Motherhood & Childbirth

dreams of mothering

Mother’s Day has come and gone again, and for some reason each year I just feel more and more content and happy with our life that we’re building.  I’m not sure exactly why I feel more content and happy with each year, but it may have a lot to do with the growing sense of gratitude of living this life getting to watch our children grow, love my amazing husband, and maybe just getting a little bit more mature.

I still have sin!  Definitely have to work on things at times, but in this area of mothering, even when it’s really especially hard with lots of tantrums or just stubborn behavior and lots to do, I can still see the end result in mind, especially at the end of the day (happy adults that know they were truly loved – no, adored!) and it somehow gets me through those tantrums.

Motherhood is hard at times.  Life in general has so many unexpected things come up and little struggles or trials, to me, mothering my kids just falls in line with normal everyday things to face.  There are many ups and downs with small children when they’re teething or in a tantrum phase, but I think it’s harder if you don’t really understand the fact that it is going to be hard to begin with.

There’s a new disturbing trend of moms on social media complaining about Mother’s Day, using it as an excuse to say how unfair it is that even on that day where they’re supposed to be honored, they still have to take care of their children (wipe noses or change diapers), or clean sometimes.  From reading several of these kinds of posts and videos for 2 years (posted the week before to prep women to feel jipped), it’s clear these moms don’t understand that life is just hard.  Mother’s Day doesn’t always go perfectly or smoothly, especially with small children – and it comes across as insanely immature of an adult woman who doesn’t understand this reality.  Or one who understands it, but still acts like it’s not fair and has an online virtual pity party about the duties of being a mom.

From one of my favorite books that my parents had loved when I was growing up (and got me reading before I was a teenager:

“Life is difficult.

This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths.  It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it.  Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult.  Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.

Most do not fully see this truth that life is difficult.  Instead they moan more or less incessantly, noisily or subtly, about the enormity of their problems, their burdens, and their difficulties as if life were generally easy, as if life should be easy.

They voice their belief, noisily or subtly, that their difficulties represent a unique kind of affliction that should not be and that has somehow been especially visited upon them….  I know about this moaning because I have done my fair share.

Life is a series of problems.  Do we want to moan about them or solve them?  Do we want to teach our children to solve them?”

                  -The Road Less Traveled

So back to motherhood… yes, it’s hard, but it’s also so beautiful and I think, really grows us as women to have to go through the struggles of mothering.  Anything hard generally (in my opinion) helps us to grow and mature.  At least it can, if we accept the struggle and go through it trying to learn from it and become better.  Unfortunately, as The Road Less Traveled points out, many people don’t allow problems and trials in their life to grow and mature them.  It’s easier to complain and have self-pity for our own struggles.

I love this quote from the 1800’s by Anne Pratt about the virtue of seeing life optimistically as a wife and mother:

“Every one must have remarked how pleasant is that household in which a cheerful spirit of energy is cultivated by the mistress and mother.

It is a pleasant thing to dwell with one who is not troubled by trifling annoyances,

who is skilled in looking at the bright side of things, and hoping for the best;

with one who believes that all the ways of the Lord are right,

and who attaches a deep importance to duty.

Such a one will work willingly, in the belief that God has appointed both her lot and her duties,

and it is surprising how many obstacles are met and overcome by such a spirit.”

~ Anne Pratt

In my life, it IS surprising how many obstacles we’ve overcome together, my husband and I, due to having such a spirit of adventure, optimism and gratitude.  In really hard times, it’d be easier to complain or fight or even blame each other, but instead we work together as a team to solve the problem and learn from it.  It really makes all the difference!

CHILDBIRTH

This is just an update on the pregnancy, but since it’s a “motherhood” post, I thought I’d squeeze it in here.

So because our first child was an emergency c-section, and afterwards we decided to not try a V-BAC, this will be my 3rd c-section.  We’re so lucky these days, even to be able to have c-sections!  I recently heard that death during childbirth affected 65% of women during the 19th century.  Obviously the risk is far less for us now, but still, having had repeated c-sections, medically we know each time the risk increases.  Then there’s always uterine rupture or tears where the scar has been cut and re-cut – these also increase with repeated pregnancies unfortunately.

