Tips to Help You Reduce Stress During the Holidays

I find myself in a constant battle with time and stress. I know I know, we all get 24 hours in a day and many make it work for them, but as the holiday season is full fledge upon us, I am constantly checking my calendar and clock, shaking my head at how busy I let myself become. 

Ladies, why do we do this to ourselves?

Why do we feel the need to say yes all the time?

You need an extra helper for the Christmas pageant at school? Sure! I’ll help you. You were wondering if I would host the block party this year? Yes, I can do that. It’s probably my turn anyways. I need to use my Shutterfly coupon code and get out those cards for once this year!

And the list goes on and on. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I let fear drive my decision to say yes. Fear that I will be judged. Fear that I will be looked down on. Fear that I’ll be viewed as inadequate. And THAT list could go on and on…

In attempt to shut down fear and make proactive decisions to maintain peace in the chaos of life, I have been making it a point to check my motives in saying yes and to lessen my stress for this time of year. Let me share with you tips that I have been using.

I would encourage you to look over what I’ve mentioned and see how you can tweak this to fit you and your needs.

(This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own. Full disclosure here.)

Tips to help you reduce stress during the holidays. Ideas to lessen your stress during the holidays.

Setting Boundaries
This seems like a no brainer, but I recently read this UH-MAZING book titled Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life and it has literally changed my life. I think a lot of us have different interpretations of what the word “boundaries” means and this book dives deep into the meaning of boundaries and how there are so many we have in our relationship with others that I just can’t help but pass it along to you moms out there. It’s not a light-hearted read, so be prepared for serious evaluation of how you view yourself and others if you decide to read it. Trust me though, you should.

Boundaries are complicated but shouldn’t be overlooked just because it’s “the holidays.” Take a look at the limits and dynamics you have created in your relationships. Do they become stressful during Christmas time?

Telling others it’s OK to say no to me
I have started this practice recently (partly from reading the above mentioned book) and this practice alone has done something to me. By reminding others they can say no to me 1) sets them free from the pressure to say yes! And 2) by speaking it out loud I am sort of ingraining in my brain that it IS OK to say no too. Try it sometime. You might be surprised the effect it has on you and others.

Giving a single gift to my family members
I had to mention this to guys. I am the youngest of six kids in my family and all my siblings have kids of their own. When we ALL get together for the holidays, it’s like 30 people! I used to buy everyone a book for Christmas but since becoming a SAHM, I have had to limit our Christmas budget. This year I have decided to use online photo printing and photo books with Amazon since I am a Prime member who gets free shipping! They always have great deals going with sale codes you can pick right up from their site so that’s always a bonus too! You’re welcome! 🙂

Just the decision to simplify gifts by giving each family a photo book of some of our childhood memories has simplified my holiday shopping significantly and reduced a great amount of stress. What about you? How could you simplify shopping for your family members?


 

Prioritizing relationships
This is a time of year when you can easily plan a lot of nights out and catch up with friends. I have realized that for me personally, it’s the quality of friendships that brings me energy, not quantity. With that being said, I realized that I can’t say yes to every invite for a gift exchange if it means missing an intimate dinner with one of my mama friends who’s part of my village.

This is where saying no can be hard for many of us. I think it’s important to look at your relationships and evaluate the ones you hold close and want to stay connected to. The PTA Christmas party may have to hear a no from you this year. Or maybe the office party isn’t a great idea this year. I can think of a million reasons (or can I?) how it helps build my relationships in that part of my life, but if I haven’t seen my husband in over a week because of travels for business, then this may be a time to practice saying no.

I would encourage you to take a hard look at where you divide your time in your relationships especially with how quickly it goes during December!

Guarding my Gate
I love the image of the phrase “guard your gate” creates. I believe that what we put into our lives is what we’ll reap as our days progress. If I am constantly looking to social media for engagement, then I am building a false foundation of security for myself. If I am looking to that group of ladies who are quick to judge my Christmas party for validation in my mom life, then I am setting myself up for a stressful season.

While I love eating all the sweets and delicious food this time of year, I easily start to feel like crap before it’s even Christmas morning. And mamas, trust me, this is especially hard being a big o’l pregnant lady this year. But the food I put into my body is just another facet of guarding my gate to keep myself feeling healthy. What else could we guard about what we put into our lives this time of year to help lessen the stress?

At the end of the day, we are left with ourselves. It’s just us looking in the mirror and when I reflect on the decisions I made and the relationships I cultivated, I want to smile back at myself, knowing I stayed true to who I am and kept my peace, while loving others too. What about you? What would you add?

Peace,
Glo

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To Those Grieving This Holiday

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This morning I woke at about  3:30 and just couldn’t go back to sleep. I didn’t wake thinking about food getting cooked, family gathering and laughing. I didn’t think about Black Friday shopping or the crazy chaos of the day.

