Oh The Stories I Will Tell Your Kids!

You know what I love about having guest posts on the blog? You start to meet a lot of great people. You start to find new voices that make you cry, make you think, make you wonder, and make you laugh. I love Tiffany’s voice and I when I read this post I laughed out loud and thought, this is someone I could get drinks with. Cheers!

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Oh, the stories I’ll tell your kids

Sitting on the front porch one day

Your kids will be waiting

To hear what I have to say…

About:

The late night feedings.

The temper tantrums just because the sandwich was cut in a square instead of a triangle.

The shenanigans in kindergarten that almost resulted in serious counseling.

Getting the write ups about how you talk too much during class. 

The detention slips you forged with my signature…and watching you try to erase it as your teacher and I watched.

With both of my kids growing up, currently, 19 and 10, my husband and I decided that we would start building a treasure chest of the current things they do and say. These are things that have a tendency to annoy, astonish, anger, humor, otherwise kid stuff that they don’t understand how it affects us as parents.

When they are fully grown, married and have their own kids, that treasure box will be ripped open to provide wisdom. Nuggets of wisdom to their offspring. This will, hopefully, give their kids ideas (or weapons, depends on the context being used) on how to crawl right underneath their skin.

Here are the first 10 annoyances nuggets that have earned the right to go into the treasure chest. Things my husband and I will say to our kids’ kids:

1. Make sure you drink glass after glass of water right before bed.

2. Be sure to wake up at 6:30 am on Saturday mornings, bam on your parent’s door like you’re the police, requesting companionship. (On one occasion, my daughter even slipped us a note underneath our bedroom door, letting us know that she was hungry).

3. No matter how exhausted your mom looks, she absolutely loves how you bounce off the walls at bedtime. She musters up enough energy to read you a story most nights, so having you hide behind doors, your bed, underneath your bed and walking on her heels to follow her around, yeah, she LOVES all of that at 9 pm on a school night.

4. Blame your mom when you leave your book for your book report at school. Oh yeah, especially when it’s due the next day. (I recall my daughter’s words as being”what did you do with my book?”)

5. Yeah, go spend the weekend at a music festival, and forget to call your job to see when you’re scheduled to work again. Schedules are posted on Fridays, so be sure to wait until Monday to call for the schedule. My son decided to call for his schedule, he was met with an abrupt “you’re supposed to be here right now”, then CLICK.

6. Your mom especially likes it when you wake up on a school morning, decide you want to wear something different other than what she has already ironed for you. (I have a feeling this one’s gonna get more interesting as she grows older. Which will probably result in many blog posts.)

7. Yes, your dad likes it when you rinse the dishes without actually washing them. I think the food residue from yesterday’s dinner will add a certain flair to tonight’s dinner. (A tremendous pet peeve of mine. I cannot wait to visit his place over the next few years to see what that looks like.)

8. Your dad absolutely loves that he spent $500 on a laptop that you allowed someone else to step on and crack the screen. Yes, pumpkin, he also likes the fact that you cracked your iPhone screen (or whatever Apple’s making in the future) a few weeks after you got it. Yeah, he’s big on pouring money down the drain to satisfy your electronic needs.

9. Yes, you should wait until the last minute to sit for your senior pics. I know, they sent you notice back in July. It’s now September and the deadline is the first week of October. So what that everybody else waited too and the studio is over booked! No, the crowded portrait studio won’t bother him.

10. Your mom loves nothing more than watching the same episode of your Disney shows over and over and over and over…

Moms with littles, your day is coming! Start compiling your list now so that you can create your own treasure chest of stories to tell your grandkids.

Our treasure chest is bursting already with stories to tell the grandkids one day, we’re not in a hurry.

The beauty of all of this is that we can then send those kids, armed with the above nuggets of wisdom, home with their parents. At that moment, the Hubs and I will have our reward. 

Bwahahaha!!!

What tales will you store up about your kids during this stage of growing up?

Tiffany Benyacko blogs at unRehearsed (beunrehearsed.com), where she writes about raising an extroverted, prepubescent girl, who is in tweenhood. With a daughter well past sippy cups and diapers, Tiffany (an introvert and premenopausal (unofficially)) tries to figure out how to keep her daughter’s tweenhood terrific while keeping her own identity intact. 

Have a story to share? We would love to have you! Click here for more info!

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5 Vital House Rules for When the Baby Is Teething

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Yet another great guest post this week! Mariah’s sense of humor is one that I can relate to and I’m sure you will too! She brings a sense of honesty that I think we can identify with and I am thrilled to have her words on the blog today. I wish I had some social media links for you to catch  more snippets of her life but that’s not her thing these days.

