Motherhood is a Marathon not a Sprint – An Invitation for Self-Care

Motherhood is a Marathon not a Sprint – An Invitation for Self-Care

Motherhood is not for the weak or the faint of heart.  I mean…just think of your battle story – Uh… I mean your baby’s birth story.  But seriously, when a mom gives birth, she has gone through hours of exhausting, bloody labor and then she is sent home, ready to face her biggest undertaking yet- Motherhood.  With a body that is freshly stitched up and not quite healed – We begin our journey of motherhood in extreme physical, mental and emotional exhaustion

Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart

Winnie the Pooh

Winnie the Pooh said “Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart”.  And it’s absolute true.  We would do anything, even give our very lives for our little ones.  And so it begins.  Our primal nature as mothers set in. We do everything for everyone and in the end find no time for ourselves. (Just writing that feels and sounds selfish- but more on that later.)   The way we structure our lives, eating, sleeping, thinking, living, breathing revolves around our children.  Moms everywhere are worried they aren’t doing enough or that they aren’t doing it right.  They are over committed and exhausted and trying to figure out how to “do it all” again tomorrow.

Whether you have a newborn or teenager, it takes a physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual toll on your life.  We all laugh at “#motherhood” – but it ain’t no joke that’s for sure.  If you find yourself over committed, overwhelmed, unsure and just plain worn out – you are not alone.  Motherhood is a marathon and not a sprint. It requires patience and endurance. We need to make sure we are caring for ourselves for the long haul.

Self Care Isn’t Selfish – It’s Life Giving

A mother needs to protect and care for herself just like she does her children.  We’ve all heard the classic analogy of the pre-flight safety announcement that instructs the passengers before take-off.  “If you are traveling with someone who requires care or needs help – put the mask on yourself first, then help those you are traveling with.”  This statement is also true with any other professional rescuers.  Being a lifeguard for several years, I can tell you that lifeguards receive special training on how to keep themselves safe and protected first while rescuing a hysterical drowning victim.  It is a tragic thing for the rescuer to drown with the victim.  In the same way, moms must care for themselves so that they can be the best version of themselves for their kids.  We teach our children life skills, to care for themselves, and yet it is difficult to find time to care for ourselves.  As someone wise once said, “your children will follow your example, not your advice.” 

Your children will follow your example, not your advice.

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An Invitation to Rest

Your self-care is necessary, and your children need to have a mama who parents from a place of rest instead of exhaustion.  As the summer months approach and your rhythm of life slows down a little, this is an encouragement and invitation to find time to rest, recharge and gain some fresh inspiration.  You are worth it Mama!  

Let me know in the comments how you plan to practice self care this summer!

Feeling Stuck in a Rut? Change the Scenery

Feeling Stuck in a Rut?  Change the Scenery

Have you ever felt stuck?  Have you ever had so much to do it’s hard to figure out where to start?  This is where I found myself this week. 

I love daily rhythms and routines.  As creative and spontaneous as I may seem, I work best under structure.  Even toward the end of long family vacation, I find myself craving the normalcy of my daily rhythms and getting back to my “normal” eating, exercise and daily schedule.  However, there are times in my daily routine practices, I can feel overwhelmed – especially when I have a lot to do.  I lack motivation and creativity to get tasks done.  That being said – I had a lot to do this week.  I found myself scattered and overwhelmed by what needed to get done and trying to figure the order of importance of how I planned to tackle the tasks of the day and week.  

As I stood in my kitchen, I realized that the first thing I needed to do was to take a walk to clear my head and to get my body moving.  The second thing I needed to do was to spend some quality time with Jesus and allow Him to speak into my day.  Now you might find it funny that I’d walk first and then read my Bible, but I find that my time spent walking is part of my spending time with Jesus.  I consider my walks to be contemplative. It is a time to pray and think about what is going on in my life. 

Although I felt stuck in a rut, I wanted to be productive, I needed to start my week off right and get things done.  After my walk I decided to pack up my Bible, journal, pen and notebook – instead of my computer.  I found a quiet spot on a picnic bench at the beach.  It was in this spot where I had the quiet space to clear my mind and to experience the gentle presence of the Lord.  I was then able to plan my day and week. I also wrote down some goals for the rest of the year as well. 

