Momma's groove

Turn off your brain!

Ok momma, we are all guilty of this one!  Is it almost impossible for you to turn off your brain when you need to?  Or for that matter, to know when you need to…?  I go to bed at night and I swear my brain is spinning in circles at full speed! It’s like I just can’t slow it down.  I love having goals, and working toward those goals.  I love working and having projects that excite me and require something of me.  I love that my kids are involved in clubs and extra curricular activities.  And I love making crafts for said clubs, events, and school parties, etc.  However, all of these things require time, thought, planning… you know, brain power.  And when I lay down to go to bed, (or take the occasional much loved nap) it’s sometimes hard to turn off my brain and go to sleep.

Sometimes it’s not even a matter of trying to sleep.  Sometimes it’s that you’re trying to work on something but your brain is all jumbled and you can’t think straight to do it.  Equally frustrating, and rather unproductive.  I thought I’d share a few things with you that I do to calm all the chaos that’s going on in my head.

  1.  Brain Dump.  If you’ve followed me here, or on social media for very long you know that I love a good brain dump.  If I can’t think straight and it’s really causing an issue, I know that it’s time for a brain dump.  You can do this many ways, but I just grab a piece of paper and start writing.  You might think it best to only write projects and big things.  Or the things you want to do in the next specific amount of time.  And if that works for you, do it that way.  But for me it’s everything.  I mean everything.  I just start writing and I write down everything big or small, present or future (even past if it’s on my mind).  Once I get it all down and out of my head I can start to focus on what I’m actually doing, or what I need to do.  That or go to sleep, if that was the purpose of said brain dump.
  2. Doodle. Doodling is similar to a brain dump except it helps when you don’t know what to write, or don’t want to write for some reason.  Sometimes you just don’t feel like writing everything down, but you need a brain release.  Doodling is great for that.  Sometimes I even doodle for a bit before I do a brain dump.  It just helps me to loosen up the cobwebs so to speak.  You can draw random things or take some time to learn/practice an art form such as hand lettering!
  3. Break out your planner.  I am a planner girl so I love planning.  I know not everyone does, but it really does help.  When you are thinking about dance practice, gymnastics, tae kwon do, hair cut appointments and a big work project…  It helps to grab your planner, or a simple calendar, anything that represents the days to come, and write it all down.  When you can see what is going on and when, it helps to get perspective and not feel like you have to remember everything.
  4. Pray.  When I feel like I’m losing it and I can’t get a handle on things, I take some time alone to talk to the Lord.  I ask him to help me and to give me perspective.  To get my stuff figured out and be able to keep up with it all in the best way possible.  If you’re not the praying type, I still recommend taking a few quiet minutes to yourself to clear your head.
  5. Get some fresh air.  Fresh air works wonders!  Open a window, and sit next to it; go out and sit on your porch, maybe with a good book.  If possible, maybe even take your work outside with you, you might find it much easier to accomplish.  Or go for a walk.   A nice walk outside can do wonders for a jumbled brain!
  6. Exercise.  Some love to work out, some hate it.  I have a love hate relationship with it.  So while I will tell you on most days that I love it, other days I might say it’s awful and if I run I will die.  Yes, I’m that fickle!  But it’s been proven that getting your heart rate up for a few minutes a day is good for you and I personally feel like there’s little that helps more in the attempt to release the fog inside the head.
  7. Veg out.  I offer this tip reluctantly because over use of this one can lead to less health and productivity rather than more.  However, if you can’t give your hamsters a break, it might be time to just plop yourself in front of a movie, or favorite tv show, and forget all your worries for a bit.  Especially if your situation is rather stressful.  Sometimes we need that bit of escape to be able to reboot.  I personally recommend this after the options above so that when you wake up the next day, things have been dealt with and are ready to be addressed, rather than just having been pushed aside, leading to more overwhelm when you pick back up where ever it was that you left off.

It might take some time, but try to teach yourself to relax when it’s time to relax, focus when it’s time to focus, and not think too much when it’s time to not think too much.

Smile through the Trials,

Tiffany

Momma's groove

Calm like a duck!

Have you ever seen a duck floating on the water?  They look so peaceful don’t they.  They just seem to be sitting there floating. But do you know what’s going on under the water?  Even when it looks like the duck is perfectly still, it’s paddling ninety to nothin!  They have to move their little legs super fast to stay afloat, and to keep from being washed away in the currents.  (I’ve read that they don’t paddle nearly as fast when they are in relatively still waters, but that’s irrelevant to my point. 😉 So anyway….)

