Give Grace to My Children

Dear Mom Who Just Wants Grace

The child was screaming in the Target parking lot as I retrieved my own two kiddos from their carseats. The sound of her wails peirced through the crisp, morning air. I did my utmost to not stare at the child or the mother as I toted my offspring past their car into the store.  I even tried my best to look casual and to not appear like I was avoiding eye contact. I probably failed, but I did try.

As I entered the big double doors and settled my little ones in the shopping cart, I have to admit, the sweet silence was a relief. Calm is always refreshing, is it not? I lingered a moment to browse very quickly through one of my favorite areas (also known as a money pit), the Dollar Spot. My son and I both enjoy looking at all of the “eye candy”, toys for him and home stuff for me. Just as I’m wheeling my empty cart away from the dollar deals, I heard a familiar sound enter the store.

Incessant crying and sniffling. The child was still upset.

For the next fifteen minutes, the echo of the little girl’s unhappiness could be heard throughout the store, sometimes distant and sometimes not. Then suddenly it was gone. I’m not sure if the absence of her cries indicated that the child had finally calmed down or if she and her mother had simply left the store. At any rate, peace and quiet reigned again.grace for the weary mama

As I looked down at the two small faces in my red cart, a bit of maternal pride was tempted to creep in. Thoughts of “Look how sweet mine are being” or “I’m so glad that my kids are behaving”. You know what I mean – when life is going smoothly and the sun is shining on your world, it is so easy to condemn the actions of others, to judge what they should or should not be doing.

Yet I couldn’t separate myself from the vision of that weary mom pushing her sobbing toddler around. I couldn’t help but feel her struggle, her fatigue, her frustration and yes, even her embarrassment.

Why? I’ve been there.

I’ve walked in her shoes, more than once actually. I’ve been the one on the receiving end of the harsh stares and heard the mutterings as I hurried by. I’ve been the one who wished that I could just sink through the linoleum floor in Aldi. I’ve been the one with the cheeks stained a bright red as I tried desperately to calm my distraught child (and quite frankly, on rare occasions more than one child) while rushing through my shopping list. I’ve been the one to bounce a wailing, hungry baby on my hip, quietly admonishing my older two to get along and keeping the two toddlers out of the conveniently-placed-at-kid-level candy and treats while checking out with the cashier. I’ve been the one who felt the immeasurable relief to finally be back in the privacy of my own van only to realize that I had neglected to hand the cashier my stack of coupons.

a mother's plea

Motherhood can be hard, can’t it? The pressure to measure up and meet expectations can be heavy.

I mean, we all want to have the good kid, don’t we? Sure we do. But for what reasons? At what cost? Far too often, I’m afraid that its for the appearance and for the convenience that good behavior brings. A well-behaved child certainly makes us look good as parents, and the ease and laid back parental approach afforded with an obedient son or daughter makes life pretty sweet too. And while I firmly believe that a well-behaved and obedient child (or in my case, children) is a wonderful blessing, the status of my parenting and the comfort of my time should be the furthest things from my mind. Parenting isn’t all about me.

It’s all about them.

If my children leave the haven of our home and cross over the threshhold into adulthood as simply good people, then I have failed most miserably. Good people sometimes fall apart and disappoint. Mere goodness doesn’t matter in the end. Not really. And while focusing on rearing a “good” child can be tempting, for sure, it ought not be our goal.

However, if my children know God and love His Word, then I, a simple mother, have been blessed with the opportunity to change the world through five, and soon-to-be six precious people. You see, when God is the center of their lives and the guidance of His word the pull of their heart strings, goodness will pour out in the end. Let God be the reason for the additional “o”. He alone can truly make them “good”.

grace quote

Sure, the surface of “goodness” may look nice, but it doesn’t always last. Cultivate the heart of your child with love of God first. Give them time. Give them grace.

One day the fruit of goodness will blossom (along with many others fruits) and it will have nothing to do with me but everything to do with Him.

