01.07.16

It’s a process.

It’s a process, it’s a process, it’s a process, change takes time.

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Lately i’ve found myself getting frustrated with how bossy and demanding my two year old is towards other children. Sometimes my responses to her strong leading spirit are not always in line with a gentle parenting approach. As I’ve put some thought into how I want to teach my daughter how to be loving and thoughtful towards others I have also considered who she is as a person. Her name is Beatrice. Meaning: Wild and Joyful, leader and organizer. Yes, this is who she is to a “T.”

How might our parenting approach look different if we took into account what qualities and skills our children possess? As a mother I want to be so careful not to crush her spirit, rather I want to lift up and encourage those qualities. But how do we do this? I believe we do this by really watching our children interact with other children. When I see her bossing another child around I can say to her gently that “maybe she could ask if the other child would like to do that”, or maybe instead of scolding her I could encourage her to keep being a leader, teaching her to demand action in a kind and loving way. You see her leadership skills will serve her so well in life as she grows older, but they can also serve her well right now at two years old. She is a leader, encourager, organizer, and loyal friend. She is still learning what it means to lead and organize her stuff. If we let our children be who they are they will be so much happier. May we find other ways to encourage and speak into who they are instead of tearing them down.

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 In the process of life it takes time for children to explore and understand their feelings and emotions. It takes time for us and them to figure out exactly who they are. It takes time for our children to fully understand failure, compassion, and sympathy. It takes a daily selfless heart to help them learn how to share or how to direct their feelings of outrage when they hit that “toddler” point in life. Whether you’re an adult or child life is a continuous process of learning to love more softly, give compassion more easily, and use our words to uplift instead of tear down. Each day is a gift and a chance to grow small seeds into our children.

I truly believe our actions speak louder than words in front of our children. If we want them to know sympathy, let them be apart of the emotions of losing a loved one, or the passing away of an animal. Let them see you serve others and stand along side the broken. Let them know how much you love to share your belongings with them through your words. Let them see the beauty of learning how to be still and peaceful through nature and times of rest. You see, being in a continuous process of growing in life is beautiful if we learn to grab hold of that process and embrace the growing pains. As we grow in who we are so do our children.

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When we choose grace instead of frustration, gentleness instead of anger, and joy instead of sorrow we are showing our children the qualities they already possess. Its almost like as we carry out these truths in our own life we are calling out the good and true self of who our children are and what they are capable of learning. After all, our children are very shapeable, small, important, and emotional human beings. They too are learning and figuring out how to be compassionate towards others and see themselves as wonderful people. Our children feel their lives so much deeper than we give them credit for sometimes.

Today I am encouraged to keep sowing small seeds into my child. Growing with her, beside her, and always making room for mistakes. Some days are down right exhausting and frustration can get the best of us. But we as mommas always have the chance to speak more softly, give of ourselves more fully, and widen our perspective on how children view and see their world and emotions.

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Our children awaken our hearts to feel and roar like never before. They awaken our identity and reintroduce us to ourselves in a fresh and new way. But we must be willing to grow, to learn from them, and to take their little hearts seriously. This process is slow and requires patience; however, it results in happy, fulfilled, loving, and loyal children. Take a moment today to look deeply into their eyes, to listen to their words more closely, paying attention to the little details of their lives. For one day, they will not remember if we had a perfectly cleaned house, but they will remember that they felt heard and seen by another. They won’t remember the time and patience it took for you to get here, but they will remember the tiny moments where we were present and engaged in their worlds.

Teach, live, and learn, in and through the process. Be flexible…be easy. Life is tender and often times leaves us misunderstood. Love hard, practice gentleness, seek patience, and above all give selflessly to the things that matter the most in this life. Our children and this future generation is longing to feel understood.

