This is a post I wrote for Charleston Moms Blog. It was selected to be shared on our national sites. I am honored and humbled.
As September 11th approaches please take a moment and remember all of those that vanished. Please remember the First Responders that bravely and courageously acted without pause...this post is in honor and memory of them. God Bless.
Do you ever feel as if the stairs are never ending? Do you sometimes wonder why you put so much effort into something to only feel it standing still? Me too!
I am going through something right now where I am really being tested. I'm trusting and I am walking the path because I know in the end it will all be okay.
Last night in the middle of the night I woke up from a deep sleep. Wide awake y'all!!! I've heard other people tell me to always keep a notepad next to your bed because your best thoughts come when you least expect them. Well, I don't know if these are my best thoughts, however they are my heart thoughts from 3am.
You are beautiful. The number on the scale is just that...a number. It doesn't matter. What matters is you are working hard toward a goal. You WILL do it. You CAN do it.
You are a good Mom. You are not ruining your kids by disciplining your kids. There will come a time when you can be their friend. Right now, they need you to be their Mama. Keep keeping on! Hard days will come, but you are producing stars and making their future brighter.
God loves you. He loves you just the way you are. You are His child and His Grace is astounding. He knows your struggles and He is watching His plan unfold. Keep loving and know it will all be okay.
You are a good wife. Your husband is Blessed to have you. You've built a wonderful life together. Cherish it and welcome it with open arms.
Mistakes happen. You may yell at your kids, snap at your husband, or even miss a deadline. Give yourself some Grace. No one does your job (s) like you.
You are stronger and braver than you believe. God has seen you through a lot and He will continue to do so.
Love yourself so you can then love those around you!
This was written for me, but maybe you needed to hear these words too. It's funny how our minds work....wonder what I will write tonight?
Hello everyone! I'm still here...it's been a long break, however I am using this time to learn, explore and most of all enjoy some quiet time with my family. I miss y'all and wanted to pop in and say hello.
We have approximately three weeks before school begins and our Fall schedule gets busy. I am going to use these next few weeks to soak in the end of summer. I hope you all can do the same. See you back here in mid-August. Until then my friends...
One benefit of summer was that each day we had more light to read by. ~ Jeannette Walls
The past two weeks we've celebrated Easter and new beginnings. After the Easter Service, our pastor challenged the congregation to continue celebrating by sharing God's love with those we come into contact during our week. Not just for this Easter season, but for all our days ahead.
This "challenge" got me thinking about how I show His love to people on a daily basis? It made me realize that maybe I don't always have the best approach...this is not intentional. Life happens and occasionally, I let my emotions get the best of me. Then, I find myself irritated or annoyed and not acting out of love.
There are days when life is just plain hard. I think, in fact I know my pastor would tell me even on those hard days; we must love.
Circumstances are going to happen and curve balls are going to come at warp speed. I'd like to learn how to knock these balls out of the park. How about you?
When I think about this concept of showing God's love ; I think of having compassion, empathy, and unconditional love. This is how I would like to treat folks in my daily walk.
How can I go about my day (because if we are honest here...sometimes I am just down right frazzled) and show this type of love to complete strangers or to those closest to me? We all know, we tend to "let it all out" on those we love dearest.
The answer is simple...smile and be kind. It really only comes down to those two acts. Smile and Be Kind to ALL those we meet.
There will be times we are feeling rushed and a bit annoyed that the cashier is taking soooooo long at the grocery store. Smile and Be Kind. You may be the only person who took time out of their day to smile at him or her.
Maybe you hear the same story told time and again from a loved one? Smile. It will make the person feel heard and that their story is important.
The other day one of my daughters was misbehaving and I had to sit her down to discuss why she was given a consequence. I was upset with her behavior and quite frankly annoyed at the excuses that were pouring out. I could feel myself getting angry and my tone of voice getting louder.
Then I made myself relax, I took a breath and paused. I thought in my head about how I want this to come out. I didn't want to yell. If I started yelling back at her; I would be hypocritical (this took a lot of patience and I had to remind myself to breathe).
We sat together calmly and she listened. When we were through, I smiled at her, gave her a hug and told her I love her. Afterwards, she went to do her time out (without talking back!!!) and we went about our day. Smile and Be Kind. It works.
There are so many amazing and beautiful happenings that surround us. Let's not waste time being angry or feeling irritated because of the small things. Look at the bigger picture. Teach yourself to go and show love by smiling and being kind. It takes practice, but I am teaching myself to see the sunshine in circumstances even on a cloudy day!
"It's all about finding the calm in the chaos." ~ Donna Karan
Have you gone to a baby shower where they ask you to write down advice for the Mom to be? I've done it, but wow is it difficult to give Motherly advice in only one or two sentences. You see, I think Motherhood / Parenthood is an on-going learning process. As we go through different seasons with our children we learn and grow together.
