Being a boy and being gentle

IMG_20180704_202743397

This is my husband and his mini-me, our son.

They are the same in a lot of ways! Personality, activity level, tastes, how they relate to others, but it is in their physical appearance that they are the most obviously similar. They are both built big, my big boy and my big man ❤
Our son often gets mistaken for being older than he is. For example, he just turned three and he is the height and weight of the average 5 year old boy. It can be hard for him, because adults expect more of him than he is able.
I love being a boy mom. I love playing cars, building towers, throwing balls, splashing in the pool, running constantly, playing chase/tag, jumping off stuff, all that active “boy stuff”.

When our daughter was born, we were keen on teaching him a very important word: Gentle.

IMG_20170125_113257_737
This was the first time he tried to play with her, she was one month old.

We learned something important in teaching our son to be gentle. That is: he is still a boy. He can be gentle, but not in the same way a little girl is going to be gentle. It’s not necessarily going to come naturally for him. Being gentle seems like no fun, like he’s in trouble for just playing, like we don’t like the way he plays.
We’ve also learned something about his personality: he is extremely caring for others. He wants everyone to be happy and playing together. He does not like it if someone is crying or upset, he really can’t go back to playing until the other person’s issue is resolved.
He’s a tenderhearted bull in a china shop!

My husband has been a great example to him of how to be gentle. Our son loves to imitate the “big people” in his life. Grandparents, uncles, teachers, and especially Daddy. He has some great role models in his life. All these men are considerate of others, prefer the needs of others before themselves. They are great at helping our son be gentle, and still run around and play.

These are not even all the men speaking and acting in honorable ways in front of my son. It’s a wonderful blessing!

FB_IMG_1501383894240
These are not even all the men speaking and acting in honorable ways in front of my son. It’s a wonderful blessing!

In parenting, I always like to have a solid “why” for everything I tell my kids to do (or not do). God always gives us reasons for obeying Him, so it only makes sense that I do the same for my kids. So, why be gentle? Because it’s not about you, my son. Gentle is considering other people, before himself. Gentle is looking around, and seeing that there are others around him, affected by what he does. Gentle is seeing his sister crying and bringing her favorite baby doll to cheer her up.

In November, we are expecting our third baby, another girl. I’m very excited!
I’m not as nervous this time about my son being gentle with his new baby sister. He’s still a boy, and will want her to play cars with him instead of dolls. He’s already taught one sister how to kick and throw, and with his personality, making sure everyone is included is a huge thing. He joins with his sister now in playing with her baby dolls, so that he is included in what she is doing.

I love my son, and I’m excited to see him grow up with his little sisters following right behind him. God has big plans for this kid, I know it. ❤

 

IMG_20180921_093710832_HDR-1.jpg

IMG_20180820_112807076

 

“O LORD, you are my God;
I will exalt you; I will praise your name,
for you have done wonderful things,
plans formed of old, faithful and sure.”
Isaiah 25:1

“But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.”
1 Timothy 6:11

 

Soli Deo Gloria!

I disagree, and still love you

Relationships are messy. Family, dating, friends, co-workers, you name it! Complicated relationships are everywhere, in every area of life. We all have someone in our lives who is challenging to be around, but we can’t avoid either. How do we navigate these sticky situations? How do we respond to those conversations? How do we love them the way that we are called to as believers?

Jesus said,

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:12-13)

Think about that seriously. Where were all of Jesus’ friends, his best friends, the ones who left their homes and families to follow him around for three years, when he laid down his life for them? They had all abandoned him! Relationships are hard. They require love and sacrifice. Christ is the ultimate example of this.

Our relationship with God was severed by our sin, and we neither wanted to nor could  fix it. Jesus, God himself, came in the flesh, lived a sinless life, died on the cross, and rose to life on the third day in order to restore our relationship with God, with Him. The Spirit moves in the hearts of those who will believe, keeps our souls safe until we finish our race on earth, and we are fully restored with God in heaven. That’s a lot of work for a relationship with a people who didn’t want to be saved in the first place!