 

 

12.02.15

Just+Slow+Down

 

“Just slow down. Slow down your speech. Slow down your breathing. Slow down your walking. Slow down your eating. And let this slower, steadier, pace perfume your mind. Just slow down.” ~Doko

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Perfume your mind? What beautiful and thought provoking words those are! Every parent has found themselves at times using the words “Hurry up, walk faster, move quickly” when communicating with our children. And while we mean to have good intentions, I often wonder how that leaves our children feeling. In this day and age life is about being better, quicker, faster, and stronger. Yet life doesn’t slow down, it keeps going. And while life is moving on by we are losing out on the simplest pleasures with our children. A warm hand to hold, a walk through the woods, something delicious to eat, a good book by the christmas tree, and so on.

Since moving to Alabama this past year, our lives have changed…..a lot. Life has been much slower. Things have not been tightly scheduled. From that there is this freedom to explore and just “be” that has brought so much peace to our little family. Peace that has awakened creativity and passions, as well as time to explore our day with all five senses. Lately, Aaron and I have really been intentional about taking a “non-hurried” approach with our daughter. Making sure she doesn’t feel rushed through her days and providing extra time in our schedule so that she may walk a little slower, notice all the leaves on the ground, or just simply go down the slide 20 times, without the reminder that we need to “go” soon.

Although some days we find ourselves struggling with this we are always reminded to come back to patience. Back to the peace that fills our home when we stop rushing each other and take time to feel the world from the inside out. This is what I want and dream about for my family. I desire for my children to find contentment in a book, peace in nature, peace in quietness, and a great love for the outdoors. I desire for our world to look different than some may see it.

When I look at my daughter, I see a wild spirit that doesn’t like to be tied down. She is eager to finish a job herself even if it takes a long time. She is creative, smart, and strong willed. Life is really exciting to her and she absolutely loves who she is. I know that someday soon she will acquire a passion for something, whether that be dance, sports, music, yoga, education, etc. And while we all secretly have expectations of who or what our children will do, we are not in control of that. How freeing is that!? Everyday I get to see a little bit more of who she is. I get to be a part of cultivating her passions and dreams without hindering her. I write this to say..whatever her passions turn into I will always want her to feel life at a slower pace. I never want her to feel over-scheduled with no time to use her imagination. I want her to chase her dreams, but I also want her to find contentment in the littlest pleasures of life.

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Our Creator  is the perfect example of gentleness and peace. His peace is like a river, it keeps moving and flowing, but it’s not hindered by nature and storms. No matter what the water always reaches where it’s trying to go. I think we all can learn great value in being like a “river” and instilling these great values in our children. We can be a river, a river that is not moved by current circumstances or moved by what paths our children choose for themselves. Rather we flow with it, we adapt to our current situations. Rather than worrying and filling our hearts with anxiousness, we see that life is always moving, always progressing, and we address the situations out of a place of peace rather than frustration.

How amazing would it be for our children to see peace in our eyes rather than fear when hard times roll our way? Showing them that life is something we can tackle and doesn’t have to leave us feeling defeated. Life teaches us and inspires us with growth and makes room for  adaptability if we let it. It’s our chance to surrender fear and worry and to become that river, ready for whatever comes our way.

These are the values we want to instill in our daughter. Values based off of peace which means a slower pace, time to breathe, “unhurried schedules,” room for deep conversation, and meaningful get togethers. Life is meant to be lived. And by living it to the fullest, it requires stepping back and seeing what areas are crowded, in need of some TLC, and where we can gain more peace.

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Here are few of my own personal tips for a slower paced life for you and your children:

-Give yourself permission to  say “No” if your life/schedule is feeling crowded.

-Take a day to observe how many times you use the words, “hurry, quickly, faster”. Be intentional about taking a step back and slowing down the pace by being present even if it requires walking slower, being at the grocery store an extra fifteen minutes, etc.

-Find contentment in a book or baking something special with your child.

-Be an observer of nature. Nature can teach us so many beautiful lessons in life.

-Take a mindful walk, notice something new today, try hearing yourself breathe, and be at peace with the present.

So today my sweet mommas and friends, I leave you with a few words from one of my favorite hymns. ” When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrow like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, IT IS WELL, IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL.” 🙂

Love from one Momma to another!

