Grit and Motherhood

I just finished last night this really interesting book called Grit by Angela Duckworth. Angela Duckworth is a psychologist who has devoted herself to the study of what she has defined as ‘grit’. The subtitle of the book is The Power of Passion and Perseverance. I was familiar with the work of Angela Duckworth because I am a part of a Facebook group of diabetics who follow Dr. Bernstein. The group is called TYPEONEGRIT named in reference to Angela Duckworth’s studies.

As a stay at home mom my mind is spinning apply all the principles in this book to my calling of motherhood.

Grit is essentially consistently doing the work today to accomplish a very long term goal. Today as mothers we are changing diapers, kissing boo-boo’s and teaching right from wrong because 20 years down the road we want our children to be confident, well adjusted, God serving adults who are in a position to give back to the people around them.

She explains that successful gritty people believe that their job is important. I believe that doing a good job raising my children is the most important thing I can be doing with my life right now. More than an important job, I believe it is a calling from God. Proverbs 22:6, Deuteronomy 6:7, Titus 2:4. I believe my every day work, even when it feels mundane, benefits not only my family but society and future generations.

Successful people know where they want to be. They have well defined specific goals leading them to an ultimate goal they want to achieve. Successful people also have either one or just a few very specific goals that they are working towards. They say yes to what will get them there and they know they have to say no to the things that won’t. They are not people running around in circles trying to do it all. When making decisions about how I am going to spend my time and energy I need to ask myself the question, “Is this going to enrich or take away from my job as a mom?”

The author includes a section on how we can build grit into our kids. How can we help our children be passionate people who persevere? I know I want to instill in my children an attitude of getting back up when they fall down. She tells parents and educators to teach kids about their ability to learn. Literally showing kids photos of brain growth and giving them an understanding of the brains ability to grow and change has been proven to move people from a ‘fixed mindset’ to a ‘growth mindset.’  A person with a fixed mindset believes that some people are born smart and others are not while a person with a growth mindset views people and themselves as having the ability to learn, grow and change. The first mind set leads to giving up when the going gets tough while the second mindset leads to overcoming obstacles and getting back up after falling. Essentially, learning about learning can change a childs attitude from “I can’t” to “I can.”

She also tells parents and teachers to emphasize with children that failure is okay and to create an environment where it is okay to fail. The child should be able to see their parents learning from their mistakes and moving on with lessons learned. She also emphasizes praising effort over accomplishment.

The author interviews many of what she refers to as, “high achievers” which makes the book a fun and interesting read. I like getting to “listen in” as she picks the brain of hard working successful people and to read their stories of where they came from and where they are going.

Here she is presenting and summarizing her work and ideas in a TEDtalk. It really is worth watching, it’ll get you thinking!

 

 

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Rotating Shift Work Laundry Solution

When my husband works night shift I get behind on laundry because during the day I don’t have access to our closet or dressers and at night I’m usually just too tired to do laundry. I’ve talked to other wives who tell me laundry is an issue for them as well when their husband is sleeping during the day. I’ve been trying to figure this out for the last almost 7 years and I think I finally have it down!

I bought this clothes rack for less than $9.00 at Wal-Mart. On the bottom there is a rack to keep a basket. I keep it stocked with hangers and the clothes can go directly from the dryer to the rack and the things that need folded go into the basket. In the evening all I have to do is transfer the clothes to where they belong. I can even fit a couple days worth of laundry hanging on the rack before I need to move them. No more clothes getting wrinkly in buckets!

The rack does take up quite a bit of space in the laundry room since I have 2 other laundry buckets in there for sorting clothes but we don’t really use the laundry room for anything beside laundry.

Hope this is helpful! Share your laundry victories in the comments!

Reviewing my personal 2017 goals

I think March might be the month that New Year resolutions start to be forgotten. I’m not basing that off of anything that’s just my guess.

