I miss him..this sucks.

 

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I have a young daughter and another on the way and my husband’s job requires him to be gone for lengths at a time. So for our entire marriage and every day of our daughter’s life I have spent over half of my time home counting down the minutes until he gets back. It get’s really hard and it’s so easy to start feeling sorry for my myself. Too often I indulge myself in a little pity party: “This is so hard for me…why me..I can’t do this anymore..I’m drowning..” But truthfully we are very young and already very stable, I have way more to be thankful for than I have to complain about. So why do I do it? Because I’m selfish.

It’s so easy to get stuck in my own head. I even forget sometimes that it must be twice as hard on him. There I am feeling resentful that I am left alone with a sick toddler at 2 in the morning while I’m running a fever myself but I bet he would love to be there to comfort us. He’s gone for the hard times but he also misses out on so many good times and I know it kills him. I should be the one trying to make it easier on him, and I try but sometimes I’m just selfish!

Beside my own family, there are so many others out there aching to be with the ones they love. Some with no guarantee that they will ever be together again. At least I know that when he leaves, he will almost definitely be back in only a week. My own grandmother stayed home with 5 children while my grand-dad was deployed in Vietnam. They couldn’t call or text all day long, they couldn’t skype call like we do at least once a day. You know what she did? she mailed him tape recordings of her and the kids talking or singing to keep him updated on their lives. She was the sole care taker of five little humans for months on end and still she was the epitome of a 50’s house wife. Baking, teaching Sunday school, the whole thing. I can’t imagine the strength it took. She’s gone now and I wonder why I never asked her how she stayed so strong and what it was like for her. I could probably take a good guess, because I know she’s a faithful believer in Jesus Christ. But it sucks that I have to guess, why didn’t I step out of my own world and show some interest in her feelings? I really missed out on what could have been a beautiful memory with my grandmother.

There is hurt all over the world for so many awful reason, my feelings are really very trivial in comparison. Every time I start to pity my own situation I need to step away from myself, get out of my own negative thoughts and show more interest in helping heal the hurt of others than helping myself feel better. Although I can’t free every child from the slave trade today I can stop praying for myself so much and pray for them. Reminding myself of how much I miss my husband, and how much easier life is when he is around, probably isn’t helping pass the time anyway. Should I be passing the time? Or should I use my time, choose to dedicate it to making the lives of others a little better?

My point is this: Your feelings matter and your hurt is valid, but focusing on it isn’t going to change it. Pray for the serenity to accept what you cannot change, the courage to change the things that you can and the wisdom to know the difference. Working on yourself is important but when the thing hurting you isn’t gonna change, loving and caring for others can go along way to heal a hurting spirit. I’m not saying sell your earthly possessions and dedicate your life to mission work( unless God calls you to that) just try to show interest in the world around you, invest your time and you heart. You never know the good that even just a listening ear can do.

Acts 20:35
“In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

Maybe I’ll have a wonderful testimonial soon about how I made a great impact on someone else’s life…stay tuned:)

If you have your own personal story or insight about serving others, please leave a comment. I love to hear from you!

<3KT

Why do you have faith?

Recently I was asked, “How can you be so faithful to a book written so long ago? How can you have faith in a world full of hurt?”

Well for once I had the perfect answer:

It’s not about facts really, it is something that you realize through prayer. You don’t have faith first and then start praying. Just start praying and God will show you how to be faithful.

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My own faith journey is one I feel is worth sharing. Just like all the stories we read in the bible, Jesus found me in my darkest hour and showed me grace. Right before I got married to my wonderful husband I was in a very dark place personally. I had a god-shaped hole in my heart and I used every earthly indulgence to fill it. The way I was living was incredibly selfish and irresponsible. When I think back, it’s obvious to me that god must have intervened sooner than I realized. Despite the tremendous hurt I put my husband through, he graciously forgave me and married me at a time when I appeared pretty hopeless. He believed in me, he believed that our love could overcome and it did. After we were married I made a real effort to get my act together and we were happy. Only a month later we decided to try for our first child. It was something we both wanted very badly and we felt stable enough to handle it even though I had a long way to go personally. We tried and I prayed “God, give me a child please, give me something to be proud of, give me purpose, please. I’ll change I promise”.  Anyone else may have thought it was a bad idea, not God, he answered my desperate plea. Only two weeks later we found out I was pregnant! With trust that he knows what he is doing,  I left my selfish ways and started living for my family. Then, just as I’d imagined, my daughter was born and she became the light of my life. I wanted to be a better person for  her, someone she could look up to and so we found a church to call home. There I found the happiness and fulfillment I had been missing. Life was good. I tried my best but I was new at this, I began coasting along, listening but not really living out what I was learning.

