The opportunities are vying

Sometimes life is just plain old busy. Many nights I’m burning the oil trying to get things done, only to burn the candle in the morning as I wake up before dawn with my son, who is all ready to play with his choo-choo trains and fix something with daddy’s special tools.

It’s no secret that the pace of life has picked up speed in recent years. Each year there seem to be more things vying—literally vying—for my attention, time, and energy. I see other moms crafting it up and making their home a beautiful place with their own special touch. I see them taking on side projects to bring in a bit of extra income. I see others making baby books as a touching keepsake and becoming more fit than ever before.

Good.Better.Best These endeavors and opportunities are all good and I often wonder if I should start doing them too. I almost feel I need to take on something extra to simply “fit in.” But, it seems with the overwhelming amount of good opportunities there is a chance I could start forgetting the best things—my child, my relationships, and our good ole’ family down time; laughing together, rolling around on the floor wrestling, throwing  a ball outside. The stuff solid families are made of.

“Not everything… is worth the portion of our life we give to obtain it. Some things are better, and others are best.” –Dallin Oaks,    

 Good, better, best.

I’m beginning to realize not every activity, opportunity, or project may be worth my while. It may be a good use of my time, but is there something better, or best? I have a choice. The choices I make now will largely influence how close I am to my kids, what they value later in life, and how they choose to live. Time is not forgiving, and even if I have the best of intentions to spend the time with my family, it won’t just happen.

Family edit 681Sometimes the best use of my time will be saying, “No”. No to an opportunity. “Sorry, I want more time with my family. I already have too many distractions, I don’t want another.” It turns out, staying at home with my boy is “enough.” Staying at home with yours is, too.

“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.” – Tim Duncan

My boy, who seems like he was born the day before yesterday is almost 2. I’m starting to realize life is fast. Life is just too full of potential to be less than intentional with my time and with the people I love the most.

For those opportunities that come vying–unless you’re best, sorry, I’ll say no.

Have you had similar thoughts and wondered how to slow down and simply enjoy your family? I would love to hear your experiences and thoughts!

I would love to connect with you on a more personal level. Find me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook where I share more of my daily ins and outs, cooking faux pas, and overload of child cuteness!

Motherhood doesn’t just happen

I used to believe motherhood would just happen to me.

We celebrate Mother’s Day as the day we were made a mom–when our first child entered our arms and graced our lives.

It’s the day we became a mother.

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Although that is technically true, I have to say my Mother’s Day is not the second Sunday in May, or the day my son was born, but instead an ordinary day in December.

I remember it clearly. It was at the end of my first semester back to school after having Parker. Sam and Parker were both very sick. To top it off, Sam and I were busy as well–swamped with both our jobs and end of the year projects.

I was up in the middle of the night, rocking my sick baby who was struggling to sleep, and all of a sudden things changed for me. It was like a lightning bolt. All of a sudden I was ready to be a mom. I was ready to put my family first. As strange as it is to admit, for the first time, I cared more about Sam and Parker, than I did about my schooling, my goals, or my dreams.

That is when I decided to be a mom.

Yes, my boy had come 8 months before. But this is when I changed from being his primary caregiver, to his mother; when I decided I’d rather be mom than anything else. 

No matter when we became a mom, if the birth was planned or not, we need to choose motherhood–choose that our children, their hearts, and their lives are more important. It seems that to really embrace motherhood, we need to let go of some things. Because at least in my life, my family just wanted me, not my accomplishments, my degree, or anything else.

Was motherhood a natural transition for you, or did it take you a while to feel like a mother? How have you learned to sacrifice and make your family your first priority? I would love to hear about your experiences as well as your advice!

Make it gleam

We put up our first Christmas tree this last week. I’m relishing in the joy of Christmas decorations and the pervading warmth that streams from the lights, the ornaments, the nativity, and the continuous Christmas tunes that waft throughout our house. Mmm, Christmas time just warms my heart.

Today I was gazing at our tree, as I often do during the day, and realized Christmas is what we make it. Life is what we make it.Make it gleam

Our Christmas tree is beautiful to me, because of the ornaments we hand-picked and thoughtfully placed. Our Christmas tree is dazzling because of the strands of beads we carefully strung around the tree. Our Christmas tree gleams because of the lights carefully arranged throughout the tree.

