Monday, October 25, 2021

You've Only Just Begun

 So, you did thing last week and we celebrated! You received your first university acceptance letter.  It's just the beginning! What a monumental day for you, Graciecakes.  I am so proud of you. xoxo

Friday, February 23, 2018

Rules For Moms & Daughters

Grace, I know you have your heart set on having boys (sans the drama) when you grow your own family.  Just in case there ends up being a girl in the mix, I want to share these 25 rules for moms with daughters.  It's good advice and good to know that I have followed many of these while raising you.  We still have some time. I love you with my whole heart, girly. I've included some pictures from our recent trip to Dublin and Belfast. We stayed in a castle, girl! There is no one I'd rather share my adventures with than you. xoxo

25 RULES FOR MOMS WITH DAUGHTERS by Emain Barnard Fourie
1. Paint her nails. Then let her scratch it off and dirty them up. Teach her to care about her appearance, and then quickly rem...ind her that living and having fun is most important.
2. Let her put on your makeup, even if it means bright-red-smudged lips and streaked-blue eyes. Let her experiment in her attempts to be like you…then let her be herself.
3. Let her be wild. She may want to stay home and read books on the couch, or she may want to hop on the back of a motorcycle-gasp. She may be a homebody or a traveler. She may fall in love with the wrong boy, or meet mr. right at age 5. Try to remember that you were her age once. Everyone makes mistakes, let her make her own.
4. Be present. Be there for her at her Kindergarten performances, her dance recitals, her soccer games…her everyday-little-moments. When she looks through the crowds of people, she will be looking for your smile and pride. Show it to her as often as possible.
5. Encourage her to try on your shoes and play dress-up. If she would rather wear her brother’s superman cape with high heals, allow it. If she wants to wear a tutu or dinosaur costume to the grocery store, why stop her? She needs to decide who she is and be confident in her decision.
6. Teach her to be independent. Show her by example that woman can be strong. Find and follow your own passions. Search for outlets of expression and enjoyment for yourself- not just your husband or children. Define yourself by your own attributes, not by what others expect you to be. Know who you are as a person, and help your daughter find out who she is.
7. Pick flowers with her. Put them in her hair. There is nothing more beautiful than a girl and a flower.
8. Let her get messy. Get messy with her, no matter how much it makes you cringe inside. Splash in the puddles, throw snowballs, make mud pies, finger paint the walls: just let it happen. The most wonderful of memories are often the messy ones.
9. Give her good role models- you being one of them. Introduce her to successful woman- friends, co-workers, doctors, astronauts, or authors. Read to her about influential woman- Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Marie Curie. Read her the words of inspirational woman- Jane Austen, Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson. She should know that anything is possible.
10. Show her affection. Daughters will mimic the compassion of their mother. “I love yous” and Eskimo kisses go a long way.
11. Hold her hand. Whether she is 3 years-old in the parking lot or sixteen years old in the mall, hold on to her always- this will teach her to be confident in herself and proud of her family.
12. Believe in her. It is the moments that she does not believe in herself that she will need you to believe enough for both of you. Whether it is a spelling test in the first grade, a big game or recital, a first date, or the first day of college…remind her of the independent and capable woman you have taught her to be.
Long Room, Trinity College Dublin
13. Tell her how beautiful she is. Whether it is her first day of Kindergarten, immediately after a soccer game where she is grass-stained and sweaty, or her wedding day. She needs your reminders. She needs your pride. She needs your reassurance. She is only human.
14. Love her father. Teach her to love a good man, like him. One who lets her be herself…she is after all wonderful.
15. Make forts with boxes and blankets. Help her to find magic in the ordinary, to imagine, to create and to believe in fairy tales. Someday she will make her 5 by 5 dorm-room her home with magic touches and inspiration. And she will fall in love with a boy and believe him to be Prince Charming.
16. Read to her. Read her Dr. Seuss and Eric Carle. But also remember the power of Sylvia Plath and Robert Frost. Show her the beauty of words on a page and let her see you enjoy them. Words can be simply written and simply spoken, yet can harvest so much meaning. Help her to find their meaning.
17. Teach her how to love- with passion and kisses. Love her passionately. Love her father passionately and her siblings passionately. Express your love. Show her how to love with no restraint. Let her get her heart broken and try again. Let her cry, and gush, giggle and scream. She will love like you love or hate like you hate. So, choose love for both you and her.
18. Encourage her to dance and sing. Dance and sing with her- even if it sounds or looks horrible. Let her wiggle to nursery rhymes. Let her dance on her daddy's feet and spin in your arms. Then later, let her blast noise and headbang in her bedroom with her door shut if she wants. Or karaoke to Tom Petty in the living room if she would rather. Introduce her to the classics- like The Beatles- and listen to her latest favorite- like Taylor Swift. Share the magic of music together, it will bring you closer- or at least create a soundtrack to your life together.
19. Share secrets together. Communicate. Talk. Talk about anything. Let her tell you about boys, friends, school. Listen. Ask questions. Share dreams, hopes, concerns. She is not only your daughter, you are not only her mother. Be her friend too.
20. Teach her manners. Because sometimes you have to be her mother, not just her friend. The world is a happier place when made up of polite words and smiles.
Maisy Love
21. Teach her when to stand-up and when to walk away. Whether she has classmates who tease her because of her glasses, or a boyfriend who tells her she is too fat - let her know she does not have to listen. Make sure she knows how to demand respect - she is worthy of it. It does not mean she has to fight back with fists or words, because sometimes you say more with silence. Also make sure she knows which battles are worth fighting. Remind her that some people can be mean and nasty because of jealousy, or other personal reasons. Help her to understand when to shut her mouth and walk-away. Teach her to be the better person.
22. Let her choose who she loves. Even when you see through the charming boy she thinks he is, let her love him without your disapproving words; she will anyway. When he breaks her heart, be there for her with words of support rather than I told-you-so. Let her mess up again and again until she finds the one. And when she finds the one, tell her.
Dublin Castle
23. Mother her. Being a mother - to her - is undoubtedly one of your greatest accomplishments. Share with her the joys of motherhood, so one day she will want to be a mother too. Remind her over and over again with words and kisses that no one will ever love her like you love her. No one can replace or replicate a mother's love for their children.
24. Comfort her. Because sometimes you just need your mommy. When she is sick, rub her back, make her soup and cover her in blankets - no matter how old she is. Someday, if she is giving birth to her own child, push her hair out of her face, encourage her, and tell her how beautiful she is. These are the moments she will remember you for. And someday when her husband rubs her back in attempt to comfort her...she may just whisper, "I need my mommy."
25. Be home. When she is sick with a cold or broken heart, she will come to you; welcome her. When she is engaged or pregnant, she will run to you to share her news; embrace her. When she is lost or confused, she will search for you; find her. When she needs advice on boys, schools, friends or an outfit; tell her. She is your daughter and will always need a safe harbor - where she can turn a key to see comforting eyes and a familiar smile; be home.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Because of love...from Finding Joy

