Wednesday, November 9, 2016

As a Mom, I Refuse to Have a Five Year Plan

It's very hard for me not to plan. I am a planner by nature with my overly A-type personality. I like lists, upon lists, upon lists, and I enjoy completing each task only to cross it off the list. But if I have learned one thing from being a mother, it is the appreciation for time. In college I was always looking towards my five year plan, until my five year plan changed and I created a new five year plan. Every interview after college posed this question to me, but there were many times when it seemed unrealistic. Even my "go-getter" personality questioned our need to continually plan, instead of living in the moment. But I assumed, my apprehension was just a fear of not completing my proposed five year plan.

Now that I have a family with a wonderful husband and four little blessings, there is no need for a five year plan. Yes, we plan for a loving home for the children, and to provide good schooling, but overall, we have no idea where we will be in five years. Each and every day is a gift. Where I am today, is not where I was last year or anywhere I expected to be. Last year at this time, I had a newborn baby and was suffering with postpartum depression. By the grace of God, a supportive husband, the love of my children, and an amazing friend, I got through it and learned many lessons in the process. I had never expected that within a year we would sell our home and be in the process of building a new home to fit our growing family. Life definitely throws us curve balls, but this is what I have learned to accept and also love. I have found comfort in knowing that I don't have control of each and every aspect of my life - interestingly enough, this gives me consolation. Each day brings new joys and new challenges, but I am blessed to have another day with my family and friends and to accept each season of my life.

Linked Up with Mom Life Friday

So for all of you who already decorated for Christmas and are focusing on the month of December. Yes, there are lights already lights up in our neighborhood. I refuse to fall in with the norms of society, I will be the contrarian. November is the month where I can enjoy these last remnants of fall weather, a time when my children can still play outside without having to bundle up in multiple layers, a time when I can enjoy my pumpkin spice latte (don't ruin this for me, people), a time for me to prepare for the season of Advent that is about to come before Christmas, and a time for me to enjoy each day as a wife, a mother, a friend, and a fighter, because I refuse to look too far into the future. As we all know, none of us can predict the outcome. So let's be like out dear, sweet children and enjoy the moments, because they are much shorter than we realize, especially if we are always preparing for the next best thing. What will be left if the next best thing never comes?

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Active Virtue of Patience in Busy World

Most of us would think that the idea of crossing a road should be pretty self-explanatory, if not, then you should have learned that as a pedestrian, crossing the road when the cars have a green light is mostly likely not a good idea. It's actually probably a horrible idea!

Yes, of course I have a story to back up this post about crossing the road. Several days ago, while waiting for a light to turn green I noticed a woman standing at the corner ready to cross the street. Well, did she decide to cross when the pedestrian light gave her the recommendation? Nope! She decided that it would be smarter to begin crossing a busy street after my light turned green. Because of course pedestrians have the right of way, no matter what.... Nope! Wrong again! There's a reason the pedestrian light comes on at a certain time, well because that's the safest time to cross a busy intersection. Not only did this woman cross the road when the cars had the right of way, but she also chose to do so at a very, very, no I mean a very slow pace (age was definitely not a factor to the slowness, let's just say it was a smartphone). I was not the only unhappy driver to say the least, but I kept my cool and sat and waited for her. Because patience is an active virtue, right?

What's the moral to this story? Well there is actually more than one!

The obvious one is that the woman's inconsiderate approach and choice to ignore the rest of society functioning around her was ridiculous selfish. Who needs to watch for cars when they will watch for me, right? Wrong again!

Another lesson was the response many of the drivers wanted to relay or did display towards the woman. Yes, she was inconsiderate, but screaming at her was not moving her along any faster. Even though I was irritated, and it gave me a great topic for a blog post, it also helped me work on something that I struggle with each and every day....PATIENCE!

Patience is actually one of the most beautiful virtues, after humility! It may be an active virtue that takes some of us many years to obtain, but in this world of chaos, it is one of the most obvious. A patient person can easily be picked out of a crowd. Those are the people who find happiness in even the smallest disturbance. How beautiful! It might be a difficult virtue to teach through words, but it can be learned very easily by example. I may personally be working on this virtue of patience everyday with my four children, but I hope someday that my hard work will have taught them how to be patient and loving themselves.

Have a Safe and Happy Weekend!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Closing Out The Month of October with Big Changes

I don't know about you, but October has been quite a month. Typically, I love this month as I watch the change of the seasons - the chill fall air as it becomes sweater season and while I attempt those fun fall festivals with the kids. This October was different, and I am quite happy the month has finally come to a close. With the end of the month, we also finalized the sale of our home and completed a temporary move while we build our new house. These many life changing events are exhausting and I look forward to quieter days over the next several months before we have to move again. In the midst of all this chaos, I realized how little time I have to care for myself. Most moms are guilty of this and it's time that we change it.

