#dearmoms

Motherhood is not easy. Being a boymom is not for the faint of heart. Yet, I find raising my son to be the best part of my life. I’m a single mom and in all of the magnificent mom moments, I do get things wrong from time to time. Like the time I had just returned from maternity leave and each day I picked my son up from daycare, he had bright red cheeks. I didn’t investigate because I guessed he just spent the day crying and fussing because he missed me, when in reality, a worker wore perfume he was allergic to. I messed up by not paying closer attention for weeks. Or like the time he was in 2nd grade and I was so busy working, I failed to take him to an eye doctor for months. When I finally did, the eye doctor not so politely told me he should’ve had glasses long ago. I messed up by not keeping the main thing, the main thing and was focused on bills versus him. Or the time when we moved and I changed his school with the move, not understanding that was too much change at one time.

We are all familiar with the saying, change is the only constant. Every time I learn my son, what works for motivation, what works for discipline, what are his likes and dislikes, he changes. He grows and develops – as he should – and I have to make an adjustment. I remember like it was yesterday, picture day in the hospital. He was not 24 hours old yet and they were coming to take customary newborn pictures. I had his perfect baby blue outfit with matching hat ready to go. I had just fed him and now he laid on the bed looking at me and I standing by the bed looking at him. It was just the two of us. As he stared at me, he quietly studied me. It was my first time alone with my son awake and I was pretty mesmerized by him. I went to take off the hospital attire and his movement startled me a bit. He looked at me as if to say, “I just got here lady, what are you doing?” I smiled and he smiled back and we got picture perfect ready.

I only have a couple more years to prepare my son for his change from being dependent on me as mom, to him being an independent young man. Part of me is looking forward to the change and the other part of me, not so much. While the expectation is that I, as the adult, teach my son (I hope he has learned some things from me), he has taught me. One of the many lessons my son and motherhood has taught me, is to remain diligent about what I’m doing in being Mom. I cannot put him on autopilot. I cannot leave him to his own will or thoughts or desires. I must be purposeful and intentional about him. There has to be a balance of letting him discover and be himself, while still interjecting boundaries and rules and what my home stands for.

I say I’m a single parent, but in reality, God is truly my partner raising this young man. What kind of person will WE produce? When I mess up – definitely when, not if – can I humble myself, even as a parent, to acknowledge I messed up, I blew it, I made a mistake? Once the acknowledgement is made, can I grow and learn from it and continue to be the best Mom I can be?

As I’m being purposeful and intentional about raising my son, partnering with God, I have to be just as mindful to study God’s Word and pray. I have to pray for my son, but also myself. As I partner with God, He helps me to be the best Mom I can be. He helps me not to give up on my son. He helps me make it through those trying times…such as the middle school years.

To my fellow moms, let’s keep doing this. Let’s keep being purposeful and intentional when it comes to our children. We will mess up. We will have sad tears. But it’s not over. You got this. On purpose. For purpose.

Resources:

A great book that helped me is 14 Secrets to Better Parenting by Dave Earley. You can get it here, through my affiliate program.

 

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Home Series – Part III

We’ve been talking about our homes and being keeper of our homes, in regards to what it smells like and what it looks like. This time, for the final installment in this series, let’s talk about what our homes sound like.

Kind words are like honey—
    sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.  Proverbs 16:24

We are taught our tongue can be a dangerous member, in the book of James. As the keeper of our home, it is important we are guarding the words that flow throughout the house. What is being said in our house? Is it giving life or death? Is it uplifting or discouraging? Are the words being spoken sweet to the soul?

We set the example and the tone by the words we speak. What helps me is praying aloud, including my son in my prayers. It is important that he hears me actually praying. Also, reciting scriptures aloud is beneficial. At times, I have put scriptures on the walls or the mirrors, not only as a reminder, but when when I see them, as something to say out loud.

When there are multiple people in the home, we have to monitor what they are saying. Small children repeat what they hear. What kind of influence is the TV or music having on the words they speak?

As Moms, it is very important we affirm our children every day. There is so much going on in the world and so many challenges children face. We need to be their safe place, just as God as our Father is our safe place.

Let’s really focus on being the keeper of the home and building up our families.

This is 40.

Yesterday was my 40th birthday.

For me, major birthdays were 16, 18, 21, 30, 32 (like that number), and 40.  Each of these birthdays, I thought my life would be in a certain place and seemingly things usually do not turn out the way I thought.  For example, for 30, I thought I would enter that decade with fierceness, but I had a liver resection 2 days after my 30th birthday to remove a baseball size tumor.  Here at 40, I thought I would be a certain point in my career, business, and family.  But I’ve been recently laid off and have yet to be married.

What I thought and what actually is conflict with each other.  But, I’m perfectly okay with that, because of what I do know.

There is a difference between think and know.  To think is to have a particular belief or idea.  To know is to be aware through observation, inquiry or information; to have developed a relationship with someone through meeting and spending time.

