Moms, It’s Okay Not To Be Okay

“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” ~ Jeremiah 31: 25

It’s lunchtime and the kids are screaming for food. You survey the kitchen for something quick to eat make because you have no more energy. Your day has been good but you’re just tired and overwhelmed. Sadly, it’s still hours before your husband comes through the door. You love your kids but you need a breather. You’re not okay.

I’ve had many days like this over the last few weeks. I’ve struggled with my mood despite taking my anxiety medication. I’ve fought depression as I look outside and see gray skies with no blooms. I yearn to be around life to help revive my mom soul. My mom friends are deep in their own family commitments so I have no one to call on in the midst of my loneliness. I’m struggling.

These mom days are hard. They’re exhausting when you feel like you have nothing left to give. You love your babies but just feel trapped in this world of everyone needing you.

Moms, can I tell you something? These seasons, days, weeks and months are normal. We are constantly serving others before ourselves. Yes, it’s important to take time alone but in real life those days are far and few between. It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to realize you need help from others. Please don’t feel like you have to be a perfect mom to be a good mom. God sees your struggle. God knows you’re exhausted.

I think it’s a beautiful thing to say you are struggling. Every mom needs to hear they are not alone. These seasons are what keeps you pressing in to God’s word. Pressing in to God as you seek Him to find restoration for your weary soul.

The best part about going through these moments — when the days are good you become so thankful that you kept pushing through. That you found a way to survive. Not to mention those beautiful faces that give you hugs and smiles when you are at your lowest. Those moments are my saving grace. I feel like that’s God reminding me of His love for us. He’s given us our babies to keep us going when we have nothing left.

Moms, don’t be ashamed to go to God with a heavy heart. Don’t be afraid to take help from a friend when they ask if you need something. Don’t feel guilty for wanting time away for yourself. Most importantly, don’t worry about not being okay today. The sun will shine. Keep your weary eyes open so you can see those sweet reminders that God sends us each day.

Parents, Your Kids Can Help Too

When Little is Good Enough

Exhausted Children: Why Your Kids May Not Be Getting Enough Sleep

Parenting Through Grace

Encourage a Mother with the Last Minute $1 Gift Idea

 

Untitled-design-19.jpg

Moms. What would we do without them? Today is their time to shine. No matter how they became a mom or who calls them mom, it’s a time to recognize their hard work. Here is a great way to encourage a mom in your life.

I host a brunch every month and last weekend I had my sweet ladies participate in an encouraging craft idea. I saw another wife do this for her husband one year. I thought how cool would this be to give moms or ladies a little encouragement throughout their days. I call them encouraging boxes.

What you’ll need:

  • Box/jar
  • Pencil, pens, color pencils
  • Scraps of paper
  • Bible/Quote book

This super easy craft is something that is sure to bring a smile to a mother’s face. As one of my ladies mentioned last week — it’s also kind of a personal gift to give someone. Something that takes some time and thought.

I made one for a dear friend of mine who is expecting her third child. She wasn’t able to attend the Lady’s Brunch, but usually attends. So we all put in a few quotes, scriptures and encouraging notes.

I like to think of the person and what makes them smile. Whether they like funny jokes from “The Office” TV show or enjoys reading scriptures and encouraging mommy quotes. I write them out on a piece of paper. I even draw little pictures on them with colored pencils. Then I fold it up and stick it in the box.

The whole idea behind the gift is that they only pull out a piece of paper when they need some encouragement. Whether that be in the midst of disciplining a child or dealing with a rude coworker. These boxes are so easy to make. Everyone needs encouragement. But we can’t always be there to provide it or know they are struggling.

For those last minute Mother’s Day shoppers this could be something cheap and easy to do for a mom. Whether they lost a child, struggle with infertility or are raising up toddler.

 

Sweet friends filling their own boxes to help encourage another lady. 

A Cup of Tea and a Whole Lot of Grace

How to Date A Mom

Pinterest loving, Cloth Diapering, Paleo Eating Moms are Human Too

Parenting Through Grace

A Cup of Tea and a Whole Lot of Grace

IMG_1809

If you’ve been following me a while then you know how much I love to listen and read things from Sally Clarkson. She is a true inspiration for mothers and women. Lately, I’v been reading her book, “The Life Giving Table.” If you haven’t picked up a copy then order one now. Anyway, so as I was reading her book, I heard God tell me to find a way to invite other ladies to enjoy an afternoon of tea. That’s how I started my monthly Lady’s Brunch group.

