Freedom! 

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭3:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬ “The secret strength of a nation is found in the Faith that abides in the hearts & homes of the country.” ~Billy Graham ~ My prayer is that these two precious gifts continue to grow in their faith and hope in God. That they also continue to grow in their love for our great country. My heart is warmed every time that I see them just naturally stand up without any prompting from us, when they hear our National Anthem being played. I pray that they understand that our freedom is not free, that it was bought with a price. I want them to know that even though men and women paid the ultimate sacrifice and still today pay the ultimate sacrifice to allow us to have the freedoms and liberties that we have, it was Jesus who paid the ultimate of ultimate sacrifices for not only our freedom but our salvation too. Jesus died on the cross to save us of our sins.  “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13-14

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Mommy, I’ll Stay Home With You!

I experienced something with Taylor this morning, that I have never experienced. He did not want to go to school, he wanted to stay home with me. The whole drive to school he was trying to convince me to take him back home once we dropped Emme off in her classroom. He wanted to stay home with me to the point of saying he would help me with the laundry. I thought maybe once we actually got to the school and went in, he would be okay but I was wrong. We dropped Emme off and walked across the hallway to his classroom and he was holding onto my leg and crying. My heart was breaking because this is completely out of the ordinary for him. Anyone who knows him, knows he loves going to school. He is usually already in the classroom and I have to get his attention to tell him bye and to have a good day, but not this morning, this morning was a first and a worst!

My years of working in the early childhood field, I was the one trying to comfort moms when their child was having separation anxiety. Today I was the mom receiving the comfort and the reassurance. I have to admit it felt strange, it felt so unfamiliar but at the same time very familiar. Thankfully he was all better and ready for the day before I actually left the school. While talking with the Assistant Director, Taylor had come down the hallway with his teacher to the bathroom and with hustle and bustle of children coming in and parents leaving, I did not even see him come down the hallway. All the sudden I felt these sweet hands wrap around me and say “Hey Mommy” There he was with those big brown eyes and happy smile. His teacher told me we went potty and that we are all better and ready for the day. What a sweet relief to leave the school and know that he was all better and happy. Praying tomorrow goes better!

Today Was A Great Session

Yes, we always hear that children share all kinds of germs and sickness when they are in group settings, but  there is something positive to be said about children being in a group setting.  Our daughter Emme started speech therapy one day a week about a month ago. The therapist comes to our house for Emme’s sessions. Now, I know you are wondering how the therapist coming to your house relates to children being in a group setting. Well this is what I have observed and learned from Emme in the past month. Her good days of speech therapy were on days when she had been in a group setting of children her age at church while I attended a women’s bible study class. Her really great days of speech like the one she had today was being in the group setting at church and then not having a nap before her therapy session at 1:45…….yes NO NAP!!!!!!! Emme’s days where she was the least cooperative with the speech sessions is when she and I came straight home after dropping her brother off at school and she goes down for a nap before speech. Even with working with her at home on her goals for her speech sessions, she still is less inclined to participate when she has been home with just me and has had a nap.

I can see the difference with her and Taylor, when Taylor was her age. Taylor was in a classroom setting from six weeks of age until three years old, until I started staying home with him. He was only out of the classroom setting for about nine months. He now attends a Mother’s Day Out program three days a week. I could see where he needed to be back in that type of environment that he knew and was a comfort to him. Emersyn was only in a classroom setting from 8 weeks of age to 9 months of age when I started staying home with her. I can see where he is more independent  from being in a classroom setting for most of his life, where as Emersyn is independent because of having a older brother to look up to but is also is more attached and always wants to be with Mommy. Today during her therapy session, this mommy had happy tears in her eyes in seeing the excitement in Emme’s eyes when she was either repeating the word or making the beginning sound of the word. It was in that moment that it really hit me with how big of an impact a group setting with children her age has on her and how beneficial it is to her, that even before the therapy session she was in the living room saying “duck, duck, and goose” and falling down when she said goose. Now you have to realize she has never said this before or anything remotely close to this. I asked her, “Emme did you play duck, duck, goose in class today?” to which she shook her head yes. I just sat there in amazement.

Every child is different and every situation is different. Most children would not have a successful session without having a nap before speech. As a parent, you have to see what works best for you and your child.

I needed That!