Babies get bigger and life tests you. Everyday my patience was pushed farther than I thought possible and every night I was pleading with God “Give me patience, Help me find joy in my days, please” .  Maybe I’m crazy but when my daughter was almost a year and a half old I felt a strong tug at my heart. I knew it would be rough but I decided I wanted another baby.  My husband was thrilled and we tried.  I prayed again ” God,  please give us another wonderful blessing and make me strong enough to handle this. Amen” I assumed it would be just as quick the second time around and I began planning. I even made a baby registry on Amazon. It wasn’t quick. Months went by and I became very discouraged. I prayed every night and did all sorts of research on fertility. I was doing everything in my power but still no baby. I could feel my self sinking lower, slipping back into old habits and old thinking.

After ten months I found a little bit of clarity, I knew that once again I needed to do some work on myself before I could properly serve my family. I began attending a “restoration” group at church every Tuesday and met a lot of wonderful and very broken people trying to put the pieces back together. I was reminded of the me that once was, the utterly broken person I was not so long ago, and I realized how far God has brought me. He will continue to carry me and guide me. So there I was in bed praying again, but this time my intentions were not to ask favors or try to control things. I prayed ” God I give up, I surrender to you. Show me they way because I’m lost on my own. Please speak loudly, because sometimes I don’t listen so well. Amen”

After that night I thought very hard about what makes me happy. Creating makes me happy and for a very long time I have wanted to paint old things to make them new(furniture, art, etc.) Since I had become so burnt out on the stay-at-home mom thing I thought I could put my daughter in montessori school and make a real go of it, be the artist I really want to be. Our relationship would be repaired with a little time apart and I would follow my passions, a baby can wait. I felt God was really leading me to do this I was excited and motivated.

I’m planning and preparing for this new stage of my life and suddenly I get the feeling something is up. Mother nature told me I should take a test and I begged my husband to run out and get one.  But he said it was too late at night and he was right. We went to bed and I prayed, this time when I prayed I was a little angry  “God, why? why now? I have plans, I thought you wanted this for me? please don’t let this be true, it’s not what I want I changed my mind!…sigh..Amen”. The next day I felt very guilty for being angry with God. I took the morning slowly, enjoyed time with my daughter and then while I was in the shower I again found some clarity in my hazy situation. Maybe God was speaking a little louder this time I don’t know. But I realized I can still follow my dreams, God will give me strength..and guess what? I had wanted a baby so badly for so long and it might be real this time! Me and Zoey took off to Target  and wandered through the aisles with that test laying at the bottom of the cart. Finally I checked out and I couldn’t wait any longer, I had to know! I wasn’t dreading it, I was excited and anxious like I  had been in all the months before. So, there in the stall of the Target bathroom, with my two-year-old asking me all sorts of questions, I waited. When I saw the the word appear …pregnant….Emotions poured out of me, I let my self feel real genuine feelings, I did not hold back. Thankfully Zoey was the only other person in that bathroom, and even she looked at me like I was crazy. But I didn’t care, I finally felt God’s presence. He was there with his hand on my back saying “Trust me, this is a good and wonderful gift and I will give you strength” I rushed to the car and called my husband at work.  I’m sure he was confused with my reaction, but he and all of my family were ecstatic for me:) I’m so happy that I was given a night to let God work in me and process my feelings so that I could be enjoy that special news and gladly share it with the people that I love.

How am I so faithful you ask? Because I know God, He works in my life everyday to show me things I thought I already knew. Through faithful prayer I have found his voice. I  know now that I was praying all wrong. I was asking god to do things for me, I was telling him what I needed. It took letting go of control and truly trusting in his will to give me the gift of absolute faith. What A gift it is!

My dreams are still far in the distance but God is faithful, he gives me strength to persevere.

<3KT

I want to hear your stories too! Please leave a comment if you want to share:)

 

Genuine parenting: 5 ways you’re making it harder on yourself.

In all my time on play dates, playgrounds, and mommy groups I have noticed some things. Things that good, loving, well-intentioned parents are doing that might unknowingly set them up for struggle later on. My knowledge comes from being an adolescent not too long ago myself and also my own  logic and observation. I could be wrong, but maybe I could open your eyes to something you may not have thought of before. Keep in mind my words are never meant throw stones or criticize, if they seem that way I apologize, my feelings are just very strong on this.