My new year resolutions/ things I wanted to work on this year were:

For my health- bring my A1C down from 5.9 to 5.5
pass out gospel tracts
memorize scripture
read the Bible through chronologically
1. I had my first A1C (a measure of average blood sugar over a 3 month time) of 2017 done this year and it was 5.6. My hard work is paying off and I hope to see that 5.5 three months from now.
2. I ordered some of Ray Comfort’s ‘Why Christianity?’ tracts/ booklets and God has been helping me to pass them out. I need to still be really diligent about this and not let it stop as the year progresses. Every single tract is difficult for me to pass out and I have to ask God for help with every single one. It still makes me nervous to ask someone, “can I give you one of these?”
3. My specific goal that I set is to memorize the first 3 1/2 chapters of Colossians. I’m on Chapter 2 verse 10. Progress has been slow but I am making progress. I need to start calling my friend again who we had decided to keep each other accountable and recite the scriptures we are working on to each other once during the week. We are both very busy moms and it has proven more difficult than we thought to find the time and a time that works for both of us.
4. This is a goal I started a little later in the year, towards the end of January so I may not actually finish until the beginning of 2018. I read the beginning of Genesis, then Job, then completed Genesis and Exodus and now I am in Leviticus. I’ve worked hard and was able to keep this up even while on vacation.

What goals did you set at the beginning of the year and are you meeting them?

A shadow of things to come…

A couple weeks ago we meet with Lizette from Capturette Photos http://www.capturettephotos.com by the train depot down town to take some family photos. I wanted to come up with a creative and meaningful way to include our son Titus who passed away at birth May 17, 2011. He has been in heaven for almost 6 years now. I have seen photos like these floating around the internet and I knew this was what I wanted to do. I feel so emotional looking at this because I get to show the world how we see our family. We do not see us as a family of four, we see our family as a family of five.

In the past I have held a lily of the valley (May’s birth flower) in memory of Titus in our family photo’s. I didn’t like it as much though because while I was holding it and looking at the camera I didn’t know whether to smile or cry. I liked this pose and actually copied it exactly from one I saw on-line because you can not see the emotion on our faces. It just looks like our family. What hit me so emotionally was that the shadow of the little boy is looking up at me. I guess I didn’t expect that. It looks so playful, just as I imagine Titus. It makes me wonder, does he miss me too? I see some indications in scripture that the answer could be yes. There are people in heaven asking God ‘how long’? I don’t want to yank that out of context and apply something to it that isn’t there but judging from that passage in Revelation it seems the saints in heaven are in anticipation for everything to be made right and new like we are.

I’ve titled this photo, ‘a shadow of things to come’ (Colossians 2:17).

This is one I’m going to get printed to hang up in our home. I’ve really wanted to hang up photos of Titus but I go back and forth about it. I have a friend who when you walk in her home she has the beautiful photos of her daughter done by now I lay me down to sleep http://www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org beside the photos of her other daughter. It’s stunning and beautiful and heart breaking all at the same time. For me, when I put up photos of Titus it’s just too much. It’s too real, he’s too “there.” It feels like I can reach out and touch him but then I can’t and the grief becomes paralyzing. This photo is a little less real, it’s a form and shape that represents him but I can’t see his cleft chin or how much he look like me or any of the details that I carry in my heart but are too painful to have constantly before my eyes but out of reach. Expressions are grief are unique to each individual and my own expressions of it vary at different times.

For the first few years, I had photos of him up everywhere, I didn’t go any where without a photo of him incase an opportunity came to show off my beautiful son. Over time though, it became more raw than comforting. I pull out his photos occasionally but I don’t really need to. Every detail of the few photos I have I have memorized. Each moment of interaction I had with him, his body, I play as a movie in my mind, I feel the weight of him in my arms. I still remember his scent and I can smell it when I think of him. The way his hair and skin felt on my lips. I can recall what he felt like laying on my chest.

Anyways, this is already more than I intended to write about this.

We see through a glass darkly my sisters and brothers, but one day these dark shadowy forms will turn into clear understanding. We’ll worship our God and to quote Stephen Curtis Chapman, “And we’ll sing holy, holy, holy is our God And we will finally really understand what it means..”

When I first heard that song I thought it meant we will understand what our circumstances and tragedies mean but later I realized that was not what he was saying. He’s saying we will say, “holy is our God” and we will finally understand what that means. We will finally see God in all His holiness and nothing else will matter.

