Popping the ME ME ME bubble

Are you like me?  Do you ever forget just how good you have it?  I do sometimes.  I tend to get swept away in my own thoughts, with my own problems, with my own life.  It is like a giant vacuum for me.  My brain gets so stuck on all the issues that I am dealing with in my own life, I forget about other people’s lives.

I see people every day and I don’t stop to think, what is your story?  What is going on in your life that is making you appear tired and frazzled?  What was it that caused you to lose your temper just now?  Is there anything I can do to help, even if it is to smile?

Sometimes, I think the good Lord wants to pop the giant bubble of “ME ME ME” that I have been residing in to wake me up to the issues going on in the people’s lives around me.  The other night, I went to a Pink Zebra Party.  I am not going to lie, it is my business, I was hoping for orders.  It ended up that only one person came.  This lady came not to buy Sprinkles (although she loves them).  She came because she was tired and stressed.  She needed a break!  She has four children.  I knew she needed a break.  I thought that she needed it simply because she has four children and every mom needs a rest once in a while.

As we spent the evening chatting, she started to open up as to why she was so tired.  The evening was May 2.  Her rent was due May 1.  She did not have the money to pay the rent.  She and her family have been having substantial financial struggles for a long time.  The family has been subsiding on pasta and potatoes for months, because it is all they can afford.  She is worried about how her children are going to eat in the summer, since right now they eat at school for two meals a day.  In their school district, you can get free meals in the summer only if you are more than 250% below the poverty line.  She has substantial physical issues as well, making her too weak to cook or to clean.  Her husband has had to do all of that stuff for years.

My friend that hosted the party and I prayed for her, loved on her, packed up as many groceries as we could and did our best to help her in some small way.  I took her home and helped her bring the bags of groceries into her home.  It made me tear up as the children met us at the door and excitedly said, “Yay we get to eat this week.”  My heart sunk.  The idea that these kids did not actually know if they would get to eat!  I realize hunger is very real in the world, but this was a stark reminder of how blessed I really am.

If you want to help people in this situation and help insure they get to eat, bring some food to your local food bank.  Donations are usually higher over the holidays, but people need to eat year around.

https://communityfoodbank.com/

Tonight, I am going to hug and kiss my husband and kids.  Then I will Thank God for blessing my family.  I will also go donate some food.  May you all be blessed.

Kindergarten Graduation

The last few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster.  We have been working to wrap up the kindergarten school year with my daughter.  The year has been full of both victories and struggles.  I have seen her catch on to some things quickly and other things have been an absolute battle!  For Michaela, math has been easy.  In fact, we still have three weeks left of kindergarten, but she has been done with her math books for a couple of weeks.  She just decided to get it done and she did.

Reading has not been like that at all!  It has been hard.  It has involved tears.  It has involved changing curriculum mid way through.  It has involved a lot of work.  Some small victories, and my daughter just not wanting to do it.  She often complained that it is hard.  We decided that she is right, it is hard.  So we decided to reward her for trying her best to read (not reading correctly, but just reading with a good heart).  We set up a sticker chart and rewarded her with a new book of her choice when she filled her chart.  At first, this was effective to end the fighting.  Gradually, it changed to my daughter looking forward to getting a sticker and counting down to her next book.  I also slowed way down and repeated pages for months on end.  All of a sudden, it seemed to be easier.  Now she is actually reading.  To see her face light up when she realized she just read an entire story without having to sound out words, was an amazing moment.  It was probably the most satisfying moment I have ever had in regards to seeing work that we have done paying off.

My girl has learned so much this year and changed so much this year.  That it really does blow my mind.  It makes me feel like all of the crazy sacrifices to actually homeschool her has been worth the investment.  I feel honored to have the opportunity to play such an integral part in her education.

Needless to say, this past week as I have prepared and helped plan her kindergarten graduation, I have been a bit of an emotional wreck!  My baby is growing up!  How is it possible?  It feels like yesterday that she was born.

Congratulations to my sweet daughter.  This is just the beginning and I am preparing my heart to enjoy the ride.

P1000357Michaela's graduation

They grow up so very fast.

Mom’s Night Out….my first movie review

This is obviously not a new movie, in fact I watched it for the first time last night on television.  I don’t normally get to see movies when they first come out unless they are cartoons like Frozen these days, but regardless of this movie being older I still feel the urge to tell people about it.