I really wanted to create a time where women could come for a few hours and be served the best. I have china dishes and tea cups that I really wanted to use for this setting. Not to show that I have the best, but because it’s rare to be served on someone’s fine china unless it’s a holiday. I kept thinking to myself that these ladies give their best each day to their kids, husbands, work, families and may have little time to treat themselves.

I remember having two ladies show up for my first lady’s brunch. Their reactions to seeing the table set was priceless. Each lady got to pick their favorite tea cup along with their preferred beverage. The coolest part was that we spent about 3 hours sitting and talking about life. What were are struggles, our stories of adoption and fostering, and even the lack of community in our society.

The second meeting went just as well. This time there were 3 ladies that joined me for the afternoon. Once again, we sat and talked for a good 3 hours before we returned home to our families. I noticed each lady left a little bit lighter from the burdens of their everyday life. As much as we all love our husbands and kids…it was great to take just a few hours to rejuvenate ourselves and connect.

Since I started this group I have grown so much closer to these ladies. Since I moved to Indiana I have struggled to make honest and deep friendships with other moms. But I’m happy to say I now have those friendships. Why? Because I turned my focus from my self and found others to help.

As a mom it’s a struggle to make good friends. It’s hard to even find the time. One thing I never realized was how lonely motherhood can be. But now I have people to lean on. Godly women who seek God daily. Ladies who I respect and turn to when I need a voice of reason.

Our society has taught us to build bigger homes, drive fancier cars and make it all about what we want. All the while we are forgetting those around us. We don’t help people because we see them more as burdens that could take us away from our ideal lives.

Sally Clarkson

I encourage you today to step out of your comfort zone. Find someone who needs a friend. I don’t mean the people of your normal crowd. I mean people you naturally would avoid. People who don’t quite wear the same clothes you do. People who don’t make as much money. At the end of our lives it’s not about what we racked up in things on this earth but the legacy we left behind. What legacy will you leave behind?

When I Doubt God Sends a Sweet Reminder

How Tea Time Helps Me Stay Connected

Cultivating Friendship

How to Date A Mom

Parenting Through Grace

Pinterest loving, Cloth Diapering, Paleo Eating Moms are Human Too

Hey dad, did you know?-2

Before we became moms we had an idea of what we wanted to be like. Some of us were determined to be fun. Others took a personal oath that we would never have kids like little Johnny down the street. As you know, those ideals quickly change once the doctor places that beautiful baby in your arms.

For me, I swore that I would NEVER give my daughter a pacifier. The first night home from the hospital and I was scrambling to find the unopened baby shower gift. I also remember never wanting to feed my child formula. Sadly, because of my work schedule I was forced to supplement and then eventually switch over entirely when my daughter was 6 months old. But what about the ideals I kept?

One of my favorite things to do is find creative ways to decorate my home and my child’s birthday parties with inspiration from Pinterest. I may not always succeed at my projects but I still try. I made most of Aurora’s room décor with help from my husband. I also made my daughter’s zoo animal cupcakes instead of paying a fortune.

Another ideal that shocks many moms when I talk to them is cloth diapering. Most moms call me a “super mom” because I choose to rewash diapers my child uses instead of throwing them away. It’s actually not that hard.

Then there is paleo. I see moms giving their kids mac and cheese (I’m not hating) while I try hard to give my child a healthy – mostly paleo – meal. Making sure my daughter has healthy food is really important to me, mostly because I’ve struggled most of my life with the unhealthy stuff. So does that make me a better mom?

Absolutely NOT. I see posts all of the time joking about moms who prefer to make Pinterest birthday parties and cook paleo. As if what I and other moms do is saying, “I’m better than you.” I don’t want what I like to do to send that message. These are just things I really enjoy.

Moms, we all choose to raise our families a different way. But it doesn’t mean anyone is better than the other. God has given us different strengths and gifts to use. Instead of comparing yourself to the mom next door, how about we come together. Find a way to encourage other moms as they do what they love. Your strengths may be their weaknesses.