I know not everyone lives right by a quiet beach – but as I travel around the U.S. I am amazed at the beauty of our country.  I find beauty and inspiration from nature like a mountain or a dessert as well as a lit-up skyline from a big city.  The point is to change your scenery – it can be at a park, or in a coffee shop.  Go somewhere that you can get creative juices flowing.

Here are the usual ruts I find myself stuck in and how I try to stay “out of the rut”:

HOMESCHOOL RUT: As a homeschooling mom of 3, this principal is helpful for our homeschool routine as well.  When my kids do their schoolwork at dad’s office, a coffeeshop or a library instead of at home it  helps change my their focus and helps them to be more productive.  Sometimes they get their schoolwork done in a fraction of the time because they HAVE to be quiet in the library.  I usually tell them we can go to the beach or park after.  The change in scenery is a much-needed reset to our sometimes exhaustive homeschool routine.   

WORKOUT/DIET RUT: Anytime I get sick of walking my 3-mile loop around my neighborhood, or I feel unmotivated – I get in my car and drive to a different place to hike or walk.  Or I mix it up with a completely different work out like a swim in the ocean or even a hard but short HIIT workout.  Anything to keep moving and help me stay on track with my goals.  When I am stuck in a diet rut, instead of focusing on what I am craving and what I can’t have, I go to the store and buy the biggest fresh piece of salmon, fresh veggies and a really good olive oil to make a good homemade dressing.  Instead of breaking my diet and focusing on what I can’t have – I focus on what I can have and indulge on that.  It’s amazing that the craving for ice cream is usually gone after a big fat juicy piece of salmon.  

SPIRITUAL RUT: My spiritual routine consists of morning prayer, bible reading and planning for the day at the kitchen table with a giant cup of coffee.  I try to do this before my kids wake up.  But doing my spiritual practices out in nature instead of my kitchen can be extremely uplifting for my soul.  I have been using the “Sacred Ordinary Days” journal and it has been a life-giving resource for my spiritual growth.  You can check that out here.

I also love finding a new worship song and playing it on repeat.  I even enjoy sitting at the piano for a while with no agenda, no practicing scales, nothing, but singing and playing for pure enjoyment. 

MENTAL RUT: I am reading “Soundtracks” by Jon Acuff.  It talks about the limitations we put on ourselves because of our overthinking.  This book has challenged my thinking on how to think.  I find reading a good book or listening to a podcast is an excellent way to get my creative juices flowing and gives me some “out of the rut” thinking for my life.

TAKE A DAY OFF: Finally, I find that sometimes taking a day off is necessary.  Sometimes, the reason why I’m lacking in motivation, creativity or experiencing feelings of being overwhelmed is because I am tired and worn out and need to rest.   Interestingly enough there are several different ways to rest (but more on that later).  Give yourself grace and freedom to take a day off – it might do you a world of good. 

These are just a few helpful practices that I do in order to remain disciplined in my routines.  I hope they can help you or inspire you to think of your own rut -breakthroughs when you feel stuck.

Where do you feel stuck?  What are somethings that you do to help boost motivation?  I’d love to hear in the comments below!

May you have a productive week!

DIY STAINED GLASS WINDOW – Paint a Beautiful Stained Glass Window in Just a Few Simple Steps

DIY STAINED GLASS WINDOW – Paint a Beautiful Stained Glass Window in Just a Few Simple Steps

March 16th marks our “quarantine – anniversary”.  That means one whole year of not being at a church service.  We have been doing church online, which is nice to still be able to be connected to our church community.  But it is not the same as being with people in the flesh. 

I usually spend the Lent season decorating the church and planning the musical productions for the Easter holiday. However, this year as we approach the Easter season, I am reminded that our home has become our church.  And I’ve learned that – You can take the girl out of church, but you can’t take the Church out of the girl! 

My beautiful friend Raemarie posted this amazing painted stain glass window that she did with her girls on Facebook.  She graciously gave me all the tips and tricks for this DIY Easter Project!  THANKS, GIRL FOR THIS AMAZING EASTER INSPO!