I’ve seen a common theme in parents with toddlers: get them to cooperate whatever it takes! I agree, there are things that are downright difficult with small children, simple tasks like getting dressed and out of the house can become a battle at the drop of a hat. Are the things you are doing for your own sanity now going to drive you to madness later?

You won’t believe the crazy “tips and tricks” I’ve heard when someone witnesses a difficult exchange between my toddler and I in public. Of course I smile and say “Thank you” because I know their hearts were in the right place, but even as a young mother I know where I stand on how I interact with my children. I don’t feel I need to rely on tricks to get through, I like to practice what I call Genuine Parenting. Being completely authentic with our children now might just make the tough years of adolescence go a little bit smoother. Of course this is all speculation because my daughter is only two, but we’ll see:)

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1. Bribery

It sounds harsh when I put it that way doesn’t it? But most parents(and teachers) resort to this. Stickers for using the potty, candy for getting a shot, a new toy for good behavior at school, the list goes on. It’s nice to be rewarded for doing something good, but are we teaching our kids to only do good if they get something out of it. If that sort thinking were to carry on into adulthood don’t you think that sounds like a selfish and unfulfilling way to live? Maybe their own feeling of accomplishment should be the reward.  To me the stickers and candy are just manipulations for control over them. Lets genuinely encourage our children instead, show them you are proud when they get it right and tell them “It’s okay, try again” when they don’t.

2. Tricks

Stop believing that there is an easy way, parenting is so very hard and so beautiful at the same time. Just listen to your baby. That’s it, that’s how you learn  how to parent. Let your baby teach you. You’re going to mess up, but that’s okay, your baby will forgive you. Every mess up is a lesson learned. Where do you think I get my infinite wisdom(sarcasm)? ALOT of screw ups! At this rate my tenth baby might just have the perfect childhood, but let’s hope it doesn’t get that far. My point is this, don’t rely on tricks for your baby. Advice can be nice and helpful at times, take it and apply to your baby if you want. Just know, when things don’t work for you and your family, you’ll figure it out…. eventually;)

3.  Putting on a happy face

It’s a nice thought, always be cheerful, don’t yell or lose you cool with your children.  Come on that’s not real, children are probably the most frustrating little beings on the planet. If you’re mad, it’s okay to let them know, without all the yelling and cussing you might feel like doing of course. But to say to a toddler “when you throw you food on the floor, it makes me very mad because you know better and now that food is wasted.” is completely reasonable. No need to fake a smile or fly off the handle, could you find a happy medium? Maybe let the child see that you are very upset and are trying very hard to control your feelings. Take a “mommy time-out” sit down and breathe. Now instead of having an incident that left your child feeling out of control or even scared, you have taught him a valuable lesson by modeling your own self-control. You are sending the message that strong feelings are okay and they are manageable.

4. Shielding them from the world

Telling a 5-year-old that the dog just went to live on a farm will certainly save him from some heartache, but it’s a lie. They will learn that heartache eventually and what if you aren’t there to guide them through it. The world is rough and filled with heartache. That sounds very cynical but my point is that you can’t shield them forever. What if you were able to tell them about the world in a way that motivates them to change it.  Tell them exactly why that man is on the street corner begging for your change or why that child on T.V looks so sad and hungry.  Show them your own compassion and desire to make the world a little less cruel. They might just grow up to make a real impact. But that’s just a side note really, don’t lie to your children. You are teaching them everything they know about the world and if they can’t trust you, they will question everything and seek out their own answers. From my own experience, I can tell you that seeking out my own answers in life will bring more heartache than any lost childhood pet ever will, and that’s the real truth!

5. Not being their friend

I see this more in older parents than in my generation; parents trying so hard to maintain that tough love, authoritative role with their children. This one maybe completely my own opinion, but that is not the relationship I want with my daughter. More than her friend, I want to be her mentor; someone she respects and genuinely wants to please. If she constantly fears being punished don’t you think she would be more likely to hide things from me?( again I learned this from my own adolescence, so trust me;) ) My hope is that if she sees my unconditional love for her and my complete support, despite her no-doubt naive choices, then I won’t have to be the parent that snoops through her facebook or tosses her room while she’s gone. As a kid I always knew my parents loved me unconditionally, but I did fear letting them down and being punished. So it was easier to lie:/ Hopefully, just hopefully, my own daughter will trust that I will always try to understand her first before getting angry and she will be willingly open with me.  And yeah, maybe she’ll take advantage of my trust and disappoint me, but that may be a valuable lesson in itself, only time will tell. But in my eyes, everyday is not a promise and I will not squander the time we have living in the same house, learning and growing together. I will not miss out on cherished moments of deep connections just to prove that I am the boss and I’m in control! Because really, I am not in control of anything and you know how I feel about lying:)

-Zoey, I hope you appreciate that, don’t be the teenager I was!!

