Marriage

Marriage help

Boundaries For Balance

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Ever feel that you’re not sure if you should be pushing yourself to do more or if you should slow down and do less?

This is a daily question for we women, particularly mothers who are doing their best to cover the every day demands of a family such as planning and preparing meals, taking care of home maintenance, educating and training kids, supporting the development of talents and getting people where they need to be when they need to be there! (It’s a pretty amazing job isn’t it?)

So how’s it going and how do you decide if you’re getting close to a healthy balance?

Do you run, non-stop until you are exhausted and then drop? Or do pace yourself and stay pretty even-keeled? Or do you sometimes feel that you are lacking passion and challenge and need something new in your life?

Most likely, we all fluctuate somewhere on the line between too much to do and not enough going on. {Well, I don’t really know of anyone with not enough to do, but I’d guess it’s a real challenge for some!} Our personalities are unique and are expressed in ways that effect our daily balancing decisions, so there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how to balance best!

Someone told me recently that they are usually deciding what they can be okay with leaving undone, and then using their time and energy to do the rest.

The thing I like about that thought is the calm acceptance tucked into it, the recognition that there are more things needing to be done than my friend can possibly do in a day, and so she doesn’t beat herself up about the fact, or pretend otherwise, but simply prioritizes her to-do list and then does what she can.

I personally want to get better and better at:
saying no to activities that divert my attention away from my most important relationships, goals and learning;
planning my work and working my plan;
keeping a little ahead of deadlines and assignments and
regularly taking breaks to renew myself.

One tried and true practice that gives consistent peace, on crazy days or kicked-back days, {whether you function as a soldier or as a spontaneous gypsy} is doing the most important things as early in the day as possible, particularly those practices that feed your soul. Prayer, scripture reading, journaling and meditating set us up for a day of knowing who we are, what we value most and that we can have heaven’s help in accomplishing the daily things that matter most!

Praying for inspiration to feel what God would have us do throughout our days is the best balancing practice I know.

His will is always for our growth and benefit, and we won’t go wrong in listening for that small voice that guides us in wisdom’s paths.

One day at a time, one prayer at a time. There’s balance.

Love,
Jacque

 

The Strong Center

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I love being married and I love all of the good things that have come as a consequence of the decision we made many years ago to join our lives together to create a family.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve had the pleasure of watching our married children celebrate some special moments in their lives and it has given me great peace to see them working to build a bright future together.

Mostly, it has given me comfort to know that their children will be blessed forever by their efforts to have a firm marriage relationship at the center of their family!

When you become an empty-nester you’ll see what I mean! All of the time you spend nurturing and raising children is crazy and wonderful and demanding and an amazing challenge- but when your children move on to their own stories, you see that all of the time you spent working on your marriage was and is crucial! You still have each other and you get to love your adult children and grandchildren together, and that is the icing on the cake!

If you think about it, what ways can you see that you could make your marriage relationship more of a priority in your life now? How can you strengthen each other and create a bond so tight that the rest of the family can grow on the love they witness in you?

I hope my children can see and know the love and respect I have for their dad. He’s an amazing companion, leader, father, grandpa and friend.

I am so very grateful for our family. Nothing could bless me more.

I hope you are well and I hope that you are finding your way through the challenges of family life and feeling hopeful!

God bless you and yours!

Love,
Jacque

A Woman of Vision

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Hello! Just wanted to share a few thoughts from a book I’m reading for our Ladies Literary Club this month called, Martha Washington, by Patricia Brady.

First, here is a quote from Martha that could have been written two centuries later by a positive psychologist:

“Martha had a naturally calm and optimistic outlook on life, but she also worked at maintaining that attitude. As she later wrote, ‘I am still determined to be cheerful and to be happy in whatever situation I may be, for I have also learnt from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions and not upon our circumstances; we carry the seeds of the one, or the other about with us, in our minds, wherever we go.'”

I like the way she expresses that truth.

Also, a paragraph jumped out at me about how Martha supported George as he was in a demanding and extremely important role as the military leader of an emerging nation:

“As usual, her first concern was her husband’s comfort, allowing him freedom from domestic details to concentrate on his military responsibilities…she reorganized household affairs so that they ran more smoothly. His emotional comfort, however, was her primary care. Her deep devotion to her children and other family members paled before the burning intensity of her love for George Washington. He accepted her adoration without much thought. It was the atmosphere in which he breathed and lived, where he was most himself. She was at his side on his side, sympathizing and supporting him through depression, failure, disloyalty, and anxiety about the future. With her, he needn’t pretend to be perfect.”

At his side and on his side. To me, these are the profound thoughts and actions of a strong and capable woman who chose to use her nurturing influence to support her husband, and in the process, change our history. Do you believe this idea of creating places of “emotional comfort”  can have such powerful and far reaching consequences for a marriage, a family and in some cases, a country?