I have come to a point in my life, with four kids, where I don't miss the weekly ladies' nights or the weekend getaways. Don't get me wrong, I would definitely love to do those again in the future, but right now, I'm happy at home getting the rambunctious kids to bed and then relaxing on the couch watching a show with my husband or pouring over a good book.

When it comes to New Year Resolutions, I have always believed they are a bunch of promises waiting to be broken. I believe in daily commitments to our family and friends, while also renewing our personal and spiritual goals. This is where I have been lacking, and where so many other moms are also feeling lost. We go through each day attending to the needs of our family, and by the time bedtime comes, we have little energy left to renew our depleted selves. This needs to change!

As women, and especially as mothers, we need to focus on ourselves, because when we eat healthy and exercise, our children desire to do the same. When we spend moments reading a new book, our children will seek to imitate our search for learning. When we spend moments in quiet reflection, our children will also desire this peace of mind and soul. Each of us is so occupied with our family, that we forget how important the mother's role is beyond just her service. Mothers show the love and they provide the protection. Mothers are the mediator and also the observer. How can anyone provide all these roles without caring for oneself also?

Enjoying a few last views at our old home.

With the end of a month, and the beginning of a new month, it is time to focus on ourselves while also caring for our families.

  • Enjoy these last few weeks of fall weather and spend the afternoon outside enjoying the gift of nature. Teach those little ones how blessed we are for green grass and the beautiful sun.
  • There is a time for work and a time for play. Sometimes the laundry can wait, but other times it cannot. Find the right balance.
  • Remember that you are raising the next generation. What an amazing, yet daunting task! Take time to read. As mothers, we should also desire to learn new things. If we are learning and growing, our children will desire to do this also.
  • Organization and Balance. Find what works best for you. Some moms have a weekly meal plan, while others like to cook on the spur of the moment. Some moms have a weekly cleaning schedule, while others clean as needed. None of us are the same, so find what works best with your family, but make a firm commitment to maintain a healthy and happy home.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

When It's Time To Accept The Change Of The Seasons

This past weekend was more difficult than I expected. It has been almost 10 years since I founded my floral design company. This business was truly a work of the heart as I built it from the ground up, mostly by word-of-mouth. Those personal referrals were the best. I had never been formally trained in flowers, but I realized quickly that I loved working with them. What better job than designing a masterpiece out of God's beautiful creations? But as my husband and I welcomed more children into the family, my time became limited, and instead of enjoying my life as a mom, I was becoming frustrated with the little ones and frustrated with my lack of time to design flowers. I shouldn't be surprised anymore by God's sense of humor, because just when my business was exploding, I decided through many hard lessons, that it was time to close the doors. I needed to focus on the little ones and their needs above the needs of my brides. These days and years are just so short, I don't want to miss these crazy moments!

I truly admire the women who can do it all - the family, the career, the social life, and personal time, but I am just not one of those women. I can definitely stretch myself thin and still survive, but I don't want that type of life. So I have learned that through every phase in life, it is time to accept some things and give up others and right now I choose to give up my entrepreneurial aspirations for my family - except my writing, I need my writing! It was difficult to let go, especially since I can be a controlling person, but I can always start up the company again in the future. Nothing needs to be final, after all, there are so many phases in life. Just like the season for apple picking (which we did over the weekend). All fruits and vegetables have their own special seasons, so do the seasons of our lives. Change is good - it's just difficult to accept sometimes!

It was difficult for me to give up a company I had worked so hard to grow, but it was time. I can still get my flower design fix by creating arrangements for our church, but I do have a sense of relief that there will be no more weddings in my near future. Instead, I will have much more time with the family, sewing my quilts (a hobby I haven't tapped into for many years), time for school functions, church events, and of course, my writing. Ultimately, if I am not working towards the good of my entire family, then I am working towards nothing, because my greatest gifts are my husband and my children and if I don't treasure them first, then nothing else matters.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

When It's Time for Chocolate - Katherine Hepburn Brownies

There are just some days when my sweet tooth takes over and I.MUST.HAVE.CHOCOLATE! I found the most delicious brownie recipe, and then tweaked it to fit my own style. You will definitely want to try these Katherine Hepburn Brownies for your next dinner party, work treat, or even afternoon snack. My kids couldn't get enough of these, I will need to make these again soon!

I love gooey brownies, so I removed the walnuts from the original recipe.
These brownies were baked in muffin tins.

There's something special about powdered sugar sprinkled over a delicious brownie - so I added my own special touch

"Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get - only with what you are expecting to give - which is everything" ~ Katherine Hepburn

Monday, September 26, 2016

Monday is Momday - Thanks to Cat & Nat!

