Some seasons of our lives, we just don’t feel like moving.
Why get intentional about moving and play?
One thing we have to get intentional about is playing and moving. We moms can get so caught up in the doing, that we forget about being. I’m not talking about vegging on Netflix or Amazon. I’m talking about intentional play for you and your children. Play builds brains, fuels logic, and gets bodies moving.
Play Therapy was developed in the 1970s to help families learn how to do intentional play with their children. It’s an important part of parenting. It stimulates brains and the relationship part of the playing grows the brain. Did you know that? Relationships grow the brain. So, the play I’m talking about is interactive.
A walk on the trail picking up nature and identifying it together.
A tea party.
Playing with Play doh.
All of these activities are work for children. We all have jobs. A child’s job is to find out how the world works -what the physical laws of nature are, how relationships work, how to get along. how to win, how to lose, how to build character.
These are all done through play/work.
Have you ever thought of play this way before?
I’m not talking about “go to your room and play by yourself.” There’s a place for that. In fact, kids are more willing to play by themselves after their emotional tank is full. We mom are the gas that fuels their tank. If you have boys, the last sentence should hit your funny bone. We co-regulate with our kids, we teach them how to play.
YOu’re never too old to Play
Some of us don’t know how to play well as adults, because no one taught us or we think we are too old for play. We’re never too old to play. It’s okay. We can have fun. We can make a mess. Remember Moms, we are the boss and the employee. If the boss says we can have a water fight, we can. Then the employee can clean it up ( that’s us too).
One year, we had moved to a new town and didn’t know anyone. I was suffering some of my own circumstantial depression and God told me to do something fun with each child every day. It was hard. It was fun. We grew closer that year as a family, more than any other time.
We had squirt gun battles, game nights, roller blades on the driveway. Hiked. Biked. Did scavenger hunts at Cabela’s.
The point is, don’t wait to want to. Do it when you don’t feel like it.
Mamas, we have to move. We do a lot of moving with babies, laundry and dishes, cooking and the like, but with all of our servant appliances, we don’t work as hard as Moms of the past used to. We can easily become couch potatoes in between jobs. Couch potato-ing makes us feel sluggish. Our lymph nodes fill with toxins that don’t drain without proper exercise. We get headaches, backaches and cranky attitudes. We need to move. Guess what, it takes the investment of time and energy. You can do it! You can! Find an accountability partner. If you want to see your children grow up, graduate, get married, and have children, you have to start working on moving today. Not some day when you have the time. Now is the time to move and play.
I started choosing a word a year many years ago because some friends told me about it. Actually, God chose it for me. Some years it took months for me to hear it. Some years I tried to reason it out of existence. The word would sneak into my thoughts again. The word would suddenly appear in my Bible reading, in conversations, and on signs. Then I wrote it down in my journal. (You can read about last year’s word here). About four years ago, I found out Debbie Macomber wrote a book –
I checked out of the library on cd and listened to it on a solo trip to South Carolina. I had lots of “aha” moments during the listen and wished I could write and drive. If you are wondering what all this “Word of the Year” stuff is, I recommend you read or listen to her book! On to my word.
My Word for 2020
In September I attended Winsome Retreat for women at White Sulphur Springs. I really needed some time with the Lord. My stress level was on overload. I needed to make some drastic decisions or my body would go into full-on CFS crash mode. I’ve been there before (almost bedridden) several times. I know the signs.
My problem? I like to work. Really. I do. I like to do good things that help people. I like to do ALL the things. What happens is I treat life like a buffet, I put all the good things on my plate, I try to do them all well and I get sick. Literally. Then one by one or all at once, I have to quit, I have to scrape all the things into the metaphorical trash. My body crashes.
I was really hoping for an angel appearance at the retreat. I wanted an angel to show up and read a list of items to “scrape off my plate” followed by a “thou shalt do this.” I didn’t get one. What I did get was a tiny vision in my minds-eye during a worship session. I was suddenly a freckle-faced toe-headed little girl with my hair sticking out on the sides. The table was laden with food and adults were sitting around it. I heard a voice say, “Act like you are chosen, come to the table.” I walked to the table and climbed up on a stool. I was grinning. That’s it.
As I drove home, I kept thinking of the word chosen as I listened to Taylor Leonhardt’s “Diamonds.” Here are some of the lyrics:
Shadows can speak louder than anything
And you believe the lies they’re saying
You are not an afterthought, love himself dreamed you up
Dressed you in diamonds, called you his star
Been hiding all this time, your hands over your eyes
I see you, darling, you have my heart
Not good enough, that’s what you tell yourself
Invisible, nobody notices
You are not an afterthought, love himself dreamed you up
Dressed you in diamonds, called you his star
Been hiding all this time, your hands over your eyes
I see you, darling, you have my heart
I see you darling
You’re a precious thought hidden in the heart of God
How good it is to know you
You became a word none of us had ever heard
How good it is to know you, how good it is to know you
I cried as I listened to “Diamonds” over and over the hills and around the mountains. I often think of myself as an afterthought and truth be told, I hide behind work.