5. Distracting

This one just really gets to me, I don’t know why. A baby falls and starts to cry so we wave a toy in their face and make a goofy face to make it all better? Compare this situation to something as an adult..Having a bad day at work for example, so what do you do? you don’t want to feel anything, right? So you crack open a bottle of wine and distract yourself from the problem..did it help? Or maybe you are a teenager turned down by your crush so do you down a gallon of blue bell? What if instead we taught from birth that feelings happen and it’s okay. How about next time baby falls down we ask if they are okay instead of shushing them and telling them how to feel. Let them process how they feel about it when they can’t have  the snack they are throwing a fit for in the grocery store “You’re mad? It’s okay to be mad, you can tell me with your words, but not with your hands” If you are afraid of their feelings, won’t they be afraid as well? Adults who are afraid of their own feelings have a hard time. So many adults rely on prescription or street drugs  just to get through the day. I am aware that this come from more than just their childhood I would never blame a parent when there are so many factors in play but maybe it would have some impact if every one of those adults had a parent that helped them process their feelings instead of distracting them. I know that’s a big leap from shushing a baby to being the parent of an addict but that’s just the extreme. Adulthood is hard let’s equip our children to rise above hardships to success.

 

I’m not trying to tell anyone how to parent, I just hope that the general message of my writing is to be completely genuine and see where it gets you. Maybe it doesn’t take “tricks” and theories to raise a good human-being. It’s worth a shot to try to just be an authentic and imperfect person in an effort to let your children decide the human being they want to be and pray they make good choices.

<3KT

I want to hear from you other parents, share your own testimonial in the comments…even if you think I’m completely wrong:)

What just happened in bed, will change my marriage forever!

My husband and I are very in love and enjoy time together….

 

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..but every once in a while(like in all close relationships) tension and stress get the best of us and cause us to argue. The other night when we went to bed I told him that he had hurt my feelings that day with some comments he made and suddenly we were arguing. He was defending his point and I was defending mine. At some point he left the room to use the bathroom and I sat  there in bed crying and upset(maybe I’m a little sensitive at 20 weeks pregnant but it seemed like a BIG deal to me at the time). So I did what has become a habit to me when I am upset about something . I PRAYED. Looking back my prayer was a little selfish but I prayed: “God, let him see that he is hurting my feelings. Let him apologize so that we can go to bed as happy and in love as ever.”

He came back in the room and we continued to go back and forth (with me a little calmer) and eventually we resolved our issue. It turns out he was mad at me all day because he had a lot of stress on his mind and something I had done made it worse. And in my own way I was trying to help him relax about the situation but to him it looked like I didn’t care. A simple misunderstanding that proves we are two imperfect people and we NEED god in our marriage to find clarity in the things we can’t. But what’s even better is that when our little issue was resolved we didn’t go to bed. At this point it was probably 1:30am but still we dug deeper; we talked in length about our families, prayer, stress, and faith. It was amazing. Because we were able to navigate through the storm of our own emotions and open up to each other, I understand my husband a little better. After six years together you start to think you know exactly how your partner thinks, but I learned that I don’t. I don’t know anything. I cannot do anything alone. I need god in my life everyday. He showed me once again what our love could be like: a beautiful friendship:)

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After talking for a while we laid down, cuddled and he drifted off to sleep. Not me, I lay there awake thinking about the events that just happened. I had no idea an argument could end like that, but then again I don’t think I ever genuinely went to prayer to solve an argument. I knew from church that I am supposed to, but I had never invited god into my marriage before. We are still new to this life of faith so I guess it wasn’t natural to us, but I know now that we can’t do marriage without him. That night I was so overwhelmingly grateful, when only an hour before I was crying in bed pleading with god. So I prayed once again before I finally fell asleep. I prayed about so many things but mostly the message was this:

“Thank you god that you teach me new things everyday. You make me see myself and my loved ones more clearly. I need you in my life and in my relationships and you are there every time without fail. Thank you!!”

keep on praying together:)

❤ kt

Tell me how prayer has worked in your relationships in the comment section below:)

5 reasons modern-day parenting is in crisis: according to this modern mommy

 

Dear Huffington Post,

In reading your recent article, I find that you have many good points but you are forgetting one big thing. It’s just my humble opinion and maybe I put my child ahead of myself too much, but it’s been about me my whole life. When I got married and decided to have children I committed my whole self to them. I am by no means a permissive parent but I believe in one common truth when it comes to all parenting decisions:

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Don’t our children deserve respect? Isn’t the best way to get their respect, to model it ourselves? I’ve read your article and the rebuttals and here is mine, enjoy!

