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Encouragement, Lifestyle, Personal Growth, Salvation

Calling “It” What It Is

As I tried to put my finger on what it was that was happening in my heart and mind to day I went through many words. Was I sad? Hangry (food deprivation is a mood)? Frustrated? Uninspired? I just couldn’t quite put my finger on the pulse to describe what felt like simmering inside. The day was going well, I had only had to raise my voice once which was making me feel like a champion. Nevertheless, there was a palpable internal alarm alerting me to the fact that something was just…off.

As evening drew down and I realized I was saying “no” to the 34,503 request to play Legos with my big girl, I finally recognized that was going on. See, the culmination of what I could now physically feel was the manifestation of some thoughts I had been having for a while. I have seen the way I parent and noticed some areas for growth and improvement but also the reality that change is hard. As I parent the younger version of myself, I am mindful of the type of relationship I used to want with my mother and try to be that. Here’s the reality though…it doesn’t work like that.

And so, as I sat next to my girl and quietly let out a few tears of vulnerability as I held her next to me, the elongated limbs of a child that once fit on my chest, I decided not to say I was just “emotional.” When we undermine and sugarcoat who we are or how we feel, we are doing ourselves a disservice. One cannot overcome unless they first recognize the battle in front of them. We are saved by grace. We are all imperfect. And there is yet hope. When I lean on that hope then I can boldly look myself in the mirror and say, “you are not the mother you wanted to be but doing better than you even know.” I can admit to myself that the desire to control the happenings and people around me, stem out of a adolescence of abuse and secrets that I nurtured to stay afloat. When I feel myself withdrawing, I recognize that sometimes seeing my life in totality is frightening because so many people look to me and I don’t want to disappoint them. It is in these truths and a few more that freedom and release occurred tonight.

Social media, religious activity and human logic will lead us to believe that if we just continue to “do” the right things, “it” will harmoniously come together. NOT! While trying to navigate adulthood, motherhood and marriage the pull for our time and attention can be intense. You know the feeling? A thirty line task list, leaving space for spontaneity but also needing to catch up, all while desiring to pursue that goal or passion. If we aren’t careful the by-product of “it” can be overwhelming. And the labels we create to make “it” sound pretty and manageable will do us in. I am notorious for being “tired,” when really I am depressed. Or being “uninspired,” which really translates into “I want to focus on pursuing a goal/passion but in this moment, I must parent or adult and I don’t want to.” Let me tell you sister, it’s okay to think it and feel it and even say it because you are NOT alone!

Our Father in Heaven, knows the number of hairs on my head and he sees you too my friend. He knows our struggles and weaknesses even when we do our best to ignore, hide or dress them up. He is there…waiting. Waiting for us be weak that He maybe our strength. It is in the acknowledgement and raw truth of where we are in a particular moment that we can take a deep breath. We run from the truth because it hurts. It can be messy. And sometimes our personal perceived “super power” of holding it together (been there) leads us down a lonely road. Truth requires vulnerability and who has time for that along with laundry, meal prep and let’s don’t even talk about these homeschool lesson plans to finish the year strong? But I challenge you to give yourself the space to do just that. Even if it’s just the six minutes you shed those tears and breathe.

Our truths as women, mothers and whatever other roles we fill are not always pleasant or without blemish. Yet they make us who we are and by changing the narrative to make it more appealing or palatable to others, we are denying ourselves to opportunity to fully live in the complex beauty of who we are. My story is one that I have been put in positions to share more sincerely recently and it’s hard because I realize that for almost 22 years it’s been that part of me I rehearsed and recited but without consistent emotional acknowledgement. Just typing those words are a HUGE step in the process of healing I will probably experience for the remainder of my life. Here is what I do know, we can live proudly in the moment of our humanness so that when it’s time to call “it” by it’s true name, we are stronger and more resilient for it.

Much Love,

Q

Encouragement, Faith, Goals, Lifestyle, Parenting

Peace Is Possible

Peace takes on so many different forms once you become a parent that sometimes we forget what it means in its truest essence. In the dictionary, peace is defined as “freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility.” And we hold on to that description until we feel as if we are about to emotionally and mentally explode because that is what we have come to believe to be true. It is what the world has told us defines peace and how we determine the level of peacefulness we are currently experiencing. But let. Me. Tell. You! Peace as a parent has nothing to do with the external situations happening around you. Talk about a hard pill I am still trying to swallow!

If we Moms waited for peace as determined by the editors of Webster’s, we would be insane from the moment we brought those precious sweet babies home until Jesus called us up to Heaven. Listen, peace in the biblical sense is described as a gift from God, the Creator of Heaven and earth that surpasses all understanding. See, the peace that God gives us is not dependent upon how we feel, interpret or even deal with the external forces and happenings of our everyday lives. There is complete and utter peace in the chaos of sick children, overworked spouses, sleepless nights, financially strapped pay periods and fatigue. When we surrender to the biblical truths about our roles and our position, not only as parents but as individuals, it is easier to rest in the peace of God.

