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taking care of mama

12 Jan

Starting 2012, I had a list of resolutions, or “intentions” as I like to call them. Doesn’t seem so weighty then. 🙂 As I reflected over them, I saw a common theme amongst many items; items like “make time to create weekly,” “go to bed early, wake early,” “go to yoga 2 times a week,” etc. The common theme was that I am craving caring for myself. As I get carried away, from the moment I awake, to the demands of mom, wife, housekeeper, educator – I forget to make time or priority to care for me.

However, if I don’t care for my needs:

  • physical
  • spiritual
  • emotional
  • intellectually

then I can’t possibly be caring for the needs of others in the best way possible. BUT, I find it SO hard to take care of me! Why? Before I had kids, I thought nothing of reading a book in the middle of the day or going to the gym. Confession: I like my family and being with them. I feel guilty at doing my own thing while everyone is together. But I NEED to be okay with it. I NEED to be okay with my husband taking the kids to the park while I have quiet time at home. I NEED to be okay with going to Starbucks a few hours on Saturday to do planning while he has the kids at home. I NEED to be okay with letting go of tidying up for the night so I can go to bed early. Once I actually break away and do it, I feel more relaxed and rejuvenated. I know I respond better to those around me and show my family my best, when I’ve given some of “me’ to me.

Some ways I plan on being more proactive in this area for the year are: planning a girls weekend away to refresh and relax, spend a few hours each weekend away from the house – planning for the week ahead, and creating time in my week to sew, create, craft, read, for yoga, and homemaking. The first thing was to decide it was a necessity for me and the second thing was to get my husband’s support.

Mama’s we don’t have to do it all ourselves. Go out, take a break, slow down, and take care of yourself. You’ll feel better for it and your family will appreciate it.

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all the way or not at all

23 Sep

this summer in Washington DC

I am one of those people who likes to do things all the way. I pour myself into something trying to make it my best. That sounds great, doesn’t it? People should try to do their best at all times. But along with that there is a tiny problem I have…if I can’t do something all the way, the way I think is best and needs to be done for me, than I lose interest or don’t do it. Sometimes I’ll work and try to be the best I can be – I read articles, books, blog posts. I talk to friends, experts, etc. on the subject at hand. I’ll spend countless hours making things “just right.” But there’s that pesky side that gives up.

Enter in blogging. I have this romantic notion of blogging each day, great posts, that everyone loves to read and comment on. I enjoy blogging to keep a record of how God moves in my life and my family, I like keeping the memories of my children and our family at hand, I enjoy the community that comes from the blogging world. Anyways, this summer was a whirlwind for us that to be honest, I think I’m just starting to come out from. Right after our whirlwind summer of travel, funeral, and church changes, we started the school year. Added to the school year, and for a homeschooling family, that means many different things…but I started teaching at a really neat school for homeschool kids two days a week. At times I have felt so overwhelmed. I have had to readjust my priorities and for many months blogging just couldn’t be the priority.

However, all through this I have learned many valuable lessons. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that I don’t have to do it all on my own. I have to turn over things to God to help me through. I place such pressure on myself to do it “just so” and that becomes heavy. I’ve learned to give up some things that really aren’t that important. I’ve had to evaluate my time and what I prioritize.

Anyways, all this to say, I enjoy blogging for the various reasons I blog. I’m going to keep going on in this tiny corner of the web with my thoughts, wishes, and ideas. I may not blog daily like I once did, but I am aiming for 2-3 times a week. You guys are such a blessing to me, and I know God uses my words to be a blessing to others that I want to make time for this.

Love y’all!

once upon a time…

27 Jun

Once upon a time there was this girl named Michelle who used to blog at her little corner or the web-o-sphere called “Mommy Needs Coffee.” Michelle did pretty good at juggling blogging, mommying, housekeeping, and schooling. She was involved at church, hung out with friends, and even went grocery shopping when she had to. Well, one day she went away on a great trip with her family. Upon return she realized that the balls she was juggling were flying through the air and landing on the floor with a bounce. They bounced to the corners, under tables (catching dust bunnies), and on the countertops. Laundry was piling up, the house needed to be tended to, church responsibilities increased ten-fold, the school year needed planning, her hubby was making some very important work decisions and having a lot of meetings, her children reached the boredom stage of summer, and another trip was on the horizon. So, the computer sat closed with only the occasional glance  for a while. 🙂

I love y’all, seriously. I love your comments, your e-mails, your encouraging Facebook comments and messages. I love the community we can have, seeing that we’re alike in so many ways and learning from each other. Thanks for hanging with me!

