Our last meeting was one of my favorites. Rhonda Stoppe spent the morning with us and came in to share on a talk titled "Mentor Me to be Free" and ended up sharing from her heart. Her words were words that I know I needed and I hope they touched you ladies as much as they did me. It took me many nights of prayer and starting over to get this blog written because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to share in a way that I felt would do our time with her justice. So, I am going to keep it real and do my best.
Rhonda talked about keeping it real being more than being blunt. It is being vulnerable and allowing others to come alongside of us. I am going to be vulnerable with you ladies. I feel like I am not enough. My husband is working long hours daily and I have 4 little girls that all want an equal piece of mommy. We have what feels like 5 million things to do and a laundry mountain has eaten my couch. I know that some of you momma’s have it way worse and I hope that some of you can relate. Mom life can be so busy and sometimes overwhelming. I made it my intention this year to not end my day counting down to bedtime and I was failing miserably.
Rhonda reminded me that my peace shouldn’t be coming from how the kids behaved or what my circumstances are. My peace is in Jesus and that He’s got me! I had to remember that there are little eyes that are watching and little people that I am helping to mold. Rhonda described mothers as the architects of the next generation. WOW! We are raising the salt and light of the earth ladies! How cool is that?!
She also talked about raising kids that are not just good people but that are passionate Christ followers. I often worry that when I’m gone that my girls won’t get together or be there for each other. All the fighting right now makes me wonder if they like each other some days. Rhonda shared with us a story about her children. She was on a cruise with her husband and when they got back to port, and she turned her phone on, she had tons of text messages. Her daughter had a miscarriage and her children had come together to help her. She said that moment made her realize that they didn’t need her anymore. Ladies, I was in tears hearing that. That is my dream that my girls will offer prayer to each other and rush to be together when life gets rough.
We can be so tough on ourselves, especially when it feels like our struggles are too hard. We have to remember that we are warriors raising warriors. You were chosen for this position and for these babies. You are doing an amazing job! Thank you, Rhonda, for reminding this mom that I can handle this and I am exactly where I am meant to be!
Friday, March 16, 2018
I don’t know about you gals, but I truly enjoyed this morning! Like a lot! The casual atmosphere in the room, the laughter, activities, and blessed flow of coffee! There are not many MOPs mornings where you get the chance to chat with ladies from all over the room (and walks of life), so this morning was refreshing!
Racquel, our fearless leader, full of grace and humility, showed true courage by stepping on stage and sharing her heart and struggles with making friends. Thank you Mama for going first!
Now, don’t take this the wrong way, but women can be mean. Then you throw being a fierce mama bear in the ring and the mud can fly! Women have always been bombarded with contradicting messages and agendas; how we should raise our kids, maintain our homes, what we should wear, how our body should look, to vaccinate or not to vaccinate, even down to how our life “in the bedroom” should look. It’s exhausting and discouraging and then we finally think we have it figured out and we think we have to find other moms with exactly the same way of life to make friendships.
Makes you want to crawl into a closet somewhere.
But don’t be discouraged, BE BRAVE! GO FIRST!
Be first, to look at your life and be okay with how you are doing, because Mama, you are KILLIN’ IT! Then turn to the mom next to you and give her a pat on the back, because guess what....She’s KILLIN’ it too! You both may be on completely opposite sides of the motherhood spectrum and could very easily be disagreeing on everything there is to argue about, but instead you can let it go and watch an awesome friendship flourish!
I have this awesomely awkward ability to strike up a conversation usually with anyone who comes within 10 feet of me. Sitting at the DMV, I’ve had some hysterical conversations with persons of wild character and we pleasantly passed the time in bored comradery. That old lady in the grocery store watching my kid throw her shoe across the aisle always has the best advice. And yes, I see you super awkward teen boy with your headphones on in line at Taco Bell, we gunna talk and you ARE going to respond. Awkward meet awkward. Are my conversations always met well? Nope, but that’s okay because I was brave and went first!
Now, striking up conversations with strangers throughout your day may not be your thing. And that’s okay! But, maybe there are things that you could share with those friends and acquaintances in your circle that maybe are difficult to share, but would beautifully deepen your relationships. When you step out in faith, knowing that yes, you could get burned, you are being courageous! You are taking a chance, and dear friend, the God who knows every hair on your head, knows your every fear, but also exactly what you need.