Last time around I remember trying to prepare Patrick for if I was to die in childbirth during the c-section – I know it’s a slight chance, but you never know what’s going to happen and since there was that possibility, why not mentally prepare for it?  I wanted him to know that I wanted him to be happy and to remarry.  It’s been the same this time, except I’ve been having very strong pains where the old c-section scars are, which my doctor thinks is scar tissue stretching (little tears), and probably not “windows” which are where the uterus is so thin that you’re actually able to see things like the baby’s hair.  Windows are supposed to be painless, so the pain I feel at times is probably just stretching (hopefully!).  The risk of uterine rupture is still there though, even though it’s still likely very small.

Anyway, we really want at least to be able to have one more child after this, but unfortunately it depends on the state of my uterus – sometimes they can apparently become “paper thin,” or if they see windows when they open me up, or little tears, etc.  They’ll likely then advise me that I shouldn’t attempt another pregnancy.  😥  We’ll see, many women are able to have up to 5 or 6 c-sections… but it all depends on that particular woman’s genetics and her unique uterus thickness, strength, and elasticity.

Again, we’ll see.

 

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The Truth About Venting (Shaunti Feldhan)

This blog is kind of on standby, it always seems to get that way when I’m pregnant 🙂 but I still like to post updates or fun posts just to have them here.  Enjoying the pregnancy of our little girl, playing with my kids and doing life as well as writing, has kind of taken priority for now.  Life is hard at times, but then again it is so beautiful!

This article on venting being BAD for you made a lot of sense to me in thinking about how we handle emotions or reactions to people who annoy or offend us.

I rarely complain about things to just anyone – there truly are just 2 people who hear my innermost thoughts and complaints in my life, and I like it that way!  You’re supposed to complain and talk to God about problems anyway, but it’s nice to have one or two very very close friends to divulge in or ask advice from.

I’ve seen what can happen when a person lets their entire existence be taken over with complaining or venting.  It’s very easy to do this with blogs since they can become like one’s personal diary of sorts – but it’s still not a good idea for a person’s mental and spiritual health/maturity.  It stunts your spiritual growth and I even believe it can cause mental health problems for the person engaging in that kind of constant negativity or “venting.”

When someone gets upset or annoyed enough to run off to type out a blog post as soon as their little fingers can, that’s them “venting,” and 99% of the time, it’s done in immaturity and not handling their emotions in the best way possible.

But until seeing this article below, I didn’t know for sure just how “bad” venting is – or rather, WHY it’s bad to do it!  I knew it looked immature and ridiculous… not to mention so sad when people in their forties and fifties still do it, but wow!

Here it is, from Shaunti Feldhan ❤

“Your co-worker just made you so mad. Or maybe it was your husband who said something insensitive this morning. Or your teenager who rolled her eyes when you asked her to empty the dishwasher. Again.

You feel like a pot ready to explode, so you just need to let off a little steam. A few minutes of “can you believe he just said…” or “she’s so obnoxious when…” will make you feel so much better. Right? Right?

Wrong.

What is commonly viewed as “letting off steam” or “venting” is actually a myth. It can feel very satisfying, in the moment. But it ultimately changes us. And not in a good way. I’ve seen this truth for years in my own research and in other studies. That’s why the first assignment in my newest book, The Kindness Challenge, is to say nothing negative about the person with whom you want a better relationship.  This includes saying something negative to them as well as about them to someone else.

I do quite a bit of work helping companies develop women’s leadership programs, and one high-level corporate client, Nadia, told me that she could trace her rise in corporate America to this one change.  Years ago, with a harsh boss, she would regularly gripe to a female co-worker.  But even though the co-worker was equally mistreated, she refused to join in.  Finally, she asked Nadia, “If you complain, does it change anything?”  When Nadia admitted that it wouldn’t actually change anything, her colleague shook her head.  “You’re wrong,” she said.  “It does change something.  It changes you.

Brain science researchers like Dr. Brad Bushman at Ohio State University have discovered that our idea of “letting off steam” as a way of dealing with negative feelings is completely wrong neurologically!  Instead, it actually further activates an interconnected anger system in the brain. So when we vent with our friends or co-workers, we’re building up steam rather than releasing it.

A better analogy: expressing our frustrations turns up the heat under the pot – and stopping our negative talk is like putting a lid on the pot and removing it from the heat.  That choice actually changes the way ours brain process the negative situation.   We’re just not as angry anymore!  Even better, if we can actually look for something that is worthy of praise in this person or situation, positive feelings often replace the negative ones – which can help improve even the most difficult relationships.

This doesn’t mean you should repress negative feelings, or that you can’t share something important with a supportive friend.  It does mean to be careful about why you are sharing and how.

