Why Perfect Love Drives out Fear

Title Why Perfect Love Drives out Fear
Picture of the word Love on brick by wooden wall

If you’re a momma, especially of young girls like I am, you’ve likely heard of the Disney movie Frozen. Who can forget the amazing Idina Menzel belting out “Let it Go!” I dare you not to get that song stuck in your head!! The whole movie is about fear and love and what affect that has on a person (ok, it’s really about a princess who falls in love with the ice harvester after the snowman plays matchmaker, but I’m talking on a deeper level.) The movie can be used to show why perfect love drives out fear. Maybe I watch too many movies with my kids because I wrote another post Getting Through the Scary parts of Life off of one of the Barbie movies!!

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, through no added cost to you, I may get a small commission. For more information you can visit our disclosure statement.

Perfect Love Drives out Fear


“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”

1 John 4:18

The Bible says that perfect love drives out fear. The opposite of fear is not safety, or comfort, or not being scared. The opposite of fear is love. Fear paralyzes, love frees! There is absolutely no fear in love, if there was, it wouldn’t be perfect love.

What does Frozen have to do with it?

If you’ve seen the movie, and you probably have, you know Grand Pabbie is the wise old troll that Anna sees after being struck by Elsa’s powers, twice. The first time, when they are both girls and their parents are still alive, Grand Pabbie tells the King and Queen that fear will be Elsa’s enemy. We can see this throughout the movie as she fears people knowing her powers. When they do find out about her powers, she runs off fearing they’ll think she’s a monster.

The second time Anna sees Grand Pabbie, Elsa has struck her in the heart with her icy power. Grand Pabbie tells her that “only an act of true love can thaw a frozen heart.” I won’t give away the ending, but lets just say that Anna sacrifices herself to shows her true love for her sister in the end. That’s when Elsa finally realizes how to end the eternal winter her fear has brought on, it’s with love.

Picture of frozen rose with Disney Frozen's quote "Only an Act of true love can thaw a frozen heart" in why perfect loves drives out fear

See where I’m going here? Love, perfect love drives out fear every time.

Love is an Action Word

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

1 John 3:18

I listened to a podcast by Ruth Soukup of Do it Scared during my workout this morning titled “Why Action is the Antidote of Fear.” We see this word ACTION when it comes to overcoming fear. (If you want to get motivated to start something, you have to listen to her podcasts!)

Grand Pabbie says in Frozen that only an ACT of true love can thaw the frozen heart. Love is an action, it’s a verb not a noun. We can say we love all we want, but if our actions aren’t showing that, is it really love? I can tell my kids or my husband a million times that I love them, but unless I show them through my actions, would they really know or believe me?

We see the ultimate act of love in Christ on the cross. He sacrificed Himself to show us how much He loves us. That’s an act of true love! He died to be able to have a relationship with us and continue to show us how much He loves us. If we live in this truth, how can there be fear? God is for us! God is with us! He loves us and wants what is best for us. As we lived soaked and saturated in His love, fear will start to disappear, it will thaw away like a frozen heart.

” What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?”

Romans 8:31-32
Why perfect love drives out fear

5 things I learned from my Mom

5 Things I learned from my Mom

Happy Mother’s Day month to all the fellow Momma’s out there; Especially my mom and mother in law if they’re reading this! Now, I’m sure we can all say we learned a thing or two from our Moms; so in honour of Mother’s Day this month, I’m sharing 5 things I learned from my Mom.

This post may contain affiliate links. Through no added cost to you, I may be paid a small commission. For more details, please see our disclosure statement.

1. My faith ~ My parents (including my mom) have been so faithful in bringing us up in a Christian home. I’m not a Christian just because my parents are Christian; I made that decision myself. But I am thankful that the love of God was instilled in me at an early age. I know she has prayed for each one of us kids every single night. I’m pretty sure she still does.

5 things I learned from my Mom- chocolate chips cookies

2. The BEST Chocolate Chip cookies! ~ My Moms father was a baker, a number of my uncles have been bakers and my Mom has always baked. Our house often smelled of cookies, cakes or bread. I don’t know if it’s a family recipe, but I have never found a better recipe for chocolate chip cookies than the one she makes!

3. Organization, banking & taxes ~ Seriously, my mom is THE most organized person you will ever meet! Her house is always tidy and everything has a spot to be. Unfortunately, I have no inherited all the organization skills from my mother. I know how to run a good family calendar because of her (as she used to say “if it’s not on the calendar, it’s not happening”) and my kitchen cupboards are fairly organized because of her!

I also remember my mom spending hours in the evenings going through and balancing their bank books. She did it all by hand back then, no apps to keep track of everything back then like we use now. I don’t know if they had a specific budget, but I’m sure they did! I know things were tight, and she definitely knew where every penny was going. And taxes, my mom still helps me with my taxes! She worked at H&R Block for years and then did taxes from home for quite a few more years. Every year at this time I head on over to her place to get her help in doing my taxes!

4. Love for the Outdoors ~ My mom had us spend a lot of times outdoors growing up. Sometimes she probably sent us outside to play just to get out of her hair! We went on yearly camping trips all over BC and Alberta. I have so many memories of swimming and playing around in the campgrounds. Those are some of my favourite times from when we were younger! We also went on a lot of hikes, walks, trips to the lake etc. We spent a lot of time outdoors and I still like doing the same with my kids now. I hope to pass on the same love of the outdoors on to them. I wouldn’t say she’s the best navigator though, she got us majorly lost at Campbell River Park one time!

5. For better or for Worse, in Sickness and in Health ~ My mom has shown me what love and marriage really means. My Dad has been sick for a number of years. Last year, it got to be too much for my mom to care for him at home. He now lives in a care home in Abbotsford. Even though he is deteriorating both mentally and physically, my mom is still there every single day. She sits with him, has tea with him, shows him pictures and takes him out on walks. She has shown me what unconditional love is. She’s shown it to us as her children, and she continues to demonstrate it to as she stays by my Dad’s side in his sickness.

So, there it is! 5 things I learned from my Mom! I know I could write a much longer list! I’ve kept it at 5 so you’re not reading this blog post forever! What are somethings that you’ve learned from your Mother?

5 Things I learned from my Mom with a pink flower

More for Mom – Living your Whole and Holy Life by Kristin Funston ~ A Book Review

More For Moms ~ Livivng Your Whole and Holy Life by Kristin Funston book cover

So I just finished reading Kristin Funston’s book More for Mom- Living Your Whole and Holy Life (you can get it on Amazon here) and boy did I enjoy it!! This is a must read for any mom. You really feel like you get to know Kristin, having a cup of coffee or tea together, as she walks through the book with you.

