Mothering

Inspiration on parenting

Small Means

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It never ceases to amaze me how misaligned our beliefs can become.

Do we sometimes think that our life won’t really have meaning until we accomplish some big and public thing?

Or that what we do in family life each day somehow pales in comparison to what we or others are doing out there?

That we can’t really feel good about our day if it only amounted to rocking a sick baby or serving the people we love? That caring for ourselves must take a backseat…

Well, in reality, those thoughts are backward.

It is actually the very small acts of living and giving that amount to the most meaningful and productive events in our lives!

Learning to be present in the moments we have with our loved ones, however insignificant those moments may seem, can create profound and lasting ties.

Those lasting ties can become connecting points and those connections are the number one anti-drug! In studies on the effects of something as simple as families eating dinner together, we can see that kids are less apt to use alcohol or participate in other risky behaviors when they eat evening meals with their family. Granted, planning, preparing and serving an evening meal on a regular basis is no little thing! But for many, dinner isn’t usually up there on the important-enough-for-giving-it-our-best-intentional-efforts-most-evenings scale.

So I’ll ask you, using the perspective of “the small things are really the big things,” what big, important things did you do today?

Let’s see, among other things, today I got to hold my infant granddaughter.

I got to spend time with two other grand kids and my daughter this morning for breakfast.

I got to pray with my spouse before he went to work and hear him tell God that he loves me. I got to pack his lunch, and, I got to call him just as he pulled out of the driveway and offer to run out and meet him, if he’d like to turn around and get his forgotten vitamin.

I got to go to a short, morning gathering with my parents and my brother to talk about things we’re learning.

I got to watch a short, funny cartoon with my son.

I got to write out a list of things for him to do today so that he can be busy and productive.

I got to do housework today so that I’ll be freed-up tomorrow to go the funeral of a friend.

I got to work on my brain, meaning anytime I started to default to some negative thought, I corrected myself, and brought my thoughts back to those that would benefit me.

I got to meet with my website guru and work on a new and improved site for Lioness!

And I got to write this small blog post.

All of these things were rather small.

But each of them, even though they may seem mundane or trivial have meaning to me and hopefully they’ll be meaningful to others too.

I challenge you to consider looking at your life with this life-of-meaning equation: the small things = the big things.

My love and wishes for a happy week ahead!

“The mission of Lioness at the Door is to uplift, strengthen and encourage women of all ages to magnify health, hope and happiness at home. We do so boldly, with humility and gratitude for the opportunity.”

Day 30- Victory!

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I’m so proud of you! I’m so proud of us!


Photo by Florian Klauer on Unsplash

Wow, we made it to day 30! Huuuurah!!!

So now I ask, what did you learn about yourself during this process?

Have you spent more time building your reserves?

Have you improved some aspect of your health or home?

Have you deepened your emotional reservoir or your mental strength and agility?

Have you started some new self-care routines or strengthened previously learned healthy habits?

If so, I’m glad!

I’ve been on the challenge with you and it’s been a good ride! Today, I’ll share some of my epiphanies and hope that you will share some of yours with all of us too!

1 I was reminded how much I push and how I need to ease off sooner, before I am really tired.

2 That self-talk is truly the river of information that is feeding and directing every emotion and behavior!

3 That I start hitting walls of resistance just before I get to the stage of “dripping with self-care” and that I will continue to practice until I am really comfortable and at home in that abundantly nurtured space.

4 That when I am focused on my blessings, I see them everywhere!

5 That when I lighten-up and just enjoy the up’s and down’s of each day, I am more able to be present, which is where I feel the love and support that is always around me.

6 That when I am thinking ahead, my stress goes down! When I have anticipated my needs (and those of my family), life is so much easier!

7 That I don’t run on adrenaline anymore.

8 That I really like my life.

9 That by bringing more of what I love into being, I am really bringing more love and beauty to the world.

10 That I need people–my family being at the top of the list! They teach me daily and love me always, in my weakness and in strength.

I hope that you have gained new insights into what makes you feel nurtured and cared for.

I hope you have greater skills to find and employ those important caring habits.

I hope you have a stronger sense of the purpose and necessity of self-care and a greater dedication to the cause of becoming your best and healthiest self.

What an incalculable gift your health is to your family and friends! How much they are depending on your ability to stand with quiet dignity at your divinely given post!

{You know, I mean standing with quiet dignity at least in your soul- who knows, you might be dancing and singing on the outside!}

Be strong and of a good courage as you continue on!
There will be more holistic health coaching challenges coming up! I hope you’ll join me!