The reality is that the supernatural type of peace God has promised us is always under attack. Whether we recognize it or not, there are so many things that can hinder and halt that blissful sensation that can sometimes feel like our own personal miracles. I’ve been there and low-key have days (and hours) that feel like I’m revisiting that upheaval and unrest. Having a serenity within that fuels our spirit, mind and body and allow us to smile genuinely and sleep soundly regardless of what has happened during the course of our days is a gift like no other. We all have experienced the heaviness and burden of adulthood obligations. Between marital struggles, parenting, balancing familial relationships, financial woes and then just being yourself …I don’t know about you but I have to be very intentional about maintaining inner peace so that I can pour out for my family. As children of the Living God, His peace is available to us all, we just have to choose to accept it. That doesn’t mean merely saying we have “unspeakable joy” but to give our burdens over that we can be open to recognize the literal joy of the Lord so strong in our hearts that the demands of today and disappointments of yesterday don’t command a second thought. When that happens, we can trust that He has filled all gaps, exceeded every need and rendered us victorious!

Our children need to see that this is how we live our lives to learn what contentment, joy and peace are in their own childlike way. If we are always huffing and puffing and constantly on the run attempting to create an atmosphere or lifestyle that seems peaceful, (notice I said “seems”) but that lacks true peace, that same insanity we bestow upon ourselves we transfer to our Littles. They don’t know how to describe it or what is happening but they see that the people we are and the things we do sometimes don’t make sense. And thus begins the building blocks for unrest in their small spirits. I am guilty of over-exerting myself. I have been the serial “yes, I can do that” person even though that was one more commitment stretching thin the very fabric of my being in that moment. As I look back, I see how those behaviors not only slowly deconstructed my peace but upset our household until there were short tempers and disconnection for us as a familial unit.

We all need the opportunity to exhale the doubt, worry and stress that we absorb through the day. I have found there is no better place to find rest than in the arms and laps of our Father. Just as our children run to us when they are scared, hurt or tired burying their heads into our chests and laps to find safety, so should we to the one Jesus cried out to as Abba Father, Daddy God. He is waiting to lift us up, take us in and allow us the opportunity to bask in the security of His embrace; not just for that moment but for as long as we keep our eyes and hearts on Him. If your peace is fading or non-existent… or if you can’t remember a time you ever had any true indescribable joy-it may be time to seek out the only one who can give and restore it…God. He is the best parent to ever do the job and knows us intimately so He already has just the thing we need, if we ask. Take a moment to share your heart with Him, even if you only have a few minutes in the shower or while hiding in your closet devouring a snack before small feet follow the sounds of rustling wrappers (don’t judge me…or do, but it works). It may be the moment of renewal and intention you needed!

Much Love,

Q

Correction, Encouragement, Parenting

E is for Entitlement

No one can do everything, but social media and the internet will portray parents flawlessly doing all the things. Don’t believe the hype! We can only do what is in our ability, what is necessary, and relax. Our inabilities to fall into the hands of God who can do it all is what is wearing us slap out. Our kids will want snacks, playdates and their favorite show on repeat 24/7 and if we aren’t careful, we will become the provider’s of their every desire. That is how we begin to nurture the spirit of entitlement that so many of us loathe. It is not only okay to say no, it is necessary. Our sanity depends on it but so do our children’s characters. But for certain, the boundary needs to be in place to protect our sanity and potentially financial security.

When we had to earn that which we most desired, it brought with it a better appreciation for what we gained. Our children need us to help them put their minds and bodies into the effort of earning. By neglecting to do so, we set them on a path of entitlement that leads to a painful reality in the future. How old were y’all when you learned that nothing in the world revolves around you and the level of importance your the parents placed on your personal value was not shared by the rest of humanity? Cause let me tell ya, I was 25 and pregnant with my first child. I had hints of it between the ages of 18-23 but I was mostly well liked and hadn’t been confronted head on with that truth. IT. WAS. ROUGH.

And as an expectant mother, having that very real emotional epiphany while also recognizing something needed to change so my child didn’t have the same earth shattering revelation (a bit dramatic but that’s how it felt back then, some 10 years ago).

Brene Brown

Life is expensive, and so is my taste in just about all things from food, to clothes to vacation locales. But I want our children to know that their blessings are not to be expected. I’ve said it before and it’s the truth, if our girls are waiting on us to die to live off our hard-earned dollas (inheritance)…well then they gonna have to wait until they get their rewards in Heaven, cause it ain’t gonna happen! They will need to know what it means for their effort and work ethic to match their desired outcome. I know I’m not alone in wanting to raise up children who know their value, desire their worth and will put up the effort to match them both. One day at a time, we can do this friends and in the end the “no’s” and “not nows” will all be worth it. Providing opportunities to share and feel uplifted by giving to those who could never repay them will also help hinder the spirit of entitlement as they grow up. We will get through this one day at a time y’all cause parenting + adulting = hard, but His grace is sufficient!