A friend recently decided to do the 30-Day Kindness Challenge for her 7 year-old adopted son. As a child from a hard place, he had spent years fighting attachment and exhibiting difficult and unpleasant behavior, mostly directed at his new mom. When she first started the challenge, my friend was honestly stumped about how she was going to participate in her regular support group for adoptive moms since she couldn’t say anything negative!

What occurred was fascinating.  She was still able to share concerns and seek advice, but because she wasn’t sharing those “can you believe it?!” comments, she found she was much less angry with him.  As she sought support, her words were less heated – almost like reporting facts in a news story rather than fueling the fire of her frustration and anger.  In the end she felt more positive about her relationship with her son and she still felt heard and understood by her support system. Win-win!

So the next time you find yourself picking up the phone to call a friend to complain, or start venting around the water cooler, stop yourself.  Remember that it will not make you feel better.    Try it; you will see the difference it makes.   And it will help you want to go the next step, which is to live a life evidenced by graciousness even when others are harsh.  To be kind even when it isn’t warranted.  To notice the things that are worthy of praise, not just those that are worthy of driving you crazy.  And to be the one who reaches out to others, to share the truth that living life this way is a lot more fun.


Visit www.shaunti.com for more.

******

I can definitely attest to being amazed how little I care about minor things anymore.  Something seemed to happen when I turned 30 this past birthday – I completely stopped caring about things that didn’t matter, and found true beauty and freedom in depending wholly on Christ for my self-worth and assurance.  Something weird also happened with turning 30… along with not caring about things that didn’t matter, I seemed to find people’s over-reactions or ridiculous anger hilarious or entertaining.  I’m still not entirely sure why… but it’s a nice change of freedom and joy, embracing the beauty of life and freedom of Christ.

Besides… it’s better to live as a happy woman (wife and mother especially!) than an old sourpuss.  Perhaps this is what Christ meant when He talked about living life in abundance?

My Amazing Husband & His Boys

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Snapped this photo when we went downtown to see my husband working our annual city party called, “FIESTA!!”

My husband is an incredible hero.

It’s not just because he wears the badge, although the courage and bravery there are not to be discounted.

It’s his strength, heart, and mind that make him go above and beyond in teaching our sons how to actually be men.

Real men.

The kind that fight for goodness and against evil in our society.

The kind that are God’s warriors and ministers – both at the same exact time.

Words can hardly even describe the intensity with which I love this man so much.

patrickboys

 

Gardening: Just a Little Bit Goes a Long Way

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Our garden has been flourishing since we’ve started again!  It’s reminded me of so many passages in Scripture that talk about God and gardens, His pruning us and tending to us.  Everyday it is such a joy to go out and tend it.  Even just looking out our window to see it, along with the butterflies and moths that flit around in it, brings me so much joy each day.

My husband bought me a dragonfly light that changes beautiful colors at night to light the garden.  So we’ve nicknamed it Dragonfly Garden ❤  It is so sweet.

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I’ve seen a ladybug on our giant spinach leaves every time I’ve gone out this week, eating away the pests that would harm the plants.  And to my surprise, I saw a blue dragonfly on one of jalapeno plant leaves!!  It sat there for awhile and let me look at it 😀  It was so awesome and gave new meaning to our naming it Dragonfly Garden.

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We have such an abundance of cabbages, Swiss chard, and spinach it is finally helping our grocery bill since we no longer have to buy our salad greens (something we bought weekly) for our sandwiches and salads.  It is such a wonderful feeling to be able to go out to this garden that I and my son have planted together, and pick food for our table and know that it’s bringing in an abundance of nourishing vitamins and minerals to our family!

I always wanted to be a woman who had a sustainable garden – a woman who genuinely loved and enjoyed gardening.

***

It’s kind of strange to see that I’ve achieved this goal now.  Last year our tomato plants did so amazing we had a production each week to eat off of, so hopefully we can get back up to that again… but I’m particularly happy about our spinach leaves 😀  they cost a lot at our grocery store, and it’s just so fulfilling to be growing an abundance of them right in our backyard!

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For the Lord will comfort Zion [in her captivity];

He will comfort all her ruins.

And He will make her wilderness like Eden (the most beautiful garden),

And her desert like the garden of the Lord;

Joy and gladness will be found in her,

Thanksgiving and the voice of a melody.

Isaiah 51:3

 

And the Lord will continually guide you,

And satisfy your soul in scorched and dry places,

And give strength to your bones;

And you will be like a watered garden,

And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.

Isaiah 58:11

 

***

God is the Gardener…

For we are  God’s fellow workers [His servants working together];

you are God’s cultivated field [His garden, His vineyard], God’s building.”

