Sunday, October 15, 2017

Did you see your sacred moment?

Do you know what my recent favorite moment was?

I stood outside in the driveway, m
y fingers laced around coffee with salted mocha creamer. The steady bounce of the basketballs leaving my sons hands and thumping against the backboard floated in the air. 




Laughter trickled across my ears. The wind gently swayed the trees and set the last of the season's flowers in motion. 

The normality of the moment was surprisingly soothing – that kind of moment when time freezes in the briefest of seconds and blessing after blessing in your life illuminates as if it's your first time seeing them. (Again.)

Then it was over.

It reminded me of the verse: "Be still and know that I am God."  (Psalm 46:10, NIV)



Because before it passed and one brother started bickering with another, and the mug became empty and we needed to pile into the car and go, in that moment when I was still - I felt Him.

What about you? 

Did you experience a sacred moment smack in the middle of the chaos lately?

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I love seeking out inspiration, encouragement and the everyday sacred. Want to join me on FacebookPinterest or Email (Freebies)?


PS - If you want a book to help you slow down time Present Over Perfect did wonders for my soul.


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Saturday, October 7, 2017

Walk Away from Worry with the Magic 5:1 Ratio {Printable}

(Inside: How to reduce worry.)

I looked down at my wounds.

Two lines of raw skin replaced where the strap to my fancy shoes had just adorned my feet. Every time I wear those sandals, my feet spend the next week recovering. Yet I still talk myself into that stylish pair BECAUSE MY OUTFIT WILL LOOK PERFECT WITH THEM. (Evil laugh from the knife-like straps on my sandals.) 


Then that evening, I'm searching for my fleece lined socks with the same desperation a castaway spans the ocean for human life.



You’d think I'd toss those fancy shoes, but instead... A week later, I'll examine my outfit in the mirror and think, "What if I throw on those cute white strappy sandals? A few blisters are normal..." You see the pattern, right? 

I haven’t learned to hold my hand up to the initial thought "what if" even though it leads to pain. 

Fashion isn't the only place in my life I learn the hard way – I repeat this pattern with worry.


What my worry-pattern looks like.

For example, when I pull the covers over my feverish kid, I think: 


"But what if he doesn't heal? (Stop worrying, he’ll be fine…) What if his fever lasts forever? (I can worry a little, I mean it’s normal…) Why does he have bruises on his leg? Did he have them before the illness? (I should keep pondering this so I’m prepared for all possible scenarios.) What if the bruises combined with the illness means he has leukemia?" (Let me google it.) Oh my gosh, he has leukemia. I’m. Positive.

Then my stomach twists, my brain fogs and as he's shaking with a fever, worry’s hijacked my body and shut out hope. For days. (For both small and big issues.)

Can you relate?

Do your "what if" thoughts lead to: 


      Step 1: "But what if..."
      Step 2: Start listing out possible bad things that can happen.
      Step 3: Add more. (Just for fun.)
      Step 4: Lose all rational thought. 
     (Nailed wallowing in worry’s pain and losing all hope.)


Are you tired?



I don't know what made me say enough. It wasn't moving, my mom's cancer, miscarriages or job loss; instead, it was an insignificant moment like someone didn't text me back over nothing. My brain simple felt tired of the hamster wheel of worry. Worry dominated my mind and robbed me of happiness and hope. 


Corey Ten Boom, author of The Hiding Place 
(Get a free printable of this quote.)


Are you done too? Are you tired of your daily strength being hijacked by worry? What if we had a tool to significantly reduce our worry? What if we do what we normally do – rise to meet the challenge – but worry free? Do you want to join me in this?

Deciding we are done with worry is easy, retraining our brain is hard.





When we worry, it's like having a ginormous crack spider webbing in all directions through our lives. Different actions heal different parts of the crack, until one day we take a step back and realize we feel mended. Today I'm giving you one suggestion to heal a part of that crack. 


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(Stay tuned for more healing ointments. I'm writing an eBook on shedding worry and I'm almost done! Sign up here and I'll keep you in the loop. *And give you a monster discount.*)
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Onto my strategy...but, hang with me because I'm going to explain why this works first.


The psychology behind it.

My child's doctor and I were discussing parenting. I'd described a difficult stretch and she firmly stated, "Your positive interactions with your child must outweigh your negative ones." But that thought wasn't concrete enough for me. Happy You Happy Family has a wonderful article on the How to Connect With Your Child: the Magic 5:1 Ratio with kids. It's based on Dr. Gottman's relationship research that found healthy marriages have five positive exchanges for every one negative exchange.