Thanks to the fabulous moms who invented the hilarious #MOMTRUTH Fridays (or is it Friyays, am I too old to say that?), Cat & Nat, I decided to share a bit of their humor from this morning's live video. Did you know that Mondays are now Momdays? Thank you, Ladies, for my new favorite day of the week!

Photo Credit: Facebook Profile

  • Momdays are now the days that I can drink as many cups of coffee, without guilt, just to survive the heaping loads of laundry that have piled from who knows where over the weekend.

  • Momdays are now the days that I will never get a nap in, because my two year old still has energy leftover from the weekend.

  • Momdays are now the days that I just want to sit and eat cookies, but my 11 month old needs to nurse and snuggle... I can't resist that. Afterthought, I should eat cookies and nurse!

  • Momdays are now the days I wake up earlier to pack the kids' lunches, because for some reason, I just can't get my act together on a Sunday night. Drink wine with my husband and watch Netflix or pack lunches, what would you choose?

  • Momdays are now the days that I need at eat at least 6 meals, because all weekend was spent on my feet with the four little ones and I forgot that food gets me through those days.

  • Momdays are now the days that the refrigerator needs to be restocked, because grocery shopping on the weekend is for the birds!

  • Momdays are the days that I must suffer through a whining 2 year old, who found his pacifier over the weekend and kept it in his pocket. Now it's time to take it away, again, for the third week in a row...

  • Momdays are the the days that I have all the best intentions to keep my meal plan schedule. Don't ask about it by Wednesday night. Anyone want Mac & Cheese?

  • Momdays are the days that I pray for little homework, because it's the only night without activities or family commitments. Family dinners are always chaotic, but one of my favorite times of the day! Yes, please!

  • Momdays are sometimes the saddest days, because I only have two out of the four children at home with me.

  • Momdays are now my favorite day, because at the start of every new week I get to wake up my sleeping children to give them kisses and I am so grateful for this awesome vocation called, MOTHERHOOD!

And that's my Momday Monday! Enjoy your week!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Please Excuse My Social Absence

            It’s not you, it’s me. No, really, it’s me. My famous last words, or more like my personal motto for the past several years – one that I was not always proud of, but one that I have learned to accept. As a mother of four children, my schedule has changed quite drastically since the birth of baby #1. With the first two children, life was relatively carefree. "Carefree" in a loose definition of the word. Yes, there were struggles; I learned how to breastfeed my babies, while also adjusting to the lack of sleep, but for the most part, life was simple. There was still plenty of time to meet friends for morning coffee, lunch, and even pedicures. It was relatively easy to find a babysitter for two kids, or even bring them along. But as each beautiful new baby joined our family, adjustments were made and it became difficult for me with four little ones to accept social invitations.

            Everyday tasks that had once been easy, now needed much more planning and occupied double the time with four children at my heels. I wanted desperately to visit with friends and have non-interrupted moments while discussing a book in a mom’s group, but this was not my world any longer and I needed to accept it. I dreamed of a night out with my friends, sans kids. It wasn’t easy to put myself first anymore, actually there was no time for myself, especially with an on-demand nursing baby. I always had good intentions, but when the clock started ticking and it was only an hour or two before meeting friends, I was just too exhausted. It sounded more enticing to get these little ones to bed and enjoy a quiet evening home with my husband. It’s not you, it’s me.

There reaches a point in every mom’s life when it is no longer easy to leave the house with those little bundles of joy. For some moms, the magic number might be one, for others it might be three, but for me it was four. I am still in awe of those supermoms who take all five children out for dinner. I salute, YOU! I just wasn’t one of those supermoms and the thought of bringing my four children, three of them rambunctious boys, out to a girls' lunch felt like a daunting task. So I decided it was best not to risk the potential failure.

It wasn’t easy for me to pass on these social invitations. Those “good times” with my friends had at one time been memorable, now I just couldn’t get myself out the front door. Caring for my wonderful children all day long was exhausting and there was very little energy to muster up for myself. I was upset at myself that I couldn’t juggle it all. Why didn’t my little ones want to spend a quiet morning at the coffee shop nibbling on a pastry? Then I had an awakening – I wanted to stay home with my little family. I preferred to stay home and make breakfast with those little happy faces rather than getting everyone packed up and to the coffee shop by 8:00 a.m.

            So for all of those frustrated women that rarely see their “mom friends". It really, truly isn’t you, it’s just the way of motherhood. Don’t stop the invitations, because one day, that mom will be able to find the energy after a long day and sleepless night to spend much needed time with her close friends. She will finally find a night to have a little bit of “me time.”

Friendship may be a two-way street, but my children bring an entirely different perspective. There will be one day when I can fulfill each one of those social obligations that I once loved, but for now I am quite content spending these fleeting moments with my children while they are still young. I don't want to miss these carefree days of childhood.