E’s birthday letter

March 14th was E’s 4th birthday. In so many ways that is hard for me to wrap my head around! That morning I wrote her this letter that I wanted to share with you. I don’t know if I will keep it up over the years but I would love to start a tradition of writing letters to my kids on their birthdays. I use her initial on this blog rather than her name since this blog is public. I feel like it’s a tiny thing I can do for her privacy and safety.

If you are struggling right now as a mom having a hard time seeing beyond the spilled milk and diaper changes of today, try writing a letter to your child to read in the future. I promise you it will give you a shift in your perspective and make you feel all mushy toward your kids.

Rereading this letter I chuckle at how unpredictable life is with little one’s. That day T.J woke up sick so I stayed home with him while daddy took E to music class and it got so cold it snowed a little bit so no flying kites that day! Daddy did ask E’s music class to sing her happy birthday and he got a cute video of it.

 

Dear E,

Today is your fourth birthday! It is early in the morning and you are still sleeping. We had your party Saturday and we got you your first real bike. Today when you get up you get to open presents from Papa Page and Grandma Linda. Daddy plans on bringing you to the park to fly your kite and ride your bike. Today is music class at ACME with Mr. Brian. I’ll ask him if we can dance to the happy birthday song!

I’m writing this so that you can look back at it when you are older. I’m wondering about the future you. Will you be 10 when you read this? What will it be like when you are a teenager? I’m looking forward to every stage of life with you.

E, I wish you could know how you mean the world to me. My life is you and you and your brother are my life. You have given me so much.

Your smiles, your goofy laugh, to see your dimples are among the most important things in the world to me. You are my buddy. I spend more time with you than anyone else and we have fun! You are my company and right now life consists of you asking, “ ‘cause why?’ and me doing my best to answer.

You are miss personality but I’m also observing that you enjoy time alone. You are energetic, and your favorite food right now is peanut butter and jelly, milk, and fruit snacks! You tell me your favorite color is purple but you also like pink. You like mud and sand and dirt and crafts. You are very creative!

You get excited when I ask you if you want to do ‘school.’ You can spell your name! You love being read to and your daddy and I have spent countless hours reading you books.

You love your cousins and playing with them and you are working to adjust to life with a very demanding little brother. I love your sweet voice introducing him to strangers when we go out, “This is my baby brother Tanner Jr.”

E, you are brave! Your bravery and adventurous sprit amazes (and sometimes scares me!) When we went to the water park there was no water slide that you were not up for. Your attitude is, “bring it on!” I hope that spunk never leaves you.

You ask a lot of questions trying to figure out how trees grow and why people eat food but you also ask spiritual questions. You ask me why Jesus died on the cross and so far my answers don’t satisfy you. You’re grappling right now with the death of your cat and it breaks my heart to see you sad. I tell you I’m sad too because I am. I wish I could fix all the wrongs in the world for you.

I pray for your salvation. I’m looking forward to and pray for the day when you know God as your God.

Most of all E I just want to tell you how much I love you. Your birth was new life given to me. I count it as one of the greatest joys and greatest privileges to hold you close and smell your hair.
I love that we do so much together. I bring you on an outing every day that we call our ‘adventures’. I buckle you up in your car seat and sing, “We’re gonna go, go, go , go on an adventure!”

Every day I try so hard to be the best mom to you and I pray and ask God every day for help. I know I fail so often and I hope you will forgive me for all the times I fail as a mom. Know that you are my world and I love you with a depth that words could never convey. I love you now and I will love you forever. Happy birthday sweet girl, can’t wait for you to wake up so we can start our day of adventures together! I love you.

Love, mommy

Passing Out Gospel Tracts

I am by no means an expert in this area. I’m just working to be more obedient to God’s command to share the good news. Passing out gospel tracts is just one way to reach people with God’s Word. Gospel tracts provide a way to leave someone who I have talked to maybe 2 minutes with something much deeper that I pray they will read. I try to think of it as scattering seeds of the gospel and praying for God to give the increase. If you’ve never passed out tracts before I thought it may be helpful for me to share a few specific times lately that I have given them to people so you can see what it looks like.

At the zoo after showing the woman behind the glass my zoo pass and exchanging a couple dollar bills for quarters, I placed a tract in the little opening under the glass and asked her, “Can I give you one of these?” She read the title, ‘Why Christianity’ and picked it up saying, “Yes ma’am you can!”

