Quote Love

Every couple of months, I like to round up all the best quotes I’ve come across, and share them here. There’s something about combining beautiful images with inspiring words that gets me every time! Here are my latest favourites:

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Any quotes you’ve been loving lately? Please share!:)

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Sibling Love

My chicks are all back in the nest, where they belong.

Everett is delighted to be reunited with his “girlies”. Kaylia was at camp for a week, and then Anika was at camp the next week, and it felt like two weeks was a long time to be missing a family member. My thoughts keep going to my cousin, who lost her son in an accident this last week, and my heart feels heavy for moms who can’t be with their children.

These are the days to hold them close, and enjoy this stage. But at the same time, I always want to keep in mind that the whole point is for them to grow up, and eventually leave the nest, and I don’t want that to be a depressing thought. I want to learn to be fully present, and enjoy each stage, being able to look ahead with excitement and anticipation, and lots of trust that God has good things in store for the future.

But right now, it’s good to have them right where they are. There’s been some fighting already, but it warmed my heart to look out the window and find them chatting together in the play structure – so much to catch up on!:)

Other than the play structure moment, my favourite interaction would have to be this one:

Anika: Locked in her room, reading her book and wanting to be alone.

Kaylia: Knocking and repeatedly begging to play.

Anika: Repeatedly ignoring her.

Kaylia: Made Everett come to Anika’s door with her and started feeding him lines. “Tell Anika to open her door.”

Everett: “Anka, open my door!”

Kaylia: “Tell Anika to let you in her room.”

Everett: “Let you into my room!”

Kaylia “Tell her you want to hug her.”

Everett: “I want to hug you!”

Kaylia: “Tell her you want to kiss her.”

Everett: (long pause) “No. I not saying that.” And stomped down the hall. A kiss was going too far.

May you have better luck with your kiss requests this week. Have a happy Monday!

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Zombies Only Chase Me in Nightmares (or “Our Exercise Adventures”)

A few weeks ago, I came across a podcast which started some big changes around here: Why Sleep is More Important Than Diet and Exercise Combined.

It was so interesting, I went on to download a bunch of Shawn Stevenson’s podcasts, and I’m hooked. They fun and interesting, and I’ve learned a lot from them. I’m also feeling a lot more rested than I did previously!

One thing has stuck with me more than anything else was this:

“A good night’s sleep starts first thing in the morning.”

Crazy, hey?! But Shawn had such a great way of explaining it – he said that cortisol and melatonin are on a teeter totter, of sorts.:) When one goes up, the other goes down. So you want your cortisol to spike in the morning, giving you energy, and you want your melatonin to go up at night, so you get a great, solid sleep. One of the best ways to make sure everybody’s taking turns like they’re supposed to is to get outside and exercise first thing in the morning. That shot of sunlight and getting your body moving is a very effective way of starting everything off right. Also, the earlier in the day you exercise, the more down time your body has to drop its temperature (super important for a great night’s sleep).

This all made a ton of sense to me, and gave me a “why”. I’m finding that when I have a good reason to hang onto, it’s easier to make myself do stuff. So I set my alarm, and when I woke up the next morning, I focused on getting some water and protein into me (hemp seeds, because they’re fast and easy!),  and headed out the door for a walk as soon as I’d done enough stretches to keep me comfortable. This is a completely different order than I usually use to start my day, but I felt the difference immediately – I had more energy, and just felt really light and happy all day. It was fantastic! I also started sleeping more soundly.

I felt so good, I started bugging Ben about trying the same thing. He’s wanted to get consistent with running for a long time, but it’s been hard for him to find a way to get motivated – having a “why” does not work for him the way it does for me! He needed to find his own way to get excited about implementing change.

This week, Ben came home bursting with excitement because he found his “why” – an app called Zombies, Run! It’s on ongoing story to listen to while you run, all about how zombies are chasing you, and you must complete different missions in order to save the town. If you stop running, you die.

