Moms, You are the Boss and the Employee

Kathleen and Amerey discuss home administration and how usually when you’re a mom, you end up being at the top and the bottom of the totem pole.

Moms, You are the Boss and the Employee (1)

 

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Seriously, we do it all! We’re jacks of all trades! But sometimes it is too much! We encourage you to set realistic goals and expectations and give a glimpse into a healthy way to be the boss and the employee of your home! Be sure to subscribe to stay up-to-date on our podcasts! Please follow our Facebook page, The Whole House, and on Instagram @the_whole_house Thank you so much for joining us!

 

 

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An Easter Miracle

I leaned my head back on the head rest as the rolling hills of Pennsylvania turned into the neat squares of flat corn fields of Ohio. I counted squirrels nests in the trees and prayed for family as we traveled to the Great Wolf Lodge with daughter Amerey and family. My life seemed to be a flurry of activity lately. And some of the flurry had culminated in a major decision that day in my charcoal Subaru. It was the death of an idea, the purchase of an historic home to convert into a retreat center. I had immersed myself in plans, meeting with contractors and dragging my realtor-sister to the home weekly for a new bid from wary contractors who looked at me as if I had lost my head. I had. I lost my head in a dream. A dream to run a retreat center for adoptive and foster parents. The Bower House boasting of seven thousand square feet,nine bedrooms and six bathrooms seemed to be an answer to my prayer. Driving down the interstate to our mini vacation, Jerry and discussed the obstacles and decided there were too many. Too much money. Too many unknowns. The death of an idea, but not the death of my dream.

It seemed as if God had planned this mini vacation so I could gaze into the smiling faces of my grandchildren and laugh. I needed to soak in the blessings that God had given me. Splash and laugh with a two year old. Listen to the happy babble of a five month old.

It was Good Friday and we spent it playing in the water, napping and playing games that spit out tickets to spend on tiny trinkets. I went through the stations of the cross in my head. I could feel the deep dark hard wood of the pews under my body. I could see the stations dimly lit and hear the monotone voice of the priest. All those years of stations embedded in the deep grooves of my brain. They were there. I knew the history of Jesus riding through town on a donkey and the children shouted, “Hosanna!”. I play and replay the Last supper, the betrayal, the Crucifixion. And I watch the smiling faces of parents and children in the water park. Jesus died for them. He loves them.

The lights went out early in our family suite to accommodate the little girls’ sleeping schedule. I laid there in the dark and prayed again for family, friends and anything I could think of. I thought of my younger sister, Tash.” No cancer,” the report said. We rejoiced and then the news of a needed surgery to remove the tumors. A divorce pending on the horizon. A daughter fighting to stay clean and sober. I slept in fits. Waking and praying. Sleeping on a cloud of odd dreams.

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I awoke to sound of the sweet voice of granddaughter, Cecilia. She wakes happy and ready to tackle the day. Then baby Moira, smiling and sleepy eyed. “Mom, I need you to come with me for a minute,” Amerey said, grabbing my elbow. We went in the hallway and she knocked on the door diagonal to our’s. I stood silent and confused. The door opened. My sister Tash stood there with her long red hair in a pony tail. She smiled. “What?!” My mind reeled. How could she be here? Four hours from home? At the same Great Wolf Lodge? “I’m here with _____ ‘s family.” (Tash is a full time Autism mentor for a small boy and the family had also planned a mini vacation for Easter weekend.)

After I calmed down and stopped crying, she said, “I told God I wasn’t going to get to see any family for Easter and he heard my prayer. Here you are.”  We spent some moments here and there at the water park and caught up. This was an answer to my prayer, too. An Easter miracle. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is active in me. It is powerful enough to conquer death and bring life into situations that we think are dead. When we feel no hope or circumstances seem to smash us around and drag us down like a whirlpool, Jesus is there. He is actively praying at the right hand of the Father, interceding for each of us.

Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday, join us!

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A Year in Review

At this time of year we planners are sitting down with calendars and paper and furiously scratching out goals for the new year. I am one of those. I have goals for many specific areas of my life:  physical, emotional and spiritual. Physical includes my writing goals, goals for projects around the house, health and fitness and such. I get pretty detailed. I like things to be measurable. But, I’m getting ahead of myself, I’m pretty good at that!  What we planners, goals setters and organizers sometimes neglect is celebrating past victories. We just move on to the next thing. So, today, I’m stopping for awhile to look back over that past year. Won’t you join me?

Dear reader, you have inspired me, encouraged me and I want to share five of your favorites from this past year! (Just click on the photo to take you to the post.)

Fruit of adoption
1. Five Things Adoptive Parents Don’t Tell You
missionary
2. Five Things Adoptive Parents Don’t Tell You Part 2

 

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3. Why My Children are not Required To Practice Communism.
God does not hand out easy passes
4. Why You Should Break Your Bio Kids’ Hearts
My Autism Education
5.  The “dangers” of undiagnosed autism OR the benefits of diagnosed autism

Thanks for joining us for 2015!  You are a blessing!

To celebrate the New Year, on January 1, 2016, I want to give you a gift, the Kindle copy of Positive Adoption A Memoir!  You can learn more by clicking on the photo below:

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Three Opinions on Play dates

Wednesday I (Kathleen) wrote a post about play-dates for moms. If you missed it, you can catch up here.