Thank you, thank you for being here.

Love always,

“The mission of Lioness at the Door is to uplift, strengthen and encourage women of all ages to magnify health, hope and happiness at home. We do so boldly, with humility and gratitude for the opportunity.”

Day 28- Pay The Price

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I have a friend who is struggling mightily to find purpose and meaning in existence, and to discover anything that will trump their thoughts of anxiety and worry in day to day life.

It’s a massive struggle and, it’s also challenging to watch!

Mostly because there is a way out, but it has to be chosen, and no one else can do the choosing!

You might say that a world that consists of a universe with one person in the middle is the definition of misery.


Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash

It’s a spiral turning, ever turning, inward and downward, becoming isolation itself.

I’ve been through segments of time like this, so I have great empathy for those who currently looking for a key to the door!

As we evolve through our challenges and come to see evidences of the grit inside us that refuses to give up! And we come to recognize one liberating key to change is redirecting the spinning, inward, self-absorptive thoughts, and start spinning our attention outward! Out toward anyone and everyone around us. Those who need our care and concern; those who are desperate for a hand to hold; those who have made mistakes or who are sick. {Guess that includes all of us.}

{Note: Lest any of us are tempted at this point to start thinking that self-care is self-centered, I offer this reminder: we care for ourselves in part because we behave in ways that are loving toward ourselves and others, and because we know that the preparation of self-care enables us to give.}

What a relief it becomes to stop being a proverbial black hole and start adding to the collective good. But what does it cost?

It costs our being replaced in the picture. We aren’t the center, {thank heaven!} we are, gratefully, one of many beloved children who need each other.

It costs our prayers as we tune into the Spirit of God to learn what needs to happen next and where we might be most useful each day.

It costs our effort. Not only working to see the needs of those around us but also the energy to reach out in strength and offer support.

It costs being willing to initiate the process of building relationships and connections, which might feel risky or be out of our comfort– but which can lead to the give and take of healthy interdependence!

It costs our pride, since we don’t know the why’s of anyone’s situation and can’t begin to judge. “There, but for the grace of God, go I!”

It costs our life-long devotion to the cause of building people and furthering causes that alleviate suffering and despair.

But the reward is worth it!

Not only are we rescued from our own neediness, but we are given a chance to become part of something truly Good and so much bigger than ourselves.

The ticket for us to get on the train of peace and progress is bought and paid for. But we do have to let go of fear and the distracting and self-absorptive past-times we’ve created in order to take the ride.

I wish you joy. Great joy, as you are about ministering to those within your sphere of influence.

With love,

“The mission of Lioness at the Door is to uplift, strengthen and encourage women of all ages to magnify health, hope and happiness at home. We do so boldly, with humility and gratitude for the opportunity.”

Day 23- Looking Inside

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Hello! I’m glad you are continuing on this journey with me!

{Side note: if you’ve subscribed to the Lioness blog but aren’t receiving a daily email, please check your spam box!}

Our path to learning and implementing better self-care habits is vitally important. This is certainly a matter of becoming able to do what we know is best. {Alas, just knowing that self-care is important doesn’t mean that our knowledge automatically gets transferred to our behavior.} So today I’d like to know, do you struggle with this concept?

If you do, it’s probably time to gently ask, why?


Photo by Ive Erhard on Unsplash

Is it because it wasn’t taught by the women of your family? Does it feel like something that takes up too much time? Has it simply not been made into a healthy habit yet? Or could it be because of a history of feeling neglected? Or possibly abandoned or even abused by those who were meant to care?

Please consider your “why(s)” if you struggle to put yourself on the list of people to care for. If any of these reasons strike a chord with you, I’d like to invite you to decide today to end the neglect. It is within your power, and it is right as an adult woman, to nurture yourself. Yes, you also need the nurture of others, but the person with the responsibility is the person who has the power to change the equation–You. Today, you can ask for help if you need it. {What a proactive thing that is!} Today, you can change your mind or make a new decision. Today, you can look within and find out what that girl inside needs.

Learning this has been a life-long quest for me. I am grateful for a mother and a grandmother who have modeled self-care by being active and engaged in taking care of themselves throughout their lives. And thankfully, I have friends who might well have become the masters of self-care. They have taught me as I have watched their self-care habits.

Maybe you are a master of self-care too! If so, I applaud you! But, in the case that you could use a few more ideas, here are some of my observations of what the strong, feminine behavior of self-care looks like in some detail. I hope they will inspire you!

