family

You are currently browsing articles tagged family.

I have been turning this idea over and over in my head lately, mostly because I can’t seem to create any.

Balance.

Work. Kids. Kids’ activities. Kids’ activities for which I need to be present. Husband. Home. Bills. Business. Fitness. Health. Cooking. Friends. Facebook. (We have to be honest, Facebook is a thing on the balance list.) Sleeping. Laundry. Netflix. (Yes, Netflix is a thing, too.) Running. Social life. (Wait – do I have a social life?) Hebrew. Did I mention Hebrew?

There’s probably more. I am sure I am forgetting something. I can’t keep all those plates spinning all the time. Some of them come crashing to the floor. Hard. And often. And when that happens, I tend to beat myself up. Hard. And often.

I like what Jen Hatmaker says about balance in her most recent book, For the Love:

If I had to recite the top questions I’m asked in interviews, conversations, and e-mails, certainly included would be this one: How do you balance work and family and community? And every time, I think: Do you even know me? Balance. It’s like a unicorn; we’ve heard about it, everyone talks about it and makes airbrushed T-shirts celebrating it, it seems super rad, but we haven’t actually seen one. I’m beginning to think it isn’t a thing. Here is part of the problem, girls: we’ve been sold a bill of goods. Back in the day, women didn’t run themselves ragged trying to achieve some impressively developed life in eight different categories. No one constructed fairy-tale childhoods for their spawn, developed an innate set of personal talents, fostered a stimulating and world-changing career, created stunning homes and yardscapes, provided homemade food for every meal (locally sourced, of course), kept all marriage fires burning, sustained meaningful relationships in various environments, carved out plenty of time for “self care,” served neighbors/ church/ world, and maintained a fulfilling, active relationship with Jesus our Lord and Savior. You can’t balance that job description.

unicorn

She’s right, you know. Balance is like that mythical unicorn. It doesn’t exist. There will be times in our lives when we are more attentive to one or two areas of our lives and less attentive to others. And those areas will naturally change as our lives progress.

The problem comes when we start the ugly comparison game. This game was a losing one before social media, but has become downright destructive in the current online culture. We see everyone’s best posted on Facebook. We see all the great ways to be a wonderful parent, sexy wife, efficient worker, gourmet chef and bikini model all over Pinterest. We see everyone else’s selfies of girls nights out on Instagram. And when we do, we start comparing our lives to everyone else’s and assuming we fall short. But what we don’t realize is that we are only seeing a small sliver of everyone else’s life through a filtered lens. Sure, they may be doing a great job homeschooling their children, but behind closed doors could be suffering a severe bout of depression. Maybe they have a fantastic relationship with their husband, but they are struggling with an enormous debt load.

The point is that we all struggle with balance and none of us achieve it, or if we think we have, it lasts a millisecond and is gone. The real problem isn’t balance, but rather giving ourselves permission to focus on what is the most important and, to quote a song I am sure we are all tired of hearing, say “Let it go” to what isn’t on the top of the priority list right now.

For me right now that might mean that I have to study Hebrew instead of watching an episode (or 10) of House on Netflix. It might mean that I don’t get to go to the 50,000 in-home parties that my friends have because I have a volleyball game to watch or a PiYo class to teach. The important thing to remember is that we can’t do it all, and we shouldn’t put that kind of pressure on ourselves. Living a busy life with many commitments is hard. Living that same life under the shadow of constant guilt for not doing or being enough is impossible and eventually will take its toll.

So, take heart and remember that while the picture of the unicorn is beautiful, it is in fact fictional, just like the idea of balance in the life of a busy human being. Give yourself grace, stop with the guilt, and do your best at what is most important today. Tomorrow you can re-evaluate what needs to be most important then.

0

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fragile

I am feeling fragile today.

I feel like if someone were to touch me I would just shatter into a million pieces.

This is how depression feels sometimes.

Some people think that if you can get out of bed and function than you can’t possibly be depressed.

They are wrong.

Some of us have such strong personalities that we don’t want anyone to know we are struggling.

Some of us have such a strong sense of responsibility that even though we want to quit, we can’t.

Some of us have children to get to school and jobs to do, so we don’t have any other choice.

I can’t explain it. I don’t know why I can be fine one morning and by that evening the depression gets the upper hand. I don’t understand why I can’t just make it go away. I don’t get why my chest hurts and I can physically feel the heaviness settle in.