There are a couple very precious women in my life, who if I hadn’t taken the chance on them and went first, our friendship wouldn’t have left that moment and I would be out a couple very dear friendships.
Thinking about going first and being brave and making friends reminded me of a blog I wrote 4 years ago where I laid out a bunch of mom confessions in name of being authentic and “Going First,” and the list really hasn’t changed 🤦♀️
So I thought it beard repeating.
“I've read a lot of blog posts, Facebook comments and heard many fellow moms talk recently about the desire, no, the DESPERATE NEED to connect and be real with other moms who are in the same boat as themselves. I strongly agree! It's hard enough keeping our tired unwashed heads above water without feeling like we should be walking on it to! That's Christ's job.
So, I thought I'd "keep it real" by posting some good old fashion mommy confessions...
1. I rarely, if ever give my children vitamins
2. Instead of gathering and drying everyone off, I've peed in a pool
3. My boys have had frozen chicken nuggets 3 meals in a row
4. There are days I don't brush my teeth...Coffee & gum works wonders
5. While potting training, instead of washing the poo filled undies, I throw them out
6. I have left Target on more than one occasion and have no idea how much I spent.
7. I have continued scrolling Facebook even as my boys are beating the tar out of each other.
8. I've never made my own baby food
9. Goldfish crackers and chocolate granola bars make great dinners
10. I've spanked out of anger
11. I didn't say anything as my child continually licked water off the park playground
12. I nap. A lot.
13. One vaginal birth was enough for me. I loved my C-section, and I haven't heard any complaints from either child.
14. I've be very prideful when I win the "my baby weighed this much" battle
15. I've probably forgotten your birthday
16. While running errands I think bribery in the form of candy or Hotwheels is totally acceptable
17. I've passed gas and blamed it on my son
18. We watch a lot of TV
19. While cuddling with my boys, everything else can wait (even the forgotten boiling pot of pasta)
20. I have played the Mommy Battle game, both winning and loosing and I am truly sorry
Here's to ending the battles and instead lending a helping hand, a fresh cup of strong coffee and a friendly compassionate and GENUINE smile to your fellow Mommy whose just trying to make sure her kids turn out "ok" too.”
SO, confessed I have. Now it’s your turn to GO FIRST and step out in the name of friendship! Let a little bit of your wall down, share a bit of awkwardness and watch a friendship grow!
You won’t regret it!
Love you, dear Mamas!
Monday, March 12, 2018
When Heidi reminded me that morning that it was my turn to write the blog, I was super stoked! Then I realized the topic was recovery, not a light hearted topic to sit with, let alone write a blog about.
It’s now a week later and I’m still sitting in front of my computer wondering what in the world to type out. I’ve prayed asking God to give me words, to show me which direction I should go in. So I decided to do a little word vomiting....I apologize in advance.
You see, for the first time in my life, the recovery process has become a very personal and very real part in my life, in my husbands life, and in our marriage.
In the beginning, It was my husband who needed recovery and to be part of a community who understood and could support him. Then we’d go to counseling together and hash out all the hard stuff, trying to get ahold of our life. Then God started pointing out areas in my own life that needed grace and some light shone into the darkened areas I had been avoiding in myself.
God showed me that I couldn’t control my husband’s behaviors and I definitely couldn’t change him. That man of mine, I had to leave him in God’s hands. But He did expose some areas in my life that I could be allowing Him to work on and walk me through.
The first step to recovery is that moment when you come face to face with your own struggles and hurts and weakness and knowing you can no longer keep up the facade that you are “okay”. Not an easy thing to admit or sit with, especially if you are a mom. This world has created this idea that moms have to have it all together; do all the things, be all the things, and never stop being strong for your family, for your children.
To sit in a moment and admit defeat, who has time for that?! Who has the mental energy to sit with someone you trust and ask for help? When the world demands so much from us, how can we completely reprioritize our lives to fix what we thought was perfectly hidden and contained?
Oh, dear Mama, we NEED to make that time. The time to sit in our struggles, time to look deep down into the heartbreak and pour our hearts out to Christ. Allowing the Creator of the heavens and earth to heal our hurts before they are passed down to our precious next generations. I want to do everything I can to encourage my children to be the best version of themselves and bloom where God has planted them! That means starting with myself, digging deep to understand my own perceptions and expectations both good and bad; slowing down and giving thought to my words and actions, and living my life for Christ!
Then, we need to be courageous and step out and ask for help from those fellow women who want to come around you, encourage you, keep you accountable and be there with a hot cup of coffee and quiet companionship when you have no more tears or words left to share.
