Another lesson learned from  “Desperate: Hope For the Mom Who Needs to Breathe” by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson.  The quote:

“Many voices in motherhood today want to make a law out of everything – the activities that are best for a child, how to spank or not to spank, and how to secure obedience; working outside the home or staying at home; what clothing is acceptable for our girls; what movies, music, or books are or are not acceptable; dating or courting; adopting; drinking; even eating – there is no place where the grasp of legalism cannot and will not reach.

And yet, Scripture clearly speaks to the opposite.  It tells us in Romans 14:22, “Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.”  The worry of what others are doing or are expecting us to do will indeed kill our souls.”

When I read this, I didn’t automatically think of the supposed “Mommy Wars”, but, instead, I thought of the tendencies inside me.  Oh yes!  This is me!  I want rules that pretty much guarantee good results – in my child(ren) and in me!

I have got to chill out when it comes to thinking that there are easy answers to be had.  I have got to chill out when it comes thinking that there is 1 way to raise a kid.  To have a good marriage.  To live a happy life.  Chill out Jayme!


Following the theme of being more grateful and actually documenting them

Today, I’m grateful for:

41.That today is the primary election day.  I’ll be voting, but really, I’m grateful that a huge chunk of the political ads and phone calls will end!

42. Kids that nap at the same time.

43. Kraft Mac & Cheese Shapes.  Love ‘em!

Enjoy them!

Another thought from from  “Desperate: Hope For the Mom Who Needs to Breathe” by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson.  They say:

So many moms try to micromanage every single behavioral issue with their children and feel a need to win every battle, especially when they are young.  As I observe how God treats me, I realize that I keep learning and growing in my weaknesses, sometimes in areas I was not even awar of.  It seems He shows me one area at a time.

And yet, other parents let their children misbehave and be out of control so much of the time that their children are a burden to all who come into their wake.

And so discipline is an issue of training, little by little, year after year.  Do not expect a toddler to behave like an older child who naturally has more self-control and maturity.  Learning to be consistent in teaching and training is a way of life.  It is quite exhausting if a parent makes everything an issue for the child and the parent.  And be sure to enjoy each stage of your children-have fun, giggle, distract, lighten up, and win their hearts.  Children are more likely to respond to discipline if they feel loved and affirmed.  Be sure to extend grace to your young children, and also make sure they have lots of time to play outdoors to wear out their energy and fill their need for activity.

This kind of hit me between the eyes, so to speak.  For a while there, I was so concerned about getting the right behavior out of my child, that I wasn’t really enjoying my child.  Certainly, life will never be 100% enjoyable – not with a child.  Not with a spouse.  Not with myself.  There will always be “I wish I didn’t have to do this” moments.  But I had forgotten to ENJOY HIM!  I had forgotten that he was still VERY YOUNG!

I heard it once that “Children define love this way: P-L-A-Y!” and “Your child’s favorite toy is you.”  May I remember that more often!


When did I stop?

A few weeks ago now, I was reading “Desperate: Hope For the Mom Who Needs to Breathe” by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson.  I had seen it referenced by quite a few of the bloggers that I follow, so I checked it out.  I can’t say that it was life-changing or anything, but it was a very encouraging read.

I don’t feel desperate about parenting right now, but I did several months ago – about the time that Finn was 20 months old.  It seems like that was a very rough time.  Stephen was just a month or two old, but that didn’t seem to throw me any curveballs.  It was the beginning of the Toddler stage that was giving ME fits.  He was starting to challenge things he never had before.  He seemed to suddenly get super tall overnight, causing him to be able to reach things that I thought were safe (i.e.: knives on the counter!).  He developed the ability to open closed doors.  Before, countertops and closed doors were boundary-defining.  Not so much any more.

It’s all normal, of course, but this was the beginning of “true parenting” for me.  Until then, I had pretty much just been keeping him alive.  Now the real teaching and instruction was beginning.  And I was uber confident that I was doing it all wrong and it was just a matter of time before the police department brought him home in a squad car for spray painting a bridge or something.  (Remember: He wasn’t even 2 yet.  I was clear over-reacting!  This I know.  But this I didn’t feel.)

Anyway, a quote from this book stood out to me:

“As the undeniable reality of my own sin nature convicted me of how I view my children, I was reminded of something I had read in one of Sally’s books.  In Mission of Motherhood, she wrote about being frustrated with her children.  She felt like her efforts weren’t proving fruitful, and no matter what she did with her children or how many times she told them what to do, it wasn’t working.  Clay said to her, “Honey, at what age did you stop sinning?  Because that’s when our children will stop.”

That really helped drive home the concept that I am in this for the long haul.  There are some things that I’ll have to tell him once and he’ll listen.  But there are many, many, many, many things that I’ll have to repeat myself for.  Just like I know that it’s wrong to be short-tempered or jealous (but I do it anyway), my son knows it’s wrong to put his feet on the table or to throw his food (but he does it anyway).

It was just a nice reminder that I am no better than my son; just a little more sophisticated!


Following the theme of being more grateful and actually documenting them

Today, I’m grateful for:

40. Having a large extended family!  Going to a cousin’s graduation party means that there are at least 1 grandma, 4 aunts and 3 cousins who want to hold your baby.  And at least 2 cousins and 3 kids-of-cousins who want to play with your toddler!

41. Recipes that double really easily and make 14 burritos for the freezer!

42. Book recommendations from friends – especially ones that are at the public library!

As I think ahead to tomorrow, I just think church on Mother’s Day is AWKWARD!