I didn’t think about anything other than my mother.

My heart was so heavy I could hardly contain myself. I realized that I was starting to dread the start of the day. When Grief starts knocking, I find myself with one of two choices. Fling open the door and have some kind of party (which could be an ugly party, let me tell yah) or lean against that door with all my might, grunting and sweating, keeping my visitor out.

I have learned that Grief likes to especially whisper lies. Lies that I am learning come from the Father of Lies. He likes to whisper that you’re alone in what you’re feeling. He likes to make you think you’re the only who has felt this way. He tells you over and over that this holiday season without your mama will suck.

Honestly, I find myself believing these lies. I find myself wandering back to that empty grief where I push God out and fill up on nothing.

BUT today I just couldn’t. I couldn’t lay there in bed grieving over my family’s first round of holidays without our mom. My heart wasn’t just heavy for my loss.

My heart was heavy for the so many out there who have to go through this time of year without someone they love.

My heart IS heavy for all of us.

The biggest challenge I find for myself when I am wrestling with grief is the memories. Sometimes I want to walk through memory lane, stop and look at the intricacies of the whens and wheres I laughed with mom, cried with mom, and argued with mom. Sometimes I want to just stuff it all down and not deal with it on that particular day. It’s a constant pendulum that swings with my emotions and I just ride it whichever way it sways.

But through the swaying of emotions I have learned that I cannot allow myself to think God is void in these specific emotions.

And I cannot allow myself to think that I am alone in these emotions.

I just want to remind those of you today who have lost someone that you’re not alone today.

As your family gathers around their table and you get that pinch in your heart because there’s one less seat, know you are not alone.

As you load your children up in the car and think you should have one more car seat this year as the heart wrenching miscarriage you had a couple of years ago replays in your mind, know you are not alone.

If your heart is feeling heavy with grief, let me muster hope for you today. 

I don’t pretend to walk high on some mountain of faith. I’m not here to make you feel like your faith is slipped beyond reach.

I just want to come alongside you today and hold your hand with this gentle reminder:

God is with you in your grief. You are not alone today. You are not ever alone.

This morning at 3:30 when I couldn’t go back to sleep, I heard that Voice that rattles me awake. I heard the One who reminded we are not alone as we go through the times of such bittersweet emotions as we celebrate a joyous time of year with the holidays, yet feel the burden of our lost loved ones.

I kept hearing the word brokenhearted. I felt brokenhearted. I started mourning not just my mom, but the moms of many I know who are gone this year.

But then He came close and gently tugged on my heart reminding me that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). He sang a love song to me of the healing He brings to the brokenhearted and the binding up of their wounds (Psalm 147:3).

He picked up my broken heart this morning and we wrestled with the pieces for a bit. I thrashed in my bed not ready to receive my broken pieces, but He is faithful. He stayed with me. He told me it was OK. I didn’t have to take them yet if I wasn’t ready.

And you know, that act alone of reminding me of the choice I have opened the flood gates. I ran to Him with the most open heart, nodding my head with tears streaming down my face, ready for the pieces to come back together.

I saw the pieces of my ratted heart, the pieces of tape and glue from the times I tried putting it back. I saw the pieces in his hands, fully mended, with no traces of my shoddy handiwork.

I saw a heart that was whole in His hands. I saw a broken heart that was healed.

Not only did I see my heart being healed, I saw many grief-stricken hearts that have been healed. I saw the promise of healing to come for many hearts. I saw hearts still not ready, but needing more time.

I saw the hope of healing.

And that my friends is what I want you to remember this holiday season.

The Hope that comes.

The real, in your gut, deep in our hearts Hope.

Peace to you,
Glo

Are you grieving this holiday? You are not alone. Read about my experience with grief and losing my mother and getting through the holidays.

 

 

 

 

 

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Mistakes to Avoid This Thanksgiving

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Ladies, as the holidays approach, I can’t help but have the biggest bag of mixed emotions stirring around. I absolutely love this time of year and will admit that I struggle to keep the Christmas decorations put away until after Thanksgiving! Ah!

In fact, sometimes I get so excited thinking about Christmas and the family traditions that I let Thanksgiving creep up on me. I find that I let myself get easily stressed or overworked and feel just plain exhausted when I hit the mattress after a day full of turkey and family.

This year I plan to be proactive and self-aware of what stresses me out or what might bring conflict about this time of year. Here are my quick, some serious and some fun tips for you to avoid.

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and end up buying something, I get a small small commission to keep up my coffee and writing addiction. Thanks Mama!