More For Moms ~ Livivng Your Whole and Holy Life by Kristin Funston book cover

This post may contain affiliate links. Through no added cost to you, I may receive a small commission. I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. You can get more information from our disclosure statement.

Whole & Holy

As you read through this book, Kristen really has a focus on us “work-hard” moms being whole and holy. This concept of being whole and holy is brought up in pretty much every chapter. Of course, we can only have this through Christ and Kristen weaves that into the book with many scripture references.

I was reminded of a lot that Alisa Keeton had to say in The Wellness Revelation which I read last month. Having a whole life, living wholeheartedly; this is what Christ desires for us.

Revelation Wellness By Alisa Keeton

“We need our brains to create muscle memory of what whole and holy thoughts feel like.”

“According to Psalm 24:1, God has claimed the world and everything in it. Let’s stop letting the world claim us and remember who we belong to.”

More for Mom Friendships

I have to admit, Chapter 4 was a very convicting chapter for me to read. Since I became a Mom, I feel like I’ve let a lot of my friendships slide. I haven’t made a great effort in being a friend, constantly putting my family first.

“To have a friend we have to be a friend. To have relationship, we have to give relationship. All types of relationships. This is what we are called to do in Christ.”

Kristen talks about how we steal other people’s joy or peace or happiness when we aren’t a friend. We steal their peace when they’re scrambling to look for someone to watch their kids and we don’t offer until the last moment. We steal their joy or happiness of having fellowship when we don’t make emotional space for them.

Guilty, guilty, guilty.

I’ve been convicted to be more open to people in general; convicted to be a better friend to the friends I already have.

My hope and prayer is that you all know I am here as a friend for you. I don’t just blog for myself. I blog for you; to connect with you, encourage you and journey with you in faith, family and motherhood.

Fasting

I was reminded again of how fasting is so good for both our physical and spiritual selves. I wrote a post, 6 Things I Learned Fasting when I did a fast while I was reading The Wellness Revelation and was amazed at some of the lessons I learned. These were not the lessons I thought I’d learn from fasting, but I was rejuvenated physically and spiritually.

Kristin reminds of the importance of fasting and that it’s something we aught to be doing. I need to be doing another fast! I hope you will join me, if you feel led to of course! Let me know how it goes!

So much More for Mom

There is so much more I could talk about with this book! From praying scripture to dreaming big again, Kristin covers it all. But, I want you to read it and experience yourself, so I’m going to finish off here. Let me leave with this quote from the book:

“I think the good moms are the ones who follow their dreams, work hard at whatever they do, love their people well, and give Jesus all the credit and glory along the way. These are the moms who are doing the thing day in and day out and doing it well.”

About the Author

With a passion for writing, Kristin Funston encourages women in a way that is relatable and practical, with a healthy dose of humor. She has a master’s degree in Communication Studies from Mexico State University. Kristin is a member and employee of Hope Presbyterian Church and works as the Marriage and Family Coordinator and a leader in the women’s ministry. She is also a regular contributor to multiple blogs including The Better Mom, City Moms blog, TODAY Parenting and Scary Mommy. Funston resides outside of Memphis, TN with her husband and three daughters.


Head shot of Kristin Funston, author of More for Mom ~ Living Your Whole and Holy Life

Let me know what you think of the book, be sure to pick it up here! Happy reading!

The Wellness Revelation

Loose What Weighs You Down so you can Love God, Yourself & Others

I recently went through The Wellness Revelation book and program as part of a group my sister was leading. It has seriously been an eye opening experience for me, especially in terms of how and what I eat. I never considered how eating can be a way to worship the Lord and be a form of self-care for myself. Food has always just been food for me, something to eat and enjoy. Now, I’m seeing it more as fuel for my body to keep going.

Wellness Revelation- Lose what weighs your down so you can love God, yourself & others.

I started off on this Revelation Wellness journey thinking I would get some motivation and change in my mindset when it comes to exercise. With this being a “fitness journey” this is what I was expecting. Well, I was wrong! Doesn’t God always work in unexpected ways? You’d think I’d know that by now, but thankfully God is gracious and keeps reminding me.

My Goals for The Revelation Wellness Journey

I started out with 4 specific goals.

  • Have more energy
  • Improve my mood
  • Lose some tummy weight
  • Have compassion on myself.

While I do believe I reached most of those goals (not that I’m there, it’s a work in progress!), I really thought it would be through exercising more. However, God taught me a lot more through food. In week 2, we were challenged to fasting (You can read my post on that in my post 6 Things I learned While Fasting). It was a really special 24 hours for me. My biggest realization was that I am able to say “No” to food.

I’ve always struggled with self control in the eating area. It never used to be an issue for me when I was younger. I had a high metabolism and was super active. But that has changed as I have gotten older. Lately, I’m always “rewarding” myself with treats. I’m potty training my 3 year old right now. If she pees on the potty, she gets a treat, and so does Mommy, because potty training is hard! I’ve seen that I am able to reset my mindset in this and realize I don’t need to use food as a reward.

Picture of apple with quote from The Wellness Revelation book.

Living Wholeheartedly

I love that this 8 week program focuses on living wholeheartedly. It’s not just about losing weight. It’s not just about what we eat. We have to take care of the body as a whole. A lot of times we can become selfish and prideful. We either swing to one side of the pendulum or the other. We either over-eat, sit on the couch and neglect our bodies, or we work out and diet like crazy becoming obsessed with our bodies. I loved this view of treating the body as a whole. It’s about lining out whole lives up with God’s plan for our lives. It’s about giving Him access to every part of our lives.

What’s Missing?

I worked in the fitness industry in my 20’s. I had a diploma in Fitness and Exercise Management and managed a women’s gym for a few years. It was heartbreaking to see some women there every day of the week obsessing about gaining a pound. It was also heartbreaking when people would sign up for a membership and then just not show up. They knew their health was important, that’s why they signed up, there was just no follow through. They were stuck in their old habits. I also hated all the roller coaster rides people went through. They’d lose a bunch of weight only to gain it all back again. It was depressing. Something was missing.

A relationship with Christ was missing. Knowing there is something more to your life than your body and your looks is what was missing. I’m not saying every person who goes to the gym and tries to work out is not following Christ, I’m just saying that we need to have our priorities in order. Christ always needs to be at the top and He wants to heal not just our bodies, but out minds, souls and whole lives!

Join The Revelation Wellness Journey

If you are interested in learning more about The Wellness Revelation, check out the book! It’s available on Amazon, just follow this link. Or if you are looking to join more of an accountability group to go through this journey with a facilitator, you can get in touch with my sister Rachel. You can check out her Facebook page Reclamation Fitness or email her at reclamationfitness11@gmail.com. The book is amazing, most importantly though, I found doing along with a group to be super helpful. We had weekly chats and emails; we could talk about what we were learning and where we were struggling. It was that extra bit of accountability, and Lord knows I need that!!

