Opening Series of Email Questions & Things We Want Our Daughter to Know

Throughout the almost 4 years of having this particular blog, I’ve received quite a few emails asking me all kinds of questions.  I think it may be interesting to put some reader questions up as their own posts, especially the ones I’ve gotten from young girls and women.  I definitely don’t have all the answers, so it’s nice to allow regular readers or even passing through commenters a chance to answer something in their own way.  If you’re a mom to young women, feel free to comment adding your own input – even if we’ve clashed in the past, these posts will be pretty much unmoderated in comments and I probably won’t argue with you because I’m too exhausted most of the time anyway. 🙂

It won’t be anything political or focusing too much on negativity (like Islam’s influence in the world…).  Those posts are just honestly way too much for me to handle with being a mom of an infant and 2 other young children that need all my mental energy and emotional stability for them.  My husband’s work also demands that I be able to hold down the fort so to speak at our home, and those kinds of posts with the kinds of people they bring here, are just NOT what or who I want to be entertaining.  Some women can handle that kind of constant online drama, and handle it really well!  For me I’d rather be doing something more constructive with my time… like getting cleaning done… or dancing around with my boys in the living room to funny music.  Or cuddling with our new baby girl.  Being so overwhelmed with gratitude that God’s given me this life and children and husband to take care of.  The beauty is beyond words….

But about the negative/dramatic posts… it just drains me too much to put my energy into arguing with someone online, even if it’s someone sincere and good-hearted.  I can’t do it at this point, my family needs all of that time and energy for them.

Keeping the house clean and organized, managing our household needs and schedules, along with watching all three of them and starting the basics of homeschool with the preschooler this fall, is about all I can do.  In my sparest of spare time, I edit and rewrite parts of our family book on the Proverbs 31 woman & the police wife version, or read funny sites that make me laugh and relax, and sometimes… I make a post here.

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Another thing I hope to be able to do, is to write maybe one post a week (or month lol) on issues we want our daughter to learn and know about.  So these will be solely female topics, although men are very welcome to add their input, especially if they have experience in raising a daughter.  We’d love to hear your thoughts or advice.

My husband may do some posts like that for our boys, too, he has so much wisdom on this topic and has been applying these things for 7 years now.  It truly amazes me seeing his wisdom in action with our boys.  I’ve written before that he acts at least 7 years older than me in maturity, and it’s still true.  That would put him close to 40 in how he thinks and acts… it’s very different from men his age and I love it.  I am so humbled by this man and still so crazy in love, especially when I see what a great father he is.  He is even busier than I am though, and writing just isn’t something really that high of a priority for him, so we’ll see if that is able to happen or not.

So here’s my email if you want to ask us questions featured here:

angelpixiedust86@live.com

We don’t have all the answers… far from it!  But I’m hoping these posts could inspire conversations and input from other people as well.

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Letters of Thanks

Back in October 2013, I decided to start a small blog to post ideas, thoughts, and advice on beauty, health, fitness, dating, cooking, fashion, marriage, sex, and parenting.  It was a supposed to be a very tiny venture, meant for mostly myself, to have one place where all my thoughts were collected.  And now has become a blog that has over 100,000 views since I started 2 years ago this month.  I don’t know what’s in store for it, I don’t think it will ever become super popular thankfully, but it’s been fun to write out my thoughts and ideas.  I’ve often felt like I’ve learned more from some of my commentators, and so I thank you readers who have spent the time to either comment or email me your thoughts or your own advice on topics or post ideas.

For a long time, I hesitated to add “Spiritual Growth” to my blog because I felt like I still had so much growth to do in that department, and didn’t want to come across as knowing much about it.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe one can know a lot about something like theology or religion, but that doesn’t mean they have a good grasp of how to apply it in their daily lives.  So anything I say on spiritual growth has usually come from after a long time (even a year or more) of thinking on it, trying to figure out the pieces and how they fall together, and so, I usually don’t write about the things I experience immediately, but occasionally do if I feel there is a good lesson there.

But over these two years, I’ve received quite a few comments thanking me for the posts or the blog in general… these things really humble me, that anyone reads my blog at all, when I just started it as something very modest and only for myself, blows my mind.  But thank you to my readers who take the time to leave comments or emails – they really are encouraging.  ❤

One of my favorite emails, from a police officer in Virginia:

“Hi there,

Thank you for writing encouraging things about your family.  I found your blog from a link on the advrider.com forums (it’s a motorcycle touring website) in an off-topic (for the forum) discussion about Red Pill Theory of male/female relationships.  They were complimentary of you.

