My Tribute to Summer 2014

Joy and Joseph LaughingSummer officially begins on June 21st, but down here in the deep south the stickiness of summer has long  begun.

School is over and the days are long.

Whether you are a mom at home with energetic toddlers, kids, and teenagers or a mom juggling a work schedule while planning childcare and activities, summer time can be taxing.

Even though homework stops and racing after school activities slow, summers are just HOT!

Here is my tribute to summer time this year from a mom who longs that the eldest of her trio of boys were here to share it with.

Live this summer with your kids like it is the last.

Slow down. Make memories and messes.

Gaze at the clouds.

Help someone else’s load be lighter.

Get dirty.

Let’s not be uptight.

Can we laugh? I mean really laugh hard.  Fake it if you need to.  But also give yourself freedom to cry.

After all moms, what will they remember?

They will remember your teeth gleaming with a smile on your unmade-up face.

They will remember if you were happy. So…let’s be happy!

This is the only summer from fourth to fifth grade, or two years to three years, or maybe one last high school summer.

Make memories in the messy moments.

This is my aspiration and tribute to the summer of 2014

Will you join me?

Can you share some ideas with me?

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We judge others through the lens of our strengths

I’ve been thinking lately about all of the different interests and passions that people have, particularly amongst moms.  Whether your a homeschool mom, working mom, or soccer mom we all find ourselves drawn towards a particular niche of “mommyhood.”  We all have different personalities, passions, and lures that make us tick.

How many pinterest moms do we have reading?  (Confession: I am not a pinterest mom, nor am I cutesy or crafty, but that’s OK!)

What I have observed via conversations, facebook, etc. is that most mom’s have an opinion or preference about how they are living their life.  Some moms have more of an opinion or preference. To take it even further, some mom’s share their opinion or preference as absolute truth and everyone should conform to their opinion, preference, or absolute truth (whether it be or not).  As a result of this strong view women start cat-fighting to defend themselves or their children. (Because you know, nobody better mess with a mama’s child.)

Insecurity, pride, and hurt rise to the surface because a mom can just feel judged.  The sad truth is that sometimes there is judgement towards others because we are passionate, strong, and naturally good in some areas.

What I have observed is that we tend to judge others who are weak in an area because we are strong.

For example, the mom who is naturally highly self-motivated operates in a discipline that is intimidating to others.  She gets up at 5:00 am, has prayer time, exercises, does three loads of laundry and makes breakfast before the kids awake. She has a routine and sticks to it no matter what. Her energy is boundless. This type-A person is vulnerable to judging others who do not live their lives the way that she does.  Actually, pride could be attached to it.  She thinks that she is somehow better than her “lazy” girlfriend who rolls out of bed and flies into the carpool line.  Discipline is good and we all need it, but can this person fall prey to pridefully judging others who are weak in this area because they are strong ? Yes! This woman may be strong in this area due to personality or a natural inclination that comes easier to her.

Another example could be a mom who is struggling with her weight.  She tries and tries to lose weight with little avail. While another ectomorph-born mom who has never had a weight issue eats almost whatever she wants criticizes her. She says, “well, if she would just eat salad and run, she would drop some pounds.  The mom struggling with her weight may have some hormonal issues and dropping weight is far beyond easy.

A homeschool mom could judge (or secretly thinks she is doing a better job) with her kids because she is in her element at home.  She judges because she is afforded the opportunity to have an option that other moms may not have.

The list goes on and on…

I confess that I have secretly judged others out of my strengths.  I have judged from my own insecurity and/or pride.  When we judge others, it many times can be traced back to these two sinful downfalls.

My appeal to all of the moms, women, and sisters out there is to read the scriptures on grace and love towards others.

What would it look like if we didn’t get insecure when “all natural” mom shares her organic recipes that she made last week? What if we said, “Good for her!”  What if the “all natural” mom just lived her “all natural” life and didn’t judge people who can’t afford to eat this way.  Maybe the family is just trying to keep the lights on and go to work.  There is little time for recipe prowling and execution of healthy meals.

What if we did what Philippians 2:3 says to do?

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem the other better than himself.”

WARNING:  The following scriptures will hurt, but we all need to hear it.    Matthew 7

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. 

YIKES!!!!

Lets all focus on the plank in our own eye.  None of us are perfect and we all have weaknesses.  Let’s work on ourselves instead of criticizing each other.

Sisters, we need each other!  Let’s build one another up and be secure enough to let other women “do their thing!”

Sisters, “do your thing” without judging others!

I would love to hear your comments on this topic!

Love ya Sis,

Joy

Perspectives on Parenting After Losing A Child

Stunned by disbelief still that my first-born son has left this earth at the mere age of four, only four months ago.  Four months feels like four years in ways, but only four minutes in other ways.  I am getting more and more accustomed to having one energetic little boy with me instead of two.  I am slowly, but yet abruptly adjusting to my new life.

One of the ways that I have adapted since the death of Joseph, is that my parenting to Josiah has somewhat shifted.  The focus has shifted, not completely changed!  I have always nurtured the connect with my boys, although they were different and their personality and behavior was, let’s just say, “atypical”.  Joseph was a strong, energetic child that didn’t go-with-the-flow!  He like to create the flow, then with his charm, lure every one into his flow.  Josiah, is in many ways like Joseph, but not as verbal about it.  One thing that both of my boys had/have is a sweet, loving, spirit and a strong connect to their Mama and Daddy regardless of their behavior.