After making small talk about my kids with the cashier at Wal-Mart and thanking him for helping me bag my groceries, I took a tract from my pocket and asked him if I could give him one. He took it and with a big smile I said thank you and told him to enjoy the rest of his night.

At this dentist after paying my bill (on time!) I offered a tract to the woman at the desk. She looked at it kind of awkwardly for a moment but then said sure and took it. I always make sure when I have been back to greet her warmly and make sure I don’t owe any money.

I very rarely just leave tracts laying around. I don’t think they will get read. Here’s an example of a time I did. After thanking our waitress at a restaurant for her service, I made an effort to stack the dishes making sure things were nicely picked up. My husband left a generous tip and I put a gospel tract in the envelope thing that you leave your receipt in on the table.

At the park after our kids played together I went and got a tract out of my van and went back over to the children’s mom. I commented to her how helpful her oldest daughter was to me helping me with my baby and commended her for doing a good job raising her children. I told her I was headed out and asked her if I could leave her with a gospel tract. She took it.

After paying at the hardware store I asked the cashier if I could give him a tract. He cheerfully accepted it.

Same thing, at Walgreens I asked the cashier if I could give him one holding it out. “Ummm… Ummm..” he said. I smiled. “Okay…” he responded taking it slowly. “Thank You!” I told him.

I gave the bagger at Kroger a tip and a tract and told her how much I appreciate her helping me.

Hope these few examples can encourage you! I still struggle with passing out each and every tract. It is really not that hard though to keep a couple in my pocket and offer them to the people I come in contact with.

My week without internet..

Saturday was my last day of taking a week off from the internet. There were a couple times I had to check a date or rsvp to an event and I wanted to take a quick peek at our family photos but I spent no more than 10 minutes the whole week doing that kind of thing.

This week I’ve been really busy taking care of my sick little boy. He has a virus tha’s going around. He had an ear infection that was confirmed to be healed up after taking antibiotics. I took him to the doctor again this weekend and the pediatrician said it will just have to run it’s course.

What’s been different about my week without internet? I’ve been less distracted. In my spare moments I’ve read real books instead of reading blogs. I’ve done a better job at making sure one thing is picked up that the kids are playing with before they go onto something else so my house has stayed cleaner. I’ve prayed more. Friday I took our van through the car wash and both my kids were sleeping. I really wanted to take that 5 minutes of no one needing me to take a peek at my phone but instead I prayed. Instead of taking a photo of my kids and posting to Facebook I sent texts to my parents and grandparents who (mostly) are not on Facebook so I was better at keeping in touch with the people I need to most. I sat and held my kids while they watched T.V which is something they always want me to do but it feels like I’m wasting time. I’d rather be getting my housework done while they watch the show. (Being honest here) Since I was taking a break from the internet I just held them and watched their show some with them which they really liked. (not a whole show, but some!)

I finished copying down in a notebook the book of Romans like I had mentioned in an earlier post. It took me about 8 hours and 15 minutes. Each time I sat down to write I would either set a stop watch or look at the clock and then make a note when I stopped of how long I had been writing for. I say ‘about’ because it was easier to keep track of if I round up or down to an even number. Instead of recording I had written for 19 minutes I would record 20 etc.

I have a new appreciation for the man Tertius who wrote the epistle for Paul. I’ll have to thank him when I get to Heaven and ask him how long it took!

Mostly I’ve been so busy I’ve been wondering how I had time at all to read stuff on the internet but I guess a few moments here and there adds up.

I still got on the computer (not online) and wrote for 20 minutes each morning before the kids woke up. Writing is something that really makes me happy and clears my head and focuses my mind.

The biggest change I saw that came from my no internet week was how I felt when I got back on Sunday. I was excited to catch up with people but then after I posted on FB I kept worrying if I sounded nice enough or what people would think. I was caught myself rushing through doing things with my kids to try and get done so I could have a few minutes to read on-line. I found myself feeling kind of overwhelmed because there is so much that I want to research and read on the internet but motherhood just does not allow that time and I felt frustrated. I felt more peaceful this week when I wasn’t trying to find time to go on-line because at this stage in my life the time is just not really there. Do you get what I mean?