I am of the feeling that every tired mom should take some time and watch this movie!  Seriously ladies, it will help.  It was like medicine for a weary soul!!  First of all, the movie is ridiculously funny and if you have ever had children you will be able to relate.  The movie is also really clean.  If you are like me, you don’t want your children to be exposed to movies with violence and curse words at such a young age.  You can watch this with your kids in the room and not worry about content.  More than that the movie was very encouraging to moms every where.  Is it super deep, no not really, but it is entertaining, encouraging and clean.

This is coming from a mom that went to the grocery store at nine at night the other day, without the kids and it felt like a vacation!  I needed something funny and encouraging to watch.  This fit the bill perfectly.   Moms everywhere, rent this movie!  If nothing else, you will get a good laugh and I don’t know if there is anything better.

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Finding Something Of My Own

I used to be a social worker.  I always wanted to go into Social Work.  I have always had a heart to serve and help the community.  It was something that I dreamed of doing as a child.  It was a big deal for me when I decided to leave my career behind (at least for now) and stay at home with my children.  In the course of working in the field of adoption, I realized the importance of being a mother.  I wanted to give my own children what the children that I worked with each day did not have.

When I decided to stay at home, I had a romantic notion of what it would be like.  Picture Leave It Beaver….. The house was going to be spotless each day, the children of course would obey perfectly, a perfect dinner would be on the table each night.   I am not sure what planet I was living on when I actually thought this would be what life was like, but reality soon followed, and so did the yoga pants.  My house is not perfectly clean, in fact it is usually the opposite.  I get one room clean and feel pretty excited, just to walk in to the next room and discover my sweet darling children have messed it up!  I am doing good to just maintain things.  Dinner is generally on the table each night, but I confess sometimes it is pizza or chicken nuggets.  Coming into reality was difficult.

I would say the hardest thing for me is this feeling that I have no idea what I accomplished today.  I  was ending each day and I wouldn’t have the first clue what I did that day.  I was busy, but what did I actually accomplish? I cleaned the dishes but thirty minutes later it looks like I haven’t done them in a week.  I would clean the living room and thirty minutes later there are toys out as far as the eye can see (this is improving as my kids are getting older).  The stuff I had to do each day was painfully mundane.  I also struggled with a distinct feeling of isolation.  I didn’t really talk to adults.  The extent of my conversation was at a two year old level.  I struggled emotionally a lot!  There was the part of me that was incredibly thankful for getting to spend so much time with my children and there was the other part of me that was fighting off depression.  Then as ridiculous as this sounds, I would feel horribly guilty for feeling depressed (I should be happy, I am with my babies) that I would actually get more depressed.  I really felt trapped.  My entire life now revolved around the kids and cleaning house, to the point that I could hardly remember who I was and what I enjoyed.  I some how gave up every hobby and interest that I had, outside of Jesus and my family.

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I read articles that would knock Stay at Home Mom’s for complaining.  These articles did not help me when I was struggling.  In fact, they did the opposite.  I started to pray and as I prayed I started to realize more and more that I was not trapped at all.  I started to see that I needed to have stuff in my life that had nothing to do with my kids or the dishes.  Things that I do just out of sheer enjoyment.   I gradually started putting things back into my life that I enjoy.  I found as I did that, the emotional struggles went away.  I am happy to be a mother, but I needed something that was mine.

I have this to say to you Stay at Home Moms that might be having a similar issue and to those mom’s considering becoming a SAHM.  Make sure you keep things in your life that are yours!  I don’t know what those things are, only you know what they are.  For me, I write this blog, I run my own small business, I get together with friends and I am involved with my church family.  For you, it may be different but you need to have those things for yourself.  Those things you can go to for a rest.  When you have little ones in your home, it is really easy to allow all of your attention and energy to go to your kids.  Your primary job does not stop, you are a mommy 24/7, being this fact it is all the more important to keep those things in your life that brings you joy and rest.

To All the Mom’s

When I had my children, my husband and I had to start making choices.  We made choices according to what we felt were important.  Many of those choices involved making sacrifices, as we have all made for our kids.  We decided together that I would stay at home with the children, we decided together to home school our kids, we decided that I would nurse the kids, and the list goes on and on.  Each of those decisions are highly personal decisions.  They were made according to what fit our family.   In all likelihood, you and your family have made different decisions for your family for your own reasons.  Guess what, good for you!  Make those decisions and do best by your kids.

I sometimes get tired of the constant criticism that flows out of people regarding the choices we moms make for our children and our family.  These criticisms come no matter what decisions you make as a parent.  If you are a working mother, the criticism comes from the side that would argue that you aren’t spending enough time with your kids.  If you are a SAHM the criticism comes from people who foolishly think all we do all day is sit at home in our yoga pants, eating bon bons and watching our favorite soap opera.

