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embracing rest
I love to be busy.

The summer is always harder for me, because I don’t have my normal schedule.  I do enjoy relaxing with friends and family, but I thrive on busyness.

A few weeks ago, I started my fall schedule and by the end of the first two days of this schedule I was exhausted.  I had booked myself solid with meetings, grocery shopping, school, etc.

Before moving further into my fall schedule, I had to do some self-care!

This week, I have the opportunity to speak at a local MOPS group on the topic of rest.  Maybe God is trying to get my attention.  I strive for balance between rest and busyness, and I don’t get it right all the time.  Thinking through my presentation, I realized I have learned five keys to helping me find rest.

5 Tips For Embracing Rest

1. Start your day off right

Instead of checking your phone, unloading the dishwasher, or throwing in a load of clothes, grab a cup of coffee and spend 5 minutes in your Bible.  You’ll be amazed how that peaceful and powerful start can transform your day.

2. Create margins

Wikipedia defines margins as the white space on a page.  We need to create these “white spaces” so we have room for the unexpected. Margins help us with balance.  Do you feel stressed when you build margins into your life?

3. Cultivate moments of silence and solitude

I’ve been taking Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea to the ocean for years.  She reflects on the importance of solitude throughout the seasons of life.  Turn your music off in your car or enjoy a quiet shower to help cultivate solitude.

4. Find ways to relax

I have to be intentional about this one.  I go to yoga with a friend once a week.  I love to read or watch a movie.  Walking in nature relaxes me.  How do you like to relax?

5. Prepare for bed

I take a shower and read before bed.  I also write five things I’m thankful for in my gratitude journal.  I turn off the television, and I play soothing music.

To embrace, you have to be intentional with your schedule.  If you follow through on these steps, you will have a more satisfying and fulfilled life without the stress that busyness offers.

How can you embrace rest today?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

self esteem

Self-esteem is as important to our well-being as legs are to a table. It is essential for physical and mental health and for happiness.

Louise Hart

As I talk with more moms about discovering and embracing their purpose, I realize self-esteem is an issue preventing moms from fully living out their purpose.

If you are a mom who struggles with your self-esteem, you are not alone.  Many moms struggle to properly evaluate their self-worth.  This is something I struggled with when I became a mom.  Here’s my story:

I graduated from Grove City College with a degree in Elementary Education and French Secondary Education.  I got married and moved out to
eastern Pennsylvania determined to be the best teacher in the world.

I interviewed with a couple different districts and was hired to teach in a third grade classroom by Spring Ford School District.  My husband and I had a 7-year plan.  I would teach for seven years, and I would stop teaching to stay at home with our future children.  This plan quickly turned into a year-and-a-half plan when Hannah arrived a few months into my second year of teaching!

I packed up my teaching hat and put on a mom hat.  The adjustment to becoming a full-time mom was tough after all the praises of teaching.

It was winter, and we had just moved so I didn’t have a network of mom friends.  I was lonely.  I loved Hannah, but she couldn’t give me all that I
needed as a new mom.

I faced self-esteem issues.

I wasn’t using my teaching degree.  I wasn’t contributing financially to our family,  And I wasn’t receiving the accolades I had come to expect in the “working” world.

It wasn’t until our kids were in the preschool years that I began to hit my groove as a mom.  During this period of time, my self-esteem began to rebuild.  As I think back to this time, I see several things that helped to rebuild my self-esteem worth sharing:

5 Keys To Improving Your Self Esteem

1. Surround yourself with good people who will bring you up and not down.

Isolation is not healthy, and it’s just as unhealthy to surround yourself with people who bring you down.  Plug into people who encourage you, who lift you up, and who recognize your worth.  Joining and starting playgroups was my first step to finding other moms that I could exercise with and hang out with while our kids played.  These moms positively impacted my self-esteem.

2. Listen to what God says about you.

What do you do first in the morning? Do you check your phone? Do you empty the dishwasher? Or do you spend a few minutes with your Bible?

“God’s Word is a lamp onto my feet and a light unto his path.”  Psalm 119:105

It’s important to fill your mind with these truths as you start the day.

God’s Word reminds us that we are children of God and that we have value.  Listening to God’s Word builds self-esteem.

3. Discover your gifts and talents, and find ways to use them.

You won’t be good at everything but you can excel at what you’re good at.  What do you enjoy doing?  Teaching on a very part-time basis when our children were young continued to light that spark in me and fulfilled my passion.  Using your gifts and talents builds confidence and restores self-esteem.

