Thursday, August 29, 2013

Words to Live by...Unique

Unique. A word that took me sometime to embrace. It's something that I have learned more about now that I am a mother. I see my girls constantly trying to fit in. Even at a young age the pressure to fit inside the mold is strong. They see that when you step out of the box of normal people looks at your funny. They laugh at you. They become uncomfortable around you.

So how do we help our daughters to be unique? How do we help them be who they are and not who everyone else wants them to be? How do we minimize that push and pull for them? Doesn't it all seem so impossible?

I've said it starts with us. It's starts with you feeling more comfortable in your own skin. Being happy and proud of who you were made to be. I am unique. Uniquely made. Formed in my mother's womb to be like no other. I am like a single snowflake that falls from the sky and fallen on a little glove marveled over's so uniquely different.

In the winter if I ever hear my girls squeal with excitement while it's snowing I know why right why. They love the way the snow falls on their gloves. They love when a single snowflake falls on their nose. Their excitement is contagious because I then look at the beauty and wonder at the fact that with each snowflake that falls they are all different. They are all unique.

I want my daughters to feel the same way about their uniqueness. I want them to squeal with excitement that no one is just like them. I want them to see the beauty in what makes them different. I want to see them blossom into a unique young lady who is different than the rest and that's O.K. because she is just like that fallen snowflake. Unique. Different. One of a kind.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Finding Joy

My friend posted on Facebook recently and what she typed in her status made me reflect on the small joys in life....

"Every night after I grind the coffee beans, pour the water into the coffee pot, and set the delay brew buttons, I go to bed so excited to wake up the next morning. Each morning I look forward to stumbling downstairs and grabbing that first cup of coffee. Strange? Not at all. I like to think I just find joy even in a simple cup of coffee."

Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my day I forget to enjoy that simple cup of coffee. So what else am I forgetting to enjoy?

Those moments when my two year old sings Remedy Drive at the top of her lungs.
When my future cowgirl yells "MOM! Look at this." while she is standing on the seat of her bike.
When my oldest leaves me mail in the the form of dandelions.
The times my curly haired daughter says "Can you leave my boing out?"
The giggles of my little blonde when she is trying to play a joke on us.
Laughing with my husband as he sings a New Kid's on the Block song as he is leaving for work...

All these things are small. Insignificant you could say in the larger day. Little moments that happen on a whim. Things that could normally go unnoticed in the hours of stress that pile up on us...

But what if we didn't let them get lost? What if we took those moments each day and held onto them? How much better would your day seem?

I often can find myself getting to the end of my day and I wonder what good there was. As a mom I can feel stressed. As a wife I can often feel as if I have fallen short. The days I struggle most are the days my mind is consumed with thoughts of food. Wanting to hate it. Wanting to log it. These are the days when finding joy seem the hardest. So each night before my husband leaves for working I will make sure to tell him one thing about my day where I have found joy. That one thing will turn into more...until my day can be seen full of joy!

How do you find your joy? How can you help your daughters look at their joyful moments? Take sometime...ask them where they found joy today.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Label me This

Labels. They seem to apart of everyday life for just about everyone. What do people think of me? How do people see me? I lived a majority of my life worried about my labels. I wasn't really sure what to make of it in 2nd grade when the popular girls called me "Ugly!". Is that what I really am? I must be if she said it.

So many of us deal with the same problem. Allowing others to label us and living with those labels for our whole life. After being called ugly many girls will strive to do anything to get away from that label. Only to feel as if nothing they do will ever work because kids continue to call them that. Many give up on it. Others continue to strive for perfection. Dumb. I can't tell you the number of kids who think they are dumb. Why? Because that's what they have been told. By fellow classmates or even by teachers. They give up on trying to figure out the problem because does it really matter? They are dumb anyway right?

One thing I have learned in my travels is that often times things can be labeled wrong. I remember my first experience with this was with sweet corn. Having grown up in Iowa I love sweet corn! Having moved to a foreign country I was longing something to give me good sweet memories of home. That was when we stumbled upon the street vendor selling sweet corn. His sign even said it! It smelled so good and they seasoned it up. I bit into it to find it was not sweet at was more like field corn. Numerous times I had been fooled by mislabeled items. Movies labeled wrong. Dove chocolates label wrong. Snacks that were labeled as one thing and ended up so not what I thought. Eventually I learned to not put much trust in labels.

So in life why can't I do the same when it comes to labels others put on me. I have wanted to get a tattoo for sometime. One simple one that would look like a bracelet on my wrist. I want it to be words. Not just any words, but words that have been important labels in my life. The only labels that we should be focused on. The ones I feel have been given to me by God. Beautiful. Confident. Loved. Redeemed. Blessed. New. Bold. Accepted. Daughter. Light. Chosen. Forgiven. Words that should be the only ones I allow to form who I am and what I become. Because in the end His are the only words or labels that matter.