I beg you mama, not to take your hurts, your secrets, your burdens lightly. This comes from a mama who recently had to come face to face with my own broken heart, fears and weaknesses. I came to the end of my strength and all that was left was Christ, and it was a beautifully difficult place to be. Facing my need for recovery, my need to let others into my hurt, was and still is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But, oh friend, it is so worth it.
Thank you Suzi for being brave and transparent in sharing your story with us and opening the door to recovery.
Thursday, February 22, 2018
Our last MOPS meeting had to be one of my favorites. What woman doesn’t want to know what is going on in a man’s mind?! C’mon ladies you know we’ve all said, “What was he thinking?!”, at least once…a day. There was a lot of valuable information shared. I am going to try my best to cover a few good points that stood out to me.
1. Love Language
If you haven’t taken the love language quiz do it now! I can’t be the only one that assumed that my husband's love language was physical touch, right? We took the quiz together and, although that was one of them, there was more that he wanted from me and physical touch is more than I thought it was. Showing love for our husbands can be easier than we thought. Physical touch can be holding hands, sitting close together, cuddling, and yes ladies “other stuff” too. A husband that feels loved by receiving gifts can feel special when you make your weekly or daily (no judgments!) Target trip and you come home with his favorite snack or some new shirts because you thought of him and knew he needed them! Quality Time and Words of Affirmation are self-explanatory, but they should not be overlooked. Mallory’s husband gave us all a good reminder that we should make time for one another as a couple because in the day to day hustle of life our marriages can be overlooked. We all need that time to decompress and be together.
A lot of our questions were about how not to be a nag. One of our Men’s Panel members told us a story about how he left the heater on in an empty house overnight. His wife called to let him know and she made a joke out of it. How we approach situations can help our husbands feel encouraged, loved, and respected. Do you have a husband that can’t disconnect from his phone or from work while at home? Invite him to join in on some family activities like board games or movie nights instead of mumbling under your breath about how annoying that habit is. Encourage your husband. Let him know how much his help means to you. He might not understand that by serving the kids a bowl of cereal while you race to get dressed he is making your morning smoother. Let him into your mind. There were so many good quotes during this meeting. One of my favorites was “expectations are premeditated resentments”. We expect sometimes and then we are angry when things don’t happen our way. I’m totally guilty of this. “Why didn’t he switch the laundry to the dryer? He was home all day, he heard it too.” Remember to give your husband grace. God does that for us daily no matter how many times we fall. Why would we think that our spouse isn’t just as deserving? Communication is so important but remembering to be kind while communicating is huge!
You know what it means to him or maybe you don’t. Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church, and wives submit to your husbands (Ephesians 5:22-25). Did you know that your husband's highest need is to feel respected? I had no idea and it really made me evaluate what I have been doing. Am I disrespecting my husband by challenging decisions in front of the kids or making jokes about things that he may feel insecure about? We have to be a team. I think almost all of the men on stage stated that they felt encouraged and loved most when their wives had their back. Our words and actions have a big effect on the leaders of our home. Let them know you trust them and respect them.
4. Physical Intimacy
Yes, we are going there ladies. The biggest point I took from this topic was to not use sex as a weapon. Don’t refuse it because he said something you didn’t like earlier and you feel he doesn’t deserve it. 1 Corinthians 7:4 says “The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife." Although you may not be in the mood for it give it a shot. Your mood may change in the process. Also, ladies it is important to remember that sex is more than a physical act. It is a spiritual, emotional, and physical act. If your sex life is off evaluate all other aspects. Maybe there is something that can be worked on to improve your physical intimacy level.
Over all what I kept hearing in my head as I wrote this and prayed about it is that we all want the same thing just in different ways. We all want a happy family, a loving marriage, and to grow old with our best friend and biggest supporter. I feel that it is easy to forget to nurture our marriages in the business of motherhood and sometimes our hubbies can be left feeling a bit neglected. I challenge you all to do one thing pertaining to your husbands love language and remind him that he is still the only one for you!
Saturday, February 10, 2018
When I heard Fashion was the topic for last week's MOPS I was so super pumped I even wore a hat and shoes with a heal.
I love all the clothes, literally all the styles and all the looks. I am a greeter at my church and I spend Sunday morning saying...."Wow you look great", "nice shirt", "great skirt", "love your shoes"...sometimes I say people smell good too, but that freaks them out, HA!