In light of all the hard work – let’s not forget, including Jesus’ death – that went into our restored relationship with God, Paul reminds the Ephesian church that they are called to hard work in relationships with others:

“I therefore, as a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)

Think about the words Paul uses in these verses, and put them in the context of those challenging relationships with others in your life:
All Humility – Are you being humble? Are you preferring their wants, opinions, and style over your own? Don’t forget that little word “all”! All means all!
Gentleness – How’s your tone of voice, and timing of actions? Are you harsh? Even if what you’re saying is true, how and when you say it can be devastating! (This is a hard one for me!)
Patience – “No one has arrived” my mom wisely reminds me. Allow people to grow (something else my mom says)! This doesn’t mean to allow for sin, but also give grace and time for obedience. This is huge in parenting relationships. As parents we want immediate change in our children, and can get really frustrated and depressed when it doesn’t happen. Patience is key. Prayer, I think, is a big part of patience too.
Bearing with one another in love – This is the big one, the “umbrella” phrase. Maybe it’s the way someone says something, that they keep bringing up such and such a topic. Maybe their personality is just a challenge for you. Maybe their personal preference, political views, wardrobe choices, etc. just bother you! Here’s the phrase that tells you that, yes even them, are those you are called to be at peace with and love.

How can we do this? Why do all this? Paul answers that too. “… eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Good, strong, functioning relationships are peaceful relationships. That may seem far away in some of our more challenging situations, but we have a great hope as we begin to work towards peace. This hope is God himself, the Spirit, is with us always, enabling us with the power to be humble, gentle, patient, and bear with each other in love, His love.

This is God’s plan for the life of the believer. He called us to this. He made it possible for us to be saved in the first place. He is the one giving us the power, the grace, to do it. At the end of our lives, we will enter eternity and glorify Him for all this, with these people we are called to love!

Here is another great way to think about those challenging relationships: It’s not ultimately about you at all. It’s about God. If this other person is not a believer, this relationship may be the means God uses to bring them to himself. If they are a believer, they are you brother or sister in Christ, loved by Him, redeemed by Him, bought by His blood. They are called to love you too! God is glorified when His children love one another, with an unconditional love that can only come from Him. Every person, believer or not, is an image bearer of God. He made them in His image, that alone is reason to pursue peaceful relationships. They aren’t just another human, another combination of cells, but they are image bearers of the eternal God, who are created to glorify Him. To deal harshly, rudely, in anger, wrath, lust, selfishness, or any other way that is not loving is to fail in what you are called to do as a believer.

Relationships are important. Relationships take work and time. Relationships are worth is because in them we obey our God and bring Him glory.

IMG_20180823_162023640.jpg
Parenting these two shows me how much I need God to help me love them, and how much they need a Savior to love me and each other!

I hope this encourages you to strengthen your heart, rely on God’s power, and dive into those challenging relationships. Go and glorify your God.

 

Soli Deo Gloria!

How I do “self care”

I’m a mom of two babies. I tutor two days a week. We never eat out (so guess where all the meals come from). I also am a part-time maker with a to-do list to take care of my Etsy store.

I’m busy already, and now the holidays make it feel even more crazy!

 

Self Care

Let’s unpack this for a moment.

I’m personally not a fan of the term “self care”. To me, it sounds selfish, self centered, and gives off other negative connotations.

The idea behind the term is simple and flexible, and I like it. That idea is this: don’t get burnt out, take care of yourself.

With my busy life, that’s an idea I can get behind!

 

Origin of Self Care

I’ll be honest, it’s a Millennial thing. It comes from the fear that Millennials have of being burnt out (like we have seen happen to the generations before us). Often, this results in the “spoil myself” activities and attitudes that give Millennials a selfish, and lazy persona. Which results in a drive to be useful and productive, which results in burn out… And thus the idea of Self Care was born!

However, it is by no means a new idea. Taking time to relax, unwind, refocus on what’s really important in life, has always been a priority for every generation. With our current culture (especially in America) emphasizing the importance of the individual, the individual’s rights, needs, and desires being of the highest good in life, it’s really not that surprising that the Millennials have attached to this term and idea of Self Care.

 

How I Do For Self Care

Prequel: I don’t really call it Self Care, or Me Time, or whatever. Using those terms, for me, puts me in a selfish state of mind right off the bat. However, I do set aside time to work on me, and the most important things in my life. That is the essence of what Self Care is, and really what it should be.