So the next time you see (or hear) a small child clearly wanting his own way, remember as I did that God’s work in their hearts has only just begun. He is not finished with them yet. Don’t pass judgment too quickly, allow children the opportunity to grow, to develop, to change.

Additionally, extend grace to the mother. Her parenting journey may be new and even if not, every child is different. No one wants to be critiqued on unfinished work. Perhaps you may remember the difficult waters of those early and yet so important years in the lives of your children. The smooth, easy moments of child-rearing are indeed precious days, but challenging, hard times are also part of the course of motherhood. Parenting stretches you.

You may also relate to the weary moms who are out there, the ones who have attempted to do everything right and at the end of the some days, still feel like they have failed. Have you felt that pressure before? Or maybe have even experienced the mortification of transporting a tiny child who is, ahem, loudly expressing his displeasure as you wisk him out the door?grace for my children

It’s rough.

You may even understand the plea in her eyes and the cry of her heart to the watching world around her, to be offered empathy, not judgment. A simple word of encouragement can be more uplifting than you may ever know. As a mother, she desires but one thing—

Grace.

Better days are ahead, mom. Hang in there.

Dear Mom Grace pinterest

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(P.S. This post was already weighing on my heart and then I went out to run my typical shopping/grocery run in town this week only to see another struggling young mother with two very small children. At Target. Again. I guess that it just really struck a chord in my own life. Parenting is hard work, folks.

***Please also note that I am not condoning inappropriate behavior in small children. I am just wanting us to remember that small children, and even older ones, are not exempt from having bad days. Let’s extend grace.)

Blessings,

Heather

Loft Bedroom Update

We are in the last leg of the journey for finishing the loft bedroom for the girls. Hubs hopes to finish this week. This week. {squeal}

The drywall crew did an awesome (and fast!) job hanging the drywall and mudding everything for us. So glad that we hired out for that task. It was way too big and complicated for amateurs, such as ourselves, to even contemplate tackling.

Hubs has already installed our vintage style lighting (link here) and I am in love. The oil-rubbed bronze really pops against the white ceiling and the milk glass shades are simply beautiful.

Several years ago (yes, we have clearly taken our time), we had the electrician put in recessed lighting in the sloped ceiling. Not only will this be great mood lighting when placed on a dimmer, but they will also work well for reading books in their beds for the girlies that are on the top bunks. I already have a clearanced table lamp from Pottery Barn Kids for those sleeping the in the lower bunks to use. Those book club gift cards sure do come in handy.

The only lighting that had not been decided on is a small light for the dormer nook. I’d like that one to be more of a statement piece that compliments the other “yesteryear” style lighting and bronze finish. I’m still looking for just the right piece.

extra storage built ins

The solid wood door separating the bedroom from the storage/attic side is already hung and the doorknob (link here) installed. Most of the trim is up around doors, windows, and crawl space access areas. Hubs and our friend from church just need to build the doors for those access areas. They are hoping to finish all of this detail work today and tomorrow. That’s a big hope.crawl space areasIn addition to the trim and other detail finishes, we are building a window seat in the dormer area. Fingers crossed that this will not be difficult. The plan is to keep it simple with open cubby spaces beneath the bench. This will also allow the girls to have access to the outlet underneath for charging future cell phones or typing out school projects on laptops. Doesn’t that sound lovely and like such a good mother, planning for the future? Yeah, I thought so too. However I have to be honest and share that the real reason that I thought of the outlet placement was for plugging in a little pencil Christmas tree during the holidays. The academic side was purely a happy afterthought.future window seatHubs has been busy priming for me. Tomorrow I will pick up some VOC free paint from Sherwin Williams and help him paint the room this week, as well as spackle all of the many nail holes in the finish work. He’s in charge of any and all caulking. (Spackling is non-toxic and something I can do while pregnant…caulking not so much.) I cannot wait to paint the built-ins and window seat.

loft bedroom progress

Hopefully the fun job of decorating, hanging wall décor, arranging furniture and piling on the pillows can begin next week. I am so eager for this part of the job. Of course, this also means that I will now have a designated boy room and a nursery to attend to downstairs. These kids are keeping me busy, for sure.

