Dear First Time Mom

Dear First Time Mom,

Something in my brain popped up that I should write this today. I’m not sure I have the most wisdom or experience, but I’ve been where you’ve been and I wanted to leave your heart full.

I know the job that you’re doing is tough, I know it’s one of the hardest things you’ve ever done. I know that at times it is scary and you might wonder what God thought He was doing when he entrusted you with someone so small and little and fragile.

I know along that way that there are going to be people who come along and offer you all sorts of advice, some of it helpful and some of it not. There are people who are going to make you doubt yourself. This is your first introduction to parenting, where everyone’s got an opinion and someone is probably going to tell you you’re doing it wrong.

But you know what? I have faith in you. You got this. Even when you mess up (because you will, we’re human, we all mess up sometimes), I know that you love your child more than anything and that you’re desperately trying to do the right thing. Raising kids is a big responsibility and sometimes it feels like the whole world – the whole future – is resting on your shoulders. You feel that weight. And I know you are trying so hard.

Find the people who you love and respect. Find those people and when you need help or wisdom or advice, consult them. Find the people whose opinions you know you can trust and ignore the rest. Pray a lot – daily and continuously. Give your kids extra hugs and kisses. Try and be patient but give yourself grace if you lose your cool. It happens to all of us sometimes.

You can do this. I promise. One day at a time. And on the days you can’t do one day at a time? You can do it one minute at a time. And minute by minute, you’ll raise up that child until one day you’ll look back and you’ll wonder how you did it all.

You’ve got this. You’re gonna do great. 99 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.*

<3 A mom who was once there too.

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*Okay, so that last line came from a Dr. Seuss book I’ve read 18639284721097428 times to Dominic. But the principle still stands.

I Can’t Get Enough of These Two

 

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I normally feel like we have enough clothes, but his onesie we received as a gift when Allen was born is one of my favorites.

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I don’t know why pictures of babies sleeping are so beautiful but they are. 

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He is excited every day to learn. I absolutely love it. Here he’s working on some number matching from the Four Seasons printable pack at This Reading Mama.

5 Quotes by Famous Women

Ignore the glare. I don’t remember it being this bad before, I think the lenses in my new glasses are just different. It’s not my best editing ever, I usually try to shoot in a single take, but that just wasn’t possible today with a teething babe.

Links:

Mother Teresa

Shirin Ebadi

Fannie Lou Hamer

CNN International Women’s Day

Pinterest It: Plastic Bag Storage

I have a plastic bag problem. For real. I accumulate them like crazy. But I don’t just want to throw them out – they have a myriad of uses. Some of the things we use them for include liners for tiny trash cans, wrapping your shoes in your suitcase to protect the other stuff, separating dirty from clean clothes on a trip, and so on. I know you can recycle them, but I can never remember to bring them back to a store that does recycling, so that’s why I strive to find ways to reuse them.

But they seem to take up so much space! And I want some of that space back without just throwing them out in the garbage. So I tried this tutorial for folding them that I ran across on Pinterest.

I have to say it worked quite well. However, I couldn’t quite get them as small or as neat as she did, but I don’t quite care because they are still tons smaller than they were before. It doesn’t take a long time either, it’s a great busy work thing to occupy my hands while I’m watching TV (currently watching: Gilmore Girls). I am definitely going to be doing more of this until my plastic bags are tamed. Right now they are all jumbled in with the paper bags and boxes I’ve saved, but if I folded more of them like this, the whole space would be neater and it would be easier to find what I need.

One folded in my hand for size reference.

One folded in my hand for size reference.

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As you can see, I just threw a bunch of mine in a box. But if you want a prettier option, Pinterest has a solution for that too.

Short Fiction: The Door

I hope you enjoy reading this short fiction I wrote earlier today. Rough draft only, but I’m pretty pleased with it. It’s good to get into this side of my brain.

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The Door

Claire paced nervously back and forth as she waited for him to pick up the phone. Ring, ring, ring. She knew he wasn’t busy. He was at work but he never did a whole lot of real work anyways, so why was it taking him so long to pick up?

Image Credit: Oliver Ottner at Stockvault.com

Image Credit: Oliver Ottner at Stockvault.com

His voice cut in abruptly. “What do you want this time? I’m busy, make it quick.”

Hello to you too. She thought. Why couldn’t he ever say, ‘Hello sweetie,’ or ‘How’s my darling?’ or she would even settle for just a plain hello and sounding actually excited to talk to her. “Ummm, I don’t know how to explain this but the house is . . . ummm . . .the house is gone.”