Today was one of those days that as a mom you are crying on the inside because your toddler is teething and nothing; I mean nothing is going to console her. She wants you to hold her, no wait a minute she wants to be put down, she wants something to drink…….oh not in that cup……..yes that cup…………wait this is milk not juice. I need to nap……………wait no I want to get out and play, oh the life of a teething toddler!  Oh but let’s add in 3 1/2 year old that is loving testing the boundaries and pushing the limits to see what he can get away with. Yes, it was one of those days! Mommy just wanted to escape for a few minutes. A teething toddler meant she took an earlier nap than she normally does. Since she was napping earlier, I decided to have her brother go down a little earlier than normal, since A. he woke up earlier than normal and B. this mommy wanted at least a few quiet minutes to herself. Okay, let’s be honest a few minutes to clean the house. No such luck within 30 minutes of Taylor going down for nap Emersyn woke up. Fixed her lunch and then we were going to play. Apparently, she thought we were going to play outside because she brought me my flip-flops and said “Outside”. She was a little disappointed when she realized we were not going outside and really upset when I blocked of the hallway to keep her from being able to her brother’s room. Yes, she loves to go in his room and wake him up, ah, she just loves to go in his room and climb in his bed. Well she could not make her way to his room, but she managed to wake him up with her screaming. Yes, screaming…..not crying because there was no tears, not even the first little tear. So here, it is 12:15 and on a normal day both of them are napping or about to fall asleep and not one but both of them were wide-awake. I knew in that moment it was going to be a long long afternoon! Later that afternoon when my husband got home, I told him I need just five minutes to myself; I just need to be able to hear myself think. Something all moms can relate too. Into our bedroom I went, closing the door behind me. I went sat in the rocking chair in our bedroom. The Oh so comfortable cushioned oversized rocking chair that I had rocked both my babies in. I grabbed my 3 Minute Devotions for Women book. I decided at that moment, I was going to just close my eyes and pick a random page to read. Well I was thinking I was randomly picking but deep down I knew that it was God’s way of picking the one that I need in that moment. God never fails us and he didn’t fail me in that moment, he knew exactly what I needed to hear.

With joy, you will draw neat water from the wells of salvation. (Isaiah 12:3 NIV) The prayer at the end of the devotion said “Lord, thank you for saving me. Thank you for being the living water, my continual source of peace, comfort, strength and joy. Cause me to remember that my life is hidden in Yours. Amen

He knew that is just what I need to hear in that moment of being overwhelmed and needing a break. We can always count on the word of God to fill us in the moments we feel empty. Therefore, moms when you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or tired turn to the word of God. He is the only one that can fill you up on what you are missing. His word is what gives me strength and it will give you strength as well.  Leaning on the word of God is what gets me through my day.

Allie’s Big Adventure

summer fun 021Leave it to our four-legged child to turn our evening completely upside down. It was like any other day and I had let Al’s out to take care of her business. She came back to the backdoor and barked to come back inside and in typical Allie fashion she just sits there when I open the door to let her back inside. Therefore, I close the door back and let her sit outside until she finally decides that she wants to come back in. Well Taylor and Emersyn are sitting at the table eating their dinner, when Taylor asks for a slice of cheese. When I open the cheese slice up for him, a small piece breaks off. I decide to give that little piece to Allie because I know that will get her to come back inside the house. Yes, Al’s never turns down food. Well when I open the door she does not come, which isn’t unusual, but what was unusual was she was nowhere to be seen. I thought maybe she is behind the shed, so I call her name and nothing. She is nowhere to be seen and that is when I realize that somehow the gate on the privacy fence has come open somehow. My heart sinks and panic sets in. I can see the worry come over Taylor’s face when he realizes that Allie is not in the backyard and has went missing. I immediately call my husband to see how close to being home he was. I sit at the table with Taylor and Emersyn and we begin close our eyes and begin to pray. 

Dear Heavenly Fathers,

We come to you asking you to look after and keep Allie safe on her adventure.

Lord, we know that if it is your will she will come home safely too us. Lord, we put this all

In your hands. 

Amen

(Taylor) “Please bring Allie back so I can pet her please”

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I send text to my mother in-law and to my sister, asking them to pray, because Allie had gotten out of the backyard. My husband pulls in the driveway from looking in the neighborhood and my heart sinks again when he does not have Allie with him. He comes in to get her leash so he can go back out looking in the neighborhood for her. Taylor is asking me “where is Allie? Where did she go?” I realize that there is still a good possibility that Allie may not come back to us. I have Taylor come sit on the couch with me and I try my best to let him know that Allie may not come home to us. That even though we prayed to God to bring Allie home safely to us, that Allie might not come home. God may have other plans for Allie. God does not always give us what we want but will always give us what we need. 