But I do understand that I am not the only one who feels this way. I know that those of us who struggle with this illness are often misunderstood by those who don’t. I know that we can feel isolated and alone when the bottom drops out.

And that is why I am writing this post: to let you know that you are not alone. You have comrades-in-arms to help you in the battle. You have friends who know how you feel. And even when it feels like it will never get better, you need to be reminded that depression lies. (Thank you Jenny The Bloggess for keeping that truth in front of me!) No matter what you feel in the moment, know that it will get better. It may take some time. You may need to take some time for yourself. You may need to seek counseling. You may need to get or tweak medication. But it will get better. Don’t let the lies of depression win. Keep fighting. Even if that means you need to stay in bed for a day and start over the next day. Keep fighting. You are worth it.

0

Tags: , , , , , ,

Monday Musings

It’s Monday. And I am feeling a bit Garfield-like about today.

Garfield Monday

Not that anything bad has happened. I am just tired. And getting sick. And blah.

So instead of drowning in “I hate Monday” madness, I thought I would share a few random things that are going through my head today.

  • The laughter of my children is the most amazing sound in the entire world. And I was privileged to hear lots of it this weekend.
  • If you like fun apps, you need to download Relay. My friends and I have been sending funny gif messages back and forth since we discovered it and I may have spent too much time yesterday looking for funny ones to add to my collection for future messages.
  • If you like books about strong women paired with fantasy, you need to read Pennyroyal Academy. I just started it a few days ago and haven’t had a ton of time to read, but I am loving it and can’t wait for Anne to read it, too. Nothing like squelching the idea that princesses have to be of a royal bloodline and are just pretty faces with the fact that princesses are warriors for their kingdoms, just like knights.
  • When the weather turns cold, the depression sure comes on fast for me. I have had to fight to get my workouts in this past week, and I have not done very well with eating right, either. Here’s to a new day of doing what I know helps to keep the depression under control – exercise and eating right!
  • Singing at the top of my voice to some of my favorite music is one of my favorite things to do, ever. Thank you Trisha Yearwood for music that fills my soul!
  • A good cup of tea makes me smile this time of year when the cold is starting to seep into my bones. These are my three favorite varieties: Trader Joe’s Decaf Irish Breakfast Blend, Good Earth Decaf Sweet & Spicy, and Stash Decaf Chai Spice.
  • I have been working on a crochet project just because it is a pattern I have always wanted to try, but I have been looking for a new gift project and this week I was blessed with not only a person on my heart for whom to do a project, but the perfect project placed right into my hands. I found the perfect yarn yesterday and am looking forward to beginning on the project on Thursday. So excited to be able to bless someone!!
  • For the last few years, my family has done various forms of daily Thanksgiving. We have had a wall of Thanksgiving where we added post-it notes every day. We have had posters on each of our doors that we wrote reasons we were thankful for each other. This year, life has been a bit chaotic and I haven’t gotten anything organized to do daily, so I am thinking about other ideas. Right now, I am thinking of making family “Thanksgiving” trees on Thanksgiving day with all of our family that will be together. How are you practicing Thanksgiving with your family this month?

I warned you that this would be a random post! But just putting these things down in print has helped me move past my initial Garfield-esque response to Monday. If you are having a case of the Mondays, perhaps you should make a list, too!!

0

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

THINGS I LOVE

One thing I have learned about life is when things aren’t going my way or I am feeling down, I have to change my focus and start choosing joy and thankfulness.

The weather the last few days has been dark, rainy, and dreary and I don’t do well in those conditions.

I would rather stay in bed, not exercise, not cook, eat junk, and sink deeper and deeper into my couch and the depression that pulls on me.

So, today, I am choosing to change my focus to things I love about being a mom!

Why don’t you join me and add things you love about being a parent in the comments below!

  • I love snuggling up with my kids on the couch to watch a movie or one of the television shows we watch.
  • I love when Ty gets to giggling at himself.
  • I love when Anne tries to be annoyed with Ty and I as we sing “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift, but she can’t help but smile as she rolls her eyes.
  • I love tucking my children in to bed.
  • I love watching my children “get it” when it comes to the things of God, the things of life, and more.
  • I love taking them to school every day, dropping them off and telling them that I love them.
  • I love picking them up from school and hearing about their day.
  • I love seeing Ty’s mind at work.
  • I love watching Anne cheer.
  • I love playing games with my children.
  • I love sitting on the deck watching them play outside.
  • I love sitting on the trampoline and having fun with them.
  • I love doing new things with my kids.
  • I love doing the same old, same old with them.
  • I love just being with my kids.
  • I love the people who my children are growing up to be.
  • I love teaching my children.
  • I love the ways that my children teach me.
  • I love Anne’s creativity – drawing, rainbow loom bracelets, crocheting, and so much more.
  • I love Ty’s spontaneity.
  • I love that our family has its own language (lots of sarcasm), inside jokes (crapplesauce in the hillbilly briefcase, anyone?), and so much more!
  • I love that my children love their family – grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins – and want to spend time with them.
  • I love how my children love their friends.
  • I love that my kids can have conversations with adults.
  • I love that my kids love Jesus and His church.