1. Fearing our children’s feelings

The one thing I knew about myself as a parent before I was actually a parent was that I must mean what I say. Most other fantasies I had about parenting disappeared soon after she was born, but when my baby became a toddler and discipline became ever so necessary this mantra never failed. When I set a boundary I don’t back down. Not that I try to engage in a battle of wills, but I am solid on my boundaries and am ready for the storm. By the storm, I mean the big feelings my toddler doesn’t yet have the power to control. My job is not to distract her or bribe her to avoid this unpleasant reality but sit and guide her calmly through the storm. Adolescence may be filled with endless emotions; aside from the happy times there are bound to be times of rejection and major disappointment. My daughter will always know that I may not bail her out of tough situations but she can always lean on me for love and support. I feel that when we wave candy in front of a toddler just to get through a grocery trip with a calm and submissive child it kicks them in the long run.  It may lead to an older child who is afraid of their own feelings and is inevitably unable to cope with life.

2. Raising the wrong bar

Oh yes, children are capable of way more than we give them credit for. To an extent they should be able to show respect (age appropriately of course). And they should certainly be able to sit at a restaurant or through a  30 minute car ride without tablets and DVDs. I truly think electronics are snuffing out budding imaginations. But more than creating Ipad addicted zombies, I am concerned about parent’s need to force the ABC’s down their throats as soon as they can walk. Are we willing to pressure them out of a love for knowledge so that we have bragging rights at play dates? More important lessons may come from showing compassion to a stranger or having lengthy conversations about the world in all of it’s glory. I would rather talk about the beautiful sunset as we drive home instead of quizzing her about her colors for the 50th time. There is imminent time in her future that will be dedicated to studying and tests but for now she is a young sponge full of wonder. I want to fuel that fire, I want to teach humanity, kindness and passion for life. Abc’s and 123’s can wait.

3. The village is a hateful one

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Mothers are downright hateful to one another. We’re all doing the same job with a common goal of raising happy, healthy, well-rounded children. So instead of bullying and insulting, lets put aside our vast differences and encourage each other. Sleep training or co-sleeping, bottle-feeding or tandem nursing; our job is hard, don’t make it harder on yourselves. The best parent is one unconditionally loves their child and tries their best no matter what that may look like. As long as you’re not making headlines for child abuse I’m sure you’re doing what is best for your family and I’ll respect you for that.

4. Were relying on shortcuts instead of instincts

By all means, educate yourself on everything when becoming a new parent. Learn about vaccines, baby wearing, sleep-training, Dr. Ferber, Dr. Sears, blah, blah, blah. Keep in mind, every parent and child are different, what works for one family will not necessarily work for another. There is no one-size fits all solution. Listen to your instincts, if it feels wrong maybe it is! In my earlier parenting days I swore by the attachment theory. I tried to co-sleep but it was obvious that both baby and I like our space at night. Should I feel guilty? Nope. I’m doing what works for us, no doctor knows my baby better than I do. I do enjoy studying different parenting philosophies, but I don’t adhere to just one. I pick and choose what make sense to me and works best in our lives.

5. Balancing everyone’s needs

We all have responsibilities and obligations that fill our days and sometimes we just need little ones to cooperate so that everything can get done, but are we asking too much? When your child is losing it in a waiting room after 5 errands maybe he’s telling you something. Young hearts might not be able to find the words, but if they could they would say ” I feel unimportant and unheard!”  Children are small people trying to fit into our world and, to them, their needs are just as important as our daily tasks. I’m not saying to drop everything and spend all your days at museums and parks so that your child knows his worth. Life with children can be balanced, instead of driving thru for lunch why not go to their favorite restaurant with the play place or make your phone calls while you sit on the park bench so your little ball of energy can run free. Just include them and give them credit when they are patient with you. Most of all look at your world through their eyes sometime, you may be enlightened.

I don’t have all the answers and I am aware that I am not a perfect parent. I’m just trying to stay afloat like everyone else, but if I can be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves, you bet I will. These are just a few things I’ve picked up in my short experience and I have to remind myself of daily. Everyday I have to stop and pray for patience and strength, but if my struggle better prepares my sweet babies to stand tall in a world that isn’t always nice it’s very worth it.