I’m not quite sure what draws me to discussions about males and females, but I read about it a lot.  The evidence would show that it touches a nerve in me somewhere. I’m not a victim of bad relationships, my parents are still married, my wife’s parents are still married, and my wife and I are mostly traditional.  She’s glad I’m a man and I’m glad she’s a woman.  We’re certainly behind the curve on being trendy or progressive, and we’re not complaining.  We’ve been married over 17 years.  Still, I feel like somewhere deep in my mind is a narrative that “manly” is a synonym for “dumb, of little use,  irrelevant” or even “threatening, harmful”.  I perceive, rightly or wrongly, that the importance of men is diminished and derided.

I’ve worked as a police officer for over 16 years, and I end up getting snapshots of many bad relationships.  Though no professional has ever made it official, I believe staring at depravity and realizing that I have no authority to do anything about relational patterns that take decades to do their damage has led to struggling with depression at times, yet feeling no energy to get out of what I do for a living.  Faith has helped on that front, but I still get distracted while someone’s complaining to me about their ex-(fill in the blank) when I notice the blank-faced looking 5 year old 10 feet behind the complainer and can’t help thinking “This is burning into that little brain.  I wish I could explain that this is not an aspirational way of life, that needing the police to intervene in your personal relationships is a symptom of a bigger problem.”

So, when I read things such as you write, I’m relieved.  Not only do you appreciate men and women for being men and women, you love them, too.  I am impatient for Jesus to come back and fix everything that’s wrong, and staring at all of the problems causes me grief.  So, when I read your take and see your appreciation for your husband and kids, I feel great relief that somewhere out there is a family that loves each other.  By writing you this note, I hope to encourage you to know that you are helping people you don’t even know (who doesn’t love feedback?).  Thanks so much for your thoughts, and, truly, best wishes to you and your family.

Jim in Virginia

And more from Jim in another email,

“Yes, my favorite aspect of your thoughts is your “tone”.  So much of the discussion about gender seems generated out of anger or hurt towards the opposite gender.  So much of the learning stems from painful experiences and retaliatory strikes at the offenders.  It doesn’t even seem popular these days to say that you like being married; it seems much more prevalent to list the annoying things (complain) about your spouse. Therefore, it’s remarkable (noteworthy?) when there are voices who appreciate the strengths of both and who seek to edify both of them.  It’s unusual (wow, it shouldn’t be) and, bummer, you may not qualify for a Reality TV show because harmony doesn’t sell commercials or newspapers.  There is no profit in everyone getting along.

Yet,  the foundation you two are giving your kids, the “safety” of your relationship and their home… as they grow older, you will be amazed at the problems they DON’T have just because you two love each other well.  I believe it’s a big part of doing the Lord’s work. My opinion is that we don’t even realize how important, significant,and eternal it really is.  It’s really a great thing.  Thanks for being salt and light.

Okay, getting rambly here.  Go love the world by loving your husband and kids.  I pray you receive much joy in your work!

Jim

Fall

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We are ready for Fall in our house.  My son was telling me how excited he was about Halloween coming up, and I totally share in his excitement!  I can’t wait for the cool breezes and the leaves changing. the cinnamon, apples, and pumpkins.  Sometimes we need a change, maybe that’s why I’ve always loved every season, with it comes fresh, new changes, and growth into new seasons of life.

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I recently instructed a woman in the post My Husband Isn’t Romantic Enough, to keep a gratitude journal by her bed, and every night, to write down something she’s grateful for, and to pray over the list – even with her husband if she wants.  I thought it would be a great idea if I took my own advice and implemented this little ritual into my life.  So, this new season I’ve been keeping a journal that logs my daily activities, thoughts about our kid’s, goals for the day to accomplish and check off, a place to log my emotion (to track depression & what may affect it), spiritual insights from my devotion time, thoughts about our dog (like “vomited in our car today” lol), and then… at the end of the day and at the end of the page, there’s a space for “Gratitude Acknowledgment.”  It really has been a wonderful exercise each night to spend time reflecting on one thing in particular that I’m grateful for – it changes your whole perspective and gives you so much peace before falling asleep.