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1. Play them where they lie.
Oh, how sweet! You just sang my little angel to sleep. Did I mention how many times they woke up last night? Make yourself comfortable, buddy. You’re going to be in that exact position for as long as it takes for the baby to get a proper nap.

2. There will be noise control.
What am I saying – that sounds silly. That almost implies that I would let there be noise! When you spend an hour lulling your screaming child back to sleep after the hysterics involving rejected teething rings and Orajel, any sound is too loud. That creak of the cupboard is the equivalent to a nuke, in my book, and will be treated as such.

3. No non-parent opinions or advice.
Hey, I get it. If you aren’t a parent (or have never been involved with raising a child) then all my complaining may sound a little excessive. Hell, six months ago I would have been right there along with you. But your advice on teething tablets and counting sheep is more than a little unwarranted. And I have just one thing to say to you, pal: “Just you wait. Your time will come.”

4. Come bearing gifts.
The sleeping patterns of a baby are already hard enough to take. Add a child who’s severely uncomfortable while waiting for that glorious tooth to break through and you’ve got a disaster looming. So if I don’t seem like my normal self when we talk, it’s because I’m not. I have a million things running through my sleep-deprived mind. “How long till the Tylenol wears off? Maybe I can inject this coffee straight into my system. Why can’t babies just be born with teeth? Wait, no, scratch that. Terrible idea. Terrible.” So if it’s really important that we hang out, for the love of all that is holy, bring a girl a cup of coffee and maybe I’ll be able to focus on that twit at your work.

5. Be patient with us.
Friends and family, I know I’ve been driving you crazy and my bundle of joy hasn’t exactly been a picnic in the park. I’m going to tell you all something that I tell myself at least three times a day: “Teething won’t last forever.” Say it with me now – teething won’t last forever. It won’t last forever …

This post originally appeared on ScaryMommy

MariahBioPhotoMariah Radtke is a full-time mom that loves playing with her son and avoids small talk. She has found a new form of peace by deleting all social media accounts but does enjoy writing about the wonder of parenting for ScaryMommy. Currently she is chasing after her (now) mobile boy and wherever she is-she wants coffee.

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Get In The Picture, Mom

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If you are like me, you love taking pictures of your kids and if you’re feeling brave, you hop in the photo with them. When I met Christina, I was thrilled that she wanted to share this post, especially since Mother’s Day is around the corner. Before I turn things over to Christina, I want to really encourage you to check out her site. I am most definitely an amateur photographer and I absolutely LOVE her site. It is incredibly helpful and user friendly for someone who dabbles with photography. Plus, her site layout is just lovely and clean. I really enjoyed stalking her 🙂

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I have never been one for being in pictures which is weird considering I am a photographer. I’ve just always been wired to hate almost every single image that had me in it. It still irritates me, however, when I hear other mothers pass on chances to be in the photograph with their children.

Don’t get me wrong. I totally get it when my clients want the pictures of the children without them in the shot. I know how it feels to not like what you see when the camera is turned on you. I know how it feels when you think that you getting in the shot is going to ruin it.

I get it but it is still wrong. You’re wrong. Get over it.

I know that that sounds harsh but I’ve had to tell myself this statement over and over again whenever the camera is turned on me.

Get over it.

My son is going to want these pictures when he is older. He is going to want to look back at these images and see me. See me laughing with him, kissing him, playing with him. He is going to look at these images and see someone that he loves. He won’t see what I see.

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My son will not look at these photographs and see a bad hair day. Or see a woman that could stand to lose a few pounds. He won’t look at these images, and see someone with a large chin or a big head. Heck, he probably won’t even notice that I have some serious double chin in some of the shots.

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He will see his mother. That’s all.

And that is who he is going to want to see.

One day, I will be gone. All that he will have left is these frozen frames in time to look back at. Because of that, I will always strive to be in as many pictures as possible.

Now, I won’t jump in every shot. There will be plenty of him by himself, with his father, etc. However, I will make an effort to always be in some. I aim for a few shots a month. I don’t always succeed but at least I am trying.

When he gets older, he will appreciate that.

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So, my message to you: Get over it. Who cares if you hate that picture of you with your double chin and your messy bedhead bun? Your children are going to love it, and that is really all that matters.

Christina Nelson

www.theeducatedshutter.com

www.facebook.com/theeducatedshutter

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Setting Free the Horses

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I think about the day when Asher will not want me to walk him into school. Or the day he doesn’t want to be tucked in for bed anymore. Maybe I’ll get lucky and he’ll let me tuck him in until he moves out! I know there will be natural transitions as he grows, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be easy. As I think about these things I was happy to have Cara’s post featured here today.

As someone who is a big advocate for teen writers, I was pleasantly surprised to meet Cara. Not only does she have talent, but she is a cheerleader for teen girl writers! I was so pleased to learn more about Cara and her passion for writing and to encourage others to write. She is my kind of woman 🙂 I know you’ll enjoy her writing as much as I do.

