I have read the first 5 chapters, and I think chapter 2 is my favorite so far. It really hit home for me, and had me doing a lot of self reflection and thinking. How many times have you told yourself, "I'll start Monday" or "I'll go to the gym 4 days this week", but then you don't follow through? Or maybe you follow through for a short time, then you are back to the old you. This chapter is about not breaking promises to yourself. Seems silly, right? What's silly is being more comfortable breaking promises to yourself than you are to anyone else. Why do we feel comfortable breaking promises to ourselves? For me, I tell myself, "It's okay, you can do that tomorrow" (hence the title of the chapter), but why wait until tomorrow? Think about it like this, if you constantly broke promises to your spouse, bestfriend, or child, do you think they would trust you or anything you promise them in the future? I know I wouldn't trust or rely on someone like that. So why would we trust ourselves if we constantly break promises to ourselves? We are creating bad habits and patterns for our own lives.
I challenge you. Sit and think about promises you have broken to yourself. Small or large. Now I want you to think of one small promise you can make to yourself (realistically), and keep. For example, if you only drink 1 bottle of water per day, make a promise to drink 2. Or maybe you should start going to bed earlier or waking up earlier. Whatever it is, decide, and start. Eventually move on to something else, something larger. But remember, no matter what, NEVER break a promise to yourself.
Rachel gives great examples and tips in this chapter! If this interests you, I encourage you to read the whole thing!
Something Else Will Make Me Happy
I know for myself I have always said this at instances in my life. I have depended on something so I can be happy. I now realize that is the wrong way to view happiness and life.
Let me ask you: Have you ever made your happiness dependent on something?
When I was teenager I’d say, when I become an adult I will be happier with myself. Then as I became an adult, if I get financially stable I will be happier. If I have a nicer car I would be happier. You get the idea, because I promise I have relied on a lot of other things to make me happy.
That is the problem!!
I have relied on so many things to make me happy, but I NEVER once looked in the mirror and said, “Christina how can you make yourself happy.” Essentially that is where we need to start because if I wanted to be happier or have a better life it was up to me. Crazy right? It is up to us to be happy and to have a good life. Yes, it bears repeating because we forget that it is up to us. I want happiness for myself, my family, my friends and for you. Does that mean we will live a worry-free life and not struggle at times? No, because life isn’t perfect. It does mean we will have the roots already set to hold us up and that is our faith. I may not attend church every Sunday but that doesn't mean I lack in my faith. With that being said I don't claim to be a perfect Christian either, because I'm not.
This week, let’s focus on how we can make us happy. What can we do to change our perspective on life and happiness? Not material things. Let’s dig a bit deeper than that and plant those roots.
A few years ago, a Deacon at our church who is a family friend was explaining to a few of us on how to read the Bible. He said, “if you have never taken the time to read the Bible I suggest you start out reading Matthew, Mark, Luke and John first, and at least read it a few times.” Needless to say, I began reading Matthew but never got past Chapter 5, I did this multiple times throughout the years. I either allowed life to get in the way or I got lazy and flat out chose not to read. Honestly, I was never fully committed to any of my faith-based ideas I had set in front of myself. I had thoughts about being judged for reading the Bible because I made many mistakes in my life and was afraid to be deemed a hypocrite. I am embarrassed because I am not knowledgeable of the stories in the Bible for me to even begin studying it. Out of conversation Megan and I expressed to each other how we wanted to further our understanding of the Bible but what we really meant was begin. That next weekend we went to lunch and went to buy our Bibles and labels. The excitement Megan had was contagious, which in turn made me even more excited. I remember coming home, labeling my Bible and sending her a picture. She sent me a picture of her doing the same. Let me remind you that all of this excitement happened in June of this year and we haven’t made it past Matthew chapter 5 either. We allowed ourselves to get lost in life and got off track of what is important and why we began this journey in the first place. Recently, we were in conversation and began discussing how we miss getting together and reading our Bible and having discussions.
Here we are beginning again......only this time we have purpose, motivation and planning.
As this may sound bad or seem embarrassing I have figured out a way to keep my daily readings a priority. When we schedule meetings, doctor appointments or conferences etc. We don’t cancel unless we absolutely have a reason. So, in my planner I schedule an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening for an appointment for me to read my Bible, listen to motivation podcasts, daily devotional, quiet time to pray and coffee. I have not been doing this long at all, only a few days. Remember we are starting again and figuring this out. However, these past few days have been nice because I have been more positive and disciplined in this journey. Again, I am not perfect but I am trying and that’s what matters.