Much Love,

Q

Uncategorized

You’re Doing Enough

We have all fallen into the trap of feeling like, even when we manage to check off all of the things on our list of things we need or want to do, it’s just not enough. Okay, so the house is pristine but we haven’t “engaged or played” with our children. Yes, dinner is ready but laundry has piled up like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Or just maybe we managed to navigate appointments, have a successful playdate, get everyone fed and down for naps on schedule, all chores completed and we looked cute conquering the day but forget to return a call and our coffee wears off before bedtime and “mean mommy” shows up…the day feels like a total loss.

Friend, I feel like I am stuck in that cycle of ridiculous personal expectation sometimes and have to be conscious to step back and say, “Girl, cut it out.” And it’s not always easy to get myself in check but here is the truth, you…me…WE are doing enough! It is funny how I came about this realization as it relates to our homeschool days. With a second grader and toddler under foot, I often felt like we weren’t doing enough. To help instill independence in work and initiative, I ordered a student planner from Not Consumed ministries (check below for link) and it’s great! It requires that each week the student write in activities they have and list their subjects so they can check off daily as they complete them. Great personal accountability tool for our seven year old. Y’all, when I started preparing the list of lessons we do for her to copy into her planner I had a WHOLE reality check. WE. DO. A LOT! I mean, look for yourself:

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in what our immediate surroundings or results look like and the measuring stick we have isn’t properly calibrated. If we are gonna be totally honest, that last part may be the biggest issue. Where are we drawing our expectations and truth is a lot of it comes pressure to perform and compete. Whether we admit it or even recognize it, we are heavily influenced by what we see. And IG and Facebook don’t make being who we are seem acceptable. Instead it feels like living in our own strengths and personalities feels like being mediocre and one thing this girl has been taught her WHOLE life was “be better, work twice as hard, average is not acceptable.” So, as I am unlearning, redefining and building blocks for a foundation to a life I love, I am giving myself permission to live in my “enough.” Some days that means dinner isn’t mostly fried carbs and sometimes it’s checking off every box.

As we curate our own versions of unconditional lives, that also includes unconditionally accepting who we are and allowing that to guide how we move in this world. Give yourself permission to be greatly average so that you can ensure you are available to do your best work with and for those within your home first and foremost. Now, I gotta go get started on the list of lessons at hand because while we are doing enough, I’m ready to get it done and out of the way for today!

Much Love,

Q

**http://store.notconsumed.com?aff=51

I will only recommend products I use in real life and enjoy. That said, if you choose to purchase an item using the link above, I will receive a commission as an affiliate. No pressure to purchase, I promise, and as we begin to grow you will see affiliate links to products I find useful. Purchasing from these links helps support the mission of bringing encouragement to more mamas!

Uncategorized

Almost Made It…Again

Hey Y’all!

So listen, how many of my fellow parents (cause I’m sure there is a father or two out there who might feel this deep down to the ankles like I do) have managed to harness the urge to yell and swallowed the words before they escape your lips all day, only to fall short at bedtime? Anyone? I know I’m not alone. I hope I’m not alone. Can we just have a moment of silence for all that follows our epic tantrums though? *bows head, le sigh*

But for real though, today I missed it and it wasn’t the first time. I hope it’s the last but I know deep down it may just happen again. Why you ask? Because, foolishness is bound in the heart of a child (that’s what God said, so I know it’s true) and if you’re like me, parenting the younger version of yourself, the potential for your nerves to be tap-danced on like an encore performance by Savion Glover can happen at any moment. I acknowledge and accept this truth and while I am working on myself to lower expectations (the goal is to remove them completely, but baby steps) of how situations should go, I fall short sometimes. It is nights like those that make me thankful for grace. So what happened that set me on the course of a Cruella De’Vil-esque meltdown at bedtime? Pull up a seat.

So, after a LOOOOOONG (rather hectic and HOT) day, the girls were fed, bathed and in bed. I read aloud for almost 30 minutes from a chapter book a we recently started. I did voices, inflections, the WHOLE NINE Bruh. All was well aside from the occasional attempt of the Little Child to roll out of bed. We were smooth sailing. So, I’m reading and again, not a complaint to be heard. As SOON as I turn off the light and start the tucking-in process, my Big Girl says, “Ughhhh, my nose feels funny and I keep trying to blow it but nothing comes out!” Not only was she loud but the wording of her complaint caught me off guard because for 30 minutes she has been laying in her bed…CHILLING! You hear me? She wasn’t reading. Moving. Running back and forth for tissue. No mention of this sudden nasal emergency. So, I gathered myself and moved in close to whisper to her since the Little was quiet in her bed. Y’all, then she started to cry. For those who don’t know me, I can be sensitive but “unwarranted tears” by anyone confound me.At this point, I lean in close to her to speak. Now, in hindsight she probably thought she as about to get snatched but I was merely trying to keep the noise level to a minimum. I start to whisper and she starts to wail. Full. On. Hollering (insert palm over face)