And I love every minute of it.  :)

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How’s your spring coming? Have you started cleaning or de-cluttering? I need to do those things at some point as well….one job at a time, one job at a time.

Blessings.

My Top 10 Pregnancy Must-Haves

Surviving pregnancy—specifically the first trimester. How does one do it? Every mother is different and suffers from her own unique set of woes during her pregnancy. Here are my top ways that I nurture my little one and tread water during those first few weeks. Hang in there, mom. You can do this.top ten pregnancy must-haves pin

one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten

I simply cannot rave enough about my prenatals. I found mine on sale at Whole Foods Market just a day or two after I tested positive with my beloved Dollar Tree pregnancy tests. (I have saved a boat load of cash by buying my tests from there all these years.) I had just finished a prenatal from Trader Joes that I was taking as a lactating mother. While I didn’t mind the one from Trader Joes, I was still wanting to find something a bit more natural. I loved these prenatals from Garden of Life. They are an organic whole food supplement and were eactly what I was looking for in a multi-vitamin for this special season of my life. Whole Foods has them just a few dollars cheaper right now than Amazon, but their sale is ending next week. So Amazon may be your best price after next week.

I try my best to drink lots of water, but I often fail miserably. However, I have found that if I carry this around with me I am more apt to get my 64 ounces a day. I used my water bottle during my pregnancy with Baby Van, taking it with me when I went to Montego Bay on a missions trip. It was the only way I survived the heat of that country while 27 weeks pregnant. My water bottle also made the chaotic trip down I-85 during Baby Van’s birth. I carried it around as a nursing mama, drinking like a camel whose thirst cannot be quenched. It even made its way on its second missions trip to Sante Fe, but alas while we were there, it rolled out of the van and broke on the curb. I was so sad. As soon as I returned home, I bought another water bottle. I love them that much. They are worth every penny. (And just so you know, they typically don’t break. Mine just hit the cement curb just right. Baby Van has dropped her bottle several times and it is just fine.)

When I am tired and the fatigue of a new pregnancy is overwhelming, these hair ties make styling a snap. The glitter ones even make me feel fancy—on days when I feel nothing like fancy. I love wearing these in a basic ponytail or sometimes in a messy bun. Survival is key and simple hairstyles can still look great. At least that’s what I tell myself. This neutral set of colors can go with a variety of outfits. I just used one this morning to throw my hair up into a messy bun so that I could run forgotten homework to school for one of my girls. Quick and easy is my motto these days.

My lips tend to get very dry in the winter and even more so during a pregnancy. Burts Bees is my go-to for chapstick. I love their lip balms for chapped lips. Pomegranate is a personal favorite. And when I want a little something extra, I use their lip shimmers or crayons. This particular superfruit set offers a nice selection of different varieties for you to try. You can store one in several locations, your nightstand, your purse and your glove compartment. It never hurts to be prepared.

I am always hungry during the first few weeks and I am blessed that I rarely struggle with morning sickness (don’t hate me). However if I happen to feel a bit queasy, I put a generous dab of peanut butter on something (anything really!) and it helps me. Peanut butter on toast, apple slices, bananas, crackers and if I’m feeling really naughty, a bowl of chocolate ice cream—it’s all good.(Obviously that last option is more of treat than a measure that is take to avoid morning sickness.) It’s a good source of quick protein. My favorite is the all-natural peanut butter from Aldi. Sure it’s not organic, but you can’t beat their price for an all-natural product. Their peanut delight is only $1.69 (16 oz). However here’s another alternative for those that don’t have Aldi nearby or those wanting a sugar-free option. This peanut butter breaks down to $4.16 (16 oz) and it literally just contains peanuts and salt, no evaporated can juice or molasses. It is highly rated.