We leave for New York on Thursday. We’ll be driving the 13 hours with the 3 littles in the backseat of our Jetta. So please, be in prayer y’all! But, I am so very excited. I have never been to New York and I’m looking forward to sharing it for the first time with the littles. I love my in-laws and their crazy Italian family. We’ll be there for a family reunion and of course are planning on a few days in the city. Yes! Yes! Yes!  Then we’ll be home for 10 days before we head out again for Trip #3 to Michigan for a family reunion for my family. Whew!

Coming up on here, I have a few guest bloggers – so excited to share these lovely women with you. I also have a great giveaway I’m waiting on a few details for before I can post it up. But it’ll be worth it, I promise you!

Love y’all and thank you for your grace!  ~Michelle

 

gardening, prayer, New York, and a giveaway

21 Jun

It’s going to be a hot one here today! Heat indexes in the 105-110. Ye-ow!! So we have  playdate scheduled with some friends to help occupy the littles. Hopefully we’ll find some water play in there somewhere too to keep cool!

A few random happenings/thoughts today:

Our garden: So we are year two into gardening. Up until this point, I was that person who kills everything living. But last year we did okay considering it was our first year and this year is going okay as well. I enjoy gardening and enjoy eating what we grow even more! It’s such a great experience for the littles as they tend to it, learn about it, and eat from it. This year we’re growing tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, melons, onions, strawberries, and watermelons. My tomatoes aren’t doing well, but our watermelons are taking over everything! They’re growing so quickly too that you can almost see them growing if you stand by and watch! There are so many life lessons you can learn from being in the garden.

Prayer: My heart is burdened for struggles that many around me are having. Battles with illness, miscarriage, life changes, struggles with their children, church transitions and changes, and the list goes on. Don’t the needs of those around you just leave you weary sometimes? I am glad I can call on the One who listens and is always there. Some days I just feel I need more quiet in my life to really focus on prayer and time with Him.

New York: In 9 days we’re travelling to New York for a family reunion and some time in the city. I’ve never been and am really excited to bring the kids and see everything. We have planned to ride on the Staten Island ferry, go on the subway, visit Times Square, Ground Zero, and Central Park. What great ideas do you have to share about going to New York? Sites to see with kids? Things to avoid? Hints, tips, tricks? Bring it on!

Giveaway: I’m really excited about a great giveaway I have coming up at the end of the week. It’s something unique, but something that I love and really think you’re going to like as well. I’ll be introducing you to a really special gal too. And I KNOW we can get more people to enter than those that entered the last giveaway. So once it’s up, pass it on to your friends, leve a comment – you never know – you could be the winner (although you probably are one who thinks you never win anything!). 🙂

Enjoy the first day of summer! We’re working hard on our summer lists and trying to keep the littles from being bored.

i’m not enough…

20 Jun

We returned home this weekend from a week spent in the beautiful mountains of East Tennessee. It was a great time – my husband spoke a week at Appalachian Christian Camp, we visited our alma mater and enjoy sights and places we loved in college with our children. We visited with friends from high school and had a beautiful week in God’s peaceful creation. BUT now I am sitting here buried under laundry, a grimy house, toys, and dishes. We head to New York in a week and a half for part 2 of part 4 of the Richards Family Summer of Travel and I’m feeling overwhelmed. Add to that some stress for my sweet husband at work and some added responsibility to my plate and I am really feeling like “not enough.” Tonight at church we sang a song and this line resonated in my head, “I lift my eyes up my help comes from the Lord.”

I don’t show enough grace to those I love.
                     i am not enough, but HE is.