It is ridiculous to criticize each other all the time ladies!  I don’t care if you stay at home, if you nurse, if you work, what type of school you have your children in, etc. It doesn’t really matter!!  We made decisions according to what our individual families needed at the time.  Most of us are probably willing to change those decisions if or when we realize what decided on really is not working.

I think we can all agree that 99% of us are doing our absolute best to do what we believe is in the best interest of our children and our individual families.  We have all had our kids have melt downs at embarrassing very public places, making you feel like crawling under a rock.  We have all had those nights when our little ones threw up all over the house at 3 a.m.  We have all had those days when we experience sheer exhilaration and joy at watching our children finally accomplish that one thing that they have struggled with.  We have all been exceedingly happy and exceedingly tired at the same time, which is really hard to explain.

Ladies, let’s stop the madness.  Let’s support each other and encourage one another, not beat down each other because we’ve made different decisions!  We need to show each other love, we need to build each other up when we are feeling beat down (not pick up a bigger bat) and we need to be each other’s cheering section.

HEROES

I want to share with you guys something that I love about Pink Zebra.  It is their charity.  It is called HEROES.  For every $500 party that is held for Pink Zebra, the company donates a day of childcare for a single mother in need.  Their goal is to help single mother’s better their lives and that of their childrens.  If you would like to help Pink Zebra on their mission by hosting a party or you are or you know of a single mom who could use this program contact me.  My email is pzsprinklesofpeace@gmail.com.  A party can be done via catalog and facebook, so it isn’t a problem if you live out of state.  Please take a minute to check out my website at http://www.pinkzebrahome.com/sprinklesofpeace.

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Feeling Torn

First let me say, sorry for neglecting my blog as of recent.  Let’s just say I have felt torn in about a hundred different directions in this past month.  Do you guys ever get like that?  I swear even if there were thirty hours in a day right now, I probably would not get everything done that needs to be done.

This past month has not only been busy (I mean the kind of busy when you feel like your hair is on fire) but it has also been a time of prioritizing.  As you guys know, I started my own business.   To be honest, I wasn’t completely prepared for how much time and effort it was going to take.  I know, I probably should have expected it, but I didn’t.  This isn’t a complaint.  I have enjoyed myself, but I have been really busy.  I have had a lot of emotional ups and downs over the last month and a half, and more than once I have had the feeling that I should just quit.  I have had some great successes, but I have also had some failures and rejection.  It has been a distinct mix of exhilaration and excitement, and total discouragement.   It has been a time of learning to rely on God to help me do a sales business when I am not a sales person.  I have been a social worker for most of my life, living in a non profit world and a mom, but never a sales person.

I have had to really learn to prioritize my time.  I have had to pray about what God wants me to be doing.  As a result I have had to let somethings go.  Somethings, small others were larger.  For example,  I had every intention of continuing to baby sit as well as run my business.  That quickly became apparent that it wasn’t realistic.  The decision to stop was made easier by the mom of the child I was babysitting.  She kept dropping baby off here sick, thus getting my kids sick, thus giving me doctors bills, thus all the money I was making was going out the door.  After prayerful consideration, it was clear that babysitting was not something I could continue to manage to do.  I couldn’t devote enough attention to the child I was babysitting and that child deserved something I am not able to give right now.   I also couldn’t justify continuing to allow my entire family to be sick nearly continually.  We just can’t afford to be sick constantly, which I am sure no one really can afford that. I miss the little girl, but it has reduced my stress and my family is much healthier.  It has allowed me to give more to my kids and to my new business, which takes a surprising amount of time at the moment.

I am learning through this that I really can’t do everything that needs to be done on my own!  Every time I have started to feel like, OK I am good I have everything under control, something happens and I realize, nope I need God.  I need God to help me carry the load.  I need God to help me have enough grace to build my little business.  I need God to provide for my family.  I need God to help me feel like I am sort of sane, when things around me are feeling chaotic.  I need God’s love, I need the support and encouragement only He can give.  Through this I am learning to lean on God and not on myself.   I can’t really put into words how much this has shown me that I need Jesus in every single area of my life.  I am weak and He is strong.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-11

I have noticed something, every time I have been discouraged over the last month and a half, and I turn to the Lord.  He strengthens me and he provides exactly what I needed.  My business has done pretty well so far, but let me tell you, it has not been by my strength.  Everything (and I mean everything) I have done in my strength has fallen flat.  God is faithful and He has provided.