1 Corinthians 3:9

Featured on The Peaceful Wife!

About a week or so ago, I left a comment on friend April Cassidy’s blog The Peaceful Wife, about how I learned to communicate with vulnerability and directness to ask for what I needed from my husband.  She thought it would be a great post all on it’s own about how important it is to NOT nag our husbands 🙂

Here is the post she featured, click here for original:

A guest post from a sister in Christ, Stephanie. I’m so thankful we can share our stories as we learn together on this road:

We got married in 2007, and we were so young (I was 20 about to turn 21, he was only 23), and still in school. I was lucky that in our first year, I had a job at a Christian bookstore, so I had endless access to great marriage books that I read when the shop was super slow or on my breaks. I ended up buying a lot of the books, and they are still in our library now, although some I’ve given away to other women I was encouraging in their marriages. But it was mostly from these books and some books I brought from home when I moved out that helped me understand what I was doing wrong in my communication style.

In that first year, I was taken aback by how my husband would wait to do chores, and wouldn’t do them when I thought they needed to get done (which was as soon as I wanted them done – no matter what else he was working on or focusing on). So instead of trusting him to get them done on his own time, I nagged him, and when nagging didn’t work, I’d get angry and start a fight. I’d nag more and tell him that he wasn’t helping me out and then I’d jump to the conclusion that he just “didn’t care about me!”

LOL it was a funny cycle that just repeated itself whenever I got fed up with not getting things done my way. Thankfully, since I was working at the Christian bookstore, I was already reading marriage books trying to learn about how to have a good marriage, and almost all marriage books cover a section about nagging, and explain why it doesn’t work.

  • Once I understood from reading a book about how to understand men, meet their needs, and communicate effectively with them – I started to simply just ask him to do something that needed to be done, and ask him in a respectful, kind way, and then give him the time and chance to do it.

If he procrastinated, he would realize it on his own a couple of days later, and then apologize to me and do it. He apologized and did it right away (faster than when I nagged) because he actually felt bad about not doing it when I had asked in such a sweet, kind, respectful way. My not nagging him (which was disrespectful) made him want to do things right when they needed to get done.

Now when I really need his help (which is a lot more often with two boys), he is so faithful and helps me so well and much more quickly than that first year when I’d nag and nag. The nagging created such a hostile, awful environment that I think it made him just drag his feet doing anything that I wanted to get done. But now he helps me immediately because I treat him with respect.

I realized that nagging him was actually dishonoring him, giving him the message that I didn’t feel like he was responsible enough to do and get things done on his own, without me standing over him. I didn’t believe he would be responsible enough to do things on his own. Nagging him was me treating him almost like a child, like an incapable man – that message was SO disrespectful!

There were also times when I’d just expect him to help me with something I needed to get done, or I’d be girly and feminine, and **hint** that I expected him to get something done by some vague time frame, and then I would get angry and even resentful when he didn’t do it. The marriage books I read in that first year also covered this topic of being direct with men, even though that felt masculine to me, and not like how women communicate with each other, it was actually what was needed for better communication in our marriage.

Being direct really is a more masculine style of communicating, so even though it feels awkward and unnatural for most women, it’s helpful to teach engaged couples or young wives that this is what their husbands will need from them. It’s not wrong, it’s not being demanding if you say it in a nice, respectful, gentle way.

Expecting our husbands to act more like a woman, to read our minds and understand our feminine hints concerning what we want, and then getting angry at them for not knowing, isn’t helping to create a healthy relationship within a marriage.

After we got those things figured out, we’ve still had tricky situations where I didn’t know how to breech a subject without sounding disrespectful, but now it’s MUCH easier to understand what each other needs or is thinking because we’ve learned how to communicate openly and honestly. It’s been a beautiful journey and I’m so grateful we’ve learned so much.

You Can’t Be Together All the Time – Respecting Your Husband’s Space

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Something I deeply treasure in our marriage is the time we spend together.  Whatever season we’re in, whether there is ample amount of time, or barely enough time to reconnect, I truly do value that sense of togetherness.

When we were dating and in college, some of our mutual friends joked that we were attached at the hip, they said they never saw us by ourselves – we went everywhere together, did everything as a couple, and tried to see each other as much as humanly possible.

When we were first married, I heard the term co-dependent and worried that we’d fallen into that relational category because of how much we loved to spend time together.