“Is this some kind of joke? You wasted my time with this? You’re an idiot and a moron if you think I’m finding this funny. I ought to have you checked for mental problems. Hello doctor, my wife needs to -”

Claire hung up on him. She wasn’t going to stand there and listen to him berate her like that. She couldn’t deny what her eyes were seeing in front of her – there were their front steps, there was their front door, but that was it. There was nothing else remaining. It didn’t seem possible. She sat down on the steps and leaned against the door. Where were they going to live? What happened to their house? She didn’t even know the first place to begin. What was she going to do, call the police and say ‘Hi, I think somebody stole my house. No, not all of it, the front door is still here.’ They would probably laugh her out of the police station even faster than Ian had laid into her.

The door unlatched as she was leaning on it and she felt a cool breeze. Except it was the middle of July. In Texas. She turned around and when she looked in the door, she saw a stream and a waterfall, pristine and untouched. There was green grass and flowers of every color. Butterflies flitted around.

She closed the door. How? What? She walked around the door. It wasn’t connected to anything. But then?

She opened the door again. A feeling of peace washed over her when she saw that scene. She wanted to dip her toes in the water, smell the flowers, lay in the grass and close her eyes.

She walked through the door and it closed behind her. With that, the door vanished.

Her cell phone lay on the ground where the house and the door once stood and it began to ring.

The caller ID said Ian.

Counting to 1000 Gifts: 121-130

121. Dominic going over to Allen and Allen’s face just lighting up at seeing him

122. Seeing my mom and dad today

123. Seeing my sister one last time before she goes back to Texas

124. Peanut butter M&Ms

125. Good times with extended family

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a dinosaur saxophone!

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a dinosaur saxophone!

126. Firefly the board game (a gift from my sister)

127. Nick getting off of work early today

128. Nick having a great new job!

129. A great 2014

130. Lovely gift of bath salts from my hubby for our anniversary

Ten Things for December 29th, 2014

All right, here are some links for you to check out on this Monday morning, last roundup of 2014! Adding the categories again and remember that citation does not equal endorsement, a phrase I love and stole from my friend.  As always, I’m up for respectful discussion on any of these articles! Also I may have been hungry while I was working on this, haha.

Ten Things

Politics

Kids and Jails, A Bad Combination

Geek

Why Do You Still Play Smash Bros.? (video)

Science

In a New Approach to Fighting Disease, Helpful Genetic Mutations Are Sought

Parenting

10 Ways New Motherhood is Just Like Middle School

Food

Creamy Bacon Chicken and Pasta Skillet

Spinach Dip from Scratch

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff

I Want To Marry You Cookies

Easy Cheesy Garlic and Herb Breadsticks

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup

The Importance of Thoughtful Activism

Around the beginning of December you may have heard how Greenpeace damaged part of the Nazca lines in effort to spread their message about climate change. In fact, Peru is now investigating one person in Greenpeace and seeking charges of “attacking archeological monuments”, a crime, which if he is convicted, will likely carry a prison sentence.  Their actions were not an example of thoughtful activism. And if you want to change things, you need to think very hard about the best way to do that. I don’t know how long they brainstormed or if this was their first idea, but it was clear that they did not think this through.

When you fail to act thoughtfully, your message can get lost. People begin to talk about what you did instead of why you did it. Most people are talking about what Greenpeace did. Their actual message gets a one sentence mention in the article. This does not help further your cause. Thoughtful activism can get people thinking and talking and doing about your message, not about how you chose to try and get your message across.

You also hurt the reputation of your cause. People are not going to want to associate with a group who is doing things that are having a negative impact on society. Whether this be because they don’t think through their actions, because they shame or blame people, or something else. In the past, some movements have had issues with this. So I don’t make it seem like I am just picking on Greenpeace, I’ll pick an example from a cause that is dear to my heart, the pro-life movement. In the past, some people have shot abortion doctors. This tends to just undermine the work of thousands of pro-life activists who would never dream of taking a life to end abortion. The careless, unthinking activism of one or a few individuals can damage the reputation of many, many others working for the same causes. To speak of Greenpeace again, several individuals in Greenpeace have denounced these actions, but it doesn’t speak as loud or become as memorable as those individuals who carried out this piece of activism.

