Happy Mother’s Day

Family Photo copyI just wanted to take a moment to wish each of you a day of rest and refreshment tomorrow. I pray it is a time of joy. For those of you who will struggle through tomorrow because of pain, loss, and strained relationships, I pray for you. I promise. You are not alone. I’m on the other side of this screen holding your hand and lifting your arms and praying you find peace.

As mothers, you are the bravest (and likely most exhausted) people I know, and I am so grateful for the time you spend with me because I know time is a precious commodity. While I may not know each of you personally, you are dear to me and I truly love to hear from you.

Please stop back by tomorrow to read a word of encouragement from my friend and fellow mama warrior, Katrina. I know it will bless you.

Happy Mother’s Day and God Bless!

Cinderella: 5 Lessons on Raising A Modern-Day Princess

Their first meeting with Cinderella.

Their first meeting with Cinderella.

I recently took my girls to see the latest release of Cinderella and we just loved it! Well, I love all fairytales because somehow they depict life as it should be. Oh there’s plenty of trouble that threatens the protagonist, but we all know how it ends. Prince Charming saves the day and they all live happily ever after.

I believe every life has fairytale potential, and since I have two young princesses and one almost grown one, I intend to do all I can to ensure they not only dream of a happily-ever-after, but that I give them the tools to find it. However, since I spent most of my young life as a tomboy who’d rather chase snakes than stars and who preferred denim to lace, I’m not the perfect princess role model.

So, I took some lessons from Cinderella:

My own Cinderella

My own Cinderella

1- “Be courageous and be kind.” Cinderella’s mother tells her this great truth, adding that “there is great power in kindness.” I agree. As I said in my last post, I believe kindness changes everything.

2- Love others with “an open heart and an open hand.” Though Cinderella ate from the leftovers of her selfish stepmother and stepsisters, she was generous with what little she had, considering others’ interests ahead of her own.

3- Overcome evil with good. In regard to why she tolerated such ugly treatment from her new family, Cinderella answered, “They treat me as well as they are able.”  Oh if my girls can smile in the face of criticism and unfair treatment and deflect it with grace and peace, they will always be able to not only protect their own hearts but possibly change others’ as well.

Princess in training

Princess in training

4- Be who you are. As Cinderella comes down the steps with her soot-stained face, bedraggled hair, and ratty clothing to meet the prince, we hear her uncertain thoughts, “The greatest risk for any of us is to be seen as we truly are.” Isn’t that the truth! My girls need to know that who they truly are has nothing to do with clothes or hair, but a heart of goodness and beauty within.

5- Believe in something greater than yourself. For Cinderella, it was a Fairy Godmother. For me, it’s God. All of us will reach a point where we know our own strength is not enough. I want my princesses to know that when they have nothing left to give, God has more than enough, and all He gives lasts well beyond midnight.

My girls aren’t likely to ever wear a real crown or live in a castle, but I believe that if I encourage kindness, love, grace, a knowledge for who they are and for Who is greater than they are, then they can live a life that rivals any fairytale.

Wishing all your princesses a Happily-Ever-After Life!

My fierce pirate princess thanks to big brother's influence.

My fierce pirate princess thanks to big brother’s influence.

More help from big brother

More help from big brother

A princess still must work :-)

A princess still must work 🙂

Not quite the complete look

Not quite the complete look

With their crowns

With their crowns

My 3 princesses today

My 3 princesses today

Your Best Year–Your Best You

MWM blogger

MWM blogger

Well Mamas, here we are at the edge of a new beginning. Don’t you just love the chance to start fresh? I don’t know how many resolutions you made going into the new year, but I’m sure some are right on course and others have already become old news. The good news is we still have 347 days of opportunity and promise ahead of us, 347 days to move closer to the you and the family and the life you’ve always wanted. Whatever you can dream, God’s dream is bigger. He says so in Ephesians 3:20, and I am excited to get refreshed in my spirit, renewed in my mind, and re-energized in my body.

Last year was a tough one for me. Lots of struggle and lots of loss, and I have to admit there were times I threw my hands up and said, “Why bother?” As a result I was sick often, tired more, gained a bunch of weight and lost a lot of energy. Maybe you understand. Maybe I’ll have a year of even greater challenges. Maybe not. I can’t predict the future. But I can say that come what may, I still intend to have the best year and the best me of my life.

I’m a firm believer that God did not create us to just live and die, to struggle into midlife only to watch it all go downhill from there as we age and watch our children leave our homes and our dreams leave our hearts.Jesus says in John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” I believe Him. I believe wholeheartedly that we were meant to thrive every single day in every single way. I believe that every age and every stage should be better than the one before.

That’s my quest this year–to grab hold of the abundant life Jesus promises. Will you join me? I hope you’ll decide to be what only you can be. I’ve learned that we can never afford to be stagnant, especially as mothers. Too many people are counting on us. Moms, the world needs you. Besides the details you attend to every day that only God sees, no one inspires, encourages, and challenges quite like you. But you can’t do that if you are drawing from an empty reservoir–physically exhausted, mentally dull, and spiritually drained. Your life matters because you matter to every else’s life.