When I was a 20 something single gal I got accepted in to FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising). I never went because it was like 20 g a year, but I dreamed of being a fashion designer as a child. I would only play Barbies to dress them in different outfits, and of course Barbie Fashion Plates were the raddest! My favorite outfit was my unicorn sweater, jean ruffle skirt, and pink cowboy boots. So cool!
As an adult I have a hard time dressing myself. I am drawn to all the colors and all the prints, my closet basically looks like a clown threw up in there. I shop mostly Target clearance and Thrift stores so that doesn't make it any easier.
When Kim Nowland walked on the stage in her leopard print pants and amazing statement necklace I knew everything she said would be fashionably on point. I was surprised when what really sunk in to the depths of my heart was her wisdom about who we are, not what we wear.
She spoke on what is the heart of true fashion, it's style. Style is how God has uniquely made us. We are to robe ourselves like the queen we are in Christ. My favorite advice she gave was "it wasn't very good until Eve came on the scene"...isn't that so true? We as women add that special extra touch, the simple detail that makes things very good.
It is so easy to throw on the "mom outfit" of yoga pants and a t shirt with 3 day old spit up on it. But when we dress in a way that makes us feel good about ourselves, we feel better.
When I had depression one of the things my dr. told me was to get dressed everyday. It is so true if I stay home in frumpy garb I feel frumpy. If I put on some jeans, a cute top, earrings and lipstick (I never leave the house without lipstick) then I feel pretty, confident, and able to tackle my day.
Dressing our bodies is so hard after motherhood…I used to be able to grab any size 8 and rock it (also I went braless all the time like some freak from an 80s music video, but that's another topic). Now I have to try on jeans from a size 12-16, one may fit, if I'm lucky. But we have to remember to dress the body we have not the body from 10 years ago. And it isn't our bodies problem, it's the clothes. Our bodies are strong and capable and we need to embrace where we are today.
It was so funny I had a girls night the other night with some other MOPS Mamas and we all had on the recommended style from Kim; pants, cropped jacket, and statement necklace. It really can be that easy. Find what works for you, find what makes you feel good, and you will look so fabulous Mama!
"Fashion fades, only style remains the same." Coco Chanel
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
I don’t know about you gals, but the Kathi Lipp video was exactly what I needed this morning. Yesterday was a tough day emotionally and the clutter that was consuming my home turned me from emotional to grumpy to darn right mean in the time it took me to walk from one end of my home to the other. I was so overwhelmed by the piles, the projects, and the things I needed to do that I lost all motivation to do any of it. Everything seemed monumental and too much. Shoveling it into a giant dumpster seemed like an easier task than simply putting it away.
This defeated feeling was so frustrating because organizing and decluttering have always been a favorite of mine! I was that girl growing up that would take absolutely everything out of my room and start from scratch, going through every drawer and box and rearranging my room until I found joy in how it looked.
So why do I have such a hard time now?! Why does my home continually look like some magic genie came and transported articles from one room to another, right before a massive nuclear bomb went off?!!
I know I am not alone in the feelings of complete frustration that happen after a long day of cleaning and organizing, you turn around to catch a break and BAM...disaster strikes again!
Those sweet little dears....
But then again, nothing breaks my heart more than having to tell my kids “not right now” or “I can’t play because I have to do chores...”. I’m tired of the time it takes to manage our stuff and keep it cleaned up and organized. I want to be able to tell my son “heck yes I will play Legos with you!” without feeling the guilt of towering dirty dishes, scum ringed toilets, or the mountains of laundry.
Now where to begin? Naturally my thoughts turn straight to Pinterest where I have quite a good organization board going, and those great books I have on the subject of decluttering speak great ideas and solutions to help the drowning woman. But I’ve realized this time around that I need to start at the heart....my heart.
I have an addiction to the high of a great purchase. Not just any buy, but the great deal buy. I’m pretty sure my gravestone could easily say “But it was only $2.00!”. Hi, my name is Mallory and I’m a thrift store junky. I love the hunt, and saying no to that random something that is just too amazing to pass up because it’s just so cheap is my downfall. So, I bring it home, put it where it needs to go and the piles increase.
Whether it’s the great deal, the freebie, the happiness or keeping up with the Joneses, we all have our justifications for buying that something.
