Our Family Mission

My husband and I have been talking for so long about coming up with a family mission statement to display in our home. Last evening we spent some time really thinking about what we are about as a family, what is important to us, what are strengths are as a family and couple, things we could do better as a family, the main “purpose” of our home, and what our priorities are. When we make deliberate decisions about what we’re about as a family, certain choices will become a no-brainer. You’re at peace with the choices you make, because they align with your priorities! After several hours of sitting in our living room, laying on the couch together, Steve and I came up with what we think is a perfect mission for our family: “To maintain our spirits, bodies, minds, relationships, and serve in accordance with God’s will.” I will break it down a little bit, mainly for my own good and reference.

Maintaining Our Spirits:

Really making sure we are ALWAYS putting God FIRST in our lives. I’d like to say that we always do, but sometimes in the craziness of life, it is sometimes too easy to not take the time to step back and take time to pray, reflect and focus on Him and His word. God is always our guide, but we must always strive to focus on the peace, joy, and wisdom that God has to offer.

Maintaining Our Bodies:

Physical health has always been something so important and close to my heart. There have been several “genetic” diseases in my family that I have always made my best effort at avoiding. I have always been active, played sports, and spent countless hours at the gym. My husband has played hockey, soccer and really enjoyed mountain biking. We have decided to place more focus on the importance of these things. We did first after Noah was born, but it is such a challenge with a young child to make time for these things.

Maintaining Our Minds:

We, as a family, are committed to constantly learn, grow, and explore. You have probably heard me mention this before. We are always looking to better ourselves thru gaining knowledge and learning new things. By doing this, we will keep our minds active, open and alive!

Maintain Our Relationships:

This portion of our mission is so valuable. Healthy relationships are important. Steve and I are always working to serve each other during the challenges, stresses and busy everyday lives. We work hard, too, to provide Noah with what we believe a parent is supposed to be. We make it a point to show the people we love how much we care thru our actions and words.

And Serve:

Our family believes God has called us to serve others. We believe strongly in teaching Noah to be a Giver, not a taker. We strive everyday to provide Noah with the experiences and lessons that will teach him to be a giving, serving member of our community. I like to serve people, and I have a special love for children, no matter how small! A degree in Political Science attracted me because of Public Service and people.

In Accordance With God’s Will:

All of the above depend on one thing…God. Our relationship with God in our life, we believe, really sets the pace for how productive, successful, and happy we can be. With God’s guidance and our faith, we will conquer all things as a family. Every bit of my strength, motivation and energy come from our God!

I am so thankful God provided me with a husband whose values, priorities, goals, and morals so closely align with mine. We are different in our focus on certain priorities, but we have grown with our differences and learned so much from one another. OUR mission reflects who we are as people, what is important to us and who we are as a family. We are very excited about this! We have every intention of making it into a vinyl and displaying it our home for important reference and constant reminder for the years to come. I have always thrived when I focus, and this will provide us a vital focal point as we grow spiritually, grow our minds, maintain our bodies, focus to thrive in our relationships, and SERVE in accordance with God’s will. “A Mission”, to me, sounds a lot like a new challenge. Bring. It. On.

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I Married a Super Star

I spend a lot of time talking and being proud of our awesome son, Noah. I am going to take some time tonight and reflect on someone else that is very special in my life; my husband Steve. He is always looking to better himself in every, single aspect of life and so much of the determination and drive I have for trying my best everyday to be a great mom, comes from him. He sets our pace. Steve works a full time job, goes to school part time, manages a small home-based business, created and maintains a website and blog, pulls his weight at home and does not fall short in the slightest when it comes to being a father and husband. Here is why.

Steve is a Chemist and has been at his job for several years. He works very hard every day to try and make a work environment that is pleasant and takes time out of his day to recognize the strengths in his co-workers. You don’t come by that every day. People too often spend their lives miserable at their jobs without picking out a single positive! He makes his best attempt, every day, at applying the knowledge he has gained through all the audio books, motivational speakers and financial leaders that he listens to. I’m so proud of him for always putting his best foot forward and never looking back. He will, and is, making a big impression.

While maintaining, and striving, at his full time job, Steve has been taking classes at WMU to complete his degree. Thankfully he seems to be the type that stores information and doesn’t need to spend hours and hours studying to do well in a class. Steve performs well and is continuing to move forward on this front and I, again, am so proud of him for continuing to pursue this goal.

Steve has spent many hours over the last few years building a business called deSIGNed Vinyl. I remember when we first had the vinyl cutter delivered to the door of our 600 square foot apartment. There was NO WAY that big thing was going next to my dining room table! Well, 3+ years later, I realize what a great thing it really was. Not only do I have this machine at my disposal when I find a savvy quote I want on our wall at home, but Steve has really done a great job with the development of this company. He really strives to provide his customers with industry leading service and satisfaction all while making it a very personal experience. He has come a long way and I look forward to seeing where his knowledge and ideas take us in the future!!