I could go on and on. The point isn’t to number the list, but rather to make the list so that I can see all the good things I have in my life. And this is just about my children! When you make a list like this, you can’t help but smile and be joyful. In fact, now all I want to do is go hang out with my kids and have some fun!

On those days when the kids are acting up, I can come back to this list.

On those days when I am questioning my ability as a parent, I can come back to this list.

On those days that just downright are terrible, I can come back to this list.

Thank you, Lord, for my children, and for the joy that the bring into my life.

0

Tags: , , , , , ,

Men. Where are they? More and more we are seeing single mom homes and no dads in sight. And it’s not like mom’s can’t handle things on their own, but without dads, something is missing. (And let’s be honest, sometimes, even when Dad is around, he’s not present and active.)

When this happens, boys aren’t seeing what it looks like to be the man of the house. They aren’t seeing a good example of how to treat women. They aren’t getting introduced to the concept of strength and wisdom that good dads provide.

When this happens, girls aren’t seeing what it looks like to look up to the man of the house. They aren’t seeing a good example of how they should be treated by men. They aren’t getting introduced to the concept of strength and wisdom that good dads provide.

I don’t know what I would do without my husband, particularly when it comes to our children. When he is on 3-11 shift, I miss him. Terribly. The kids know just how to push my buttons when he isn’t around. They (even at 11 and 13) still try to get out of bed 50,000 times when he is not there. And by the end of the two weeks on that shift, both kids just want their daddy.

And I get it. I am an admitted daddy’s girl. Always have been. When I would get a migraine, Dad would sit by my bed and help me relax so I could go to sleep. When I would have a bad day, it just took one look at Dad and the tears would flow as I was circled up into his arms. Dad and I love to do projects, particularly gardening, together, and we love to talk about the things of God. (To be fair, I love my mother to pieces and she is one of my best friends – but this post is about dads.)

There is something about knowing that my dad is always looking out for me, always loving me, and will never turn me away when I need him.

Yes, we moms do the same thing, but it is different with dads.

And it should be. Dads teach us different things than moms. Dads let us climb up on the roof and help him with the re-roofing project (when mom isn’t home, of course). Dads teach us to be confident and able to stand on our own two feet. Dads teach us how to change the oil and a tire. Dads teach us how to step out and take risks. It’s not that moms can’t teach these things, but as moms, we tend to be more protective and we want to hover. Dads let us figure things out on our own, even if that means they let us fail.

Now, I know that with the divorce rate in our country, coupled with tragic circumstances and other things, it is not always possible for dad to be in the picture. But, that means that it becomes very important for the single moms out there to find quality men for their children to spend time with and learn from. And that means that men need to step up to help out those single moms and mentor their children.

I know this may not be a popular post with some people, but we truly need good dads. Period. We need men that are involved in the lives of their children and are raising them up to be Godly, productive members of society. We need dads who show unconditional love. We need dads who make an effort to be present and accounted for in their families.

Our children need them, and our society needs them.

 

 

0

Tags: , , , , , ,

Put it Down

Electronics. Tablets. iPods. Computers. Gaming systems. Handheld devices. Phones.

They are EVERYWHERE!

I love technology! I don’t know what I would do without my iPhone, my iPad, my iPod, and my MacBook Air. I think the world might end if I didn’t have a DVR, Netflix and Hulu. My husband would not know what to do without DirecTV and all the sports/fishing/hunting shows he likes to watch. Jumping on the trampoline is so much more fun when you can take the tablet outside and listen to music, according to Anne. And Ty, well, one word, Minecraft.

I hate electronics. I know, I just said I love technology, and I do, I just hate what it is doing to the family and to parenting.

Somewhere along the way, television became a babysitter for many people, and now all our mobile devices, gaming systems, and the like have taken over.

What happened to sitting around a table and playing a board game or card game together?

