Posts tagged peace
Do You Need a Little Hope?

Hope.

There’s nothing like it. Sometimes it’s all we have and sometimes it’s all we need.

That was me this past Monday morning. After a fun, but full week at Disney, then coming home to settle back in and the girl child getting the flu, and then her daddy getting the flu, I honestly didn’t think anything wonderful could come from our quarantine as I watched my productivity slip through the couch cushions.

Thankfully, I was wrong.

 
hope
 

Our time in Disney and the few days after transitioning back into real life was just crazy enough to put me over the edge with Josie (4 going on 16). Just crazy enough that I ordered a book on parenting. A book. Me. (For those of you who don’t know me, I can tell you that unless it’s the Twilight Series or Hunger Games, I’m probably not going to read any books. And I haven’t touched those since Josie was born, so you do the math.)

And my time in basement quarantine with a flu-ridden Josie watching animated movies dawn till dusk was just crazy enough to make me actually want to read the book. You guys, I read a book. Well, not the whole thing…yet. But stay with me.

I started reading this book Sunday afternoon while I plopped the kids in front of the TV (#iammotheroftheyear) and made trips up to the bedroom to make sure flu-daddy Ryan was still breathing (#iamwifeoftheyear). And I was caught up in something so amazing that the only word I can use to describe it is HOPE.

Everything this guy said was making sense to me. My brain and heart were consuming it at an amazingly powerful depth and speed. I pulled myself away from it to feed the children (#iammotheroftheyear) and throw them into bed before diving right back into these pages that were filling me with life. I saw a future for my family come alive on the pages that I want to sprint toward. Peace. Freedom. Confidence.

Victory was so sweet that I woke up the next morning ready to take on the entire world. My posture was changed. My demeanor. The way I interacted with my girl child. And here’s the important lesson in this for us. I hadn’t even gotten to the how-to section of the book. I merely read the heart behind the book and let it cover me in hope. And that hope was so tangible that it changed me. Motivated me to love better. Think deeper. See more clearly. Hope did that for me.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness..png

So what’s in it for you? Hope:

  • Cling to Hope: No matter what you’re going through, when you feel even a shred of hope, cling to it. Soak it in. Remember it and keep looking back on it as often as you need until the next piece of hope comes along.

  • Bring the Hope: Whether you’re waiting on hope or have it in full supply, you can be a hope-giver to someone who needs it. Never underestimate the power of sharing a smile or kind word with a stranger. Mailing a sweet note to a friend. Buying the cup of coffee for the person behind you in the drive-thru. Giving another mom a Mother of the Year Award Sticker. Bring. That. Hope.

Remember, hope isn’t the end result. Hope isn’t a plan. Hope is the momentum to take us where we need to go. I still haven’t gotten to the how-to section of the book yet. But I have remembered the feeling of hope I had waking up on Monday morning. I remembered it as Josie lost her ever loving mind over me trying to tie her shoes. Losing her mind over the wrong color toothpaste. Losing her mind over you-name-it-and-she’s-lost-it. That sweet Monday morning was as close as I’ve come to living the verse that says, “His mercies are new every morning.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

If you need hope like that, I have faith you’ll find it. I’ll pray you see it when it arrives. And if you’ve got all the hope you’ll ever need, let it spur you on to what’s ahead with confidence. And do me a favor, share your hope with another. Seriously. Be a hope-giver. We really need you out there!

Need some amazing inspiration to GET IN ON THE Mother of the Year Award Sticker Hope-Giving? Check THESE out!!!

 
 
What Happens When Daddy Steals Your Thunder?

Mama, has this ever happened to you? You're duking it out with one of the offspring, but then Daddy comes in and steals your thunder? I mean, the mama-thunder. The thunder that was going to WIN THIS BATTLE.....well, it happened to me. And you'll never BELIEVE what my husband said after I got mad at him for rescuing me.

“I wasn’t trying to be her hero, I was trying to be yours.”

Aghhh. Gut punch. Cue the tears and self-loathing.

Let me take you back. I’ll spare you the most of the details of our ridiculous day, which included but was not limited to:

Me allowing Josie to wear my great grandmother’s wedding ring on her toe and then us thinking it was lost only to have had it been looped through Josie’s sandal the entire desperate and frantic time. (What was I thinking?!?!)

Josie not sleeping at all during her naptime and getting glitter from her dress allllllll over her bed and then in her eyes so that they were red and puffy by the time she emerged from her room, sleepless hours later.

Me letting our tiny dog outside in the 100 degree heat before heading upstairs for what I assumed was a quick paci-pop-in for a fussy Cal. Fast forward to AN HOUR LATER when Cal is still not settled no matter what I try and Case is panicking at the back door. I let him inside, he starts shaking, I start crying, he lets out a 15-second-long adult, human scream that I’m pretty sure rattles the wall décor, poops on the floor, and I assume he’s dying. (Thank you, Jesus, he was back to normal in almost no time!)

