Tuesday, July 22, 2014

End the Glorification of Busy

There isn’t much I hate worse than the glorification of busy. Perhaps it’s because my love language is quality time.

There really isn’t much worse of a feeling (for me) than someone telling you they are too busy to give you their time. (Especially if you see them posting on Facebook a billion times a day, right?  You don’t have time for me, but you have time for that cat meme?  Haha)

Or worse, being totally ignored.  Ugh.

Believe me, I’m not perfect.  There are definitely moments I’ve let my priorities slip!  I’m sure I have 2342342 friends reading this right now going . . . “well you haven’t texted ME in forever!”

(I’m sorry.)

But, I digress.  The summer that started out so calm and fun has suddenly turned in to a whirlwind of happenings.

The happenings are all complete blessings, so I cannot complain one bit.  But I need to be sure I keep my priorities in order so that things don’t go completely out of control. Here’s a little of what that looks like:
Priorities
Some people would question the order of my list.  Like . . . how can your home and your job come before Ministry?

As a wife and mother, my first ministry is

My First Ministry
You can tell me I’m ‘old fashioned’ all you want, but if my home isn’t in harmony, neither is my family – and that is not ok! My job supports my family, and therefore supports my primary ministry as well.

Sure, there are days when things fall completely out of order, but as I grow older – it’s getting easier and easier to tell where the kink in the chain is in order to get back on track.

Like…when my day is going to hell and I can’t figure out which way is up?  Yea, I can pretty much guarantee that God wasn’t first on those days.

When a friend gets upset that I haven’t answered?  Yea, I probably let the job come first.

Or I was organizing the refrigerator.

My point?  No matter how busy you are, there should always be time for the most important things on your priority list.

Not sure of your priorities?  Now’s the time to figure them out…I promise it makes life so much easier!

P.S. Facebook should probably not be in your top ten – what a time-suck!  :)


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This article was first posted at Eco Chic - Visit for all of your health and wellness needs!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Redefining Obedience



Personal confession time:  Do you know who the hardest person for me to obey is?

God.

Growing up in a legalistic church the message was pretty simple - obey, or burn!  God gave a book with a list of things not to do, and we were supposed to...well...not do them!

That didn't really give me any warm fuzzies.  Neither did any of the crazies screaming at me that I was a sinner, for that matter.

Plus, for real - It's way, WAY easier to open the fridge and drown my sorrows in ice cream than to pray to the invisible man upstairs.

If you're anything like me, when you hear words like 'obey' and 'obedience,' you want to run the other way.

My vision of obedience is literally painful.

When I think of obedience, I envision being curled up in a ball, on my knees, with a burning hand squeezing the back of my neck.

It might sound extreme - but think about it for a moment.  When someone tells us what to do, many times, our first instinct is to say (and not necessarily out loud)...

"You can't tell me what to do!"

And usually, you do the opposite just to prove the point, right?

Sound familiar?  I'm sure every parent reading this right now is nodding their head!

The reality is, we are all obeying something.  We are obeying ourselves, our cravings, our addictions, our minds, our bodies...we obey the law of the land, our parents wishes, and even the street lights while we're driving.

Green means go, red means stop.

We won't obey someone outside of ourselves, but we'll pretty easily obey ourselves or even worse...things. Drugs, alcohol, sex, money...

Not only will we obey them, we'll love them.

Then what happens?  The things we obey hold us back.  Drugs, alcohol, sex, money...ourselves.  We hold ourselves back all the time, don't we?

I know I do.

But what if we have it all wrong?

Guess what?  We do.

Did you ever hear the popular verse "Be still and know that I am God"?  Psalm 46:10

The words 'be still' can also be translated as 'cease striving.'

The way God works and the way this world works are two totally different things.

We feel that if we submit to something someone else wants us to do, we are weak.  Trapped. Funny thing is, in the reality of this world...

...we are already weak.

We are only strong in the reality of God's world.  “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

In the spiritual realm, obedience is what advances us, not what holds us back.  Obedience is what unlocks doors, gives us wings and propels us forward.

