Mothering

Inspiration on parenting

It Works!

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Ladies! I just have to share an epiphany I had last night! Well, I had it again, probably for the 50th time over the last 25 years…

But first a little background:

For the past two+ months I’ve been functioning with a broken foot. Cooking was non-existent for the first six weeks of that time, but now that I’ve graduated to a walking boot and can put weight on both of my legs, I can get around in the kitchen for short bursts of productivity.

What happened in between being down and now functioning enough to tackle the kitchen again is that I’ve had to make the leap again from not thinking much about food to where do I begin?

What to cook? How about the grocery list? {I kind of felt tired getting my brain back into the game.} This is how it went:

Last evening, I waddled into the kitchen on my wobbly boot, opened the cupboard door, pulled out my binder with about 20 weeks of meal plans (created over as many years), read aloud several of the week’s menus to my son and my husband, they voted on the one that sounded best to them, I pulled the index card from the plastic sleeve that has the grocery list on it, and BAM! I am ready to shop and cook!!!

It still amazes me.

Planning works.

It supports you over and over and over again.

It makes life simpler, happier and far less stressful.

So, if you are 1) living in dinner decision chaos, know that there is no need to live under that kind of pressure! Or 2) if you are making meal plans but not keeping them, repent! Plunk them down into a binder and stop spending time reinventing the wheel!

I hope that you will decide today to lighten your load by making a plan to feed your family simply and well.

Much love!

Jacque

P.S. If you feel overwhelmed by working out a plan, consider a health coaching program with Lioness! Meal planning is one of the major life skills that you will learn here along with being empowered in many other areas of family health and wellness too! Give me a shout if you would like to chat and see if we would be a compatible coach/client team!

Nope, You Don’t!

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Just saying the words, “I don’t have to make everything all better” gives me a feeling of relief!
{If you’re new to this on-going discussion, I am referring to a book by Gary and Joy Lundberg, by that title.}

Why do we so easily buy into the false reality of needing to solve other people’s problems? Because some of us are co-dependent? Yes, I’d say that’s a big reason for me. Or what about, instead of getting our fix from fixing other’s problems, we are just really trying to stall, to procrastinate the changes we need to make? That’s still over there in the codependency realm isn’t it?

Ok, so what if you just want for someone to have less stress or an easier time with a challenge they have?

Well, that’s understandable. Ask any of us moms and we’d probably tell you that we have to think through the appropriateness of our attempts to support our children, even when they are grown!

So, as a reminder: your problems are your problems and their problems are theirs. I chuckle as I write this because that statement clears the muddy water pretty quickly!

What about compassion you ask? Aren’t we in the business of giving and serving and even sacrificing for our loved ones?

Yes, we are and here is where compassion comes in:
It comes when you listen with your full attention {if that isn’t an act of love, I don’t know what is!},
you ask validating questions {not giving into the temptation to give your two bits or lecture, another act of love!},
and then you give encouragement and, if you feel it is appropriate,
you ask what you can do to help with their problem.

They remain in the driver’s seat. You remain in the support seat. They figure out their problems and you figure out yours.

They get to keep their dignity and grow in decision-making skills and maturity and you get to live your life, as a trusted friend and mentor.

If I think of this process as it applies to my prayers and the desires I have for God to direct me, it is enlightening! Of course I want to grow and become all He knows I can be, so I can’t expect Him to tell me exactly when, how and what to do! Becoming requires our stretching, our thinking through our motives and desires, making our best judgments and learning from the consequences of our choices. I believe our Heavenly Father wants to bless us, but he is the great Validator, and won’t overstep our agent-hood by forcing us into or away from anything. So, like a child being asked by his parents, “how can we help?,”  I believe that God is waiting for us to ask for the help and blessings we need with our problems!

We just gotta keep on, no giving up! We’re on the road to becoming amazing validators with amazing kids! We just have to stay on the road {by apologizing when we blow it and forgiving when they do}, and we’ll get there over time.

I’m sending you my vote of confidence and my testimony that you are wonderful! I have seen your hearts so many times in your desires and actions and I know they are good!

Love and best wishes,

Jacque

 

 

How You Love

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What are some of the ways that you show your love to the people at your house?

Could it be mainly by doing the things that you are sometimes tempted to see as unimportant or mundane? Come to think of it, I really dislike the word mundane. To me, it is a grand misrepresentation of all that is truly important at home!

Negatively calling tasks mundane can imply that anyone can do them, that they are what is left over after the significant work is done and that the person who assumes them must have nothing better to do or at least has no ambition to do anything else!

I submit that all of these ideas are false.

On a given day, you  may be tempted to feel that stopping the busy-ness of the day to rock a sick child has taken you off the fast-track and plopped you on the mundane path, but I’d say not so. When you were sick as a child, who comforted you best? Was there anything you wanted or needed more that your mother’s cool hand on your forehead or the quiet time rocking until you fell asleep or felt a bit better?

Did you ever have the good fortune to walk into your childhood home or your grandparents home and smell a delicious dinner cooking or a pie baking in the oven? Someone was there cooking out of love for you!

How wonderful it can be to crawl into clean, sweet-smelling bed covers pulled back by a parent. To be tucked in with a kiss and a goodnight. Those fresh bed clothes were put there by someone’s unselfish efforts! And was there again at the end of the day when surely there are always other opportunities that could have been taken.

Nope, mundane doesn’t fit at all.