This is Raemarie and her daughter’s artwork. ARE YOU NOT INSPIRED!? So beautiful right?!

This year I decided that I had to try! This Painted Stain Glass Window is a very simple, fun and easy project the whole family enjoyed.  And we will be enjoying it during the Lent and Easter season. 

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • Painter’s Tape – We used 1’ size.
  • Paint Brushes – We used two different types of brushes that gave our paint strokes different textures
  • Acrylic Paints – We used Apple Barrel paints.  You can find them at Walmart for $.50!!!
  • Dish Soap – According to my friend a drop of dish soap will help with cleaning the window later. 
  • Paper Plates:  We used paper plates as a palette.

Directions:

  1.  Pick a window and Clean it really well
  2. Using the Painters tape – Tape off your design.
  3. Mix Paints with a small drop of dish soap
  4. Begin Painting
  5. Allow Paint to completely dry
  6. Remove Tape

Tips: 

  • Only use a drop of dish soap.  If you use too much, the paint becomes too runny.
  • Use multiple paint brushes.  It is easier to have a brush for each color.  So that you do not have to continue to clean the brushes to paint a different color.
  • Mix acrylic colors together to make unique color shades.  (Just think back to elementary school).
  • For best results remove tape when paint is completely dry.
  • Don’t worry about being perfect or matching each side – unless that’s what you want.  We found that there was beauty in the mosaic-ness of it. 
  • If possible, pick a window where the sun shines through. 
  • Keep an eye on those toddlers – mine started running through the house painting random walls!

Give it a try and let me know in the comments how it went!  Or tag @ezzyandme on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram!

Happy Easter for Our Home to Yours,

Living Slower on Purpose: 3 Tips of Un-hurriedness for the Chronically Busy Mom

Living Slower on Purpose:  3 Tips of Un-hurriedness for the Chronically Busy Mom

“Ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” – Dallas Willard

This statement sounds nice but homeschooling three high energy boys, and leading a church with my husband, it has been hard to put into practice.  It is easier said than done.  As I reflect on the season of the global pandemic and how unnecessarily busy I have been in the past –I have to admit that I have enjoyed the forced, slow pace of this past year.  My life has drastically slowed.  And although I really miss PEOPLE, it has been nice to slow down.  

When my schedule is maxed out and I am too busy – I find that I am waaay too tense for my own good and the good of my family.  When over committed, I tend to miss details.  I overlook special opportunities and teaching moments with my kids because I’m focused on the “next thing” we are running to.  Being too busy creates an atmosphere that is hostile for the soul and our inner peace and calm.  It always surprises me how busyness can creep up into our lives, slowly etching away at the peace in our family’s home. 

Although I am expressive and emotional, I am the type of mom who can have that laser focus when I’m super busy. I am non-emotional. I focus on the task that needs to get done and I do it.  My kids get dragged along at my mercy.  I am more like a drill sergeant than a kind, nurturing mother.  “MOVE!” “HURRY UP!”, “WATCH OUT!”, “DROP DOWN AND GIVE ME TEN” (totally kidding about that last one- but sometimes I feel like saying it!!!)  These are common phrases that so easily spurt out of my mouth.  My poor children.  By the end of a busy day our family is stressed, tense, anxious and tired – but wound up all at the same time.  It’s all a jumbled mess.

As we reopen our states, cities and communities I want to guard the un-hurriedness my family has experienced during this pandemic season.  I do not want to rush back into all the activities we were doing before– filling my calendar with social engagements, errands, practices.  I don’t want to be so busy that I do not have the space to breathe. 

Here are some ways I will live slower on purpose:

1. Give Myself Margin By Starting My Routine Earlier

Maybe it’s because of the nature of my job or maybe I just simply don’t give myself and my family enough margin.  I feel like it is very common for me to be rushing through life – my kids hurried and dragged along.  If I start getting my own routine together earlier, I know I’ll be less rushed.