What happened to sitting on the porch talking to one another?

These days, kids have their heads buried in whatever device or game is currently the “it” thing, and parents are no better.

And the sad thing is, we are seeing the fruits of it everywhere we go. Just look around you the next time you are in a public place. What percentage of people are carrying on conversations with the people around them and what percentage are looking at (or distracted from their conversation by) a screen of some kind?

Technology and electronic devices are not bad. But when they are used in excess and in place of human interaction, they hinder the development of the family.

Children need their parents, not a screen. They need to see mom and dad’s eyes, not the tops of their heads.

Our family is as guilty of this as the next.

The problem is it is easy for me to pick up the iPad and check on Facebook. It is easy for my kids to grab the tablet to check on whatever game they are currently playing. It is easy for Mike to pick up the remote and have the television on all evening.

But in order for us to operate as a family, we can’t all hole up with our respective devices and be completely isolated while sitting in the same room.

So we have to set boundaries. In our house, the kids are not allowed to use any electronic devices (exception: Anne’s “dumb” phone when she is away from us, or television when we are watching as a family) from bedtime Sunday night through after school on Friday. And this is true even in the summer. No weekday electronic use. And on the weekends it is limited. An hour-and-a-half maximum per day. Now, there are sometimes when we get lax on the weekends – particularly if it is nasty weather outside, but that is the exception rather than the rule.

There are lots of reasons that we have gone this direction. First of all, we have seen what happens to children with an addiction to gaming and electronics – they grow up to be adults addicted to gaming and electronics. In addition, it is so important for kids to be able to go outside and play, or find ways to be creative inside. But probably the most important reason is that when the kids aren’t distracted with electronics they are present and interacting with us, which means they are talking to us. And with a teen and pre-teen, talking is crucial for us to know what is happening in their lives.

So these things are all good, and it works for us. But, in addition, Mike and I need to work on not picking up the tablet/iPhone/iPad when the kids are around so that we are available to listen to what they are talking about. I know this is an area of weakness for us, but that is no excuse.

Parents, I think it is time for us to put it down, look up and see that our kids are growing up way too fast, and they shouldn’t have to do it on their own while we are distracted by the device in our hands. And when they see us putting it down, they are more likely to follow our lead and put it down as well.

What are the rules about electronic use in your house? Does it work well for you? Why or why not?

0

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

10613125_10154484845710599_1149528113682805943_n

I have never watched The Biggest Loser before. I know, people have told me that it is good, and inspiring, and yadda, yadda, yadda, but I didn’t need one more show to watch.

But this year a classmate of mine from college, Sonya Jones, is on the show, so of course I want to watch her succeed and I have now watched the first two episodes of the season.

You all know that I have been on a health and fitness journey for quite some time (and I plan for it to continue for the rest of my life), so it always inspires me to watch other people “get it.”

Last night’s episode of The Biggest Loser showed the contestants the importance of owning what it is in their lives that got them to this point, and the fact that until they deal with those underlying issues, they will not have success in losing the weight AND keeping it off.

I think we all know this on a surface level, but how often do we actually do the work to deal with those deep-seated issues that have kept us complacent for too long?

I went to bed thinking about this and thinking about all the things that have to come together to make the difference between temporary change and lasting commitment.

Just like to be truly fit and healthy you can’t focus on only diet OR exercise, you also can’t expect diet and exercise to magically make the underlying issues for being unhealthy to disappear. Whether it is seeing food as a reward rather than sustenance, or a traumatic event that hasn’t been fully death with, or baggage from your family of origin, or something else altogether, the underlying issues must be unearthed and dealt with if there is to be any lasting change.

I know for me, I have had to specifically remind myself (often) that I cannot allow food to be a “treat” or something I “deserve” when I accomplish something, because that works against my health. In addition, I have to work on not perpetuating this “reward” way of thinking in my family since one of the ways I tend to show love is to cook or bake special things for them.

And as with anything, there probably is not only one underlying cause for what has happened to get you to where you are right now, so unearthing the issues could take some time, and possibly even some time with a therapist. And that is okay. In fact, it is better than okay. It is good when you get to a point that you know you need to seek out help from someone else.

Now is the time to stop making excuses and start making progress toward a goal. It could be a health and fitness goal, but it could also be something completely different. No matter what it is, figure out what has been holding you back and deal with it so you can move on – forever.

___________

If health and fitness is your goal, I would love to help you achieve it. Message me for more information about your health and fitness options. The time to start is NOW!

 

 

0

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,