Cease striving.  Stop fighting.  Stop resisting.  God's purpose is to advance His kingdom, not shackle it.  He wishes to arm His people with light, not cast them into darkness.

Simply put:  Obedience is the key, not the cage.

So the next time you feel the Lord tugging you to change something, remember that the reward is far greater than the struggle.

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Go Ahead, Hug a Monster

This weekend I learned a valuable lesson from my toddler.  It almost seems as if I’m learning as much from him as he is from me these days, though I think his lessons may be far more profound!
This weekend, we strolled on the boardwalk at the Jersey shore and watched all the lights dance across the piers. Elijah loves watching pretty much any amusement ride – especially the roller coaster.
We came upon a haunted house ride that has some seriously disturbing imagery. The thing creeps ME out, so I was preparing to scoop up Elijah and walk away quickly the moment he showed fear.
He looked up at the towering monster that loomed over us . . . red glaring eyes and smoke pouring from his mouth, and said . . .
monster
. . . “Hug?”
I blinked, and said . . .”what?!”
He pointed to the monster, held up both of his hands and yelled “HUG!”
My son wanted to hug the fear right out of the devil.
That moment seriously softened my heart and reminded me that most monsters are really only scary because of our own imaginations.
My kid will seriously walk up to anyone. He’ll smile, wave, dance . . . whatever strikes him at the moment.
Most of the time, I absolutely love this about him. When he makes elderly women on park benches giggle, when people at the store can’t help but stop and chat…even when random strangers on the street want to give him high-fives.
Stroller
Cat’s. He’ll even entertain cats.
cat
Sometimes, though . . . I get a little freaked out. It’s embarrassing, because I shouldn’t be . . . but we all have people we tend to steer clear of, right?
Like . . . the scruffy guy on the boardwalk picking up trash.
The cross-looking biker dude riding the train.
Embarrassingly enough, these are my monsters. These are the people I may have passed quickly with my eyes down in order to avoid striking conversation with.
These are people I may have judged, and that is something I should not be doing to anyone.
The gruff guy on the boardwalk picking up trash talked and danced with my son, and told me what great parents my husband and I must be.
The cross-looking biker dude on the train turned out to be a big teddy bear, making faces and playing peek-a-boo with Elijah through most of our ride to New York.
train
I’ve decided I want to be more like my kid – he truly doesn’t discriminate, and is willing to pass the love out to anyone who’s willing to receive.
Today’s message? Smiles don’t discriminate.
Share the love, hug a monster.

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This post first appeared on Eco Chic.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Don't Panic

Being a mom is hard enough.

The other night I was lying in bed and I picked up a book that I’ve been wanting to finish reading for ages and just kept putting aside.
“Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis, if you must know.

So anyway, I picked it up and a piece of paper fell out of the back cover. I opened it up and saw it was a receipt from a Psychiatrist I had seen quite a few years ago. (Yup, just admitted that.)

The diagnosis code stared at me.

300.01.

So yea…being a mom is hard enough. Being a mom with ‘problems’ is even harder.

We all have problems, right?! What’s yours?

Mine? Panic Disorder.

Yup, ‘ohmyGodIthinkImsgonnadierightthissecond.’

Well, that’s one of my problems, anyway. :D

When I was a teenager, a beloved teacher of mine pulled me aside and handed me a book called ‘The Highly Sensitive Person’ by Elaine Aaron.
Yes, that is actually a thing, and boy did she hit THAT nail right on the head.

Being a HSP doesn’t exactly mean that I go crying over every little thing. Let’s just say…HSP’s are hyper-aware. Panic Disorder just comes naturally after that, I guess.

But I digress…back to the other night. As I was staring at that little piece of paper, I was reminded of the exact moment in my pregnancy that I realized I had some huge decisions to make.

Eli

Much of my life had been ruled by fear, and if I wasn’t careful, fear would rule the life of my child as well.

If I became the worlds most over-protective parent, so many *other* fears of mine could be realized down the road.

He could rebel.

He could grow up so sheltered that he won’t be able to take care of himself in the real world.

He could grow up only having half the fun he could have had.

He could grow up with no sense of adventure.

He could develop Panic Disorder.

