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One of my family’s favorite holidays has recently passed. It’s one where people all over the country get together to give thanks and enjoy a meal for Thanksgiving.

It’s a wonderful time for everyone to reflect on what they are grateful for. We attend a church service to thank God for the blessings we’ve had over the course of the year. At this service there is time for people in the congregation to get up and express their thoughts.

We often will start thinking about what we have to be grateful for as we’re driving there. I’ll ask the kids (and this year my husband) to think of something and we’ll go around taking turns.

This year as we did this, I told my nine year old son that he’d have a chance to give gratitude in church if he wanted. He got excited and said he’d say he was grateful for his family and their love and support.

How precious that was!

It’s so good be grateful for what we have. We can do this every day. Having a grateful mindset or “heart” as it says in the Bible, replaces feelings of lack and discontent. It puts things into perspective which brings joy and peace.

Why not have a grateful heart every day?

Years ago I didn’t have a car and relied on public transportation to get where I needed to go. I’d walk my girls to preschool pulling them in a red wagon that we had borrowed from our roommate, on the way to my adult school classes. This was a humble time in our lives where we were so grateful for freedom.

We’d recently left their abusive dad for a new life, one where we were free and all things were possible.

I was glad that we COULD walk to school! I was glad that we were getting exercise and lived in a safe and beautiful neighborhood. I was glad the girls had a safe place to learn and grow as I did the same.

We’d wave at people as we went by and cherished each other and the blessings we had. There is no lack in that mindset.

Later I got a job and we had a car that had been given to us by a dear friend. It didn’t have a radio, but we were so glad to have a faster way to get around! We’d sing songs and make our own music:)

I found myself praying and making up songs as I went when I was driving alone- especially if I was feeling sad or stressed.

There were problems, don’t get me wrong. Plenty of things to dwell on if I wanted, but I was claiming my joy and abundance from God! I saw Him as Father/Mother that was taking care of me, His loved child as well as my girls that were also His and provided for in every way. There is a saying that what you think about you bring about. So think about what you want in your life!

Once my car broke down and I was waiting for a ride home from work. They were late and I was so frustrated. I started getting upset and thinking about how they should be on time. I had to get my girls from school. Well, I realized that this was a time to be glad that I had a ride at all. I was so blessed to have a job, nice clothes, healthy children, beautiful weather and loving people in my life. I felt much happier very quickly as I started claiming all that I had to be grateful for!

Depression and discontent are feelings of lack. When we start to think about all the good we have, those feelings can be flooded with joy and the world is brighter.

So make today a day of gratitude. When things start going wrong, try looking for the good in the situation. There is ALWAYS good to find if you look! God’s provision for you is an abundance of all good! Mary Baker Eddy says,”Divine Love [another name for God] Always has met and always will meet every human need.”

Today is BIG with Blessings! Share the love 🙂

Ever feel like your in a cycle of invisibility? I’m learning about invisible labor in my women’s studies class. It’s basically work that is done that goes unnoticed and we don’t get paid for or sometimes appreciated or recognized. Sound familiar?

Ya, much of a mom’s labor is invisible it seems!

Schooling doesn’t produce income, so it’s invisible to society. Same as raising a family, cleaning, cooking, driving people around, caring for the daily needs of people. It even seems like our husbands don’t notice us or give us the attention we want, sometimes.

So, I was in a funk the other day. I guess it had lasted a while. School group work along with my family obligations have just been stressing me out! It seems like people are constantly pulling at me, and I can’t seem to get a mental break. Shoot, I don’t exercise anymore, all my free time is caring for people or doing homework, it seems.

Well, I was in my car and I heard a song by Kelly Clarkson that snapped me back to happy

Listen to it now 🙂

She talks about catching her breath, letting things go, turning her cheek and not letting people hold her back- making the time for things that matter. See the beauty in everything! Live for now! Don’t worry what people say/do…

So, I wanted to share some ideas with my readers about how you can let things go and let go of that stress, ’cause life is too short to be always stressed out!

At a recent onlline training from EOP at SJSU about stress management, they shared some strategies to deal w/things as they come up.

Listening to music can totally shift your perspective! I love this method..