I. LOST. IT…no other way to put it. I turned on the light that illuminates the entire room and start yelling. Now, the Husband who had fallen asleep on the floor next to me as I read was woken up, the Little got out of her bed, the dog was making noise and I was livid. Why? Because I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel that said I can complete a thought or just sit down for a bit and the blatant attempt to block that in the moment with this “scratchy nose” complaint felt like a personal attack. Ever been there? Now, I grabbed nasal spray (which the kid loathes by the way) and administer it as the only means of resolution to her new nasalitis symptoms and walk (okay, storm) out. I felt so bad by the time i made it to my room. I mean, who can rest after being yelled at? Was she faking? Maybe. Was she trying to get my attention? Clearly. Did I model how to respond instead of react? Absolutely not.

I’m not above apologizing to the Kid and after some processing will sit down with her. Let me tell ya though, tonight, I was done. Want to hear the funny part? About an hour later (yea, like a full hour after bedtime), she walks out of her room whining that her tooth fell out. I just so happened to be sitting on the couch because I am sleep training myself (another convo for another day) and out she walks, wide-eyed until she saw me in the darkness. A little preface to this new announcement, the tooth was loose but not ready to depart just yet. So, that tells me, all that time AFTER the original shenanigans, she basically pulled a tooth out and then said, “I don’t know if I will be able to sleep with this pain from my tooth.” HUH?!? Oh, little did she know not only was she going to sleep but her peace and potentially my freedom needed her to do so ASAP-tually. But all I could do was laugh. I laughed at the barely-bloody tooth, the gap in her mouth and the reality that this season of life is but a moment.

So, I will apologize. I will try to do better next time. Most importantly, I will forgive myself, again, for spewing the pent up frustrations of the day out on my kiddo because she was being human and foolish a child. Grace is given to weak and I can admit that is me, weak. We all want the chance to try again but the important thing is to recognize when we are wrong and being willing to change (see, therapy works, but that’s yet another conversation). Maybe you’ve missed it all day long or perhaps every day this week, been there and done that too. All we can do in the aftermath is stop, assess and ask forgiveness of ourselves and from our babies. Let’s show them how to comeback from mistakes in relationships while we work on ourselves in the process. And now, I gotta go ’cause we don’t do the tooth fairy but we are big on “growing up giftage” and I need check my stash so we can celebrate this latest lost tooth. Until next time!

Much Love,

Q

Uncategorized

Intent vs. Impact

Hey Y’all!

So yesterday as I was sitting in evening service at church waiting expectantly for my afternoon dose of caffeine to kick in, I was struck by the phrase, “…as parents we have to balance intent versus impact. Because the old way of ‘do as I say, not as I do’ doesn’t work…” Needless to say my attention was peaked and I was all ears at this point. I was reminded how great our witness and lifestyle in our own lives can affect how our children make choices.

Growing up, I remember all too well the frustration of being told not to make certain choices but then witnessing those very things being done under the guide of “I’m grown…I’m an adult…do what I say, not what I do.” The only seed those nuggets planted in my heart was the desire to grow up faster so that I could get to adulthood and make those choices. So now, as a parent I was struck that our actions not only have an impact but that the impact we create may not be what we intended. WOW, WOW, WOW! Granted, children will have to understand that there are some things they are just not able to do because they are children. But it made me question what I am modeling adulthood to look like.

Am I showing our girls that being an adult means just being able to stay up late, have money and do things they constantly get told no when they inquire about (ya know, like staying up late, eating candy whenever you want or watch movies we as adults save until after their bedtime)? Or, do our girls see adulthood as a time of misery filled with endless days at work, complaints about people and the heaviness or daily life and obligations? My hope is that neither of those are so but rather that we are modeling adulthood as enjoyable and intriguing while offering plenty of opportunities for failure, growth and accountability.

Even as I sit here and type this out next to the the Firstborn who is engulfed in a learning app on her tablet I can see that my influence and impact are in full swing. Which begs the question, how does one balance this concept in other areas of life and are we mindful of it? I don’t know about y’all but it definitely hit close to home yesterday and as made me more aware of my interactions with the Little People in our home. I pray my intentions lead to a positive everlasting impact most importantly in our home but also in the relationships I have and will build outside of my full-time jobs (motherhood, homeschooling and homemaking). Until we meet again on the couch, take a minute and ask yourself whether your intentions are matching your impact!

Much Love,

Q