With the events of the past few days it is easy for us to become paralyzed with fear. For many it brings back memories of September 11, 2001 and the horror our country faced that unforgettable day. As my husband and I sat and watched the news on Friday evening it brought back so many fears and questions.
As a parent, I wondered how to tell my children or if to say anything at all? We felt the younger two are too young to understand and would only be scared by the news. My older daughter heard about it and therefore we had to address it with her. Our choice was to do it in the most gentle and loving way we could. We reassured her she is safe and that God is always there to protect her. After our talk, I thought to myself, "Is she really safe in today's world?" "Did I just lie to my daughter?"
We live in a totally different world than when you or I grew up. After September 11th many things changed in our country as far as security etc. Now, I think it will change even more. The one thing that hasn't changed though and never will is how our faith can help us get through these worrisome and troubling times. I'm not going to lie, I am scared. I am nervous for our country and what is going to happen in the coming days, months or year. I think about all the families affected by Friday's events and it breaks my heart. BUT I have faith. I don't have a clue what will take place but I do know our God will strengthen us and uphold us if we let Him. I know that when we cry out in the middle of the night because we are scared for our children's and grandchildren's future; He hears us. He is crying right along with us.
When we are faced with events like this or any life changing event really; we have two choices. We can go on living in fear or we can go on living by faith. I choose to let my faith carry me through. What about you? Which one do you choose? How are you handling these situations with your children?
We were out for a Mommy-daughter day. With three girls my husband and I try hard to spend one on one time with each of them as we can. Today, was my day with my seven year old. We ran some errands and had a nice lunch together. Then, she was able to pick her last activity. She wanted to go shopping for a new dress. So, off to the store we went.
My daughter is a fun loving, humorous, sensitive, and beautiful little girl. She is almost always smiling and loves to laugh. Her laughter is so distinctive and contagious. (She oftentimes is getting told to stop laughing and do _______). After today, I will try my best not to EVER tell her to stop laughing. Here’s why: We were in the store browsing through all the different dresses. She picked out a handful to try on so we mosied over to the fitting room.
My daughter’s each are built differently. My oldest is thin and no matter what she wears, it seems “big” on her. My youngest daughter is growing like a weed and right now, I can’t keep up with her clothes. My middle daughter is petite and has straight hips.
She picked up her 4 dresses to try on and was smiling from ear to ear. There’s something about having Mommy day and shopping that make a 7 year old’s heart smile. She tried on the first dress and it fit beautifully. She looked so pretty. As she was twirling around in front of all the mirrors, I was daydreaming about shopping with her for her prom dress, or wedding dress. Oh! we have so many wonderful memories yet to be made. Then, she moves on to dress number two. It’s snug and not as flattering as the first. My daughter turns around and looks at herself in the mirror and just stops. She isn’t smiling anymore, she is just standing there with a serious, and sad face. I asked her if she wanted to try on the next one and that not everything always fits the same. She replied, “I’m fat.” I looked down. Her sky blue eyes were filled with tears. She continued, “I don’t look like so and so and I am fat.” “Stop that right now!” “You are not fat.” “You’re beautiful.” My heart sank. How in the world does my 7 year old daughter feel so badly about herself? Did I make her feel this way? Did I or my husband say something to make her think she was fat?
I bent down and looked her in the eyes and told her how much I love her. I told her she was as beautiful outside as she is inside. Her face began to brighten and she smiled her pretty little smile. The entire way home all I could think about was those two words, “I’m fat.” Then, I thought how much harder it is going to get then being 7 years old and trying on a dress with Mom.
There is no better time than right now to tell your daughters’ how amazing and precious they are. Tell them how unique and special God made them. Lift them up and fill them with positive affirming words. There will be a time for talks about keeping ourselves healthy etc. Right now, the time is to teach my girls to believe in this: Psalm 139:14
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
Do you ever feel like this woman? Frazzled, stressed, on or over the edge? However, you say it, it doesn't feel good. Can you identify what causes you to feel this way? For me, one of the things and it may even be the main reason...I have a problem saying no. I don't know what the reason behind it is, but I feel like I have to take everything upon myself. Maybe I am trying to be a people pleaser? Maybe it's Mom guilt? Whatever it is I wish it would leave.