Revelation Wellness Book

Let me leave you with a quote from The Wellness Revelation book. Its from Week 6, Attend to Matters of the Heart. You can find it on page 167 “Today I will be kind. I will speak only kind words about myself and others. I will entertain only kind thoughts about myself and others. I will eat food that is kind to my body. I will go to the gym and move my body as an act of kindness. I am kind because my King is kind… I am on the kindness diet! I have learned to be kind to myself because God is always so kind to me.”

The Most Important Job

Do you ever feel like your job as a mom is hopeless? Here you are, raising these little children who rarely say please or thank you, whine all day and won’t go to sleep at night. What’s the point? It’s exhausting on the good days, don’t even ask about the bad days! Here’s a little secret though: It’s THE most important job there is out there.

The Most Important Job- plant sprouting from hand

Recently I’ve come to see motherhood as being a gardener. Bare with me in this analogy as I don’t have much of a green thumb at all!

Gardening

These little seeds, little children, are given to us to nurture and grow. A gardener puts a lot of work into seedlings. They have to be watered, fertilized and put in the right environment to grow, sometimes gardeners even sing to their plants! (I sing to my girls almost every night!) As the seeds mature into saplings (toddlers), they still need lots of attention. They may need to be pruned or put into a bigger pot or better soil. If there is no gardener, these plants have little to no chance of growing into trees that bear fruit.

Our Role

Our role as mothers is just as important as a gardener. If we want our children to continue to grow and mature and eventually bear fruit themselves, we have to put in the hard work. We have to be bearing our own fruit!

As Andy Stanley once said “The greatest contribution you make to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise.”

Don’t ever think your job as a mom is less important than what someone else does. Don’t ever think it’s a waste of time. You are tending to those children, growing them into tall strong trees, rooted in Christ, that will bear their own fruit in time.

Jesus as Gardener

Many times in the New Testament Jesus uses gardening analogies as well. There’s the parable of the seeds in Matthew 13 where Jesus compares seeds growing in fertile soil to those who hear the Word and understand it.

John 15 talks all about gardening. Jesus says He is the vine, God is the vinedresser (gardener) and we are the the branches. Good branches that bear fruit the Father prunes to bear more fruit. A branch cannot bear fruit unless it remains in the vine. As we are pruning and bringing up our children, we must remain in the vine (in Christ) to continue producing fruit. And for our children to produce fruit, we must continue to point them back to the vine, back to Jesus.

Luke 6:44 says “For each tree is known by it’s own fruit.” What is the fruit we are wanting to be known by? What fruit do I want My children to bear? The fruit of the Spirit of course! “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

So press on! Keep on doing what you’re doing! Be the best possible momma you can be. Whether you’re a stay at home mom, or you work full time; it doesn’t matter. Continue bear your fruit and pointing your kids back to the vine. That is how you accomplish the most important job in the world. That’s how you raise strong children.

How to Have it All by Imani Ackerman ~ Book Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review and opinions. Everything expressed in this article is my own. This post may contain affiliate links. Through no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission. For all the details please see our Disclosure Statement.

Book Review of How to Have it All by Imani Ackerman

If you know me at all, you’ll know that I enjoy a good book. I could sit on a beach and read all day. Now that I have kids I don’t get as much time to read, but I still read when I can. I was very excited when the opportunity came up to read and do a review of Imani Ackerman’s book How to Have it All: The Secrets of a Proverbs 31 Woman.

Ah, Proverbs 31! The ultimate of all ultimate lists of a what a Christian woman strives to be. There are entire ministries, books, Bible studies etc. dedicated to this one chapter in the Bible. It paints a beautiful picture, it really does; a hard working, respected woman. She runs her own household and her own business. She’s a great mom, wife, daughter and friend. She would probably have a million followers on Instagram of women who want to be just like her. Imani refers to her as “Martha Stewart + Beyonce + Oprah with more kids than Angelina Jolie and a husband who rivals Barak Obama in administration. And she loves God!” (pg14)

How to Have it All by Imani Ackerma on Kindle reader

But, there’s the problem. It’s so easy to look at her as this picture of perfection that we want to be. So, what do we do? We do all the things she does. We get up earlier than the dawn, we work with our hands (and we’ll make ourselves enjoy it because, after all, she does!) we start trying to make our own clothing for crying out loud! All because of the Proverbs 31 Woman.

Is this what God intended when He included this book in His Word? I don’t think so. Comparison and jealousy are not of God. “I think God wants to use this woman to inspire us to be all that He has made us to be.” (pg 25) “Proverbs 31 is not a formula for how to redeem your past. God did not put this chapter in the Bible to give us a recipe for successful women that would prove the world wrong for the way they hurt us, abused us, used us and cast us aside. God did not put this chapter in the Bible to show us how we could make our lives better than it was before… We are going to dig even deeper into the purpose for this Scripture and how it can help us see the things God has for us come to fruition.” (pg33-36)

Did you know this passage is actually an acrostic poem in Hebrew? Each verse starts with a letter of the alphabet. It’s not even about a specific woman, but a woman this mother thinks her son should marry. “She lists one quality of this woman for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet.” (pg 32).

Proverbs 31 Woman

I learned so much from reading this book (and if you know me, you know I like myself a good book!!) I can’t encourage you enough to read this book. Especially if you are one of those women, like me, who tend to read Proverbs 31 as a “to do” or checklist of things to do to be a godly woman. You can purchase How to Have it All for just $9.99 on Amazon. It’s worth every penny in my opinion! It’s great to read on your own, or with some girlfriends in a Bible Study or Book Club. Imani has some very thought provoking questions at the end of each chapter. The chapters are short, so you could easily do 2 or 3 a week.

6 Things I Learned Fasting

6 Things I learned Fasting

I’ve been doing a new wellness program called The Wellness Revelation (more on that in another post!) The other week was about bondage and how we are often slaves to our food. We don’t eat to fuel, we eat to try to fill a void. Anyway, we were challenged to fast. I’ve never done an actual fast before and I didn’t think I was going to do one this time either. I just thought “I don’t feel called to this.” Well, I was wrong. Throughout the week, many signs pointed to me fasting. Here are the 6 things I learned Fasting.

So, I decided to go ahead and do it and see what God wanted to show me! It seems fitting seeing as I’ve been working through writing my devotional on the book of Esther. The first few chapters of the book are full of praying and fasting. **Sign up here to get on the list to receive your very own copy of my 5 Day Esther Devotional for FREE**

Free Book of Esther Devotional Sign up

Things I learned while fasting

1. It’s hard to do with kids! I wasn’t eating, but my kids still had to eat! They aren’t quite old enough to fend for themselves. Smelling their food was so tempting! I almost caved a couple times. The chicken nuggets they had for lunch smelled so good! I almost gave in and broke my fast to eat one, but God helped me resist temptation.