No…I didn’t want that to happen. If it’s genetic, then so be it…but I could not live with the thought of my actions possibly causing my child to panic.

That day, I made a conscious decision to keep calm around my child.
I fail…a lot. But I’m getting better.

Today, I want to share my top 5 tips for keeping sane and calming the heck down so you don’t scare your kid:

1) Instead of saying no, say ‘Ok, but let me help you.’ Kids want to climb walls, scale boulders, and jump into the pool. Let them know they’re allowed, but that you need to be close by to help until they have conquered the task.

Sand

2) Don’t over-sanitize. Kids need germs – they help them to build healthy immune systems. No, I’m not saying they should go lick a toilet…but force yourself to not wipe down the entire jungle gym with alcohol before they play.

JungleGym

3) Let them fall. Before you call child services on me – I’m talking about little mistakes, here. Let them try to step up on a curb without clinging to them for dear life. Graduate to steps.

4) Die Google, die. Never, ever google every little symptom your child has, or you will be convinced that your child will be a victim of secondary drowning every time their drink goes down the wrong pipe.

5) Know your limits and take time for yourself. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, switch gears for a while. It is ok to not conquer the world every single moment.

6) (I know I said 5, but this one is important.) Pray, a lot. One thing that this big decision DID do was bring me closer to God. I had to be ready to fully trust God with my son before I could let go a little.

It is so hard being a mom in such a scary world…

…let’s try our best to make it a little less scary for our kids.

Egg
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First published by Eco Chic.  Come visit me, and check out their awesome products for home and family, focusing on quality and wellness!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Fly By Blogging: My Journey Out of Hiding

Just wanted to drop in to the blogosphere to point you over to an amazing piece of writing by my friend, Staci, over at Remade.

Talk about faith over fear!  If you've ever had any issues with self-image, you definitely want to read this.

I think I just pointed to each and every female on this planet, didn't I? Talented, no? ;)

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Why We Montessori

Hey guys!  I'm blogging over at EcoChic this summer...you should totally go check out their site and see what they're all about.  If wellness and supporting local businesses is your thing - EcoChic is definitely the place to be!
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Be honest – when you found out you were pregnant with your first kid, you were totally overwhelmed by all the information out there on parenting.
The sheer amount of information available is commensurate to how badly we want to do one particular thing:
We want to grow our children.
If you haven’t found this out yet, I hate to burst your bubble…
Screen
…but there is no right way to parent. No bonafied, 100% proven effective method of parenting exists (as far as I’m aware).
There are plenty of wrong ways though, right? Maddening, isn’t it?
My son is nineteen months old, and the method we employ is what I like to call ‘Montessori-inspired’ learning. A lot of the early activities are based on sensory play, as that’s the way Montessori believed children learn.
Sensory Play
(Honesty: One reason I call this ‘Montessori-inspired’ because many Montessori materials are expensive, and you can make your own versions for much less.)
Why did I go Montessori? There are things I’ve noticed about the younger generation (totally weird saying that…I’m only 31, after all!) that worry the crap out of me. If it doesn’t have to do with technology, many of them don’t know how to function…which is ironic in this age where technology reigns, and we want them to know ALL THE THINGS.
We focus too much on ‘more, better, best’, and not enough on purposeful living. We focus too much on instant information, and not enough on ingrained knowledge.
The basic principle of the Montessori Method can be summed up in five words:
Let me do it myself.
Washing Potatoes
Babies and children are capable of way more than we give them credit for. I have watched infants reach to drink from a ‘grown-up’ cup, and rather than the parent let them explore and learn the task, they have moved the cup away for fear of it being spilled.
11 Months
Dr. Maria Montessori believed that children have very natural, innate directives for learning and developing that we often impede by trying to teach them the way (and at the pace) that we think they should learn. Instead, especially in early development, we should observe their interests at any given moment and encourage them to explore them further.
For example…one day you notice your child is suddenly extremely interested in peek-a-boo. Developmentally, they are learning something called ‘object permanace,’ so this would be the perfect time to present activities regarding object permanance. Cups with balls hidden underneath, a box with a slotted lid to drop coins into…simple things.
Going a step further, children also thrive when they are made to feel included – even in what we may see as the most mundane tasks. They thoroughly enjoy purposeful activity.
Vacuum
Simplicity really is the beauty of this method. (Besides…we have kids so we have more people to take over chores, right? *wink*)
Early childhood development is much about simplifying the child’s environment so that they are free to explore and encouraged to concentrate. Less is more – and quality, natural materials are the best to use whenever available. Not only does this keep your child from being distracted by ‘too much’, it also teaches them to respect what they have.
My favorite part? This method is about identifying a childs gifts and strengths and nurturing those rather than chastising them in areas where they may not ‘measure up’ to some standard that we created as a society.
We all prefer to do what we love as adults, right? What we love is what we’re good at…it is where we excel.
The same goes for children.
This is all really just the tip of the iceburg, but it was my jumping off point. I have watched my son thrive in this method, and I really do enjoy learning right along with him!
The wonder on a child’s face as they learn is completely priceless. Encourage it!
Wonder

