ve been searching for it, to no avail).  However, I digress…

After work, I picked up the children as I usually do, but made a quick detour to my favorite nail shop before heading home. My eyebrows were long and bushy beyond belief, and I figured I’d better start now on my efforts to get incrementally “gussied up” for my anniversary trip this weekend.  The pizza store in the same strip mall with the nail shop was offering a large pizza for $4.44, which I couldn’t pass up.  Not because it was their anniversary special (50 years in business – hey, I’ll raise a slice to that!), but because I thought me not cooking tonight was a perfectly fitting start to our own anniversary celebration.  Plus, if I wasn’t cooking, I could get started earlier on washing and roller setting my hair (just saved at LEAST $10 – cha-ching!).  I picked up 2 pizzas.

Since we stopped at McDonald’s to pick up the “2-fer” special (you remember – 2 fries, 2 burgers, 2 bucks – yes, it was December 2000) on the way to our honeymoon (with leftovers from the reception neatly wrapped in the backseat), I figured that pizza nine years later was an upgrade.  My hubby agreed and was glad to have the pizza when he arrived home from work (better than tuna noodle pasta, which he is increasingly shunning over the years – I guess his palate has become more cultured?).  Nevertheless, a good time was had by all – especially the children.  Simple pleasures.  Enjoying the company of those you love.  That’s what it’s really about anyway.  And good pizza, of course…and not cooking…

© Copyright 2009 by Kayren J. Cathcart

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  To him be glory both now and for ever.  Amen.”

(II Peter 3:18)

O Christmas Tree: A Matter of Perspective

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I’m looking at the most exquisite Christmas tree ever – not because it’s elaborate, expensive, or customized, because it’s none of those things.  The reason is because it’s an expression of our family’s love, togetherness, and building our own traditions.  Personally, I could do without the tree (since I believe Christmas is birthed in our hearts 24/7, not just during this season), but I was vetoed 3-1, so we have a tree and some lights.  I even broke down and spent $1 on some red and green gel clings that I enthusiastically added to the sliding glass door in the kitchen.  Cheery.  When I tried to peel them off the plastic transfer sheet, I realized why they were only $1…grrrr!  But it’s for the children, right? 

Back to the tree.  To me, it first appeared unplanned, un-color coordinated, and not monochromatic (what can I say? I love simple white lights).  Yet, to my 4 and 6 year-old munchkins beaming with pride that their decorations have completed this year’s tree, it’s nothing short of a masterpiece.  It is colorful, bearing the imprint, insignia, fingerprint, and signature of each of their unique personalities expressed through original ornaments made at school.  My husband even added my daughter’s Rudolph (complete with sparkly red puffball nose) to the tree, which is twice the size of all the other ornaments (including the star).  Now I don’t recall why we didn’t have a star last year, but the one my hubby found and nestled among the top branches was a great crowning glory.  As he snores away, I’m enjoying his handiwork with a smile of admiration.  And I reminisce with fond memories of my own first handmade ornament – a spectacular popsicle stick glitter glue-covered Star of David…I’ll bet my mom still has it…somewhere.

On second thought, I think our tree is perfect – just like they do.  🙂

© Copyright 2009 by Kayren J. Cathcart

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

(Isaiah 9:6)

Demolition Cometh: Make Room for Progress

Have you ever noticed how unattentive you really are?  This week, I got a good reminder. 

There used to be a Subway restaurant across the street from the train station I wait at twice a day, five times a week.  I didn’t realize the Subway had moved or otherwise gone out of business until two days ago when I became painfully aware that a significant portion of the strip mall was missing, occupied instead by a wrecking machine.  “Wow,” I thought to myself.  “When did all of this happen?!  I pass this site twice a day and had no clue it was gonna be knocked down.”  Perhaps the land would be deemed more valuable without the structure currently standing on it, but it was a decision that had been made previously by the “powers that be;” I’m sure they had to obtain permits and permissions, and finally, I was witnessing the execution of a plan.  And it was going quickly.  It seemed so…destructive.  And final.  But I suppose that’s what’s necessary before progress takes place.  Out with the old and in with the new…

What negative habits and restrictive thought patterns need to get torn down from your 2009 mindset before you leap into 2010?  Don’t try to do “historic preservation” on something that would be better off demolished.  After all, progress cometh…if you allow it.  Let God do a new thing in you – starting today.  Start right now.

© Copyright 2009 by Kayren J. Cathcart

 “And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old.”

(Luke 5:36)

Keep it Moving: Purge!

As a beloved administrator in the Academic Skills Center told us as bright-eyed freshmen at the University of Richmond, “Don’t forget your fiber; you’ll need your roughage.”  We giggled, snickered, and chortled during orientation (because – as teenagers – of course we already knew everything, right?).  Yet, after substituting mom’s home-cooking for cafeteria fare and pulling late-night study sessions back-to-back with early morning classes, we became all-too-aware of our need for fiber and roughage to stay balanced and healthy.  Sure, pizza and ice cream (and all the goodies in-between) were fun and quick to eat – but when we needed substance and sustenance, we had to go back to the basics and put in the good stuff – fruits, veggies, protein, complex carbohydrates…you know the drill.

Our arteries long to be cholesterol-free.  Our colons would appreciate a rest from the incessant inflow of processed foods.  Our airways yearn for pure oxygen untainted by pollutants.  It’s no fun to be clogged, stopped up, or constipated – naturally or mentally.  Have you experienced a sluggish mind lately?  Maybe there’s a build-up of negative thoughts, unforgiveness, or bitterness that you just need to let go.  Perhaps inane bits of trivia occupy your valuable cranial space where you could have some real productivity if you cleared the mental clutter.  Whatever’s prohibiting your creativity – banish it from your personal space. 

Identify what is blocking, obstructing, congesting, jamming, choking, plugging, stifling, suffocating, strangling, gagging, or otherwise halting your process and free-flow of life, love, and creativity.  Then do something about it.

And remember: fiber is good!  🙂

 © Copyright 2009 by Kayren J. Cathcart

 “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

(II Corinthians 7:1)

Not Forgotten

What a comfort to know that I’m on God’s mind!  Have you ever had a day where you just wonder if anyone cares?  This week started out like that for me.  Yet, within a 3-hour span, God touched the hearts of 3 people in 3 different states to e-mail me notes of encouragement.  They were so timely – and ironically/incidentally/coincidentally (or not!), 2 of the messages had the same subject line: “Checking In.”  It was uncanny – because none of these people know each other – and I had to laugh as I recognized the hand of God at work in my life.  I had an appointment to “check in” with my Heavenly Father – so was I going to show up, or what?!

He is the glory and the lifter of my head.  He will not allow me to stay discouraged, even when I convene my own pity-party with hand-addressed invitations!  His love comes through the most unexpected sources sometimes.  One day recently, I realized the love I was looking for was coming through my 4 year-old daughter’s incessant desire to curl up under me and remain underfoot while she repeatedly hugged and kissed me.  Instead of asking her why she was so clingy or redirecting her to “go play,” I finally (duh!) got the message and began to receive the love God was sending me through her vessel.  And that day, I lacked nothing.

Have you tapped your hidden Source of provision today?

© Copyright 2009 by Kayren J. Cathcart

 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?

But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.”

(Luke 12:6-7)