2. I realized how much I eat just because I think I “deserve” it. A cookie here, sure I earned it doing all that laundry. I went for a walk today, I can have those chips! Or I made it through another day and the girls are safely in bed, I’d love some chocolate, thank you!

I almost ate that chicken nugget because it had been a long morning with sick kids spent at the walk in clinic. I earned that nugget. Often, I use food as a reward for myself.

3. I am blessed to be tempted by food. One thing the book said about fasting was to consider those in developing countries who have no food. They don’t know where their next meal is coming from. As I smelled those delicious nuggets, I realized just how lucky I am to be tempted to eat the food. So many people don’t have food to be tempted by!

4. I prayed, a lot. Not just for the strength to not eat the nugget, but also for people and situations around me. I prayed for my kids while they were eating breakfast and I was sipping water and tea. I prayed for the poor as I realized how lucky we are to have so much food. When I was tempted to eat something, my mind would shift to God and why I was fasting and prompt me to have a conversation with him. It was really nice.

6 Things I Learned Fasting- praying in sunset

5. I am able to resist temptation. Sure giving in would have been easier, but I am able to say no. Before, I would be craving and just say “oh what the heck, I can just eat it!” Those add up and I didn’t even realize how much I was eating in a day. Now that I know I went a whole day saying “No,” I know I can say no to even the small things everyday. It might seem like a small thing, but for me, it was a big thing to work through.

6. At the end of the day I really thought I’d be stuffing my face with food because I was so hungry. But I didn’t. I was hungry, but not like I thought I would be. I learned that it really is Christ who sustains me and not food. Food is good and necessary to fuel our bodies, but it is Christ who gives us real life!

If you’ve ever thought of fasting, I challenge you to give it a try. I really did feel dependent and very close to God that day. Pray about it and if God puts it on your heart, don’t be afraid to try it. If you do, let me know how it went and what you learned! I’d love to hear it!!

6 Things I learned Fasting

[social_warfare ]

What are You Worth?

My kids are sick… both of them, but especially Lily. She’s got a chest infection and is on antibiotics and an inhaler. Last night as I was laying in bed, trying to fall asleep, listening to her cough, I was just overcome with how much I wanted to just take it away from her. I would take the cough and sniffles in a heart beat for her. That’s how much I love and value her, that’s how much she’s worth to me. What are you worth?

I was at church a few weeks ago, and the worship leader was talking about what our value is. Value is usually determined by how much someone is willing pay for an item. There are somethings I’ll spend a little more money on (I’m usually pretty frugal) because I value them more. Like I said, I highly value my daughter, my family in general. I would do anything for them. So, what are you worth?

Ultimate Sacrifice

You are worth so much, Christ paid His life for you!! His actual, physical life. And not just any death, a humiliating death on the cross. He literally took our place and gave his life for us. That’s how much you are worth to Him!

"But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" Romans 5:8

When Lily was born (check out her preemie story here) I was struck by just how big of a sacrifice this is. There I was, lying naked for all to see. I had my arms stretched out for IV’s and blood pressure cuffs. I was literally about to sacrifice my body for my daughter. In the next couple minutes they would start cutting me open to get my daughter out and save both of our lives. I know, it’s not an exact analogy, but that’s what was going on in my head as I was laying there. This was the biggest sacrifice I’ve ever made for someone.

And Christ’s sacrifice for us is so much more! I hope and pray you know how much He loves you and how much you are worth to Him. I pray that He is the one you look to when you are trying to figure out what your worth is. If you’re feeling down on yourself, feeling like you can’t keep up or live up to expectations, remember your worth! Remember what Christ paid for you and live in light of that! You are so loved and treasured.

Moving Forward

I wonder what our lives would look like if we really believed how much we are worth. We can have so much confidence and self worth in Christ. If we knew or understood how much Christ paid for us, I think we would all just live in so much more joy and happiness and thanksgiving! I want to live like that! And I can because of Christ’s sacrifice!

"Man does not know its value, nor is it found in the land of the living." Job 28:13

What are your thoughts on this? How do you think your life would look if you truly knew how much Christ thinks you are worth and valued? Would it look different?

What are You Worth?
[social_warfare ]

4 Dangers of Being too Busy

Have you ever took on too much? Said yes to too many things or too many people? That’s what I did this month. Maybe I got a little too gung-ho about it being a New Year with a new start. I said I’d participate in 3 book clubs, made some big goals and plans for my blog including writing a devotional on the book of Esther (stay tuned to sign up for that in the next few weeks!!), took on a pretty difficult crochet project and decided to do a new wellness program. Oh yeah… and as if that’s not enough, we’re moving next month!! Busyness!! But there are many dangers of taking on too much! Here are my top 4 Dangers of being too busy.

4 Dangers of Being too Busy

1. Burnout

I’ve been there… I’ve reached the end of myself and burnt out. I know God wants us to reach the end of ourselves in order for Him to do His work, but there’s a difference to surrendering that and working ourselves dead to the bone. I’ve seen others go through burn out as well and it’s tough. Sometimes, we have to make really hard decisions to take care of ourselves and avoid burning out.

When we first decided it was time for my Dad to move into a nursing home (due to his Dementia and Parkinson’s Disease) my mom was nearing burn out. She was his full time care giver and he required 24/7 care. That’s a lot for one person to do. My siblings and I tried to help as much as we could, but she was with him the most, so most of it fell on her plate. It was time for him to go into a care home, but it was still a hard decision. It was the right decision, and I believe it helped my mom avoid burnout.

Girl with hands on face by computer- 4 Dangers of Being too Busy.

2. Exhaustion/Insomnia

Staying up late to finish up a project, getting up early to get a head start. Burning the candle at both ends. It’s a dangerous thing! Sleep is so important to our health. Our bodies need that time to rest and be restored. Here’s a WebMD article outlining 9 Surprising Benefits of Sleep. Hello decreased hunger! That alone is worth it for me (I can be a bit of a stress eater.) I know too, at least for me, when I have a lot to do, my mind races at night. Rather than getting a good nights sleep, I’m planning out my schedule for the next day, or thinking about all the things that could possibly go wrong, or trying to remember what that guy on that TV shows name was. My mind will do anything but sleep when it’s overworked and overtired! It’s a never ending cycle of tiredness!