Do you ever feel that way as a Momma?  I do!  I actually think of ducks a lot.  Especially when I’m out by myself with all four of the kids at a restaurant, or worse, a clothing store…!  (I don’t know what exaclty happens when we walk into Kohls, but my two year old completely loses his ever-lovin mind!)  I’m trying desperately at times not to lose it.  At times it goes really well and it’s gotten easier as they’ve gotten older.  But there are times when I have a little one that doesn’t want to cooperate, I’m trying to figure out what everyone wants to eat, someone needs to potty, and I can feel the eyes of a not so understanding couple sitting a few tables away…  I’m trying not only to not get stressed, but not to act stressed.  I don’t want to look like a crazy, out of control woman that can’t handle her own children and needs a three week vacation!  Although, I might feel like one at times.  (For that matter, I might actually be one at times.)  So I think of those ducks.  No matter how frantically I’m trying to stay afloat, I want to maintain a peaceful demeanor.  For the sake of the kids too.  It’s not helping anyone out for all their memories of doing things to be filled with Mom being a stress ball and having an anxiety attack, snapping at everyone, and giving up and rushing out in tears.  Thankfully that hasn’t happened, but I’ve feared it a few times.

I can remember a particularly trying visit to IHOP.  At the time my third child was my baby.  She wasn’t happy at all to be there.  She was being crabby and my older two were complaining that it was taking too long to get our food.  Which it was.  I know it wouldn’t be fair, but seriously, they should expedite orders for tables with kids!  I don’t remember everything about the meal but I do remember that it was stressful.  A very kind elderly man came up to me and complemented me for how calm I was.  He clearly doesn’t know me personally, but that’s beside the point!  He saw me as a very calm Momma and that made me feel better because I was feeling anything but calm.  You know what I said in response to his compliment?  I smiled and said “Calm like a duck!”  He laughed and went on his way.  It did make me feel a bit better, but I definitely felt like a duck that day.  Paddling for dear life, to peacefully float on the surface.

So remember my mommy friends, think of our friends on the water when it’s taking everything you’ve got not to sink!  You can do it.  You can stay afloat, and have a good time.  Generally after the overwhelming craziness calms down, you can actually have a nice conversation or laugh about something with the kids.  And then you start to wonder what had you so worked up in the first place.  Until it happens again…!

Smile through the trials!

Tiffany

Momma's groove

7 things to remember when your child doesn’t want to talk!

It breaks my heart when one of my children is upset about something and doesn’t want to tell me about it. That’s only happened a few times, but I fear it will happen more the older they get. Thankfully they are talkers (imagine that!) so I usually get the scoop from them with out much effort. But when it really matters, I hope we’ll be able to keep those lines of communication open.  Not much is worse than your child getting in the car looking like they’ve been crying, or trying not to.  Then you ask what’s wrong and they say “Nothing.”  Well, it’s obviously not nothing and the more you try to find out what it is, the more they refuse to tell you!  I’m no expert, and I’m sure once we are well into the teen years, I’ll have to revisit this post.  But here are a few things I’ve picked up on so far to keep in mind in those situations.