Sweet numbers. I can wrap my head around that.


Present Over Perfect helped me focus on being in the moment and not worrying about the future.


If the magic 5:1 ratio can improve our relationships with our spouse and children, it can also improve our relationship with ourselves.

Science shows that for one negative thought – we need five life-giving thoughts; proof that God created us to walk closer to hope than toxic words. You guys, we can outsmart worry.


How we retrain our brain. 

When we think "what if,” instead of letting our mind spiral down the rabbit hole, we can stop and entertain five positive thoughts.


Check out Since I Became a Mom's related article: 


But for me, it has to be truth, not fluff. Only substance can convince me to let go of worry. (My worry is stubborn!) The positive thoughts must move me towards hope. Truthful hope. Extravagant Hope.

These are God's promises to us, messages repeated in different ways throughout the entirety of the Bible - real thoughts from God to you!

1. God is for us. Always.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

2. We can't fully comprehend God - and that's a good thing. While we're walking among the trees, God's above looking at the whole forest.

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (Isaiah 40:28-31, NIV)

3. We don't have to do anything to make God love us more.(Attention, perfectionists! Ahem - me!) The entirety of the gospel is based on a grace-filled love where God chooses us. We've asked Him to walk beside us, so be assured that He does with absolute adoration and love.
"May have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ." (Ephesians 3:18, NIV)

4. God will get us where we need to be. He writes his plans for us on our hearts through giving us talents, interests, and wisdom, but often the path to the goal is not what we envisioned.
"In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps." (Proverbs 16:8-10, NIV)

5. God can coax good out of every hopeless situation. (Notice there aren't promises of a perfect, easy life – rather a rich, full one.) 

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)

Walk away from worry.

(Bonus - a printable from Corey Ten Boom's quote is included!)

I made a printable of these verses and placed them in my most visited spots: the mirror, the refrigerator, my purse, my car…

Let's quit telling ourselves that pain from worry is normal. We don't have to let worry tarnish our precious time here on earth with sweaty palms, a rapid heartbreak and a mind that just won't let up. We don't have to allow that pain into our lives. 

I threw away my stylish shoes to remind myself, I don't have to choose blisters on my feet. So, wearing comfortable shoes, I can walk away from worry by hitting every negative thought with five glorious promises. 

You can too.

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I love seeking out inspiration, encouragement and the everyday sacred. Want to join me on FacebookPinterest or Email?


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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Photography - Lakeside

Here's my latest tinkering with photography. Taking pictures of this ah-maze-ing family was joy. I wish I had infinite amounts of time to fuel my hobby. I'd then take pictures of all y'all. How fun would that be!?! 




I'd love to email you all 5 of these fantastic freebies: 3 beautiful inspirational printables, one list to help you get your kids out the door happy and one time, and a list of creative questions to help you get to know your kid better. Sign up for these 5 fantastic freebies here. 




I love seeking out inspiration, encouragement and the everyday sacred. Want to join me on Facebook, Pinterest or Email?


This is an updated version of the camera I use. I also LOVE my new lens. It took me a long time to decide to spend that kind of money on my hobby, but I'm glad I did. Fantastic purchase. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Get Your Kids Out The Door Happy And On Time With THIS

The terrible-horrible-very-bad-worst part of our morning is when I announce "Time to go!"



We all simultaneously lose our brain cells.

One kid can't find his shoe, the other his h
omework, and the third decides to take a firm stance against why kids have to go to school anyway. Common sense and patience die and I find myself out-of-body looking down on a crazy woman yelling: "Get in the car! Right now!" I hate that the last words my kids hear when I drop them off at school are: "Remember, a bad moment (our morning) is just a bad moment. It doesn't mean you're going to have a bad day. Goodbye! Love you!" (Big cheesy smile to make up for all the yelling.) 

Somebody help.



You know how some books you read fast because you can't wait to hear the end of the story? Then other books you read slowly because you want to savor the words? Reading Present over Perfect you'll pace yourself willing the nourishment not to end. It's a must-read for all women! 


We've tried all the tricks: getting ready the night before, allowing more time in the morning... No dice, for us. I've been thinking about why when given a FULL THIRTY MINUTES, we can't leave without tears. My conclusion is: My kids' only morning priority is to play. They wake up early to transform Optimus Prime, shoot hoops, or protect our home from our sweet retired neighbors. 


So, getting ready is like having a big, fat fly buzzing around their heads. They might start the process but soon their shooing away the thought of fixing their hair and grabbing their lunchboxes to hurry back to play.

So, this year – I knew we needed to get on the same page: Get Ready First. Play Second. But how do we get there? 

