Browsed by
Month: December 2013

“The Story”

“The Story”

Some of you emailed me yesterday and asked if I would post a copy of the “get to” article.  I have written this story before (and told it many times) but I love to be reminded of this time God so graciously taught me the difference between a “have to” and a “get to”.  And trust me … I need reminding of this daily!

My Story:

When I got married I had a very “Norman Rockwell” idea of what my life and family were going to look like.  You know … all seated around a table in a very “Southern Living” looking home.  Children in cute outfits, delicious looking food on the table, an adoring husband smiling as he prayed over the meal. 
However, the reality was much different.  I did have an adoring husband and four cute children … but after that, the expectations that I had were much different from my reality.  Dinner was usually whatever I could throw together, there was ALWAYS laundry on the couch to be folded, the kids …. Well, let’s just say they didn’t sit at the table quite as nicely as the kids in the pictures did.
And as the days and years wore on, I became …. like most (all) moms …. Tired.  Exhausted.  Overwhelmed.  Burned out.  It felt like as much as I did there was always so much more to do.  I would share this with my husband but he didn’t really know what to say or do to bring me out of the state I was in.  He tried.   He offered suggestions and he helped … and yet still … I felt in over my head.
For a couple of years we had heard about “family camp” and how wonderful it was.  My husband suggested we go but honestly I wasn’t sure how fun “camp” sounded.    But we signed up for Week Five and headed to camp.
Our family of six sat around a table at dinner the first night and a counselor I will never forget named Southern Belle joined us.  The children were all hungry and ready to eat and my husband and I were frantically trying to cut everyone’s food up on their plates.  Southern Belle asked if she could help and, like most moms, I said … “no, no … I can do it”.  As the children got louder though, I relented and said “yes, help would be great”. 
Once everyone was eating and peaceful I turned to thank Southern Belle and she replied , “Oh, thank you for letting me do that for you. It was a blessing for me to get to do that for you”. 
Tears stung my eyes as I thought of how beautiful her words were to me.  And you better believe I asked her to join us at every meal.  J

We enjoyed camp so much and I loved that I didn’t have to think of what to fix my family to eat (and the food was good!), they brought us clean towels and swept the dining room floor after we ate.  It was awesome. 
But the truth was I was dreading going back home.  I knew ALL those responsibilities awaited me and I dreaded it.  DREADED it.
Wednesdays at family camp are “free days”.   They children have activities until 3:00 and the adults are on their own.  My husband went to play golf and so I decided to go to the ladies Bible study.  We read some scriptures and then we each went around and shared a prayer request.  They started at the other side of the room and people around the room shared big things.  Like REALLY big things.  Financial problems and marital problems and health problems.  So many big problems that it made my problems feel silly.  I almost didn’t share but I knew that if it mattered to me it mattered to God and so I told the ladies in that room that I was tired.  That I wasn’t finding the joy I thought I was supposed to find in being a wife and a mom because there were so many things … like the laundry!!! … that kept me from ever feeling like I could enjoy my family or be the person I was supposed to be.  And I told them I just didn’t know how to get it all done.
And as we left … I have to admit, I felt a little stupid.  Because I was sure that they all wondered how that prayer request could be answered.  Seriously … unless the Lord sent Merry Maids on Monday morning to my house, I didn’t see how He could answer my request either.
But here’s the thing.
He did.
And mightily.
And if I could tell that no situation is too big or too small for God and that He wants us to bring our requests to Him, I would.  Because He so is faithful.
My prayer was answered just a few hours later … I mean God was ON IT.
At 3:00 I went and picked up my son from his class.  He had been with his sweet teachers for almost 6 hours.  SIX.  I thanked the counselor, whose camp name was Hollywood, and said I was going to put sunscreen on my son and take him to the lagoon to meet the rest of our family.
After I got his suit and sunscreen on I put him in his stroller and went down to the lagoon.  When I got there, unbelieveably, I saw that same counselor … Hollywood …. on the lifeguard stand. 
I called up to her and said … “Hollywood, what are you doing?!”.
She said … “I’ve got life guard duty today”.  (This same girl who had 2 year old duty for six hours just before).
I asked her … “Do you not get a break?”.
And this is what she said:
“This is my get to … I ‘get to’  do this”.
And so I asked her .. “but do you ‘HAVE to’?”.
And this is what she said:
“Yes, we are assigned these jobs but we call them “get tos” because we look at them as opportunities where we “get to” serve the families that are here.  Because I am watching your family, you “get to” enjoy them so it’s a blessing to me”.
And right there … on the side of the lagoon, through a camp counselor named Hollywood, God spoke to me.  Tears were streaming down my face (I figured I really freaked her out!)  J  because I knew that God had answered my prayer from a few hours earlier and He was saying to me … “Darla, you are looking at everything in your life like a “have to”.  Those aren’t “have tos” … those are opportunities to serve your family.  And when you are serving them, you are serving me.  I gave you that husband and I gave you those children … they are your “get tos”.
And in that moment, God used Pine Cove and that precious counselor to change my heart forever.
I went home with a new heart … one committed to having a “get to” attitude.
Now trust me … laundry and cooking and cleaning …. It still gets old.  But I do it with a different attitude now and truly not a day goes by that I don’t look around … chaos and all …. And think … “I get to”.

