My Journey to Self-Worth

This afternoon my husband and I were having a really deep discussion about our lives and  all the lessons we’ve learned since we got married, and he was really opening up to me about his journey. Somehow we got onto the topic of me not working outside the home and how he has struggled at times to accept that because he was thinking of all the money that we wouldn’t be making.

Now this didn’t surprise me because we’ve always gone back and forth about what would happen if I worked, or how much more we could afford if I had a job, but it has always been from my perspective. I’m normally the one who is more vocal about the fact that I wish I had the money to by a new purse, or the latest model car, so it was completely new for me to actually hear my husband confess that he struggled with that as well. However he ended his confession by saying something like, “but I realized that I was being selfish and that you really didn’t have time to work because you were too busy with kids and the house stuff.”

Now ladies, when he said that I was just dumbfounded, that he didn’t see the ironicalness of what he said, I could not work outside the home because I was too busy working inside the home. What? I told him that it took me so long, eleven years to be exact, to finally realize that I have worth and value even if I’m not being recognized, even if no one else can see it, even if it’s not glamorous, and even if I don’t make an annual salary. I have worth and my, “job” is important and without me my husband and my family could not function without me. This is not me tooting my own horn, or claiming to have it all together, because you guys know I don’t. This is me telling my 25-year-old self, my 30-year-old self, that I have great value, and great worth. This is me finally giving my self a pat on the back, a thumbs up, and a blue ribbon. I needed so desperately for someone to come along and reassure me that I was doing a good thing, an important work, that my family needed me to do exactly what I was doing. I’m sure I still would have had struggles and times when I felt like I wasn’t being effective, but it would’ve make such a huge impact on my life to just hear the words.

After I said this he was quick to make sure that I knew how much he appreciated me and loved me and all that jazz, and I appreciated that. What I realized though is that what mattered the most is that I knew it about myself, and I didn’t need anyone else to tell me. I have finally made it to the place where I no longer need to hear someone else say those words to me, because I fervently believe them about myself. It took a lot of pain and fighting to get to this point, but I made it now and I will never feel that way about myself again.

I know that I have value, even if nobody else can see it, and trust me most of my family members still ask me when am I going to use my degree? I still get the question, “What do you do all day?” 

My husband is human and he is not a robot, and I acknowledge that, but I think I was looking to him to reassure me that I was doing the right thing, only to find out that he wasn’t sure at first either. Year after year it became increasingly more obvious that some one had to be at home to raise our children and offer them stability. Due to his career he can’t be here with us everyday or even every week sometimes; however, because he has a wife he can jet around the world and be confident that he has someone to keep the home fires burning.  He never has to worry about if someone can pick up the kids, or if someone can take his clothes to the dry cleaners, because he has me.

I want to make sure that if you’re reading this right now you know that you have value and you have worth. I want you to know that no other person could add what you bring to the people in your life. I want to tell you that I think you’re special and I’m so glad that God created you!

I would love for you ladies to share how you discovered your self-worth! Tell us how you came to realize that you were necessary and that your family couldn’t function the same without what you add to their lives?

Hate: The New Epidemic

Here on my little tiny piece of the internet you’re not going to read much about hate and evil, because I like to be uplifting and encouraging. I would much rather laugh than cry, and I prefer to focus on the good things in life and be happy. However, I have been really disturbed by this growing trend of hate and anger that seems to be plaguing the whole world right now. Every where you look someone seems to be expressing how angry they are with a certain group, or how much they hate this or that and I feel like our world is so divided. To be honest it really scares me to think that my sweet little children are growing up in a world where evil abounds so greatly.

In truth every parent has probably felt this way to some degree because the world can change so much by the time we grow up and start having families and raising our own children. I think what I find most disturbing is that this hatred seems to be contagious, it seems like a new infectious disease that can easily spread from person to person. My family and I have been so blessed and we have some really great people around us, but we’re still not immune to the climate of the world right now.

I think the thing that I have to keep telling myself over and over again is, I can change the world, by raising better human beings. If I leave it up to the media, or someone’s bumper sticker to raise my children the results will be more of the same. I know it sounds like a cliché but what the world needs now is love! There’s a saying that we should show more love to difficult people because they need it the most. That’s easy to say and very hard to do!

I believe that hate breeds more hate. I use to think that if some one hated me because of something I couldn’t control that it was just me that they hated, wrong!