Enter the heroine of this story: THE LIST 

Of course, a friend gave me this idea. When deep in the I-hate-can-we-play-video-games-whining conversation, she flashed her phone in front of me with a beautiful list that her children must finish before screen time.

Then, angels started singing, the skies parted and streaks of light came down spotlighting THE LIST. (People and their ideas are ah-maze-ing.)




I'd love to email you all 5 of these fantastic freebies: 3 beautiful inspirational printables, one list to help you get your kids out the door happy and one time, and a list of creative questions to help you get to know your kid better. Sign up for these 5 fantastic freebies here. 


So, I made my own. This checklist is what my kids MUST FINISH BEFORE THEY CAN PLAY.

We're on week 4 and it's working beautifully.

But what about you? What is the thing that sends you out-of-body yelling at your kids? Grab your free list here so it can become your heroine too for:

  • The bedtime routine.
  • Homework.
  • Practicing their instrument. (Or other interests.)
  • Chores.
  • Encouraging your kid to be ready on time for soccer. (Or other activities.)
  • Screen time.
  • Whatever.

The crazy lady is gone in the morning. (Well, mostly...) 

My brain cells have been restored. (Again, mostly...) 


So, I can save my yelling for another time. Like when the orange, bouncy ball bounces down our sloped driveway out into the street... 

"LOOK BOTH WAYS BEFORE YOU CHASE THAT BALL!"

That's a phrase worth screaming.


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PS - If you have a moment, check out an article I wrote that's particularly near and dear to my heart: To the Moms of Babies (Also for moms who miss the baby stage.)




I love seeking out inspiration, encouragement and the everyday sacred. Want to join me on FacebookPinterest or Email?



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Monday, September 4, 2017

When You Doubt Your Sons Learn Your Life Lessons

(Inside: One way to build your confidence as a mom.) 

"I don't get it. What does chivalry mean?" My 9-year-old son asked me from the back seat of our van. 

His friend chimed in, "Yeah. Me too. I don't get it either..."


With my hands on the steering wheel, I edged into our garage and answered: “It's when a boy shows kindness by taking care of a girl, even though he knows the girl can do things for herself. For example, it’d be chivalrous if you would carry in my bags or open the door for me as we enter the house.” 

A month passes by… 




That same friend, my 9yo and I are shifting things around my son's bedroom so his friend has a place to sleep. (Bring on the slumber party.) With the blow-up bed tucked under his arm, my husband steps into the room. My eyebrows furrow, 
“I know you need to work late tonight. Let me set up the bed, you get your stuff done.” 

My husband rolls out the thick plastic and centers it uniformly in the room. He smiles at me and says, “No, I don’t mind doing it.” 

And then, like the sweet music of the oldies station (which I just discovered the current oldies station is the music from my youth and I'm slightly disturbed by this
), my 9yo son's friend announces to the entire room...

“See, that’s chivalrous.” 

Look. I know we have to daily reintroduce our kids to a toothbrush, loading the dishwasher and other things they refuse to learn. Yet we all have moments like mine when the Red Sea parts in our own home and our kids (and maybe even their friends) remember an important conversation that happened an entire 31 days ago. 

Moms.

They are hearing our words.

Somewhere between the nerf gun bullets flying around the house and the youngest brother locked under the crook of his older brother's arm, they are paying attention.





Let's leverage this. When we're knee deep in parenting challenges and feeling like maybe we should just get a manicure because at least our nails would look pretty as we go down in the parenting failure flames, we can stop...reach back into our brain and unleash the memories of successes we've experienced over the years. One by one, we let the memories tell the story of all the things our kids are championing because of our guidance that they heard and put into action. 

Then we feel it...

...the confidence washing over us with blessed strength. 

So we keep moving forward. 

Boldly.

Because our little people are watching and listening and learning. After all, they do sometimes carry in our bags or open the door for us. 

We taught them that. 

We do important work.



PS - Bear Gryll's show is a boy mom's dream. I mean, I couldn't get any member of my family to watch Beauty and the Beast with me. And forget Frozen. One son actually thinks Frozen is what the F-Word means. ("All that singing, mom!") So to find a show that entertains both me and my family - golden. When the book To My Sons by Bear Grylls came out, I snatched it up. This is something the whole family will enjoy. Each page has a simple idea or quote that prompts table talk at meal times. I love the family connection it promotes.(But then, of course, we sometimes chew our food silently with glazed-over looks. We can't nail conversation all the time.)

I love seeking out inspiration, encouragement and the everyday sacred. Want to join me on FacebookPinterest or Email?


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