This says my heart. Rachel, over at Finding Joy wrote my heart. Because of love...

Because of love.
I have days that go in a circle. I feel like I get nothing done. I pray for the wisdom of Solomon to solve debates between you. I sometimes feel like I’m going to go crazy. I wish for silence and yet know that silence will come sooner than I think. Because of love.
I wake at six am and pack lunches that so often are half-eaten, thrown away and most of the times not really appreciated. Because of love.
I care about things that I used to think were silly. I learn the names of Youtube stars and watch videos about Minecraft and smile and tell you it’s cool. I look at the search history on your phone and make rules about media. Because of love.
I listen to your breathing during those times your asthma acts up. I count the breaths and hold you in my arms and debate in my head when is the right time to go in and when I’m just being the paranoid mom. Because of love.
I fight and make hard choices. I count pennies at the grocery store. I stay awake until the wee hours of the morning writing and wake before the sun hits the horizon again. Because of love.
I said goodbye to you and watched you fly away. I tied your shoes and felt the slam of the door on my face when you said you hated me. I didn’t give up on you. Because of love.
I open bills and doors and buckle seatbelts and shut sliding doors and try to talk to you in the morning on the way to school. I don’t count the silence and one word answers as a loss. Instead I’m grateful for the time. Because of love.
I vacuum and pick up and fold clothes. Again and again and again. Because of love.
I look in the mirror and gather my resolve. I am tired. I am joyful. I crash sometimes and fall apart. I don’t give up. I try over and over. Because of love.
I hope and believe in you. I help with homework. I sit on chairs in teacher’s rooms and let my eyes fill with tears as I hear about you. I research symptoms and pray for answers. Because of love.
I watch you sleep and breathe in and breathe out and remember when you fit in the crook of my arm and I wonder how in the world time is going so fast. And then at the same time sometimes I wish it would go faster on the crazy days. Because of love.
I know I’m not perfect. I gave up on that long ago. Instead I take what I can and try to be better and give myself grace. But I remember that I’m not perfect nor expected to be perfect. I’m just expected to do my best. Because of love.
I read and study and compare notes and call friends and ask questions and wonder if I’m a good mom. I worry that I’m messing up. I’m proud of your victories. And cheer for you when you fall. Because of love. 