Congratulations to Hollie Hart, winner of  a copy of Positive Adoption A Memoir and a ten dollar Starbucks gift card in our facebook contest.

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What do you think an encouraging play-date for Moms looks like?

Audrey:An encouraging play date for moms looks like a chance to talk and drink coffee and go on a walk. I love when I can chat and soak up some sunshine at the same time, especially since I tend to be bad about getting outside on my own. I like the occasional late night excursion, but since evenings are when my husband and I can hang out, it’s more stressful than encouraging if my weeks fill up with lots of nights out while he watches kids. I prefer play dates with one or two moms where we can talk while we let our kids play.

Kathleen: An encouraging play-date for me looks like a coffee date, lunch or sitting out on the deck with a friend/friends and being honest. I don’t do well with small talk. I am drained by it. I would rather talk with someone who is authentic and willing to empathize with me while I do the same for her. Complaining sucks the life out of play-dates. I think there is a definite divide between the state of sharing for caring and sharing to complain. I love to hear other mom’s stories and share my own. And I am sometimes prone to stop and pray.

Amerey: An encouraging play-date for Moms, is a play date that reassures Mothers that they are doing they best they can. A play date at another Moms house that shows that her house isn’t perfectly clean, or that her kids are not perfectly behaved. Also, a time were Moms can talk and be honest with each other about what they are experiencing in they’re mothering. Sometimes it is great to make something shiny, or bake something yummy just to lift your spirits.

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What do you think is the most encouraging thing a Mom friend could say to you?

Audrey:Because I personally struggle with empathy, an encouraging friend for me is one who is empathetic. When I tell her I’m having a hard day, what I need from a mom friend is not just “you’re doing a great job!” but for the gentle reminder about what my kids are probably feeling, too. It makes me look outside myself and what I’m feeling and focus on those around me instead, and that’s so much more encouraging and beneficial in the long-term than a pity party. I know the opposite is true for some moms– they need less empathy and a dose of tough love for their kids, with the reminder that it’s okay to take care of themselves. I think it depends on the person, and for me, finding an emotional opposite of sorts helps me be around people who encourage me.

It’s also important for me to be around people who share priorities with me. It doesn’t mean I can only be friends with those people, but when I’m weak and in need of encouragement or help, I trust advice and comfort more when it comes from people who share the same long-term goals and similar short-term ones.

Kathleen: I think the most encouraging thing another Mom can say to be is “Keep going. Don’t quit. You’re doing a great job!.” I have struggled for years to find my place in the body of Christ and serve with the gifts and talents that God has given me instead of being a people pleaser and latching onto whatever ministry happens to be floating by (which drains me). So, an encouraging friend is not upset if I am not following her God-sized dream and supports me while I follow mine. And she tells me so.

Amerey: The most encouraging thing a Mom friend could say to me is, “I do that too!”

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What do you think a discouraging play-date looks like?

Audrey:I’m most drained by play dates that focus on complaining. It especially makes me uncomfortable and discouraged when I’m around moms that disparage other moms or their own husbands. I don’t like being around people who encourage me to indulge in being selfish, and it can be exhausting if our priorities in life are totally different and I’m using emotional energy to keep up or not come off as judgmental just because I’m doing something in a different way. I’m not talking about small parenting decisions, mind you, but life priorities.

Second up, and I’m guilty of this too, I feel left discouraged and discontent when conversation revolves around having or obtaining the “right” material things. I’ve been noticing this more and more in myself recently and I don’t like it.

Kathleen: A discouraging play date is one that I don’t feel right at. I feel wrong. I feel as if my clothes are wrong, my calling is wrong, It’s the kind of play date when no one else in the room is like-minded and they let you know your way of thinking doesn’t match their’s and you should join them. These are the events that sent me running for the door.

I also agree with Audrey, I am not comfortable on play dates that become “bash your family” dates. I cannot stand the dates that make you feel as if you need to go to the mall and buy more, more, more because i don’t have the right material things. Play dates should be about relationships, not material things. Don’t get me wrong, I love a great creative crafting play date! These crafting dates are therapeutic if they are within my budget.

Amerey: A discouraging play date looks like a day were you are trying to encourage a mom or be encouraged and the other mother is being a negative Nancy no matter what is said or done.

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Who has been a great play-date friend and how did she accomplish it?

Audrey: I have a friend that’s up for play dates with the kids or play dates after bedtime and the flexibility is awesome. She’s willing to listen to me without always offering solutions, sometimes she just says, “That sounds so hard.” And that’s enough. But she also empathizes with my kids and notices things I might not and isn’t afraid to suggest things that are good even if they aren’t easy.   Number one: she asks how I’m doing and doesn’t freak out or shut down if I give an honest answer.
Kathleen: I have many great play date friends. They are the kind of friends I am not able to see for weeks or months, but when we get together, we just pick up where we left off. We share our lives. We pray for one another. We are honest with each other and tell the hard truths as well as the easy ones. We celebrate together. We cry together. We grieve together. A friend accomplishes this by being honest and self-sacrificing. As an adoptive Mom, I am careful what I share about my children from hard places. I must have a few safe friend so share with who know where I am coming from. Being part of a support group helps meet this need!
Amerey: My sister Audrey has been a great play date friend because she is helpful and honest with my struggles, she is always open with me about hers, and she has always been awesome in encouraging me that, “that’s normal!”
Please share your answers to these questions in the comments, you never know who you will minister to. Especially when you say  “me too”!