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This sounds like THE WORST IDEA EVER to me!! I can’t even imagine how high my stress level would go – the combination of physical and emotional stress would probably give me a heart attack. Or I would just never sleep ever again.

I’m super thankful there are all different kinds of people, and we have the freedom to figure out what works best for each of us. I will continue to have my peaceful walks in the morning sunrise, and Ben can run all over Niverville with zombies nipping at his heals. To each his own.

And that’s exactly the thing: find what works for you, in whatever area you’re needing it. There’s something out there for everyone, proven by Zombies, Run! Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what that missing piece is. Some people are really good at brainstorming creative ideas – I have a couple of people in my life who don’t take no for an answer. Nothing is impossible in their eyes, and they will keep throwing ideas around until something captures my interest and sounds like a solution I can get behind.

Or sometimes something only works for a season, and then it’s time to switch things up, and find something fresh and new.Whatever it is, it’s totally worth the effort!

What motivates you and gets you going when you’re stuck? And would zombies chasing you be fun, or just a total nightmare??!!

 

 

 

You Are Free

I love books, but I just don’t make enough time for reading these days, so last month I made a little birthday resolution to read more books this year. How I’m trying to accomplish that is another post all on it’s own, but for today, I wanted to share with you my first beautiful book choice – “You Are Free: Be Who You Already Are“. Ben gave it to me for my birthday – I have a wish list of books on Amazon, and he chose two from my list as a surprise, which I loved.:)

It was the perfect choice for getting started on my little reading challenge, because Rebekah Lyons writes like she’s talking to a good friend, and she’s just telling her story, simply and beautifully, with powerful spiritual truths coming through again and again, in the way God spoke to her and worked in her life. That kind of writing appeals so much to me, because our stories are powerful, and they draw other people in very naturally. It’s a gentle way of sharing truth about God, because it’s simply saying, “This is what happened to me, and I’d like to share it with you.”

I’ve spent a couple of beautiful weekends at the lake, waking up early while the lake is like glass, quietly slipping down to the dock and reading Rebekah’s story. Here are some of my favourite quotes:

“I sensed God saying, ‘If I ask you to be light, I will make it feel light.'”

“Waiting is a critical part of your anointing. It prepares you, strengthens you, equips and trains you to step up when the moment comes.”

“Have you ever felt deep within your bones God has a plan ‘exceedingly abundantly above all you ask or think’? Do you ever ‘become weary in doing good’? Perhaps you have heard something specific from God. He’s awakened you to your passions and talents; he’s given you a vision for how you can run fast and free in your lane, but for whatever reason, it’s not happening. Doors are not opening, and so you grow impatient. The fires of passion and zeal burn quickly, but start to face when we don’t see evidence of God’s provision and blessing immediately. When things don’t happen as we expect – when God doesn’t work in the way we think he will – we begin to question and doubt everything. Did we hear correctly? Did we get it wrong? We expect immediate parting of the seas, removal of obstacles, and opening of doors, yet Scripture shows us that God often calls his children to periods of waiting.”

“As I listened to God, my heart began a gradual shift from wanting to accomplish big things for God to wanting to simply receive small things from God.”

That last one is sitting with me a lot these days. For so long, I’ve wanted to do more, and felt restless at times in this season of life, when I’m spending a lot of time at home with my kids. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do, but it can also feel very small and repetitive. If we continue homeschooling all three of our kids, all the way through high school, I’ll be in my 50s before we’re done! Will I get the chance to impact other people, have a meaningful job at some point, and use gifts I believe God’s given me that don’t get used much at home? And yet at the same time, I truly love where I am and believe that what we’re doing here is important, and what I’m called to right now. What if it’s not about accomplishing big things for God?

“What if your purpose is for [God] to love you?”

Rebekah writes about many of the different ways in which God wants us to experience true freedom, but the one pulling me in right now is the freedom to rest in God’s love, and receive small things, instead of feeling like I’m needing to do more but falling short.