I hope you join us on this journey and know that it is alright to start over, as long as you start.
Music. Such a broad word with so many different genres, artists and songs. There one hit artists and the artists who have been around for decades. From my perspective I feel like music can heal, no matter what genre you choose. There are only a few genres I like to listen to and no matter the day I am having the music seems to always speak to me. I don’t know if it ever happens to any of you, but I know if I am listening to the radio a song will come on and I think to myself, “I really needed that.” Some will chalk it up to a coincidence, but I choose to think of it as God speaking to me. Whether it’s a bad day, if I am sad, or everything is going great I listen to music and I feel like we are going through that certain situation together.
The genres I enjoy are oldies, country, Christian and new age country. Yes, I do feel like country music today is way different than what it use to be but I do enjoy some of it and so do our kids. Music not only helps heal but it also brings families together. We have a blast in our house or in the car because we blare music and dance around the Livingroom. Our kids have so much fun and I love seeing their smiles and thinking daddy dances silly (no rhythm) but he is a good sport. Music changes perspectives on so many things and sometimes it really makes you think, it’s powerful.
Please just take the time to listen to the words.
August 26, 2017 is a day many people in my surrounding area will never forget. People lost homes, vehicles, and other personal belongings. Fortunately, that was all that was lost, as our family remained safe and together. I was 30 weeks pregnant, I had one of my baby showers that afternoon. I came home, unloaded everything, and we had Daniel’s family over “riding out the storm” and watching the fight. We thought our home was a good place to hang out because we were not in a flood zone and had no flood issues in the past. We can’t say that anymore! That night our home received about a foot of water inside the house. I will never forget that night. Me, Daniel, my in-laws, Christina, Steven, and the kids were all here. I was super pregnant, I had 2 large dogs on a leash, my nephew was only 5 months old being carried in his car seat, and of course we had Kinsley and Khloe as well. We were not a light bunch! Fortunately, the kids slept through the whole night. They were awesome. Without going into much detail about how night, we made the decision to drive out in our trucks when daylight came. We all piled into 2 trucks, we had about 10 of our neighbors join as well and drove through at least 4 feet of water to higher ground. We were then on an island waiting to be picked up by a rescue truck, as there was no way out of Dickinson except by boat, jet ski, or rescue truck. We all piled into the truck and made it to a school that was being used as a temporary shelter. We were very lucky to have Daniel’s uncle not only pick us up, but also house me, Daniel, Dallas, and Mia. I was very nervous at first, it’s one thing to offer your home to two people, but to also take in two large dogs is another thing. We were never once made to feel unwelcome, despite my nerves. That was our home for 8 weeks as we rebuilt.
Those 8 weeks were anything but pleasant. Daniel got called to work the storm that hit Florida the week after Harvey, so I was left to rebuild the house with the help of our family. I did not have time to enjoy nor despise the end of my pregnancy. Instead of building a nursery, we were rebuilding a house. After lots of sweat and tears, we were able to move back in Saturday, October 14. All day Sunday we spent building the crib, changing table, and dresser. The next few days were spent putting the rest of the nursery together. We finished just in time, as we welcomed our princess exactly one week after moving back in on October 21. Our home wasn’t 100% complete, as we did not have a functioning kitchen or any sinks, but we were able to bring our baby home, which was our goal.