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Hell Week: Surviving the Stomach Virus

Hi everyone - don't forget to come see me over at Eco Chic this summer!  I love their message of wellness and community that is so prevalent.  
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Disclaimer: This post is not for the weak-stomached…though if you are a mom, you probably do not have a weak stomach – am I right?
If you recall my last post, my family spent Mother’s Day weekend at the shore. Unfortunately, my son Elijah came home with a case of the…uh…
…uh…
…screamin’ yellow mustards.
Diarrhea. He had diarrhea (sorry, there is not cute way to say that). In my home, we also call this ‘a case of the shizzles’.
I know, this is every mothers dream, right? Especially every mother who uses cloth diapers.
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure stomach viruses come straight from the devil.
Plus, I’m convinced there’s nothing worse than seeing your little one sick and hurting.
Sick Kid kdizio
On Monday evening, around 11pm, I was just wrapping up a conference call with the West coast when I heard my son crying and my husband shuffling around upstairs. I ran up just in time to see that my son had thrown up in his crib.
I know, this post is awesome so far.
To make a disgusting story even more disgusting, this all has continued through the week. My husband fell prey to this nasty bug mid-week as well. By the grace of God, I have been spared so far (and your prayers that it stays that way are TOTALLY appreciated.)
Five days in to this train-wreck of a stomach virus, I am here to share with you how we’ve managed to stay sane thus far.
1.)  We totally made puking into a game. I was completely unprepared for the fear on my sons face as he got sick in front of me for the first time. I held a bucket under his chin, patted his back, and told him he was a good boy and was doing a great job. I noticed he calmed down, and I was also completely unprepared for him to start clapping when he finished.
Seriously.
Now, he claps whenever he hits the bucket and I say good job. Fantastic, hilarious, and SO MUCH MORE SANITARY.
2.)  We went into serious attachment parenting mode. My son stopped co-sleeping around seven months old (he slept way better on his own) but still naps with me on occasion. While he’s been sick, he’s never left my side. Being sick can be scary for a little guy, and I wanted him to know that I was there with him the entire time.
Attachment Parenting kdizio
3.)  We made the living room into a sick-zone. We put blankets over the couches (throwing a blanket in the wash is way easier than trying to fit your couch into the washing machine…for anyone that didn’t know), pillows all over the floor…it was a serious comfy palace. I wanted my kid to have as much fun as he could and be comfortable wherever he felt the need to land. He especially enjoyed his floor-bed.
Sick Zone kdizio
4.)  Digestzen and Ginger oils became our best friends. Every mom needs these oils in their cabinet. I have personally seen doTerra’s Digestzen stop a stomach bug in its tracks with the first dose. In my sons case, he had been refusing to eat or drink. A bit of Digestzen and a few drops of ginger solved that almost immediately. My son has not been dehydrated, nor has he lost any weight…after a week of being sick! That’s pretty amazing in my book.
5.)  We gave ourselves permission to use disposable diapers while our man cub has diarrhea. Because honestly? It’s just too much work when your kid and husband are both sick. God bless each and every one of you that are able to soldier through the yellow plague! I am not that strong.
6.)  My TV rules went out the window. I was a total TV kid, and while I think I turned out fine (twitch, twitch) I limit what my kid watches and how long he watches it. Usually he is allowed TV time at breakfast, and maybe a little before bed. Since he got sick, we’ve watched Toy Story about 2348763459876 times, and are now required to sing the theme song to Veggie Tales every 20 minutes. What can I say? It makes him smile.
Smile kdizio
7.)  We are staying away from dairy until our Little recovers. Did you know that a stomach virus can cause your little one to become temporarily lactose intolerant? Yea, I didn’t either…but now I do. To be on the safe side, it’s best to stop all dairy for two weeks. Moms that are breastfeeding, that means you too!
8.)  Every day became naked day. I found it easiest to keep my little guy in diaper-only mode until he got the hang of getting sick into a bucket. There’s a lot less laundry, less struggling to get messy shirts over heads, and less pants with unsightly stains to scrub. But for real, what kid doesn’t prefer being naked? Once everything was under control, we went into pajama-party mode.
Relaxing kdizio
So, honestly? My first experience as a mom with a toddler who has a nasty stomach virus hasn’t been all THAT bad. I can’t say it’s been my favorite week, or that I prefer to repeat it, but it has definitely been a lesson in coping mechanisms and creativity.
How do YOU cope when your little one is sick? I’m still in the midst of virus-land, so I’d love to hear your suggestions!