All of this happened in the hour and 15 minutes that Ryan ran to Menards to buy caulk.

What Happens When Daddy.png

So by the time bedtime rolled around, I was sooooooooooooooo done. And the napless Josie was in rare form. Ryan went out to scrape paint off the side of the house while I attempted to put Josie to bed. She stalled, I boiled over. She screamed, I yelled back. It was the battle of the century. I was determined to WIN. THIS. THING. when all of a sudden, Ryan just waltzes in all calm, picks Josie up, and says to me, “I’ll take it from here.”

And instead of being grateful, I actually said the following words. Man, this is even hard to type, I’m so ashamed. I said, “Ohhhhh sure, just come right in and be her hero. I’m not leaving. I am ENDING THIS with her.”

Calmly, he excused me from the room again, so I came down to the kitchen to pout and ponder what a horrible mother I was that I couldn’t even get my girl to bed, and ponder what a horrible girl I had that she couldn’t even follow a set of simple instructions without losing her mind.

And I remembered how just a few days ago, I had experienced peace in my motherhood for a time. How glorious it was! And I began to get frustrated….why couldn’t I just KEEP THAT PEACE? Why does the tiny human bring out the worst in me?

It was then that Ryan came down the stairs after 3 successful minutes, wrapped me in a hug, and said, “I wasn’t trying to be her hero, I was trying to be yours. I heard her screaming from outside and thought to myself, ‘Oh, I bet Lisa might need some help.’”

_I wasn't trying to be HER hero, I was trying to be YOURS._ (1).png

Well, I’m the worst. Ha! Lordy, I mean, what a horrible moment, but so redeeming at the same time. I started telling myself the truth in that hug. I am a good mom. Josie’s a good girl. We both have some work to do – ESPECIALLY when it comes to bedtime. We will figure all of this out if we keep putting in the work and she will be a world-changer.

As with most days like this, it makes for really good radio content, and the next day our team got together to plan our show and I presented the hot mess that was my day. Of course the guys didn’t really know where to start with me because WHAT IS MY LIFE?! But Daron, pastor and a decade ahead of me in parenthood, asked why I got so angry when Josie wouldn’t go to bed.

Because I’m afraid. I’m scared that she will never listen, will always stall, will turn out to be a horrible human. Yes, I can tell all of this in my worst flash forwards during bedtime. But mostly, I’m protective and selfish of MY TIME. I get to be just me after 7 p.m. And at 7:10 I’m seeing red because now Josie’s taking something away from me.

So here’s what we figured out and will share on the air this weekend. It just might come down to anger vs. compassion. Now, this is just a working theory, so hear me out and also weigh in! But when we lead with anger, it’s generally stemming from a place of selfishness. In the case of the bedtime struggle, it’s me thinking about how Josie is wasting MY TIME and how she will reflect negatively on ME as a parent.

If I approached bedtime with compassion – something I still have yet to try (oops!) – I could lead calmly and firmly, knowing that what’s best for Josie is quiet time and lots of rest. And what’s best for her is to respond well to authority and to direction. Compassion wouldn’t mean excusing her behavior, but it could mean being more of a guide than a crazy dictator, which is probably the nicest way I could describe myself when I lose my cool with her.

So, what now? How do we stay compassionate with our kids? Especially in the heat of the moment…

I don’t exactly know, but let’s try this:

  • Create and maintain a healthy life: This is what self-care actually is. If you’re all wound up about the goings-on in your life, then you’ll be a wound up parent, too. Invest in yourself. Create space for what brings you joy and peace.

  • Keep at it: Ugh, mothering is so tiring! It’s such hard work, but it is worth it. Keeping putting in the hard work and you will someday see the fruits of your labor. Keep your sails up! (We will, right?! That’s what they say so I’m banking on that being true!)

  • Tell yourself the truth: We talk a lot about truth and lies and what we believe about ourselves. Keep practicing replacing those lies with the truth.

What do you think? Hit me with your bedtime tricks, your stay-calm tricks, your whatever’s-working-now tricks. Share your wisdom, your struggles and your truth and lies. And pretty please, always remember, you are Mother of the Year!

3 Ways To Cling To Your Sanity When Catastrophe Strikes

Guys, I. CAN’T. EVEN. right now with Hand, Foot and Mouth disease (HFM). The word catastrophe in the title is pretty dramatic…or is it? All day as I wrote this blog in my head, I was preparing a list of the unfair, uncool, and downright miserable characteristics of this stupid virus.

A couple weeks ago (some of you may have seen my post in our Facebook group), Cal got HFM. It was stressful because it entailed a daycare shutdown which also quarantined my 3-year-old. And it was the week before we left for a much-needed and much-looked-forward-to family vacation at the BEACH! So adding that all together, while trying to work and work ahead on my real job and both of my side jobs (Radio Theology and I Am Mother of the Year) and I was at my limit!