With all this talk about self-esteem and the Christians yelling things on social media, “Don’t talk about self-care or self-love, just talk about Jesus.”
Before you pick up a stone and pelt me with it, may I point out that being chosen was God’s idea. Not man’s. The whole reason we live and breathe on this blue and green orb is that God chose to create us. He chose to love us. He chose to adopt us as His own because it was his kind intent.
4 Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love.
5 For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [[a]because it pleased Him and was His kind intent]—
– Ephesians 1: 4,5
I’ll end with the above Scripture which is one of my favorites! Make sure you read it a few times and let it soak in. Did you chose a word for 2020? Feel free to share it in the comments! Join me here next time for “What Chosen-ness Looks Like in Daily Life.”
I was having a conversation with a friend and fellow teacher at More Grace Outreach the other day. She had just gotten over to the other side of some not great circumstances in her family life. I mentioned the seemingly inevitable occurrence – whenever we think – I’ve got this, or everything is running smoothly, something goes wrong.
Not twenty minutes later, her one of her boys was in throwing up and she had to leave MGO, on top of that, there was a gas leak at one the properties she and hubby owned. If I were one of those people who believed in weird things, I could blame myself for her circumstances because I had said the words.
It seems a universal theme for all humans to have bad things happen. Not just once. But over and over. Not long after her new crisis, my family had a new one. I’m not going to list all the negative, bad, horrible events that come as a package deal with large family living. The more people in your family, the more things happening. It’s just math pure and simple.
My View Of God determined my Response
I used to think of God as a horrible dictatorial being in heaven with a giant sledge hammer meeting out punishment for every infraction. When I believed God had those characteristics, when something went wrong in my life, I immediately blamed myself. I went over my behaviors and attitudes and tried to figure out what I had done wrong. My next step was to ask God why He was punishing me. It wasn’t pleasant looking. I was full of self-loathing, fear, anxiety, and not enjoyable to be around. Let’s just say my fruit of the spirit dried up during these times. And if I’m honest, in times of super stressful situations, I revert to believing and thinking in “Everything is my fault. I made this happen” or “God is punitive.” I do now have a check in my spirit which quickly gets me back on track.
A Renewed View
A few weeks ago, my eldest son, post accident, post surgery was binge watching “The Good Doctor.” After a few episodes, I walked into the family room and he said, “Mom, even though you have been at the hospital A LOT for the past month, we are all really okay. We could have been so much worse.” And he is right. I had joked with the barista at the hospital Starbucks that I practically lived there.
I’m not saying all this to make light of surgeries, hospital stays, or horrific circumstances. Not at all. It’s just a trap to be living on the edge of what-bad-thing-is-going-to-happen-next sort of thinking. Guess, what? Stuff is going to happen. It’s better to change our mindsets to how we respond or how we prepare. If your life is totally great right now, that’s awesome. When I have times of calm I can develop a false faith. Kara Tippets calls it “manufactured faith” in her book The Hardest Place. I’ve been there. In my desire to feel secure (because of some trauma in my past), I manufacture faith by doing all the right things. Then when bad things happen, I feel betrayed as if my faith didn’t work at all. What about you? Do you struggle with that? Do you get tripped up by your circumstances?
The Outcome of Trials
I read this verse in Proverbs 11 and it put some ideas and beliefs into perspective:
When swelling and pride come, then emptiness and shame come also, but with the humble (those who are lowly, who have been pruned or chiseled by trial, and renounce self) are skillful and godly Wisdom and soundness.
When I have pride because my faith is based on my works, I feel empty and ashamed when things go wrong. And they will go wrong because we live in a fallen world. The emphasis on my faith here is in me, my ability to keep being “good.” When my eyes are fixed on Jesus, His power, His ability, when the trial comes and I renounce self, God chisels me. I get spiritually chiseled, godly Wisdom and soundness. Soundness says, “This terrible circumstance isn’t a punishment.” As Lysa Terkheurst says in Uninvited, “It’s impossible to hold up the banners of victim and victory at the same time.” Humility gives us the advantage of letting God’s hand work on us in the midst of the trial. We cannot let circumstances define or confine us. Circumstances are not the measure of our faith or our worth.
On the podcast this week, special guest Tessa Allen shares some design tips and a little about her background in interior design. It’s encouraging to listen to her perspective because she doesn’t come from an attitude of “having it all together” or “knowing it all.”
It’s okay to copy color
In Tessa’s home, the color flows from room to room. It’s cohesive, calm, and comforting. What’s amazing about the color? She copied. The ideas/tones/color palettes came from looking at other people’s homes. She picked her mindful gray (Sherwin Williams) and navy from friends’ homes and a model home.