Sometimes I wonder if what I’m doing is enough. I wonder if you all will turn out well and will look back and think that I was a good mom. I’ve come to peace that I’ve messed up, because well, this world isn’t perfect. But, I’ve learned to understand that messing up and trying and giving matters. Because of love.
And sister reading these words. Sister with the doubts and wonder if what you’re doing really is enough or makes a difference – let me remind you of one thing.
That love you have makes you an amazing mom. It’s the love that makes us wonder about if we’re doing it right and pushes us to try again. It’s the love that gets us up even when we’re exhausted. Don’t discount that, sweet mom. Motherhood may have those days that are hard and trenches and storms and those are the moments that make the beauty and the normal beautiful.
Because you love.
You love them.
Let that sink in.
Not all the worries, doubts, fears and measuring up stuff that clouds our worth.
Instead remember.
You love.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Mind Who Matters

Momentous times and days so full of grace. This whimsical , yet wise, saying comes from Dr. Suess. We would be aslo wise to embrace it and let it become a working principle in our day to day lives with a bit of tempering by the ONE who guides us to be kind.  There will be people who come and go through our lives. Some will stick and some won't. That's ok.  Let them go. Mind who matters..mind who stays and tend the relationships that stick. xoxo

 Look what I found today. It goes right along with the post above.  Ok. That is confirmation. When you hear the same message again & again...sit up and take notice. Someone is trying to tell you something. xoxo

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Becoming You

We are not quite to 13 yet, but you are getting closer every day. I love you, sweet girl, & this is some of the best advice for becoming the BEST you! Take it to heart, Gracie girl.  XOXO

Ten Truths for the Teenage Girl – Because It Matters Who You’re Becoming

This past Saturday a sweet woman and a friend I’ve known for some time invited me to a birthday tea she hosted for her 13-year-old girl. Before the celebration, she asked a few ladies to write down a few things to encourage her girl as she is stepping boldly into her teenage years. As I sat and stared a blank document all last week, these ten things came to mind that I wanted to share with her. But as I read them aloud to her Saturday afternoon and handed her the letter for good, I  had the desire and got the blessing to share these ten things with other teenage girls if they had ten minutes to put down some homework, and read a little blog. So, here we are. Of course, this list is just scratching the surface of things we need to be teaching those younger than us, but we have to start somewhere, right? The only thing that is coming between us is a computer screen, but imagine us sitting across a quaint little table from one another sipping on some hot tea. 

Dear Gracie,
Life is learned as you live it, but as my mind started spinning, my fingers slowly started typing the things that I wish someone would have told me at 13 years young. And although I’m sure someone did tell me these things, I probably didn’t listen because I probably thought I already knew everything. Grin. So I’m praying that even if these words seems useless or boring to you today, that you would keep them tucked away and read them when life seems confusing or hard.
For years I’ve loved the word becoming. It’s one of those words that I’ve latched onto for different reasons and at times have even desired to start a ministry called “Becoming Ministries”. Don’t tell me you don’t think things like that, too. And if you don’t, well, just humor me. I really latched onto that word in college because I remember thinking that that season would either make me or break me. That who I chose to become in college would influence the rest of my life.
That is true, but what I realize now is that it starts long before college.
The choices you make affect who you are becoming long before you ever get to college.
You are always becoming. You never arrive. That is, until you meet Jesus face to face. Until then, it’s one long (or short the way you look at it) journey of becoming more like Jesus Christ. Because each circumstance and situation we find ourselves planted in is another opportunity to respond like Jesus would.
Hence my love for the word, becoming.
So, as you are becoming a young woman devoted to the Lord, here are a few things I’ve learned on my own journey of becoming who God has called me to be, for such a time as this:

1) God is the author of your story, not you.
That is so much easier said than lived out, but it is the Gospel truth. He has a plan and a purpose for you that is greater than you could dream up or imagine. If you think your dreams are big, imagine how big His dreams must be for you! If He is the author, He knows the beginning, the middle and the end. Nothing is too complex for Him, no detail is left unnoticed, and His timing is perfect. Sometimes life can be complicated, hard and confusing, but that’s why we have to remember that we have the God of the universe in charge of our story.

2) You are beautiful.
I want you to hear that with fresh ears. God made you unique. He made you, you. And He made you in His image. Since you bear His image, I am praying that as people see you, they would see His face shining upon you. Beauty really is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. (Proverbs 31:30)
Side Note: Yes, it’s okay to like cute clothes, just don’t let that be your measure of beauty. (I mean, let’s be honest, some girls like to shop. Hand raised!)

3) Know the Word.
And know what it says about you. If I’ve learned one thing, I’ve learned that if I can’t always believe what I think about myself, and I can’t always believe what people are saying about me or what the internet says about me,  I can believe what the Lord says about me. I can rest in the truth of His word and the promises He gives.

4) Life Consists of Seasons.
Just like the four seasons come and go, so will different seasons of life come and go. Don’t despair! “This too shall pass.” is true in both sweet and bitter seasons of life. While you don’t need to wish any of it away, remember to savor the sweet seasons, take the joy when it comes and stay faithful during the bitter seasons. Worship in the good times and bad. Jesus will be faithful over and over and over again. It’s in the valleys that God develops your character.

5) Be Humble.
At church my pastor always tells us to “go low”. Going low means being humble, staying humble, becoming a servant instead of searching for the spotlight. Serve, serve, serve. Invest, invest, invest in people. Never get too comfortable in your routine that you can’t go out of your way to help somebody else. Work quietly with your hands and your Father in Heaven will reward your faithfulness. Be faithful in the small things. You’ll never be too good to do something “meaningless”.

6) Be bold.
In a world of social networking, we can hide behind our computer, our phones, or our iPads. Be bold. Learn how to communicate face to face. It’s a life skill that’s becoming extinct, especially to our teenagers. Refrain from posting things online that you wouldn’t say to someone in person. Passive-aggressiveness (posting something for all to see when you only mean it for one to see) is not attractive.

7) True Love Waits.
I don’t mean that in the way you hear it in church all the time. Staying pure until marriage is a gift, by all means, yes, pursue purity. It’s much harder than you think in the sex-saturated world we live in, but whether you believe it or not, it’s possible. What I mean is, wait for a man that will pursue you, not confuse you. (And be careful not to be the one doing the confusing, either. We girls certainly know how to manipulate.) Wait for a man that will protect your purity, not use it. You are responsible for how you present yourself; so present yourself in a way that’s worth protecting. Sex doesn’t equal love, so wait for a man that loves and respects you enough to practice restraint towards you instead of giving into temptation before marriage. Building a relationship and romance takes time, something we’ve lost the art of in a world with technology at our fingertips, so don’t feel pressure to rush things. Remember, before you are someone’s wife, you are first their Sister in Christ, so don’t settle for less than being treated like a Sister. Your future husband will admire and value you. But also remember, there is forgiveness in Christ. You are not your past; your future spouse is not his past. The Lord redeems and renews. Praise God! But be patient in the waiting. (That’s coming from a girl whose story is still being written. It’s not easy at all. Not one ounce is easy. But Jesus is good and He is better.)