As women we already struggle with the “she’s totally judging me for wearing this shirt” mentality. Sadly, we size each other up and instantly compare ourselves when walking into a room. We shouldn’t be competing with each other. We should be encouraging one another. We have a tough job as moms and women.

So remember when you make fun of moms who like things like organic food and essential oils or the moms who feed their kids McDonalds and drink a glass of wine after a hard day. Remember they are human too. No one is perfect. Every mom is trying their hardest. It’s a HARD role. But we can do it – especially when we have others encouraging us along the way.

Parenting Through Grace

The Great Adventure Called Life

What I Learned After Being a Stay-At-Home Mom for 2 Days

How Tea Time Helps Me Stay Connected

Parenting Through Grace

Untitled-design-9.jpg

“What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” – Philippians 4:9

“What did I say?” “Don’t touch that.” “No. ma’am.” I have repeated these same phrases for the last few days. My daughter is almost a 2-years-old; which means we are working on listening to mom and dad. My main struggle has been repeating myself and yet she continues to do the same thing after I told her not to. I feel like a broken record. Why won’t she listen?

If you’re a parent then you know exactly what I’m talking about. You spend most of the day trying to teach and correct your children. And yet it seems the information goes in one ear and out the other. Yesterday was a rough day. I found myself frustrated with my daughter. I would correct her and then she was doing something else. She is starting to test her limits with me. Always trying to see how far she can go. It’s frustrating.  That’s when I realized this must be how God feels.

God parents us each day. He gives us guidelines to live by. (The Bible). He teaches us through His word what we need to do as Christians. However, we continue to push the limits. Even when we know it’s wrong. Many of us have faced the punishment for our actions. And yet we’re still making mistakes. Why?

Because we are all sinners. Yes, even our babies. Those cute and chubby kiddos came into this world as sinners. True, they learn habits from those around them, but we all have sinful nature inside. Even as an adult I fight against daily sin. If you’re human then so do you. But there is good news.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” – Ephesians 2:4-9

God’s grace. I had a friend text me during my rough day. She reminded me of how God gives us grace even when we don’t deserve it. Our kids need that as well. Even when it seems like they will never do what we ask. We have to remember to give them grace in the midst of those moments. It may take months or even years to see the lessons we teach them. But I promise it’s not wasted. I can think of MANY times I tested my limits with God. But He was still there. He never left my side. Eventually, I decided to follow His advice instead of my own.

As a reminder to you amazing parents, like your kids, you are still learning as well. For parents of young ones, now is the time to strengthen the patient muscle. To fight through the tough days even when we feel like failures. You’re not wasting your breath or energy. Every effort you put into your child means they are one step closer to becoming the Godly men and women they were called to be.

What are some struggles you face with your kids?

How do you remind yourself to show them grace?

5 Ways to Show Your Spouse You Love Them

The Great Adventure Called Life

What I Learned After Being a Stay-At-Home Mom for 2 Days

6 Natural Items to Use When Your Family is Sick

What I Learned After Being a Stay-At-Home Mom for 2 Days

IMG_0429

Last week I took two days off for work. We had some foster/adoption things we need to get done so I decided to take a few days to focus on that. My husband just went back to work and our nanny was off since I was at home. I was excited to see what it was like to be a stay-at-home mom. My first thought, “I can get so much done.”

Well I was mistaken. I was the worst stay-at-home mom ever. My house was messy. The dishes were piling up quickly. I was constantly trying to get things done while making sure Aurora wasn’t getting into stuff. I also was trying to get some more stuff done for my blog. I accomplished little to nothing those two days. How can I be home for two days and NOT have a clean house or have anything to show for it? I knew being at home is a tough job, but I underestimated it.

IMG_3869.JPG

I remember seeing an Insta-story by one mom who is part of the Risen Motherhood ministry. She was doing a “day in the life” video series. The first video, she talked about how she gets up 3 days a week at 5am to go to the gym. Then comes home and has quiet time before her kids get up. This mom has 5 kids of her own. Ages ranging from 9 to 10 months. (I’m not sure about the exact ages. I’m just guessing by how old they looked in the videos I watched). Anyway, later she posted a video where she was teaching scriptures to her kids at breakfast.  After breakfast, she changed out of her pajamas and into normal day clothes. She looked fabulous for it taking 10 minutes. All day I kept looking at her stories thinking I haven’t worked out today. I only have one child and I’m still in sloppy clothes. Yes, I was comparing myself to this sweet mom who looked like she had it all together.