I use coconut oil for everything. If the kids have a dry patch, I grab the coconut oil. A bug bite? Coconut oil. Need to whiten teeth? Yup, coconut oil. I use a dab of it every morning as a facial moisturizer and part of my skin routine and make-up application. Coconut oil is antibacterial, so it is a tremendous way to clease your face. It has been known to smooth out color tones, reduce fine lines and shrink pores. I love this stuff. Seriously. A little bit goes a long way. Like I said before, I tend to have drier skin while I am pregnant and it needs a bit of extra love during this time. Often I will rub some coconut oil on my arms and legs as I’m getting ready for bed at night. It is an amazing moisturizer. This is a great Christian-based company to purchase coconut oil. They run great sales all the time and if you look at their website, you’ll find that they sell much more than just coconut oil. (I even use coconut oil on my furniture!)

I love drinking hot drinks. While my husband may have converted me to becoming a coffee fanatic, I still love my herbal teas. I drank a special mother’s brew of loose leaf tea during my last pregnancy. Perhaps it may be one of the contributing factors to my easy delivery? I don’t know. All I know is that I wanted to drink something that supports a healthy pregnancy again. For this pregnancy, I am trying to drink this mother-to-be tea once a day, either in the morning or in the evening. I have been purchasing this from Whole Foods Market, but the next time I will just buy it in bulk from Amazon. This is a much better price

Vests. They hide a lot. They hide a postpartum tummy, they hide just plain ol’ tummy flab and they hide a sweet little bump until you are ready to announce to the world that you are with child. I have used the latter technique for my past few pregnancies since my miscarriage. After suffering the heartache of a loss, I now keep my sweet news “under wraps” until I know for sure that all seems well. With Baby Van, I did a terrible job hiding my pregnancy and by the time I was ready to tell the world, I think that just about every one knew. Ha! I think that I did better this time around. (My AWANA shirt was my giveaway shirt with Baby Van. You couldn’t hide anything under that thing.) I love puffer vests like this one. Vests have become a staple in my pregnant and non-pregnant wardrobes. (Plus if I wear them all the time, it keeps people guessing. I don’t want people to automatically assume that just because I’m wearing a vest that I am pregnant. Sometimes I really do just like to layer my clothes. Really.)

Oh sweet slumber. My eyes droop whenever I sit, even if only for a minute. Fatigue was really overwhelming me during this first trimester. I don’t remember it being this bad before. I’d like to say that it’s not old age at thirty-three, ummm..so let’s just agree that it’s not, okay? Napping and sleeping well at night was essential to having the strength to serve my husband, my children and my church like I needed to every day. A number of years ago we began replacing all of our pillows for feather pillows. Now I am spoiled. I miss my pillow (and my bed!) whenever I am away. A good pillow, similar to this one, is important for obtaining the adequate rest needed for a healthy pregnancy. (I cannot vouch for this particular pillow, so be sure to read reviews before investing in a quality pillow.) Get all of the rest you can… while you can. You will need it. Trust me, I know.

Vinegar was my top craving during my first trimester. Pickles, banana peppers, relish and just so people wouldn’t pick up on it while in public, salt and vinegar chips helped satisfy my taste buds. I don’t think that any of my husband’s family noticed me hoarding the bag at our family Christmas get-together. Now they may have noticed my large plates of food, but I was hoping that they would chalk that up as merely eating extra calories as a nursing mom. Little did they know that I was eating for three and not just two. So to say that my appetite was huge would be an understatement. It has thankfully slowed down a little as I have now weaned Baby Van (sniff, sniff). Here’s a healthy option on a large jar of organic pickles, however I am able to get mine from Whole Foods for a better price. Hubs and I are hoping to grow a garden this summer and I am planning on attempting canning pickles. I am not at all sure about the process and have even less confidence in my ability to produce a delicious pickle. Mine may rival Aunt Bea’s pickles. Who knows?