When your children are small and snuggly and clamor for your attention you can’t imagine there will come a day when they will ignore you, dismiss you, or outright avoid you. But the day comes. And it doesn’t matter how sweet and loving your children are, or how close you are or how openly they share their hearts with you; one day they will shun you. I promise.

And it’s a good thing. Even if it doesn’t feel like it.

I looked up the word parenting in the dictionary and it says: “the rearing of children.” And what is “rearing?” I, being a horse person, of course thought of that moment when the horse lifts its front end off the ground and attempts to set you on your butt. But Dictionary.com says, “to take care of and support up to maturity.” I know more than a few parents who might take issue with this since they are continuing to support their mature children well into adulthood. I suppose this only means that it takes some of us longer than others to rear our children.

A big part of supporting our children to maturity is teaching them to function independently. To that end, they will, or they should, naturally separate themselves from us. The fact that they aren’t mature yet means that sometimes they do this with a callousness that causes your jaw to drop and your heart to seize up. To be honest, in my focus group of my two teens (the third one is thankfully still a beautiful little boy who wants me to tuck him in at night), some will do this more than others. But they will all do this.

They have to figure out that they can reject you and not lose you.

And your job as a parent? To take it.

But maybe not all of it. I drew the line with my daughter when she told me to shut up. She can ignore me, roll her eyes at me, argue with me, but she can not under any circumstance tell me to ‘shut up’. I value my opinions and will fight for my right to be heard, especially in my own house.

I think parents that struggle with ‘hovering’ and are overly protective of their kids are in for the worst of it. It takes a much bigger effort to break free of someone who has a death grip on you than from someone who has a loose hold. Finding a balance between the death grip and the loose hold is the art of parenting.

Some kids object to even a ‘loose hold.’ They would prefer you simply stay in the general vicinity rather than have any real impact on their lives. My own daughter made this clear at age two when she told me to stay in the car because she could walk into preschool by herself. She has been gently, and not so gently, asking for this space ever since. Sometimes I can give her the freedom she demands and sometimes I can’t help but hover and direct. Blessedly, for both of us, she is gaining the maturity to have more control of her life. And I am learning to give it to her because I’m well aware that if I don’t she will take it, one way or another. 

My other teen has been much gentler with us. Every now and again he asserts his independence, but almost immediately feels badly for disregarding us. He argues with me about his planned activities, school schedule, and hygiene, but he is also quick to give me a hug, regale me with stories of the lunchroom, and seek my opinion on his writing. We’ve done nothing different with this child. He is simply a softer sort of soul.

My daughter wasn’t always the distant one. It hasn’t been so long that I can’t easily call up the memories of her unquenchable need to be held. From the moment she was born, she wanted to be in our arms at all times. I carried her in a sling or snuggly for hours every day, sometimes forgetting that she was there. This led to a few heart-stopping moments as I lit the gas stove or clambered down the basement stairs. At night she became furious with us when we attempted to make her sleep in a crib – alone. I wonder, in my more cynical moments, if we used up all our hugs back then. Or if this independence she asserts now is her way of punishing us for teaching her to sleep through the night by herself.

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It is our job to rear these children. It is their job to take the reins at some point. We must let them be in charge of themselves. We can no longer tell them how to act, or what to say. We must let them steer their own lives even if it’s a course we wouldn’t have taken. It’s a lot of responsibility, and it comes more easily to some young people than others. Demanding personal space to do this is natural. If that means I’m not welcome to put my arm around my daughter in public or my son no longer wants my help as he sifts through the details of his day, well, then I’ll find a way to be okay with that. Because if I don’t, I’m certain this will be the part of the rearing where one of them dumps me on my butt.

Cara Sue AchterbergCara Sue Achterberg is a writer and blogger who lives in New Freedom, PA with her family and an embarrassing number of animals. Her second novel, Girls’ Weekend, will be published May 3, 2016. Cara’s nonfiction book, Live Intentionally, is a guide to the organic life filled with ideas, recipes, and inspiration for living a more intentional life. Links to her blogs, news about upcoming publications, and pictures of her foster dogs can be found at CaraWrites.com.

Pssst-she also has a new book that hits the market next week! Check it out here.Girls' Weekend cover

Pros and Cons to Having a Furry Big Sister

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I met Liz not too long ago in an awesome mom blogging group. I was excited to see that she had a post to share for It Takes a Village. I am a HUGE dog lover. If you haven’t figured that out already, check out my Instagram for some dog lovin photos. I was immediately drawn to Liz’s post as a fellow dog lover. It’s pretty amazing how pets become an extended part of your family. They can become such an ingrained part of life and I think many of us aren’t ready to balance them when a new little baby arrives. I totally get the change of pace for when you have a newborn and a high-energy dog that is ready to go go go!! As with anything there are pros and cons and Liz is here today to talk about her experiences with being a new mama and a dog lover.