Praying/meditating is another way….(usually stress comes from things out of your control- give it to God)

Write your ideas down, get it out- keep a journal

Eat at regular times, especially breakfast & EXERCISE! (stress can cause the body to store fat and make us feel tired)

Look for positives… find something good in the person/situation and limit negative self talk

Designate time/space for work so you can live in the NOW. Focus on better time/energy management

Talk to someone you trust – this can make all the difference!

Do something nice for yourself EVERYDAY- I love this one, and try not to make it food

Remember, this is your life. Stuff is going to happen, changes, pressures, deadlines, disagreements- sometimes all at once. Remember to think before reacting, ask can I control this situation? Find a positive reaction/perspective of the situation.

And Live! We can’t waste our time letting others bring us down 🙂  You’re wonderful! God loves you! You have all you need and things are going to work out just fine! Enjoy life and the people you love.  Try out one strategy listed above, take a deep breath, picture yourself somewhere happy or surround yourself in beauty (I like plants and trees and hills) and smile.  We’ll get through all this stuff 🙂 step by step- meanwhile there is so much good going on!

Want more helpful ideas? Go to:

helpguide.org for more stress management ideas

sleepfoundation.org  if you’re having a hard time sleeping

choosemyplate.gov or eating right.org for nutrition information

acsm.org or fitness.gov for sports med and fitness information for beginners on up

Christianscience.com for spiritual ideas and testimonies to deal with anything

Dale Carnegie wrote an awesome book called- How to stop worrying and start living!

Listen and Love

Relationships require a lot of listening in order to succeed. We can’t understand someone’s perspective if we don’t.

Teenagers are no different.  They need us to listen and not judge. It’s no easy task! We may not want to hear what they are thinking about, when it comes down to it. Sex, drama with friends/boys/girls, unhappiness, maybe even drugs, etc. They need us to be there to listen.

I didn’t have the kind of relationship with my mom where I felt she’d understand. She was so busy working as a single mom and I felt like I knew much more than she did about the world.

As a result, I talked to my friends- who weren’t necessarily looking out for my best interest. They were trying to figure their own lives out. Misery loves company, they say! I learned by experience what to do and not do.

I’ve tried to establish an environment where my kids felt safe to talk about whatever they were thinking, and I try to be as honest about my own life as I can (as appropriate), so they can learn from experiences as well as trust me so that they will be honest back.

When they need to talk, they may not want to hear what we think – sometimes people just need to be able to vent and know they are loved and they’re not weird for thinking what they do. They need empathy and understanding. This will help them get through it.

I’ve relied on God to give me the ideas of what to say on many occasions. I don’t have all the answers. Often I’ll listen quietly and wait for an idea to come about how to respond. Sometimes I will get some ideas later and share then.

I have read books about parenting and taken some classes. One good book is called “Setting Limits” by Dr Mackenzie.  It’s helpful for raising kids from age 2-teen and follows my philosophy of giving kids choices and not being overbearing.. while balancing and not being a pushover either. This has given me confidence as a parent when family members felt I should parent their way.

Kids will go through different phases and if they know they are not alone and are supported, it will help them overcome whatever comes their way. Recognizing God as their parent is sooo helpful! That’s what I’ve done as a single mom… even if didn’t have a dad there, God’s giving them what they need. (Caring role models come in all forms- teacher, coach, church friend, neighbor, friend’s parent.)  In  fact, God gives me what I need too, as my parent!

This relieves a lot of fear and burden that I need to know it all, or my kids are lacking something important to make them whole. Love [God] completes each one of us, comforting us, providing companionship, strength, joy and life.  When we recognize that, the seeming voids are filled and we aren’t looking for something else to fill it- like a person, substance, etc.

Claim those qualities you feel you lack as yours from God! List them down 🙂 it feels wonderful. If God is all in all and made us in his likeness, then we are complete!  And so are our children.