 

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Keep Talk about Politics at Bay (if it’s going to cause strife, for sure!)
I have had several friends mention to me that they are worried about Thanksgiving this year because they know political beliefs are at what seem to be an all time clash this election. If you know that one mention of the election will send your Uncle Bob into a frenzy and possibly ruin the day, then leave the strife stirrer at the door and focus on connecting with your family on a deeper level. Is it really worth it?

Don’t Turn Into a Martha Too Much
I can’t help but think of Martha this time of year. If you’re unfamiliar with who she was, then take a quick look in the Bible in the book of Luke, chapter 10. Martha was so worried about cooking, keeping things in order and running that she overlooked the powerful affect of just relaxing as the hostess and connecting with her guests (particularly Jesus!). It’s a powerful story about not letting the stress of hostess take away the joy that can be found this time of year and by fellowshipping with your guests.

If Grief is knocking, don’t be afraid to let it flow and have grace with others.
This will be our first series of holidays without our mother this year. I am part of a big family with six kids total and my mother had 14 grandchildren. It will be impossible not to think of Mama and all the memories around this time of year. Shoot, I’ve been thinking about it already. One thing I’ve learned with my family through our grieving process is that we all grieve in different ways and at a different pace. Remember to stay sensitive to each other’s needs and don’t be afraid to remember together either, no matter the loss you’ve experienced. Sometimes remembering brings healing.

When Hosting, Devise a Plan for Leftovers
I think more often than not, we overcook for Thanksgiving and then have an abundance of leftovers. If this seems to be the case for you, take a quick minute and do a Pinterest search on how to make more meals out of Thanksgiving leftovers. Or better yet, buy some easy aluminum foil pans and send home food with your family and friends. OR EVEN BETTER, if ya’ll hang around the rest of day, have it for more eating later in the day! Whatever the case, don’t forget about this part of the day and take a few minutes to plan it out so you can have one less thing to worry about as the day settles down.

Better yet, when hosting, don’t be afraid to let go of some control…eeeek!
This might mean using paper plates! Or maybe delegating who brings what. With my big family we delegate who makes what dish and then everyone chips in. Or maybe you have family who love to help in the kitchen. If you’re like me and you like to control everything (Yes, Hello, I’m Gloryanna and I’m a Controller) then use this as an opportunity to let go of that control and let others help and participate in the day with you. It might not look like how you would’ve have done it, but you also may find you’re less exhausted and tired and stressed during the day! Tap into other strengths in your family and friends and let them operate in those as they help with the day!

Last but not least–Tight Pants
This may seem like a no brainer and silly to mention but SERIOUSLY, more times than I not, I have this cute pair of pants that would look great with this festive top I have and I talk myself into wearing those cute pants that aren’t the most comfortable. You don’t have to leave fashion at the door to be comfortable. Just think twice before you pack your bags or travel to see family. I’m going with the big, chunky sweater and leggings (after all, this is the pregnant mom’s staple fashion trend 😉 ) If you’re comfortable, then you can spend less time thinking about how uncomfortable you are and be present with those around you.

Alrighty, what do you think? What would you add to our list? I know there are so many things we could have also covered here.

Let us know below in the comments! And don’t forget to pass the word along if you want to remind others too!
Peace,
Glo

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The Truth about Motherhood for Me This Week #fiveonfriday

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My alarm radio sounds in my ear, demanding I shake off my warm covers and take on the day. My brain is blaring to get going on my to-do list, but my heart is overloaded. This has been one heck of a week. Between recovering from the election and realizing that Thanksgiving is one week away, I found myself fighting the anxiety bug.

As I went into this week, I didn’t know that I would make some changes and start something new. I didn’t realize that in the midst of the crazy that is motherhood, I would come out on the other side feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Here are a few things I did along my motherhood journey this week.

I changed up my wardrobe.
Hello #capsulewardrobe. I had never heard of a capsule wardrobe before and when I came across this site on Pinterest talking about a winter capsule wardrobe, I immediately fell in love with the idea. When you’re expecting baby #2 in March and you have a 17 month old running around, well, you know how it is ladies. For many of us, our fashion and style priorities fall to the side.

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I decided I would take on the principles of a capsule wardrobe to accommodate the unique fashion sense that comes with being preggers. I removed several and I mean several items that I don’t “love.” Items that I was unsure about, I turned the hangers the other way and if they get worn in the next two to three weeks I’ll keep them, otherwise, I plan to say farewell to clothes whose hanger didn’t get used.

I rearranged my closet, prioritized my shoes based on the principles mentioned on her site and felt like I was all ready to tackle my fashion dilemma these days while carrying around this extra weight. 😉 Plus, I signed up at Corina’s site for her first seven outfit arrangements to help jump start my wardrobe creativity to reuse and rewear what I already have!