I was also disappointed yesterday because I spent the little time that I have before the kids wake up on line so I didn’t have time to write or read my book all day. Writing and reading real books makes me happy and is more fulfilling than reading short blogs on-line.

Anyways, I think my time off the internet was good for me. So good in fact that I’ve decided I’m going to take the next month off. April 20th is a month from now. I may post on here during this time. This blog doesn’t feel as time robbing as things like social media. I’m working on writing some things that I’m excited to share and I’m reading a couple of really good books that I want to review.

Happy first day of Spring!! Enjoy your week!

How do you cut out the distractions in your life and what things take the place of those distractions?

Captivated

I don’t remember exactly when, maybe a couple months back I watched this documentary that was recommended to me by a family member. It gives a lot of food for thought in regards to media consumption and raises issues that I’ve often thought about.

Right now I’m seeing in my own life a need for a media fast. I think several things have gotten me thinking about this.

  1. My husband has taken some time off work the last few weeks and as I’ve kind of slipped into vacation mode I’ve found that I am reaching for my phone for quick entertainment much more than I would like to.
  2. Our house is a construction zone right now as we are doing a lot of work in preparation to possibly sell our home so I have a lot of work ahead of me that I need to focus on and not be distracted.
  3. Today is my daughters 4th birthday party and the thought of her growing up so fast makes me want to throw every distraction out of my life and try to hang onto these moments of her childhood.
  4. This is probably the biggest motivator for turning the screens off for a little while. This week I was shocked to find out someone I knew had passed away in a sky diving accident. I hadn’t known about it and when I did find out it was like a punch in the gut of how quickly life goes by and how any of these moments we have could be our last moments. Our cat died last night and it has brought up some of the same feelings. I know it’s just a cat but I feel bad that the last moment I had with that cat that I really liked was while it was trying to get pet I pushed it away. I has brought up some strong emotions of wanting to make sure I live every moment as if it were my last. I want to try and live every moment for the precious gift it is.

I’m going to take a fast (or break or whatever you want to call it) this week from the internet. I’ll be back on next Sunday. In the mean time, enjoy the precious gift of your life!

Anyways, here is the video if you are interested: (I know, media about getting away from media, how ironic)

My Type 1 Diabetes Diagnosis Story

11 years ago this month.

snowinlove

I realize there are quite a few spelling and grammar mistakes in my story but with a baby in my arms and a three year old crawling all over me… I’m not going to take the time to fix it. 🙂

IMG_5118

Diabetes supplies

This week marks 10 years since I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. It’s been a decade of both struggling and thriving without a functioning pancreas.

This is my diagnosis story, sharing the time in my life when life became pre diabetes and post diabetes.

The bagpipes played a cheery tuned as men in kilts marched in time to the steady drum. Children ran behind the fire truck eagerly grabbing up candy as it hit the pavement. It was St.Patricks day 2006. I sat down on the side walk, feeling weak and drained. I had a headache. I held an empty gatorade bottle up and licked the…

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Today’s must do’s

Today I must spend time out side, feel the sunshine on my face and BREATHE

Today I must put down the distractions, the phone, the social media, the multitasking and CONNECT to what’s in front of me

Today I must SLOW DOWN and LOVE. SLOW DOWN enough to receive LOVE. My children can’t put their arms around a mom constantly on the move, distracted by a million tiny things. TAKE THE TIME to SAVOR the details. When things get crazy, push aside the temptation to keep plowing forward and instead STOP. I once heard a mom say something along the lines of, “be the eye of the storm in your home and to your family.” Be the one who is the CALM in the chaos.

Today I must GET OUTSIDE MY OWN HEAD. Seek to be in the moment. BE PRESENT. Experience the sense of smell, touch, taste, sound and sight of the moments of today. Experience the moment fully.

Today I must say YES. YES to the game of hide and seek, YES to the time it will take to teach a little one something they need to learn.

Today I must LOWER THE BAR. Everything does not need to be done every day. People before dishes that need done, people before my checklist I want completed.

Today I must be THANKFUL and show GRATITUDE. Feel the thanksgiving in my heart, offer it as worship before God and let it come off my lips to the people around me. “I’m so THANKFUL I get to be your mama,” “I’m so THANKFUL you are in my life.”