I can’t keep up with the daily demands of my family and home.
                     i am not enough, but HE is. I lost my temper at my sweet child today, and yelled, really loud.
                    i am not enough, but HE is.
How can I juggle family, work, school, church, and friends?
                    i am not enough, but HE is.
I have heavy thoughts on my heart.
                    i am not enough, but HE is.
Change. All around.
                    i am not enough, but HE is.
Friends hurting, friends confused.
                    i am not enough, but HE is. I am weary at the end of the day.
                    i am not enough, but HE is.
I want so much more from my relationship with Christ.

                    i am not enough, but HE is.

I am overwhelmed with what’s expected of me, what I expect from myself.
                    i am not enough, but HE is.

Thankful today that my help comes from the Lord and that when I’m not enough, I can count on it that HE is and with Him I’ll make it through.

some more confessions…

10 Jun

Next week I’ll be taking a break for the week, as we will be in Tennessee at a camp that my husband is speaking at for the week. I’m looking forward to the beauty of the area, and getting away with the family for a few days. DOn’t worry, I’ll announce the winner for the sweet mama bird’s nest pendant or ring before I go!

For today, I’ll leave you with a few confessions:

(1) I am petrified of spiders. LIke immediate tears fill my eyes when I see one. Ew.Other bugs, sure. I can handle them. But spiders? No thank you.

(2) Everyday I am in awe that God uses me to parent these little ones. I screw up daily. I don’t know it all or have it together, but He still uses me. Wow.

(3) I like handwashing dishes.  It gives me time to think and pray while my hands are busy.

(4) My inclination is to always say “no” to my children. Why is that? I’m working on it.

(5) I adore my children and love them to pieces. But sometimes, I just don’t like them.

(6) My Bible needs to be cracked open more often. I crave God’s word. Really do. Life just happens around it though. I really need to prioritize.

There’s a few. What are some of the things you want to lift off and “confess?” Share them. 

Hoping you have a great Friday and a fabulous weekend! 

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Don’t forget to visit the blog from yesterday and enter to win the GREAT giveaway from Melody!

Giveaway closes Saturday at 10pm.

looking back on the year…

7 Jun

A little over a year ago we stepped out in faith and made a family decision to homeschool our children. For many reasons, some of which are discussed HERE, we prayed about it and made the decision we felt was best for our family. Now a year later, we are looking back and evaluating how it went and how we all feel about the school year.

We’re celebrating the school year for the hard work that everyone put into the year. The boys did far better than I thought they would – sure we had a few days with rotten attitudes and testing of boundaries, but for the most part, they did great and just took our school time as what we did. We were able to make new friends, go on many day trips and fun activities, and spend time at home – more than we really had before.

I love that I was able to be present in the every day discipling of the boys. As we encountered a deficient relationship skill or a sin issue, we dealt with it from a Christian standpoint. The boys learned scripture verses and we applied them to the every day living. I’d like to see their relationship develop even deeper these next few years as they mature some and as we work on the concept of “family” a bit more. It was such a blessing though to lay so many foundational bricks.

Nothing compares to the joy of seeing your children learn something at the teaching from your hands and mouth. One of my sons really started reading this year. A late bloomer in a few academic areas, his teacher from last year was concerned he’d be lost in the school system if he was to go on to public school. We were able to see him start reading, and to start understanding the connection between letters and words. And not only start reading, but to have confidence in doing so because he has nothing to compare it to and hasn’t felt defeated in any way.

I think we have bonded as a family this year as we have all found a bit more of the purpose for which God created us. I have never been more comfortable in a role and just wanting to grow in it as I have this year as a mother, wife, and housekeeper. God has continually reminded me that this season is for raising my children and aiming them towards Him. However, He is always teaching me. The boys are the only ones learning around here! I love the lessons I’m learning as a result of homeschooling them.

Next year, I have decided to take a position at Arrows Academy teaching K4-K5. The great thing is that I will still be able to school our family! The boys will also have the best of both worlds with someone else, a Christian teacher, guiding them and saying the same things we are and speaking into their lives. They’ll have a classroom of friends to interact with, and I get to use my gifts and talents even more!

So, all in all I have LOVED this year. I think the boys have liked it well and I’m excited about what next year will hold.