Cherish the Good Things

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Definitely need to remember that!

And some links for you this weekend:

50 Ways to Love Your Child Every Day Using Love Languages | Bow of Bronze

Fill the Freezer with Easy Recipes for Summer | Life As Mom

Put the Phone Down and be a Mother | Growing Home

Be Like The Sun: Move Slowly, Radiate Warmth, Shine | Simple Mom

40 Preserving Links (and canning with honey!) | Simple Bites

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Showing Up For My Life

Sura Nualpradid - freedigitalphotos

In our digital world today, it can be so easy to get addicted to the internet. Believe me, I know. There was a time, a few years ago, when I could easily spend 6-8 hours a day in front of the computer… and I’m not even on Facebook or Twitter! And the majority of that time was not at all productive.

Since then, I’ve realized that was not the way I wanted to live my life, and things have greatly improved in that area.

Sure, there are times when I get carried away on Pinterest and waste a half hour, but most days the computer is only used for useful things during the day, like finding recipes and actual work.

Since I’ve stopped wasting so much time on the internet, I’ve been able to enjoy my children more, stay on top of housework and laundry, cook better meals, and find time to just BE.

I don’t want to look back in 25 years when my kids are all grown up and wonder what happened. I want to enjoy them while they are little and give them the time and attention they need and deserve. I want to form real relationships with real people, spend time with family and friends.

I want to actually live MY life, live my actual life, and not let a virtual world dictate who I am.

Sally Clarkson wrote about this in her blog post today:

Perhaps, on the internet, we build up a couple of thousand of friends–that does not mean they know us, our real lives, our silent aches of heart, our loneliness, our dreams, insecurities, needs or doubts, or love us. Often it just means, they, too, are trying to build their list. Our social networking friends cannot bring us a hot, delicious meal or a fall bouquet of blooming flowers when we are sick or depressed or just need to know we are on someone’s mind.

Our social media friends cannot hold our hand or give us a gentle embrace, when we pray through a heartbreak or sit and drink a real cup of tea on the porch as we watch a fall sun melt into the sky, and share secrets. Our social media friends are not here to touch, see, experience, giggle, to validate the memories of real life.

Our children also long for us to see them as the important ones–they long for our words of love and laughter at their jokes and engaging in their hearts and attention. Our children are only with us for a window of time, to receive our attention, loving touch, tasty meals, to celebrate life as we pour into their souls. If we are looking to the internet for our relationships, our children will look for love and attention wherever else they can find it–away from us.

We are their first choice, but they will settle for others if their needs are not met at home with our intentional and present attention.

I don’t want my children to turn elsewhere for the love and attention they need from me. I want to be there for them and not miss any more of my life than I have to.

The only way we will build great relationships with the people around us is if we spend less time online and more time in real life.

I just finished reading Sarah Mae’s e-book, The UnWired Mom, and found it very worth-while. Here’s an excerpt from her book:

An UnWired Mom is a woman of purpose who is not a slave to

anything, including the online world. She lives full and whole

and aware in the everyday, choosing to engage in the reality

around her instead of escaping to the Internet. She can work in

and enjoy the online space without having it consume her;

she shows up for her own in-the-flesh life.

I want to show up for my own life every day.

What about you?

Wise Words

If you’re new… head here to read about the purpose behind this blog (and perhaps a little bit of encouragement?)

Enjoying Our Children

Photo by Andre Mouraux - Flickr Creative Commons

Photo by Andre Mouraux – Flickr Creative Commons

We all know how hard it can be to really enjoy spending time with our kids… and I mean REALLY enjoy it. We all have busy lives, with full-page to-do lists that we have to conquer every day, and when we force ourselves to spend some time with our precious little ones, it can seem like a chore. Every thing we’ve ever done with them has been boring, a challenge or has ended in tears, so why bother, right?

Wrong. Our children desperately need our attention and it’s our duty as a parent to give it to them, to invest in their emotional well-being just as we do their physical well-being. We need to feed them with our love every day and SHOW them (not just tell them) that they are special to us and we find joy in being their mother.

Here are 5 ways that can drastically change the relationship you have with your children.

1. Less screen time.

In our modern culture, we can easily waste hours every day in front of a screen doing nothing productive. According to sixwise.com, the average adult spends 162 minutes per day in front of a computer or engaged on their cellphone… that’s almost 3 hours. Now, if those screen hours are productive and wisely used, that’s not bad, but if most of it is wasted in mind-numbing web surfing or playing games, that’s 3 hours per day (or 19,656 hours before their 18th birthday) that could be spent investing in our children. We only have them for a short time (936 weeks from birth until they’re 18… I know, not a whole lot, is it?!) so take back those wasted hours and enjoy them while they’re still here.

2. Say “yes”.

This is a hard one, especially for those of us who prefer a clean home and clean children most of the time. But saying “yes” to the messy stuff will result in a ton of fun and lots of great memories for you and your kids to look back on. I know, at the moment of decision-making, we automatically want to say no to puddle-jumping, mud-pies, finger-painting and all the other messy things our kids want to do. But just saying “yes” sometimes can drastically improve our enjoyment in our children. And, hey, bathtubs were invented for a reason!

3. Fill your homes (and minds) with lots of quality literature.

You know those kid’s books that get boring after reading them only twice? Those aren’t quality children’s books. When you have some great, living literature on your bookshelf, you will find yourself in tears over a simple children’s story and be wanting to read to your kids every day. Believe me, I cry every time I read The Little House by Virginia Lee Murphy. My son looks at me a little confused, because even though it’s a story meant for kids his age and is very enjoyable and educational for him, there is a deeper meaning there that he doesn’t understand yet, but is being introduced to in a living, engaging way. For more information on what a living book is, click here. (And this can be useful in your personal reading selections as well. When we read living books, our minds are engaged and we learn and experience great things through our reading.)