The thing about hate is it’s like a virus that spreads and infects everything and everyone around you. If you’re not careful you can allow someone else’s issues to cause you to be infected as well. We can not combat hatred with more hate, we have to show love in the face of such ignorance and evil. If we begin to meditate on how much we dislike someone or a particularly negative experience we will be consumed by that same hatred that hurt us. We have to move on from such low forms of self expression, so that we can free up our hearts. We were never created to carry around such heavy loads of anger and bitterness. We were made to soar and to love one another.

I think that we should celebrate the things that make us different, and embrace our cultural diversities instead of separating ourselves based off virtues of birth. Now, I do need to say that I’m not endorsing anything or lifestyles that the bible condemns, but I do believe our world would be a much nicer place if we all made an effort to be kinder to each other. What do we stand to gain by hating someone? All that we can gain is a sure fire way to lose an opportunity to learn something new about people we don’t know and may never have to pleasure to meet.

One important thing that I have started doing is to stop looking at it, I hide the Facebook post, and change the channel from all the drama. I’m not trying to stick my head in the sand, but I recognize that when you feed something it grows. I chose not to feed the negativity, and to avoid the drama. I want to be more calculated about making sure that I’m at peace and that I’m walking in love towards my neighbors, near and far.

I would encourage you to join me as I pray for our enemies and those who have hate in their hearts against anyone else. I know it may seem naïve, but I really do believe in the power of prayer. I still believe that we can make the world a better place for our children’s children. We have to start somewhere, so why not with ourselves and our children!

You Win Some, You Lose Some

I have been so busy lately, I’m literally being pulled in three different directions at once! Of course I’m a wife and a mother, but I recently added blogger and writer to that list. I think I knew that if I wanted to be a writer and a blogger that I would have more responsibilities, but I didn’t know what exactly that would cost me.

I didn’t realize how much time I would have to invest in writing a book and getting it ready to go to print and publication. I certainly underestimated how much effort and dedication I would have to put into my blog to make it what I envisioned when I started.

What I have learned is balance is the key to accomplishing my goals, and actually feeling like I’m getting things done. The funny part is, I feel like sometimes I lose in one area of my life in order to win in another area. For example, on the days when I manage to get tons of writing and editing done, my house ends up looking like a tornado came through. However, on days when I catch up on all my house work and laundry, I get almost no work done at all. Then sometimes I have days when I decide to be super woman and get house work and writing done! On those days I seem to do everything poorly and collapse from exhaustion by the end of the night.

I’m finding that I have to make some hard choices sometimes, do I ignore my household chores so I can get some quality work done, or do I forget about writing and catch up on all my housework? For me the meaning of balance is not how many things I can juggle without dropping something; it’s knowing that I can’t give ten percent of myself to something and expect it to be my best. I’m finding that trying to be every woman, is causing me to spread myself too thin. As much as I hate to admit it, I realize that I have to learn how to do a one or the other. It doesn’t help anyone if I’m stressed out and upset because I’m trying to do to many things at once. When that happens I don’t do anything well.

I actually produce a much higher quality of work when I commit myself to it, instead of saying I’ll write while I cook. That may sound strange, but that’s what I was trying to do and that’s why I felt like a failure. Now I’m not saying that we should never multitask, because well let’s face it Moms are good at that sort of thing. However, I have learned that when it comes to my writing I have set aside time so that I can focus on just my work so that I can create something that I’m proud of.

I would love to hear from some of you ladies who I follow who blog consistently and whom I admire so much. How do you achieve balance? To  you lovely working wives and mothers how do you get it all done? I feel like I’ve been doing this now for about four or five months and I’m still trying things to see what works best for me. I want to hear from you in the comments!

 

Cloud by Day Fire by Night

I seem to go through phases that cause me to gravitate to a certain book and chapter in the bible. I fall into certain situations and circumstances that make me more vulnerable, and I turn to the Word of God for strength and comfort. Having said that, the book and chapter I’m currently studying is the book of Exodus 13 and 14. I just can’t get away from these two chapters. There is so much in both of those chapters that I could pull out and talk about, but what I want to share today is Exodus 21-22, “And the Lord went before them by the day in the pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:22.) He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.”

I’m pretty sure we all know what happen to the Israelites and the Egyptians.

The Lord fought for them and opened the Red Sea, the children of Israel were lead by Moses right on across on dry land, but Pharaoh’s heart was harden and so were the Egyptians and the chased after them and God drowned them. That part is great too, but recently I started thinking about the fact that the Lord was with them through the whole uncomfortable journey and He chose to make them comfortable.