I don’t know about you, but that makes me breathe a huge sigh of relief. It’s okay to copy. This isn’t a third-grade spelling test — it is your home. If you feel comfortable with a color in someone else’s home, try using it in yours!
Don’t follow a trend you don’t like
On the podcast, I share a story about a blue couch. I bought a blue couch with those tufted pillows attached to the back because it was a trend. Neighbors and friends were putting this style of couch in their homes, so I followed suit.
Guess what? I didn’t like it. I bought it because I wanted to follow a trend. I put that couch in my basement family room hoping the kids would jump on it, spill stuff on it, and it would need to be replaced. They did all of the above, but I didn’t get to replace the couch right away. Instead, I had to live with the stained couch for quite a while until I passed it on to my younger brother.
The lesson? Don’t buy something you don’t LOVE just because it’s trendy.
If you love a Trendy Idea, use it in Moderation
I have a wall of shiplap in my family room. I love it. The truth is, the shiplap wall was birthed out of a need to cover some holes — big holes that meant the wall needed to be replaced or covered. I chose shiplap, and I love it.
I also love bright colors. Sometimes they are the trend, sometimes not. Although I learned the hard way not to cover the walls of my house with them, I still have lots of accents of color that can easily be changed. If you see a new trend such as the popular navy or blush, try doing an accent wall, or a paint a piece of furniture that can be changed with little effort.
Shop for Used furniture
Let’s face it: We don’t all have unlimited funds to purchase furniture and wall art. I can’t tell you how many times I see a piece and tell my husband, “It’s all in the details,” as if he will jump on board for my purchase. The truth is, he doesn’t really care about the details until he sees it all together. It’s just a personality trait, not a fault. He often doesn’t mind my logic or my latest purchase at Hobby Lobby of a coffee mug to display on the coffee bar — if there is money set aside for it.
If there is no money, there is no money. If there is a bit of money, then consignment stores are the way to go! Consignment, second-hand stores, and yard sales all have treasures waiting to be found! You just have to go find them. Just don’t go hog wild without Tessa’s next point in mind.
Know your color Palette before you purchase
Tessa suggests carrying your paint swatch in your purse when shopping for decor. Brandi Panson mentioned this on last week’s podcast (and article). “Begin with the end in mind” is the way she phrased it. If you have no color palette, no end in mind, no style in mind, you will buy whatever appeals to you (raising my hand) and waste money. It doesn’t save you any money to buy all kinds of knick-knacks and decor unless they fit your home’s style and color palette.
They don’t make it like they used to
My parents used to say “they don’t make them like they used to.” I thought it was weird, then. What’s weirder is I say it myself now. I have wanted a yellow chair for years because yellow is my favorite yellow! I’ve looked at ones at IKEA for many years, but I just couldn’t plunk the money down to get a yellow chair that doesn’t fit my style.
So I waited. This past Christmas season, my sister Anne found a vintage yellow chair in a local shop, The Looking Glass. She sent me a photo. As soon as I opened the message, I knew that chair was yelling my name! “Kathleen! Kathleen! Kathleen!” I immediately contacted the owner of the shop and asked her if it was available. She said yes, but she could only hold it one day.
I texted hubby: I found my Christmas present. I waited a few minutes and shot him this text: We have to pick it up tomorrow, and we need the truck. A few minutes later: It’s this much $$$$. He got a laugh out of it, and I got a vintage yellow chair that I love… which leads me another one of Tessa’s points:
It’s okay to wait
We have been conditioned by HGTV to think that a whole house can/should be done in a weekend or a matter of months. That’s not realistic in many scenarios and not always the best idea. When you move into a home, it’s important to see how your family functions in that space. It’s also important to figure out what style you want to see. This takes time.
And with a limited budget, often we have to design in the most cost-effective ways. That may mean stripping wallpaper off the dining room walls is the first design step. It may also mean that sectional you want for the family room will have to be on the back burner for a while, even if you are shopping second hand. That’s okay. It is more important to be content with what you have then to have everything look perfect.
If you are struggling with this concept, I hear you. I struggle to. For years I made my home an idol. You can that my story here.
Make your home fit your family
I think we alluded to this on last week’s podcast, but it’s worth repeating. You may be looking at all the photos of homes from our social media this month and thinking, “That’s just not me. I don’t like any of that.”
If so, that’s okay. The point isn’t to pattern your home after someone else’s (unless you want to) — the point is to make your home fit your family. Your home should be unique. It should speak your name, not mine. My family affectionately calls our home “The Guire Shire” (we’re huge Lord of the Rings Fans). Maybe you could try naming your home, too.
Whatever you do, make your home fit your family, then invite me over for a cup of coffee.