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Newbie mom Liz Parker-Cook is the proud mom of a seven month old son and a 4 year old chocolate lab. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and the aforementioned dependants. In her other life, she is a high school music teacher, which is much louder than parenting but has fewer dirty diapers. You can read more from Newbie Mom athttp://www.newbiemomsite.com or on Facebook, Twitter or Bloglovin‘.

My husband and I brought home Hazel in 2012. For the first while, she kept us up all night and kept me busy all day getting into things and crying for attention. She has boundless energy and ruins all her toys, but she is clever and lovable at exactly the right moments. And boy, is she a ham for the camera!

No, Hazel is not a toddler. She is a 3 1/2 year old chocolate lab. Though Hazel has always loved children, we were nervous about introducing her to her baby brother when we found out that I was pregnant. Hazel has always been sweet and gentle, but we had heard and read stories of people having to make the difficult decision to re-home dogs when children arrive. It turns out we didn’t need to worry because in August she welcomed home her little brother, MB, with much excitement. (And even more wet doggy kisses.)

There have definitely been some challenges with being a mom to a dog and a newborn baby, but also some extremely sweet moments. Here are some pros and cons of having a dog and a baby.

Con: They both need attention. (Often at the same time.) Hazel was used to being spoiled with attention and going on walks often to burn off her energy. Like any big sister, she had to learn to share her attention. At first Hazel started to whine or cry when the baby cried, and then began doing things she knew would get attention, such as jumping on the counter or destroying something. I used to run back and forth giving them attention. Hazel would bring me a toy while I was nursing her brother, but put it just out of my reach and whine so that I would get up and play with her.

It has been almost 5 months now and it is improving. As the baby grows and begins to move, Hazel has become more interested in him and less resentful. We play fun games like holding the baby like an air plane and chasing the dog around the house. They are learning to co-exist.

Pro: When the naps align it is magical! This happens maybe once a week, but when it does it is the best. There is nothing better than having the baby fall asleep in your arms while the dog snoozes beside you. They just look so darn cute while they sleep. I start to wonder why I was stressed, with these two angels in my life. Then I think, nap time for momma! We have had some lovely naps together all snugly and warm. I have also had some lovely quiet time while they nap. Either way, win-win.

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Con: The walks. Hazel is an energetic dog. She loves her walks. She cannot do without walks or she becomes crazy and destructive or whiny and irritable. I hear people say that they just wait for their partners to come home and walk the dog. This is great for them, but not an option for us. My husband takes her for walks on the weekends and sometimes after dinner, but he works long hours, so the dog care is mostly up to me.

We are fortunate to be able to have a dog walker come in to take her out for morning walks, but we still walk between 2 and 5 kilometres a day, rain/snow or shine. Plus, it takes ages to get the baby ready, put him in the stroller or carrier, get myself ready and then get the dog leashed up and ready. In this winter, this is an epic undertaking. My dog loves the snow and cold too. I know other dogs who stay inside when it rains or snows. Not mine. She spent 20 minutes rolling in the snow during the coldest day of the year. We own a lot of waterproof outerwear.

Pro: The walks! The regular walking can be a positive too. I get outside everyday, which makes me feel better. And thanks to my dog, I almost always run into someone I know in the neighbourhood, which provides me with a dose of adult interaction. I also feel stronger, and fitter than I did during my horrible pregnancy. The walking has helped me lose my baby weight, and often leads to nap time for both the baby and the dog.


Con: Dog toys and baby toys are basically the same. I defy you to tell the difference. They both make noise, they are designed to be chewed on and they look like cute animals. Many a baby stuffed animal has gradually become a dog toy. Currently Hazel is fascinated with a musical octopus MB got for Christmas that says colour names when you squeeze it. We have to keep it up high or she steals it. Presumably to learn about colours.

Pro: They will be best friends. MB is becoming more aware and is starting to reach out to pet Hazel. She has always covered him in kisses, but now he laughs. The baby is endlessly entertained by the movements of the dog and she seems to enjoy sitting with him as he has tummy time. She also freaked out with joy when MB went in his jolly jumper for the first time. Now she brings him toys to play with and drops them in front of him. The minute he starts solid foods Hazel will never leave his side.


Con: The house is overrun with stuff. Baby toys litter the couch, and dog toys litter the floor. Or the dog toys are on the couch and the baby stuff is on the floor? Honestly, I’m not sure. They look the same. It’s safer to shuffle your feet across the floor here, rather than lifting them and potentially dropping them onto something painful. And this is just the beginning…

Pro: This may give me an idea of what it is like to have multiple children. (If only in a small way.) I learned a long time ago not to compare my dog to other people’s children. Especially if they are not dog people. I have put my foot in my mouth more than once doing this. However, dogs and babies have a lot in common. Everything goes in their mouths, they love squeaky toys, they both get into everything, they both nap at weird hours, make strange sounds and stare at me while I eat.