Is it hard for you to say no to people's requests? I've been doing a lot of thinking lately and trying to prioritize my time and schedule. I've come to the conclusion that I have to learn how to say no. I have to learn that when I say yes to ALL these other tasks (which are still important) that I end up stuffing what I feel is most important (my goals and my dreams). When I say yes to numerous volunteering positions at school, church etc. I am saying no to my health, my sanity, my dream of writing. I'm not being selfish. I am trying to be a Woman, Wife and Mom who takes care of herself. For the longest time I have not done so and it's time for change. The greatest gift we can give our families is to take the time to care for ourselves. Whether that means you make exercise, work, meditate WHATEVER your goal is. It's going to look different for everyone and unique to each woman's situation. We need to support one another. We need to offer ourselves and each other some GRACE.
When we are in the process of trying to do it all we usually end up not doing much of anything. Or at least not doing it well. This is not okay with me. I want to find a way to prioritize my day and fill it with the steps that will help me reach my goals. Whew...sounds good right? Sound easy? Not so much. BUT it does sound necessary. The thing to remember is these goals and dreams are going to change as well. Our goal when our children are newborns is completely different from when they are school aged and older. Now that my girls are a little more independent, I have to let them do more. Kids can handle more than we think. We just need to give them the opportunity to try and help set them up for success.
So, you ask, "How do you do it?" "How can we start to prioritize our day?" Well, I think the first thing we need to do is to set a goal. Now, for some it may be a daily goal, weekly goal or maybe a monthly goal. Whatever it is identifying your goal is the first step. Once you know what your goal is then you can figure out the small steps you need to take in order to fulfill it.
Right now, for me I have to learn to say no to so many commitments in order to start prioritizing my day. I know what my goal is and I know that in order to succeed at it, I cannot fill my days with too many tasks. I have to allow myself the allotted time to work on my goal. If we don't take ourselves seriously, no one else will either. So, don't let yourself feel silly or not enough. Respect your goals and dreams and everyone around you will start to do the same.
I'm off now to think more about my goals and dreams and start putting them into action. I'll meet you back here next time and share more about why saying no is not a bad thing! In the meantime. go for it!!! I'm cheering you on and know you can do whatever you put your mind to!
God gives us dreams a size too big so that we can grow in them. ~Author Unknown
Have you had a day when it was hard to get out of bed? I'm not talking literally, I mean physically IT HURTS TO MOVE. I recently (like last week) had a laparoscopic procedure. I'm filled with joy to say everything went well. Although, for a few days it hurt to move. It was uncomfortable to sit, to lie down and to walk. Well, I don't know about your body but I'm not sure what other positions my body expects me to be in!
I'm starting to feel more like myself again each and every day. Thank Goodness! I am grateful for my husband being able to take off a few days to help me with the girls. I'm not sure if it's a pride thing but I wish I could have enjoyed lying around more. That may sound crazy to you, but let me explain....anyone with children knows how demanding and tiring all the running around can make you. So, with that said...our three girls are constantly on the go. It's a choice we made to have them in activities, but wowsers I am feeling the brunt of all the busyness. I don't get much time to "sit down" during the day. I'm not asking for a nap (well maybe somedays I am)....I am just asking for a few moments to not feel like a hamster spinning on it's wheel. I want to lie down at nighttime and not feel so exhausted yet at the same time feeling like I didn't accomplish ONE productive thing all day long.
The problem here is I am forgetting ALL the small things matter.
Not everyday...but quite often I am feeling weary. I am feeling consumed by things that I should be enjoying but are not. This hurts. It's not so much that it is hurting my body but it's hurting my soul. Why am I on some days finding it so hard to enjoy this season of our lives? I have so many blessings that my cup should be overflowing. Yet, I feel weary. So, I decided in these past few days of having some down time (or maybe it was the strong medicine) JUST KIDDING!!! I've decided I am going to be full of gratitude instead of attitude. I'm so tired of feeling tired. Can y'all relate? Yes, I am busy; Yes, it's going to take shifting priorities around; Yes, I feel like a cab driver, but YES, I get to be home and enjoy these few years because by golly they are going to fly by. They already have. My oldest daughter will be in middle school next year....this blows my mind!