I wonder, what legacy are you and I leaving for our families and all those who will come after us? Something to think about…

All my best to you!

Love,
Jacque

P.S. Are you ever tempted to think that the small nurturing acts you perform day in and day out may never amount to much? Those seemingly small things will make all the difference in the long run! We have to remember that the small things are the big things! Who is in your sphere of influence right now? As Mother Teresa reminded us, we can do small things, in our seemingly small circle, with great love and that is what changes the world. You’re doing it! And you’re doing it well. Thank you!

How To Love While You Lead

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Here are a few ideas about how to love your kids, even while you are doing your best to lead them to better things, like say, a clean room…

1 Be Quiet

So much of our mother-yacking becomes so much background noise and does nothing to help our children attend to what we are saying. Do your best to clearly say what needs to be said once. Then move forward with what needs to be done.

2 Be Together

Instead of sending your son or daughter off to tackle the job they need to do, consider tagging along and calmly helping them get started. Some kids need direction all along the way, while others may just need a prompt. I remember a wise mother saying that to get her children interested in a new book, she would read the first chapter aloud with all the drama she could. Often, she said, they would be ready to read more on their own after that!

3 Be Patient

When our son who has high-functioning autism is working on a job, he takes breaks in between the small tasks. I used to come unglued wanting him to pick up the speed, but now I know that if I stay present and enjoy the breaks with him, he keeps coming back to work some more. A few days ago, he cored and peeled {with our handy dandy apple corer/peeler} a whole cookie sheet of apples for a batch of apple sauce. The breaks in between were listening to a song from Hook or watching a scene from Batman. Then he would come back. Your young kids may have the need for breaks. Hey, maybe we can learn to take a break now and then too!

4 Be Kind

Remember the boundaries of kind, gentle, respectful and FIRM? Sometimes as parents, we forget that we get far more cooperation from our troop when we treat them with respectful kindness. Even when they choose differently than we want them to, even when they get home late, even when they leave their bike on the ground behind the car, we still need to be kind. Think of the times you feel that someone would be justified in yelling at or criticizing you when you make a poor judgement call. No, no one wants to be treated poorly, even when they’ve done something foolish. In reality, we have all done foolish things.

5 Let Boundaries Speak The Loudest

Being kind doesn’t mean that there aren’t consequences for bad behavior right? So, say you find your child’s bike behind the car as you’re pulling out to go to a meeting and you have to stop {hopefully before you hit it} to move it out of the way. Pretty frustrating, particularly if you have discussed this no no with your family and you know that they know better! Do you scream and berate your child for being thoughtless or for not following the family rule about putting bikes away? Nope. You let the consequence do the talking. You might show the child where you found the bike and you might talk to them while you are putting the bike in the shed where it will stay for the week {or whatever your family’s consequence is for leaving bikes out.} The bike that is unavailable will be the sad consequence, not the mistreatment of your child.

6 Decide Together

In order to let consequences talk, they need to exist and be known! Teach in calm moments. Talk together about what happens when problems arise. Talk after the consequences are put in motion. Teach and talk and validate and listen. We’re all learning together.

I hope these ideas will be helpful to you as you go about your days.

This stage of life, when children are home and growing flies so very fast. I pray you’ll enjoy as many fleeting moments as you can, with the perspective that this time will go by and be a memory before long. And also with the knowledge that by being a parent, you are learning as much or more than your children are! Family life is an education for everyone. Maybe the most valuable education there is.

Much love to you today!

Jacque

Quiet Please!

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I remember one day when our kids were little, my brother visiting and hearing the classical music that was playing in our house, and probably seeing that I was tired and ready for bed at 8:00, said something like, “You need a little more music in your life!” as he vocalized a high-pitched noise to make his electric air guitar squeal on a prolonged note.

I just looked at him. How could he know that my life was full to the brim with excitement and adrenaline rushes? He’d never been a parent let alone had three little people under the age of four. No, I needed music that calmed my nervous system and helped me to think in full sentences, considering my state of sleep deprivation.

This parenting game is intense because so much of a parent’s time is spent taking care of urgent, noisy tasks! I know that you know this, but I just have to validate the fact!

Which is why this month we are working on finishing small projects; cleaning or organizing small to large trouble spots that are screaming for our attention; simplifying our spaces; simplifying our schedules; making plans to quiet the stress of  “I don’t know where to begin!” A list that is prioritized, number one needing attention first, and two being next and so on, is the beginnings of a plan.

Even the smallest efforts will pay great dividends! Look around. What is calling to you? Can you remedy it simply? Can you get someone to help you if need be? Can you write a note to yourself, if you aren’t up for tackling it right this minute, and allowing the note to take the sound of urgency down a few notches?

I pray that you will feel empowered to keep moving forward, encouraged to take one small step after another…
Life is good. You are amazing!

Love,
Jacque