3. Short Temper

When I have too much to do, the people around me who mean the most to me get the worst of me. I’m either so tired (see #2 on the list) or so consumed by what I have to do, that heaven forbid you interrupt me! Even if you are my 3 year old daughter asking me to play with you. I get short tempered and I yell more than I like or want to. Not just my kids, but my husband doesn’t get the best of me either. I’m so busy trying to complete everything on my to-do list that I end up with no time for him. It’s not fair to anyone, and it just makes me feel guilty in the end (which is another thing I’ll be thinking about at night now!)

4. Paralysis

I don’t mean physically, although I’m sure with enough stress you probably could become paralyzed. I mean when you sit there looking at all the things you want to accomplish and you just don’t know where to start! It’s easy to get so overwhelmed by everything that you never really get anything done! Fear can also be our worst enemy in these situations. It can be so paralyzing. Fear that we won’t be good enough if we don’t accomplish what we set out to do, fear of what others think about us, fear of failure, even fear of success. These are all things that can paralyze us and leave us completely ineffective. So, instead of getting a few things crossed off your list, you get nothing done.

Scrabble letters spelling out Fear

So, I know I need to watch myself. I know I need to get my sleep and say no once in a while. I hate when I say yes to something only to realize I can’t actually do it. I’ve had to drop 2 of the book clubs I was reading with just to avoid burning out.

What are somethings you do to avoid the dangers of being too busy? What do you do when you reach a level of busyness that is too much for you?

4 Dangers of being too busy

I’m so honoured to share that this post was featured on the Salt & Light link up!!

[social_warfare ]

The Liebster Award

I am so honoured to have been nominated for the Liebster award by Elizabeth Auwarter of the Recovering Perfectionist. I connected with her a few months ago when I wrote a guest post for her blog (you can read it here).

Basically, this award is for great bloggers to recognize other great bloggers. “Liebster in German means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.”

How the Liebster Award Works

-Thank the person who nominated you in your post.
-Answer the questions from your nominator.
-Pick your nominees.
-Display the Liebster Award on your blog.

My Answers:

  1. What inspires you to write? God and my kiddos
  2. What is your favorite part of blogging? The art of writing. Seeing a post come together is really cool. I have a rough idea in my head of what I want to say, but sometimes it goes in a completely different direction!
  3. Who are your three favorite authors and why? I don’t know if I could just pick 3! I just really love reading, doesn’t really matter to me who has written it!
  4. When was a time you failed, and how did you get back up? I fail daily! This has especially been evident to me since becoming a Mom. But, God is gracious and compassionate and I need to learn to be gracious and compassionate to myself as well.
  5. What is your life motto? I don’t know if I have a life motto, but my word of the year for 2019 is Joy. So this year at least, I’m choosing to find joy in all I do.
  6. What was a book that inspired you/changed your life and how? Is it cheesy if I say the Bible? I can’t say any other book I’ve read stands out to me as life changing.
  7. Who is a blogger that inspires you and why? Becky Thompson of ScissortailSilk. I’d tossed around the idea of starting a blog before, in fact, I think I’d even started this one before reading her book “Hope Unfolding.” Reading that book really inspired me to go forward with my blogging trusting God would lead me along the way.
  8. If you could pursue any writing career, besides blogger, what would it be and why? I think journalism would be neat. But I’d probably like to write personal interest type articles.
  9. What are your five top things you are thankful for? God, my husband, my daughters, my family and health
  10. If you could be a brand ambassador for any any brand what would it be and why? Probably some shoe company! I have a slight obsession with shoes! (Just ask my hubby!)

Nominations:

I’m excited to nominate the following blogs for the Liebster award! You have to answer the following 10 questions! I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.

https://www.thebigfamilyhome.com/

https://iamthemoodymom.com/

https://lullabylark.com/

  1. What is your favourite book and why?
  2. Who inspires you in life and in blogging?
  3. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? (money is no object)
  4. Who was your childhood best friend and are you still in touch with them?
  5. What is one thing you do every day just for yourself?
  6. How to you balance blogging and motherhood?
  7. What is your absolute favourite meal?
  8. If you could have lunch with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
  9. Do you have a guilty pleasure? What is it?
  10. Who is an artist (or a song) that you could listen to on repeat all day long?

Finding Joy in Cleaning Up

Joy

This year, I chose the word “JOY” as my word of the year ( Word of the Year 2019.) Well, it’s only a week in and I feel like the word is jumping out all over the place! Seriously, I’m seeing it everywhere; books I’m reading, shows I’m watching, random Facebook posts. It’s EVERYWHERE!! It’s like God said “Ok, you chose to word Joy, now I’m going to show it to you all over the place!! But, finding joy in cleaning up was not something I expected!

My Top 2019 Resolution- Word of the Year is Joy

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

Recently, I started watching the Netflix series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” What an eye opener! The very first episode the husband is more bothered by the clutter and mess than the wife. The thing that keeps coming up in the show is, when looking at items of clothing, or collectables, or books, to ask yourself “Does it spark Joy?”

My husband and I have different expectations when it comes to being clean and tidy. It’s opposite of the “typical” gender roles. Pete likes things much more clean and organized than I would do for myself. Believe me, we’ve had our fair share of fights over the state of the kitchen (he’s usually right, but don’t tell him that!!) I just honestly sometimes don’t notice how chaotic it’s gotten, I guess I got used to it living on my own before we got married. And sometimes at the end of the day running after 2 toddlers, dishes are the LAST thing I want to do! Pete has told me multiple times, that getting rid of clutter would help decrease some of my stress. I always just sort of brushed it off. Honestly, until I watched this Netflix show, I never really understood how much it stressed him out.

In that first episode, the husband says that his family is not getting the best of him because he’s always stressed out about the clutter. Wow. I feel like I’ve been putting Pete through the same thing.

Finding Joy in Cleaning Up

We are moving next month into a smaller place than we have now. Now is the PERFECT time to start de-cluttering and finding joy in it at the same time (seeing as Joy is my word of the year!) Yesterday, I went through the majority of my clothes. Each item I looked at and asked if it brought me joy. I have a garbage bag to bring to the thrift store. There were things I was just holding on to for no real reason! If the only items I have in my closet are things that bring me joy, I’ll be able to feel joyful in what I’m wearing every day rather than being overwhelmed by choices and not knowing what to wear. The next thing I want to tackle is books!

Finding Joy in Cleaning - mopping the kitchen

I never considered how keeping a tidy, uncluttered house would bring joy to our family. But, I can see it now. Sparking joy in my husband and having him less stressed will help me in finding joy in tidying up. Bringing him joy brings me joy! Not having as much “stuff” makes it easier to keep things clean. So, unless something brings me joy, why keep it? We have a coffee table downstairs that was my family’s when I was growing up, so I have a sentimental attachment. I asked myself last night, does it bring me joy? Not really.. I told Pete to sell it!

