Category

family

Picture Story

Hey Y’all, apparently I just plain ‘ole suck at keeping up with the blog when life gets busy, unfortunately I don’t have a devotion to share today but I will give you a glimpse of our past few months in pictures …

S turns 11! Favorite Gift — a new horse for her dolls.

The twins are officially Preschool Graduates! (on to kindergarten…)

 

Beach Day! Enjoying the little creek ūüôā

Youth Relay Race and Kid fest …. brought home 2nd place ( C — Archer and S — backpacker )

C turns 10!!! Wiener roast with the extended fam jam and sprinkle pancakes for breakfast, why not?!

Sisterly love — melts my heart.

Sweet ice cream treats with daddy


Here on the prairies in Canada we have (maybe) 3 months of gorgeous weather, my time has been spent outside in the garden and flower beds whilst adding a touch of pink to my nose and freckles scattered upon my face, loving every minute of it.

Nothing like enjoying coffee on the patio early in the morning watching the sunrise.

Cheers to your summer holidays, lazy weekends and sun kissed skin! {Vitamin D}

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:12

-Amber

Stopping Burnout In Its Tracks

“Oh no…”¬†I moan¬†to myself as the tell tale signs of burnout come creeping in. The short temper, irritated at …well nothing really. The gloomy looking future as my perspective is clouded. Don’t forget the pity party that sneaks in there too.

We are wired as parents to¬†keep going and going, like the energizer bunny. Funny thing is we don’t have that long lasting battery. Unless we recharge or put new batteries in -we are hopelessly frozen in place.¬†We are no¬†use to anyone around us. In fact we may be doing more harm than good when we sacrifice our well-being to continue taking care of¬†the demands of life¬†when our current gas tank is on ‘E’.

It was recently pointed out to me from the opposite gender how wives/mothers need to get paid too. This can look different in many ways, but they all have a common denominator with the end result being refreshed and renewed.¬†Many studies have been¬†conducted in the work force¬†revealing¬†if you want your employee operating at top-notch there are steps to take to ensure productivity. This is not intended to encourage you to only think about yourself, but rather the opposite so you can give your best to others. If we are divided too many times over with programs, boards, volunteer work, activities and so forth we will only be able to give 5% to each category and sadly leave our family with cold, stale leftovers. My life has collided with burnout more often than I would like to admit, so I have been consciously seeking, trying and testing different ways to stop burnout in its tracks before it consumes me again. We are all so very unique and¬†different that¬†what fills me up may not necessarily fill you.¬†Here are a few¬†ideas I have had success with¬†to help before it hits with full force…

Recognize what brings you joy. This may sound simple enough, but as life keeps moving forward and changing my interests have as well. I am still that person¬†I was¬†before¬†I married and had children.¬†I am also¬†in a very busy season of life¬†right now so I try to keep it simple. Coffee with a good friend, a¬†supper date, or even a hair cut. Those things make me feel like an individual and not the “invisible mom”.

Volunteer in areas you actually enjoy and realistically have time for.¬†Almost everyone I know volunteers in some shape or form. I am a planner so I really like¬†putting together¬†fun activities, parties and crafts for kids programs. It really takes the “work” right out of it when¬†I¬†enjoy it. Life stages change however, so I have to analyze how much I can actually do on a yearly basis.

Scheduling in breaks. When I have a block of time carved out in the day/week/month I am more likely to be more patient and have a better outlook.¬†Similar to¬†a small light at the end of the tunnel. When I can see the bit of light coming, I can breathe deep and keep going knowing my mind/body will have a chance to rest eventually. I try to combine what brings me joy with these scheduled¬†“breaks” for the biggest impact on my state of mind.

Prepare for the worst and make an action plan. The signs¬†begin to emerge¬†that life is demanding too much and taking its toll, burnout may be around the corner. Plan for it. Which balls am I juggling that I can drop or delegate? For myself this may be taking a “snow day”. All activities for the day get cancelled and we stay in our pajamas and¬†lounge around, reading a good book, baking cookies or drinking coffee all. day. long. The minimum gets done for housework and ordering pizza in for supper sounds fantastic. Other times this is simply impossible due to other obligations, so I make a mental list of what has to be done and what I can cut out later that week.

What¬†are your thoughts on overcoming burnout?¬†What helps you when life spins out of control? Are there certain steps you take to get a good grip on the reigns again? Whatever secret weapon you have I would love to be in on it, feel free to email or write it in the comments section, it’s always a joy to hear from my readers!