When I say Steve pulls his weight at home, it is an understatement to say the very least. Steve is always saying, “What can I do to help?” The power in thse 6 words is astronomical! Even if I don’t need help, it always puts me at ease knowing he is on my team! After all, those that know me know that my body language is not strong at all when I am under pressure ;). Steve is so good at reading me. Okay ladies, here it goes! He sweeps and mops every floor surface in our house every weekend, he helps with the dishes, he dusts, he does laundry, he cleans bathrooms, and HE is not for sale! Lol! He blows my mind with how willing he is to help out with upkeep of the house. I will say, most men fall short in this area; however, Steve doesn’t! He is a SUPER STAR husband and I am 100% willing to scream that out loud!

Most importantly, Steve makes Noah and I his #1 priority no matter what. There has never been a time that I have felt Steve put work or school before our family. Steve has never missed a special day, occasion, or milestone with Noah and I have faith he never will. This is a father. Someone who sets an outstanding example everyday to his son relaying the idea that THIS is how a man, father and husband should be. Family comes first. Steve takes Noah to swimming lessons, soccer class, music class, and storytimes and enjoys himself all the while! Steve is teaching Noah very valuable lessons simply by the way he lives. Put your heart and all into everything that you do every day. Take risks. Fail. Apoligize. Succeed. Steve is the absolute best husband a woman could ever dream for. Leave your socks all over the house for the rest of our lives, hunny, and I clearly have no room to complain.

You knock it out of the park everyday, Steve, and I love to here your endless inspirational ideas, quotes, and business dreams. I have no doubt you will get there and at the pace you have set, time is no object. You keep fascinating me every day; with drive, goals, dreams, and plans. God knows I love a PLAN.

My Full Heart

I have so many things to be thankful for! I am a positive person; often “giddy” and potentially over-excited too often. Well, here is the thing. What do I have to be miserable or unhappy about? I look at and contemplate this world, scroll through my newsfeed on facebook, turn on the news (when I can figure out how to change the darn channel; I never watch TV) and all I see and hear is a constant highlight of the NEGATIVE things that we experience in life. It is hard, in such a negative and pessimistic world, to remain positive some days. When I have a bad day (which really is not often), all I have to do is look at the countless blessings that encircle me every day. I have faith and God so alive in my heart that it brings me to happy tears every day, the best friends in the world, a fabulous family, great in-laws, the best husband a woman could truly ever ask for, a beautiful son who has taken me so far beyond what I ever knew love could be, we live in a fabulous, child friendly city with endless opportunities for families, spectacular neighbors the we love dearly, a beautiful home that we love, extraordinary, compassionate, loving parents who have had my back since the day I was born, a “job” that I LOVE; it allows me to work from home part-time, utilize my degree in Political Science, work assiduously for a cause that has been close to my heart since I was first made aware of what evil can do to a world, and still be a stay-at-home-mom (which is clearly where I was meant to be). Watching my son learn, grow, investigate, explore and experience the world around him every single day has been a true gift and something that money or income would never be able to replace. I have not missed a single milestone and I have my husband (and GOD) to thank for that support.

Sometimes when I am driving down the road, I will start to cry the happiest tears randomly! My heart is always so full. I love to give and to make people feel good. I am truly a servant and I will spend my life loving. If you are not a “person of faith”; God is awesome! HE makes you happy, gives you hope, presents endless blessings, allows you to love, and gives you confidence to give when you don’t have anything; He bestows you the most substantial strength. When days are tough and feels like you are always under the hammer, stop dead in your tracks and count your blessings. You are at Target for baby wipes, late for an appointment, you lost your cell phone and you forgot your list? Been there and I’m not sure how to say this; it could be worse! I’d be willing to assume that there are so many more blessings than you think! What are your blessings today? What keeps you going every day?

Below, you will find two blessing in my life. Noah was 2, and Harmony (my niece) was 5, taking their donation to Crayons4 Kids, an organization dedicated to brightening the lives of hospitalized children across America. This organization collects crayons, coloring books, DVDs, books, blankets, and more to pass them out to hospitalized children. This past Christmas, Noah and Harmony got very eager and involved in collecting and buying items to give these hospitalized children for the holidays. PLANT the giving seed; a heart full of love will grow.

Be thankful everyday; all glory to God!