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I won’t lie though, that first night I tried this, it was hard.  It was a Monday, our busiest day by far, I had been up since 5am, my husband usually does the school run on his own since it’s the only time he sees our son in the day, but that morning, he insisted I had to come.  So we’d already done the school run with the baby in tow, ran a couple of errands together, and then my husband totally surprised me by taking me to a jeweler to order a beautiful Police Wife badge necklace – so sweet!  So unexpected :’) .  I’ve really come to appreciate this new time with him in the morning as being extremely romantic for us – whether it is just running errands together and teasing each other, or having extra time to be intimate when the baby naps.  Even with all this love and us having a great relationship and friendship even, the rest of the day after he left for work took it’s toll on my attitude.  I got the baby down at his naptime, woke the baby up only an hour & a half later (he usually sleep 2-3 hours poor thing), and we had to go pick up bubba (big brother) from school.  Because I let the baby sleep a little extra, I left later than I should have and felt rushed to pick him up on time… something I’ve learned how to handle much better since then!

Picking him up from school is like some kind of marathon when by myself with a baby.  Last week, we were faced with temperatures close to 100 F, and his pickup is on a black top with no tree in sight.  I stay there for about 30-40 minutes, too, so that I can talk and laugh with my mom friends while our kids play together.  It’s the only time I get to see some of these mommies, and even though we were dripping in sweat, our hair even plastered down and wet, it’s well worth it.  After that we make the trek to the car, feeling like we’re crossing some African desert, my huge stroller (that could seriously be a small SUV) holds all our stuff like a caravan traveling through – thank God for ice water!  We then go home, rest, start home work, eat snacks, I let my son watch a cartoon or play, the wild dog 🙂 comes in for some time with us, we dinner, I get him dressed for his sports practice, his little cleats on, change the baby, grab the dog, and travel to his practice for the evening.

Practice is outside, but it’s cooler, and with our dog… there is never a dull moment!  Super loved seeing all the kids, the high schoolers, the people running around the track.  The team we’ve joined is like a family, since they practice 3 nights a week, and see each other 4 days out of 7, you have no other choice 🙂  A 16 year old girl took immediately to Super, and after an hour, I let her take him around – she was ecstatic & so was Super!  He’d fallen in love with her ❤

After getting home, getting my son bathed off quickly and the baby to sleep, I felt like I could barely move.

I wrote my Gratitude Acknowledgement before falling asleep like a baby –

At the end of the day, I feel so exhausted… it’s so freaking hard without (my husband) at night!  I can barely even write! (True, I can barely even read my writing.)  But I’m thankful that I ended well with our oldest son, we had an argument, but I was able to de-escalate it, and keep our relationship loving even though I felt like a zombie.”

Sponsoring and Modeling Material or Merchandise

I have had several emails in the past few months and recently requesting me to sponsor a person’s or company’s products through either blogging about their products or modeling their clothing or hats.  I thought it would be easier to create a post about this, to explain an official policy for future interested partners or companies.

This is my creative outlet blog, not a business blog.  I have tried to start a very small business of making baby, girls’, and women’s clothes, however, with sleeploss and being a full-time mom, I haven’t had the energy to devote sufficient time to that business yet.  There have been several weeks in a row now where our baby woke up every hour or 2 hours during the night, and I am the kind of person who desperately needs 6-8 hours to function.  I’m not drinking real coffee (and decaf just isn’t enough) due to breastfeeding, and do not feel like a real person until after our quiet time/naptime.  However, with that said, I only model the women’s and girls’ clothing I make because they are my creations and my personal business.

In order to sponsor any products, goods, or services offered through your company, I am extremely picky about what I am willing to support.  In order to keep with the integrity of my blog, I will only model or present products that I can fully back and that match the overall purpose of this blog.  A product may be great and may be something I’d even wear, however if it does not match with the overall intent of this blog (or my personal style), I will not feature it.

Any books, products, or services that are currently shown on this blog are personal favorites of mine, and fully backed or purchased by me personally.  My readers can expect only the best is presented here, and what I would want to represent my particular brand.

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It was the most beautiful day yesterday to be outside!  We spent a lot of time during the afternoon in the garden, getting dirty, removing more weeds, putting down some top soil in places that needed it. We’ve had a couple of weeks of rainy days off and on, sometimes with the occasional flood warning.  When it rains… it pours here, so we were more than happy to experience a bright, sunny day.  Even as I write looking out into our patio & backyard, the rain has returned yet again overnight, bringing with it a deep gray color, as everything looks damp and darkened, with only the greenery of the grass and plants heightened – the silver lining to the dark clouds.  It is incredible how diverse one day can be from another.