I’m reminded of a conversation I had with a friend.  “I’ll be as late as it takes me to be kind to my kids” – She too is a Pastor’s wife with children and her presence is “needed” at church by a certain time.  This statement got me thinking…

When it comes to being to places on time – I am a whole other creature to my children.  I lack patience.  To put it simply I am rude and harsh to my kids. 

2. Treat My Kids With Kindness

Maybe the way I treat my kids is more important than our punctuality?  I give others much more grace when they are late, then I do my own kids. When I think about it – I have more patience and kindness towards strangers than I do my own family at times. 

Am I alone in this? Or are there more of us moms who could afford to slow down a little and care for the little souls God has placed in our care. 

3. Give Myself Grace

I am writing this not with “mom guilt”. I know that I am forgiven and free to live in freedom and abundance of what God has for me.  I write for vulnerability’s sake.  Maybe I am not alone in this journey?  Maybe you too, wrestle with finding the balance of busyness and being present.   I also write for hope’s sake – That God is using this moment in history to redeem this part of my motherhood. God is using my journey through motherhood to shape and mold patience, gentleness, kindness and goodness into my character. 

To all the moms out there, when we rush and mess up:  There is HOPE!  Our God is so very kind to us and just like the most amazing Father he is, he is using these moments to teach, redeem, and sanctify us! 

New Year Resolutions and Family Traditions

The phrase Happy New Year holds such weight, especially in light of the past year. It carries hope and anticipation of better things to come.   For some the year 2020 holds pain, loss, grief, disappointment.  And for others it has been a breakthrough year.  No matter who you are or what your experience has been this past year, we have all had to pivot and make adjustments.  In some ways it seems as though some things will never be the same.

I love fresh starts, new days, and the beginning of something new and exciting.  So, naturally, resolutions have always been a part of my life. Yet, like most people, I found that they are hard to stick to and that a resolution made is usually a resolution broken.

A few years back my husband and I started a new year’s tradition with our kids that was extremely helpful way for our family to process and reflect on the past year while looking forward with hope.  We go somewhere peaceful and quiet.  The time is always accompanied by something delicious; I have to lure my boys with good food and drink.  My family brings something to write with and we start with five minutes of silence.  We quiet our souls and allow the Lord to still our hearts, then we begin to reflect on the past year.  Once we’ve had a few minutes of silence we break up our time into three 20-minute movements.  We write down, name and put into words the highs and the lows of the previous year.  First, we write down three “low points” of the year.  We then take turns sharing out loud our three different low points.  I am amazed at what comes up.  Events that may have seemed minor, or easy to get over are things that my kids say have impacted and affected them.  The next 20-minute movement is time to remember and name three “high points”.  Sharing the high points is one of my favorites because we almost always have different high points. The memories of each other’s “high points” are such sweet reminders of the good times the year has carried.  We usually look at one another amazed and say, “Oh yea, I forgot that one.”

  The last 20-minute movement is “Looking Forward with Hope”.   It is not a time to make strong resolves, but to ask ourselves in what ways can we grow and improve.  What are our personal and family goals for the next year?  We are hopeful and look forward to spiritual, physical and financial health to getting better grades, reading more, working harder.  This is a very sweet time with my kids.  It has allowed them space to reflect, process and look ahead.  There have been years where this process has been emotionally healing for our family.  It becomes a space where we can cry, laugh and process the past year.  It is a space to be hopeful and to dream as a family.  I hope you try this tradition with your family and that it will be a blessing to you. 

Tips:

  • You do not have to do this New Year’s day it can be any day at the beginning of the year. 
  • Have grace for yourself and for your family.  Especially if this is the first time trying it with your family.  Some family members might not be as into it as others.  It’s ok.
  • This is not a time to scold or have the “I told you so” moments.  Allow your kids space to process their feelings on the past year and just be there for them. Also give yourself space and grace as you process and work through your own feelings.
  • You can modify the time if you have older or little ones. You can simplify the process.
  • If you are not ready to try this with your family, you can try it by yourself. Which will still be beneficial to your family.
  • Save what you wrote for next year.  It is awesome to see where you’ve been and where you are heading. 
Nothing like a Double Chocolate Chip Frap and sweet pastries to motivate them!!!