Back to the “Get to’s”

Back to the “Get to’s”

Yesterday I received a copy of “Transformed” magazine in my mailbox.  It is a publication by Pine Cove camp and goes out to about 10,000 homes.  They asked me to write an article for them and so it was exciting to see it right there in print.

At the end of the article it said … “follow Darla at” which is the new host name for this blog (either blog address works but this one will be easier to remember).  Anyway … I kind of panicked because there hasn’t been ANYTHING to follow in ten months.  As in zero posts.  Nothing, nada.

I have no idea why.  

One reason is because I RARELY sit down at my computer anymore.  When I am on the Internet I am usually scrolling through facebook on my phone in a carpool line somewhere or on my ipad playing candy crush.  🙂  I am a terrible at keeping up with email and currently have over 20,000 unread messages.  My voicemail box is also full.

When I can’t keep up I shut down … and only keep up with the most important things to keep up with …. which means my family.  

But …. seeing something I’ve written in print is kind of inspiring to do more of that.  And it’s going to take some pretty big doings … as in I have to get a LOT of things done …. but my goal is to write more.  

Hopefully a lot more.

Because I like to put words on paper.  Or a screen as is the case…  🙂

And since the article is about my “get tos” …. I’ve made a short list of some I’ve been reminding myself of lately:

1.  Two weekends ago it was FREEZING.  I mean really, really cold.  And I was cozy and warm inside my house and really, really didn’t want to leave.   The problem was …. Bill’s fancy office party at a swanky hotel in the Galleria was that night.  And I was so cuddly and warm in my yoga pants and sweatshirt that I didn’t really want to go.

Then I remembered that my husband has a job (for which I am thankful) and so I “got to” go to his party.   Ended up having a good time and making a new friend.  

2.  I sometimes get overwhelmed with carpools.  So many carpools for so many kids so many days of the week.  But carpooling allows me to visit with my children and their friends.  I can’t wait until I “get to” visit with them again.  Gives me some sense of what’s going on in their world….and some of those kids are REALLY funny.

3.  I signed up to make Christmas cookies for a fundraiser for a mission trip for Brittany next summer.  Dreaded going because hello, it’s December and there is so much to do.  Ended up having a total blast “getting to” decorate cookies.  I dubbed myself “sprinkle person extraordinaire” as I sprinkled all kinds of sugary things on those cookies.  It was so fun working with some people I don’t get to see very often and I was reminded that doing things like that really bonds you with people.  

4.  Was lamenting the other day that we had something every single night.  School play, basketball game, volleyball banquet, church choir performance, etc.  Then I remembered we “get to” do those things because we have healthy children who can live very full lives.  For that I am very grateful.

5.  Had lots and lots of poinsettias to deliver the other day for  Brittany’s swim team fundraiser.  Knew it was going to take a significant portion of my day to do it.  Was wishing maybe I didn’t have quite so many to deliver.  Dropped one off at a friends house who has cancer and told her there was “no charge”.  She then told me that she had prayed that very day on the way home from chemo for something, anything Christmassy in her house to cheer her mood.   And so when she pulled up at her house and saw the poinsettia she was thrilled to have an answer to her prayer.  It reminded me that “have tos” can become “get tos” in a very quick second.  That item on my “to do” list became a blessing to her. It was my joy to “get to” deliver that poinsettia on that day.  And guess what?!  Others came and added lights on the outside of her house and another helped with her tree.  And my friend is celebrating Christmas!

The list could go on for me … but I’ll stop here and ask you … what are your “get to’s” this holiday season?

Come on, I know you have some.