11.09.15

Courage+Bravery+Vulnerability

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The other night as I was tucked beneath my warm sheets, listening to my husband breathe heavily into a deep sleep, I laid in bed tossing and turning. My brain was spinning and pondering how vulnerability and bravery has become  a part of who I am today. How it has shaped the way I feel my life, and taught me to be honest with my feelings and fears. I thought about how I want to encourage my children to be free to speak their truths, to be real and honest with people, and to practice courageous vulnerability…I asked myself these three questions:

What will my daughter and my future children know about bravery and vulnerability as they grow older? How will emotions or lack of shape their lives? Does my life reflect truth and vulnerability? As I circled around these questions I decided to write my daughter a letter. A letter to remind her and I to feel life from the inside out and that feelings are always meant to be worn on our sleeves, not tucked away hidden beneath the sheets.

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My dear Beatrice,

Today I will tell you a story of bravery and courageous vulnerability. As I share a piece of my heart, I want you to know that I promise to practice letting you feel heard and seen everyday we’re together. It will be hard sometimes, and some days I will shove things away instead of showing my real self. On those days I will remind myself that people from all walks of life crave authenticity, a listening ear, and for someone to listen to their truths.  You see, I want to listen to the good, the bad, and happy parts of your life. I have found it is worth it to show the truth of who you really are. To be known and  be heard. To feel free of expectations, and free of what others will think. This very act of vulnerability produces bravery. Bravery that will one day help the lives of so many people waiting to be heard and known.

Once, I was was afraid of telling my truths. I was afraid to be who I really am, and I was afraid to dig deep into the painful areas of my life for fear of shame. I knew deep inside if I could just share my truths with someone I could experience freedom, freedom from the memories that haunted me everyday, but I didn’t know how to get there. Until one day,  I decided enough was enough. Through the storm and the emotions, I would stand up to fear. I would be brave and I would be vulnerable. I would talk to someone, share my pain, and I would dig deep. Was this is a short process? No, it was long, it was grueling, and it was exhausting. At times I wanted to give up, be done with it all, and let it all settle back down into the ground. But I pushed through.

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Because the minute I realized I have a voice and people want to hear it, freedom was released inside every bone of my body. I remembered that I was never unworthy of perfect love, I was not alone, and I was not crazy for feeling strong emotions. Finding my voice changed the way I viewed myself. I found myself. I realized the God I serve is SO much more gentle than I could ever have imagined, and that He is fighting for my heart to be freed, and refreshed, he is cheering me on to actually feel emotions, to feel life, to feel the goodness he created in each one of us. I have learned that to be known and heard, seen and felt through another’s eyes is second to none.

You see even the deepest pains of one’s life can be used to break down the walls of perfection, hardness, and shame. My failures and pains of the past used to remind me that I was ashamed and deeply rooted in fear. But now as I look back, I see that I have been given an opportunity to be courageous, to stand in the face of fear with complete abandonment, free from perfection, and wholeheartedly accepting vulnerability as my new best friend. I have chosen a path some may never want to walk down, but I believe it’s worth it my child. It’s worth it to be honest and real with people; it’s worth it to cry when sadness is real to you. It’s worth it to let someone in, to let them see the raw and the real moments of your life. It’s worth it to be seen and heard rather than silenced and deaf.

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When you’re angry, I want to listen. When you’re sad, I want to feel your sadness. When you’re excited, I want to feel your excitement. When you’re grieving. I want to be with you. You were never meant to be put on the back burner, to be “shhh’d” and told what you can and cannot do. You were not meant to be nagged on, perfected, and told you aren’t strong enough to do this or that. You weren’t meant to need people’s approval to feel good about yourself. You don’t need my approval, because God already approves of you. He already sees you; He marked you with His perfect love and His freedom to be YOU!