Can you imagine how scary that must have been for them traveling through rough terrain being closed in on both sides, by hard rock, walking through the desert? God was a cloud by day, providing shade and cooler temperatures, and a fire by night providing them with light and warmth. I can’t say that I’m facing a Red Sea with a huge army at my back, but I do feel like I’m traveling through a wilderness and I have a big decision to make when I emerge. Just like the Israelites I can not go back, so I too need God to tell me how to proceed from here.

The words, “And the Lord went before them…” literally jump off the page at me. He was with them in one of the scariest most defining moment in their lives and yet he was in front of them, over them and behind them. Never once did God leave them to fend for themselves, or fail to protect them. No, God was always with them, making sure they were safe, and well. He brought them through the Red Sea, on dry land and tried to lead them into a better life. With another move coming up for my family and me, I feel like this move is more critical, because in a few years my oldest will be going to High School and then off to college. This is potentially a life defining moment for us, and I want to know that God is with me. I keep reading these chapters and meditating on the verses over and over again, because in a way I feel a little like the Israelites. Making a life altering move can come with it’s own set of armies, hard places, and even a few sea’s to cross.

I’m learning though that if God is for me then nothing can stand against me. I know you might be tempted to think, “Oh well of course He is,” but I didn’t really grasp this at first. I would always focus more on my problem, or my Red Sea, than I would on my cloud or my pillar of fire. I’m getting to the point where I expect God to be my cloud by day or whatever I need Him to be in my life, whenever I need it.

What about you? Can yo say that God has been a cloud by day or a fire by night for you? Have you ever been at a crossroads, and had to make a decision that had the potential to drastically alter the course of you’re life? Feel free to share your thoughts on how God covered you, comforted you, and been your guide through dark places?

The Non-Social Media

I must confess to you that I am one of those people who just did not take to social media right away. I did not trust the whole, post your pictures and share them with people. I actually was really turned off by the idea of allowing tons and tons of people into my personal life. I was getting so much grief from certain friends and family members about not being apart of the social world, that it started to become a real hot button issue with me. It eventually got to the point that my husband and I had become divided on that subject. I was still firmly against it, and he had come around to the idea of having a social media presence.

Well, as life does, things changed and I had to embrace social media because I began to pursue a writing career and then I started blogging. It became a necessary step for me and it just kind of snowballed and pretty soon hubby jumped into the social media pool as well. Just as I had suspected there are good things about being social and bad things about being social over the internet. The things that I love most all include reconnecting with friends and family that I haven’t seen in ages! I love my family and I love that we get to be in each others lives again even if it’s only digitally right now. My husbands career means that we have to move around a lot ,so I love that I get to keep in touch with my old neighbors and friends from different walks of life.

Now for the things that I don’t like so much, the opinions of every idiot in the whole world! Yes, I said it, there idiots! I can not believe how mean, rude, cruel, and completely inappropriate some people can be to absolute strangers! The power of social media has connected the whole world, we are now only one click away from anyone. You would think that this would mean that people were being more social, but I think it’s had the exact opposite effect on me. I feel like social media has made me want to be less social! When I see the crazy things on my timeline that my so called friends have shared, liked or posted I instantly don’t want to socialize with them anymore. I think I actually liked some people better before I saw their 600 word rant against fill in the blank. (meaning it could be anything, because people are so angry these days and they love telling others.)

I find that with every horror story of how someone used social media to kidnap a child or rob someone’s house, I retreat. I pull back and heavily scrutinize anything before I post it to the internet, to be out in the world forever. On the one hand I think that could be the responsible thing to do, but on the other hand I don’t want to be afraid to share a picture of my baby swimming in the backyard kiddie pool. My husband, post more things about our family than I do, and that’s fine. I just feel the need to be more selective about what kinds of things I share about my family. I freak out a bit more than he does about stuff like that and I accept that.

Another thing that I don’t love about social media is when you feel obligated to like someone’s post because their your friend, but you disagree with what they’ve posted.

I’m curious to know how you guys feel about the allure of social media? How many friends do you have on social media that aren’t necessarily your friends in real life? How many friends do you have on social media that you don’t actually remember ever meeting? I know it can be tricky to decide if you want to hit the like button or not, so how do you decide whether you’re going to share, like and comment?

 

What a Life

I’ve been with my husband now for sixteen years, and we’ve been married for eleven years this June 18! During that time we have fallen in and out of like and love, but never at the same time. Our anniversary is coming up in a few weeks and honestly  we typically don’t really celebrate. Our lives have gotten to the point where their so full of “other stuff” that we never actually do anything for our anniversary. There was a time when we went out on dates more often and tried to plan couple time and things like that, and I hope we get back to that soon.