I have a hand full of gray strands, but I know 40 is far from being old.  I know my son is a phenomenal young man and I’m so blessed and honored to be his mom.  I know that I have an incredible family and wonderful friends and even some pretty decent associates.  The information I have from Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end,” lets me know the purpose God has for me will come to pass.

I may not be where I thought I would be at 40, but I know I’m where God planned for me to be.  His ways are not my ways.  I trust Him.  I’m excited to be entering this decade and looking forward to what He has for me.  I’m thankful for the 40 years to date and I press towards living life on purpose, for purpose.  This is 40.

Home Series – Part II

Last time in our home series, we talked about the smell of our home.  This week, let’s look at the sight of our home.  Yes, the pun was intended.  Hehehe

to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.  Titus 2:5

As I’ve previously alluded to, my home will not win a white glove award.  However, I feel good that if anyone were to stop by unexpectedly, we would not have to be on a mad dash to throw things in various corners or under various objects to hide the mess.

Clutter free living.

Sure, there’s the “rule” clean as you go or when you pull something out, put it right back up.  As a working single mom, sometimes, I’m doing good just to get something out.  Here are some of my tips to keep the clutter to a minimum.

*Stop buying everything.  I’m so, so, so guilty of this.  It’s hard for me to pass up a great sale – 75% off or more.  I’ve stopped myself from buying things, just because it was on sale.

*Keep the living space livable.  In our living room, I have minimal items.  I have no coffee table and the space on the TV stand is just enough to hold the remotes.  The end tables are out of everyday easy reach and hold pictures and flowers.  I have pillows and a throw.  As a result, there is not much space for items to collect or to clutter.

*Everything has a home and have a home for everything.  This tip would best fall into organization.  I’m a realist.  Not everything will truly have it’s own home and junk drawers do exist for this reason.  Even in that junk drawer, we go through it at least once a quarter and throw out items that simply need to be thrown out.  Old restaurant coupons, old sale circulars, broken pens, items that do have a real home.

With all that we need to do – care for our family, care for ourselves, work, and spending time with the Lord to grow the relationship – please know most homes are not going to be HGTV magazine ready.  The presence of the Holy Spirit, the love in the home, the joy and peace, those are the most critical.  It’s okay to be “good enough”.

Home Series – Part I

Martha Stewart I am not.  B. Smith I am not.  I’m just me – a single mom of an athletic, forever going, teen boy.  I am the manager of my home.

to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.  Titus 2:5

I asked my 16 year old son what home was to him.  His answer, “wherever my mom is.”  Sweet.  But really, when I think of home, I think of a space that is warm and that is really a place of refuge.  There is a lot happening in the world.  In my opinion, it is my responsibility – in keeping my home – to have that space where family is truly family and the space I have is a safe place for those who enter and especially for those who dwell here.

In this first part, I would offer to be careful of what your home smells like.

A clean home will lend itself to smell good.  However, I’m a busy mom and I’m not always going to have time to pull out cleaning supplies every single day.  I also do not have the budget to keep fresh flowers in the house everyday.  I do use candles, with my top scent being gardenia or some kind of berry or tropical.  Personally, I stay away from candles with vanillas.

Opening a window to allow air to circulate is also helpful for a fresh scent.

I’m a baker and absolutely love when it’s baking day.  My house always smells amazing!  If you’re not a baker, I’ve heard putting a cinnamon stick in a pot of water and allowing to simmer OR putting baking soda and water in a crock pot will also work (add a few drops of lemon essential oil or lavender essential oil!).

What does keeping the home mean to you?  What does your home smell like right now?

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Chuckwagon Casserole – High and Low

In my house, there are two of us – myself and my very athletic teenage son.  He consumes quite a bit of food, because he needs it as a top cross country runner and top long distance runner.

I firmly believe one way I can honor God is by taking care of my home – to include making sure my son has a great nutritious meal.  One of his favorite meals is chuckwagon casserole.  This recipe is so easy to put together and very filling.  I appreciate it is a complete meal with good protein (we use either ground turkey or ground chicken), good carbs, and a bit of fat (we add a bit of olive oil).  This recipe is many places online, including here.

My tip to get chuckwagon casserole in the oven quick is to use the PictSweet frozen onion blend OR the PictSweet frozen tri-pepper blend.  Already chopped and good to add to the recipe.  It may not be the appropriate ratio, but it will be okay.  Also, while you are cooking the meat and veggies and adding the sauce, have a family member work on making the cornbread and adding the corn.  By the time you are finished with the meat mixture, everything can be added to the pan and into the oven.

I like providing a home cooked meal for my son.  He’s the first person I need to show hospitality to.  But, it’s over dinner, I have the opportunity to still connect with him.  A favorite conversation starter is “High/Low”.  When either of us says this, the other person shares their high for the day and the other person shares their low for the day.  Sometimes there is an elaboration, however, as my son is an older teen, I find many times there is not.  Either way, I have the chance to hear what is going on with him and have things I can pray about for him.

Purposeful parenting is more than “do this, do that”.  It’s about looking at the whole child and making sure they are growing properly – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.  Parenting is not for the faint of heart!