But at the end of the day she posted another video. This time she spoke about how there was a lot of things we did not see in the videos. Things like her lack of patience with her kids. Or her daily sin and selfishness. But through God’s grace she (and everyone else) can start over and try harder. It’s through God’s grace that we as moms are able to do the same for our children. They are sinners just like us. (Yes, even those cute toddlers). Moms you know, even on those hard days, that’s when God reminds us of what it’s like for Him to give us grace.

Pinterest-Quote-3.jpg

Even though I was terrible at being a stay-at-home mom, I realized that other moms struggle with the same thoughts. I know several full-time stay-at-home moms who work hard to give their kids a great education, attention, teaching moments and love all day. Every day. Unlike me, many don’t have a nanny that takes over in the middle of the day. For many they don’t get to leave the house and go to a job of their own. Their job is being there for those kiddos.

In those few days I saw a small glimpse of what many amazing women do throughout the world. Stay-at-home moms rock. They have the HARDEST job. It’s also one that will leave an impact for generations to come.

If you know a stay-at-home mom or are one then I want you to remember that you are doing some BIG things. It may not feel like it on those rough days. Yes, it’s a job you may not see evidence of your hard work for years to come. But don’t give-up. Don’t compare yourself to other moms. And don’t do it alone.

God calls us to be in a community together. Not just at church. Yes, it’s hard to reach out to another mom when you’re too busy with your own kids each day. But I promise there is a mom out there that needs a friend, help or someone to talk to who knows what they’re going through. So find another mom in your community to befriend. Someone you don’t know already. You never know how it will bless that mom. It may give her that extra energy she needs to raise her kiddos the way she has always hoped.

What are some struggles you face as a stay-at-home mom?

How can others help you on days when things are going rough?

What are some ways you stay encourgaed?

Paleo Skillet Blueberry Cobbler

Back to Basics: When You Have to Start from the Beginning

How Tea Time Helps Me Stay Connected

6 Natural Items to Use When Your Family is Sick

DateBox: What’s Really Inside?

IMG_3083

Datebox. It’s one of thousands of subscription boxes you can order. Each month there is a new activity, snack and game inside. My husband and I were curious so we started ordering them. We were NOT disappointed. We have been getting a date box every month for 6 months. But I wanted to give you guys a look into this month’s box.

DateBox: Holiday Special. 

  • Spotify Playlist for to go with the Datebox
  • Peppermint Truffles — You make them together
  • Eggnog Recipe
  • Conversation Starter
  • Capsule Ornament making kit
  • Pictionary with Christmas tunes

Peppermint Truffles. We received supplies for White Chocolate Peppermint Truffles. Sometimes in Dateboxes they will provide all the ingredients and sometimes you have to pick up a few things up yourself. For us, all we needed was cream cheese. They provided the Oreos, white chocolate and candy canes.

I’m sorry to say these look horrible. They were suppose to be coated in white chocolate and sprinkled with candy canes, but I burned the chocolate on the stove. It’s best if you melt it in a microwave. Sadly, we don’t have one so that’s why this photo isn’t as cool as I had hoped.

Capsule Ornament. This was one of my favorite things in the box. They provided all the supplies to decorate the ornament. Then you write a letter and place it inside of the ornament and hang on the tree. The catch is you don’t read the letter aloud until next Christmas. Read more about how we’re making it a new tradition this year.

Pictionary with Christmas Carols. This was such a fun game. You can play it against each other or work together. One person draws a card. Then tries to draw the title of the Christmas tune before the sand runs out. You can’t use numbers or letters at ALL. This game had us laughing so hard. Steven and I worked together thankfully. I thought I knew Christmas songs until we had to figure them out through pictures.