I think if someone would have come to me ten years ago and told me that my life would be like this, I would have turned and run the other way. I was so convinced that everything would go according to my plan that I would have never agreed to it! I’m so glad that we don’t know everything before we start out, or else we would never do anything. Can you imagine how many things we would never even attempt to try if God showed us all the hardship that we would encounter?

What kind of people would we be, if we had an option to know every little detail of our life before we made a decision? This is how I feel about love, marriage and motherhood. Marriage is so wonderful, in theory. The idea of having someone to spend every day with for the rest of our lives seems like a perfect idea, but when you begin to live that out you start to see the challenges that come along with being married.

Marriage is a lot of work and people often overlook that when their racing down the isle to say I do and head out on our honeymoon. We think that knowing how to co-exist with our spouse is just going to come naturally, but marriage is a lot of hard work. You have to learn how to put someone else first because that’s apart of loving one another. You don’t need to totally neglect yourself, but it is important to consider how your husband will feel before you buy that really expensive designer purse!

Marriage wasn’t the only area of my life that I had to really commit to grow in and get better at. When we first got married we had our first child right away and that was HARD! Not only was I learning how to be a wife, I was finding out all about newborns at the same time. Please don’t get me started on breastfeeding!! I thought it would be a piece of cake because it’s natural so it should just happen right away…right? Wrong! It didn’t take me long to discover that I was a much better parent before I had kids, and I didn’t know that everything that I thought I knew wasn’t even enough to fill a thimble!

Have I mentioned that those sweet little babies grow up over night, and I still can’t fill a cup with my knowledge of children. I always thought of myself as a very fun and creative person, but having children tested those beliefs. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mother to my children, but eleven years ago this life was not what I had in mind. I thought that I would have about three or four kids max, and a dog. I have five children and no dog, so there you go, mind blown.

I guess I just feel like reflecting on my married life because our anniversary is coming up soon and we feel like it’s just going to be another day. We have kids to see about and bills to pay and I guess celebrating our own holiday is just not as big of priority as it should be right now. I’m hoping that it’s just a phase we’re going through, and that one day we’ll be able to leave the kids at home and go on a real date and not have to pay the babysitter an arm and a leg. I’d love to hear any tips you all might have on how to create quality time with your husband when you don’t have a babysitter.

Share with me in the comments any tips and advice yo can share on love, marriage, and dating.

Let us Commence

By show of hands who reading this had a pre-school graduation? Wow that many huh? Well me too, I still remember that day actually!  I remember how excited I was to get to wear my hair down like a big girl. My parents were so excited and that made me excited as well. I remember taking lots of pictures that day and I still have those pictures by the way. There are things that I don’t remember about that day, like walking across the stage, receiving my diploma and what I ate for dinner afterwards. The overwhelming feeling that I have when I think back on any time I have ever graduated is the feeling of completion. I look back at my high school graduation picture and my college graduation picture and I see a girl who became a woman.

The graduation ceremony or the commencement is not the hard part, in fact it’s the celebration of all the hard work. The only way that we can get to the celebration though, is by doing the work. We must put in all the hard work and time that it takes to finally be ready to advance. This is the part that is often over looked when you see someone walking across the stage and receiving their diploma or their degree. When we see the pictures of all the smiling faces and the tears of joy we tend to only focus on that part. I remember seeing some of my older friends graduate from high school and I thought man there so cool, now they get to go to college and have fun.

We as humans tend to always want to skip to the end, me especially, but the beginning and the middle are just as important. I’ve mentioned to you guys before that I can be a bit of a destination addict. I’m always looking toward the end so that I can get to the next thing. However, now when I look back at all my graduation pictures and can literally see the excitement in my eyes I find myself shaking my head. I couldn’t wait to grow up and be out in the “real world.” I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to chill out, and slow down. I would tell myself to take time to enjoy the day and really be present to celebrate my accomplishment instead of looking ahead to my next goal. I would tell myself that life is more than just a checklist full of goals to accomplish so that I can be called successful. I would tell myself to stop and smell the roses, because once you wake up tomorrow, this day will be gone forever.