(And yes clearly I had pickles on my brain when I chose my word for 2015.)

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So …anyone else have tips or tales to share about surviving their first trimester. Please share. I’d love to hear and your advice may also help some other struggling first time mom-to-be.

Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post.

XO,

Orange Oil, An Essential Oil Blog Hop and Giveaway

Disclaimers:

*The information in this post has not been evaluated or approved by the FDA. Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

*In addition, I received a sample oil in exchange for my participation in this blog hop and for the purpose of a testimonial. All opinions are my own. By being a part of this hop, I have the chance to receive a referral bonus.

 Essential Oil Blog Hop

 

Welcome to the Essential Oil Blog Hop!

 

Each participating blog has a different post on a number of topics, from how to use essential oils in general to actual uses and testimonials for the oils themselves. We hope that you will have some fun and learn a bit as well! If you are new to essential oils, you may want to start with some of these introductory posts:

 

 

And now for some information about

 Orange - Healthier Oil the Thyme

Information and Uses

 

  • Orange has been studied for its ability to combat negative emotions and bring a deep sense of security

 

  • Lifts the spirits
  • Provides a calming influence
  • Allows peace and happiness to enter the mind
  • Aids in maintaining normal cell regeneration
  • Can be used to enhance the flavor or food and water
  • Can help whiten teeth

 

To Use

  • To use as a dietary supplement, put 2 drops in a capsule. Take three times daily or as needed.
  • Dilute 1:1 with a carrier oil and apply to skin as needed.
  • Can be added directly to food and water.
  • Diffuse up to 1 hour, 3 times daily.

 

My Testimonial

I have truly enjoyed using the orange essential oil in my home. I kept thinking of different ways that I could use it. I love its versatility. Here are my top two.

My favorite way, hands down, was to use the orange essential oil in the diffuser. This form of usage benefits the entire family at once. I love that! As the smell of orange begins to permeate my home, it makes me happy. I find the scent of citrus fruits to be vigorating and fresh-smelling. It helped set a good atmosphere each morning to start the day for our family, whether the agenda ahead be work, school or simply staying at home. As the mother of five children, setting a happy and calm tone for the day is crucial.

Another method in which I used this oil was to create a simple little carpet deoderizer or refresher using the essential oil and baking soda. With a number of small children underfoot and carpet in all of the bedrooms, my rugs could certainly use a bit of TLC. My youngest is still mainly crawling and to be honest even the older children seem to still spend a good bit of the day wallowing on the floors, doing who knows what. Can I just say that creating a cleaner, healthier floor in their personal spaces was at the top of my list? I love that the properties of the essential oils allowed this “carpet deodorizer” to go beyond simply masking dirty flooring with a pretty smell. It had again, like the diffusing, helped create an atmosphere of peace and calm, a perfect setting for where necessary slumber takes place.

(For those that may be interested: My carpet deodorizer recipe was quite simple. I added three drops of oil to two tablespoons of baking soda and sprinkled it across the carpet. You may need to make an additional batch or two depending on the size of your room. Allow the deodorizer to sit in the carpet for five minutes or so. If you are like me, you may need to close the door, if you are able, to keep out the little people. Vacuum thoroughly.)

I look forward to continuing to learn more uses for orange essential oils as well as each of the other great oils that are part of this blog hop. Please take the time to check out some of these other great oils and read the personal testimonials….and don’t forget to enter the giveaway! Have fun and good luck!!!

 

If you fall in love with essential oils and are interested in purchasing the kit (more on that here), make sure to mention my blog as a referral!

Now for the really good part….

EO Blog Hop Giveaway We are going to be giving away a roller bottle of Stress Away to one lucky reader! You have many ways to enter!   a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks so much for reading and good luck with the giveaway.

XO,

 

Please spread the love and visit some of the other posts in this Blog Hop!

 

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