Speaking of fashion, have I told you that I feel SUPER PREGNANT these days?
My body. OH me oh my. I remember with Bubby I had this weird sense of confidence with my body. I think it was all the excitement that came with the first pregnancy and I was definitely in better shape before I got pregnant the first time than I was this time. But this time around, I just feel big. I feel like I may never get my body back (which I know isn’t true, but you know, #hormones.) Basically as soon as I was done breastfeeding Bubby I became pregnant again, so there went that short window of freedom and all the wine.

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I think that was part of my drive to change up my wardrobe and take charge of my maternity fashion sense. Doing this gave me a confidence boost I think I needed.

I also know that I thrive with exercise. It’s my go-to for postpartum depression too. I have been making it a point to walk almost every day and that has helped me tremendously too.

Ankle Boots
Oh, and I know I’m way behind the fashion train, but I took the plunge and got me a pair of ankle boots to use as a base shoe in my wardrobe and I LOVE them! I got a neutral color to wear with several outfits which is a plus. The downside to ankle boots? I gotta keep my ankles shaved! Ha! Bye bye #noshavenovember 😉

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Being Present in the Day-to-Day and Not Wearing my Watch
You read that right. I went a whole day without wearing my watch. This may sound trivial to some of you moms out there but this was a big deal for me. I like to plan. I like to organize. Shoot, I would love to have a planner for my planner. After a weekend away for some much needed time to evaluate and look at my faith, I came home with the urgency to just BE and forget time.

I was amazed at how much more present I felt in the moments with my son. Playtime and story time and outside time all seemed like this big, fun adventure. Seriously, give it a try. It may be just what you need to refocus.

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A Weekend Away
I had some time last weekend to go on a “retreat” that my church hosted just for the ladies. I say “retreat” because it wasn’t what you might think a traditional retreat is when you hear that word. This was a weekend about restoring. Restoring your heart and your faith in your walk with the Lord. I don’t think I’ve ever cried that much in my life or felt as raw and real.

It was incredibly refreshing and rejuvenating and I will definitely need to write separately about it sometime soon. Having gone to that retreat soon after all the emotional and social out lash that came from the Presidential election was just what my soul needed.

I came home and was welcomed by this cute fluff butt whose vivacious curiousity keeps me moving forward. What about you? Any new revelations on your motherhood journey as of late?

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Four Healthy Snack Alternatives for Your Toddler

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Bubby is screaming at the store because he’s hungry. My errands ran later than I planned and here we are: a starving toddler on the brink of total meltdown. I am a parent who will give him a snack to hold him over until our late dinner. My problem is that I need a healthy snack that I can whip out of my purse in the middle of the grocery store. While I personally love vanilla flavored puffs and Cheez Its, I know I can’t feed my toddler these kinds of snacks every day, all day. Do you feel me?

(This post contains affiliate links which means if you click through then I may get a small commission to aid in my coffee and writing addiction. Thanks 🙂

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I needed a mom hack. I needed some tips to handle the hungry toddler at the doctor’s office. I needed to keep my sanity  to avoid universal-toddler-meldown-hour at 5:30 PM.  I decided to take matters into my hands and figure out a way to make some healthy snack alternatives for my toddler. Ladies, I give you FIVE HEALTHY SNACK ALTERNATIVES FOR YOUR TODDLER. You’re welcome 🙂

 

Frozen Sweet Potatoes

You might be thinking, huh? but yes, these healthy, frozen sweet potatoes will quiet your toddler in no time during universal-meltdown-hour, while you’re trying to get dinner on the table. What I like about these is that I would serve these as a side dish anyways with dinner and they are healthier than mashed potatoes! So how does this work?

Buy your sweet potatoes in bulk. Wash them and cut them up in cubes like so.
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Leave the skin on them and boil them in water as if you were cooking mashed potatoes. Depending on the size of your batch, this will take about 3o minutes. You don’t want them to get toooooo mushy, so keep an eye on them. Once they are done boiling and softish, I gently, and I mean gently, toss them in a little butter and cinnamon.

Then I lay them on some cookies sheets (using my silicone baking sheets which I LOVE and easily keeps them from sticking to the pan!) and put them in the freezer until they are hard.
img_0032Once they’re frozen, put them in a freezer safe bag. When it’s time for snack time, zap in the microwave, covered by a napkin for about 1min-1min30sec. The skin peels right off! Voila!

Homemade Nutrient Packed Bites (Puffs but for toddlers!)