How do I bring these labels to my girls? With school starting I worry about the labels that may be pushed on them that are wrong. I don't want them to give in. I don't want them to become mislabeled. So we start "Words to Live by". Each week of school focusing on a word that is important to our lives. Tomorrow is the first day of school for most of my kids and our word is Beautiful.
Feel free to copy and print.

Each of my girls will get this tomorrow and BEAUTIFUL is what we will focus our talks on this week. Making sure they understand what beautiful means. Feel free to join us. I want to hear how your week goes.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Let's Do It: Leaving Sweets For Tender Hearts

 I love the idea of leaving a little something special for someone when they aren't expecting it. Sitting down to take a rest on a park bench? I hope you find ones of these...

I am sure you would be blessed if you sat next to my daughter, but I am talking about the heart she is holding in her hand. We came up with the idea when we were trying to think of ideas we could do this week. We are spending mos of our day at a conference in our area so we didn't have a lot of time to do anything crafty.

So here was our idea. The hearts say "Something sweet for your tender heart". We taped sweettart treats to the hearts and began to leave them in different places. On benches, picnic tables and random larger rocks. One of my girls put hers in the bushes...I think she thought we were hiding them from people...

Here is the file I made for the hearts. If you feel like you want to do the same thing we would love to see happiness spread all over. The hearts also have our web address on never know when someone might stumble upon this and really need some help.

Next week join us as we make friendship bracelets. My oldest made me this one and it inspired me to do them with all the girls.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Grace For This Tender Heart

It stares at me off of the page. It's the word I so love to hear, yet I have such a hard time accepting it.
My grace.
I often tell people about grace. Often talk about it and it's importance. Why is it so hard for me to accept Your grace?
Your grace is sufficient.
I need to pull back and look at this grace again. Because I need it. I yearn for it. I desperately seek it. So when it is given to me why is it hard to grab onto and say yes. You were right! It is sufficient.

I tend to hold myself to a higher standard when it comes to grace. Its the eating disorder mind in me. It's the voice that tells me I am not enough. The voice that constantly reminded me that grace was not acceptable. I don't give myself much grace. I am hard on myself. That's when I really need to let go and let grace take over. It's not my grace that I need. It's His grace. His grace is sufficient. I give up control. I let grace take a hold.

My mind wandered today to my daughters. I wonder sometimes if I am teaching them poorly about grace. I became angry the other day and I yelled. I don't like it when I get so upset. I had one of my moments of kitchen time. It's were I let myself be emotional and reflect on what I've done. It's like my adult time out chair. I am teaching my girls in those moments when I yell that there is no grace. That forgiveness is not an option. And it was in that moment that I stepped away from my "time-out" and taught myself humility and showed them grace.

I'm sorry.
How often do we say that as parents? How often even when we know we are in the wrong do we reach down. Hold our child's face and say...
I'm sorry.
In that moment my daughters showed me the most tender display of grace any human has ever shown me. All five of my girls wrapped themselves around me. I was soaked in love and grace.
We forgive you.
What more could I ask for? What more could I want? In that moment grace, forgiveness and love were shown to me in such a pure way. The relief I felt that my girls were able to show such grace to me, their mother who had not shown them grace, was so big.

Grace is so important to teach to our children. Something I want them to constantly hold onto. Never have an issue with grasping it and accepting it. Your grace is sufficient. Letting go and letting grace take over.

2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Let's Do It: Mess Free Finger Painting

We don't do a lot of painting in our house. I do a lot of painting, but when the girls are involved it looks something like this...

We normally have paint everywhere and at least one of my girls will think that the paint is made for their face. Can you blame them? Face painting is at every event that kids go of course they are going to start thinking that paint is suppose to go on their faces. In my mind painting=huge cleanup!

So here is what you need if you want mess free finger paining:

Gallon Ziplock bags
Assorted colors of paint

I would suggest getting the zip type. This will give you a stronger close to the bag and insure that you won't have a mess to clean up. They are also harder for little fingers to peel open!

Put paper in bag and add the paints. I would do small dots rather than large. My first two were large dots of paint and those mostly came out looking brown. So smaller is better. Zip bags up and let the kids have fun!

I have to say it was a blast and I didn't have to worry about a huge mess to clean up. They are a bit messy to get out of the bags, but if your child wants to hang it on the fridge while it's still in the bag it's really not a huge issue. That's what one of my girls did...she even used the "dirty" magnet to hang it with. You could really do so much with this. Add something new to it. Glitter? Scraps of paper? Dry pasta? Really the ideas are endless. Have fun and enjoy the time with your kids.