It’s turning into a summer of learning how to rest, and finding freedom from the need to perform, and that is like a breath of fresh air. I admit, the setting for reading this book definitely increased my enjoyment, but I’m sure the message of “You Are Free” is life-giving wherever you might happen to read it!;)

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Summer Bucket List

I made a summer bucket list with the girls a month ago. They had all kinds of fun ideas for what they’d like to do this summer, but I had only one item to add to the list – family float time at the lake. We used to do this before Everett was born: a hot summer afternoon + something to float on for everyone, and a few hours later, I had my all-time favourite summer memories, every single time.

But it’s been three years since this has happened! We’ve had some great weekends at the cabin since Everett was born, but we’ve never had a HOT weekend! It’s been rainy and on the cooler side every time we’ve gone out there the last two summers, and I was starting to get desperate! How was it possible to miss out for so long on my favourite summer activity??!

We finally got our hot weekend, and our family floated, and now I don’t care what happens for the rest of the summer, I have been satisfied.

We stayed at the lake until Monday so that we could drop Kaylia off at camp, which is five minutes away from my parents’ cabin. It’s her first time going, and we’re all pretty curious how this will go! It’s been awhile since we’ve only had two kids in the house, so Anika and I have a list of chick flicks to get through, and Everett is missing his little playmate, so he’s filling his time with “helping” me, which we all know is outrageously helpful. Although, he did empty the whole cooler when we got back from the cabin, which was legitimately helpful, so maybe it will turn out okay!

I hope your week is off to a wonderful start!

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Let Mothering Be Hard

A few weeks ago, while scrolling through Facebook, I came across a post written by a mother, publicly honouring her grown daughter, who is also a mom, by saying, “I’m always amazed by how you can do it all! You make it look so easy!” and went on to list all the many responsibilities her daughter juggles.

This bothered me. I love words of affirmation, and I think encouragement is a beautiful, life-giving thing. But I had a problem with this comment, because it’s what our culture always glorifies – doing it all, and looking perfect while we do it.

The problem is, it’s pretty much impossible to “do it all”, and not lose our sanity. If anyone is actually doing it “all”, and is able to make it look easy or perfect, they are either exceptionally gifted, or they’re faking it. If they’re exceptionally gifted, this should not be the normal standard, and if they’re faking it, it shouldn’t be praised and glorified.

Standards have been set so high, there is no room for admitting weakness, stress, or struggling.

There are a few problems I see with this:

  1. Moms who can’t do it all get the message that they fall short.
  2. It encourages comparison.
  3. It ignores the fact that each mother has a vastly different life-calling, personality, and number of responsibilities on her plate.
  4. It suggests that when women burn out and must take a break, they are “less than”, falling short of the times when they are able to do it all. It makes it hard to admit when things are hard.

Social media plays a large role in this, but it seems to be a message we communicate in a wide variety of other ways, as well. It’s an attitude which permeates our culture.

We praise the woman who can do it all, but where is the honour for the mother who goes slowly? Who dedicates her hours to the small, simple acts of caring for her family in ways which the outside world will never see? Where is our praise for women with strong boundaries, a good understanding of her personal energy levels, great wisdom and self-control when she decides not to spread herself thin by committing to too many things?

There are some women who do a fantastic job of working full-time, raising kids, and keeping the house under control, while making it all look easy, but I don’t know of very many. From what women have shared with me, a lot of these brave, hardworking mothers all have times of struggling and fighting discouragement and guilt. It seems that most of the time, something has to give. There’s guilt over hiring a cleaning lady, or guilt over not spending enough time with her kids. Always guilt about something, because she’s doing everything but doesn’t know if she’s doing it well enough.

Then there are women like me, who stay home, and feel guilty because we have the extra hours at home, so we *should* be able to keep the house cleaner, be more focused and attentive, do more crafts with our kids, and yet even with the “extra” time, we still feel like we’re falling short.

Why are so many women feeling guilty? Why is it so hard to be a good mom?

My guess is because it IS hard. As it should be.