I won't even be able to say everything I want in this one blog post. I'm going to try and not sound cliche' BUT please enjoy being pregnant. Yes, there are days when you are bone tired and some when you are even sick as a dog but it is a priceless time and such a beautiful gift. We are in the process of getting our closets done, so we had to empty them all and the contents are scattered about the house. My girls had so much fun looking through their bins of baby items. My middle daughter found the journal I kept for her while I was pregnant. We sat down to read it and y'all I cried like a baby! So, my first piece of advice would be to record it. Whether it's a notebook or a fancy journal...write it down. All of it, the good and the bad. It is such a gift for your child to be able to read your own personal words written to them while they were growing inside!
The next thing I would tell parents to be is take photos! With the technology available to us today you can take pictures from just about anywhere. You will not regret having all of these photos when your children are grown up.
Moms and Dads, these little ones do not come with instruction manuals and when you leave the hospital you are on your own! Don't worry! We all make mistakes. Parenting is hard and every single parent messes up. I will even say, I make mistakes probably every single day! Don't beat yourself up about it. Do your best and love your children with all your heart. They were given to you for a reason. God knows what he is doing. Trust Him and all will work out just fine.
Be a team. As your kids get older and behavior issues arise; work as a team. Don't let your children pin Mom against Dad...because believe me they will try. Stand firm and let them know you work as one. Also, remember you are the parents. Don't let advice from Great Aunt or Grandparents make you feel inadequate. You're doing an amazing job and don't ever think otherwise!!!
I'm a work in progress, but try not to sweat the small stuff. Life is short. Life is hard. Love with all your might; say you're sorry for when you mess up (this will teach your child to apologize too); Be patient with yourself, your spouse and your children; Still do adult things...don't lose yourself along the way; Keep God at the center of it all and you won't get off track.
Encourage your children. Teach them to be kind. Teach them to see the beauty in the people and the world around them. Remind them that things may not always turn out they way they hope; but if they believe in themselves nothing is impossible. So, I could go on and on...but you'll learn as you go. You have a blank slate and a beautiful canvas to work with. Be thankful for each day and enjoy the journey!
Parenting isn't a practice. It's a daily learning experience. ~ Author Unknown
Have you ever found yourself waiting? Maybe you're waiting for medical news? Maybe you're waiting for that proposal? Maybe you're waiting for change? Wherever you find yourself waiting, it's hard.
I always thought I was a patient person, but lately when I have to wait it becomes an inner struggle. I tell myself to have faith and to leave it there. BUT then I let myself get worked up and I worry. "What if things don't turn out the way I hope?" "What if, what if, what if???"
Then, I realize it's out of my control. I can't make the email come any faster. I can't make the results reveal what I want to hear. So....I have to give it over to God and leave it there. He already knows what is going to happen and he knows the fear, worry and anxiety in my heart. None of this is going to change the outcome. I just have to believe. Believe that it will all work out the way it is supposed to. This is so hard y'all. It challenges me in so many ways.
I think about the story in Mark 4: 35-41 (NIV) when Jesus is at sea with his disciples. A furious storm comes and the men are very afraid. They wake Jesus and ask him, "Don't you care if we drown?" Jesus tells the waves and the wind, "Quiet! Be still!!" and the waves and wind die down. Jesus then asks the men, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" The men then say to one another, "Who is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!"
This story brings chills to my spine. I don't want to be someone who doubts my faith in Jesus. I want to trust, I really do. I think about my children, my husband and I think if I can't control circumstances so that none of those individuals never feels pain or disappointments; then I have no choice other than to turn it over to God. He will provide. He always does. It may not be on our time; most likely it won't be. BUT it will all be okay.
Take it from a certified worrier, things are so much easier to handle when you let God have your worries. I'm a work in progress y'all. I still struggle with worries and I think it is a big part of my personality BUT I am learning. I am learning to let God have my concerns, my fears, my praises...my all. He wants it all and He wants to help me work through them one step at a time.
My favorite verse is Matthew 11: 28-30. It says:
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Friends, if you like me often find yourself feeling weary and anxious I feel for you. I have made a choice to keep handing over my worries to Jesus.Won't you give it a try?
Worry is like a rocking chair- it gives you something to do, but it won't get you anywhere. ~ Author Unknown
What brings you joy? Do you have a handful (or more) of things that make your heart smile? Don't you wish you could keep a box full of the things that bring you happiness? When you're having a rough day, you just pull them out and there in front of you....JOY!
Well, I'm not sure how to box up sunsets, or people but I do know that I can choose to surround myself with these "things" or "places" or "people" that make me smile. Life is too short to live unhappy.
Books make me smile. I love curling up with a good read and a nice cup of coffee or tea. I honestly could spend an entire day, or days like this.....I dream of a day where I get to relax and unwind in a good story. What is your favorite book?