Co-Dependent -a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin); broadly:  dependence on the needs of or control by another

 

Obviously, we weren’t co-dependent at all.  In reality, we were both growing into our own persons, becoming inter-dependent, and inspiring each other to reach our own individual goals.  My husband went back to school with a renewed attitude after marriage, and was driven with an inspired purpose.  His grades reflected the change – he was suddenly making all A’s and loving his progress in knocking out classes.

We energized each other, and encouraged each other to succeed.

But even in all this togetherness, there was still a lot of times where we would not be so attached at the hip.

There were many nights where we would relax and be in the same vicinity, but doing completely different things.  Myself reading a book or the beauty magazine, Allure, while my husband read his own book or played his game console.  Both focused on other things, but still under an umbrella of love and treasuring each other.

There were still many times where we would read together – to each other even, but it was in these times of separateness that the comfort and relaxation of just knowing that we were there for each other, being quiet and immersed in our own interests, a sense of confidence in our relationship emerged.

I once knew a woman my age that had just gotten married, complain that she was sitting on the couch watching her husband play his game console, and had the incredible urge to throw it across the room.

She was angry that he wasn’t spending time with her in that moment, and maybe in some ways she was lacking intimacy in their marriage.  But this controlling neediness from women to always be the focus of their man, is something that drives relationships into the ground.

Couples need time where they are by themselves, and men in particular, seem to need to be alone or with other men, even when they’re crazy about the woman they love.

There are times when my husband will get off work at night, and instead of come straight home to me, he stays to talk and laugh with his friends there, or goes to visit friends and past co-workers for awhile.  He misses them, and visiting with them, even though it takes away a little of our couple time, gives him so much fulfillment.

Sometimes he’s talking about his work, even asking their ideas and opinions on things he faces, or they’re telling horrible jokes that would make me blush or faint, but this time is his and his alone.  It is not meant for me to intrude upon, or to make him feel guilty for.  He needs that time with others, other men and even a few women who add an overall deeper meaning to his life experience that I alone can’t provide.  When he does come back to me, he’s usually glowing with the happiness of getting to be with these crazy people, and can’t wait to tell me what’s going on in their own lives, or the dirty jokes they shared LOL.

Do I miss him when he stays out later to be with these other people he loves?  Of course, but he needs them… they add to his life.

Men need their own time to get away, to recharge, to become energized.  I remember growing up my mom told me about Abraham Lincoln’s wife.  She was apparently, an extremely jealous woman, who hated allowing Lincoln to spend time with anyone else, especially another woman, and it was hard on him because he was naturally friendly and very people-orientated.  My mom used her as an example of the ugliness of jealousy in a woman, and how she can use it to control and manipulate her husband’s time and his life.  She told me that Lincoln was sad about his wife’s character flaw, and paid the price for it by having less enriched relationships with other people in his life in an effort to keep her happy.  A woman like that makes her man have to keep her happy, or she’ll try to make him miserable, or throw his game console against the wall to get his attention.  She’s allowing her emotions rule their relationship (and rule her husband) and coming from a place of jealousy that’s inspired by insecurity.

Women need their time alone as well, there have been so many times throughout our marriage when I’ve been grateful for the time spent away with other women friends when we gathered together for talking at the park with our kids, or Bible study, or even going out together.  There is something that I get from them that my husband cannot (and probably should not) try to provide for me, simply because they’re women – we connect at a different level and share experiences that men don’t understand.

You just can’t be together all the time.

Men seem to respect that women have their hobbies or girly activities, it’s women like Lincoln’s wife that don’t seem to get that men also need their space – their time to relax and spend time with friends.

It’s good to respect our husband’s space, to let him have the hobbies he loves – reading, writing, hunting, baseball, game-playing, visiting friends, or whatever it may be.

Respect his space, be interdependent.

Perspective – Reaping & Sowing

I’ve been thinking a lot about perspective … in general, having the right attitude toward life and people, a sense of the long-term as well as being present in the now.  Perspective that births forth the much needed character development and perseverance able to get us through various life seasons.  I’m talking about seasons of all kinds, seasons of growth, seasons of waiting, pain, blessings, loss, and renewal.

Things like infertility, miscarriage, job loss, mental illness, your kids having a hard time in school or enduring sickness, relocations, new jobs, new churches – anything that we may all face in one way or another, or help friends who are in that season.  Do we keep a godly perspective on these things?  Are we prepared to face them when life throws them our way?

Its been on my mind lately, how important it is that we are sowing in the different seasons of our lives, and not sitting stagnantly by in times of hardship, or when our cup is overflowing.  Even in the most difficult times, we need to be actively sowing into our families things that we will eagerly await to reap when the time comes.  It matters so much, what we choose to sow.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD.