Ugh, sometimes it seems like we can’t get a break! It’s not just us parents- I think that much of the world feels this way from time to time… some more than others. There are times that one thing after another goes wrong or seems to get in our way. Just when we’re making progress, make a plan to improve in an area such as school or work then BAM! something goes wrong with one of your children- or unexpected expenses pop up, income decreases- or someone gets sick.
I like to get things scheduled in order to stay organized. In order to keep everything in order I write when my classes are, when my kids need to be dropped off and picked back up. I pencil in special activities and family plans. It looks so neat on paper- but no matter how great of a planner you are, life doesn’t seem to work so neatly. If you’re like me and you’ve crammed everything in you can fit, a hiccup can be stressful! That blows everything out of whack.  Fear wells up, we get overwhelmed and stressed out. How will things work out now?

It’s common to feel crippled when everything goes wrong. How are we supposed to be good employees/students/parents all at once? Isn’t it hard sometimes? I find it’s helpful to get things into perspective and remember that God’s in charge here. I don’t have to carry all the burden, I’m here to do God’s work, and he’s taking care of me and the kids and the job and school and the schedule and telling me what I need to know. I can relax, breathe and take one thing at a time.
Worry and anxiety aren’t good for anyone. It doesn’t help us to be better parents, employees or partners. We must do our best to live in the moment and recognize that right now we have what we need- maybe not everything we want, and we may not know what the heck to do next… but we can ask and wait for an idea to come from God that will lead us to the next step.
Thank goodness! The other day an income stream I had ran out and my son’s teacher contacted me because he wasn’t  behaving in school. At the same time, I’m trying to meet my school deadlines and be the best mom I can be.  I started to worry about how everything would work out.

I want to finish school and I want to be here for the kids when they need me. I want my son to do well and want everyone to be happy. Why do things always go wrong?  I can’t possibly work if my kids need me. Now, I’ve worked full time for years as a single mom and gone to school and had a home business. I was putting everything into the future and now I’ve realized that I need to focus more no now and be more present. The kids grow fast- time flies, so we really need to make the most of the time we have. God’s really been taking care of us all the way…

From housing to food to companionship to employment to inspired ideas and schooling God’s provided everything we need. He’s not stopping now. I feel that I’m in my right place and so are the kids- so is my husband, for that matter. We’ll keep having what we need and being led to do the next thing we need to do. So, worrying is such a waste of energy and thought! (I’m not saying don’t have a plan.. plans are good. But we don’t have to know everything, and it’s ok if plans don’t work out as we want)

If you’re feeling overwhelmed today, take a deep breath and remember all the good things that are going on. What are you grateful for? That can sure shift one’s perspective. Remember that God’s love is taking care of each family member and you as parents. We don’t have to have all the answers, but need to keep going forward doing our best in each moment. We have all we need to tackle whatever comes our way…

My quote of the day is: “Divine Love [God] inspires, illumines, designates and leads the way”. Mary Baker Eddy

We aren’t alone. God’s directing us towards the next step, showing us what do do and how, making is clear who should do what and is there with us the whole time. Not as a physical being- but giving us the ideas we need, as well as the comfort and care when we stop worrying and trust and do.

Things always work out- have an awesome day, step by step!

Listen to this wonderful 2-minute inspiration to encourage you today! We are always able
Enjoy!

Hello world!

Parents come in all shapes and sizes, all ages and walks of life. We have different backgrounds and experiences. Some are single moms/dads, some have 1 child others have 5 or more! Some waited until they had a career and travelled the world, others started families very young.

Regardless, these parents have kids who are going through similar experiences and we parents can come together and help one another to raise these kiddos.  They say “it takes a village to raise a child” and I agree. As a single mom for years, who left an abusive relationship, I’ve seen first hand how God takes care of us and sends angels our way to deliver what it is we are needing at that time.  Maybe it’s a friend who will listen when we need it, or the right idea of what to say at that moment when your child needs you.  Maybe it’s the answer of how you are going to make ends meet, or how you’ll juggle all the demands you have pressing on you at that moment.

My kids are teen girls and a elementary school boy. I won’t use their names, in order to protect their privacy, but will share experiences of how we’ve dealt with different situations as they’ve come up.  I don’t think we ever have this stuff figured out, no matter how smart we are, or how much time we waited, but we learn as we go!

I’m currently going to school to get my BA in Communication and Public Relations.  This is my first blogging experience, so Hello World!