I don't want to look back in 10 years from now and wish I would have enjoyed it more. I sadly know the reality that we are not promised tomorrow. I don't want to live regretting these precious years. I'm going to continue to chase my dream of writing and getting my story shared. I'm going to continue to work on being grateful and loving each moment I get to be with my family (even the hard moments). It's through struggle we find growth. I'm kicking off a new attitude...one filled with gratitude. Who's with me?
What is one thing you are grateful for today?
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What if I told you I have doubted my own ability to be the best Mom for my girls? Does this make me less of a good Mom? A little over ten years ago I welcomed Motherhood yet I had not one clue what I was doing. Somehow, we made it and now, fast forward ten plus years and here we are with three beautiful daughters whom I adore and love beyond belief. Even though I have been doing this mothering gig for a while now, I still have days when I doubt myself.
I can imagine a lot of Moms feel this way. We try so hard to be patient, loving, kind and selfless mothers. Then the hard times come. Wow, who would of thought parenting could be so hard? We fall, we stumble, we make A LOT OF mistakes and it leaves us wondering, "Am I really cut out for all of this?" You are not alone in this thinking.
There is GOOD news though! My friend, you are enough! I am saying it again because you REALLY need to hear it...YOU ARE ENOUGH! God chose YOU to be the Mother of your children for a reason. No mistakes going on there....I truly believe Motherhood is a divine calling and God knows exactly what HE is doing.
When you are waiting in the long, tedious duty of car line, or helping with Math homework that makes you want to bang your head against the wall...You are enough! When your sweet little ones talk sassy and make you want to hide in the closet until Dad gets home...you are enough!
We are blessed each new day that we awake. The mistakes that you made yesterday are gone. No one is keeping tabs and judging you. Move on and make today the best day it can be.
Don't worry so much when you stumble and fall. God has you. He sees you struggle and hears your call for help. He doesn't want you to be a perfect Mom; he wants you to be the Mom he designed you to be! Yes, we are going to get discouraged when hard days come. When this happens, let Him lead the way, so you can follow. If you let Him, He will equip you with everything you need. Remember my friend, in His eyes you are always ENOUGH!
"Entrust your works to the Lord, and your plans will succeed."
~ Proverbs 16:3
Do you consider yourself an introvert or extrovert? Have you gone through stages of life when you felt more alone? I know I have...I think for many Moms making friends can feel tricky. It's not that we don't want to make friends. I believe it's more like we aren't sure where to make those friends.
When I was a new Mom, I attended a breast feeding group where I met an amazing group of Moms. We began meeting up outside of our official group and became truly the best of friends. We still see each other today (10 years later) and four of us now live within 5 miles of each other. We have been doing Motherhood together for over 10 years now. The bond with women like this is a bond that doesn't get broken.
Once my girls started pre-school and even Elementary school it began to get difficult to make more friends. I volunteer at their schools and I attend as many class parties as I can, but it's not always easy or convenient to strike up a conversation with a Mom at these events.
Then I found MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). Oh how I wish I would have found MOPS ten years ago. Better late than never! I have been going to MOPS for a few years now and have since graduated to MomsNext (for Moms of school aged children). I don't have enough space to write all the benefits of a Moms group. These ladies have changed my life. They make me strive to be a better Mom, wife and woman. I adore them and look up to each of them in various ways. They are my tribe.
When Motherhood gets rough and tumbled as we all know it does...you need a tribe. You need those friends who you can call and say, "Ok, I'm losing it here, want to meet for coffee?" Then you both show up, no make up, hair tousled and yoga pants on....no judgement, just friendship.
There have been times I feel I wouldn't have made it through the day if I didn't have my friends to lean on. This is what Motherhood should be. There is no reason to feel like you need to be made up and perfect. Just show up and let someone say, "Me too...I feel the same exact way!" You'll then have the beginning of your tribe!
