What do you think of when you hear the word defeat? I think of my favorite team winning a game against our biggest rivalry. The word defeat means “to have been beaten in a battle.” However this word can take on a whole new meaning if we let it. It’s like a yard full of weeds. No matter if you pull the weeds of doubt and self pity somehow they keep growing back. Many days we give this word the power to predict the outcome of our day. We feel it weighing heavily on our lives and often give in to it before our feet even hit the floor in the mornings. We feel defeated if things don’t turn out as we were hoping. We feel as if we have been conquered when our day takes a different path than we had planned. The emotions we are left with leave us feeling like we have lost. When you allow yourself to give up and surrender to these negative thoughts, Satan is sitting in the corner and clapping because you have thrown up your red flag. You have let yourself surrender to his lies.
Don’t be tempted to lose heart! Don’t give the enemy a place in your life to grow bitterness and resentment. You are a child of the most High God! This makes you an overcomer! This means the battle for you has already been won. Often it is necessary for us to go through trials in life so that in the end we can see that the journey was worth it. So rise up! Don’t lie down and let Satan defeat you today. You are only finished if you decide to quit.
Several years ago, I came across this neat little project called “The One Word Project.” The purpose is to choose one word, instead of resolutions, to shape your entire year around. Most of us go into each brand new year with a long list of intentions we are planning to make in our lives. We view it as a golden opportunity to wipe the dust from our slate. Like so many, I have made numerous resolutions yet only to fail shortly after. The pressures of everyday life can get in the way of the new goals we have set and eventually we find ourselves falling back into our old ways. A list of resolutions can be daunting and unrealistic. That is why a majority of those big plans we have are never achieved. When I heard about “The One Word Project”, I was deeply intrigued. I wanted to know how one word could improve me and mold me into more of the person I strived to be. So, in December of last year, I chose my first word: Present.
I didn’t have to think hard when it came to choosing my first word for 2015. I immediately chose present because it represented my hope as a new mother for the coming year. I wanted to be completely alive in every moment, capture every smile, experience every first, and slow down and pay more attention to the world around me. Often we are so busy planning the next big thing that we lose out on the joy of the moment we are in. I think this past year is the first of many years that I have actually achieved what it is that I set out to do. I became a stay at home mommy and for me it was easier to become more engaged in every aspect of my sons day. There are times when I still have to take a small break for me but for the most part I am living my dream!
As I sat and pondered on a new word to commit myself to in 2016, I look next to me at a picture hanging on my wall. The word “Journey” is staring me boldly in the face. The quote on the plaque reads: ” Life is a journey and love is what makes that journey worthwhile.” It’s as if the Lord placed this word before me. I am excited what the coming year has in store. For me, my hope is that I will learn to fully embrace this journey of life that I’m on. That along the way, I will accomplish all of the things God has written on my heart. That I will grow ever closer to Him as I walk along this path. And even when I grow weary from the trek I will be reminded that on this journey I am not alone.
I pray blessings over each one of you in the coming year. May you each fulfill what it is that you set out to do and may you be reminded that God is with you today and everyday of the year!
The giving season is in full swing and the presents are piling under the tree. You have shopped for the perfect item that is sure to surprise everyone when they open it on Christmas morn. One thing that you won’t find in a bright shiny package, wrapped up in strings is time. Each day is a gift. We are not entitled to another 24 hours and our days here are numbered. How do you choose to unwrap your day? Do you choose to start each day with a grateful heart and thank the Lord for another blessed day on Earth? Or do you go throughout your day just barely making it by?
You will never have this day again. Stop and take notice. Savor your coffee just a little longer. Enjoy your hot shower for an extra five minutes. Laugh a little harder. Eat the biggest cupcake. Get down in the floor and see the world from your child’s perspective. Today is all that you have with these little blessings. Tommorow they will be just a tad bit older. They will view things a little differently. Mamas, our time with them is fleeting. Make the most of the present by being engaged in the world around you. Pay attention today and enjoy your children. Let their sweet grins and sticky kisses cling to your heart. Let their little hands grasp your soul. Unwrap this day and appreciate all of life’s gifts because you won’t get it back again.
I have always struggled with the desire to “do something” greater than myself. No matter what I have found myself doing in life, I’ve always aspired to make an impact in others lives for the better. Don’t we all strive for this? To be remembered for something good?
The constant need to always do more can drain you of your enthusiasm and steal the joy you receive as an incentive. It’s human nature to want more-have more-and do more. Still, you can begin to feel the actual weight of it all dragging you down. God wants you to know that no matter where you are..right at this very moment reading this…you can serve Him! It doesn’t matter what you are doing, you can give God the glory..right where you are! (1 Cor 10:31)
Whether you lead a life outside of the home working a 9-5 or you are at home changing diapers all day, the impact you make on your children’s lives are the same. You are raising these littles for the glory of God. You were called upon because He knew you had the strength to do it! No job is too big or too small for Him. Praise him while changing diapers! Praise him while preparing your big presentation! God doesn’t care what it is. You are a part of his beautiful plan. He is painting his masterpiece with you in mind. Don’t allow yourself to fall into the negative thinking trap that the world is just to big of a place. Stop listening to those lies falling upon your ears. Making a difference in the world starts with one person. God looks for faithfulness. He looks for willing hearts. No matter what you can learn to serve God right where you are.
This year, I really wanted to focus my time and energy on gifts that can’t be found under the tree. The most important gifts you can give your children doesn’t neccesarily have to cost a dime. Most things you anticipate them opening up on Christmas morning normally end up getting tossed aside or broken within the first year. Here is a list of five things that you can give your children that will last more than a year–they will last a lifetime!