  1. Don’t push too hard.  If there’s anything that makes a person shut down, and not want to talk, it’s someone pushing and smothering them.  “Well, you need to tell me what’s wrong.”  “What did they say?  You can tell me.”  “Who? Who upset you?  Where are they?!”  These things usually do not help.  I’ve said these things during an actual conversation, and that’s fine.  But when you don’t know the story and you’re begging them to tell it to you, these questions are usually not helpful, and annoying.  As hard as it is, if they are asking for some space, it’s usually best to give it to them for a bit.
  2. Wait for a better time to talk about it.  Remember, there’s a good chance that whatever is bothering your child is embarrassing to them.  Yes you are Mom, but they can still be embarrassed to tell you about some things.  So it’s a good idea to hold off. That way some of the sting can die down, and you can talk to them in private, when no one else will hear.
  3. Offer to pray with/for them.  Ask them if they’d like for you to pray with them.  Prayer is conversation, so often listening to you converse with the Lord about their struggles, will encourage them to talk about it too.  If they don’t want to tell you what’s going on, you can pray in general for them.  And if they don’t want to pray together you can say “I’m going to say a prayer for you, what can I pray about?”  They might just say “That I will know what to do.”  Or something vague.  Or they might continue to shut you out and say “Nothing.”  But I think knowing that you are praying for them still means a lot to them even if they don’t say it.
  4. Be ok with them confiding in another trusted adult.  Now this does not go for everyone.  Don’t just say “As long as they are talking to someone, it’s ok with me.”  Unfortunately you can’t trust every adult you know with influencing your child’s thought process.  But, it’s good to have one or two other like minded, honest adults that they can talk to.  I know you hate to think that your child would ever not want to share with you.  But, sometimes they need someone other than Mom to talk to.  Sometimes Dad is better.  But often times a trusted aunt/uncle or grandparent is preferable.  My kids have a very close relationship with my sister.  Not only does she know my kids just about as well as I do, but she’s more patient than I am!  If they need to talk, and prefer it be with my sister, I’m totally ok with that.  Don’t let your pride get in the way of your child’s well being!  And if one of them were to talk to her and it be something they ask that I not know, it would be hard on me, but I could accept it.  Because I know she wouldn’t keep anything from me that I really needed to know.  (Like drugs, alcohol, a serious bully problem, etc.)  Not only do I trust her to tell me anything that I need to know, but I also trust her not give my child fuel for rebellion or to mistrust me. (It’s better they not talk to someone who will say things like “Your parents are being so unfair.” Or “Well that teacher shouldn’t be bossing you, she’s an idiot.”)
  5. Let them know that you are on their side.  If they aren’t wanting to talk and you can’t crack them, make sure you leave them with the right words swimming around in their mind.  Rather than “Fine, if you don’t want to talk, I give up!  Figure it out on your own, and we’ll see how that goes for ya!”  maybe something like “Ok, if you really don’t want to talk right now, I can respect that.  But the problem probably won’t just go away, so when you do need to talk, I’m here.  Whatever it is, I love you and nothing’s going to change that”
  6. Don’t let your imagination get the best of you!  Most the time when this happens it’s because the other girls wouldn’t sit with her at lunch.  Or the boys didn’t pass him the ball in gym class.  Things that made them feel really bad, and embarrassed.  Things that do have a real effect on them, but will pass.  When your child is huffy and is obviously dealing with something, don’t get too crazy in your head about it.  Most of the time they will tell you about it later on, and get passed it.  And most of the time it’s not that they are pregnant or decided to try smoking in the bathroom.  Don’t borrow trouble!  Wait until you know just how serious it is, to start having anxiety!
  7. Be willing to be there if it really is really real.  If it is something that’s for reals, like they really are pregnant, or did do something very wrong.  If someone hurt them on a deeper level, or any of the unthinkable things did happen…  Make it serious to you.  Don’t just ignore it and try to reason and make light of it.  I’m pretty sure it would be easy for a parent to go into some sort of denial.  So make sure to be willing to get them the help they need.  Be it counseling, rehab, medical treatment, or whatever.  This one could be it’s own post, so the short version is, remember that we already committed to #5 on this list, so stick to it.  Once something has happened, you can’t change it.  So help them to at least move forward.  No matter how the situation effects you, it’s about them and you have to see it that way and be there for them.

One thing we have to accept as parents is that hard times will come.  It won’t always be the happy, close relationship that we hope for.  There will be set backs, and real life issues.  The key I think, is to handle it the best way we can, and keep on keepin on!

Smile through the trials

Tiffany

Momma's groove

Happy Valentines Day!!

It’s Valentine’s Day!!  What are you doing on this special day meant to celebrate love and those we share it with?  Do you go all out?  Or do you not like the commercialization of it all?  I love Holidays and any excuse to celebrate!  I’m not saying spend a ton of money, Valentines day is one we don’t really spend a whole lot on.  But I do love any occasion to ya know, have an occasion!  Are you doing something special with your honey?  Do you get gifts for your kids, or just candy?  I’d love to know how you celebrate!  I don’t mean to spoil any surprises, but I knew I would get chocolate covered strawberries.   My husband gets them for me every year from a friend who’s wife makes them.  It’s a wonderful surprise, but, it’s not really a surprise. 😉   Don’t tell him ok… Other than that we don’t do a whole lot.  Usually a card, and a little bit of candy for the kids.