Marie Kondo

This lady is amazing! She even has her own YouTube channel with tons of tips including how to properly fold your laundry. I’ve been doing it wrong all along! the amount of room I saved in my drawers yesterday was amazing. And I can see everything without having to pull everything out. That brings me joy!

She also has a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. I’ve downloaded it as an audio book and can’t wait to start listening to it!

I’d love for you to join me on this journey of finding joy in cleaning up. You can help keep me accountable! Does having a tidy house bring you joy? Are you less stressed out with a clean place to live?

Finding Joy in Cleaning Up - organized pantry
[social_warfare ]

Love Came Down at Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!! What a day to celebrate how love came down at Christmas.

I pray you have a Christmas full of love and light! God is love and love came down at Christmastime through His son, Jesus Christ.

 

I’ll be taking a bit of a hiatus until the New Year to spend time with my family, other than a few posts I have scheduled. I’ll “see” you all in 2019!

Looking to get your own Bible this Christmas season? Want to know more about this Jesus who came to show us all love? Please, don’t be shy, I’d love to talk more about it. You can contact me directly through my About Me section. Another great place to start is to get your own Bible (I recommend this Easy to Read Bible you can get from Amazon. Look for the section called “John”. This is a great to place to start learning more about Christ.

Indescribable Peace This Christmas

Indescribable Peace

Welcome to week 3 of my Advent series, Indescribable Peace this Christmas! I realize I went a little bit out of the traditional order doing Joy last week and Peace this week, but I’m sure there’s some reason God had me write it in the order I did, even if it was just for reminding myself to choose joy last week!

My Story of Indescribable Peace

Our oldest daughter, Lily, was born 11 weeks early (you can read her miracle birth story in my blog post here).  We spent 10 long weeks in the hospital with her before we could finally take her home. We ended up taking her home on Christmas Eve of 2014. To this day, no other Christmas present has been able to top that. I don’t think it ever will.

Indescribable peace with our little miracle baby, Lily
Pete and I holding Lily for the first time

Anyway, as you can probably imagine this was the most stressful thing Pete and I had ever been through. From not knowing if she was going to survive birth or come out breathing, to suspected brain damage, to continual eye exams due to her prematurity, to her stopping breathing and turning blue one night. It was, quite frankly at times, a nightmare I just wanted to wake up from.

But the weird thing is, through this entire journey I felt this indescribable peace. This deep sense of peace that couldn’t be shaken. This sense of peace that no mater what happened, she would be OK and we would be OK. That this whole thing was something larger than ourselves.  It really is inexplicable, because I don’t think I could ever do it justice to explain this deep feeling of peace.

Phillipians 4:7

Where can we find this Indescribable Peace?

This peace can only come from one place; knowing that God is in control and we are not. He’s not just in control, He’s in control and He cares about us. He’s not plotting or planning bad things to happen. Bad things happen sometimes, like our daughter being born WAY earlier than we thought, but He is right there to walk through the whole thing with us and He wants to do the same with you!

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. ~Psalm 23:4

Friends, if I could wish for one thing for you this Christmas, I hope you find this peace within you. Christmas is not supposed to be about the hustle and bustle, or Santa and Rudolph. It’s not about the concerts and cookies, parties or presents. Christmas is about that little bitty baby laying in a manger, who grew into a man that chose to die on the cross for us to bring us peace. Because no matter what, He is with us!

Indescribable Peace

Related Posts:
~
Hope this Christmas
~ The Secret to Joy this Christmas

The Secret to Joy this Christmas

It’s the second week of Advent! This week in my Advent series, we’ll be focusing on Joy! This has been a very convicting post to write as joy is something I still struggle to find day in and day out. I don’t find joy in doing the laundry or washing the dishes. So, there has to be something more, right?!? What is the secret to Joy this Christmas?

What is Joy?

What does joy look like? Pure, unadulterated joy. Here’s a picture of my daughters playing together this summer… this to me is joy.

What pure, unadultered joy looks like ~ my girls playing together

Why do we call it unadulterated? Adultery in a marriage is cheating on your spouse. Adultery in the Bible is seeking idols or other gods besides the One True God. So how do we commit adultery on Joy? Committing adultery on Joy is when we look somewhere other than Christ for our Joy.

The Secret

We look to all sorts of other places to try and find joy.

  • Marriages
  • Likes and followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest
  • Our Children
  • Being accepted by others
  • Having a successful career

These are all things that can definitely bring us feelings of joy. But feelings don’t last, they change. I want to know that joy that is in my heart and doesn’t change based on circumstances. What’s the secret to finding that Joy?

Jesus.

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galations 5:22-23) Joy is in us because Christ lives in us. My girls like when we sing the song I’ve got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy Down in my Heart, the end of the chorus says joy is down in our heart TO STAY. It’s there, it can’t be taken away because it comes from Christ in us!

The Secret to JOY this Christmas
The Secret to Joy this Christmas

Finding Joy

How do we find joy, how do we choose joy? We look to Christ. That is part of the beauty of Christmas; Christ came down to earth to restore our relationship with God. Because of this, we can have the Holy Spirit living in us and experience Joy every day. Joy that doesn’t change when things aren’t going as we had planned. Joy in the midst of sorrow.

Satan will do anything to steal our joy, to take our focus off Christ and try to find our joy elsewhere. We are so much less effective when we aren’t joyful, at least I know I am. It says in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Notice how Jesus says He wants to have life abundantly? That includes joy. He wants us to have an abundance of joy!

So, this Christmas I choose Joy. This Christmas I choose Christ. This Christmas I celebrate Christ’s birth that has given this unending Joy down in my heart TO STAY! What will you choose this Christmas?

JOY!

Related Posts:

Hope this Christmas

So I’m sitting here in my living room, finishing up a cup of hot chocolate with the fireplace on, and I’m thinking about Hope. Here we are in the first week of Advent already, the week of Hope. I honestly don’t know where to start or what to write about. I’m having a little bit of writers block to be honest! So I started Googling, because that’s what we do when we have questions right?!? I came across a couple definitions that really got me thinking about Hope this Christmas.

Advent- the arrival of a notable person, thing or event. Waiting for Hope this Christmas

Hope at Christmas

The dictionary defines Advent as “the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.” In this case, the arrival of Christ. But that happened over 2000 years ago… where’s the hope in that? Hope is defined as “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” We can’t have a feeling of expectation or desire for something that has already happened. That doesn’t make sense.

“Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.” 1 Peter 1:13 NIV

Our hope, this feeling of expectation of the arrival of a notable person, this Advent; we wait patiently for Christ to return again. He came once, God in the form of a human baby, to live among us, forgive our sins and give us eternal life. Our hope is in the fact that He will come again! He will fully restore this world to His original plan and design.