The lake. My ultimate place of relaxation and serenity. We go as a family every summer and I never want to leave. I love it. I love waking up, sitting outside before anyone is awake and watching the sun on the water. I love days of water skiing and fishing. Most of all I love the memories we are building with our girls. Do you have a favorite place to visit?
AHHH...Coffee. Enough said. I think I may have a serious coffee habit. One of my favorite times of the day is first thing in the morning, drinking coffee, reading my devotion and spending quiet time with God. I need this time. In fact, I crave it. If we have a busy morning or I am too tired to wake before everyone else, I miss it. There is something so calming yet energizing about having time alone to listen for God's whispers on my heart. Do you find time everyday to sit quietly?
My girlfriends...Some live near, some far. Some are new, blooming friendships, many are old and cherished. It doesn't matter where we are in life, we can always stop and catch up like we never lost touch. I love my girlfriends. We share each other's laughter, we share each other's tears and we cheer each other on through Motherhood. We don't always get to see each other as much as we wish, but they are always in my heart.
My family...the love my heart feels for the four of these individuals brings me to my knees...literally! I always dreamed of becoming a wife and a Mom, but I never imagined my heart could feel the way it does for these people. Some moments it is hurting or frustrated, but at the end of the day it is just pure and simple love. I often have to pinch myself and remind myself of what a blessing life is. Thank you God for giving me a chance to love these four people.
See...joy doesn't have to be bought at the grocery store. Joy is when we stop wanting more. It is right in front of us, if we choose to see it. Go ahead...look for it my friend.
Welcome 2016! Happy New Year everyone! I don't know about you but I enjoy this time of year and hearing people's New Year resolutions. Are you the type that makes resolutions with optimism or are you the type who doesn't want to set yourself up for any kind of failure?
I guess I fall somewhere in the middle. I do make resolutions, but a lot of times they are not any different from the year before...Yes, I want to get healthier, exercise more...the usual. But this year, I have decided I am going to approach my resolutions in a different manner. I'm not going to shout them from the rooftop or write them in my blog. They are between God and I (and well, probably my husband so he can help keep me accountable).
My youngest daughter came home from school this week and told me her Kindergarten class had made resolutions. When I asked her what she made her reply brought joy and laughter. She said very seriously, "I am going to do the laundry for you!" It made me laugh and at the same time made my heart smile that she chose to make her resolution about giving to someone else. So, what did this Mama do? You know it, I took her up on her resolution and let her help with the laundry. She helped sort it and put the detergent in the washing machine. She was beaming from ear to ear. Don't you wish your resolutions were that easy to tackle?
I'm a complete analyzer and over thinker. Hey, at least I admit it!!! I couldn't help but think, "Wow, I am proud of her that she wanted to do something to help me." Too many times when we make resolutions we declare to do something to better ourselves. Maybe we need to think more like a 5 year old and want to help others!
So, what will you do this year to help someone in your life?
This is a fun little piece I wrote for my "other job." LOL Thought I'd share it with y'all...Merry Christmas!
It's hard to believe it's December and we are almost into the second week of Advent. For our family, Advent is a time to reflect, prepare and pray about Jesus' love. A big part of celebrating Advent is thinking about the Hope you have in your life and how to make it stronger.
Personally, I love the word "Hope." It just makes me feel positive and like I can take on the world. It hasn't always felt like that though. For many people Christmas is hard. It is extremely hard when you are experiencing a rough season. I've been there. I've had many Christmas' the past few years when I wanted to hide under the covers and wait for it to pass. Then, I thought about the three pairs of eyes I have watching me and learning from how I respond to this tough time in life.
Hope is putting your faith to work even when it's hard. Hope is getting out of bed in the morning when you'd rather pull the covers over your head. Hope is going to the gym again because you know persistence will pay off. Hope is stronger than fear.
In my own life, I have struggled with hardships I never could have imagined. My heart has been shattered at the loss of my loved ones, my faith has been tested but I never gave up HOPE. It is what carried me through the dark, lonely nights where I have cried for answers. It has been the light in my life.
Hope can work miracles if you let it. When we choose Hope nothing can hold us down. Life is hard, there are no guarantees. We often feel weary and defeated by circumstances that come our way. When we have HOPE, we win. Always.
May this Advent season bring you renewed HOPE.
"Hope" is the thing with feathers-
That perches in the soul-
And sings the tune without the words-
And never stops- at all....
~Emily Dickinson, c.1861
Hi I'm Jen, married to my best friend for 15 1/2 years and a Mom to 3 beautiful, energetic girls. This blog is about life, learning to live with Grace and Girls Raised In The South (GRITS). Thanks for spending some time in my small part of the world! I hope you find a story you can relate to and you'll want to come back!
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