Of course, this post would not be complete without the mention of slactivism. What is slactivism? It’s a combination of slacker and activism. From Urban Dictionary, “Engaging socially in activism that requires little or no effort as part of a lifestyle or self-identity. Slactivism usually produces no appreciable results and often perpetuates poor research and hearsay.” I’m sure we’ve all seen these – remember when it was going around to post the color of your bra to your Facebook status for “breast cancer awareness?” What does it actually do to raise awareness of breast cancer? Nothing. But it often makes us feel like we are doing something. This falls in the thoughtless category because it’s mainly something to make us feel like doing something without actually doing something. You want the actions you take to mean something and to matter, to truly make a difference for the cause you are fighting for – that’s thoughtful activism.

In the end, it’s really important to me that people get involved in their society and stand up for what they believe in and fight to end injustices. But I really just want people to think about what they are doing and why they are doing it when they decide to champion a cause. We need people who are really committed to changing the world for the better and are willing to take the time to think about the best way to accomplish that without their message getting lost or damaging the reputation to their organization or doing something completely ineffective.

Go change your world, but think about it first.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

Destiny Defied Review

Welcome to the series launch of J.A. Marx‘s Destiny series. Book one, Destiny Defied, is a chilling tale of freedom from oppression and the Light that overcomes the dark.

Disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review. Honest being the key word, all thoughts and opinions are 100 percent my own. 

Name of book: Destiny Defied

 Author: J. A. Marx JMarx-270

About the author: J.A. loves writing embattled spirit novels — adventure and suspense with supernatural undertones. On the side, she dabbles in non-fiction articles and e-zine editing. J.A. owes many thanks Jerry Jenkins and the Christian Writer’s Guild for their support and education.
Find J.A. online: website, Facebook,Twitter

Summary: Book One in The Destiny series.

A dramatic shipwreck emancipates Riki Hammad, but the island where she finds refuge is compromised. Unless she finds a power truly great enough to defeat her dark past, she will choose death over returning to captivity. Lord Vétis, high priest of a cultic underground, will stop at nothing to reclaim their chosen one. Using black magic, he manipulates Riki and her four self-assigned bodyguards, triggering a battle that consumes the entire island. The underground will never allow Riki to live out her dreams of a normal life . . . something she has never known.

Desitiny-Defied-e1415380573385Rating: 3 Stars

Reason for rating: I’m not sure how I feel about this book, even after thinking about it for a while. I gave it three stars simply because there were parts of it that I loved and parts of it that I didn’t care for.  The book is very overtly about spiritual warfare and sometimes I felt like parts of it didn’t jive with what I believe, but I also do know that the devil and his angels are very real. I came to love and care for the characters, even though in the beginning I had trouble keeping them straight and the  book took me a while to get into. I felt like there was something I could identify with in almost every one of the characters (excluding the evil one). I also thought that Marx has a very beautiful writing style and there were a few times that I had to read a sentence twice because I just loved the way that she put something or she made me think about something very common in a different way. It also totally ended in a cliffhanger and even though it wasn’t complete love, it was good enough that I want to know what happens next. I would probably recommend this book to Christian fans of the show Supernatural, since it is very clearly a Christian book but from the episodes I’ve seen of Supernatural, I think that this book might appeal to people who like that show.  

Find  on Amazon (Available through Kindle Unlimited)

Find on Goodreads

Reflections on Almost 4 Years of Marriage

“Though one may be overpowered,two can defend themselves.A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:12

At the end of December, Nick and I will celebrate our fourth anniversary. That verse up at the top is one of the ones from our wedding.

Even though on that day, Nick and I got married, it wasn’t just us. We were making this commitment, not just to ourselves, but to the Lord too. Knowing that not only were we committed to each other, but that we were a part of something bigger has made a huge difference, as has having Christ in the center of our marriage. Relying on Him is the best way to withstand any struggles that we go through together.

But I am also grateful for the other people in my life. The couples who were married long before us, who set a Godly example of what a good marriage should look like. Our married friends, who are in this with us and provide encouragement that they too believe staying married is worth it. It’s encouragement, even during times when nothing is going wrong.

I guess what I’ve learned, or maybe what I already knew, is that marriage is not just me. I am in it, forever, with Nick and God by my side. It is learning to think, not just of my own needs, but of the needs of someone else. It’s sometimes the mirror you never wanted to look in – because you learn so much about yourself in the way you treat and react to other people.

In the end, I am glad to be married. I view it as one of the best things I have ever done. I would do it all over again. It is amazing, to do life with this partner of mine. To do it together. To have someone know you so deeply. To raise children with someone so awesome.

Every once in a while, when people find out how long I’ve been married, they ask me if I regret getting married so young.

Do I? Not for one second.

This post has been linked back to Titus 2 Tuesday.

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