“and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas which reminds us of hope

This Christmas as I reflect on Christ’s first coming, I also wait with expectation for His second coming.

So how do we do this? Especially with our kids? How do we describe the hope we have in Christ?

How to Teach our Kids about Hope

Last year, we bought our girls Shepherd’s Treasure. It’s like Elf on the Shelf, but not. Instead it’s the story of a little shepherd boy and his journey to find the TRUE meaning of Christmas. Kids learn about God’s great love for them when he sent his son into this world to save us! Each day a new verse from God’s word is read on the Advent card.

So, basically you hide the Shepherd Boy each night for your child to find the next morning. When they find it, you can all read the Bible verse on the card, as well as the explanation or activity or action on the back on the card. I was flipping through them today and came across the one based on Luke 2:8-16 (the birth of Jesus). On the back of the card it says “We are almost there! I can’t wait to see Jesus!” The Shepherd boy is talking about Christmas, but isn’t that an amazing thought for right now as well… we’re almost there!

Jesus is coming again! I’m going to read this card with my girls in the morning and we can talk about the Hope we have in this time leading up to Christmas and always of seeing Jesus.That is the true meaning of Hope this Christmas!

Candle with Hope this Christmas

Related posts:

Defeating Defeat

I am so honoured and excited to be published as a guest blogger on Recovering Perfectionist. When I found Elizabeth’s site, I was super encouraged and felt like we are a good fit to work together. I’m a recovering perfectionist as well 😉 I wrote the article Defeating Defeat for her blog and here it is!

Hop on over to her blog and check out my post!!

http://elizabethauwarter.com/defeating-defeat/

Defeating Defeat based on Job 38

Top Christmas Gifts for 2-4 Year Old Girls Under $30

Shopping on a Christmas budget this year? We sure are! I was asking my daughters the other day (Maggie is 2, almost 3, and Lily just turned 4) what they wanted for Christmas. We had a few flyers out with options, and other things they just told me what they wanted. I thought I’d compile a wish list of the top Christmas gifts for 2-4 year old girls under $30 (not the $240 Barbie Dream House they wanted!!) Here’s what they came up with…

This post contains Affiliate links. If you purchase through one of my links, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. For full details see our full disclosure statement

Top Christmas gifts for girls 2-4 years old wish list

  • PJ Masks Figurine Set ~ Lily is obsessed with PJ Masks thanks to her cousins!! Maggie watches it with her, but she’s still more into Paw Patrol. These are the perfect size to play with.
  • Paw Patrol Skye Set or Paw Patrol Everest Set ~ at 4 years old, Lily is sort of starting to outgrow Paw Patrol. She still LOVES Skye though and would love anything Skye related. As I said before, Maggie still loves this show! My girls favorite pups are Skye and Everest which isn’t surprising seeing as they are the only 2 girl pups and they wear pink and purple!
  • FurReal Pets Kami, My Poopin’ Kitty ~ Lily wants a cat, she loves cats. We had 2 cats when she was born, but we had to get rid of them shortly after Maggie was born, they were jealous of her! Pete also developed really bad allergies to them. But, Lily still wants one. This is the next best thing, she still has to feed it and she has to clean up after it as well. Give her a taste for having a real pet!! (mind you, she does help me feed our dog Winnie almost every day)
  • Who’s kids like to help them in the kitchen? My girls LOVE helping me bake, do dishes, make breakfast etc. Sometimes I get a little impatient because I know I can do it 10 times faster by myself, but they just love it and it’s so good for them to be and feel involved. Check out Flirty Homes (used to be Flirty Aprons), they have the cutest aprons for everyone in the family. Lily loves her little apron and I know Maggie is getting one for her birthday in January too! (They also have some other adorable decor for the home and natural cleaning products… great site all around!) www.FlirtyAprons.com
  • Disney Princess Anything ~ here’s a few ideas Disney Princess My First Bedtime Story Book , Fisher Price Little People Disney Princess set of 6, CandyLand Disney Princess Edition (the girls are just starting to get into board games, this one would be excellent for them!). Pretty much anything Disney Princess they would be happy with. They love their Shimmering Princess dolls too. We’ve also asked for a few of the movies: Frozen, Tangled and Tinker Bell
  • Barbie ~ They’re just starting to get into Barbies… Lily a bit more so than Maggie. They LOVE the Barbie Dolphin Magic movie. We’ve watched it over and over and over (see my blog about that here). I know either of the dolls, the Mermaid or the Barbie Snorkell doll would make them 2 happy little girls!
  • Finally, if you’re looking for some awesome devotionals or inspirational stories for young girls about females in the Bible, check out Bible Belles. Their books aim to teach our daughters their worth through Biblical stories. These are great for this age to build girls a solid foundation of how God sees them.

What are you getting for your kids this year? Any other great ideas? I’m not done my shopping yet (not even close!!), so I’m always looking for great ideas!!

Top Christmas Gifts for 2-4 year old girls

Fighting a Panic Attack: 4 Practical tips

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of my links, through no added cost to you, I may receive a small commission.

This past weekend my husband, Pete, and I went to Calgary. It was a quick trip and we did A LOT of driving around. He showed me where his childhood home and elementary school was in North Calgary, we caught a movie at the VIP Cinema in South Calgary. On Saturday afternoon we decided to take a drive out to Chestermere just East of Calgary. It’s a beautiful little community, there’s a gorgeous lake with cute little parks and beaches. I was really looking forward to looking around when I started having a panic attack. It started out slowly and I was just trying to control it with deep breathing. It wasn’t long before it turned into a full fledged panic attack, heart beating super fast, nausea, sweating. It was horrible. I told my hubby to pull over and puked in the parking lot of one of the cute little parks. I haven’t had a panic attack like that in years. I’ve known Pete for over 7 years and he’s never seen me like that.

So, what do I do when I’m having an attack? Here are some very practical things I do to get through my anxiety.

1- Ginger Ale, Gravol  and Gum ~ I’ve never gone onto any fast acting anxiety medications like Ativan, I haven’t felt the need to especially in the last few years as my panic attacks have been fairly well controlled. I take my anti-anxiety/anti-depressant every day, but nothing to take when I feel an attack coming on. So Ginger Ale and Gravol are my go to’s. They both help cut the nausea and the Gravol helps me settle down and pass out for a little while (see tip #3) I get very physical reactions to my panic attacks, so gum is always helpful after throwing up.