I struggled, for years with all of the books (I’m not against books), timelines, and picture of what a good, Christian kid should look like.  First-time obedience, sleep schedules, stopping running the first time I say stop!  While I am not down-playing the importance of these things being developed in a child’s life, I just always felt like a failure because I was correcting my kids 5 X more than other mom’s at the park and wasn’t seeing change.  To get together for a “play-date” so the kids could play and the mom’s could connect was like “play-hell” to me.   My kids were the ones running around trying to escape, instead of staying with the group; mine were the ones hitting and biting the other kids; mine were the ones not stopping the first-time I said, “stop”, although we did blanket time every day and practiced on a regular basis, like the books said.  Then, there are the looks, like, “discipline your child lady”, when in fact all I did was train and discipline at home. I couldn’t complete a sentence while I was out with the other moms, while the moms of compliant kids felt proud of their accomplishments after being with me.  I, then, one day, came to a place of peace with accepting that my kids are different and that’s Ok! Play-dates at parks were not working for us so I just began to adjust my life around who my kids were, not what “they should look like”!

Thankfully, I accepted Joseph for who he was instead of continuing to strive against him to behave like the other kids and released myself from expectations.  I don’t have the regret of being so hard on him that I didn’t get into his soul and connect with who he was.  I don’t have the regret of wishing I could turn back time and do it over again.  My only regret is that I wished I would have gotten it from the beginning!  So, now, I am a changed parent, in my thinking!  I learned that kids do eventually, “get-it” as you lovingly, consistently, and gracefully coach them in the correct behavior although it may look a little different.  Joseph certainly did!  He finally potty-trained before he turned four.  He started to obey the first-time more, because he loved me and trusted me more.  He knew that my intentions for him were good.  It wasn’t out of fear, but from his heart.

Now, with Josiah, my unique and charming boy, I just relax, coach, love, and enjoy!!! I can truly enjoy my children, when I learn who God created them to be and yield in many ways, to them, while also yielding to who God created me to be!  Connecting with them first is so much more important than external behavior.  Now, they will have consistent consequences for inappropriate behavior, but sometimes you just have to choose your battles and redirect.  Connecting, trust, and fun are so important to me with my kids!  When, you see them so “safe” with their parent because they know that they will be accepted no matter what and that they will lovingly be redirected with boundaries and consequences, it is fulfilling.

I am not a perfect parent, by far, but I am a better parent because my perspective is more focused.  I am more focused on the connect with my child.  Adjusting to him, instead of always requiring that he adjust to me.  My opportunity to parent one of my children is now over!  My time had expired unaware!  I want to enjoy every day with Josiah and embrace who he is.

I would like to encourage you today to enjoy and accept your children today.  None of us are promised tomorrow, not even our children!  

I Corinthians 13:4-8 says: 

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails.

Written April 4, 2012

 

Just hanging out with Mama!

Scott boys drinking morning juice and learning self-control during “blanket-Time”!

What Every Mother Wants For Her Child

Forever Best Brothers!

As I sit here this New Year’s Eve morning with the coffee brewing and everyone still asleep, I am pondering what it is that every mother wants for her child.  From the moment we find out that there is life brewing in our bodies, we can’t help but think about the awesomeness of God and how in the world that really happens.  Life truly is a miracle! Then, we have our baby and we behold the most beautiful creation in the world and think, “I want to protect, nurture, and keep my baby from all harm”.  We can turn into master control freaks!!! Ha Ha!

I remember reading books after my firstborn son, Joseph, entered the world, and trying to do everything right.  I would wake up in the middle of the night to make sure that he was still breathing.  I was concerned about dropping him on the hard floor and was really stressing out! Then one day, I caught the revelation that this little “miracle” was not mine – that I didn’t own him and that God could take better care of him than I could.  I surrendered Joseph at just a few months old to God.  I said, “Lord, give Jon and I the wisdom to train and care for him, but I can’t watch over him 100% of the time, but You can.  I don’t own this precious child.”  Immediately, I felt a freedom!   Joseph was God’s and we were just stewards over him and were able to partake in the joy of being parents.  Whew, what a relief! It’s on God, not just me!  Yeah, I have my part to play, but God watched over Joseph even while I slept!   Remembering this transition of Joseph to God has helped me tremendously during this ferocious battle for his life.

I know that every mother wants the best for her child.  She wants him or her to be healthy, happy, secure, successful, and blessed in every way!  She wants to watch him or her grow up and be who they were meant to be and sometimes, she wants to control EVERYTHING! 🙂  We just want what’s best… right?

I wanted Joseph to be healed on this earth.  I wanted God to be glorified by His healing power in Joseph’s life.  I wanted to be his mother and watch him change the world.  This is what’s best…right?  I eventually had to accept that what was best for Joseph was for him to be completely healed, no more pokes, sedations, back packs of expensive IV peptides, shoving organic greens down his throat in my attempts to help God out!  Freedom came again when I eventually let go of control and did what was best for Joseph…let him be in eternal bliss and be completely whole in the arms of Jesus!  It’s the hardest thing that I have ever had to do!  It was hard and it still hurts, but it was what was best for my child and I trust God that He is taking care of him, around the clock!  I have the excitement and hope of being with Jesus and Joseph again – forever in eternity!  This is TRULY what every mother wants and prays for her child!