Okay, so my dog is not a child. But I have learned the valuable skill of juggling multiple needs of my dependants.

It is hard to not neglect your dog when your baby needs you, to get up and play with your dog when your baby naps and you are exhausted.

It is tiring and guilt-inducing and it is hard to explain it to either one of them. It is also hard to explain to people who are not dog people. I talked about the challenges of balancing the needs of dog and baby by myself during the week at a post-natal class and the nurse politely dismissed me, saying: “If that is the worst thing that has happened to you with the baby, you are doing well.” Thanks…

I am also incredibly impressed by mothers with more than one child.  When I see a mom at the mall with multiple children – or twins!- I want to stop what I am doing and give her a respectful slow clap. But when I see a mom with multiple kids and a dog (or two!), I want to run over to her and bring her baked goods in appreciation for all her hard work. (This is what I would like, as well, if anyone sees me out with my dog.)

 

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Emerald is such a sweet soul with such a strong desire to help others see themselves how God sees them. As a woman, I am constantly encouraged by her words based on God’s truth, that encourages everyone to remember that they are beautiful. As a parent, I am always thinking of what I say or do and how when my kids get older, will they look back and see that I saw myself through God’s eyes? I was so impressed with Emerald’s drive to encourage others that I asked her to guest post here today. I knew she wasn’t a “mom” technically, I guess, BUT she has a heart and talent that makes me want to spend more time with God and grow as a parent. Her messages are a great reminder to us all as parents.

Emerald is a crazy cool author  and if you haven’t checked out her stuff, take a quick look. She has an awesome perspective about making writing available for others to read and she is worth learning about!

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I’m not a mother, but I the love kids in my life like they’re mine. I have three nieces, two nephews, and one of undetermined gender due out in October. (And yes, my sister wanted lots of babies!) I’m currently in a situation where I live with them, and I’m helping my sister with them.

I’ve learned a lot, specifically how much work kids are and how that changed my mind about even wanting kids, but what I do know, is that I love these kids with every beat of my heart. Moms, you have my deepest respect, and I know it’s not easy.

When I was approached about writing a blog post for Only a Season after she read my warfare post on a fellow author’s site, I wasn’t sure I would be able to write on the blog since I wasn’t a mother, but even though I’m not a mother, my message can still be useful to women, mother or not.

To start this post, you might need to know a little about me. I’m twenty-eight, quickly approaching twenty-nine if I’m honest, and for years, I’ve hated my body. I hated my looks, and I didn’t feel worthy of much of anything, especially God’s love. I was beat down and broken, and I honestly thought it was “normal” to feel this way. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t learned from my experience, though, and now, I’m using it to show others how they too can overcome their hatred of themselves.

One thing that I have learned is that women of all ages and marital status have a difficult time loving themselves. Why is that? Why is it so difficult to see how wonderful we are? In fact, the Psalmist of 139 said, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

God made you, made us, fearfully and wonderfully! We’re beautiful creations who were created by a marvelous God, but we can’t see that.

We can’t look past our reflections in the mirror, past what we see as “flaws” to learn to love ourselves the way God loves us.

From being this way for most of my life and from knowing kids who have self-esteem issues, I know that this topic has been one that is very difficult. Whether you’re overweight, skinny, or average, we hate our looks because we’re being bullied by others or we think we know what the “ideal” beauty is. The truth is, there is no one “ideal” beauty. We’re all beautiful, and we have to learn how to accept that. “But how? How can I learn to love myself? How can I help my kids love themselves?” you may ask. It’s not easy. I won’t sugar-coat it. It takes lots of work, but it’s worth it in the end.

One of my biggest fears is that my nieces and nephews will learn to hate their body instead of love it. I don’t want them to turn out like me, wondering if they were truly worthy of love and hating themselves. Yes, I was fat. Yes, I am still fat, but that doesn’t mean that it was easy hearing people make fun of me. It was from them and years of hearing the same thing that made me into the woman that I was. I loathed myself, honestly. I couldn’t stand looking in the mirror, and I doubled up on clothing so no one would really see me. I hid behind baggy t-shirts with tank tops underneath.

I hid, but it still wasn’t enough. I still thought I wasn’t pretty or worthy enough of love.

My parents had always told me how beautiful I was, and I believe that was part of the reason I never completely went over the edge. They kept me sane, and they held my hands and let me cry on their shoulder when I couldn’t stand being me for a moment more. But it wasn’t until my heavenly Father told me that I was beautiful because I was His did I really begin to believe it.