This is the most important thing I will ever do. It should be hard.

I hope there are other important things I get to accomplish in my lifetime, but to bring a human being into this world, and to be a part of the process of them growing into mature, wonderful adults is a big deal. It takes a ton of work and growing pains of all kinds, for everyone involved. There are no shortcuts to growth and awesomeness, and yet we’ve come up with the term “Super Mom” – for the woman who can do it all, and make it look easy.

I read this quote recently which summed it up nicely:

Looking back on my childbearing years, it seems as if I struggled every step of the way. I interpreted my struggling as a sign that I wasn’t good enough. Yet now that I have the perspective of a veteran mom, I think that there are certain struggles that can’t be avoided in mothering, such as sleepless nights with a newborn or an older child getting sick the day you’re leaving for vacation. And there are others that shouldn’t be avoided in mothering — how to meet your child’s needs without negating your own, when to take charge and when to let go, how to balance getting things done with building relationships or having fun. Struggles like these serve as stepping-stones to self-development. It is through these struggles that a mother defines who she is and becomes the mother she wants to be. (MotherStyles, Janet P. Penley)

Instead of focusing on perfection, I love the idea of embracing struggles, because it is the struggle which strengthens and shapes us. It acknowledges that life is messy, and that’s a good thing. There is room for mess, pain, confusion and uncertainty. There is no such thing as a Super Mom – there are just a lot of beautiful, strong women, working hard to love and care for their kids in the best way they know how, and that’s going to look a million different ways.

Saying parenting is hard doesn’t have to be a negative thing. For the last while, I’ve been doing some physical exercise which is hard for me. There’s nothing wrong with the exercise, or with me for finding it difficult – it’s just hard because I haven’t done it before, and I haven’t built up my strength and skill, but I will.

The same thing goes for parenting. It’s hard, but that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the kids or the parents. It simply means we’re building character and skill, and it will come.

Hard things are rewarding. They bring wonderful truth to the surface, and show us that we can become more than we were before. Parenting does this more than anything I’ve ever done. It is most definitely rewarding and life-changing. There are such beautiful moments, there are no words to describe it. I love these children of mine deeply, in the hard times, and the good.

We will gain far more ground if we lean into the struggle, rather than wasting our precious energy denying its existence and hiding its reality from the rest of the world.

It is hard, so let it be. The struggle is right and good.

A Winner and a Weekend

We have a winner! Laura Friesen gets the Amazon gift card.:) But thank you so much to everyone who commented during the last two weeks – it’s always fun to hear from other people, and I loved reading about what you’re all enjoying right now! I hope the sharing of ideas added a little bit of value to your life.

Sometimes I find it hard to share favourites – everybody is unique, and we all have our own passions and interests. When I talk about mine, it can be easy to think, “But why would anyone actually care about my little life, and the way we do things in our home?” And yet I’m always interested in what other people are doing, so why not?!

And then I go out on a limb, and share a bit of myself, only to have doubt creep in – what if people take it the wrong way, and think I’m saying everyone should do it my way? Or what if I share something I’m trying, only to discover later on that I’m completely on the wrong track?

So sometimes I choose to stay quiet, because it’s easiest. But I have a friend who says, “Share the keys! You might be holding a key of wisdom that someone else needs, and if you don’t share what you know, they won’t get the key they’ve been waiting for!”

Every time I think of the keys, I choose to share what I’ve got, however small it might be, because it seems like there’s not a lot in this world we’ve been given just to hang onto, and keep for ourselves.

So thank you for showing up here, and sharing the keys!:) Thanks to everyone who took the time to spread a little bit of joy and knowledge around. And maybe sharing online is just not your thing, and that’s totally okay. I’m pretty sure you’ll get other opportunities to share what you know and love, and you’ll keep passing on the keys, too.

I hope you all had a great weekend! We had the best kind – a little bit of work, lots of playing and relaxing, and hanging out with friends.

I hope your weekend left you feeling refreshed, and ready for another beautiful week!

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