This Datebox also came with a Eggnog recipe. We skipped that one because we didn’t have all of the ingredients. Instead we just had coffee with our date. Also, each box comes with a specific Spotify playlist. I’ve never been disappointed with any of the playlists. The box will almost always have conversation starters for you and your spouse as well. Each month there is something new we learn about one another through those questions.

Again, I love getting this box once a month. We don’t live near family and only have a Nanny during the week. So when we want a date night this helps us take time for ourselves. Plus, every box is unique. It keeps the dates exciting even if they are at home.

Have you subscribed to the Datebox? If so let me know what you like most? What was your favorite box so far?

Here is $10 off of your first Datebox. Just click here.

How to make a Capsule Ornament

A New Christmas Tradition: “I call mistletoe.”

7 Ways to Survive the Holidays When You’re Single

Day 12 Giveaway: Prayer Journal

IMG_0643

It’s the FINAL day for the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway. While I am sad it’s coming to an end. I’m also excited to reveal the last but not least item up for grabs. “Pray Big” is a 6 weeks journal.

This journal was created by Karem who wanted to see growth in her own prayer life.

Karmen Smith, who has an M.A. in Elementary Education, taught 1st grade before resigning to homeschool her two sons. Her article “Confessions of a Shopaholic” was featured in WHOA Magazine. She has also had the honor of sharing her story on many podcasts, including Christy Wright’s Business Boutique. Chosen as one of Jennifer Rothchild’s “Forty Under 40” in 2016, Karmen is proving she is determined to make an eternal impact.

IMG_0277

Karmen Smith, self-published a prayer journal When You Pray Big Things Happen, is a passionate storyteller who loves encouraging others with REAL stories about REAL life. Her heartbeat is to challenge women to look for the activity of God amidst life’s struggles.

Karmen and her husband Jason own and operate the local feed and seed store in their hometown of Fort Payne, Alabama. They have two boys and enjoy fostering children on their farm on Lookout Mountain. You can read more about Karmen and her passion for life at www.karmensmith.com.

Here is how you can win a free copy.

Click here to view this promotion.

 

Day 11 Giveaway: Pampered Chef

23416354_10159563589140123_1600777966_n

The 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway is almost over. But I still have a few more items for you guys. Today, you get a chance to win a 3 cutting boards from Pampered Chef’s Collection. This is a $17 value.

Stacy is the lady behind this gift. She donated this item for the giveaway. Here’s how Stacey decided to partner with Pampered Chef.

IMG_5043

“I’m a stay-at-home mom to 4 great kids whom I homeschool.  I was trying to find a way to help with the little extras at home but have fun while doing it.  One night, I hosted a Pampered Chef show in my home. My husband commented, “Hey you could do that and have fun too.”  Pampered Chef has great products that range in price. So yes some can be spendy but others aren’t.  The host and consultant benefits are great as well as the support system. ” – Stacey
You can follow Stacey on Facebook or checkout her Pampered Chef’s website.
Here’s how you can enter a chance to win.
Click here to view this promotion.

Day 10 Giveaway: Modern Day Healthy Hippie

One hoUR cONSULTANT-2

Throughout the holiday season we are constantly surrounded by yummy food. It’s not easy for anyone to resist. So staying healthy can be a challenge. Whether you want to lose weight or meet a new fitness goal, Day 10’s giveaway could help you get back on track. It’s a free one-hour coaching session with the Modern Healthy Hippie. A $99 value.

Whoever wins will have the option of signing up for Carra’s personalized custom wellness coaching program that is currently $250 for a month of unlimited communication, coaching, help with meal planning, grocery lists and fitness routines.

Carra is the owner of Modern Healthy Hippie. She tells us how her passion for fitness encouraged her to help others.

ME

“I started The Modern Healthy Hippie because I recognized that so many people had no idea where to begin a healthier lifestyle.  Over the years, I learned that most women do not give themselves permission to take care of themselves, yet they pour into the lives of so many others.  My passion is helping them realize that when they feel and look their best, they can be more available for so many others, reduce their health care costs and be the best version of themselves! We are all unique and I want all women to feel beautiful and be as healthy as possible!  I offer real life solutions and a personalized plan for each person.” – Carra

You can follow Carra on her Facebook page.

You can also check out The Modern Healthy Hippie’s website.

Now is your chance to enter the free giveaway.

Click here to view this promotion.