I do dress my kids in certain colors for most Holidays.  I had already bought some red and pink before I realized I wanted to use the Charlotte paper from the Charlotte workshops your way kit for my Vday scrapbook page(s).  That paper is mostly Slate, Whisper (grey colors) and Sorbet (a peachy pink).  So I got some grey to tie it in.  Yeah, I know it seems silly to match their clothes to my paper, but that’s how I roll sometimes!  Bummer I forgot to get myself something ’cause I like to take advantage of any opportunity to buy new clothes!!

Church was canceled this morning because of snow.  Should be able to go this evening though.  We didn’t go anywhere special or do anything different.  But we love each other and are together.  There’s nothing better than waking up and hearing each child say “Happy Valentines Day! I love you!”  I hope that we can remember to cherish those we love.  To look into their eyes and think of all the reasons that they are wonderful.  To think of all the blessings and excitement that they add to our lives.  Because life is too short not to savor every moment and every ounce of affection that we are blessed with.  I hope you have a blessed day and that love is in the air, wherever you are!

Smile through the trials!

Tiffany

Momma's groove

A child, a miniature person, full of emotions!

Preteens.  Teeny boppers.  Tweens.  What do you call the 10-12 age range?  Whatever you call them, they are an age group all their own.  And they have these dramatic personality’s that really are almost comical!!

Now I know, when my extremely dramatic 10 year old gets all weepy over something small, to her it really is meaningful.  If she’s crying about it, even if it’s ridiculous, she really does think it’s worth crying about.  I don’t want to be insensitive, but really sometimes, it’s kinda funny.  I’m not saying that I make fun of her, and laugh at the issue that made her sad.  But her dramatic response is usually a bit humorous.  When a child is 2 and says something that sounds grown up we think it’s so cute.  As they start to get older that wears off a bit.  But 10 really isn’t that old.  Some  people treat their 10 year old’s like teenagers, but really, they are so young!  They really still are this little miniature person learning how to take in, and respond to, the things around them.  When I see her like this, it makes her adorable to me again (she’s always adorable, but I mean the little kind of adorable) and I have to laugh!  Not a big, embarrass her and make matters worse, belly laugh.  But a little chuckle to myself about how she is perceiving the world at that moment.

Don’t get me wrong, she deals with some real issues that I wish she wouldn’t have to deal with.  The other girls leaving her out, not making the grade she had hoped for on a test, a boy calling her a mean name.  Those are the situations that break my heart and make me wish I could fix everything.  And some of those things leave me fighting off the Mommy Claws that seem to just be waiting to come out!

But sometimes she acts like the world is an awful place because of small things.  Her brother knocked her American Girl doll over, her sister used some of her doll clothes, or Mommy was so heartless as to let the little ones go in her room while she was gone… You know, serious stuff that just crushes her world in 2.3 seconds!  It really is silly that she lets little things get to her on such a level.  And I do get frustrated.  But it’s better that I keep from getting worked up, laugh it off, and explain to her that it’s not as bad as she thinks it is.  How do we get them to realize that some things are just not worth the tears?  It’s hard to know how to react in those situations.  I know it’s important not to belittle her feelings.  I try to say something like “I understand that makes you sad.”  I don’t want to encourage her to be a drama queen so I also try not to get too sucked in.  To remain calm myself and explain to her that it’s probably not worth the reaction she had.  I try to step outside of myself and look at how silly and cute it is that she thinks the issue is so serious.  Maybe even take a moment to be grateful that she’s not going through something more real.  And talk it out.  Sometimes she’s determined to be upset so I just let her be.  We’ll have a conversation like this; “It’s not that bad, honey.  They didn’t mean to make you sad.”  “Yes they did, they’re soo mean!  Nobody cares how I feel!!” I’ll just tell her “Well, when you are ready to calm down and talk about this let me know.”  And I separate myself from her.  This is also good because it helps me not to get too grumpy with her.  My patience tends to run thin during those times!  The point is, I think the best thing we can do as a parent is to stay calm, try to talk to them, and not take it too seriously ourselves.  Sometimes it’s hard to feel like your little princess has been wronged in some way!  Remember to be a grown up and keep things in perspective yourself.

I never would have realized how emotional little girls really can be.  I expected emotions to fly but I thought it started in the teen years.  Wrong! And I’m not looking forward to the teen years when the issues become more real, and she is still full of emotions with hormones thrown in the mix!  So I will enjoy this age, try to help her to make some sense of things, and love her just the way her little dramatic self is!