1 Self-caring women are appropriately clothed. By that I mean that I don’t see them struggling or suffering because of the temperature or weather. They are walking around in warm slippers if they are home. They might be wearing a sweater or sweatshirt to be comfortable on a winter day. If they go out in cold weather, they wear the appropriate protective clothing, that is they may have gloves, a coat, maybe a hat or carry an umbrella. For the most part, they are comfortably dressed to suit the occasions of their days. They might wear an apron as they cook; athletic shoes for walking; or a cool sundress on a hot summer day. They also dress themselves with respect for their own bodies, not as a way to garner inappropriate attention. It’s as if when they were preparing for the day, someone was watching out for their care, and that is probably indicative that they are “nurturing” themselves.

2 Self-care masters are usually doing some kind of exercise or supplemental routine. There’s an air of self-responsibility and self-respect about a person who is tuned-in to what their body needs and are doing something about it! Noting that muscles are tight, they might be stretching on a regular basis. Feeling sluggish? They might be cleansing with lemon juice in the morning or drinking more water or going for walks throughout the day.

3 These women don’t seem to be a burden to themselves. Yes, that is a strange sentence but it’s really important! My self-caring friends don’t seem to feel that caring for themselves is a burden, but they do seem to enjoy receiving the comfort, delicious food, rest, good book and warm cup of peppermint tea! They don’t seem to begrudge the time it takes to give themselves what they need.

4 They give from a place of fullness! When you are embraced or served or spoken to by someone who is at peace, who is cared for, who is comfortable, who is well fed, who feels at ease and who is greeting the world as their most beautiful selves, you feel those things too. You don’t feel that you are taking, but receiving! Their giving is gracious and intentional and full of love!

{Note: this is where many have erroneous thinking about self-care! One might worry that if you are taking care of yourself, you might become self-absorbed or selfish, or worse, you might worry that you might be perceived by others as selfish! The first thought is incorrect and the second is prideful. What would God want for you? To be giving and serving in joy and grace, or to be suffering for want and trying to give in order to be seen as charitable?}

5 My friends don’t seem to be strung out by giving. In other words, they aren’t overreaching to take other people’s problems onto themselves, but they offer appropriate support at the same time. In other words, they aren’t practicing co-dependency. They have a correct sense of boundaries, that keeps them standing squarely on their own feet, caring for their own families, while also being aware of the needs of others and validating, or walking beside others, as they work out their own problems; offering great love, aid and encouragement, while not assuming responsibility for things they have no power to change.

6 These ladies have practiced knowing when enough is enough. That may be knowing when to pull back from working long hours, when to say no, when to stop eating, when and how to let go of unneeded emotional baggage and most importantly, when to give heavy burdens to God, and trust in His wisdom.

While none of us are without room for growth and improvement, I pray that if you need it, you will have the opportunity to observe women in your life who are caring for themselves in happy ways. It helps so much to have a visual aid!

And may you see the wisdom in becoming a visual aid to your children, so that following your lead, their adult lives might be filled with self-compassion too.

Happy, happy day to you!

Love,

Day 22- On Leadership

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Self-care for a parent is critical! It takes so much energy and grit to lead doesn’t it?

We need to give ourselves every possible advantage in part because of the fact that being a family leader means learning how to deal with disappointment.

We all know that in families, things can get complicated, frustrating and downright difficult!

But because they can be difficult at times, does it mean we abandon our dream of a fully functioning family?

Do we allow ourselves to become discouraged when the activity we planned goes south or the cake falls or the fun ends with a quarrel or when others don’t seem interested in our vision of a goal setting conversation or in pitching in to help when all hands are needed on deck?

{Yes, yes sometimes we do, only to look back later and see the waste of time it was!}


Photo by Ales Krivec on Unsplash

There is a mental toughness required, to keep moving forward even when things seem to be falling apart. And developing that toughness comes with practice and time!

The ability to keep your faith alive, even when others are allowing themselves to be discouraged and doubting that your family’s evolution is possible.

So, maybe the greatest way we can lead is to cultivate our faith. {And that is an act of self-care.}

Faith in God, in each other, in our ability to grow together.

The evolution of a family is often imperceptible. Sometimes, in fact most often, you don’t recognize the ways that you are becoming a strong unit until you hit a milestone of some kind and look back at where you’ve been and realize how far you’ve come!

So, don’t quit. Keep taking care of yourself. Keep building your reserves. Keep believing and lead out by pushing the restart button every time things get tough!

Building a family takes time.

And I’ll bet you are further along than you know.

Be well!

Love,