To quote one of my favorite mom bloggers:

“It’s not our job to toughen up our children to face a cruel and heartless world. It is our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless”

-L.R. Knost

Road tripping with a 2 year old

 

 

15 hours from Texas to Florida for our first(of many i hope) Disney cruise!

001My husband surprised us with this trip two weeks before we were to leave which was awesome but very stressful at the same time. We decided to drive instead of fly to save money so I began to immediately plan activities for our busy little girl to do in the car. I had seen lots of neat ideas on Pinterest.com  and went to creating. The most important was a lap tray that i made from a small baking sheet so that it would be magnetic.  I attached a small pillow to the back for her comfort using quilt batting I found in my craft closet and an old pillowcase. I went through tons of ideas before i came up with something that would secure the fabric to the metal..E500 silicone glue was the winner.

Once I had her workspace figured out we took a trip to the dollar store to pick some goodies. I asked her what she liked and snuck it into the cart. I told her they were surprises for the big road trip:) I built up this road trip to her for the whole two weeks. We had a count down on the fridge and talked about it almost daily so that she was mentally prepared to sit in the car for 15 long hours. So once we had all sorts of cheap toys, puzzles, and snack containers from the dollar store I got some small round magnets and hot glued them to everything!!

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I packed everything in a small tote box that she couldn’t see through so that everything remained secret. In addition to the magnetic toys i had fruit loops and yarn for making necklaces, Disney themed coloring pages and homemade lacing boards. I also made a calm down jar with glittter and and look and find jar with little beads and treasures in it. Other favorites were play doh, something called floam and miniature slinkys. Anyway the  trick to get the most quiet time out of each activity was to give her one thing at a time let her play with it until it wasn’t fun anymore then replace it with a new activity. If she was entertained and quiet there was no way i was interupting her playtime by asking questions or stopping for bathroom breaks. When times got really desperate we  put a movie on a portable dvd player for her. And i think it goes without saying to bring a cooler full of snacks and drinks. Also we usually don’t allow the paci unless it’s bedtime but we made an exception for the trip, I figured I was asking enough from her already.

 

455>>her tray got a little cluttered, this is her playing with the “floam”

When she napped I napped so that I was available to help her reach things and open snacks when she was awake. My dear husband drove almost the whole way with the exception of a couple hours that I helped out.

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>>asleep with ketchup on her face, I got this little travel pillow at walmart

I am not very good at sitting still and being patient myself so I dreaded making a two year old do it but it all worked out great. We made so many memories on that road trip and  once we got there it was even more fun.

056>>we see “Disney’s boat”

The drive home wasn’t so bad either, we planned a stop in Destin which was about 6 hours from the port where we got off the ship. We played all day at the beach and did some tourist-y stuff and then drove about another hour to a hotel to spend the night.

 400>>Playing in Destin

  So the next day was only about 8 hours of driving and we were safely at home. Best trip ever:)

❤ kt

 

 

Is racism really the problem?

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May the God that gave us endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind towards each other that Christ Jesus had,  so that with one mind and one voice we may glorify the God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Romans 15:5-6

This is one of the more controversial topics I’ll ever write about, but it is something that has been on my mind a lot lately. Racism seems to be a hot topic on my new feed lately. With all the media coverage of the recent NBA scandal concerning Clippers owner Donald Sterling everyone is questioning whether racism is a major issue in America today. In my opinion, no RACISM is not a major issue, but HATE is. You see it doesn’t matter who you are , what you look like, or where you are from, someone is always going to find something negative to say. It’s a sad reality but so true.

When most people hear  the word racism they think of things like KKK and genocide. Which are both terrible things but I think it’s more than that, discimination shows it’s ugly face in many forms. As a young white female I can tell you that I myself have felt discriminated against in many instances.  Not by any certain ethnic group  and not only for my race, but for my age, my sex, my social status, and even the clothes I wear. My point is that the majority  feels such animosity for anything that is different. As a parent on social media I see this way too much. There are so many choices to be made as a parent and we are not all gonna make the same ones. I read these inspiring stories of children and parents growing and learning together and then I’m shocked to see the hateful comments. One wrong phrasing sets off a frenzy of moms putting each other down. Facebook groups meant to bring moms together in fellowship turn into a high school cafeteria’s with women calling names  and throwing hurtful blows. I myself have gotten into online debates way too often, I feel passionate enough to voice my opinion and then I find myself all worked up and not really feeling good at all. I don’t feel any better for telling someone they are wrong, I am not any better than anyone for getting in the last jab.  I have done nothing but spread hate which is the opposite of my goal. I should just take my hands away from the keys,  fold them over my heart and pray. Not pray that they “get theirs!” but pray that I can be accepting of differences and pray that their choices benefit their children and their families and that the person I was about to let have it, finds happiness. This is how we grow as people and as disciples of Christ. I realize that my examples are quite trivial but it goes to show how little it takes to start a hate storm. For those with obvious differences like those with disabilities, a different sexual orientation, or someone who is a minority in their community, the struggle is much more real.