- The Gift Of Jesus Christ. The greatest gift of all won’t be found under a tree. It won’t be packaged up pretty with a shiny bow on top. It will be found in a stable. When we teach our children that Christmas is the celebration of a Savior being born, we are sharing the most important gift we can give them–the true meaning of this special time of year. The greatest gift of all time was a babe that lay in a manger one starry night. He was born to fulfill a purpose–born to be put to death. This Christmas teach your children the reason for the season! “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whomsoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16
- The Gift of Presence. Your “presence” is more meaningful than “presents.” Being present means slowing down and making time to enjoy the little things. Take initiative to pay more attention to your children and decide to live in the moment. Put down your phone and spend more time focusing on your greatest blessings today. You only have so much time with these little lives. Make a commitment to be all there!
- The Gift of Laughter. There is nothing that serves as music to my soul quite like my sons laughter. One of the things I enjoy most about the holidays is the fellowship with loved ones and the laughter that fills our home. When I look back on my life, I don’t remember what I got for Christmas. I recall the times spent cutting up and joking with family (mostly at my own expense!) Share in these moments with your kids and give them something to laugh about this year!
- The Gift of Tradition. Tradition is about giving your children something exciting to look forward to each year. It’s about celebrating the joy of the season as a family. There are a multitude of ideas out there if you are looking to start new traditions of your own this year. My favorites include: Christmas Eve box filled with Christmas pajamas, Christmas movie, and a treat. Looking at Christmas lights. A special ornament for your child each year. Going to a Christmas program at church. There are endless ideas you can peruse on Pinterest! Make the holidays merry for your littles by surprising them with a new tradition that will last for years to come!
- The Gift of Joy. Let your children know how happy you are to be there mother. Fill their hearts with gladness and cheer. Fill your home with light and love. Be silly. Have a pillow fight. Chase them around the room. Play hide and seek. Make memories. Let them unwrap the joy of childhood this year!
Being a parent is one of my greatest blessings! Although it can be a challenge sometimes and we can easily be swept up in the busyness of this time of year, remember that your children deserve the best! Give them something money can’t buy this year!
We all have those days. You know the ones. The days where the chores are taunting us and we would pretty much rather go roll around in mud than spend time doing the mundane task of cleaning. It’s something that has to be done but today you’re just not feeling it. The dishes are yelling, “Wash me!” and the laundry is screaming, “Fold me!” But it’s going to take the strength of Goliath to remove you from the couch. We all have those moments when we think, “Why clean it? It’ll just get messed up again anyway!” When you find yourself becoming bored with the same old chores, dig yourself out of the pit of “choredom” (think I just made that word up!) . Do something inspiring and give yourself the motivation you need to tackle your to-do list. Taking a time out from the everyday tasks can give you the enthusiasm you need to conquer your whole household!
(My husband would likely frown on this!) Here is a list of “20 Things To Do Other Than Cleaning The House”:
- Bake a cake.
- Watch a marathon of your favorite show.
- Paint something.
- Plant new flowers outside your window.
- Call up an old friend.
- Read that book you’ve been meaning to read.
- Buy yourself something new. (Retail therapy!)
- A quick workout.
- Sit down & write a card to someone.
- Play a game with your child.
- Have lunch with your spouse.
- Learn something new.
- Get crafty and make something! Pinterest has thousands of great ideas!
- Take a bubble bath.
- Crank your music up really loud!
- Get outdoors! Go for a walk, a hike, just go!
- Make cookies for a neighbor.
- Go to the park.
- Organize your photographs.
- Have a spa day.
The Cheerful Mom
When I think back to that new mom sitting in a hospital bed with a million questions and emotions running through her mind, I can’t help but smile and realize how far we’ve come. Even though my son would spend the next two and a half weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit, I knew that I would soon have to find that magical balance of continuing life all while caring for and raising a tiny human. My first year as a mom was fairly easy. I’m not going to sit and brag but my son is a genuinely content and happy child. He doesn’t fuss much and has slept through the night since he was six weeks old. I learned many things in my first year as a mother. Things like: learning how to swaddle, using a nasal bulb, and how to clip a baby’s paper thin fingernails (after an awful experience of basically cutting the tip of my sons finger off!! Ugh!!) all went under my belt of new things I had to learn now that I was a mommy.
I learned that the good advice people gave me worked and didn’t work. Some of the same things that worked for other moms didn’t work quite the same for me. You have to find the best thing that suits you and your little one.
I learned that the ability of a woman’s body to create another life is utterly amazing. From the moment of conception, the months of caring for your baby, to the long awaited delivery each step is another chapter beautifully woven into your motherhood story.
I learned to love someone unselfishly and unconditionally. To put someone’s needs high above my own. To trust my instincts as a mother and fall madly in love with someone whom I had just met.
I learned to love my husband. I mean really love him. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve always known he was the one. But theres just something about seeing your guy as a father that makes you look at him in a different light. The moment my guy became a dad definitely ranks as one of my all time favorite moments in the history of ever!
I learned that Gods love for us is unimaginable! I know how much I love my son. And I know that I can no longer fathom the idea of my life without him in it. So, I can’t begin to comprehend the depth of love our Father must have for us. I’m so lucky he entrusted this little life to me.
I learned that motherhood is downright hard! I like to think that God chooses his bravest warriors for this task. Being a mom is rewarding but it comes with a lot of work and patience. It’s not for the faint of heart. No one can mother your child like you. God made you a mother on purpose! Always remember that you are enough. You are the one your baby looks for in a crowd. The one who picks them up when they tumble. You were called to prepare them for His kingdom work!
Several years down the road, I know I will look back on that girl in the hospital bed. I will look back on my first year as a mom and my heart will be warmed. I will continue to grow as a mother and raise my son the best way that only I know how. He will watch closely and learn from me. And I will learn from him.