Smile through the trials

Tiffany

Momma's groove

When you just don’t want to put your productive pants on…

We’ve all had those days.  Days that you just can’t seem to get your head above water no matter how hard you try.  Sometimes you don’t even have the to energy to try.  One day a task can seem so simple, and the next it can seem impossible!  We talked about feeling like a failure last week, and we decided that we will not just accept it right?!  But, sometimes I just look at something that I need to get done, and instantly want to take a nap!!  It’s exhausting!  Unfortunately, regardless of how much else is going on, if you don’t do it, it’s likely it won’t get done.  So what do you do?

Let’s start by getting honest.  Really honest.  Like, the not so fun type that means we address things the way  they really are, not just the way that we want them to be, or choose to see them.  Remember, we are focusing on balance, meaning we have to be fair to both extremes of our situation.  Why are you overwhelmed by the task you are facing? Are you just suffering from lack of motivation? Is there a situation that is making it too much for you at the present moment?  Maybe you aren’t a very motivated person, and even though you want a home that reflects a productive lifestyle, you just generally have a bad case of the “I-don’t-want-to’s” or “I-don’t-feel-like-it’s”.  Maybe your health is an obstacle, or you truly don’t have enough time between tasks A and D to complete tasks B and C…  What is the reason?  Really think about it.  It’s always true to an extent that we don’t have time.  But could we have made the time had we really tried?  Some days I just can’t muster up the motivation to be productive.  And some days I want to be but physically can’t.  The biggest physical obstacles for me have been when I was put on bed rest, and now migraines and dizziness.  Being put on bedrest was so hard.  I never fully followed that order, but I didn’t do a whole lot of cleaning either.  As far as the migraines, I never would have let a headache stop me from doing what I wanted, or needed to do.  That’s what I thought anyway.   I generally have at least a mild headache.  But I didn’t understand migraines until I started having them.  And that, my friends, is a whole different ball game!!

If you truly cannot do the things that need to be done; if there is something physically keeping you from doing them, then you’re going to have to accept that.  It’s so hard, I know.  But you can’t continue to beat yourself up over something you have no control over.  Doing that will just give you a sense of uselessness and set you up for future failure.  So, if you can’t get to your to do list today, (or for two or three days) strategically divide those tasks over the days following in small pieces, so that you can slowly get caught back up.  You are not superhuman, and that’s ok.  Give yourself grace and move at a pace that is consistent, yet not unreasonable.  Of course, if you are facing any type of extended issue, you should figure out what needs to be done in order to prevent chaos and actual dirtiness.  Maybe your mom and/or mother in law could come over on certain days to help clean, or clean for you.  Maybe your husband and children can agree (or do it fighting tooth and nail…) to pick up the slack while Mommy is out of commission.  Maybe you need to hire some help for just a short time to keep things above water.  Both times I was put on bed rest my oldest son had to do all the vacuuming for me.  He was only 7 and 9, but he did a good job and it was a huge blessing to me!  (Come to think of it, I might owe hime some money… lol!)  Whatever you do will likely be a sacrifice in one way or another, but it’s something you will need to accept, because long term is much more important than right now.  Don’t lose the war because you are stubborn about this battle!

Then we have the flip side of that coin.  You might realize that you are perfectly capable of doing what you should be, but your not doing it… then guess what, it’s time to put your big girl britches on, and get to it!  The longer you stair at it and wish it didn’t exist, the worse it’s going to get!  And it’s likely that no little fairy is going to show up while you are sleeping and do it for you!! I know it can be extremely overwhelming.  At times it really does make me want to nap!  But, alas, when I wake up, it’s still there.  And it’s not going anywhere unless I take care of it myself.  My advice is to grab a piece of paper and a pen, and write down everything that needs done.  Then just do one of those things.  When you’re done with that, you guessed it, pick another one!  For some people it’s best to knock out the little things first.  If you are struggling with motivation, that would probably be the way I would tell you to go.  Seeing those little accomplishments will help to make you feel motivated, and when the mess has been making your head spin, those clean areas will help you to be able to think straight!  If the problem is more overwhelm, lack of time, or anything along those lines, I’d recommend going with the larger tasks first.  Again you will gain a sense of accomplishment, but you will also be left with smaller tasks to catch up on if you don’t get it all done in your allotted cleaning time.  Decide what will work best for you, and… go!