 

“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” Psalm 42:1

“And to be renewed in the spirit of your minds…” Eph. 4:23

“Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered” Proverbs 11:25

-Amber

 

A Simple Christmas

How do you want to feel this holiday season? Most of us would¬†agree the nostalgia of Christmases past and the feeling that is evoked through those memories top the list. Evaluating what is important to your family and those cherished traditions continuing on is a good place to start. I remind myself that the countdown for Christmas day is a large part of the fun. It truly is a festive time, for the Savior was born!¬†There is much fun¬†adding momentum¬†while waiting for the 25th to arrive. The key is keeping it simplified enough to actually enjoy the holidays. I¬†can only guess that¬†Mary felt pretty jittery with excitement and wonder as the day approached to give birth to the Savior. What a magnificent moment in history. With all of the tinsel and baubles and the¬†shining lights surrounding us we can still point it all to Christ. When the advertisements never cease¬†in displaying the “best” gift from their store we can focus on the One true gift while keeping it simple.

I’d like to share¬†a few suggestions that I have found helpful. Give them a try if you like, maybe they will alleviate some of the stress that is induced this time of year,¬†leaving you with a simplified, but glorious Christmas.

  1. Surrounding yourself with those who give life rather than drain it. We only have so much to pour out to others and wasting it on toxic people is throwing away our resources.¬†Our biggest impact is on those¬†whom our fruits can grow and prosper (John 15:1-17).¬†Go ahead and¬†shake the dust off your feet from those who don’t care to listen. (Mat. 10:14, 7:6)
  2. Focusing your time on serving. It is¬†amazing how our unspoken needs¬†are taken care of beyond our wildest dreams,¬†while we are busy caring for another. Perspectives are also kept in check¬†as we live in this “me, myself and I” society.
  3. Feeling free to take a few shortcuts. Go ahead and buy that ‘ready-to-assemble’ gingerbread house kit from the store -rather than making it from scratch if time is more efficiently spent elsewhere. Coming back to my previous statement of evaluating the really important traditions to your family¬†and letting the rest go. (Note* It’s impossible to keep¬†up with the Joneses, they aren’t real!)
  4. Shopping online. Save¬†yourself from¬†impulse buys. Not to mention gas, time and parking fees.¬†If you don’t like online shopping and¬†lean more towards¬†the¬†traditional way, it is helpful to look online for the item you’re searching for and to find the best price and which store has it in stock in your city.

We celebrate Christmas to remember the birth of Christ.¬†The nativity story is beautiful. If we take it a bit further and think on the logical side of¬†Jesus’ birth,¬†Joseph and Mary would have had a long and¬†hard journey. It certainly was no walk in the park to get to Bethlehem. Our lives at Christmas time are also¬†intertwined with hurts, hardships and burdens. ¬†Thankfully we have the perfect Present waiting for us at the end, and no matter how complicated things may get our joy can never be squelched. “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation for your souls.” 1 Peter 1:8-9. How awesome is that? Let’s¬†celebrate!

May the peace of God be with you all through the holidays as you share in it with those you love.

Amber

“I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.” 2 John 1:12

 

 

A Dearest Hello

Dropping in to say hello,

The end of May is nearly upon us, and with all the activities that surround the coming summer months I find spare time a sought after commodity. We are wrapping up a few more subjects with our schooling; math¬†won’t be wrapped up until the¬†first week in July (or so.) As for other things claiming my attention, the house is in transit with all the final steps for the Missy’s room and an unplanned bathroom gut job along the exterior wall- due to mold revealing itself. Definitely an uninvited house guest. I really feel¬†as though¬†I just run circles all day, perhaps because as I accomplish one task, I turn around to find it undone. I suppose if I did not keep going in circles, (as my husband pointed out) our house would become unliveable. Another option available would be to¬†camp out in the backyard all summer long. ūüėõ

Things have been going well around here, the kids get up at the crack of dawn and I (usually) don’t mind. The part where I do mind is when the sibling squabbles (or maybe full-out wrestling matches?) start at 6am and go until bedtime. I suppose I should hand it to them,¬† they are not pushovers. Maybe our next (bossy) world leaders? I honestly do not know where they get their stubbornness from, ha! Strongly guided in the right direction it will serve them well in the future.

As for my spiritual filling these days, I get it in small doses wherever I can fit it in. I never know if I will have peace and quiet for 5 minutes at 7am, or will have to wait until 4pm. It is taxing on the best of days having the uncertainty of knowing when I can “schedule” God into my day. However, He is faithful- it never ceases to amaze me that whenever I flip open the good book the scripture is waiting for me and very relevant to my heart that day. Bonus is I have a ‘Moms Bible’ filled with devotionals on every other page pertaining to the scriptures throughout the entire bible. I receive the word of God and a devotional regarding one of the more important roles in my life. A scripture I came across just today, and have a feeling I am going to write it out and post it on my fridge is-

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee; because he trusteth in Thee. Trust ye in the Lord forever: for in the Lord JEHOVAH¬†is everlasting strength.” Isaiah 26:3-4

In other words I will keep looking up to God and He will calm the storms around me. Whether that is minimizing problems that seemed important and become trivial, or giving me clarity on certain issues. All else seems to fade away when we look up to our heavenly Father.  It also becomes natural to give grace and love to others when our thoughts and actions are eternity centered. Surprisingly also- strength abounds.