But what if we stepped back, looked around our home and saw all the stuff that was holding us back from living our best life, and decided to make a change so that sitting on the floor playing block towers with your toddler didn’t mean neglecting anything else; to really be in that precious moment without being distracted by our own leaning towers of clutter?
Never a better time to start than in the New Year! I want this year to be the year of saying “NO” to the clutter, to the managing of stuff and impulsive buys! Remembering that clutter in our homes actually manifests itself in our attitudes and hearts!
Just like Kathi said, just take 15 minutes today to start somewhere! Clear out a closet, a drawer, or simply your diaper bag. Only keep those items that you truly need or bring you joy! I’m thinking about my closet right now knowing I could easily fill a bag with all the items that no longer bring me joy, and don’t even get me started with the toy situation in our home. Grab your laundry basket and walk your sweet home, filling it with things that aren't where they belong and put them away! Scroll Pinterest for easy organizing ideas and start a declutter challenge! Ask a friend for help. Organizing and decluttering your home is way more fun with a friend and a box of chocolates (cleaning burns calories :) you’re welcome).
But remember that it has to start from the heart first to make a real change in your life. Ask God to help you see through the mess to what’s important, ask for strength and patience with yourself, ask for perseverance and some blessed energy to tackle your home. Remember grace for yourself that it won’t happen overnight and you’ll probably buy something in the next week you don’t need. But also Remember the reasons you want to make your home a sanctuary for your family. Think of all the time you will have to do the things that really matter when you are not slaving away managing all the stuffs. When you get rid of the stuffs, you can make room for something better.
“Choose today who you will serve. But for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. For He alone is our God!”
“Clutter is anything that doesn’t bring you joy and stands in the way of the things that do.”
“We were never meant to live a life accumulating stuff. We were meant to live simply enjoying the experiences of life, the people of life, and the journey of life- not the things of life.”
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
My favorite Christmas song is O Holy Night, because it gives me all the warm fuzzies as I think about that night when my Savior was born. But I find myself playing my favorite Christmas album a lot more this time of year… The Beach Boys Christmas! Oh my goodness, if you haven't heard these Christmas songs, march your little hiney down to the record shop and buy it! (Or download it from ITunes, Whatevs). I find myself craving the upbeat and just plain fun Beach Boys album because I just want to have the joy of Christmas that I remember as a child, the joy of Christmas before being the Mom that makes it all happen.
My goal every year is to KISS; keep it simple stupid. I try and not overbook us. I try and have all of my shopping done by November at the latest. I try and try and try to make everything simple and easy so we can just soak in the Christmas joy. But every year it gets harder and harder to do.
Heather spoke so eloquently last Tuesday about keeping our focus on Jesus and away from all the hustle and bustle. That we need to soak in our babies and that look they get when they experience something magical for the first time; Wonder Face. As Heather spoke about that, it made me ponder, what is the root of the Wonder Face and how can I … 1. See it and take it in when my kids have it? And 2. Experience it myself? So I've been asking God to show me what is up with this face and surely I can get in on this action too. Surely the God who made the universe doesn't want me to run around like a chicken with my head cut off making everything magical for everyone else without any peace and joy for myself?
Then at church on Sunday, my Pastor spoke about Hope.
May the God of HOPE fill you with joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
Now, not only does God want us to have Hope, He is actually the God of HOPE. That's pretty awesome. I want to be a hope filled Mama. I want to see the Wonder in my children and have it too. I think we all do. Life has some bumpy spots. Some hard things happen... some very, very hard things, and it is easy to become negative and not think of future possibilities of joy and peace. But you know who that is from; the enemy. He wants us to be depressed and hopeless. But our amazing Father wants us to be Hopeful. To have that Wonder Face at all things bright and beautiful.
The good news is well, the good news. Jesus was born so we may have the greatest Hope of all. Hope in Christ our Savior. He lived and died and He lives today! We can remember that this world with all of its troubles and aches and pain is not our home. And while we are here on this earth, we do not have to do this alone.
He gives us His Holy Spirit to help us.
"So that you may overflow with HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit".
My prayer for you today Mama is that you take your eyes off of your to-do list and focus on the Hope of the Lord. That you know you are beautiful and loved and it is not because of what you do that you are loved, but because of Whose you are.
Now play some Christmas music and show me that Wonder Face!
"OH Holy Night,
The Stars are brightly Shining,
It is the night of our dear Savior's Birth
Long lay the world,
In sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt it's worth.
The thrill of Hope, the weary world rejoices."