Hi, I’m Tessa. Daughter of the King, wife of Jess, mother to Lexie & Alivia. I love to laugh and have fun (not the wild and crazy kind of fun, just simple fun). I also love music! I play piano, teach piano lessons, and accompany local choirs and soloists. I love teaching, whether it’s piano lessons, general music class, or teaching my girls something new. I also love to learn.
Interior design has always been something that I have enjoyed. As a freshman in college, I took an intro to Interior Design class and really liked it. While I was working on my music education degree, design was always in the back of my mind. So, once I completed my music degree, I stuck around and got an interior design degree 😊
I used my design degree for a few years once I graduated, although it didn’t really look like what I had envisioned while in school. Throughout the years, I have always loved putting my house together, choosing colors, figuring out where things go, discovering new items I want, and deciding how to put it all together. Since we have moved four times, I’ve gotten to do that a lot!
For me, design and having people feel comfortable in my home is important. If it brings peace to my soul and my family and friends feel at home, then I consider it a success.
This week on the podcast, Amerey and Kathleen finished up the Back to Basics Series with Basics of Motherhood.
Are you a mother? Do you often feel isolated or alone? Do you feel as if you need to “fix” your child so they are like everyone else? Do you have doubts, struggles and wonder if other mothers have the same issues? Then this is for you!
You don’t need to fix the child.
On the The Whole House Podcast this week, Amerey and Kathleen talk about a lie that mothers often believe. What is that lie?
That your child needs fixed. From the time our child is an infant we encounter people who tell us:
The child isn’t sleeping – fix it. The child needs to be rocked to sleep – fix it. The child is not reading by the time they are 4 -fix it.
It’s a never ending list.
While there are guidelines and stepping stones of development, your child doesn’t need pushed through them. God made her the way she is. Your job as a parent is to meet her where she is, not to fix her.
Your child can’t be wrong in her makeup. She is born a certain way. You can’t say that a baby’s sleeping/eating/coping patterns are wrong. You don’t need to fix the child. Don’t stress yourself. Don’t say, “Her child is right and my child is wrong.”
If you just accept your child as she is then you will feel free. You will be free to parent the child the way she needs parenting.
You have probably already found things that work for your child.
Don’t feel guilty for doing those things. Don’t look at other parents and measure yourself against their yardstick. You’re not failing just because you aren’t parenting like another mother is. You are doing exactly what your child needs right now. That’s good parenting.
You are doing a great job! Go YOU! Your job is to make them feel safe, secure, and cared for. If a child has a capital letter syndrome, then we make special accommodations for her (or we should).
Even if a kiddo doesn’t have a capital letter syndrome, we should parent her in the way she needs parenting. Cecilia is Amerey’s little one who has trouble sleeping. She doesn’t have a capital letter syndrome, but at age five, she uses a weighted blanket and needs melatonin to sleep.
Adults are picky. Why can’t kids be picky?
Our culture expects kids to conform to whatever we tell them to do. Kids are humans. Each child has a personality. They will have likes and dislikes just like adults. It’s okay. Don’t force your kiddo to like something because you think she should. It will backfire. Don’t try to shove a square peg in a round hole.
You want your child to feel comfortable at the table. So, if she doesn’t like what is always being served, don’t make it about the food. Make it about nutrition and relationship. Family dinners should be about connection.
Do unto other’s as you would like to be done unto you.
Listen to your kiddo when she is expressing a need, fear, like or dislike. That’s what adults want. Kids want the same thing. Think of your child as a person.
Motherhood is steeped in whatever is going on in the current culture.
When you’re born, whatever your culture is doing, we naturally do it. That is dangerous.
We have a family culture. A church culture. A culture.
Ask yourself these questions:
Why are we parenting this way?
What is my purpose as a mother?
What are my morals and values? What are my morals?
Am I living out those values.
Pause. Examine yourself. We should be laying up our treasures in heaven. Do we want to not invest in our children so when they grow up they are floundering. They are asking – is this the right religion? Is this the right religion?
Find a Group of Moms who support you.
You can feel isolated. You can feel like a lone wolf. Then you isolate and the then hyper focus especially if you are a perfectionist.
Moms tend not to talk about the things they really struggle with. They tell poop stories and other things, but are often afraid to tell the truth about the struggles they are going through.
You need to reach out to other Moms and find some who are going through similar situations.
Walk away from groups/friends that don’t encourage, equip and educate you! Friends who support your on your journey and don’t judge your child or want you to fix her are the kind to keep around.
Keep in mind your mission is to raise up a well-balanced child. Your mission is NOT to create a carbon copy of everyone else. Parenting a child as if she is “right” not “wrong” will help her navigate life with confidence. The end goal is heaven and a “Well done good and faithful servant” from God, not an “Atta boy” from the world.
Want the rest of the story? Listen to the podcast!