I pray many blessings upon you my friends!

Amber

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request of you all with joy,” Philippians 1:2-4

The heart of a Mother [updated]

Whether you are a mom, an aunt, a god mother you have little cherubs in your life…

Being part of a child’s life is¬†one of the most rewarding and hardest blessings. Whether that is longing to conceive your very own child, adopting or having several children, they are in our hearts. The ones we long to hold, the ones we can hold, the ones we dream of. We do not need to biologically have children of our own to celebrate mother’s day. I believe it is celebrating the little ones we have the opportunity loving that are currently in our lives. Whether that be a great-aunt spending time with her great-nieces/nephews, or moms celebrating their first mothers day with their newborns, to those who long to hold and have one to call their own.

As you well all know, we have 5 children. These cherubs bring me so much love and joy, my heart is constantly overflowing. I have heard many say to new moms that there will come a day when you want to pull your hair out.¬†However,¬†at the end of the day they smile at you and giggle- melting your heart right along with their laughter, dissolving all frustrations.¬†The guilt starts to creep in, stealing the joy¬†of the moment as you remember all the imperfections on your part throughout the day.¬†Fear not fellow moms (and dads) the only one who is suffering is you (unless you have never felt this way, in that case please let me in on your secret!).¬†Kids are very resilient and you are still the best and favorite person in their world. What I have learned over the years- the sooner I¬†cross out the big ‘G’ (guilty-verdict) and move on, the kids move¬†on also. I am not doing my kids any favors by giving into things I may not have, due to being guilt-ridden for my impatience and mistakes. I apologize to my kids, letting them know I am human too- then I move forward. As our heavenly Father does with us once we repent.

Fellow moms I do not have to tell you the sacrifices we make daily, or the mundane chores we wade through each and every day also. You are living it! I don’t intend to write a whole post on the sacrifices we make, then in essence¬†building ourselves up until we feel like a queen. Rather I feel the need to bring the whole hallmark holiday down a notch. As a new mom I was very excited about this holiday. Finally I was a mother and would be celebrated! I had high expectations¬†for my husband to shower me with flowers simply because I was a ‘new mother’, and he must celebrate with me because the babies were too small to know what mother’s day was. How wrong I was! I look back and see how the frills and media and hallmark-ness was skewing my judgement and views making me feel¬†entitled. I don’t know if any of you have fallen into this, but I am ashamed to admit I have. Thankfully I recognized what was going on and was able to un-cloud my mind and steer my views and thoughts in the right direction. Recognizing the blessing of motherhood for what it is. I don’t need flowers or cards to tell me I am the most loved and favorite person in the eyes of 5¬†precious little¬†ones. The joy and the gift of what motherhood is can never be bought with money.¬†Remembering my mother, my mother-in-law and every other mother out there trying to raise her kids the best way she knows how, giving all she can give. Keep strong, stay encouraged and get rid of the big ‘G’ that comes¬†sneaking in from time to time, you are so loved!

Mother and daughter with flower

 

One other thing I felt compelled sharing about is to not forget to take care of your physical, mental and spiritual well being. How important all 3 of those are. Before we can fill up and pour into others as well as¬†being the person we would like to be, we must first make sure our fuel tanks in all 3 areas are filled. I know sometimes it is impossible, most of the time hard, and of course when we do get a chance we feel guilty. I am telling you from experience it is healthy and¬†needed to have a few minutes alone to re-group and decompress in whichever form that may look like in your life… An evening stroll alone? a cup of coffee before the kids get up? A pedicure? A bubble bath? Perhaps a monthly ladies coffee night out to chat and share with others? These few suggestions (and most likely everything you can think of) requires a bit of forethought and planning. However, I will say it again- its worth it!

Think about this-

If you signed yourself up for a marathon you would take certain steps to ready yourself and strengthen your body for the big day, wouldn’t you? If you were taking a class and it was exam time, you would spend time mentally preparing and studying for it, wouldn’t you? When we want to do our best on something we¬†prepare ourselves for it, so why wouldn’t we do this with parenting? Think on this the next time that letter ‘G’ invades your thoughts.

I am so¬†thankful I have¬†mother’s day 365 days of the year. My kids tell me they love me, come up close for cuddles and when they are hurt or scared they want me to comfort them, and with that I¬†am content. Tomorrow is another day, like all the rest- filled with love! Happy Mother’s Day to all of you. A day we can reflect on our blessings and celebrate our own mothers who have given up so much for us and would do it all over again if they could.

Happy-Mothers-Day-1080x1920-H

-Amber

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Proverbs 31:26-27