Here we are, a little over a year later and I have remembered, reflected, and replayed those events over and over again the last few weeks thinking about what we were doing this time last year. While what happened was devastating and I don’t wish it on anyone, I also believe that everything happens for a reason (sidenote-we do have flood insurance now! So if this happens again, we will be better prepared). Different things happened after the storm that resulted in better opportunities for my family. Daniel and I have both grown as individuals, and as a couple. We had been together for six years prior to Harvey but grew more than ever in this last year together. We rebuilt our home, brought a baby into this world, and got married. I look forward to the many years ahead as we build and grow more together <3
The Final Chapters
This chapter is titled “I Don’t Have Enough Time Left” it’s a broad title but when it comes to being a mom we all have an idea of what this means. We wish we had more hours in the day, more time with our kids, more time with our husbands etc. There have been times where using our time wisely hasn’t been something we were good at. Rarely but sometimes our kids spend the night with family and my husband and I have some quiet time at the house and we end up talking about bills, work, end up cleaning the house. We don’t take that time to just focus on us, to just spend time loving on each other and it is so important to do that. “Time is holy-sacred-and we honor the sacredness of time by the way we use it” (Ruth, page 171). The next chapter “I Want to Make a Difference” and being a mom, we do that every day with our children. But we can go further than that and I know for myself I have been feeling the need to contribute and I have taken the steps to do so, I want to do more. “God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). When these times of making a difference happen in our lives, we don’t have to announce it to anyone because God will let us know when that time is right. The final chapter of this book is “I Want to Enjoy the Journey” every day passes, our kids get older, we get older and or lives ae so busy we forget to ENJOY this time. This also goes along with our relationship with God. “We all have “Sauls” I our lives. People who watch us. Listen to us. Know us. Our sons and daughters. We have the privilege of influencing them for better or for worse. So, every part of this journey matters not only because what God is doing in us, but because of what God is doing in the people around us” (Ruth, Page 192).
This book means more to me than Ruth will ever know. It has made an impact on myself in a way I can’t fully explain, and no I am not perfect and still have my moments on not making the holiest of decisions but God never intended us to be perfect. It is called a journey for a reason.
"I Don't Know Who to Listen To" this chapter is so important for moms because we have all been on the other side of comments from others when it comes to our parenting. Ruth explains, "a mom had her son getting in a stroller and it was freezing outside and she threw a blanket on him, well the blanket blew off him and an older woman had seen him without a coat and shamed the mom verbally." Now we have all felt the embarrassment of comments by strangers, family, friends or everyone else who thinks they are experts on being parents. This is where we learn how to tune out those voices and listen to the others that are genuinely trying to be helpful. Like God. "God's voice reminds us we are loved. His voice leads us without driving us. God's voice is perfecting us" (pages 143, 144). We just need to listen. The next chapter is "I Can't See Where I'm Going", sometimes with being a mom we get so overwhelmed we can't see what is in front of us. No matter how overwhelmed we feel or the times we have a mom fail always remember, "God didn't make a mistake in choosing us to be the mother of our children. He is using our families to pass on the faith" (page 150). Now days we have so many ways we are told to raise our children, but with all these ways we don’t know what is right or wrong. "Embracing the mission isn't always easy. Nothing important ever is, momming included" (page 152). The final chapter for tonight's summary is "I Need Some Alone Time" and just like our daily devotional I think we can relate to what this is referring to. As mom we fill so any different roles and our names get called what seems like a thousand times a day. We need to have our time alone to collect our thoughts and be alone with God. Sometimes we feel like we slip, but "when we recognize our short comings our response shouldn’t be (I'll try harder) it should be (Lord I need you. I want to be with you)" (page 164).
Next week will be the last week of our Better Moms series of summaries. I have really enjoyed putting these into a short message for you because this book is a definite read and will help you in so many aspects of life. I know it has helped me.
In talking about these three chapters I can't say that I have a favorite, because they all speak to me in a different way. That’s what is so amazing about this book, at one point or another you have been in a similar situation and have felt the exact same way. Ruth wrote this book to let all of us mommas know that we aren't alone. So, let's dive in.