And I get it.  Church people are in a hard position. Acknowledge mother’s day?  How much?  How little?

There’s the new mom who will just be devastated if she isn’t recognized.  She’s beaming as she clutches her 3 month old to her chest.

There’s the 80 year old great-grandma who lives for the day when she can be surrounded by her kids, grandkids and great-grandkids.  She’s there wearing her corsage, looking all adorable.

There’s the woman who isn’t a mom and doesn’t want to be.  But she feels the eyes of everyone looking at her, not standing up when it seems like all the other women in the room over the age of 25 are.

There’s the woman who isn’t a mom and does want to be.  Desperately.  And like the woman above, she feels everyone looking at her.  But maybe she isn’t in church today after all, maybe she’s at home because she just doesn’t want the looks.

There’s the teen mom, who is a mom, but feels the embarrassment and maybe guilt of being a mom at 17.

There’s the mom who wants her family to appreciate her, but she’s disappointed in how they express it.  In the past, her kids have been too little to do it “up right” and dad doesn’t know how to teach them what mom wants.  So, she’s hopeful that “today might be the day” her expectations are meant, but she’s also a little wary.

There’s the mom whose kids haven’t turned out like she hoped they would and she doesn’t think she did a very good job.  Sure, she’ll stand, but sheepishly.  Apologetically.

There’s the mom whose kids are with her in church.  And instead of looking proud of and grateful to their mom, they’re rolling their eyes.

Church on Mother’s Day: It’s AWKWARD.  You should give someone a hug.




(I know I already did a “He’s 2″ post, but my heart was burdened to write an actual letter to him)

Dear Phinehas (aka: Mr. Finn):

You’re 2! Already so much is different about you from just months ago. And yet, I can look back at baby pictures and see the same facial features. But, still, things are different. You’ve lost your cinnamon-roll shaped belly button, which was just so adorable! You’re tall and lean and that just had to go. I guess you’ll be grateful for that when you’re older.

You’re a toddler, of course, and not a baby anymore and yet…You ask for “rock, rock” before bed and it’s getting harder for me to do that – you’re just so big now. So, I do the best I can while I sing to you “Jesus” – the song you always ask for. You don’t really know who Jesus is yet, but Jesus Loves the Little Children must be the song you associate with sleeping. I didn’t really rock you to sleep as a baby (and truth be told, I don’t rock you that long now – just a few verses), but “Rock, Rock” was a new thing you came up with a few months ago.

You’re in a major train loving phase and I kind of hope it lasts. You get so excited for your train pajamas and you take your time picking out which 1 of the 4 trains you want to sleep with that night. I just checked on you while you were sleeping and you were curled into a ball, holding that choo choo.

You love the outdoors and I hope that continues as well. You ask for “walk” often, even if it’s not to the park and really, just to walk outside. In true toddler fashion, you’d much rather push the stroller, wagon or buggy than ride in it. You’re kind of scared of the loud sound of the lawn mower, but you keep talking about “mow, mow”, so I think you do like it deep down.

You’re starting to interact more with Stephen, which is good as he’s starting to get more mobile. You certainly can’t play together, but you understand that he has “his” food and you have yours. And it’s kind of confusing to you that Mommy doesn’t want you to share your food with him just yet, although she wants you to share other things.

You’re a huge fan of your dad, still. You’ll point him out in pictures of our family – completely ignoring just about everyone else. “Dada!” You know that your name is Finn or ‘Neas (as you sometimes call yourself) and that Stephen is “The Baby”.

You’re definitely a determined little guy, but are slowly learning boundaries. Not throwing food is still a struggle for you. So is not putting your feet on the table. You know you’re not supposed to do it, but you do it anyway. But your persistance has paid off in many ways as you’re actually quite good at manuvering the vacuum (another thing that you adore) and in other things.

You love to “cook”, even if that just means eating the chocolate chips. But we let you help anyway – someday, that will pay off! You love to clean too (maybe that’s the real reason you love the vacuum) as you’ll often want the dishrag after dinner to wipe down just about any surface you’re tall enough for – the chair, Stephen’s high chair, the walls – it doesn’t matter – you’ll clean it! You get super excited when I let you help me clean the bathroom!  “I do, I do” is a phrase that I hear all.the.time.

Your tastes in books is ever changing. For months, it seemed all we read was “I Love You Stinky Face”, then it became Dr. Seuss’ ABC book. Now, you’re all about “Shepherd”, which is a very short story of the Good Shepherd. We’ll read the same book over and over again, but that’s okay – I’ve learned to hide the boring books!

You love routine as well. Wake up. Drink milk. Mommy reads to you. Get dressed. Color. Find your shoes. Go to the “Garage. Car. Seat”.  Go to Aunt T’s. Play with trains. Antagonize Camry & Capri. Come home with mommy. Play with trains. Mommy reads to you. Take nap. Wake up. Get snack. Mommy reads to you. Play with trains. Play with blocks. Stephen wakes up. Go on walk. Come home. Dada home! Do the Dada dance. Play with dada. “Tickle, Tickle!” Eat dinner. Play with blocks. Put on jam-jams. Drink milk. Watch “Wheel!” Pick out train. Go night night with one last “Rock” and “Jesus” and 2 blankets.  You know what each step in the day is. I love that!

I love being your mom. And I love seeing the little boy that you’re becoming!



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