Friendship is not about whom you have known the longest; it is about who came and never left your side. ~Unknown
Have you ever felt someone's presence right beside you when you are alone? This happens to me sometimes. At first it scared me, but over the past few years I find it brings me comfort. I've noticed that I sense it the most when I am feeling overwhelmed. It feels as if someone is telling me to slow myself down. Today was one of those days.
It's been an incredibly busy week with back to school nights, after school activities starting and my husband being away all week. I've had a pile of "to do" papers stacked up on my desk for the past week. Needing to get things checked off my list, I sat down at my desk for the challenge ahead. I was attempting to get some mundane tasks done when my mind started to wander. I was thinking about my Dad and a letter he wrote for me that was found after he passed away. I couldn't remember exactly where I stored it last. I started to feel worried and uneasy. I have a negative habit of fixating on things I misplace (My husband would probably say that I obsess over finding things!) It's hard to explain, but this letter...well it's one of those things that I don't ever want to lose. My Dad used to love reading books and writing letters. I love that I inherited my passion for books and writing from him.
I was also thinking about all the things I had to accomplish this week and wondering how I was going to do it all without burning myself out. Isn't it funny how God puts things in your life at just the right time? I am beginning a new bible study next week and it is about prioritizing time and hearing God's call for your life. Can you say PERFECT timing!!! I cannot tell you how badly this fits into my season of life right now. #TameYourList
As I was going about my day trying to make the best of my time; I needed to step away from the computer and get some fresh air. I moseyed down to the mailbox. I don't know what it is about getting the mail, but some days I get so excited to reach in and see what was delivered (other than bills of course!) Usually it's nothing too exciting, but you never know what may arrive. Don't judge y'all...I'm learning to choose optimism =)
When I was done sorting through the mail, I decided to get back to my tasks. I tried so hard to concentrate on what needed to be done, but couldn't help to think about the letter from my Dad. Why was I thinking so much about it today? I felt an urge to find it. I began to go through my hope chest that I swore the letter was in. Sadly, I could not find it. I could imagine in my head what it looked like. I could feel the soft paper between my fingers. The memory of reading it and how I felt as I stared at the words my Dad wrote was overwhelming.
Today, I wanted so badly to hear his voice. I sat on my floor and cried. I felt it again. I knew in that moment that my Dad was with me. I didn't need to find that letter right then and there. I just needed to sit still and feel his love around me even for just a moment.
These are the moments that take my breath away. For today, I treasure this feeling in my heart. Tomorrow....I will find the letter.
“Perhaps they are not the stars, but rather openings in Heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.” – Unknown
Have you ever felt like the day passed you by? Do you sometimes wish there were more hours in a day?
If you do, what would you want to accomplish in those extra hours? I've felt like this before. I've busied myself with tasks all day long. When it came time to go to bed I'll have asked, "What took up all my time today?"
I like being organized. Some may call me old fashioned. I have a planner and you better believe it...I use it! Yes, I have an I phone too (come on, I'm not that bad)! I like to see my day, week and sometimes my month planned out so I know what to expect. As a busy Mom trying to work from home and then escorting my girls from activity to activity, my planner keeps me sane.
Parenthood has certainly taught me that sometimes our plans change. Who am I kidding? Once you have children, plans change all the time. I've been learning to go with the flow. Not surprisingly, it makes my day go much smoother if I am flexible.
A few days ago I was really wanting to take a walk. I felt cooped up and needed fresh air. The minute I stepped outside the sky opened and it poured. I have to admit, I was disappointed. I went back inside and waited.
It took some time, but soon the sun was shining again. I started my walk and boom there it was: the most clear, beautiful rainbow. It was a sign. It was a symbol for me to slow down and enjoy my day. There's no rush to fit as much as we can into our 24 hour day.
Pause and notice God's beauty all around you. It's there...you just have to look.
Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Please tell me I am not the only one who believes we should apologize when we've done something wrong? Yes, even us parents! The other day I was tired. I was frustrated about something that had nothing to do with my children or my husband. I felt as if I had a zillion tasks on my to do list and not enough hours in the day. Sound familiar? I bet it does. Well, to add to the unpleasant feelings I was already letting seep in to my head; my daughters were feeling as much on the edge as I was. The girls had been playing in the playroom and when I walked in I thought I walked into a disaster scene. Every. Single. Toy. scattered about. Every. Single. Book. scattered about. Every. Single. American Girl Doll outfit in a heaping pile on the floor.