These bites are awesome because they have a sneaky super veggie in them and your toddler wont even notice. Plus, I get tired of seeing rice and corn as an ingredient in our snacks, so I like the oatmeal alternative. Perfect to keep on hand in your purse or pull out of the freezer to keep in your bag as you run errands.
INGREDIENTS:
1 c baby oatmeal (yes, I know toddlers are pass this, but it helps with consistency)
1 T oil (I prefer coconut for healthier reasons)
2-3 Tablespoons of applesauce
1/2 cup of spinach
1 Tablespoon of milled Flaxseed
2 egg whites
1 t baking powder
2-3 Tablespoons of water if you need it for consistency

INSTRUCTIONS: Get your oven preheated to 350 degrees. I recommend blending the spinach, applesauce, and flaxseed first. In mixing bowl, combine the oatmeal and baking powder with the egg whites. Then add your blended ingredients to the mixing bowl. Feel free to add cinnamon too!

TO BAKE: I would put your mixture into a Ziploc bag, twist the top of the bag so you can squish it to one corner, then cut off one of the corners so you can squirt your portions on to your baking sheet. Make them a good size for a toddler! You don’t have to do this, but it takes FOREVER if you just pick up portions with your fingers. (If you’re unsure about how to do this, check out Tips from a Typical Mom. She shows you how.)

I have found that they do best when cooked for about 10 minutes, then turn your heat off and leave them in the oven until they feel like the right crispiness to you! (This made about 100-150 quarter sized bites.)

TIP: You can freeze them too and put them in the microwave or let them thaw in your diaper bag through the day or just eat them frozen with a nice crunch!  If you don’t freeze, they’ll keep for about a week.

White Cheddar Cheese & Whole Wheat Crackers

If you haven’t noticed in the toddler snack world, crackers are like a must. Show me a toddler who doesn’t like some sort of cracker and you’ll see my jaw drop. But remember, not all crackers are created equal. While I love Goldfish as much as the next toddler, if we’re going to eat crackers, shoot for crackers that are made with whole wheat (not enriched flour.) Triscuits can be a great, inexpensive, and easy choice. Shoot, you can find them in the off-brand at Aldi and they still have a great simple ingredient list. If you’re a little more particular, many like these are what you should keep an eye out for.

Cheese. Who doesn’t love crackers and cheese? I used to give Asher the simple cheese sticks and then one day I read the ingredients and wondered if I could find a better alternative. I try to go with as little ingredients as possible when I shop. The best cheese choice I found? Good o’l white block cheddar cheese from Aldi for $2.49 a block. Yep. It’s been a life saver and I feel good about no food coloring or extra additives being added to it. Cheese is not yellow folks. Why do we need to buy it colored if we can avoid it? If I can make one little different choice to reduce the amount of processed foods in our diet, then sign me up!

Smoothie Ice Popsicles

I don’t know about you, but I have a little spot in our cabinet where I like to keep those incredible smoothie fruit pouches for my toddler. They are perfect for that quick, on-the-go snack or side when you’re out and about. But that isn’t the norm and Bubby loves smoothies and I am certainly not making them fresh all the time.

The thing I love about smoothies is 1) it can be a good trick to make them think they’re eating something like ice cream, and 2) you can jam pack them with sneaky healthy food and they can be oblivious. Some of my favorite sneaky foods I like to throw in there? Kale, Spinach, Flax Seed, Broccoli (yes, put this in with yogurt, apples and pears and you’d never know!) and of course I like to throw in some exotic fruit to add a flare to our nutrition (like mangos, pineapple, blackberries, etc.).

An easy alternative to the on-the-go puches is to make your toddler a smoothie batch ahead of time. And to make that even easier, use these AWESOME Silicone Ice Pop Tubes. I absolutely LOVE them and their ease of use. Before I had these I just used good o’l ice cube trays and we got by fine. If you’d prefer to stick with the pouch feel of things for ease of use, then these amazing reusable pouches are for you. I used these a ton when Bubby was younger and they freeze just fine.

The easiest way to defrost these is to put them out in the fridge in the morning during breakfast for an easy afternoon snack. OR you could put them in your diaper bag while you’re doing errands and they are nearly perfect when it’s snack time. If you use ice cube trays, then just pop out a few cubes and put them in a bowl in the fridge. Easy peasy for that yogurt based smoothie.

I have always wanted to try some homemade graham crackers but haven’t found a recipe I like enough to share just yet. Of course fruits and veggies are always good to have for snacks, but why not add more tools to our bag?

What about you? What are some of your favorite snack alternatives for your toddler? Let us know below in the comments!

Peace,
Glo

 

 

 

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What Should I Tell My Children about Trump Being President?

This morning I woke up and dreaded looking at my phone. I knew no matter the winner, I was going to have to reconcile my feelings with the new President of the United States and God. If you would have asked me when I first started writing that I would be writing someday about “Donald Trump as President,” then I would have looked at you and laughed. But here we are. A day full of so many mixed emotions and so many questions. I just keep asking myself, what now?