4. Simplicity.

This applies to everything in life. But in regards to our children, over-complicating anything only creates more stress and less joy in their young lives. (Now, this does not, nor should it, always apply to answering their questions – more often than not, over-simplifying an answer to a question will not fill our child with the information he’s looking for. They are usually able to handle a lot more information than we give them credit for!) Rather, I’m talking about planned activities, clothing and food choices, decorating our homes, high-tech toys and gadgets, etc. In all of these areas, choosing simplicity over complexity is almost always better. They are usually much happier (and healthier) with less stuff, simpler homes and more time. And happier kids = happier mom!

5. Slow down… life is NOT an emergency.

Take a deep breath. So what if things take a bit longer than you want them to. Your kids are growing, learning, taking in the world around them and they are much smaller than we are. When we rush through life, we never really live. We are in the middle of our own wonderful story… why wouldn’t we try to slow down and breathe it all in while we’re still in this stage of our lives. We don’t have to hurry life up – it goes by fast enough on it’s own. So why not try our best to just slow it down?

 

If you’re new… head here to read about the purpose behind this blog (and perhaps a little bit of encouragement?)

Making Our Values Real – Part One

Image courtesy of healingdream / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of healingdream / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

On Monday, I mentioned that I would be writing about the purpose of our life as mothers. As it turns out, the idea I had in my mind did not at all come through clearly in that phrase… obviously I was a little rushed when I wrote that and didn’t put a lot of thought into my wording. I apologize.

What I was meaning to write about is not our purpose in life (although that would be a thought-provoking topic to delve into) but rather how we can make our purpose (or dreams) for our homes and lives come true, or more precisely, how we can make our most valued quality become a practical reality in our daily lives. So if you’d like to weave a certain quality or aspect into your family’s lives, here are my thoughts:

Do you live from day to day without really thinking about the little decisions you make or why you do what you do? I’ve had weeks (or months) like that, and at those times I feel really lost in life, like I’m trying to catch up to some standard but yet don’t have the energy or motivation to do all I want to do or don’t even know what I want or should be doing with my life, or how that should look in all the miniscule details of daily life.

I think every mother has those times.

So how do we deal with it? How do we dig ourselves out of the rut of monotony and infuse some passion into our lives?

How do we learn to love what we do on a daily basis and have that energy that we crave?

We find a value or quality to build our daily lives around.

I’m sure every mother has at some point thought about what they’d like their life to be like, what they want to be the central theme of their home.

This quality may be to raise our children with certain values and morals, or to create a haven of rest and peace for our family at all times, or a fun-loving and laughter-filled environment.

Whatever your most valued quality for your home is, find it.

You may ask, “How?”

Well, a good place to start is to think of all the things you DON’T want your lives to be like, the things you don’t want to cross your children’s or husband’s mind as they look back on this time from the distant future, or what you don’t want your guests to feel and think when they enter your home.

For me, that means this: I don’t want to be remembered as being rushed, focused on a clean house, checking things off a to-do list all day every day, constantly rushing here and there trying to accomplish as much as possible.

The opposite of this? PEACE.

What I want is peace.

Peace in our home, love in our hearts, and a good foundation for our children to grow up on and live by.

That’s my most desired value, my most needed quality in our home. Peace.

What is yours?

What you do today is important, because you

are exchanging a day of your life for it.

-Author Unknown

(Find Part 2 here and Part 3 here)
 
If you’re new… head here to read about the purpose behind this blog (and perhaps a little bit of encouragement?)

30 Things (A Fun Way to Learn More About Your Spouse)

I stumbled across this on Pinterest a few days ago, and thought it was such a great idea, I had to share it with you. Of course, those of you following me on Pinterest have already seen this, but for the rest of you, here it is.

It’s a list of 30 things to ask your spouse (or significant other, or just a friend) to learn more about him/her in a fun way and get conversation flowing! You could just use these questions, or be creative and add more or change them.

Here’s the list, originally from Hopes & Dreams:

1. List 20 random facts about yourself.
2. Describe 3 legitimate fears you have and explain how they became fears.
3. Describe your relationship with your parents.
4. List 10 things you would tell your 16 year-old self, if you could.
5. What are the 5 things that make you most happy right now?
6. What is the hardest thing you have ever experienced?
7. What is your dream job, and why?
8. What are 5 passions you have?
9. List 10 people who have influenced you and describe how.
10. Describe your most embarrasing moment.
11. Describe 10 pet peeves you have.
12. Describe a typical day in your current life.
13. Describe 5 weaknesses you have.
14. Describe 5 strengths you have.
15. If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
16. What are your 5 greatest accomplishments?
17. What is the thing you most wish you were great at?
18. What has been the most difficult thing you have had to forgive?
19. If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?
20. Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood.
21. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and what would you do with it first?
22. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years?
23. List your top 5 hobbies and why you love them.
24. Describe your family dynamic of your childhood vs. your family dynamic now.
25. If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be and what would you eat?
26. What popular notion do you think the world has most wrong?
27. What is your favorite part of your body and why?
28. What is your love language?
29. What do you think people misundertand most about you?
30. List 10 things you would hope to be remembered for.

Run with it and HAVE FUN!!