Starting off Ruth titles the Chapter "I Hate to Fail" I think that’s something that all of us ladies can relate to in one way or another. Patience is something I struggle with daily, not only with my kids but with my husband as well. That doesn’t mean that I snap at my kids or husband daily because I don’t. Before I lose my temper, I TRY to count to 5 in my head and take a deep breath and that saves a lot of heartache. However, there are those times when my patience wears thin, gets the best of me and I do snap at my loved ones. When this happened with Ruth and her daughter she says, "My behavior was overboard, and I immediately felt the sting of conviction. Realizing my own sin, I backed off and apologized" (pg. 109). I have felt that sting at one time or another. She refers to (Hebrews 4:13) "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account." We can't hide from God. There is hope though, we can give ourselves to God and he will guide us to become better. "God wants to give us good hearts; hearts that are renewed by his Spirit" (pg.117). This leads into the next chapter "I Worry Constantly" and that couldn’t be truer. There are so many things I worry about when it comes to my kids. Is anyone being mean to them? Are they going to be successful when they get older? Will they resent me for homeschooling them? I could list a whole lot more, but I will spare you. "The truth of God's word reminds us that even when we are afraid, God is in control. Our lives are in his hands" (pg.121). Our lives were planned out a long time ago and we must trust his plan. Our next chapter is titled "Motherhood is Robbing Me of _________." When being a first time mom we don’t realize how secluded we will be. I know for myself I stayed in my house and took care of my daughter. Spending time with others never really crossed my mind because I was occupied with her. Now that I have 3 kids I have found a new purpose, which is homeschooling. Although motherhood does rob me of date night with my husband (we rarely go out). Majority of the time I have myself to blame because I feel guilty leaving them. Ruth talks about being called "Just a Mom" (pg.128). I can relate because I have been called that many times. It stings a bit because I don’t sit around and eat bon bons all day. "Being a better mom is not all about what we are doing. It is about who we are becoming in the process. In God's hands, the hard, sacred, and beautiful work of momming isn't robbing us; it is redefining us" (pg. 131). This journey of being a mom is tough. Join us next week for another summary of the next three chapters.
Chapter six is easily one of my favorite chapters in this book. It is titled “I Miss my Friends”, but it’s not what you think. It’s about how friendships change when you have kids, and how you must manage your day differently when meeting up with your friends. I have a few mom friends, but Christina is the one I see the most. My other friends I see frequently don’t have children yet. When Gabriella was a couple of months old, it was easier to go out to dinner, to meet up with friends, or to run errands because she would sleep a lot. Now that she is 9 months old and started crawling and pulling up on EVERYTHING, running errands, going out to eat, or meeting at a friend’s house to visit isn’t as easy. She loves to be active, explore, and play with her toys! So, when we do go out, I try to plan my day around her naps. I at least try to get her morning nap in before leaving so I don’t have a cranky baby. The second nap is much easier to skip, because she will just go to bed a little earlier. I wouldn’t care if we left the house before her nap, but she DOES NOT nap anywhere but our house or in the car. She does not like to miss out on whatever action is going on, so her routine is always thrown off if we decide to leave. Some people may think it’s silly to plan my schedule around her naps, but I feel selfish if I drag her around with me and don’t let her get a good nap in. She is miserable and extra clingy. I have many paragraphs marked in this chapter to reflect back on, but here is one that I will share, “Getting together when kids are involved takes a lot of work, and even when you do manage to get together with another mom on a play date, the constant interruptions and noise from our children make it difficult to connect deeply. No wonder many moms, even those who have had good friends, feel like meaningful friendships are almost impossible during this season of life” (pg.60). So don’t worry momma, you are not alone!
As a mom, we often feel like we always must be “on top of our game”, and frequently compare ourselves to other moms and families. STOP! As Ruth says in Chapter 7, “We must stop comparing and competing if we want to experience the lives God has for us”. She goes on to reference Hebrews 12 and remind us that, “Finishing the race well, in God’s eyes, is more important than winning the race” (pg.75). Do you momma’s. Your baby needs you, and the best that YOU are capable of. While you are doing you, sometimes you may not feel appreciated. I’m sure every one of us has felt this at one time or another. Children are needy little humans, who sometimes forget to show their appreciation. However, it just takes a crooked little smile and those eyes looking at you with all that love to make things all better. Never forget that you are their world. They need you. “We love not for our own sakes, but for the benefit of our children. We are to selflessly and sacrificially love them for what God is doing and can do in them. This is the kind of love Jesus has towards us” (pg.82). Sometimes I do get frustrated or think ‘I need a break!’, but soon after feeling that way I will be soaking in the tub after my baby is asleep and regret every feeling that I needed a break. I cherish every moment spent with Gabriella, and I selfishly hate sharing her. I don’t want to miss out on any part of her life, as I get sad thinking about how quickly she is already growing. She will be 1 in October, but I feel like I just brought her home.
So I am working on finding a balance between having “me time”, as I know it is healthy, but also being here for her as much as I can. Join us back tomorrow for the next piece of our takeaway from this amazing book that I cannot recommend enough.