“Now, she is not being kind.” -Noah

I will start this blog post by saying that my son, Noah, really blows my mind every single day. I consider myself a crafty gal and one day Noah and I were out and we stopped at Hobby Lobby for some scrapbooking paper. We were in the aisle browsing and there was also another mom and her daughter who was clearly about the same age as Noah. This little girl was in hysterics; you know how kids do sometimes when things do not go their way? Well, Noah was starring at her and I really thought nothing of it. Until–this little girl was so upset that she was taking a large inhale during her hyperventilating and during the mere moment of silence, Noah says (LOUDLY), “Now, she is not being kind; she will not be getting a treat.” Gulp. Gulp. Gulp. This girl’s mother looked at me like I was chasing her with an ax. She was embarrassed and so was I. However, I was proud, too. After I backed our cart slowly out of the aisle because my face was so red I could hardly stand it, I explained to Noah that he had been right. He was 100% right. He does not throw fits in stores because he wants things. He understands that “things” and toys cost money and if he doesn’t bring his money, well, he isn’t getting it. How have we raised a child like Noah who does not throw these fits? Well, it is a commitment and I’d be happy to share with you what worked for us:

1) Implement a chore chart at home. Make it very simple. As I mentioned in a previous post, Noah actually is to the point where he enjoys sorting and putting the silverware away from the dishwasher. He also will “help” dust and shake out the rugs. Why? Because he knows he earns $1 and he knows that he gets to choose where to put his dollar when he is done.

2) Make three banks. You can use peanut butter jars, baby food jars, or really anything. The important thing is to have them labeled and make sure your child knows the difference between each bank. You can use labels, stickers, or tags to differentiate between the three. For Noah, we use the kit Dave Ramsey has designed for children to learn lessons about money. He has a complete set of materials for teaching financial concepts to children, beginning as young as three years of age. Noah has the Junior’s Adventure Bank. This bank has three compartments; one for saving, one for spending, and one for giving. Noah loves being able to decide where his money goes. And I will say, when he chooses give, it melts my heart and I get chocked up every single time. You can purchase these banks HERE!

3) Talk to your child about what they are saving money for. Help them understand that the items they save for can cost more than the “smaller” items that they buy at Dollar Tree. Saving money is a spectacular lesson to teach your child.

4) Every time you go to the store, ask your child if they want to bring their spend jar just in case there is anything that they are interested in buying. Noah enjoys the freedom of making the choice to spend his money.

5) The give jar has been great. There is nothing in this work more rewarding to a mommy than to watch my little 3 year old empty his give jar into the gift basket at church or bring the money and give it to the SPCA. However, the one “giving” experience that I remember so well with Noah was when we went to the store and used his give money to buy some diapers. Then, we drove across town to a local pregnancy care center and Noah completely understood that he had bought the diapers with his give money to GIVE to the babies that needed them. It is critical that we raise giving and kind children that know about money. I feel lessons about money are just as crucial as potty training them before they are 17.

It is imperative that we not just buy our children everything they want. This is setting them up for financial failure later on in life. I would love to hear about YOUR experience with implementing these money management strategies in your home. How did your children react the first time you told them NO at the store? They don’t easily take NO for an answer?  Try explaining to them, “My money is for food today.” It will be an adjustment, but a critical one. A few times in and out of the store with them screaming their head off because they want the newest La La Loopsy doll will be well worth the seed you are planting. I’d love to hear stories.

 

 

Learning to just BE…

“Dear God, I am not asking for much here. Just five kid-free minutes to myself. I’m not asking for a good shower–the one where you shave your legs and pumice your heels and slather you limbs with sea-salt-lemon-mimosa foaming body scrub and exfoliate whatever bits need exfoliating. Nothing like that. Just five minutes under a stream of hot water so I can shampoo the ick out of my hair, slop on a little conditioner, swipe my face with a wash cloth, and just be.” – Tracy Mayor, Mommy Prayers. Just be? Hmmm…this prompted my blog post for today.

What does it mean for you to just be? I remember when taking my time at the grocery store or perhaps stopping to look at something at the store was easy. Pha! Now-a-days, the cart has to remain in motion at a significantly steady pace to avoid any calling out. Now, don’t get me wrong, my son doesn’t ask for things at the store or throw a fit when he can’t get a toy he wants. At age 3, he knows how we get things that we want. We work for money and then make the purchase. He likes to sort and put away the silverware. Funny? I know. For me to just be, I need peace. I need to have that moment to daydream. When I go to tea, or knit, or sew…I daydream. Or maybe I just stare into the middle of nowhere with my mouth hanging open. It doesn’t matter. Either way, it is pure bliss!

We as mothers need to take time to be. The world we live in is busy, so take time to be you. What do you like to do? What do you do to relax? I ask these questions because I have literally needed to train myself to SIT DOWN. It is HARD. Pre-Noah, I was also always busy; organizing, planning, planning, and well…more planning. I am still this person; however, I have learned to relax. I have learned to find things; like knitting, tea, scrapbooking, and quilting, that require me to be SEATED while working. I am probably ADD, maybe even ADHD. Both of my brothers were and my mom and dad also both have very “hyper” tendencies. I, however, learned to channel this energy since becoming a mom. Down time is a must for us to function 100%. My husband knows the basket case I can become if I do not get my moment to breathe. My 10 seconds when he gets home from work to wind down from my busy day. Yes, I know, he works hard too. I however, work hard in a different way that includes zero adult human interaction. I sing my ABC’s and finger paint. So, I need a break from time to time!

Find your “be” today…and just be. I don’t care if you walk out to get the mail and take 10 breathes in and 10 out before re-entering the house. It feels good. It really does and it is awesome!

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