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Go Ahead and Rain on My Parade

Last week I was totally blessed to hear the news that I'd be guest blogging for Eco Chic this summer!  Eco Chic is a family boutique out in California that focuses on quality product, community support and total wellness. Seriously?  I wish there was an East Coast Eco Chic...
Where's the suggestion box? :)
Anyway...my first post was featured yesterday, and here it is in it's entirety.  If you like it, check back often for more! 
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“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
I went to Catholic school when I was a kid, and I must have sang that psalm a million times in the choir.
Two million, minimum.
You know when it finally meant something to me? This past Saturday.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t a kid last week, either.  I’m 31 years old,  so it literally took over twenty years to grab a hold of the Spirit on that one.
How embarrassing.
This past weekend,  my little family headed to the Jersey shore to enjoy Mother’s Day Weekend.  Sun, sand, boardwalk, pool…the possibilities were endless.
And then,  this happened:
Fog
Fog.
Not just any fog, either. Fog that got thicker and thicker as the day wore on until we couldn’t even see down the street!
I looked at the weather for the next couple of days and was pretty disappointed to see that it was supposed to rain through Saturday.
How could we possibly enjoy our time at the beach in the rain?
Bummer, right?
So. Totally. Wrong:
Baby Toss
Here are 5 reasons that rain on vacation is awesome:
1) There is a less urgent need for sunblock.  (I’m as health conscious as they come, but honestly?  Anyone that has tried to reapply sunscreen on a sandy baby totally gets me right now.)
2) Any sand that a kid decides to spontaneously make a face mask out of…washes clean in no time.
3) You find yourself being a little more  creative than usual when trying to find things to do.  Like, who knew Michael Jackson’s flamingos were free to admire at the Cape May Zoo?  (That could totally be untrue, by the way.)
4)Wet sand is way easier to write your name in.
Sand Writing
5) Guilt-free napping. I don’t know about you,  but I have skipped many awesome nap times by saying  ‘it’s too nice out to sleep! ‘
Guilt Free Napping
When I took a step back away from my plans and expectations, I remembered something extremely important:
God makes the rainy days, too.
The storms have just as much purpose as the sun.
Humbling,  right?
And you know what?  The rain passed,  the sun came out,  and we were still able to hit the pool and the boardwalk – just in time for me to understand the beauty of accepting God’s plan over my own…
… even if that means a rainy beach day!
Beach Walk


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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Bring it Down About Ten Notches

If there's one thing I do extremely well, it's anxiety.  

Honestly.  

I even have a t-shirt with this on it:


I look really good in it, too.  It just 'fits', if you know what I mean.

Want to know what I do to stay out of DEFCON 1? Hop on over to Remade for my tips on decreasing anxiety.

Have any tips or remedies for me?  I'm always down for new ideas!!

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