My advice to mothers who want to help their daughters (or sons) love themselves more is to openly seek God.
Ask Him to show your daughters (and even sons) that they are beautiful (or handsome) because they are God’s. Show them in the Bible where God loves them and how precious they are to Him, and most importantly, reassure them that they are beautiful/handsome. Even though you’re their parents, hearing those words, “You are beautiful,” could mean all the difference. Even if they don’t believe you know, they will. Trust me. I was there before.

My hope and prayer is that you learn to love yourself so you can help your kids love themselves.
The best way to help someone else is to help yourself. Don’t look in the mirror and see your stretch marks or weight gain or weight loss or hair loss or wrinkles or whatever. Look in the mirror and see a beautiful child of God.

Look at yourself and see the Savior who loves you. Look in the mirror and see the woman you are. The woman who loves her kids, her husband. The woman who would lay her life on the line to protect her loved ones. Look and see the woman who is wonderfully and fearfully made by a loving God Who would move heaven and earth just to prove that love for you.

#youarebeautiful

emerald4Emerald Barnes graduated with a B.A. in English with an emphasis on Creative Writing at Mississippi University for Women. She resides in a small town in Mississippi and has the accent to prove it. She’s an auntie to three beautiful nieces and two handsome nephews. She’s a Whovian, a little bit of a nerd, a reader, a writer, and a family-oriented person. God is number one in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor.

Connect with Emerald online:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/fanpageforemeraldbarnes
Twitter: @emeraldbarnes
Blog: http://ebarnes23.wordpress.com/
Inspirational Blog: http://emeraldbarnes.blogspot.com
Site: http://www.emeraldbarnes.us

Being Jesus

 

I met Tabitha in a blogging group online. I was immediately drawn to her genuine attitude and practical approaches to writing. She is one of those writer chicks I want to be like when I grow up. She has a rad Christian book series out that she’ll love to talk about with you if you ask. I really have enjoyed seeing her awesome support of other aspiring writers and I am thrilled to have her guest posting today on my little slice of the blogging world.

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First published at tabithacaplinger.com on November, 19, 2015

As I write this I am sitting in the surgical waiting area of a local hospital. My husband is having a kidney stone removed. (I call it the demonic kidney stone that has ruined our lives, aka Steve.) That last little parentheses is me being dramatic. Obviously its not demonic and its hasn’t ruined our lives, it just felt that way. My husband and I both agree that birthing a third child would take less doctor and hospital visits than getting rid of, and I quote the ER doctor,  this “rather large” kidney stone. But I’m not here to write about our misadventures with Steve the kidney stone.

I find myself sitting here, watching and listening. It’s hard not to hear snippets of other conversations in a closed space. I really don’t know anyone else’s situation, whether its life altering or just more demonic kidney stones. I hear the laughs and jokes of people trying to keep their minds off loved ones who are in the operating room. I glance at the distressed eyes of worried spouses. I notice the encouraging whispers of family members keeping each other positive.

All the while I think about how grateful I am that this is just about Steve, the kidney stone.

It could be worse. I could be sitting here because of something much more dire, infinitely more tragic and frightening. And then I think back to the woman at the urologist’s office.

I don’t know who she was. I had never met her before and will probably never see her again in my life. But I can’t forget the look in her eyes when she walked out from her appointment, headed through the waiting room on her way to wherever after her meeting with her doctor was finished. She came out of the doorway and her eyes met mine for just a brief moment. I couldn’t help but notice her tears. The look on her face was the look of a woman who had just gotten bad news. And my heart broke for this stranger.

 

I know nothing about her but in that moment I felt some sort of connection to her, a compassion for her hurt that tugged at my heart. I wish I had had the courage to walk up to her and ask her if she was alright and offer her at least a little something more than a compassionate smile. I wish I had not let my own fear stop me from being Jesus to her in that moment.
How many times do we let fear stop us from being Jesus to someone?

 

I feel like we are losing our courage. I feel like too often we cave to fear and because of this fear, people don’t see Jesus.

Jesus was brave. I don’t think he was fearless, I think he was bold and courageous in the face of fear. After all, He did pray and ask God to ‘take this cup’ from Him before his arrest. That sounds like fear to me.
Fear never stopped Him.

Not fear of rejection.

Not fear of persecution.

Not fear of death.

 

We don’t have to let it stop us either.

Trust me, I am afraid of things. I am afraid of school shooters and terrorists and the notion of the world my children might grow up in.

But I don’t want to let fear stop me from being Jesus to whomever is placed in front of me.

 

I also don’t want to confuse bravery and boldness with argumentative social media political rhetoric. (Yes, there I said it.) We are very good at hiding behind keyboards to debate politics in the name of Christianity but at the cost of the Gospel. (Yes, I went there too.)