I should have walked right away. I could feel my heart thumping and my blood beginning to boil. I lost it folks. I wish I could have told you I was patient and calm and nicely asked for it to be cleaned up. Nope, nada...not this time. I yelled. I was not a happy Mom. I told them if I came back after the timer went off and you couldn't see the rug, I was putting the toys in the garbage. Yeah, not Mom of the Year moment for me. I marched myself into the kitchen, punched in the time on the microwave and waited.
I didn't want to throw anything out, I really did not. I wanted to walk back into the room and it be clean. Well, you can probably guess what happened next. The timer went off and the screaming began. This time it wasn't me. It was the girls. They were wailing and I didn't even get into the playroom yet. As I turned the corner, I could already see the mess only it evolved from a huge pile in the middle into little tiny messes in the corners of the room. Yes, you could see the rug plain and clean but not one toy had been put away. Oh, I wish I had taken my blood pressure. Actually, no I'm glad I didn't. I was stumped. They actually stopped me in my tracks and made me wonder, "Was I talking to the wall a few minutes ago?" Then it hit me. I started laughing and I couldn't stop. They were looking at me like I had ten heads. The poor things didn't know if I was going to bust or cry. Then my one daughter started laughing. The other two didn't move. They looked at me wide eyed and confused.
I felt terrible. I sat down and asked them to join me. I calmly explained to them that I was sorry for losing my temper. I explained that the playroom cannot look the way it did when I first came in. We talked about how we need to take care of our toys. Instead of yelling we had a conversation about cleaning up and listening to one another. It was a moment filled with God's grace. I have to be honest I was surprised myself. It felt so much better to calmly have their attention then to be yelling and raising my voice.
It made me realize how important it is to model Grace for my girls. I want our home to be a place where we say, "I'm sorry" and we graciously forgive each other and move on.
It's hard to look at our own behavior and have insight into our mistakes. BUT, we are human and we do make mistakes. Our children mimic us and watch us on a daily basis.
There is nothing more eye opening for me than to hear one of my girls have a sassy tone of voice and know they learned it from either me or my husband. It stops me and it doesn't feel good. It makes me wonder, "WOW, is this the tone of voice my daughters see or hear in me and my husband?" It is an instant wake up call.
It teaches me I need to be aware of how my children see me. If I model God's Grace they will pick it up. I need to teach them how to forgive and how to admit when we are wrong. This isn't to say I won't have days where I won't lose my temper or when I feel impatient. Those days are still going to happen, but now I can make them happen less. Won't you give it a try?
Grace isn't just a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. It is a way to live. ~ Jacqueline Winspear
As Mother's Day approaches on Sunday I just want and need to say this...it's okay if Mother's Day is hard for you. For some of us the day brings a bittersweet feeling. Yes, the homemade cards, breakfast in bed or hearing your littles tell you how much they love you warms a Mother's heart so, so much. We all love those kind acts and appreciate them more than you'll ever know. At the same time, when you are missing your own Mom or wishing you were a Mom, or missing a child you lost...all of these can hurt down to the core.
So, give yourself a break. It's okay if you want to have some alone time on Mother's Day. It's also okay if you want to surround yourself with family and friends. Whatever you do, take some time and remember the one you are missing. Do something to help you celebrate their memory.
I miss my Mom every day, but Mother's day in particular brings a sadness to my heart. What I wouldn't give to be able to hug my Mom again. I will be taking some time this Sunday to be quiet, to think of her and to remember some of my favorite memories we shared.
Happy Mother's Day to all of you Mama's out there. I pray that you have a relaxing, peaceful day. Remember you do an amazing job at being a Mom. You were made for your family. Your deeds do not go unnoticed. Enjoy your special day!
To my Mom: I love you with all my heart. I miss you each and every day. I know you are smiling down on us. Thank you for being my angel.
A Mom's Hug lasts long after she lets go~ Author unknown
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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