For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream,

And will not fear when the heat comes;

But its leaves will be green,

And it will not be anxious in a year of drought

Nor cease to yield fruit.

Jeremiah 17:7-8

What do you want to sow?

In our family, I want to actively sow goodness, faithfulness, hard work, optimism, perseverance, joy, patience, kindness, peace, teamwork, and affectionate love.  I’m always being watched by my children, in a very real way, this knowledge that I’m being watched and looked up to by them in order for them to learn these valuable life lessons through example (my example), keeps me accountable.  I’d better do right by them, they deserve no less!

Its a constant feeling of excitement that God is growing me, maturing me, into someone better than before – better than last year, better than the year before that.  Constantly evolving, having a clear picture of the kind of woman I want to be.  Its not an anxious pressure that I feel breathing down my neck or anything, but more of an appreciative anticipation towards maturity.

You reap what you sow.

“Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with kindness; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the LORD Until He comes to rain righteousness on you. You have plowed wickedness, you have reaped injustice, You have eaten the fruit of lies Because you have trusted in your way, in your numerous warriors, “

Hosea 10:12-13

I love the analogy of reaping and sowing, of planting seeds in soil, even the soil itself matters.  Is it fertile soil?  Is it receptive, rocky, or too acidic?  The soil represents our hearts, and what we sow matters just as much as the purity that is already present in our hearts in order to receive it.  Sowing, in a broader sense, is more than merely planting seeds, its taking the time to tend and nurture those seeds and seedlings.  Its taking care to nourish the soil, making sure it has the right nutrients that it needs in order to be receptive, as well as the seedlings under our care.

Its important as Christians that we are sowing responsibly – spending our time, money, and resources on what is benefiting our personal (spiritual) growth.  Are we going where we’re supposed to go?  Are we engaging in activities that are helping us to become better women of God (or men of God)?  Or are we doing things that are counter to what we desire to be sown?  Are we falling by the wayside and letting our life just pass us by?  What am I personally sowing into my life, and as a result, the life of my children?

There are different seasons of time when you can focusing more on sowing, or reaping … or both….  we’ve entered into a very busy life season, with my son going to an exciting but difficult school, being involved in a sports team way more intense than your average YMCA, raising a new baby, managing home and social life, doing something (hello, anything) with my shop, and planning on getting pregnant again next year.

The school and sports are what are really life changing… this school is difficult, and will take a lot of time, but hopefully will be worth it for him if he enjoys it.  The sports team is also a big change, as they’re going to have practices 3 nights a week.  These people are hardcore and intense, the Y just wasn’t cutting it for him anymore because it was too easy, created a non-competitive environment where even the worst kids got trophies, or only provided unknowledgeable coaching.  We’re waiting to see if the busy schedule will work out well, trying to keep a balance and peace sown into our life is a high priority.

Lots of changes… a very busy life season!  Yet even with all the new change, or the constant spending of our time and energy into these activities, I still need to be aware of what I’m sowing into our life, no matter the season.

As far as school, my son loving it, and having a blast just being there… I told him that i missed him that first day (and again after the first week) and he just said, “Well, Mom, I haven’t thought of you at all!”

YES!!!!!  GOAL ACCOMPLISHED!!!!

I would so much rather he be so involved, so focused and happy there that he forget me and not worry about him missing me.  Even days later though, I still miss him.  I miss his loudness… his happiness… his crazy energy.  Our classroom/game room just is not the same without our oldest in it.  And I really really miss him.

But I am so elated that he doesn’t miss me… not even a little bit!  😀

I’ve spent these past two years pouring time and effort into teaching him in the mornings just to prepare him for going to “big school.”  I’m so proud of him, but I’m proud at what he’s accomplished in the past two years as well.  I’ve spent two years sowing discipline, love of learning, practice of writing, math, reading, a little science and geography/culture, and music, and now he’s more than ready to take on Kinder.  And he’s taking it on with a happy attitude!

He had his first homework yesterday, and he finished his daily homework for Monday within about 1 minute.  I was shocked, but I shouldn’t have been really – it was very easy compared to the level he’s attained with me at home.  He was already doing first grade activities when he was 4 years old.  He was elated that it was so easy, so he went on to complete his packet for the rest of the week’s homework in one sitting!  I’ve created a scholastic monster!