“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God  desires.” 

James 1:19-20

Often when a person feels targeted by a certain group they tend to keep the cycle going and turn the hate right back on them. This is so counter-productive, harboring hate literally steals your own joy. Hate for someone who is different, hate for someone who you feel wronged you: It’s unhealthy! Let it go, turn it over to god! I challenge you to stop this cycle. Next time you feel judged or persecuted don’t foster hate, instead use that as motivation to have an open-mind towards peoples differences. Let us not scrutinize anothers lifestyle, but see them as they are: a person with their own set of struggles and insecurities. If we all did this( as difficult as it may be), together we can stop this epidemic of hate!

 

THE ROD: not to be taken literally

“Spare the rod and spoil the child”

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I have spent so much time conflicted over this little phrase. In proverbs it mentions “the rod” several times in reference to child discipline and it never sat right with me. Before my daughter was born I imagined myself as a stern parent who would spank when necessary but when she was born that went out the window. Before I held her I didn’t know the love and compassion I would feel for her. I also didn’t know how fragile a child’s emotions really were. I truly believe that how parents relate to their children from a young age has infinite impact on the adult they become  and how they relate to others. That being said I did not feel right manipulating my child’s behavior by punishing her until she complies. I aim to teach her empathy and respect and I do that by treating her with empathy and respect. So when I started studying the bible and it was instructing me to go against my motherly instincts I was bewildered. I thought, “Jesus teaches love for your fellow man, does a child not count as a person?” So I prayed about it, and the funny thing was, I felt that my instincts were right. I hadn’t sinned and I wasn’t doing my daughter any injustice by not whipping her bottom when she didn’t listen. So of course I wanted to dig deeper into this scripture that had me so befuddled.

“The rod” isn’t only mentioned as means for discipline, it shows up in 36 different scriptures throughout the bible with various meanings. My favorite is in psalms 23:

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing .

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right path

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil,

for you are with me; your ROD and your staff they comfort me.

MMMM I love that one so much! But my point is that if we are to love our children the way that our lord loves us, then shouldn’t we be leading and guiding instead of hitting and punishing. I think people have taken these proverbs scriptures much too literally. What if the bible was never telling  us spank our children? What if it was a metaphor for God’s authority or our authority as parents? We shall not spare our authority from our children because we love them! It makes sense, right? Proverbs even uses the words “the rod of correction”; That doesn’t sound so harsh does it?

The one verse that most troubled me was: “If thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.” Wow! that seemed violent, but one writer made the point that this may be seriously misinterpreted. Maybe it is saying that this rod is different. It will not kill him like the rod mentioned in other scriptures when men where literally beaten to death. This is a metaphorical rod and we are not to beat our children but to pound the knowledge of gods love and grace into their heads. We are to guide them like a  shepherd does his sheep, with his rod as his authority over them.



Do it anyway!

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“She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.” Proverbs 31:17

Sometimes as an adult there are things that I just don’t want to do, like pay bills or call the insurance company. I usually want to procrastinate and make excuses or pass the unwanted task onto someone else. But the bible says do it anyway! I’ve learned that a task that gets put off and brushed under the rug never really goes away, instead it becomes stress. There it is in the back of my mind nagging at me, telling me I’m failing at being a real grown-up. Sometimes the devil shows up and convinces me,  “I’ve been busy lately, I’ll give myself a break.” I don’t know about you but it is impossible for me to relax when there are things to do. It’s not relaxing its wasting my  time and my joy. The key is to get the obligations out of the way first and then I can really sit back and enjoy time with my family and play with my baby girl.

“She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and for her female servants.” Proverbs 31:15

I was not born a morning person. Baby girl, however, wakes up ready and rearing to go. Shes up with the sun and wants breakfast and then a playmate. Meanwhile, my brain is still half asleep for at least the first hour of our day and I’m resenting her for waking me up. That was not a great start to the day! But you know what is? JESUS! Now we wake up and sit down to breakfast together and while she finishes her food I dig into the bible  to find the perfect verse to set the tone for our day. This has made all the difference! Then instead of convincing her to watch cartoons for an hour while I work up some energy, I get those obligations out of the way and we have plenty of time to make memories in the back yard.