I don’t think there will ever be a day that I sit down in the evening and think “Wow, I did absolutely everything that I needed to do today.”  If I have days like that they are few and far between.  But I hate trying to sit down in the evening, and twitching about my house being a mess, knowing that I’ve got to go to bed soon and I will be very stressed if it’s still that way in the morning.  This doesn’t make for a good night’s rest, and sets me up for another stressed day.  Often times it actually means that I will speed through as much of it as possible after everyone else goes to bed.  And then crash.  So I prefer to get things done in a timely fashion so that whatever isn’t done when I’m ready to “clock out” (Yeah right…!) can be written down for tomorrow, and released from my brain.  Cluttered brain Mommy just doesn’t seem to give the best snuggles and night night kisses…!

I promise you I do understand the desire to be productive and just not being able to muster it up.  I really do.  Just get yourself to start.  Start somewhere.  Anywhere.  Give yourself grace until you can get into a good routine, but do not give up!  Remember, anything you do is better than having done nothing.  So Momma’s, lets try to put our productive pants on and see if we can create a less stressed tomorrow!!

Smile through the trials!

Tiffany

Momma's groove

A failure is as a failure does…

What’s on the to do list for Monday?  How about, clean all three bathrooms, dust, sweep and mop, clean the entire kitchen, including the appliances, get three (four, five….) people dressed and ready to be somewhere in time, make three healthy meals, do the dishes from those meals, give the baby a bath, clean out the car, make 3 very important phone calls, and maybe the one I want to make but have had to put off for weeks because I just haven’t had time to talk, email my kid’s teacher…….

That list could go on and very well be any one of our to do’s for one day.  And it could be totally doable.  But it could also make you feel like there is a whirlwind spinning around you out of control, and all you want to do is pause for a breath of fresh air! You just wanna yell “Stop the world, I wanna get off!!”  I have been in a state before where I felt so overwhelmed.  Like I was drowning and just couldn’t get my head above water.  As women, we are very hard on ourselves.  And for many women, the people around them are very hard on them too.  (Ask someone that knew your mother-in-law when her kids were young.  They just might not tell you her house was imaculate then, even though she just “cannot understand” why it’s so hard for you….!)  Do you have these crazy days like I do?  I don’t mean crazy, hectic.  Most days are crazy hectic!  I mean days when you feel crazy.  Your mind gets the best of you and you feel like you are just the biggest failure in the world.  Try as you may you just can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and you feel like a failure.  It’s hard, and being mentally and emotionally drained like that will drain you physically.  And then guess what, it becomes even more difficult for you to be productive.  It’s a vicious cycle.  Some people cannot wrap their minds around feeling like this.  If you are one of those people, consider yourself very blessed.  But keep in mind that some things that should be a no brainer, are truly difficult for some people.  It’s funny, I could be cleaning one day and thinking “Why does this seem so hard sometimes?  It’s really not that big of a deal.”  And the very next day have all the kids tugging at me in different directions, the phone ringing off the hook, the baby in a mood and crying for me to hold him every. single. minute. Hubs calling needing me to do something that wasn’t already in my plans…  On those days, I’d remember thinking that and just want to scream “This is why!  This!  It’s impossible! No wonder I can’t get anything done!!”

So… how do you get back on top?  How do you find the light at the end of the tunnel?  I don’t know that I can answer that for everyone.  Of course, the biggest thing to me is lots of prayer.  We tend to even forget to pray during these times.  I believe God gives us more grace during the hard seasons.  (…and shall gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11b)  And clinging to him when we need him most really helps.  Even if it’s not going to be in the form of prayer, you need to find a way to come to terms with your weaknesses.  If laundry is piled to the moon, and it’s all you can do to make sure everyone has two socks in the morning (regardless of if they match!) then express that.  And maybe you can’t express it to anyone else, sometimes we don’t have someone to talk to that can be understanding.  But acknowledge it to yourself, maybe write it in a journal, pray about it, get it out in whatever way works for you. Realize where you struggle most, and give yourself some grace as you push through.  It doesn’t mean accept it as too hard and give up.  Just allow yourself the honesty to admit that you struggle with certain things.  It will help a lot.  When you know what is the most difficult for you, you can plan to do those things at times during the day that are lower pressure.  Then the things that you could do in your sleep, can be planned during the higher stress times.  But you are not a failure.  Restructure your thinking, restructure you day, and then repeat as needed!  If you accept defeat, you are defeated.  But if you refuse to give up you cannot fail!  You’re sure to have set backs.  But hey, two steps forward and one step back, is still one step ahead of where you were.  Keep moving forward, and you will not be a failure!!