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Another rainy day… at least it makes the sunny days all the more bright.

Adventure Inside a Cave

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Today was the perfect day to venture inside a cave… it was raining cats and dogs, gloomy, a little cool, and perfect for our family field trip

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It was raining constantly, but the baby stayed dry under a blanket, and tucked into my Bjorn (like a Snugglie) carrier… venturing down into a cave wearing a baby was a little difficult at times (extra weight on a decline then incline anyone?), but it added a whole new element of excitement to our family adventure.  I loved holding him close and at the same time getting to hike inside a cave!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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We headed down into the cave with a tour guide and our group, the total descent was about 18 stories down.  Water was rushing down the walkway into the cave… and we imagined what it’d be like to get flooded in!  We’ve clearly watched too many Magic School Bus episodes, but I thought it’d be great to spend the night in a cave!

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It was dark and majestic inside… our oldest had never been inside a cave before, so learning it through real life experience awed him.

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This was the view directly above us (photo below)

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The discovery crawlway, found in 1960, was just so awesome… everywhere we turned, every new room we entered was just breathtakingly majestic.

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There was a beautiful pool of green-blue water, so ethereal….

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We were already incredibly deep, but you can see the crevices where the cave just keeps going and going, further and further into darkness.

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And then we started the long ascent…

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And finally, made it to the surface, with it’s oval shaped ceiling at the very top

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We spent about 3 hours there, their ropes course and zip-lining were closed because of the rain, but their maze was open.  My husband and our oldest did the maze – and it was my husband’s favorite part because of how much fun it was with our son.  Next time we’ll have to do the ropes course together for a date!

The beautiful rain and hill country

The beautiful rain and hill country

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Frenemies

I was thinking this week on the topic of friendships, what constitutes a good friendship, and what the balance really is between telling a friend how it is (for their good) and putting them down.  Where is the line between healthy competition between genuine friends and then competition where one seeks to sabatoge the other’s success?

What is a frenemy?  It is a difficult definition for sure… and I’ve honestly never wanted to keep such an oxymoron in my life.  Some may say, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer,” but I’ve found that philosophy to be a set up for back-stabbing and major disappointment.  A person who desires, or who constantly plays the role, of being your “enemy,” really has no valid place in your life right now, and certainly not in your future.  I’ve always held the position that “frenemies” should also see the door as soon as possible in one’s life.

What is a friend?

Someone who supports you in life, who is there for you.  Someone who is joyful when they see you celebrating a real success in your life.  I recently had a close friend try to shame me for posting on social media (and here on my personal blog) about my journey in weight loss after the baby, trying to teach other women how it can be done, to encourage them to not gain over the recommended weight from the doctors, and to provide my personal workout routine and advice for how I was able to lose the weight… twice!  Instead of being happy for me like most of my other friends, this girl felt upset when she saw my post… instead of sharing in my joy, she felt negative feelings inside that were her own.  “It doesn’t help” to see someone lose it fast,” she said, and insinuated that I’m shaming the women who can’t lose the baby weight for whatever reason.  We talked about it for about an hour, and eventually I learned her insecurity over my success was coming from her mother telling her growing up that she and her sister were the reasons she had excess weight – that having children ruined her body forever.  She was viewing my success through a lens of fear & scarcity mentality, a false premise that people can’t control what happens to their bodies regarding pregnancy weight gain/loss.  The truth is that we can control the majority of what happens to our bodies, pregnancy or otherwise.  We control what we eat, if we are eating the correct foods that our bodies react well to, how much we gain, and even our hormones can be controlled when they are out of whack.  We control how much weight we gain in pregnancy, and we control if we decide to exercise during it or not.  We control how fast we lose the weight afterwards, and in no small part, that is directly related to how we treated our bodies during the pregnancy as well.

There does need to be caution that we aren’t causing people to stumble, but losing baby weight after a pregnancy is something most people are proud of, and rightfully so!  It is hard work, and takes dedication through either having a very healthy-minded pregnancy, making sure your body is staying strong, or doing the hard work of getting back in shape afterwards.  I already know what I’m going to do for my next pregnancy in regards to controlling my weight and strength and health in general.  With each pregnancy it gets easier because I have more knowledge of what works for my body, and how my body responds.  I’m able to draw up a plan in my mind of how I’m going to better deal with the difficulties next time, because each time I learn something new.