I still truly love the feeling that I get when I achieve my goals and I see a dream realized, but I feel smarter and wiser now. I know that life isn’t just about the celebrating the commencement, but the fact that all my hard work brought me to that point. I feel like that’s the secret that the graduate knows, but someone who has not yet experienced that doesn’t know. It’s why all the graduates are so happy, because they made it to the end! All those hours of studying, and all those test helped to bring them to the point of completion. I would even take it a step further and say that all our test and sacrifices helped us to mature.

I believe it’s the same way on our journey of life. Life will be full of seasons of learning and times of graduation. We will be tested and tried by the fire, but those test will not last forever. Once all the sacrifices have been made and tears have been shed we will advance. I think the thing that I have to constantly tell myself is that this too shall pass. We tend to hear that scripture most when we’re dealing with a difficult situation, but I’ve found that this is just as true during the good times as well. Nothing last forever, we all grow and out grow certain people, places, situations. I’m learning more and more everyday that I have to live in the moment and enjoy it, because this too shall pass.

I look back and I can’t believe how far I’ve come and how much farther I have to go, but I’m ready. Moving on from our failures and our successes can be hard but we must graduate. Appreciating the success is a key component to achieving more success in the future, but how do we position ourselves so that we can keep growing? The flip side of that would be how do we move on if we fail? How do we allow ourselves to grieve, but then graduate from that so that we can learn from our mistakes? Share some of your thoughts on graduation and moving on to the next phase of life in the comments!

 

Let Us Commence

By show of hands who reading this had a pre-school graduation? Wow that many huh? Well me too, I still remember that day actually!  I remember how excited I was to get to wear my hair down like a big girl. My parents were so excited and that made me excited as well. I remember taking lots of pictures that day and I still have those pictures by the way.

There are things that I don’t remember about that day, like walking across the stage, receiving my diploma and what I ate for dinner afterwards. The overwhelming feeling that I have when I think back on any time I have ever graduated is the feeling of completion. I look back at my high school graduation picture and my college graduation picture and I see a girl who became a woman.

The graduation ceremony or the commencement is not the hard part, in fact it’s the celebration of all the hard work. The only way that we can get to the celebration though, is by doing the work. We must put in all the hard work and time that it takes to finally be ready to advance. This is the part that is often over looked when you see someone walking across the stage and receiving their diploma or their degree.

When we see the pictures of all the smiling faces and the tears of joy we tend to only focus on that part, the success. I remember being a junior in high school seeing some of my older friends at their graduation thinking, “Their so cool, now they get to go to college and have fun.”

We as humans tend to always want to skip to the end, me especially, but the beginning and the middle are just as
important. I’ve mentioned to you guys before that I can be a
bit of a destination addict. I’m always looking toward the end so that I can get to the next thing. However, now when I look back at all my graduation pictures and can literally see the excitement in my eyes I find myself shaking my head.

I couldn’t wait to grow up and be out in the “real world.” I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to chill out, and slow down. I would tell myself to take time to enjoy the day and really be present to celebrate my he accomplishment instead of looking ahead to my next goal. I would tell myself that life is more than just a checklist full of goals to accomplish so that I can be called successful. I would tell myself to stop and smell the roses, because once you wake up tomorrow, this day will be gone forever.

I still truly love the feeling that I get when I achieve my goals and I see a dream realized, but I feel smarter and wiser now. I know that life isn’t just about celebrating the commencement, but the fact that all my hard work brought me to that point. I feel like that’s the secret that the graduate knows, but someone who has not yet experienced that doesn’t know. It’s why all the graduates are so happy, because they made it to the end! All those hours of studying, and all those test helped to bring them to the point of completion. I would even take it a step further and say that all our test and sacrifices helped us to mature and grow.

I believe it’s the same way on our journey of life. Life will be full of seasons of learning and times of graduation. We will be tested and tried by the fire, but those test will not last forever. Once all the sacrifices have been made and tears have been shed we will advance.

I think the thing that I have to constantly tell myself is that this too shall pass. We tend to hear that scripture most when we’re dealing with a difficult situation, but I’ve found that this is just as true during the good times as well. Nothing last forever, we all grow and out grow certain people, places and situations. I’m learning more and more everyday that I have to live in the moment and enjoy it, because this too shall pass.

I look back and I can’t believe how far I’ve come and how much farther I have to go, but I’m ready. Moving on from our failures and our successes can be hard but we must graduate. Appreciating the success is a key component to achieving more success in the future, but how do we position ourselves so that we can keep growing? The flip side of that would be how do we move on if we fail? How do we allow ourselves to grieve, but then graduate from that so that we can learn from our mistakes?

Share some of your thoughts on graduation and moving on to the next phase of life in the comments!