Smile through the trials!

Tiffany

Momma's groove

Can you say it’s been worth every trial?


Hi friends!  If you didn’t notice, I didn’t post last Sunday.  Sorry about that.  I didn’t have anything prepared and I didn’t want to type something up just to get it posted.  That doesn’t feel very authentic to me and is not the way I want to run my blog.  I’m sure you understand that.  It was interesting because I was a little bummed about not having posted anything, and then at church, some young people sang a song and it made me think.  And I realized I had my post!  I don’t know what the song was titled, but it said “It’s been worth every mile, it’s been worth every trial.”  The word trial stuck out to me because it’s in my blog name of course.  But then I started thinking about the words of the song.  And I wondered, how many people can truly say that?  I know we believe (most people do anyway) that everything we’ve been through has made us who we are today.  But what if, if those things had played out differently we would be a better version of ourselves today?  Are we really so proud of the person we’ve become that we would say we wouldn’t change anything that made us that person?  I get it, we are at a point of going forward, hopefully, and we can’t do that if we are busy wishing we were someone else.  I figure in my life, things had to happen the way they have for me to have all of my children.  So I wouldn’t want to change anything that would change them.

Really, we can’t change anything anyway.  As neat as the movies might make it look, time travel is not possible.  So maybe there is a way to look at things rather than saying we wouldn’t change it if we could. (Although some people say that to give themselves a peace that they might need, and that’s ok too.)  Maybe instead we should realize that we can’t change it, so we will embrace it, accept it, and move on.  In every situation, good or bad, we do learn something.  It might be a hard lesson, that we don’t feel we need in our lives, but it’s a lesson.  And yes, it does shape us in at least some way.  The best thing we can take from the hard things is the fact that we will be able to be there for someone in the future in a way that maybe no one else can.

The problem we tend to have is when we hold on to things that we need to get past.  Because then we will start allowing ourselves to be shaped into somebody that we probably don’t want to be.  Holding on to unforgiveness makes us mean and irritable.  Holding on to bitterness also makes us mean, and usually very cold towards others.  Holding on to hurt makes us depressed, and sad.  And on and on.  God doesn’t intend for us to live like that and we should not want to either!  The song goes on to say “it was worth every valley I’ve had to cross.”  I’ve crossed some very dark valley’s in my life.  Did I enjoy them? No!  Do some of them still hurt to think about?  Absolutely!  Can I change it?  No.  Would I, if I could?  It doesn’t matter.  Because I can’t.  I am where I am.  And no matter what, today is today.  So all we can do is go forward.  There are many things I can look back on, and even if I still don’t know why, I do know with out a doubt that God was with me and did not leave me during those times.  Just like he promised.  And I know that one day I’ll understand.  Have you ever noticed this?  When you are (physically) in a valley all you can see in front of you is the next step, and maybe more of the valley.  But when you are on a mountain top, you can not only clearly see the next step, but you can look back and see the entire valley as well…  Sometimes it’s a long uphill climb before the valley’s become clear.  And I believe we won’t fully understand some of them until it’s all said and done.  But we have to keep moving forward.  Don’t get stuck in a place that hurts and refuse to keep going.  Keep going.  Learn what you can, and let go of what you need to.  I’m assuming one day we will be able to say “It was worth every trial.”  I hope so anyway!

Smile through the trials (Or after you’ve gotten through them 😉 )

Tiffany

Momma's groove

Happy 2016! Setting goals for yourself and your family.

Hi guys!!  I hope you’ve had a great last couple of days.  Have you set some goals for 2016?  Any New Years resolutions?  I keep hearing people say that they aren’t calling their decisions “resolutions” anymore because no one ever keeps their resolutions!  What do you think?  Is it pointless to set some things in order for the new year, no matter what you call it?  I don’t think it is.  I think that if you are truly ready to make a change, it’s great to get it as mapped out as possible.  And while it’s great to do that at any time, the new year just feels like a fresh start and a great time to do it.  Yes, I understand that it really is just another day.  Things didn’t magically change between Dec 31st and Jan 1st.  The new year doesn’t actually make us able to do things that we couldn’t do before.  But the feeling of a fresh start, and a bright new year does help to motivate us, and we should probably take any adrenaline boost we can get!  And the thing is, things can change dramatically between Dec 31st, 2015 and Dec 31st, 2016.  One day at a time, with some serious decisions and effort toward that end.