The tiny, almost invisible things that are done in a loving home each day are the exact hows of love.

Please don’t lose sight of the grand significance of the work that you are doing for heaven’s sake. For heaven’s sake, because, wouldn’t God Himself kiss those small hands and bandage that little knee and feed all those who are hungry? And wouldn’t He show patience for the crying child who doesn’t yet understand consequences, much the same way He shows us patience in our tears and our lack of understanding?

In fact, those are exactly the things that Jesus modeled for us.

And here we are, working out our salvation before Him, by following His example, using His servant-leadership model.

Every diaper you change, every nose you wipe, every hug you give, every meal you prepare and each bit of listening and encouragement you give, you give for Him.

And in return, you will receive His promised healing.

May you be made well and whole!

Love,

Jacque

P.S. How wonderful it is to know, that even in our best efforts, we won’t be able to be everything to everyone! Purposely human and fallible we are! No, thankfully we were made to be resilient, to teach and to be taught, and we have the gifts of apology, of forgiveness and ultimately, every opportunity we will take to start again. And again.

P.P.S. You’re amazing and you are making such a difference in the world! Keep on going!

 

Determining

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In the long, long run, what is going to make you happiest?

I read recently about a longitudinal study of a group of Harvard University students. The study began in the 1939 and followed the students for the rest of their lives. {In fact, in 2012, 68 of the 268 who started in the program were still alive and in their 90’s.}

Amazing data is still being pulled from years of interviews, medical records, neuroimaging scans, DNA analysis and other records that have been added to the 50 filing cabinets that are now full of data from this research.

Some of the many and on-going findings that really stick out to me at this point are:

1 57% of the divorces in the lives of the participants involved alcoholism.
2 “Being in a good marriage buffers you from the effects of pain and disability.”
3 Going to college is more important in determining success than money or social status.
Here’s a fun one:
4 The quality of vacations in early life (“a measure of the ability to play”) has more to do with happiness in adulthood than income does.
5 Love and attention from parents and childhood happiness is strongly correlated to adult happiness.

You may think these findings are what you would have expected. Maybe they seem like no-brainers. At least what seems to be most significant and validating to parents of small children is that what you are doing now matters to the life-long happiness of your children. Money and status don’t show up as being the “happiness determining factors” we are often led to believe that they are.

If you struggle to feel that the work you are doing with your family is “important enough” or worthy of praise and recognition, remember that the stability and growing experiences you are providing for your children now will be influencing their happiness into their adult lives. It’s a priceless gift!

I hope you are enjoying your days and the simple, yet miraculous treasure of being with those you love. And isn’t it wonderful that we get better over time!?

Be happy!

Love,

Jacque

http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674503816

 

Blessed Balance

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They say that one of the reasons free-range chicken’s eggs are so much better for us than the eggs of chickens that are laying in cages, is that the “free” chickens aren’t stressed out, therefore their eggs are higher in “good” cholesterol and lower in the “bad”.

It seems that every minute detail in this world is effected by hormones, and most especially stress hormones! Would you agree?

So here’s a big challenge for us: we women have a very sensitive endocrine system. That is, our brains are very attuned to stress and our chemistry shows it!

But, there is a big difference between an adrenaline rush when you’re having fun versus when you are about to do something you think is scary. Similar chemical soup, but different mindset right? Like when you ride a roller coaster {if you like roller coasters} you may feel jittery and excited inside as you are climbing up and up and up and your palms may be sweaty and your stomach flips just a little as you reach the apex and gravity shifts and you start going down….fast! After the ride, your legs may feel a littler rubbery because of the excitement, but you’re probably laughing and getting ready for the next ride!

Amazing how similar that experience is to the times you are doing something that truly scares you, like speaking in front of large audience or taking an exam or whatever you feel is out of your comfort. You may break into a sweat and your heart may race or your stomach may flop. But it’s not exhilarating!

Some of the difference is simply the conversation going on in our heads. One activity we label “fun” and the other we may label “terrifying.” In the times when we need to step out of our comfort, it will help our hormone balance if we get better at coaching ourselves away from fear and closer to faith.

Then there is the stress that comes from the lunacy of thinking we are superhuman! We simply must shift our expectations from conquering the world to just living in our world and doing our best every day. Consider the toll that hormone imbalance has on you and on your family! Think of how you can take each day as it comes, being loose enough to take in the serendipitous moments of joy that appear with your family while continuing to move forward in your growth and responsibilities.

In general, I’d like to encourage you to take yourself out of hyper-drive!

Try to do more of the things that are renewing to you and less of the mental comparing and worrying that can fill you full of signal-jamming stress hormones and give you ulcers! What is reasonable for you to do? What supports do you need? Pray for the wisdom to answer those questions.

Need more feel good chemicals? Need better sleep? Need greater resiliency and stamina? Need a more consistent pleasant mood? Take out the unnecessary activities that complicate life and drain your energy {often times with nothing to show for the time and energy you’ve given} and focus on keeping the essential, building activities that will be an investment  in the well-being of you and your family.

We must make those priority calls, and be accountable for our choices. That’s how we continue to grow up! And that growing process in general will be far easier when we can maintain better hormone balance. {Yes, yes, that is the understatement of the world.} It’s a chicken and egg equation, {I’m not sure which is which} but balance aids growth and growing in wisdom helps balance!

Sending you much love!

Jacque