IMG_20171129_065615.jpg

First, I dedicate some time every day to read my Bible. Usually, it’s in the morning (my back up time slot is during afternoon naps) before the kids wake up. Just me, my tea and breakfast, and my Bible. I pray that God would use what I’m reading that day to teach me what I need to know about who He is. I read until my kids wake up. Whether that’s 10 minutes or 45 minutes. This is what sets the tone for my whole day, for my whole life. Days when I don’t read, I’m really off. It’s not good.

A word about kids and sleeping:
I have sleep-trained both my kids, so that I can have time like this to do what I need to do. It’s that simple. My kids go to bed at the same times, they wake up in the morning at about the same time (maybe 30 minutes difference some days), and they nap at the same time. It took some work and it wasn’t easy! It’s possible, and it keeps me sane. 🙂

FB_IMG_1500573330565.jpg

Second, this guy. My husband is amazing, and I love him. We make our relationship a priority. Yes, even above our kids, and above spending time as a whole family. Spending time with him comes first. Whether it’s a date, watching a show on Netflix we both like, watching his team play, or even just taking 10 minutes when he gets home to kiss him and ask him about his day.

IMG_20171128_171457.jpg

IMG_20171113_105012_574.jpg

Third, we call this “mama snuggles”. Sometimes I just need to hold my babies. It’s a moment that sometimes I just need, usually in the evening, after a long day of parenting and toddlers being toddlers. Just to remind myself and my kids how much I love them. It’s always a reality check for me. Each time I hold them, they seem a little bit bigger. Each time I kiss them good night, I want to stay a second or two longer. I see them growing daily, I see them changing, and I love it and hate it all at the same time.
I take time to snuggle with them because they will never be this age again.

They will soon be too big, but they will know that I love them, because I hold them now. ❤

 

Why

I don’t do any of this for me. My goal in taking time for me, or “putting my brain on” as I tell my kids, is not ultimately for me.
I seek to glorify God with my whole life.
I read my Bible so that I know how God wants me to think, speak, and act.
I spend time with my husband, because he is my husband. I do this because I am his wife, it’s the job God has given me to love, honor, and respect my husband.
I love and parent my kids because God has entrusted me with them, but ultimately they are His and I want them to grow up to want to glorify God with their whole lives like I do.

Why do I do Self Care?
To help me keep the my focus on God, because nothing else is really that important in the end.

 

Soli Deo Gloria!

Surviving Hand, Foot, and Mouth

Hand, foot, and mouth disease. Man, it hits like a freight train. (Not like chicken pox though, phew!) My son came down with it (update: my hubby got it too), but luckily it looks like my little 7 month old baby and I are avoiding it.

I’ve got some supplies that helped immensely!

(Affiliate links included in post)

1. Calamine Lotion

My son is a fan of lotion, since he’s got pretty sensitive skin to begin with, so calamine lotion was a no brainer. When we put it on him, he giggles, sure sign that this stuff really feels good!

2. Benadryl

He has also always been really good about taking any kind of “medicine” we give him. Hallelujah! I stocked up on kid’s Benadryl (update: and once my husband contracted HFM I got the regular Benadryl too)

Note: my son is 22 months, i.e. not 2 yrs old yet, and the Benadryl bottle does warn not to give it to children under 2, but we got the green light from his doctor. SO PLEASE CALL YOUR CHILD’S DOCTOR BEFORE GIVING THEM OVER THE COUNTER MEDICATION LIKE THIS! BE WISE 👍

3. Oatmeal Bath

First of all, I love Aveeno, and second, the Aveeno bath treatment was instantly calming for my son. If you know my son, that’s literally a miracle. He’s quite the energetic and active kiddo! I love him!
Aveeno carries an eczema bath treatment as well, and it is part of their Aveeno baby line.
Here’s a link to it on Amazon, if you are interested: Aveeno Baby Eczema Bath Treatment

Update: Adults can get hand foot and mouth disease too! My husband contracted it, and he couldn’t walk for several days because the sores on his feet were so bad, and his fever was much higher than my son’s. So, wash those hands, and don’t share food or drinks!
I know, the latter is a challenge, especially with toddlers!

Well wishes all! Stay healthy!

God is still good! And He is still sovereignly in charge of all things, even hand, foot, and mouth disease!
Jesus healed so many people with leprosy (at the time a common term for nearly any skin disorder or disease). He has so much compassion for our physical sufferings, remember that as you comfort your sick kids. I hope you find peace in Him, and hopefully some helpful ways of bringing comfort to your little ones!  ❤

Soli Deo Gloria!