8) Pursue Your Calling.
You may not know what the Lord is calling you to do today, and that’s okay. But pursuing your calling is a bold and courageous thing. Run after the things that make your heart swell. Ask questions, ask for wisdom. Be friends with those younger than you, older than you and in the same season as you. Do things you love to do. Make a plan, but keep in mind that you can make all the plans in the world, but the Lord is the one who directs each of our steps.

9) Your Words Matter.
Speak kind words to, in front of, and behind your friend’s backs. And make sure your words and your actions line up with each other. Be honest. Be loving. Be kind. Be generous. A lady named Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Make people feel loved with your words and actions. In a world of email and text messaging, don’t loose the wonder of snail mail.

10) Laugh.
You are never too old or too young to simply stop and have fun on this journey of life. Laugh until your stomach hurts. Laugh with your friends. Laugh with your family. Enjoy life Savor it. Journal about it. Talk about your experiences. Visit places you think are interesting. When all is said and done, you don’t want anyone to remember you as a Negative Nelly. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom and joy! So own that joy, live it out and share it with those around you.
You are dearly loved, my Sister in Christ. This I know, the Lord has a plan for your life that no eye has seen, no ear has heard and no mind can comprehend or imagine. Believe it. Believe that Jesus is better.

“No one has ever seen,
 no one has ever heard,
 no one has ever imagined 
what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9
“3 So trust in the Lord and do good.
Live on your land and be dependable.
4 Enjoy serving the Lord, and he will give you whatever you ask for.
5 Depend on the Lord. Trust in him, and he will help you.
6 He will make it as clear as day that you are right.
Everyone will see that you are being fair.
7 Trust in the Lord and wait quietly for his help.
Don’t be angry when people make evil plans and succeed.
8 Don’t become so angry and upset that you, too, want to do evil.
9 The wicked will be destroyed,
but those who call to the Lord for help will get the land he promised.
10 In a short time there will be no more evil people.
You can look for them all you want, but they will be gone.
11 Humble people will get the land God promised, and they will enjoy peace.”
Psalm 37: 3-11

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Four Agreements

Grace, you have finished another year. You are a 6th grader now. Congratulations! You finished well and worked hard this year. You loved your teacher, Mrs. Grage, and she loved you.  As I sat in the PTO Volunteer luncheon chatting with several teachers, it is clear that you are known for being kind and fun.  Mrs. Juarez mentioned again how you moved her with your kindness and empathy when her father died last year. Mrs. Chambers said you were her girl and she would like to just take you home; keep you close.
Oasis Family Love

Of course, they will miss you and claimed to be jealous that you are likely moving across the ocean. What an experience! You really touched my heart one morning last week when you were praying in the car. "Thank you, Lord, for this awesome experience of living in another country. I know that only a few kids get to do this amazing thing and I'm so thankful for the adventure. Help me to make the most of it and learn and share and help me love like You love. Help us when we miss our friends and family and help them, too, when they miss us."  Your gratitude is showing, even while we are waiting.  You know delays do not mean no, just waiting for the right time.  We have no idea what He is preparing for us, but we know that He has our best interest at heart.

Lakeside celebration!
Grace, I am just so thankful for you. I'm so thankful for the gift you are. God has really blessed me with such a lovely, kind, and creative daughter. You are growing up and while I want to make it all slowwwww down, I can't wait to see what is unfolding in your life.

So, here is a bit of wisdom I read today.  It's good for me and it will be good for you. Rules to live by. I know, lots of rules - let's say principles or guidelines for good living; guidelines that will make a quality life and reflect God's character.  I am going to start taking more about these principles so that we are living them, not just hearing them or reading them. Let's make them part of who we are. 

Be impeccable with your word.  Don't take anything personally (this one is hard for me).  Don't make assumptions.  Always do your best.

We have some learning, growing, and shaping to do.  XOXO to you, sweet girl. I hope you are having sweet dreams.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Love Notes

We are well into our back-to-school routine and you, Gracie girl, are LOVING school.  Every day, you come home with a thumbs up for your day at school. Not to say that every thing that happens is A-ok, but you are rolling with it. That delights me! You DELIGHT me!

