Inspiration

General inspiration

Multiply and Replenish

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If you were giving life-affirming counsel to your children who were about to launch out on their own, in five words or less, what exactly would you want to tell them?

How would you let them know of your confidence in their ability to grow and learn?  How would you state your thoughts so clearly that they would have no need to question your expectation that they would follow in your footsteps and continue to evolve in their sphere?

I really can’t imagine anything better than the two words, multiply and replenish.

But what exactly do we multiply? And once we know that, how do we replenish “it”?

From a parent’s perspective, one of the most important things I would want to encourage my children to multiply is them! More of them in this world would be a great thing to me!  More of their goodness, and humor, more of their integrity and love.  More of their unique way of seeing and doing things, and more of their desires to lift and to bless.  Of course, I’d want more of their laughter and more of their enjoyment in the world around them and more joy in the fruit of their labors and talents they are cultivating.

Here is yet another way that being a parent is incredibly instructive. If as children of God we sometimes perceive our Father’s counsel and commands to us as something to fear or to be burdened by, using the lens of our own parenthood, much of our misperceptions can be corrected quickly.

If you wonder what the most creative being in the universe desires for you, why not take a moment and write out your desires for your children?

What would you counsel them to embrace?

What would you counsel them to avoid?

How would you encourage them to maintain their ability to chose?

What would you love to see them love about themselves?

What do you hope they will enjoy, embrace and experience while they are here?

in other words, how do you want to see them “multiply” everything they have been given?

And once you have a sense of what can be multiplied, what about the replenishing part? Is it good then, to restore ourselves after exertion?  Is it acceptable to fill ourselves back up with hope after we have experienced some kind of fear?

Again, what would you counsel your own children to do?

Most of all, it seems to me that these two expansive and resplendent words illustrate our never-ending potential; that potential that we have to use faith to wrap our heads around while we have our mortal, limited vision.

What are your thoughts?

Today I hope you will consider your potential. I hope you will allow yourself to expand and “burst the fetters of your mind.”

Love,

Jacque

 

The Great Divorce

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If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis.

“If it would help you, and if it were possible, I would go down with you into hell;

but you cannot bring hell into me,

I cannot love a lie.

I cannot love the thing which is not.

I am in Love, and out of it I will not go.”

 

If or when you decide to devour this short story, I would love to discuss it with you!

(I am finally post-surgery, and I’m too loopy to type. 🐸)

All my love,

Jacque

It’s A Big Deal!

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I heard recently that there is a new push, to help parents, particularly mothers, to stop wondering what is wrong with them when they get burned out and can’t run as fast as they think they should, when often, they simply aren’t getting the rest they need and have expectations that would kill a seasoned athlete.

So may I kindly suggest that if you’re going to bed consistently after 10:00-10:30 you’re not getting enough sleep?

There may not be anything wrong with you, maybe you’re just not renewing at night.  Is this a revelation?  Do you go to bed late and have headaches during the day?  Or do you live on 4-5 hours of sleep and think you should be able to feel consistently energetic and run marathons and generally keep up with everyone you compare yourself to?

Friends, self-care habits are a big, big, big deal!  Unless you are an out-lying statistical phenomenon, and function beautifully on four hours of sleep, you’d better shift things up and go to bed earlier if you are struggling with ill health, mental, emotional, spiritual or physical.

Amazingly, for a young mother, sleep is the most coveted commodity, isn’t it?  Then why give it up so easily for something as un-self-care-ish as watching depressing news or scrolling through Facebook or playing a digital game or whatever other time-killing pursuits there are?

As always, if you are noticing that you aren’t functioning well in some way, go back to the basics and see if your life has gotten out of balance in some way.  Ask the difficult, but oh-so-obvious questions:

Am I getting enough sleep? (Shoot for 8 hours! Sorry you nursing moms, the day will come!)

Am I drinking enough water? (For sure when you are thirsty, but shoot for 8 glasses)

Am I eating real food at regular intervals throughout the day?

Am I getting some form of exercise on a daily basis, wether it’s mopping a floor, climbing stairs, walking the dog, pushing a stroller, etc.  (Does NOT need to be in a gym!)

Am I making time for my mind to be quiet? (Meditation and prayer)

Chances are, when these questions can be answered affirmatively, you’ll find that you are feeling pretty well.  Of course there are times when a malfunction occurs and simple re-balancing is not enough.  But in general, we are quite resilient, when our needs are being accknowledged and met.

Oh, and may I add one more suggestion? If you are not making time to be alone with your spouse to enjoy a fulfilling intimate life together, I would highly recommend that you put that on your high priority list and plan for it!  Rest during the day if needs be, don’t over schedule yourself, take time to pamper yourself and then pamper him!  Sex, in a committed long-term relationship is extremely healthy for you in every way possible.  And wow, does it help to make life sweet.

I hope you will take extremely good care of yourself today!

Love,

Jacque

P. S. Another question to ask would be if you may need to recruit some help if you are fighting with some kind of anxiety that is making everything far more difficult than it needs to be.  There are so many helping hands and listening ears out there! If you need it, don’t hesitate to find it.  I have been there and I am so grateful to the professionals who have helped me to unravel those difficult, looping feelings.  My mantra, when I would feel the anxiety starting to rise, became, “Don’t stay there!” And I hope you won’t stay there either. Be well.

 

 

 

Where Are You?