So there you go some of my dirty little hang-ups out in the open for you to learn from. I cant’ say that I am clothed in dignity and strength yet, but the noble wife is getting me there. Every time I fall back into old habits there she is to say “Do it anyway!” Thank god for Proverbs 31!

 

 

The greatest Birthday present a two year old could ask for.

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My daughter turned two at the beginning of April and since Christmas I had been thinking that I wanted to do something special for her. We have a huge extended family so she gets an obscene amount of conventional presents for holidays. I wanted something that would give her some independent playtime and tear her away from the beloved television so I came up with what I thought was a genius idea. I would deck out her playroom and her wonderful and handy daddy would build her a shaded play area in the back yard. It sounded simple. This turned into two months of planning and work and a way bigger budget than anyone should ever spend on a birthday present. But the result was priceless, in the week since she’s had her new play-spaces she has watched maybe an hour of tv everyday and she has expressed her gratitude over and over.(from a two year-old that is pretty special, i’d say)

 

the first sketches of our grand scheme:)

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To start, we took about 1000 trips to Home Depot to gather materials.

For the playroom:

  • 15 feet of  thin trim for the learning wall
  • lots of paint colors( I got samples because they were on clearance)
  • 10 feet of vinyl gutters with 6 ends and 6 brackets for her bookshelves
  • Rustoleum chalkboard paint

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  • a dowel and closet rod attachments
  • command hooks

 

On Amazon I found:

  • an awesome rug
  • some butterfly wall decals
  • a mesh bed canopy
  • a pink full length mirror
  • and led rope lights to line her dress up cabinet with.

 

 

I wanted this all to be a surprise so I arranged for her to stay at my parents for two and a half days before the big reveal so we cold work in secret.  I was worried we couldnt get it all done in the two and a half days so I started with smaller projects during naptime and after bed time.

First I tackled the dress-up cabinet, it was an old bookshelf taking up space in the spare bedroom. I wish I had more pictures to show you but we did this project before I decided to start a blog.

  •  I took it all apart and primed it.
  • then painted it with about four coats with a dark teal paint I got on clearance. My mistake(and the reason I had to use so many coats) was priming with white and using such a dark color. If i did it again I would prime with gray.
  • On the last coat of paint, while it was still wet I generously sprinkled clear glitter all over.
  • After all was said and done I sprayed it with the clear polyurethane to keep it from scratching.
  • I put it all back together except for the middle shelf and lined the back with the led rope lights which made it really sparkle.
  •   Next I attached the closet rod right under the top shelf with liquid nails and the shortest screw I could find(so i wouldn’t go through the side).  A tension rod would have been easier but I thought it would be sturdier this way.
  • Last I put some command hooks on the sides for hats and other accessories

and VOILA! she had glamorous dress-up station.

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Another late night project was the magnet board. My first idea was to just use sheet metal but my husband informed me that its pretty pricey. So instead I got the MDF board and painted it with  Rustoleum magnetic primer. It’s a really cool product but I think it takes some practice. It’s oil-based so get mineral spirits BEFORE you start! Rememeber to stir t really well before each use because the magnetic particles in the paint settle to the bottom.. The paint is also super thick so it is hard to get a smooth layer. If i did it again i would use a roller and sand with fine grit sandpaper between each coat. To make it magnetic enough you’ll have to do at least 4 coats(The can says 2 to 3). If you do it right there could be unlimited possibilities for this stuff! After I did several coats and tested it with a magnet I spray painted it teal to match my color scheme.

I also painted an old bulletin board I had laying around just for fun.

Finally the day came, it was the week of her birthday and we dropped her off at my parents and it was game on. One last trip to Home Depot and then he set off to the back yard and I got started in the play room.

I got started with the trim first, in hindsight I probably should have painted and then done the trim. I used a brad nailer (with 1″ nails) and liquid nails on the trim and then fixed all my mistake with a little wood filler, sandpaper and paint. I’m brand new to carpentry so I was pretty proud of my cutting and nailing skills. So then I painted one section with Rustoleum chalk board paint, hung my magnet board, and painted the little house.

This is how it looked:)

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Next we hung the bed canopy and put an old chandelier that I’ve had since high school in the center for a quiet reading space. For bookshelves we cut the gutter into three equal lengths and mounted them to the wall at her level.

after all the grunt work was the fun part, I got to put it all back together and revel in my success. The first big DIY project I tried turned out pretty sweet!

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And here is daddy’s project. I don’t how he did it he is just awesome:)

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