Of course the instant I turned to my phone and began reading everyone’s comments and status updates about how they felt, I couldn’t help but have a heavy heart. I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed for the people who are tormented about our new President. I couldn’t help but feel my heart break when I read posts of victims of rape who couldn’t understand why a country like ours “choose hate over love.” The many women who feel personally affected by the nomination of a man, who quite frankly, is a sinner like the rest of us.

On the flip side, my head shook when I saw those in favor of Trump, gallivanting their statuses as if they think Trump will be the change our country needs. The ignorance of a misplaced trust in a new President.

The reality is, no matter who are next President was going to be, the truth still remains. A truth that squeezed my heart of all the heavy and replaced it with hope. A truth that says this:

God is bigger than a Presidential election.

I certainly don’t write this to say that we shouldn’t have hope in our government. Having hope in one another and the people who help make our country what it is, need our hope. But more importantly, they need our prayers.

As followers of Jesus, we are called to pray for those in leadership positions. We are called to respect our government. That is a TOUGH pill to swallow when you feel like you are in a situation that seems like a lose-lose.

But that’s the real hope we can have with our prayers. A real hope that remembers God is bigger than Donald Trump. God is bigger than our government.

We make a mistake when we put our trust in man to bring a change.

Donald Trump is not going to be there in the night when a woman who was assaulted by a man can still feel his hands on her body. Trump is not going to be there when a mother and father hear their son refer to a girl in their class in a sexually degrading way.

But God is there. He is here. Now.

God is there to wrap his arms around that woman who can’t shake her attacker’s face. God is there to guide those parents as they talk with their son about what it means to cherish a woman and how God created her.

I keep thinking about how I would talk to my children today if they were old enough to understand the confusion and anger that fueled this election. What would I say to my son? To my daughter?

I would tell them that sin is real and Satan is out to steal, kill and destroy. That our new President is a sinner like us and he is a fallen man whom we can’t put all our trust in. I would remind them that Satan will use this President to continue to drive our country apart and that as Christians, we need to put on our armour of love, now more than ever.

I would tell them that God’s love is real and He is out to shower us with His mercy and grace if we would open our hearts to Him. That no matter what Trump or anyone else for that matter has done, that God still loves each one of us unconditionally. God is love. And He uses his love to draw us closer to him.

It’s times like these when we need to hold fast to the truth that is His word.

Not platitudes or false teachings that make us think Man is our rock. There is only one Rock and His name is Jesus.

If there were ever an election to teach our children about Christ and the struggles that come with learning to trust and seek His truth, then this one would be it. Think about that for a minute. I can honestly say that the few times I have voted for a President so far, this was the first one when I was on my knees almost nightly, seeking God for guidance on how to vote this year. And I would be sure my children knew the struggle I went through and the basis for my decision came from His word.

It won’t be long and the buzz will die down around Trump–that is until something new comes up and we can start pointing the finger again. And that’s when the lessons will begin again.

How will our children respond and what will they learn from us if we show an utter disrespect to our President and our government because we disagree with our nation’s decision? What will we be teaching them if we continue to bash those in leadership, when the Bible clearly calls us to respect them? 

If I show respect for one I like and think is morally better but show disregard for one that I think is the wrong choice, then I am showing my children that different sins have different value which in turn clouds the truth of God’s unconditional love.

I want to teach my children the value of respecting our governmental authority, while learning to exercise their rights as citizens to vote and protest. I want them to learn that disagreement doesn’t come in the form of bashing those we disagree with or breaking the rules. Disagreement comes with prayer. Prayer for those we disagree with and their hearts and prayer for our own hearts to stay open to the Holy Spirit and how He would lead us to respond.

God has given us boundaries in His Word and when we choose to live outside those boundaries, the result is sin. It’s not my place to put others in their place. I hope my children will see that when we see sin in others, it’s our place to pray for them and love on them ever more. We don’t have to accept their sin, but we can leave the judging to God and keep our eyes on Him and His truth.

I want my children to remember that God is bigger than we can imagine and it’s His love that pursues us every minute of every day.

I want them to know that God is bigger than a Presidential election.

What about you? What will you or would you tell your children?

Peace,
Glo

How to respond to the 2016 Election with your Faith. What to tell your children about Trump being president.

 

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20 + Tips from Real Moms on What to Do when You have a Newborn and a Toddler

We are having our second child in March and will be bringing home our new little addition to the family while having a 20 month old running around. I am excited, nervous, and a little scared. Scared of the unknown of a life with two under two. Nervous about the demands of a toddler while having a new baby. Excited to hear what tips other moms might have for me.