A big part of my success in things like losing the baby weight, or parenting kindly or gently, is making sure I surround myself with friends who are supportive of my goals, and with me in my journey of life.  I learn from other mommy friends what worked for them, or we share how hard pregnancy is – how hard it is to just get yourself off the couch, let alone try to go for a walk or a run!  One mommy friend I have was running regularly up until the very day that she went into labor – and hearing her share that success, filled me with awe and joy for her!  Her success motivated and inspired my own success.  That is a good friendship.

When it comes down to it, we all have to make critical decisions of who we really want to hold close in our lives.  Do you want that person to be close, who cannot share joy when you lose your baby weight fast?  Or who makes rude comments about your furniture mismatching in your house, and then turns around and pretends that she is Miss Etiquette and tries to teach you how to behave when you’re her guest?  Do you really want someone that two-faced close to your heart, where they can conveniently stab it?

My answer is always no.

Friends are not your enemies, and they never should be.

Be Nice to the Nice People – Verbal Judo

This is a silly post, with a little bit of seriousness tucked for a bit of Truth.  I’ve been thinking for awhile on one of the things I’ve learned from the concept of Verbal Judo – “ju” is Japanese for “gentle” and “do” being the Japanese word for “way,” thus, the Gentle Way of Communicating with anyone.  The way that causes the least amount of stress or effort while still ensuring that people react the way they are required to.  Verbal Judo is a book written by a cop, and definitely for cops, although anyone can benefit from the wisdom in it.  It’s got great tactics for dealing with difficult, or even downright horrible people – for throwing them offtrack, for making them do exactly what you want them to do – which is crucial if you’re in law enforcement, or teaching, or in any position of authority.

One of the basic principals within verbal judo is being aware enough to be nice to the nice people.

Nice People are not your problem, but it’s still wise to treat them as if they’re important.  If you don’t treat them well, they may do what you want but will feel rotten about it.  You’ll lose credibility with them and gradually they’ll stop supporting you.  Besides, just because they are cooperative is no reason to take advantage of them or take them for granted.  Treating them with respect is right because it’s right.

So few people are cooperative that you have to cultivate and cherish the ones who are.

I’ve thought a lot about incorporating a Comment Policy, which is basically a “Rule” for my own little corner of the internet that seeks to moderate what is shown on my blog as far as comments go.  I’ve read that a lot of people don’t respect a blogger who moderates, because it’s somehow deceptive to not show comments that are critical or argumentative.

The problem is not with criticism, but instead with a person attempting to attack and destroy another with their reckless words in a comment or in an email.  One of my favorite bloggers who is a woman my same age & after my own heart, and yet beyond me in her growth and in her ability in disregarding her hate mail, surprised me as I read this morning that she also receives a fair amount of hate mail for running her blog.  Here is her explanation:

scissortailsilk Mom

I get a lot of hate mail. No, really… I get countless emails saying terrible things about me and my family. You might be surprised. There isn’t much I say on this page that would seem to come across as aggressive or deserving of hate. As a matter of fact, the sole mission behind all of my writing is to bring healing and hope to the hearts of others.

I guess, sometimes, hope is hard.

Sometimes, people don’t like hope… Or at least they don’t like how I offer hope to them or to others.

I could choose from many examples, but take this one for instance. I wrote article about a mom I saw at Chick-Fil-A. When scrolling through comments awaiting moderation, I was shocked (to say the least) to find that I had been called something that I read on the wall in a dirty bathroom stall once when I was in middle school. I was just as shocked to read it 20 years later in regard to my hope for the momma who wanted to eat her chicken nuggets while managing her small children.

I couldn’t understand why someone would stop in the middle of their day to say how angry they were about something that had nothing to do with them. Why would they seek out an opportunity to destroy hope?

I protect my readers passionately by not publishing every comment and by carefully moderating conversations on this page and my other social media accounts. I treat these places like my living room. I keep them safe for me and for my friends. Do you know why? Do you know why I care so much? Because this is my small corner of the internet.

And this is an area where I get to say no to hate.

With so many people who feel uninhibited in expressing their views of pessimism and criticisms, it is good to treasure the people (or bloggers) who we know are for us, to feel that we can trust them to give us criticism that we actually need to better ourselves, and who don’t feel the need to attack us personally or viciously.

It’s good to be thankful for the people who back us, the trustworthy people – to appreciate them.

It’s good to be nice to the nice people.