Thankfully, his case was so mild that I even questioned that it existed at all! Everything got done. Vacation was a dream (understatement of the century), aside from what I thought was a pretty gnarly diaper rash for my boy. This morning, when it had spread out of the diaper area to his feet and legs, I almost knew for sure.

I kept him home and called the doctor, even though I knew what it was. I knew it was HFM and I didn’t need her to tell me that. I needed her to tell me that it wasn’t that. That it was a lookalike nothing that spread for fun and wasn’t contagious and didn’t mean that instead of recovering from vacation, I’d be staring down the barrel of more sleepless nights and soothing a fussy and uncomfortable baby.

But alas, she confirmed it was indeed a different strain of HFM due to the number of spots he had already compared to last time. It’s going around, she said.

And on my way home, I began planning my pity party. I planned for zero productivity and the worst mood I could muster. Two cases of HFM in 3 weeks? Not. Fair. I was going to cry, binge on chips and salsa despite my plan to get back on the healthy eating post-vacation train, and probably drown my sorrows in Netflix. I’d avoid all of my responsibilities except the most pressing (the baby), and leave the unpacking, laundry, and grocery shopping for another time.

But at the stop light, it dawned on me that my selfishness would not and could not be the victor today (note that I didn’t hardly mention the baby and his impending pain in any of my woe-is-me thoughts above). I needed a heart shift.

3 ways to cling to your sanity with catastrophe strikes.png

I’m not sure what your proverbial HFM curve ball is today, but I bet you’ve got one. Whatever you’re dreading, working through or pity partying about, here’s my plan for this kind of stuff:

keep perspective.png
treat yoself.png
spread the love.png

Keep Perspective: As I mentioned before, I was writing this blog post in my head hours ago, and was listing the horrible qualities of HFM (a ninja virus with no cure, where your kid is most contagious before he even shows symptoms so he’s spreading it all over tarnation before it is caught {and also how he caught it}. Then, in swoops a high fever, sometimes a bout of vomiting, followed by painful sores all over the tops and bottoms of hands, feet, bottoms, and of course, inside and outside of the mouth. The only treatment is symptomatic, meaning that pain reliever is the only thing that can help. And it gets worse before it gets better and can last days and sometimes weeks. Sleep is trash because how would you like to attempt rest when you’re covered in painful bumps from head to toe?). On and on I went. Until it hit me, that some parent right now is leaving the doctor with a cancer diagnosis for her kid. One mother just heard the news she was suspecting – autism. And another mom has buried her child. So my little pity party just got pathetic pretty fast in the light of those kinds of realities. My son has a mild-to-medium painful rash that can be eased with Tylenol and will go away after a week. He will sleep again, and so will I.

Do Something Nice For Yourself: #TreatYoself. I did. To a Starbucks. Triple Mocha Frappuccino with coconut milk. $5.78 well-spent. But I didn’t stop there.

Do Something Nice for Someone Else: Well, who should happen to pull up behind me in the Starbucks line?  A mama with kids in the car, getting herself a little caffeinated treat. So I thought, what if her day is worse than mine somehow? It’s probably not likely that she was the mom receiving horrible medical news about her kid, but I bet she’s going through something. Aren’t we all? So, I paid for her drink and handed the barista a Mother of the Year award sticker to give to her when she arrived at the window. If I’m grumpy or can’t pull myself out of my own worry or problems, nothing brings me back to reality like a good ole random act of kindness.

HFM is no joke. And neither is what you’re walking through right now. But whatever unfun surprise that motherhood or life throws at me, I want my family to say that I wasn’t easily shaken. That each little bump in the road didn’t lead to a self-destructive pity party or an out-of-control tailspin. That I’m steady and loving and full of grace even when I don’t want to be. That I pray more than I worry. That I believe the truth that I’m known and loved by a God who knows and loves each person I come in contact with (and I treat them that way).

And just in case you’re like me, with the gift of feeling all of the emotions of life, making it both easy and hard to do and be what that last paragraph says, know this: it’s ok to throw a healthy pity party. To process and grieve and feel. And it might sound silly to grieve over HFM, but it is more about the loss of routine and getting back into the post-vacation swing of things. It’s another week of rearranged schedules. And sleeplessness. Oh the sleeplessness. And if the tears come, just let ‘em flow!

Case in point, this morning I felt like crying about this. When I told our daycare provider. When I talked to the doctor. When I told my friend that her kids could be infected. When I was texting with my sister. Coulda, shoulda, woulda…later in the day, due to the ridiculousness that is my life sometimes, I ended up crying on the phone to the airport guest services lady about how there were no parking spots in the garage. Another story for another time, but you get my point.

It’s ok to feel how you feel, but don’t stay stuck there. Reclaim your peace and joy and move on.

So what is it for you right now? Even as I type this I don’t feel qualified to say this, but if you’re walking through something and feel alone, please please reach out to me! Or share your struggle (or victory over it) in the I Am Mother of the Year Facebook group. You are loved, friend!