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I was watching a documentary on owls…yeah, I was a captive audience, not generally my speed.  But I observed something that I think is worth noting as it applies to us as parents:

For some reason, (that I didn’t catch) two baby owls were being raised by two people.  Two very dedicated and capable people.  And with all of their skills and knowledge and passion, the most impressive ability they possessed, in my humble opinion, was their ability to be fully present with their fluffy little wards.

It was stunningly beautiful to watch.

Every time the birds did the tiniest thing that showed they were making some kind of progress, or that they were even just simply enjoying themselves, the two care-givers responded with great delight!  And I noticed that the only way it was possible for them to be so fully engaged and observant, was the fact that they were fully present.

It occurred to me that those little partly feathered, kind of uglyish stage birds, were receiving quite a bit MORE undivided attention than possibly the majority of children in our country are given.

And why?  If I think of myself as the parent of young children, I’d have to say that sheer busyness or even mental working (as in the time I spent trying to figure out a challenge), but you know that was a long old time ago!  What in the world would have happened if I could have had the ability to search the Internet?  Not to mention having social media at my finger tips???

Now a balancing thought: Am I suggesting that parents need to be totally present with their children every minute of every day?  No way!  That would also be a recipe for disaster.  So, please don’t let your mental pendulum swing to that extreme.  I’m simply talking about moving the pendulum closer to the middle, as I have observed, in myself and others, that has swung to an unhealthy extreme.

You lovely young mothers have a massive, literally mind blowing potential challenge to your ability to be present at home.  It is hard to even quantify it in my mind.

Hence, it seems to me that this is one of the facets of your life that is screaming for you to be fiercely decisive.  If you will be in charge of what you allow to grasp your attention, you will change generations. Generations.

If anyone can do it, you can.  I have no doubt.

I’d love to hear your plans.  Go ahead and keep being your inspiring self.

All my respect and love,

Jacque

P. S. The parting narration in the owl documentary was the guardians, smiling and saying how happy, confident and smart their owls turned out to be.

P.P.S. There’s a really big potential problem that may be shooting your deliberate attention-giving in the foot.

If so, do you know what that is for you?  May I share that if you are feeling invalidated yourself, that it’s pretty difficult to give it to others.  If you can recognize this issue in yourself, you are in a powerful place, good for you! You can now, alone or with some assistance, make a plan to shift your situation.  Yes, you can shift it.  And yes, sincere, profound prayer and general self-care is a large part of that shift, but in intense cases, please consider asking for professional help.

How do you know if yours might be an intense case? Pay attention to “where you are” during a notmal day.  Make notes.  Also makes notes about how you feel as well.

This issue does not mean that you are a bad mother.  Listen to that again; having this challenge does not mean that you are a subpar parent.  But as a Lioness, it does mean that you have some work to do.  And I’m here to say, YOU CAN.  This is your life, there is only one you and you were born to succeed.

xo

Back Up, Get Clear

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There is a commercial on tv that is upsetting to me. It’s advertising a youth correction facility (I think) and after about 30 long seconds of watching and hearing two parents in a screaming match with a teenage girl, the advertisers ask,

“Are you losing your teen?”

Does this sound completely crazy to you?  After listening to the contention, not even aimed at me, I feel in a hurry to get away!  It makes me feel for the child who is on the receiving end of that kind of parental communication, if you can call yelling communication, and she’s the one who supposedly needs to be corrected.  Eeek.

“To strive in debate; to argue.”

That is part of the definition of the word “contend.”

What is the underlying push that makes us think, in the moments we feel it necessary to strive in debate, or to argue, that it is worth it to move out onto that slippery slope?  That place where harmony becomes discord and softness and meekness become mute?

I have to say that the motive that has most often moved me there is a pseudo motive when it comes right down to it.  Because fear and claiming victmhood are not true motivators for accomplishing anything.

Fear of what you say? Fear of not being taken seriously.  Fear of looking foolish.  Fear of being walked on.  Fear of failure. Which moves us right into the victim-mode of thinking.  The victim says, no one is going to walk on me agiain!  I saw my mother treated that way, and no one is going to do that to me!

Then how swiftly the victim’s mental narration becomes the justification for the perpetrator’s voice in the same mind. “I will defend myself even if it means cutting the other person to the quick.”

Assertiveness can be kind, gentle, respectful and FIRM.  We can certainly state our boundary and hold to it with our behavior. (Behavior trumps talk everyday.)

But we are not justified, as striving Christian women, in using aggression and contention in our efforts to communicate our needs or our desires, no, not even when stating our well-meaning parental boundaries.

And how do we know when we have crossed the line? Well, we can look into the mirror of our husband’s face, or our children’s faces.  What we see reflected there will give a massive hint as to how we are coming across to them.

Granted, not everyone welcomes boundaries every time they are needed.  But, is it the boundary, stated with respect and love, that is causing the hurt look on their face, or is it that, in an effort to “defend” we have stepped into “contending?”

God grant us the wisdom to cling to Him and His validation of us, and to let go of the need to right all of the wrongs directed toward us or worse, toward all womankind, by contending with those we love.

I hear Mrs. Incredibles voice in my head often, when she is begging the villain to abort the mission of bombing the plane her children are flying in, as she yells, “Abort! Abort! Abort!” Except the word I replace that with is, “Assert! Assert! Assert!” (Call me crazy.)

Assert your needs by taking care of yourself and showing others how you expect to be treated.  Assert your beliefs by living them and not being willing to abandon them for convenience sake.  Assert your value as a woman by living fully the life that you are divinely blessed and equipped to live.  Value your role and others will value it too.

All my love to you today,

Jacque