My sister text me back and says they are going to come over and help look for her. My, mother in-law text me and says that she will go Columbia Rd to go home and look. Yes, our neighborhood is very close to a very busy road. Therefore, I knew the possibility of her being hit by a car or truck was extremely high. Just then, something told me to look out the front door, when I did I saw Miss Allie McBeals across the street. I open the front door and she came running and ran into the living room. Our prayers were answered. The pure excitement on Taylor and Emersyn’s face was priceless. You could at that moment see the love that those too have for their Allie Girl. 

I am so thankful that God looked after Allie and brought her back safely to us. I know there are a lot of families never have the same outcome that we had. We are truly blessed that Allie returned home safely and uninjured. I am not exactly sure where all Allie went on her adventure, but what I do know is she came back wet and muddy…so it must have been a great adventure. Al’s big adventure led to showing and demonstrating the power of prayer with Taylor. We never know what God is going to use has a teaching tool for us. 

The Blessed Moments Mom

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Mama, Mama, MAMA………I Need You!!!!!!!!!!

Moms we all know those days……..those days where we here Mama, Mama,, MAMA, I neeeeeddddddd you! I’m hungry, I need a drink, find my shoe, I wanna snack, and the famous word Why…….a zillion times a day! the house was still quiet. It was strange not hearing the “Mama Mama, Mommy, I neeeeedddddddd you, I need a snack, find my red race car, here hold this!”  Let’s be honest hearing that a zillion times a day does seem to be irritating at times, but I quickly realized how much I missed that sweet little voice during the day when he is off spending time with his Grandparents. Mom’s savor those moments of hearing those little voices say Mommy a zillion times a day, because it will all be gone way too soon!May Mania 2015 130

Every morning it seems that my two precious children have grown so much over night and not just physically but mentally and spiritually. The deep conversations that I find myself engaging in with my three-year old blow me away at times. A few weeks ago when we closed on the house we had been renting, I had left the house earlier that morning with Taylor and Emersyn to go to the bank and to the grocery store. The conversation that I found myself in with Taylor completely caught me by surprise and blew my mind away with his awareness of the love of God and Jesus. Taylor loves school buses and even pretends my car is a school bus at times. We were passing by the medical office building where Taylor’s “New Maw Maw works, (yes, this is what he calls one of his grandma’s) when Taylor said, “look at that red school bus!” I explained to him that red bus was the blood mobile and that people go on that bus to donate some of their blood. That when people donate their blood it can help save someone’s life. He responds “like Jesus?” Talk about chills coming over someone, Wow that just came out of my three-year olds mouth, I couldn’t believe he was able to put that together and associate it like that. I know I had never even begun to think of linking someone donating their blood to help save a life to the saving that Jesus did for all of us. I told him he was exactly right, Jesus saved us all by the shedding of his blood when he was nailed to the cross. I knew at moment, my husband I were definitely doing something right as parents. Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 ESV)  Parents, our children are very much impacted by our actions and what we have them engage in……….we need to make sure we have positive impact on our children. We say a blessing before every meal. We hold hands when we are blessing the food or just in prayer together. At bedtime, we read Good Night Devos 365 Bedtime Devotions for Little Boys. The book can be found on Amazon, Barnes, and Nobles.May Mania 2015 102

Children learn from the example that we set and how can I expect my children to walk with God if my husband and I do not demonstrate walking with God. Parenting is not “do as I say and not as I do” We must demonstrate with our actions how we want our children to behave…..key word “want”. Now even when we set a positive example, our children will still make wrong choices and that is okay because those are also learning and growing experiences. There are numerous challenges that face parents. My goal with my children is to do my best to raise Godly children that has the ability to discern the challenges that the world will throw at them. It is our job as parents to teach our children, it is not the role of the world to teach our children.

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I am amazed daily at what God teaches me through my children, especially with my Taterbug. I mentioned early the Good Night Devos that my son and I read at night before bedtime, well the other night the devotion was teaching me patience…literally!  We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. (Proverbs 16:9 NLT) The devotion was on patience and God’s timing. Taterbug always wants to read the Baby in the Basket, the story about Moses, in his Bible stories book. That night I suggested that we read a different story that night. Now our nightly devotion had just been about patience and timing, well Taylor was taking Taterbug timing picking out a different story to read. God was putting the devotion into action that night because he was testing to see how well my patience was going to be. We never know when God is going to test us. Patience, Patience and more Patience is what parenting requires!!!!!!!!!! The mamas, mama, mama, MAMA that I hear thousand times a day test my patience.

Taterbug: Mama

Me: Yes, Taylor

Taterbug: Mama

Me: Yes, Taylor what do you need?

Taterbug: Mama

Me: WHAT TAYLOR, just tell me what you need to say or ask, PLEASE!!!!!!

Taterbug: Mama…… I luv youuuuuu!!!!!!!!!!!