I don’t know that I would call the decisions I’ve made resolutions.  But I’ve definitely set some goals for 2016.  One of them is to post more to my blog.  So that means I’ll get to connect with all of you more!  I’m still having some technical difficulties with my video system, and that’s holding up my craft tutorials, but I will get it figured out.  I’m nothing if not determined!

Speaking of goal setting, I think it’s a great idea to include our families in our journey.  One way to include them is to let them know what you are planning to change in, or add to, your life.  It will help to keep you accountable and it will also be great for them to see you set goals and achieve them!  That’s not to say that you can’t keep some personal things to yourself, but choose some that they can be a part of in some way.  I also think that it’s a really great idea to have them set some goals for themselves.  For some reason my kids really fought me on that.  I had to make them do it.  But New Years Eve I had printed some goal sheets out for them and told them they had to come up with at least a few things.  It was a bit difficult because they really do try in school, and their extracurricular activities, so saying they will do their best really isn’t something that would be much of a stretch.  (Although my daughter did decide she’s going to try to raise her History grade.)  So they didn’t know what goals to set and honestly, I had a hard time thinking of stuff for them too.  I decided to print off a freebie that I found online (I just googled Goals for kids) and that gave them some ideas.  Beyond their goals I also set down and made new chore charts for everyone.  (They were very excited about this… Ha!)  I’ve made cute crafty charts for them in the past, and might take the time to do that again, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on them because I wanted them ready asap.  So I googled “Chore charts for kids” and found some freebies that would work for what I had in mind.  (Tip* rather than having to print them each week, I put them in a cheap picture frame and hang it on their wall with a dry erase marker.  They can check everything off, then once I’ve verified it, wipe it clean and start fresh the next week.) The other thing that they are doing this year is writing every night in their “Choose Gratitude” journals, that I got them for Christmas.  They were honestly reluctant to do this too, but they are finding out it’s not that difficult to think of one thing each night to be grateful for.  (You can read more about the Choose Gratitude journals by Crystal Paine in the post I wrote about her Choose Love and Choose Gratitude products.)

I’m really excited for the goals I’ve set for this year, and I’m equally excited to see my children try to better themselves as well.  I know they don’t realize how good it will be for them, but I think reaching for something, even if it’s small, will teach them a lot about who they are and who they want to be.  And it certainly won’t hurt to focus on the things that they are grateful for!

If you haven’t set any goals for this year it’s not too late!  We still really do have a whole year new ahead of us!

Smile through the trials

Tiffany

Momma's groove

Holiday Traditions

Hey guys!  Today I just want to chit chat about Holiday traditions and trying to manage all the super fun things that we want to do until Christmas.  The Holidays are such a fun time, but it can also be a stressful time.  As we talk about traditions, I’d like to remind you not to take on too much.  That can be really hard, especially for moms.  There are so many fun things we’d love to do, but only so much time.  When we take on more than what we can handle it makes what should be a very special time, overwhelming and stressful.  Here are a few questions to ask yourself when you get a new idea, or become determined to carry on an old tradition that’s a lot of work, or someone asks you to do an extra task…..

  1.  Is this something that I will have time to do?  That seems simple, but we tend to overestimate our own time management skills!  That, or we have a hard time saying no, and put too much on our plate anyway.  Whatever it is that you are considering, decide rather or not you really have the time to do it.
  2. How much does it mean to me and my family?  Certain things that we do mean the world to my kids.  Our count down chain (which I can’t believe we haven’t made yet, but I assure you we will be doing that this evening!), their chocolate advent Calendars, hot chocolate by the fire on Christmas Eve, the list goes on.  But some things aren’t quite as important to them.   As a matter of fact they might not even remember doing some of it.  I’ve noticed sometimes we get very determined to do the things that we’ve always done, even though they don’t really mean a lot to any of us.  We have to realize it’s ok to let go of some traditions that aren’t working for our family.
  3. Will we be able to afford it?  This is usually my least favorite one.  I hate for money (or lack there of) to get in the way of things that I want to do!  But realistically, if something really is beyond our means, we might need to let go of it for a less expensive option.  (That weekend ski trip with friends might need to be a special dinner this year, and maybe you can put back money for a ski trip for next year.)

I suggest that you make a list of the things you’d still like to do, prioritize them, and schedule the fun until the big day!! There are only 12 days left…  Make the most of the remaining time and try not to overwhelm yourself or your family!!