Jesus does not need you to defend Him. He doesn’t need you to argue His Word. He and His word are quite capable of doing the work only they can do anyway. What Jesus needs is for us to love people. To tell them His story and to live it like we actually believe it. Not just when it comes to politics (being Christian, the Gospel, is much bigger than American politics)  but when it comes to actions. Even when those actions might cost us something. Even when they are terrifying.

Whether it’s asking a stranger if they are okay or giving a refugee a safe haven.

Maybe it’s reaching out to a neighbor or the homeless, watching our attitude, showing grace even when we disagree…I could go on but I will let you fill in the blank yourself.

My life could be a lot scarier right now. I could be dealing with more than evil Steve the kidney stone. I could have come home to lose my spouse to a burglar. I could have a child fighting cancer. I could be mourning a loved one who never came home from that Paris concert or the airport in Brussels or that park in Pakistan. I could have lost everything because of an enemy none of us want to win.

Scarier than all of those things to me is the idea that Jesus wanted me to be something, do something, and I missed Him because I was afraid. That I let my own comfort become more important than His Kingdom.

Jim Elliot once said, “he is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” He was willing to go into death for the chance to reach someone with the Gospel. Maybe you are called to go. Maybe you are called to change. Maybe you are called to welcome. Maybe we are all called to sacrifice. Let’s be brave.

“The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28:1 ESV

 

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Tabitha Caplinger has been in student ministry for close to 15 years, and currently pastors at Faith Community Church in House Springs, Missouri with her husband Brian. They have two sassy daughters, Lila and Rory. Student Ministry is core to who Tabitha is; she loves discipling others and helping them see themselves through Jesus’ eyes. Her goal is for every young woman to be confident that, “she is loved more than she will ever know by someone who died to know her.”

When not working, Tabitha and her family like taking in a good movie or walking through the park. She also admits to being a little obsessed with TV.
Connect with Tabitha online:
Facebook: Tabitha Caplinger
Twitter: @pastortabitha
www.tabithacaplinger.com

Visit Tabitha Caplinger on Goodreads

 

The Juggling Act Called “Leap of Faith”: Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

 

 

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DenafamilyDena is a mom of two and married to a man who shares her adventure for life. Dena was born two months early and weighed 2lbs, 14 ozs. From day one she hit the ground running and has never stopped. She built her family ranch into a reputable borading and training facility going on 16 years. Always moving, always learning, always thankful to the dear Lord for all she has been given. This is an opportunity she hopes to share with as many others as possible.

Story by Dena Dorn. Written by Mikayla Boge.

Up at 3 a.m. to feed the baby, alarm ringing at 6 a.m. to feed the horses. Get the husband out the door for work. My morning is crammed full of house cleaning, laundry, paper work and business calls. Afternoon is crammed with horses to train, picking up the teenager from practice, a grocery run, a crying baby and supper preparation. I finally feel my soft, cool pillow at 11 p.m., only to wake up to the sound of baby boy crying for his before-the-crack-of-dawn feeding… and thus the cycle repeats. Being a mother, wife and ranch owner is exhausting. Yet, my husband, Rob, and I decided to start another exciting, but busy journey, all because of a split-second decision and a leap of faith.

Africa 1

 

It happened back in 2013 when a young woman, Lizzie, whom I give horseback riding lessons to, was excitedly talking about her upcoming mountain climbing trip. The trip was to Tanzania, Africa to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. The way she was talking about the culture, the scenery and the mountain, it made me want to go and I was completely shocked when she asked me if I wanted to go with her! She was leaving in FIVE days to travel across an ocean and climb a mountain for ten days. There was no way I could leave my family and ranch for that long with such short notice. The thought of leaving brought visions of Rob burning down the ranch and losing the baby. Just kidding, although not far from the truth, but there was just no way I could go. I was still laughing about the suggestion when my husband walked up and asked what was so funny. I told him her absurd suggestion, and he shocked me by saying, “Why not go, it’s a once in a lifetime chance?”

My journey of faith started without me even realizing it had begun.

Rob and I frantically got our ducks in a row for the ranch, a babysitter for the baby while Rob was at work and all of the items I needed on my travel list. As we were preparing, it dawned on me I was about to climb a MOUNTAIN! I’m an athlete and stay fit working around the ranch but I wasn’t sure if I was ready for a mountain. As the days passed and people started to hear what we were doing, I was inundated with questions such as, “WOW, that’s a huge commitment. How long have you been training? People die climbing that mountain. Are you sure you are ready? What vaccinations did you get to travel?”