I was reading this morning-something I like to do when it is quiet in our house. I found this list of 64 positive things to say to kids from Creative With Kids. Wow! What a list! Many of them sound familiar because I have said them to you. Some, I haven't yet said, but I will. Just so you don't forget, I am putting them all right here for you to read and remember. I love you, Gracie girl, and I want you to know how special and valuable you are to me and to your Creator. You were His idea in the 1st place and you were 1st loved by Him.  He has GREAT ideas! What a joy that He has shared you with me!

  • You are loved
  • You make me smile
  • I think about you when we’re apart.
  • My world is better with you in it.
  • I will do my best to keep you safe.
  • Sometimes I will say no.
  • I have faith in you.
  • I know you can handle it.
  • You are creative.
  • Trust your instincts.
  • Your ideas are worthwhile.
  • You are capable.
  • You are deserving.
  • You are strong.
  • You can say no.
  • Your choices matter.
  • You make a difference.
  • Your words are powerful.
  • Your actions are powerful.
  • Your emotions may be powerful.
  • And you can still choose your actions.
  • You are more than your emotions.
  • You are a good friend.
  • You are kind.
  • You don’t have to like what someone is saying in order to treat them with respect.
  • Someone else’s poor behavior is not an excuse for your own.
  • You are imperfect.
  • So am I.
  • You can change your mind.
  • You can learn from your mistakes.
  • You can ask for help.
  • You are learning.
  • You are growing.
  • Growing is hard work.
  • I believe you.
  • I believe in you.
  • You are valuable.
  • You are interesting.
  • You are beautiful.
  • When you make a mistake you are still beautiful.
  • Your body is your own.
  • You have say over your body.
  • You are important.
  • Your ideas matter.
  • You are able to do work that matters.
  • I see you working and learning every day.
  • You make a difference in my life.
  • I am curious what you think.
  • How did you do that?
  • Your ideas are interesting.
  • You’ve made me think of things in a completely new way.
  • I’m excited to see what you do.
  • Thanks for helping me.
  • Thank you for contributing to our family.
  • I enjoy your company.
  • It’s fun to do things with you.
  • I’m glad you’re here.
  • I’m happy to talk with you.
  • I’m ready to listen.
  • I’m listening.
  • I’m proud of you.
  • I’m grateful you’re in my life.
  • You make me smile.
  • I love you.
  • Monday, October 20, 2014

    CSK Trailblazer of the Month

    Congrats to my girl, on of CSK's October Trailblazers! Trailblazers are students who have been selected for recognition because they have exemplified the learner profile and attitudes of the month.  Way to go, Grace!  I am so proud of you! You are also gearing up for Tournament of the Books & Battle of the Books! I know you thoroughly enjoyed your VIP visit with Ms. Kathy. I know it made this Mama's heart happy. XOXO

    Thursday, August 28, 2014

    Mama Said

    Mama said there would be days like this. She was right. The good thing is that God has the final word on days when disappointment fills our eyes to very brim and crowds our mouth with hateful words. S instead of sinking under the weight of our sadness, we ask Him to come and He promises He will. 

    "Lord, sometimes it would be real easy to get bitter, because we get up every day and people let us down;  because we hoped for plan A and somehow, we didn't even get plan B, but ended up with plan F because somebody said something, did one thing or a whole lot of things, and we can't shake it for
    anything. And You get it.  You get real close and you whisper, "I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust Me.  Call Me and I’ll answer.  I will be at your side in bad times. Don’t insist on getting even.  That’s not for you to do. I’ll do the judging, says God. I’ll take care of it...I will take care of you."
     [Psalm 91:14, Rom 12:19, Ps. 55:22]

    When we let go of bitterness, God leads us out of our wilderness.  When we let go of a root of bitterness, we let our lives grow better fruit. When we let go, we save the high cost of anger, the deep expense of bitterness, the robbery of our lives.  Bitterness sentences us to a prison and letting go lets us free. 

    So we pray: 'Lord, let us open our hands and let go and love big and bury axes and resurrect to wide open living. And let us feel how You love us like the best Father, gently kissing all our hidden pain with an everlasting grace. In the name of the One who loved us enough to let go of everything so we could.' Amen"    
    Ann Voscamp

    Sunday, August 17, 2014