Talk about feeling very low at that point. Patience, Patience, Patience when the Mama, Mama, Mama, MAMA comes.

Perceptions Are Not Always The Real Reality…..Especially When it Comes to Stay At Home Moms!

We all are human and we unfortunately make assumptions based on our perception of what we see or hear. We only take into account the tiny glimpse of what we see or hear. There is no bigger altered perception than the one we hear about Stay At-Home Moms. There have been many articles written about the myths and perceptions on working moms and on Stay At-Home Moms. I have recently become a SAHM after circumstances beyond my control. If you look back to my very first blog post When The Storm Comes, it explains my suddenly becoming a SAHM. I have experienced firsthand being the working mom and now the SAHM. I am here to tell you they are both extremely hard and both have their own advantages and disadvantages. Working moms have the stress of deciding who is going to care for their children during the day. Working moms have to weigh the pros and cons of using a nanny, in-home daycare or a childcare center. This is an extremely hard decision to make. Working Moms struggle daily with missing some of the exciting milestones that their baby will reach while in the care of someone else and trust me that is a hard pill to swallow. When I was working, I did have the luxury that my children attended the childcare center that I worked for. Many parents thought that I was lucky because my children were with me and they were right to a certain extent. I faced that misconception too. I was working though I could not just go see them and be with them whenever I wanted and I too miss milestones with my son. Yes, that is right my son was right down the hall from my office but I still missed out on things with him. My son is three and half and I worked for three years of his life. He has only had me as a SAHM for six months. My daughter has had me home with her for seven and half months (including the maternity leave I had with her) but she is only fourteen and half months old. So all she really knows is the SAHM, not the Working Mom. The responsibilities are the same with working moms and SAHM……..um let’s face it the house does not clean itself, the laundry does not wash, dry, fold and put itself away, there is no magic button that prepares dinner and then cleans up the kitchen. What is different is that SAHM have a little bit more time and flexibility of getting those so undesirable chores done, but still not as easily as people perceive.

Here is what I have learned about being a SAHM! It is much harder than I ever imagined but so rewarding! Yes, heck Yes there is days I am ready to pull my hair out and question if I am cut out to be a SAHM, but that feeling passes and I know this is where I need to be. Expect the unexpected…I mean the unexpected! No day is ever the same, even if you try to have a routine during the day with your children it’s going to change from moment to moment and there is nothing, I mean NOTHING you can do about it.

Shenanigans 2015 212You never know what fire you are going to put out next. SAHM’s never know what meltdown is going to come at a moment’s notice. Milk was poured in the red cup instead of the green cup, milk was poured instead of juice, chicken nuggets are too hot now they are too cold, the sky is blue instead of purple……….you get the picture anything, I mean ANYTHING can set off a meltdown! This one I love, we had a meltdown because God had the Sprinkles on and it was too wet to go to the park! Yes, I have taught my son that when it rains, it is raining because God has turned on his sprinkler or in Taylor’s words the “Sprinkles” Another thing I have learned…toys can get pulled out faster than you can clean them up! Breakfast, lunch and dinner looks like a food fight with my fourteen month old. Bathroom breaks (yes, mommy bathroom breaks) have to be strategically planned and even then they do not go according to planned. My daughters newest thing “If I stick my fingers down my throat I gag and I can even make myself throw up!” She demonstrated to me that she had learned this when I placed her in her crib so that I could go to the bathroom really quick. What a surprise she had in store for me when I came back in her room to get her out of her crib. An extra load of laundry and early bath time was not on my agenda for the day……remember expect the unexpected!!!!!!

We always here perception that SAHM don’t really work, they sit home all day and can do whatever they want. Ahhh if that was only true!!!!!! Yes, I do whatever I want every day…….why yes I choose to want to clean up throw up, of course I purposely choose the wrong color cup so a meltdown ensues…….doesn’t every SAHM do that??????? I choose to take quick baths with baby wipes because why would I want to take a hot shower. I constantly hear that I have down time when the children are napping. Down time what is that mean? I barely have time to sit down and finish a meal much less kick back in a chair with my feet up. Yes, here is how much down time this SAHM has, it has taken me over a week just to write this one blog post and most of the writing takes place at night once the kids are sleep.

The most important thing to always remember is that whether you are working outside the house or working inside the house we will always have one very special thing in common and that is that we are not just moms but we are Great Moms!!!!! So please remember that before you judge a mom for working outside the house or working at home as a SAHM, we will always share one very important bond and that is the bond of motherhood. Let us find a way to support one another instead of criticizing one another. Let us embrace the great bond of motherhood that we all moms have in common.