4.  Read and watch uplifting materials.

This is so important.  What do we put into our minds?  What do we spend time thinking about?  Are we comparing ourselves to those around us?  I like Paul’s words in Philippians 4:8:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Our self-esteem takes a hit when we listen to lies, but our self-esteem improves when we listen to truth.

5. Try something new.

I used to make a list of new things that I tried to do.  Trying out new things helps build your confidence.  These boosts of confidence can have a direct impact on your self-esteem.

 

Where you are is most important!

Being a mom is one of the hardest and most important roles you will ever have.  Working on your self-esteem is a lifelong process.  (I’m still working on mine!)  Remember that society will tell you being a mom isn’t important, so find other friends and groups that will encourage you in your vital role.

Mothering matters, and you are worth it!

mom identity

I don’t watch a lot of television, but my DVR is set to record my favorite talk show, The Rachel Ray Show.  On a recent episode, Rachel Ray was doing a makeover on a mom.  One of the statements the mom shared with the audience after her makeover stayed with me.  She said, “Once you get into the mom thing, you lose who you are.”

Wow. How easily this can happen. In fact, you will lose your identity unless you take several steps.  Here are five essentials to make sure moms keep their identity:

5 Keys To Keeping Your Identity When You Become A Mom

1. Don’t make your kids the center of your universe.  You are a family before you had children.  Your children are welcome members of your family, but you have to prevent them from becoming the focus.

2. Connect with your husband on a regular basis.  For awhile when the kids were little, we had time to talk on the couch when Jon came home from work.  The kids were taught to wait until after I had a few minutes to talk to Daddy.  We looked for ways to go out just the two of us. Babysitting swaps, neighbor girls that babysit, and friends helped with this because we didn’t have family who lived in the area.

3. Set your priorities and live them out.  I ended up in the hospital with postpartum issues because I didn’t take care of myself.  Make sure you put yourself in your priorities.  You are actually being selfish if you don’t put yourself as a priority because you cannot care for your family or be the person God created you to be when your priorities are unbalanced.

4. Keep yourself fit.  I have a great friend that has always been my exercise buddy.  We pushed our kids in double strollers in all kinds of weather and now walk the trail on the weekends sharing life and helping each other stay healthy.

5. Pamper yourself!  Make an appointment to get your hair done.  Treat yourself to a pedicure or a massage.  When my mom gives me money for my birthday she always says to spend it on myself because she knows as a mom it’s so easy to buy for others.

You can keep your identity even while you are a mom, but you have to be intentional to make happen.

 

connecting moms

Ever since I was little I always wanted to be two things – a mom and a teacher.

I had the opportunity to be a teacher when I graduated from college.  When my husband and I learned we would become parents, I was so excited.  I couldn’t wait to be a mom!

When Hannah arrived, I knew I was supposed to be home with her.  Despite this knowledge, I felt like I lost my purpose.

Unexpectedly, the transition from teacher to stay-at-home mom was difficult for me.  Gone were the raving reviews and encouragement I received as a result of my teaching job and in its place a beautiful infant who couldn’t interact with me – who ate, slept, pooped, and cried.  And I made the crazy decision to go with cloth diapers.

We had just moved to our new house, and I hadn’t met any other moms.  It took some time, but I soon started a playgroup.  The playgroup relationships provided encouragement, companionship, walking partners, and a realization that I wasn’t alone in this mothering adventure.

I began to find the purpose in my everyday mothering tasks.  I learned to see these tasks as gifts.  It took the connections to other moms to help find my purpose.

Mothering is one adventure you’ll want to go on together!

How are you connecting with other moms?  How have these connections made a difference in your life?

vocation purpose

When I’m not life purpose coaching or hanging out with my family, I am a preschool teacher.  Teaching children is one of the areas of my life where I find purpose.

 

Today was one of those days that I absolutely loved my job.  The school day started before the children arrived as I worked with my assistants.  We accomplished so much in that hour before school.

Today things seemed to roll off my shoulders.

A therapist not showing up or a child crying which normally would have bothered me didn’t today. As my students came into our classroom, I watched them write their names in lowercase on their autograph page for their portfolio.  I enjoyed painting their hands to make a butterfly for the end of the year.  I soaked in the smiles on my preschoolers faces.  I took delight as they called for me to push them on swings.  I felt proud as I watched them write their numbers up to 20.  I relished in their following directions. 