Ruth created The Better Mom community as a safe place for moms to go who know they are not perfect and want to grow to always be the best they can be. It is for moms who LOVE being a wife and mom, but still have those doubts in themselves like, “I have no idea what I’m doing”, or “Everything depends on me”. Ruth continues to say that being a ‘Better Mom’ is not about “making picture-worthy crafts, saving money, cooking nutritious meals, or throwing great birthday parties”. She reveals the secret of becoming a Better Mom is seeing what God is doing in us, and who He is inviting us to become in the process of this beautiful, imperfect journey.
As moms, we sometimes lean to two extremes while momming. We either get so frustrated and ‘glorify in the mess’ (pg.13), or we hold ourselves to a standard of perfection. Both extremes are unhealthy. We need to find peace and enjoy our ‘perfect’ moments, but also relish in the imperfection. This piece of the book really spoke to me, “We don’t have to have too many miles behind us in this momming journey to discover our need for heart-change” (pg.13). I didn’t have the perspective on life that I have gained in the last 8 months. I still question myself and ask, “What am I doing?!”, “Am I doing this right?”, “Should I stop letting her sleep with me?”, or “Do I give in too easily?”. As moms we constantly second guess whether we are making the best decisions for our children. Chapter 2 goes into great depth of helping you connect with God and ensure that you are doing your best. Always remember, “If anyone tries to judge you, remember that they didn’t- and don’t- have it all figured out either!” (pg. 25). As moms we sometimes feel like everything depends on us and we want to create the perfect home for our family. I feel thankful for Daniel, because our home was flooded in Hurricane Harvey, and we moved back in 5 days before I gave birth to Gabriella. Our home was not in order. So, on top of having a newborn, I had no kitchen, no sinks, and moving boxes everywhere. Not only was it difficult for me to keep up with laundry and our daily living, but I was stressed about our home not being in order. Daniel would work all week, and still help me clean the house Saturday mornings. We must remember we are not in this journey alone. Even if you don’t have a spouse, maybe you have a parent, or a friend, but holding onto control alone is EXHAUSTING.
It all that exhaustion, sometimes we lose our identity as an individual. Chapter 5 helps you find your real sense of worth, “God is the true source of our worth. What he says about us matters most” (pg.55). Sometimes we may feel like we are not good enough, or we are not doing all we can, but always remember, “When the house is a mess and dinner isn’t ready, we still have a Father who is pleased with us” (pg. 56). We are good enough for our family, even when things aren’t perfect <3.
When talking with my business partner about this segment of our blog we were both a bit worried about how it would be perceived by everyone. We came to the decision to move forward because these things are helping us as mommas and also as individuals. Here is a little background of myself and my relationship with God. I was brought up attending church every Sunday and volunteering for many things and organizations in my church. I didn't make the best decisions growing up in high school and into my very young adult years, a lot in which I regret but yet I am grateful. My decisions at that time are the reasons I drifted away from the church and God. I remember thinking to myself, "you don’t belong there, the people that go to church don’t make mistakes like you did, they are good people and you are not" so I kept myself away because I didn’t feel worthy enough to attend. Fast forward and I am married with 3 beautiful kids and I see things in a different light. Praying for God to come into my heart and change me is a process because I have been a certain way for a very long time and sometimes I slip but at least I am not going backwards. I have such a long way to go in my spiritual journey, but it has been such an amazing start. I will never claim to know everything about this subject because I don’t, but I can share what helps me. Beginning with this book The Better Mom, absolutely amazing because it feels like every chapter is meant just for you. We have a lot of fun things planned for this section and I am excited to share this wonderful journey with you. Let's move forward together.
Religion is a sensitive subject, so please read with an open mind and no judgement should you choose to follow my journey.
I was born into a church and baptized, but did not attend church regularly growing up. I started dating Daniel when I was young, and he is very much involved in his faith. We knew from the time we started dating that we would raise our family in his faith when that time came. Well the time is now here, and I want to get more involved with my faith to set a good example for our daughter. How can I set a good example if I am unable to answer questions she may have as she is learning? As I mentioned in my bio, Christina and I started a small book club which is what led to us starting this blog. Our book club contained 3 readings each week: a ‘mom’ book or motivational book, a daily devotional, and the bible, starting with Matthew. This section of the blog is dedicated to our ‘mom books’ and motivational books. We will choose books to read, summarize them, and reflect on them.
The first book we chose is The Better Mom by Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk. I will be doing chapters 1-10 this week, and Christina will posting chapters 11-20 next week. We hope you enjoy this section as much as we do!