But without all our effort, our Christmas tree is just a tree. An ordinary tree that perhaps wouldn’t stand out in a crowd. It is what we did with the tree that makes it beautiful, dazzling, and gleaming with beauty.

My life may seem rather ordinary, and perhaps it is, but it’s what I’m doing each day that makes it gleam even more. The giggles I embrace, the prayers I say, the smiles I gift to others, the compliments I give my husband, the grace I extend to myself and others, all add a special gleam, a special dazzling effect to my life.

The more we invest and enjoy; the more willing we are to let our personality gleam and shine, the more our tree of life will gleam.

“Life is not always perfect, but it’s always what you make it. So make it count, make it memorable.”-Unknown

Life is what we make it, what we put into it. If life gives you a tree–decorate it–make it gleam.

How have you tried to make the most of your life? What is your favorite part of the Christmas season? Or how does Christmas revive you spiritually? As always, I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Say YES to happiness

Say yes to happinessWhen I was in high school I got hooked on a song called “Say Yes.” It was a song written by our church to uplift and encourage teenagers.

“We say yes, yes, yes to happiness
we say yes to freedom and yes to hope
yes to everything good that we know”

At the time it was a song I listened to on my way to school, where undoubtedly there seemed to be drama, discouragement or feelings of loneliness. At school, it was hard not to get lost in the drama and simultaneously wave goodbye to my happiness. In fact, many days happiness was something I wanted to cling to desperately.

So as I listened to this song I was trying to commit myself to happiness, no matter what happened at school during the day. Rain or shine, friends or no friends, good grades or bad grades I wanted to wake up in the morning and “say yes” to happiness–whatever happiness I could grasp.

In this way, I’m very similar to my high school self.  This morning I woke up on I don’t know what side of the bed. I’m feeling drained with all the decisions in my life right now. I want to be happy during the good times, but just as much during the hard, stressful, at-my-wits-end times. I really want to say yes to happiness.

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Parker’s sad grumpy face. Sometimes do we choose to be grumpy?

But, sometimes I’m just downright grumpy and in essence, I say “no” to happiness. I slam the door in its face determined to be grumpy and spread rain clouds throughout my home. I have no idea why I am continually tempted to hang out in my grumpiness! It’s a mystery to me.

However, I’ve realized all over again that living in my own rain cloud does no good; no good for me, no good for my husband, and no good for my boy.

The choice really is mine.

I can choose whether I walk in sunshine or rain clouds. My inner weather is decided by ME. So, whatever the circumstances, whatever today may have in the cards, I’m going to try to say yes to happiness. Will you try it to?

How do you “say yes” to happiness in your life? How do you stay happy despite hard things happening? I would love your advice and insights!

Weeds grow easy

Ever notice how weeds don’t seem to need any encouragement to grow? But beautiful flowers, plants and trees do? I never see anyone outside watering their weeds, because none are growing. Or pulling out flowers, because “they just had too many and they were growing too fast.” Neither do I hear anyone exclaim that they “just don’t have weeds.”

weeds growing in the dirt

It seems that weeds grow spontaneously and flowers need encouragement.

The same is true for our souls.

At one time or another, we each have an annoying habit, distraction, or temptation, a weed, that comes without invitation into our life. It takes continual effort on our part, for our good habits, or flowers, to grow.

Right now the weed in my life is fear. This last week as I was going through the roller coaster of emotions that moving has brought, I realized fear immediately came into my heart. All the “what if’s” surrounded my head like a hazy cloud making it difficult to see my options clearly and make a decision.

What if we don’t find a place to live?
What if that apartment doesn’t fit our needs?
What if we can’t move in at the right time?
What if, what if, what if…..

My weed of fear started overrunning my soul. I didn’t need to invite my fears–they just came. It wasn’t until I decided to trust in the future, that I found peace. It took effort on my part to intentionally pull out the weeds and water the flowers of trust and faith.

Flowers need water, they need sun, they need love; so do the positive perspectives and attitudes we want in our lives. They don’t just grow, unfortunately.

small plants growing with a structure to help them grow.

The little flowers in our garden we are helping to grow. Giving them structure and attention.

Weeds can be anything in our lives: feeling down about ourselves, body image, a hard relationship, or fear. How do you get rid of the weeds in your life? How do you nurture the flowers and good things in your life? I would love to hear your thoughts!