As they practiced their graduation songs from the stage, I thought back to the beginning of the school year and marveled at all we accomplished together as we prepared for kindergarten.  It had been a great year with amazing kids. 

At the end of the day, all I could think of was that I have the best job in the world.

This was a post written in my journal a couple of years ago.

We are back to the beginning of the school year once again.  I have come to love the wrap up at the end of the school year, but I also thrive on the brand new year with its set of new beginnings – a new class, new routines, new lesson plans and things to teach.

My first day of school this year left me with a clear sense of my purpose and also with the realization of the work to be done this year as we prepare these 16 preschool children for kindergarten.  My class kicked off the new year with a pretend trip to Paris complete with homemade pain au chocolat and plane tickets with some new French words.

I am thankful for each of these new faces and their families.

I’m looking forward to the year ahead!

precollege purpose

Next year, my daughter leaves for college.  I’m sad and excited about this next stage in my parenting journey.  When she leaves, I want to know that I’ve done the best to prepare her for the “big world” outside our home, and I want to make sure I’m prepared for the next phase of my life journey – life with kids in college and beyond.  With this in mind, I’ve done some things to intentionally prepare me for this next step, and I hope these thoughts will give you some ideas for purposefully planning this next step in your journey.

5 Tips of Purposeful Preparation in the Year Before Your Child Goes to College

1. Have a regular Date Night with your spouse.  Jon and I have developed a date night on Mondays that has been pretty consistent since our kids were in middle school.  It doesn’t always have to be something elaborate, just an opportunity for us to connect and keep the romance going during this busy time.  We also see it for our next stage of life.

2. Be intentional about time with your kid.  Take each of them out separately as much as you can. Food always works for teenagers. Hannah also likes to hit the thrift stores, and Isaac likes to play tennis.

3. Find your own grove.  If you’re a mom at home start seeking out what other friends affirm you for.  Volunteer!  Do something you’ve always wanted to do.  Did you have dreams from younger years you want to pursue?

4. Record the year-take lots of pics, video it, write things down in a journal that you can look back on later.  I want to keep up with our family scrapbook this year.

5. Hang out with your girlfriends.  As you move into this new stage of life your girlfriends are going to be really important. Pursue these relationships with intention.

How are you purposefully planning for the future?

Celebrating The Year Of Firsts

September 4, 2015

Year Of Firsts

Time goes fast!

Last night, I was at my daughter’s senior cross-country picnic. This is the official kickoff of the season and the start to the school year. I had been looking forward to getting together with other cross-country families and hearing Hannah’s coach recognize her as the captain of the girls’ team.

As we ate with some other senior parents, I had a great view of the playground we used to come to when the kids were little. Memories of playing ice cream store and swinging came to mind.

Wow! Time goes fast.

I’m so proud of her as team captain. I remember Hannah’s early leadership skills coming into play when she organized a backyard circus at the age of 5. Hannah is fulfilling her purpose as she prepares herself for her next step-college.

Several years ago, I had a friend tell me that when you have teenagers of your own God prepares your heart, because by the time they’re ready to leave they won’t be around very much anyways. How true!

Instead of focusing this on a “Year of Lasts,” I’m choosing to embrace every moment and think of it as a “Year of Firsts” – the first time I have a senior to parent and love. And I’m looking forward to the “Firsts” yet to come!

school bus

What is it about the first day of school?

Ever since Hannah stepped or maybe ran onto that big yellow school bus 12 years ago, I have anticipation and a couple tears as I watch my kids leave the house for their first day of school each year.

My kids have been leaving me for years – going to sleep-away camp, Grammy and Pappap camp, church camp, etc. I think there’s something about starting a new school year that makes me realize once again how fast time goes. As a mother of a high school senior and high school sophomore, I’m telling you something you may already know – time goes fast.

Time goes really fast!

So think upstream a bit and make sure you’re thinking of your own purpose beyond mothering. Being a mom is definitely one of the most important roles you and I will have in this life, but God has called you to do something else of significance… something that makes you feel alive.

You have a purpose from God just for you. Don’t wait until your children finish school to find it.

Coming Soon!

May 16, 2014 — 1 Comment

I’m excited to announce my new venture.  I will be offering life coaching services in the coming weeks.

More details to follow…soon!