There were so many more questions, and it slowly began to sink in that this may not be an average, everyday climb I was about to embark on. I still wasn’t deterred as my entire life has been about believing anything was possible and not to sweat the small stuff. However, as Lizzie and I flew across an ocean, I prayed continually that this was a good decision. I started to get scared because I couldn’t even get in touch with the climbing company AND I didn’t even have confirmation that I had a space in the upcoming climb. I really started to doubt my leap-of-faith decision.

Africa 2

 

Adding to my nerves, we had a layover in Dar Es Salaam. Dar Es Salaam is known for people getting kidnapped for money, luggage being stolen and every other frightening scenario you can think of. I had just stepped off the plane into one of the most crime ridden cities in Africa. My family, my baby, my friends and the ranch were running through my mind. Thoughts of never seeing my family and friends again ran through my head. Trusting Lizzy and the seemingly nice taxi driver she had set up beforehand, we stepped outside the airport to get a ride to our hotel. Thankfully, we made it, but I did have every Kung Fu movie action move I had ever seen scrolling through my head until we made it back to the airport the next morning.

Thoughts of never seeing my family and friends again ran through my head.

We boarded the plane to Tanzania and I slowly began to find my true faith. God was with us and had been the whole time. As soon as I stepped off of the plane in Tanzania, Africa, I was struck by how amazing the culture and landscape around me was and that my prayers had not gone unanswered. The sights, the smells, the sense of adventure; it was intoxicating and I was in love. I had to pinch myself that I was actually there! Our lead guide, Faraja, met us at the airport, proving that I did have a place in the climb. I could finally breathe.

Faraja, who was from Tanzania, had started as a porter but worked his way up to guide status for climbs up Mount Kilimanjaro. Throughout our climb, I had the pleasure to learn more about Faraja, his dreams and aspirations for his family and for himself. One of his dreams was to climb every large mountain in the world, sharing his experiences with others along the way. Another of his dreams was to own his own climbing business, where he could share his passion of adventure with others. As I spent more time climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and learning about Faraja, I wanted to share in his dreams. I too wanted to give people the sense of adventure and excitement I was feeling. I wanted to help others take that leap-of-faith, even the busy moms that never dreamed of doing something such as this.

Finally it clicked, I knew my to-do list was about to get longer because God made it an easy decision for us.

As I climbed, there were continuous occurrences where Faraja and his team proved their ability to help us have a great adventure, be safe and make it to the top. Rob had bought me an amazing back pack for the climb which equated to 15 pounds when empty. Unfortunately, most people suggest a pack around 10-15 pounds full. Due to the added weight, my neck started to give out in the middle of the steep incline just past Kibo Hut, which was about day 5/6 into the climb. After seeing me struggle, Harold, the other lead guide, made me give him my back pack which he figured weighed around 40 pounds! I also was getting nervous during the climb because I was becoming increasingly cold. I couldn’t get warm, no matter what I tried even with changing my damp clothes and adding layers. The guides noticed my struggle and explained that I needed to cover my entire neck because the blood runs through my neck into the brain, so by keeping the blood warm going to the brain it keeps the entire body warm. I covered my neck and I started to feel warmth creep back into my body. It started to work but by the time we made it to the top, Crater Camp, I was starting to get very cold again. I have NEVER been so cold in my life and started to think the worse again. I was mentally making my last will and testament in my head when I remembered that this was a leap-of-faith adventure and that I needed to trust God to help me make it. I did eventually make it and I thank God every day that I took the leap of faith to have the adventure of a lifetime.

Africa 4

 

When I returned home, Rob and I sat down to discuss what the next steps were. We both had a lot of soul searching and praying ahead of us but God opened the right doors for us. Faraja, already had a great business plan mapped out, incredible individuals in place to help out and all the equipment needed to get started. What Faraja lacked was a missing link, the “store front” of his business. My husband and I decided to be that missing link. In 2015, we officially started a travel agency called Adventure Africa, Inc. that would help bring individuals, ready for a life-changing trip, to Faraja and his climbing business, Faraja and Jande Adventures. We plan on offering five different climbs and four different safaris but as of now, we started with the best and most popular climb, Mount Kilimanjaro. We are still continually praying that our business will flourish and we can share our passion with many others, especially the busy mom that thinks something like this would never be possible, but we are relishing in the fact that we have found our purpose. We have found some solid ground in our leap of faith.

I thank God every day that I took the leap of faith to have the adventure of a lifetime.

 

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Dena Dorn and her husband own Triple D Ranch and Adventure Africa, Inc. in Watkins, Colo. To learn more about Dena, her family or Adventure Africa, Inc. visit www.adventureafricatravel.com.

Mikayla Boge owns a small, Colorado based marketing company called BAM Bar LLC and shares in Dena’s passion to reach individuals through Adventure Africa, Inc. To learn more about Mikayla, or BAM Bar LLC, visit www.bambarllc.com.