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You my child are a gift. A gift that only requires encouragement, a listening ear, and hands free of control, manipulation, and approval. You are meant to wear your heart on your sleeve, to be heard, to be known, and to be courageous in the face of fear. As we walk this road of vulnerability together, may we practice gentleness, kindness, and compassion for those around us. May the freedom to be heard and seen energize this future generation to cultivate the art of courageous vulnerability. And may we take time out of our day to give a hug, a kiss, a word of affirmation, and always speak our truths out loud. You may be little, but you are brave, you are courageous, and you are the gift that keeps on giving. So today and everyday my child, I will practice vulnerability by encouraging you to feel all of your emotions. My wild and joyful child!

Love, Momma

10.16.15

Cow farm+Sunhats

Today Beatrice and I went out to the local organic milk farm not to far from where we live. We enjoy watching the cows and seeing all the farm land. Its a quick stop but every time we pull up I hear sweet chatter from the back talking about the cows and her favorite chocolate milk. The next time we go they offered to let us see the cows being milked! What a wonderful opportunity for the both of us to learn and be outside together.

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Its been a rough week for the both of us with potty training and not always being patient with each other. I find myself placing blame on who I am as a mother when I think I have failed her in some way or another. Sometimes bringing me to tears. So here are some  thoughts running through my head today from the words of “William Martin.” Do not slip into the downward spiral of blame, shame, and control. It doesn’t work. Reflecting on these words this afternoon and asking myself these deep questions: 

Can I love my child for who they are without controlling everything they do?

Can I let go of how “I think my child should act” and accept them for who they are?

Can I let go of what a perfect day or life looks like?

Yes, yes we can. Because this life we live is full of opportunities to flourish and nourish our lives and our children’s. To show them the true meaning of forgiveness, a warm hand to hold, and how to express emotions through feeling life in a real way. No one wins a prize for the perfect cleaned house, no one feels peace without letting go of control, and no one gets further in life by blaming ourselves for all our failures. Life is meant to be lived and felt so that we may flourish and be a life giving source to our children and those around us.

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Our children see how we handle failure, they sense how we either open up or stuff are feelings. They sense it all. So don’t be afraid to let them see the real you. Show them forgiveness by forgiving yourself, show them peace by holding there hand and reading a book together, show them life is not meant to take us further away from who we are but in fact everyday we move a little closer to who we are, who we were created to be and the purpose behind it all. Show them redemption and restoration is always at our finger tips because we never lose who we are, we just stray away sometimes. You can find me tonight re~reading these words over and over again till I believe them with all my heart! 😉

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As a mother how can you loosen up on controlling the closest things in your life? What do you want your children to know and feel in this life? For me it means taking many deep breaths during the day, and bringing myself back to the present moment, not looking for whats up ahead but staying focused on the here and now. Less control=more peace, less blame=more freedom to love yourself, less shame=I am enough and I am accepted just the way I am.

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Press on Mamas, and when it gets hard, keep going because we are here and were doing this beautiful thing called “Motherhood” and its a wild ride. Take time to breathe, to surrender control, and let yourself feel peace and joy today even in the midst of your chaos.

10.13.15

Picnic+Friends

Today was day of two of potty training, and I think we both needed a little breather. Frustrations and emotions were at an all time high. So we headed to our favorite spot by the lake and had a picnic. Beatrice munched on popcorn and listened for the sounds of helicopters while chatting away about the weather and pinecones.

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Sometimes in the daily struggles of motherhood we must remember who we are and the strength we posses. It may not come easily at first, but we grow with each new day. Beatrice speaks to me everyday, inviting growth that sometimes feels really hard and frustrating, she provokes patience to be felt and sensed through every minute of the day. And for this I am grateful. Because to truly live and be present in our children’s world means “I learn from her, and she learns from me.” Our children have so much to offer to who we are as individuals and they have so much to teach us. I live for these exhausting, beautiful, and down right messy moments in time.

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May we make time for our children to day dream, to feel nature through all of their senses, to be told what they can do and not what they cant do, to be held a little closer, to find the beauty in the pinecones and the sounds of helicopters over our heads.

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May you find strength as a mother, as a wife, and as a person to let go of any expectations or judgements you place upon yourself. May love and gratitude fill your hearts and make peace with the wars inside our heads.

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Happy Tuesday my friends from these two peaches!!:)