Let today be the first of 24 hours that moves you closer to your purpose. Not mine. Not your best friend’s. Yours! It is uniquely yours and only you can be what you were meant to be. But in order to have it, you must first see it. So capture, or perhaps recapture, the vision. What do you want you and your family and your life to look like? What you think and can see today is what you will live tomorrow, so think big and see great things.

I’m starting today and I hope you’ll come too. I’m believing with you and for you that a year from now you will be stronger in body, mind, and spirit and it will be said of you, “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come” (Proverbs 31:25, NIV).

I’m standing with you my sisters as we press in and press on with confidence and joy.

Welcome to My Messy (Oops! Blessed) Life

Am I the only one who can’t find her kitchen sink right now? Who couldn’t get out of a house fire without falling over the half dozen outfits (which are all too small by the way, but that’s another post) strewn across her bedroom?

It seemed a simple thing this morning to sit down and write a few words by the end of the day. After all, I’ve had multiple experiences lately that make for hilarious reading. The problem is, I can’t seem to string two coherent thoughts together to make any sense.

Everything around me is a mess right now. My kitchen is a dish-filled mess. My room is a laundry-filled mess. And my brain is a foggy, dusty, clutter-filled mess. Please tell me you get it.

Clothes everywhere AND an unmade bed.

Clothes everywhere AND an unmade bed.

I woke up this morning with a plan. I always have a plan and am a devout scheduler, but somewhere between running out of milk and trying to balance the checkbook, it all fell apart. So, here I am with no plans for dinner, math drills that haven’t been done, and more cobwebs in my brain than there is enough coffee to clear.

It’s moments like this that I am tempted to point my finger at my family and demand why milk wasn’t written on the grocery list before it was drained and why the craft supplies were left out after the girls were finished painting their vase and why my husband has to work late on this of all nights. After all, didn’t he hear the panic in my voice when he called at lunch?

Thankfully, somewhere between my irritated heart and my unruly tongue, I had an ah-ha moment. It’s true my house is a mess right now, but that’s because I have healthy children and friends who fill it all the time. And, yes, I run out of groceries a lot but only because I have a full table every night and amazing people surrounding it. And while I wish my husband could read my thoughts and know exactly when I need him home, I realize that only happens in fiction, and I’m grateful that he loves to come home every night to be with his family. So why should I be annoyed when the very mess that irritates me is the proof of my blessings?

Life is a lot like that I think, a “messy blessing”. We plan for one thing but something altogether different comes along, something better many times, and yet we’re disappointed. We strive to juggle too many demands only to “drop the ball”, and we’re discouraged instead of relieved. We like everything to be tidy and certain but instead it’s disorderly and unsure, and we’re fearful when we could be expectant. Life’s messy. And yet, it’s good.

And it’s all that “mess”– that edge-of-your-seat-up-and-down wonder–that makes it good. It’s like being at an amusement park; you can only ride the lazy carousel so long before you get bored or you throw up.

Maybe the ride through Hershey Chocolate Factory doesn't technically count as a roller coaster, but with Kieran it should.

Maybe the ride through Hershey Chocolate factory doesn’t technically count as a roller coaster, but with Kieran it should.

You’re not meant to go round and round and look at the same scenery. Every now and then, you have to strap yourself on the roller coaster (even if it’s only in the kiddie section) to see what you’re made of.

After all, isn’t it true that the greatest courage often springs from the deepest fear, the most heartfelt joy rises from the darkest sorrow, and the most overwhelming peace settles amidst the noisiest chaos? At least in my life, blessings have rarely come without a toll and even more rarely look like I expect them to.

Tonight my blessed life looks a little messy, but that’s okay. We can eat pizza on paper plates for dinner, skip math for the night to watch Andy Griffith re-runs, and tackle the laundry pile tomorrow. Are underwear technically clean if you turn them inside out? Just curious.

Well that’s my messy blessed life. Your turn. What do your blessings look like? Look closely. God hides them in the most unexpected places.

 

 

 

 

To the Single Moms

MWM blogger

MWM blogger

Single moms! You are amazing! I don’t know how you do what you do.

I just spent nine days with my husband in Haiti and I was a ridiculous mess. After nearly 25 years of marriage, I am only part me alone. Remind me of that when I start complaining about the papers he strews all over the counters and how loud he snores now that he‘s home.

I don’t have experience as a single mom and nine days is certainly no qualifier. But it was a glimpse. It was enough for me to know you are incredible women of strength and determination and I applaud your ability to hold so many things together. Still I know it must seem to you that you aren’t always holding it together as well as you portray. I imagine how many nights you cry into your pillow and wake up with a brave face to begin again the next morning.

Image courtesy of Feelart @ freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Feelart @ freedigitalphotos.net

I don’t have any great words of wisdom of my own for you, but I was driven to find it.

Here’s a link to an article from someone who knows:

http://www.imom.com/5-toughest-single-mom-struggles/

And for a faith booster:

http://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/jennifer-maggio/for-every-single-mother.html

I hope you find those encouraging. And I hope it helps to know that I will be praying for you. I will. I am even now. I pray you keep at it with new energy and renewed hope. I pray God will bring people who will see your every need and meet it with you. And I pray each of us in the community of mothers will learn to come alongside one another and not look on in comparison, but in love.

Help others help you. Share your struggles. Ask for help. And please feel free to share your comments here. I want to know your heart.