Thankfully, I am not the first woman who will experience the life of a mom with a newborn and a toddler. If you’re like me and scouring the Internet for tips, hacks and advice on how to survive as a new mom for the SECOND time, then look no further.

While I have mixed feelings about being what some might call a “Modern Mom” or a “millennial parent,” I without a doubt and grateful for the over 11,000 moms whose support I have in an awesome online mom group. I’ve seen these women post day in and day out with questions and concerns about how to survive with a newborn and not pull your hair out with a toddler.

So when I started worry about what this chapter of my life was going to be like, I knew I needed to hear the realness of this adventure straight from the horse’s mouth. Mamas, I give you to you REAL advice from REAL moms about how to navigate the life of having a newborn and a toddler. Here are there top tips for us new moms!

 

Read more for tips on brining home baby while having a toddler. Quick tips and reminders for mom with two under two.

Erin said: “My youngest two are 16 months apart. Best advice- GRACE. give yourself lots of grace. It gets better, but it will be super rough at times. Don’t stress about little stuff, just take it a day at a time (sometimes an hour at a time.”

Sarah said: “Grace. Lots of grace for yourself and for both kids. Mine are 17 months apart and here are a couple things that helped me.
-a “nursing basket” with special toys for the toddler while you nurse
-have your toddler do room time during one of the feedings
-get out of the house and don’t feel guilty about it!
-go to bed when baby does until night time sleep gets better because you can’t really rest much.
-ask for help with the toddler (wish I did more of this)
-when they’re both crying, determine the highest need and go wth that one first 😉
-let baby sleep in the swing or in the carrier the first 6 weeks!
-start “sleep training” week 6-12.
Grace. Everyone needs it. And if you cry, that’s ok!”

Kerry said: “If you’re a perfectionist like I am, lower your expectations for yourself a little. I expected to nail it, and was disappointed in myself over and over. Now I don’t pretend to have it all together, and it’s so much more freeing. And when things go bad, I’m like, whatever, that’s life. And when things go good I’m like yaaaaa!”

Claire said: “Let your older one say that he does not like his brother/sister or even horrible stuff. Do not yell at him for that. Just explain him/her that you love them both, that you are listening to his/her frustration and you will protect and love each of them the same way. Do not say that the older one will help you. He/she is not the parent.”


Kiah said: “Schedule a pedicure/massage/hair app whatever makes you happy before baby is born, have a plan and stick with it. It’s crucial to take care of yourself. Also schedule realistic date nights even if youngest baby tags along.
-Meal plan/freezer meals if possible, see if someone knows of a college girl or maid service that’s inexpensive.
-Purge the house of stuff you don’t want now and organize the rest. There are lots of videos on YouTube about how to organize on a budget.
-I used lots of positive affirmation with my boys preparing for baby #2 and #3
You’re going to be such a good big brother!
Are you going to hug and kiss baby when he’s born?
Baby loves you sooo much! Look how he smiles at you!
Anytime there was a misguided comment about how jealous they would get etc I would politely turn it around.

Ashley said: “Mine are 13 months apart with no family nearby😳😂
I really tried to make the toddler a part of the newborns care- not only did I keep my daughter busy, but I really believe that they are pretty close now because of it, it also taught her how to be kind and caring towards a baby. While I would nurse the newborn, the toddler and I would have special conversations or songs that we would only sing while I was nursing.
-And when I was caring for baby, I was constantly talking to both of them about what I was doing. ” Ok, mama’s gotta change brothers clothes…again”😜
-I pretty much lived down on the ground with them reading and playing. I would put his jungle gym down on the floor and lay some books out for her, and a lot of the time I could cook and clean with no issues! They both really enjoyed music too!
-I praised my 13 month old so much for being nice to her brother. To this day she gives him so many kisses, hugs, and brings him all of his favorite toys. Now, they are to the point where he is mobile and they chase each other and play all day – it’s great! they are 22, and 9 months- looking back, I wouldn’t have done it any other way!”

Elisha said: “Be kind to yourself. Take one day at a time and don’t try and do everything ask for help!”

Dara said: “Don’t be afraid to live completely in survival mode for the first 6 to 12 weeks or as long as you have to. And also, on the other hand, don’t be afraid to go out of the house whenever you need to keep things normal.
-The best advice I have received so far, is to use the toddler as your flex point. By this I mean if you need both kids to nap at the same time with the toddler down for their nap earlier or later based on whatever the baby schedule might be. The same thing goes for bedtime. If all hell is breaking loose and you need to tend to the baby you can put the Toddler down a little bit later and they will be just fine.”

