Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Being a Preschool Mom

Image result for preschool mom clip art images
Show and tell, snack time, play dates, book fairs. It all sounds easy, right? Being a preschool mom is all that and literally a bag of chips (usually Cheetos). There are so many thoughts a mom has when taking her little one to preschool:
-Are they making friends?
-Do they play well with others?
-How much paint is acceptable to consume?
-Have they told any of our odd family tales to their teachers?
I could go on and on for days…. But it’s the thoughts that aren’t about the kids that I think of:
-She must go to exercise class after dropping her kid off
-She must go home and cook homemade organic vegan dinners
-She must actually shop her Pinterest boards, because damn she looks cute today.

I’m standing to the side of the room in my oatmeal slathered t-shirt, jeans with fresh boogers on them and my hair in a ponytail that could rival a bird’s nest. This is real life. My thoughts, sadly, are what society is pushing them to be. Do I like thinking this way, no. Is it important to have standards in life, yes.

Society has created a version of Mom that no one, and I mean no one on God’s green earth can live up to. Several may make the attempt but only to fail miserably. My kids are healthy, happy and full of life. Those things are what matter as mom.

Admit it, we have all survived on Raman noodles and Vienna sausages a time or two. Our kids have had an extra morning cartoon because mom’s coffee hasn’t kicked in yet. You cancelled that playdate simply because you just didn’t want to go. We can all relate, we can all make judgements, but we all are in the same boat. Why not just admit it and be ok with not being perfect.

Ok, so maybe my afore mentioned appearance description was a little exaggerated, but truth be told, it is closer to the truth than a magazine cover. I like to think that life is to be lived and if a freezer pizza is on the menu for dinner, that’s ok. If the only exercise you get in today is vacuuming, congrats. And I am glad that dreams are free, because shopping my Pinterest boards is not something my bank account would allow.

Yes, preschool moms only want the best for their children but they should want the best for each other also. Let’s cut out the judgmental thinking and critical analysis’. We are who God made us to be, and to be called mom is pretty special. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Buyerarchy

Use what you have, borrow, swap, thrift, make, buy...how many of us follow this in order?

Typically, today, many people go straight to the top without a second thought. The convenience of Amazons one-click buy and Wal-Mart's 2-day shipping has made it like an express way to the top. Many millennials have been dabbling with making what they need/want thanks to the growing popularity of Pinterest and related sites, blogs and on-line tutorials.

Thrifting, my personal favorite, is an adventurous treasure hunt. Yes you come across a lot of crap. But the times that I have found those diamonds in the rough have made it worth it! Swapping is a bit more challenging. To have the same tastes, styles, and sizes can be difficult. When you do find a swapper match, the barter/trade process can be fun.

Borrowing a shovel is easier than a dress, I get it. I love to ask friends and family to borrow things like party supplies, books, tools, etc. Most people don't mind being asked and returning the favor is great etiquette. Getting creative and using what you have is always a first go to for me. Look around your house and rearrange....it can make a space look totally different. Adding a sweater or different necklace can transform an outfit.

Rushing to buy needs to slow down. I personally struggle with this. Buying ahead a season, passing around kids clothes, shopping yard sales, adding lace or sewing on a patch...all ideas to start at the bottom and SLOWLY work up as needed.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Adulting is Hard

Admit it, there are times when parenting is hard and doing this adult thing is for the birds. The kids have clothes on(mostly) and Cheetos are acceptable for breakfast, right? I mean 5am is super early and those bill things need to be paid?? Yes, this season of life is one that we might be tempted to muddle through, but don’t let the little moments pass you by.

In the grand scheme of the few years we are given on this earth, these years are special. We get to shape another human; their character, their personality, their soul. That person is a gift from God that doesn’t come with an instruction book but, God gives us tools and if we just leave them in our tool belt, the potential our children rise to could quite possibly suffer.

Whether a parent in the working world or a stay at home extraordinaire, you can be that PTA mom, take that art class, go to those soccer games, talk to other parents…explore the little opportunities in front of you and new, exciting doors might open. Being a grown up is full of responsibility and schedules. Getting caught up in busyness is easy to do. Filling our time in the right way is key.

I understand, Family time gets pushed by the wayside and is replaced with this lesson and that sleepover. As a parent, I am guilty of overscheduling. I have found that our family functions better as a whole and is genuinely happier when we are together. A huge solution to a lot of busyness is just saying NO. Finding that magical balance isn’t easy, (let me know if you ever do find it). As adults, we may not be just down the hall from mom and dad to ask advice, but ask a trusted friend, read a book on the subject, see what Grandmas take is; options are out there for help with this adulting thing.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Grandma's Rolling Pin

Today there is a gadget for this and a hack for that. Many times things that are simple... so simple, are made complicated for no other reason than to make a buck. A slicer, dicer, blender, shredder... another something to put in the cabinet or cram in a drawer.