2- Remind myself of what I can control ~ The only thing we can truly control is ourselves. How we react, what we think, what we do. When I feel so out of control I find it helpful to picture myself in a box and remind myself over and over that I can’t control what people think of me when I’m like this, I can’t control the circumstances that led to the panic attack, I can’t even really control whether or not I throw up, but I can control myself and my thoughts. I had an instructor once explain it as the hula hoop. We can only control what happens in our hula hoop, not in anyone else’s.

3- Go to Bed ~ Getting some sleep make a world of difference for me! Thankfully the Gravol leaves me sleepy, so if I can get an hour or two of sleep, I usually wake up feeling refreshed and with a better outlook on life. I find having a weighted blanket or at least a heavy blanket or comforter helps me settle as well. I tried just throwing a small blanket over myself at first, but it really didn’t help. Once I put something heavier on, it seems to help control some of the reaction to anxiety (shivering, shaking, wakes of panic etc.)

4- Pray ~ Prayer helps to remind me of the bigger picture. God is ultimately in control of everything… the small things and the big picture things. It also reminds me that I am not alone. I am never alone, God is always there walking with me through the good times and the bad.

Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” ~ Deuteronomy 31:6

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” ~ Psalm 139:7-10

Finally friends, I want to remind you (and myself) anxiety does not define you. Let me say that again, because if nothing else helps you from this post, I want you to know that anxiety does not define you. I was really worried I would have another panic attack the next day, but I didn’t. I was fine, my anxiety attack did not define me or how the weekend went. I still had a great time. I am just a regular person who has panic attacks sometimes. There is nothing wrong with you if you have anxiety like me. It’s a sickness and it can be dealt with and overcome to live a happy, healthy and fruitful life. Don’t be afraid to seek help if you need it, it is nothing to be ashamed of.

What are some of the ways you cope with stress/anxiety or panic attacks? I’d love to hear from you! The more “tools” we can have in our belts to fight these kinds of things, the better! We’re in this together.

xoxo,

  Caroline

Obsessed with Picture Perfect

Fall is here and that means Pumpkin patch season!! I love going to our local pumpkin patch to get pumpkins and pick apples. I’ve been twice in the last week! As long as it isn’t raining, I’m game to go! Shopping local is awesome and I love to support local. Plus, the fruit always tastes better and lasts longer as it’s straight from the farm!

The other day I was on a field trip with Lily. I was struck by how many people were snapping photos after photo after photo of their kids rather than just enjoying the time with their kid. Moms were stuck behind their cameras or cell phones moving their kids around and telling them to sit still to get the perfect picture. Kids were fidgeting and trying to run away making moms more and more upset.

Are we so obsessed in today’s world with getting the perfect picture to put on our social media rather than the moments in time we get to spend with our loved ones? We’re so concerned about portraying our perfect life on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter that sometimes I think we forget to enjoy the time we get to spend with our kids. I’ll admit, I’m guilty of it too. As soon as I snap a cute picture of the girls I start thinking about how I can put it on social media. If I don’t like the picture, there is no chance I’m posting it! We “airbrush” our lives to make them look how we want rather than actually connecting to people on a human level and relating to them in our struggles and weakness, joys and strengths. He wants us to be authentic. It’s sad really how disconnected our world is becoming. There are more and more ways to connect with others, but is having a device in our hands or in front of us really connecting with people?

When Christ died for us, He did it so He can have a relationship with us and we can have one with Him. God is all about relationships, that’s why He’s 3 in 1, that’s why He created us in the first place. He wants us all to live in relationship. His greatest commandment is to Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31. There is nothing more important to God and there should be nothing more important to us.

I just pray that as I snap my pictures my images won’t be more important to me than the subjects I’m taking pictures of!

xoxo

   Caroline

Overcoming Mom Guilt

This is the time of year my “Mom Guilt” kicks into high gear. It’s almost Lily’s birthday, she’ll be 4 next week. I still can’t believe that, but it’s true! You can read all about her miracle birth story in my post My Preemie Miracle.

First time holding my precious baby girl!

4 days before Lily was born, I was in the ER with severe upper right abdominal pain. It was my third time in the ER in the 6 and a half months I was pregnant. I had gallstones and the way Lily was sitting in my tummy was causing them to be pushed out. Talk about pain! I was 13 weeks pregnant when it first happened and I was sure I was miscarrying. The pain was unimaginable. Thankfully it was just gallstones and not the baby! Anyway, when I got to the ER that third time, they did the standard tests of temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. My blood pressure was through the roof… I remember seeing 184/something. When I was in at 19 weeks, the nurses had told me that after 20 weeks any woman who comes in to the ER with stomach pain automatically gets sent up to the maternity ward. Even though I was almost 29 weeks, I was not. I was kept in the ER. That was my first mistake. I knew they had said that to me on my last visit, but everyone just kept putting my high blood pressure off as being from the pain. I should have pushed to go up to the maternity ward. Both of my sisters also had early deliveries due to preeclampsia (Don’t know what Preeclampsia is? Read my post: What is Preeclampsia?) Not 11 weeks early, but still early. I should have known better. I knew the symptoms of preeclampsia. I wasn’t having some of the more common symptoms, such as headache and vision problems, so I guess I just ignored it.

There are so many “what ifs” that run through my head! What if my preeclampsia was caught earlier? Would they have been able to keep Lily in longer? What if I didn’t have a routine prenatal appointment 4 days later when it was finally caught? What if I had a seizure, or a stroke? I was at home by myself for those 4 days. Anything could have happened in those hours Pete was at work. What if, what if, what if…

What if’s cause guilt. We second guess what we did. We think of all the ways we could have done things better. We strive to be perfectionists (at least I do!) and when something doesn’t go perfectly as planned, we heap on the guilt. I believe we are harder on ourselves than we are on anyone else. We need to learn to have some compassion on ourselves as well.

So, how do we move past that Mom guilt? Thanksgiving.

I am thankful Lily is a lively, active, smart and challenging. She is a completely typical 4 year old! I am thankful nothing happened in those 4 days between when I was in the ER and when Lily was born. I am thankful I had that doctors appointment set up already. I am thankful for Lily’s safe delivery and for my safety that day. I am thankful for our time in the NICU, I really am. It’s not how I would have planned things to go, but we were so blessed by our time there by seeing our family and friends come around us and support us, by feeling God right there with us and being completely confident He would provide for us no matter what the outcome was. We had the best possible outcome, but I know there are others who do not. But there is always something to be thankful for. There is always something other than guilt that we can focus on and be thankful for, even if it is just the fact that God is walking through this time in our life with us. He will never leave us or forsake us and for this reason we can be strong and courageous (Deuteronomy 31:6).

So, if you are feeling Mom guilt today, think about all the things you are thankful for. Write them down! Start a gratitude journal! Tell them to someone! Tell them to God! The more we are thankful for, the less we feel guilty for.

xoxo

Caroline