Sarah said: “Crying has never killed anyone. If baby has to cry while you care for your toddler, they will be fine. If you have a toddler screaming at your feet while you feed baby don’t let that stress you. If you have to leave BOTH kids wailing to take care of your own needs, do it. This only lasts for such a short time. They do get the hang of sharing you! You are super woman, but you’re not God. You don’t have endless untapped energy and you can’t be everywhere at once.”

MORE POPULAR TIPS FROM THESE MOMS:
*Hire someone inexpensive to help clean or cook and if they can, be with the toddler for a little bit.
*Don’t freak out about everyone crying. Prioritize who needs attending first. Oh, and don’t be afraid to cry yourself!
*Get outside and exercise when you can! This may mean investing in a double stroller.
*Freezer meals AND snacks you know your toddler will eat without much complaint.
*Don’t be afraid to ask someone to set up a “Take Them a Meal” system.
*Have second baby’s room set up as much as you can before second baby arrives.
*Get those busy bags ready and only pull them out for the toddler during specific times. Thank God for Pinterest. Also, check out my 45 Daily Activities to do with a PreToddler for quick, free, and easy tips.
*Make sure and take care of yourself!!!
*Try to keep a date night to connect with your spouse!
*Let others help you!

WHAT ABOUT YOU MAMAS? What else would you like to add? Let us know in the comments below!
As always, cheers!,
Glo

 

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Reasons to Get Excited about Christmas Ornaments in November

I don’t know about you but when I walk through Walmart and they have the Halloween and fall stuff starting to fill the shelves in August, I begin to get anxiety. I get anxious because then I start thinking about everything that I will eventually need to do to get ready for the upcoming holidays. Honestly, I can’t think of many reasons to celebrate the holidays so early just yet.

And then I get that little flair in my heart… There’s excitement in the holidays too, not just stress. The holidays can be a time full of mixed emotions. Happiness to be with those you love. Sadness over the ones you’ve lost. Anxiety for the gifts you still have to buy.

But I can’t ignore the beautiful fall colors that adorn the shelves in Wal-Mart. They beckon me. Pumpkin Spiced Lattes after Labor Day are my jam. So instead of rolling my eyes when I see Christmas ornaments out at Hobby Lobby in November scratch that, July, I can think a few reasons why getting ready for the holidays early in the year ain’t too shabby of an idea.

Five Reasons why getting ready for the holidays early is a good idea.

You Start Thinking about What Gifts to Get Sooner.
Some people *cough cough* that would be me, start buying Christmas gifts during the summer. If you’re not that crazy and tend to lean towards normal, then seeing the change in the seasons that bring the fall and winter holidays can spark your mind. When you see something you think someone close to you might like, snatch it up and save it as their gift for the holiday office party.

You Can Get Gifts for a Good Bargain during the End-of-the-Season Sales.
August and October are notorious for seasonal sales. August for end of summer and October as most stores transition to winter. Want to get your husband that camping gear he’s always wanted? Look for it in October and November. Know your son will have another class party next October for Halloween? Go to Walmart, Kohl’s or Target the first week after Halloween and you’ll see all those holiday prices slashed in nearly half.

You May Start Setting Aside Time to Spend with Your Family Ahead of Time.
All my family (and Husband’s) live in a different town. When it comes time for the holidays, we start gearing up to make the rounds to see everyone. I enjoy the holidays because I know this will be a time that I will see my family, when otherwise, I may not have seen them so much during the rest of the year. We have Black Friday traditions that we do every year. We have Christmas jokes we say every year. We know who’s going to bring what food to our family meals. It’s fun to start thinking about them and plan a good time to reconnect. I start looking at my calendar in September to get ready for the weekends and weeks we’ll be away to visit family.

Black Friday
OK, my family bonds over Black Friday when I know this shopping can easily bring a wedge for some. Let’s face it–we all want a good bargain and the bargains on Black Friday can be hard to pass up. Now that Black Friday is happening on Thanksgiving and during the day nonetheless, I see Black Friday becoming more and more of a tradition for families and being incorporated in their holiday. Personally, when I start thinking about those gifts in October, I am on the lookout for them on Black Friday.

It’s a Great Time to Budgeting Money for Your Holiday Expenses
If you’re like most Americans who spend A LOT during the holidays, then you may be interested in finding ways to start preparing for the holidays NOW. Some great resources are available online. I especially like these tips and advice from the Penny Hoarder. We are big Dave Ramsey fans, so we have a Holidays envelope that we start putting money in at the beginning of the year in January! But it’s never too late and you can start budgeting money now!

Oh, and don’t forget about those Pumpkin Spiced Lattes. 🙂 Cheers!

What about you? Can you think of other reasons that seeing Christmas decorations out so early might not be such a bad idea?

Peace,
Glo

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