My most cherished gadget is my rolling pin. I'm not talking about the one that we got as a wedding gift. When my Gram passed, one of the things I requested was her rolling pin. The wooden roller and red handles are in so many of my childhood memories. The number of cookies and loaves of bread that were produced by this gadget cannot be tallied, but the memories are priceless. To hold a piece of family history that was used with such love, care and intent is an honor.

My Gram and I were close; I was her favorite (everyone knows it) and to put my hands where hers were so many times takes me back. In a way it takes me forward too. The little eyes that watch me intently are creating new memories. As mom, I can delicately shape these times to be real life lessons.

I know each person reading this has that one thing in their life that touches that place in your soul. It is hard to explain, but it's there. Sometimes it'll bring a tear or a little snicker. I like to think of that feeling as a smile from heaven. I hope that you can find yours with peace and happiness.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Who was this St. Patrick guy?

Image result for St. Patrick's Day Shamrock Clip Art
He was born in Britain (not Ireland, SHOCKER!) in the late 300s AD. His name at birth was Maewyn Succat, but he didn’t care for that so later in life he was known as Patricius. He had several aliases during his life: Magonus, Succetus, and Cothirthiacus. But Patrick just seemed to fit best.

Calpurnius, his father, was a deacon in the early Christian church, but Patrick wasn’t much of a believer himself. At age 16, he was captured by Irish pirates and enslaved for 6 years as a shepherd. That was when he chose to convert to Christianity. During this time of servitude, Patrick learned the Irish language and culture before making an attempt to escape back to Britain. Patrick wasn’t good at escaping sadly, because he was captured again. This time by the French. While he was held in France, he learned about monasticism before he was sent home to Britain.

He continued to study Christianity and claimed he had a vision that told him to bring Christianity to the Irish people, who were mostly pagan and druidic at the time. When Patrick and his preaching ways were not welcomed back in Ireland, he had to leave and land on some little islands off the coast. He began to gain followers there, and he eventually moved to the mainland to spread Christianity across Ireland for many years. During this time, Patrick baptized thousands of people (some say 100,000), ordained new church leaders, converted the sons of kings in the region, and helped in the formation of 300+ churches.

A popular legend tells of Patrick banishing all the snakes from Ireland, but there were never actually any snakes there to begin with. Silly, I know. It is also said that Patrick popularized the shamrock; he used it to teach the concept of the Holy Trinity. Patrick’s use of the shamrock may have helped him win a great deal of favor with the Irish.

St. Paddy’s Day started as a “Feast Day” that always took place on the anniversary of Patrick’s death, March 17, 461 AD.  to commemorate the life of Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. In the early 18th century, Irish immigrants brought the tradition over to America, and it was here that it started to become the symbol of Irish heritage and culture that he is today. As it happens, St. Paddy’s Day is so popular, it’s thought to be celebrated in more countries than any other national festival.
Image result for St. Patrick's Day Shamrock Clip ArtWondering why wearing green is part of St. Patrick’s Day tradition? Irish soldiers, during the Irish Rebellion, wore green as they fought off the British in their trademark red. Until then, the color associated with St. Patrick and Feast Day was blue. Wearing green became a part of pop culture and is now commonplace to wear your best greens mid-March.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Finding One's Purpose

We all have a calling in life. When I went looking for mine, I thought this would be easy. My thinking was that it would just magically appear in front of me and be in black and white, spelling out, “You were made to be……”.

No such luck! I started searching, looking for signs, reading books on the topic, skimming articles and still no result…no black and white answer appeared. My brain was having a hard time processing the fact that Google could not answer my question. Finally, I sought out wise counsel from a seasoned lady at church. I went on and on explaining my search for purpose and a label to my calling. Missionary, teacher, chef, writer, …. How does a person know when they have found the perfect fit?

She said, “God speaks and we need to BE STILL to hear Him.”. A great reminder that you and I can learn so much more about ourselves, others, and the world if you just shut your mouth and listen. I needed to hear this. My searching was creating too much noise and I wasn’t listening to God.

So, once I started listening... and I mean REALLY listening, it started to appear. Foggy at first, but I began to see it. When the noise around me became less, it became more. The laughter, the smiles, the Cheeto dust smeared on the wall, the boo-boos, and the stories.
Mom. That's it.

My purpose in this season of my life is to be Mom. These 3 simple letters hold so much purpose and power. Sadly, this calling is so often over looked just like I had passed over it. The everyday tasks became second nature like breathing. I was not appreciating the significance of the little things. Once I was able to BE STILL, I understood. The fog lifted. This was the it that I had been searching for. As seasons change, this purpose might also and that’s ok.

In today’s world, if you want to know something, access to find it is at your fingertips. Except this. Finding one’s purpose can’t be found by asking Google or following the latest trends. It is a personal search within. It’s not easy to put a label on, but the feeling of contentment in your soul will let you know when you have found it.