His heart has been prepared, I tried very hard to make sure I made learning pleasant and fun, setting him up for success back then – the small successes – and in hindsight, it was really setting himself up for future success by learning to love school and become a high-achiever.  He enjoys doing homework (hopefully that can last through his teens lol 😛 ).  He seems to be reaping what we’ve been sowing in his heart and mind, and it touches my heart, making me want to double down my efforts and apply this lesson in other ares of our lives.

I want to sow kindness, so that he will learn to be kind.

I want to sow discipline, so that he can learn the immeasurable importance of having discipline in his life.

I want to sow joy in his heart, so that he can carry it into his future and weather the storms that will come.

And so much more.

The Art of Achievement

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Another chapter from The Art of Living, brought to you by Super Dog, who seriously… knows how to live life.

You hold in your hand the camel’s-hair brush of a painter of Life.  You stand before the vast white canvas of Time.  The paints are your thoughts, emotions and acts.

You select the colors of your thoughts; drab or bright, weak or strong, good or bad.

You select the colors of your acts; cold or warm, fearful or daring, small or big.

Through the power of your creative imagination you catch a vision… you dream a dream.

You visualize yourself as the man you want to be.

You see yourself as a triumphant personality striding toward far horizons of constructive accomplishment.

You see yourself as a master servant of the race, ministering to human needs, radiating happiness.

You see yourself as a builder, making a creative contribution to the evolution of modern civilization.

You strive to make the ideal in your mind become a reality on the canvas of Time.

You select and mix the positive colors of heart, mind and spirit into the qualities of effective living: patience, determination, endurance, self-discipline, work, love and faith.

Each moment of your life is a brush stroke in the painting of your growing career.

There are the bold, sweeping strokes of one increasing, dynamic purpose.

There are the lights and shadows that make your life deep and strong.

There are the little touches that add the stamp of character and worth.

The art of achievement is the art of making life- your life – a masterpiece.

Mother’s Day Reflections

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To my boys…. Sitting here, alone in the dark as I type this and reflect on this Sunday being Mother’s Day, I’m overwhelmed with joy at being your mother.  Both of you boys, both of you, are so wonderful, and give me so much joy.  I watch you both sleep, so peacefully in your beds, and I’m amazed and so humbled that God has given you both to me.  It brings tears to my eyes to know how much God has entrusted me with, and I don’t want to fail you.  I want to be the best mother I can possibly be, and I am sorry for all the times I fall short.  I promise to always admit my mistakes, to let you know that I’m human, too, and to treat you both with fairness.  You are both my treasures, and I want you to feel it in the way I interact with you everyday.

To my mother, thank you… we may not have always agreed in the past, but you were and still are, an amazing woman.  I find myself thinking about the things you said when I was a child in your house all the time since I left 8 years ago.  You single-handedly planted so many words of wisdom, so many biblical truths that I still cling to in my heart where they took root, and have blossomed into a garden of wisdom that has guided me so well in these past years.  You planted those seeds, you nurtured them when they were tender young shoots, and watered them for years – never giving up on me, even when I was rebellious and pushed you past your limits, you still loved me and always fought for the best for me.

You helped me become the woman God is making me to be, the mother I want to be to your grandchildren.  You were able to admit your mistakes, you were always ALWAYS so honest with me about every question I had concerning life.  And I am SO GRATEFUL to you.  We still don’t always see eye to eye, but I am so much more in love with you than I’ve ever been, and the love just keeps growing for you.  You did so well, Mom, and I am so proud that I can call you my mom.  Thank you for setting such a wonderful, godly model, even in your imperfections, you were able to teach me humility and wisdom in knowing that I will never be the perfect mother.

To my husband, thank you!!!  Thank you for making me your wife, and giving me these children to raise!!!  You have given me so much joy in being your wife, in getting to support you emotionally and be there for you physically, I absolutely love being your wife, and try to never take it for granted.  You bring me so much happiness everyday with your carefree atttitude, and addictive, teasing playfulness.  You bring happiness to our boys as they simply adore you!

I’m so honored to have had your children.  You were there with me the day an Ob-GYN told me I would likely never be able to have children.  The shock of hearing those words at the young age of 22 was jarring.  But she was wrong.  So very wrong.  God’s blessed us with 2 healthy, beautiful boys – thank you for being the kind of man I want them to grow up and become.  You are already teaching our oldest so many things about being a man, about true masculinity, you set such a great example for him to walk in your footsteps.

Thank you for your sacrifice, for providing so well for us that I am able to stay at home with them for this short time….  Because of you, I’m able to see every smile of our babies’, every milestone they hit, capture it on camera or video for you, and really enjoy this time with them before they go to school.  So thank you, again, so much, for this gift of being the mother of your children.

It really is, such a happy, happy Mother’s Day. ❤

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
    when they contend with their opponents in court..”

Psalm 127:3-5

Single Man Gets Berated For Daring to Have Standards for Women’s Behavior

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I witnessed today on my FB newsfeed, a single man get berated by a female “friend” for daring to have standards for how he expects to be treated by a woman (his potential future wife) in the singles’ dating market.  For the sake of the post, I call him Matt and the shaming, criticizing woman will be called Megan.

Matt had used Match.com’s online connection to chat with a 40 year-old single mom, who was very upfront about not wanting anymore children, and very demanding on finding out if he wanted children or not.  He answered candidly & honestly, that he was just seeing where things would go and wasn’t ready to take things that fast yet.  He thought nothing of his reply, however, she abruptly ended their conversation in a rude, harsh manner that left him wondering why she thought she was so entitled to treat another person so callously.

He couldn’t understand why the 40 yr old was so harsh, and why she would shut him down immediately.  Single moms in their 40’s don’t have a lot of options, they’ve wasted their youth and the majority of their beauty either sleeping with many men, hopping from relationship to relationship, or in a marriage that ended in divorce.  He wondered in his comments, why she (and women he’s encountered while dating online in general) aren’t more open-minded, more willing to bend, why they have a long list of must haves (even at that advanced an age in the dating market), and will next a guy at the slightest hint of missing her mark.

I replied to him what I’ve learned about older women.  They really are less willing to bend, more close-minded when it comes to looking at men.   They “know what they want,” are extremely (and often arrogantly) opinionated, and they feel as though they deserve to have their way.  He mentioned that she acted like it was “her way or the highway,” and it is, exactly that for a lot of women in this age-range.  Their entitlement is felt through the way they treat men like my single guy friend, if he isn’t of use to them, they’ll callously cast him aside into a pile of trash – they don’t bother to be courteous or kind to a man that will not suit their draft horse desires.  If he isn’t exactly what they want, they won’t stay long to see if he has any “redeeming qualities” because in their mind, they deserve the perfect man.  It might not have been completely this case with this particular woman, but this is something I’ve read is very common in the online dating market.

Women at her stage of life, are either in tune with their real-life options, and therefore go about trying to catch someone who “fits” what they want, or they are out of tune, and falsely believe they will have an easier time finding a man than what the reality is that they face.  She is on the hunt, and is on the losing side of time when it comes to finding a desirable man as every year she ages, more and more men will be turned on by younger women.

A woman in this position would do well to maximize her marriage value – embrace her femininity, kindness, caring qualities.  Take the time to work on her outward appearance to make sure she is the most beautiful she can possibly be at her age.  The 40 yr old single mom did not exhibit kindness, or even courteous behavior towards Matt, and he remarked on how unnecessary it was.  He said that showing kindness when turning someone down is rare, but still very desirable and attractive – how would she know that he didn’t happen to know a man who would fit her desires?

I was drawn in to his post on FB when I saw Megan, a friend of his, start to shame him for “judging” the 40 yr old single mom who treated him harshly.  Megan said she was trying to “Call him out,” for his behavior in judging her, and to think upon what would Jesus do?  Would Jesus have posted about his experience with her?  She accused him of detailing his whole life on facebook, which he doesn’t, of “gossiping”… never-mind he never once let any personal details or the name of this woman come to light in his post.  She instructed him that he should “love” all women, and not judge them at all… because you know, he’s a Christian and a Christian wouldn’t/shouldn’t judge others or use their godly discernment in deciding on a future marriage partner.  I was appalled to see a woman had instructed my single friend to turn a blind eye to how women treat him, to give them a pass because they have a vagina, so I jumped in and set her straight.  She became so flustered and righteously angry with me when she couldn’t argue with any of my valid points that she deleted all her shaming/bullying comments, and left him alone.

Her reaction was typical of women when they see a single man complain at all about his struggles in the dating realm – they either passively sympathize with him, or outright shame him for not bucking up and taking the mistreatment, but virtually no woman is brave enough to give him any real advice or send him to where he can get it.

Matt was merely relating a life experience he had in the dating market with an anonymous woman, an uncomfortable experience because he felt mistreated, and felt that he could trust his fellow female friends to give him their take on why women behave this way.

But he’s a man… he should just take what he gets right?

 

I mean, how dare he have standards?