Sunday, October 29, 2017

It's Time To Get Back In The Saddle Again: 10 Tips To Start Living Healthy Today!







By Rachael J DeBruin, Registered Holistic Nutristionist*




"For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! 
Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. 
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland."

Isaiah 43:19 (NLT)




The scale has been quite unkind to me the last few years.

And for that, I am no longer its "friend"...

____________


Yes, having three children back to back can make a person's
body weight fluctuate.

Particularly if you are markedly "lucky" to hail 
from a long line of diabetics, and those that seem to
have the "gift" of a slow metabolism.

Yep, famines must be somewhere down my family line ;)

__________

So, I recently decided to combat this "formidable foe"
of extra girth, and returned to the gym.

And no, I'm not "one of those"
who supposedly have a new gym membership
but never darken the doors.

The staff are even becoming familiarized to our family.
We try to show up 2-3 x's per week.

I also recently joined an adult karate class.
Two hours of kickbutt fun every Thursday.

Wanna join me to suffer, er get in shape??
(seriously...send me an email. It can be a lot of fun too!)

I also started making myself walk the extra mile where I can.

And today, well today I am actually proud of myself.
I went to a health store and actually
didn't check out with a few too many of those so called 
"healthy" treats.

(& don't you dare judge me?! who really goes to the health
stores for only hemp hearts & kale??)

_________________

Ah, the lovely existence of making new resolutions,
and social media proclamations of one's 
new health plans...

BUT, this is not what this post is intended to be.

Well, not solely anyway.

I am hoping to encourage those who
have ALSO been struggling...

Struggling to get your pants zipped up.
(Hey, they were shrunk in the dryer, right??)

Struggling to walk a flight of stairs without being winded.
(It's my asthma, ONLY...)

Struggling to look & feel their best.
(I mean, who has the time when I'm so busy...)

It's time to leave the excuses at the door,
and begin to invest in your health.

In YOU.

____________________

I want to share TEN TIPS (reminders for myself too)
on how to get back in the saddle & take back your health!


1) Stop beating yourself up!

There I said.

Give yourself grace. Forgive yourself.
And then get up & begin again.

The more you beat yourself up, the longer you sit
in self-pity...the longer you sit there, and
the less likely you are to follow
ANY health plan.


2) Find an encouraging friend (or two).

Following a health routine is hard enough
to do on our own, but research shows that
grabbing a friend will help you BOTH get into
the groove together.

Accountability has great dividends
in any area of life, so why not
find someone today that can join you
in your new healthy pursuits!


3) Set a goal

Want to create a health-related goal that
you will actually follow?

The experts say make it something small & manageable to
start with. 

Then conquer that 'giant' and
get on to the next one!

Step by step, as we conquer our smaller goals,
they eventually snowball & add up to
something quite noticeable.


4) Drink more water

Hydration is one of the biggest keys to nourishing the body.

Start the day with some water, and
drink throughout the day.

I would advise drinking the bigger cups
in-between meals, so as not to dilute or
hinder digestion, but other than that, go hog wild!


5) Explore WHY you overeat (your triggers)

Everyone has their tempting situations, right?

For me, it's those days when I'm stressed, tired
and (or) feeling lonely.

It's also what we store in the house, and
when we don't prepare by packing nutritious
snacks when we are on the go.

Figuring out your trigger foods, and 
avoiding them, replacing them with 
more nourishing alternatives,
all help to stay off the extra weight.


6) De-stress your life

As said above, stress is one of my main triggers
for overeating. I would wager
it is the main trigger for 99 percent
of people who struggle with weight..

So, how to destress?

Many things could be said about this area, but
I think the biggest thing we all seem
to fall prey to these days is
overcommitment.

And commitment to things that don't
really matter in the long term.

Evaluating our time usage, and planning
in margin can go a long way.


7) Start Moving

Our lymph nodes require movement to pump
toxins out of our bodies.

Keeping healthy requires that we move our bodies
each & everyday.

Even little bursts of activity can make a big difference.


Set a goal to park farther away.

Set a goal to walk 20 minutes a few times per week.

Go swimming.

Get a bouncing indoor rebounder.


Anything that can inspire you to move & stay active!


8) More Veggies

Antioxidants are abundant in this major food group.
I'd say aim for a veggie per meal, or at least
lunch, and dinner.

Stay away from starchy "veggies" like corn & potatoes,
but feel free to go hog-wild on the greens.


9) Eat Healthy Fats

Particularly Omega 3's which are anti-inflammatory.

These can help our body hugely with
pain management and our brain function.

If you cannot consume enough fish
per week, I would advise supplementing.


10) Break Up With Sugar

This one is hard!!!

Sugar is like one of the major food groups, right?

Nope.

Sugar has many reasons that should cause
us to reevaluate how much
& if we consume it at all, but the
main one is that it is not nourishing our bodies
at all.


_________________________


So, in summary, it is time to start afresh.

We do not need to wait for the next
health crisis or new year to take one of the steps
above & gain in the area of our health.

The healthier we are, the better we feel.

The better we feel, the more energy we have.

The more energy we have, the more we can do.

It all comes back to small steps.


“I believe that the greatest gift you can 
give your family 
the world is a healthy you.“

-Joyce Meyer





*The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

5 Things To Remember When Your Child Is Having A Bad Day














We all have our difficult days.
So, why wouldn't we expect our children to have their own
from time to time?


________________


When our children act out, we need to step back & assess the situation.

While we may not be able to in the moment, I have found over time
our children may have certain patterns that become apparent.

Hopefully as you get to know your child, you can work with them
to disciple, teach, correct & encourage them much more 
efficiently as time goes on.

_______________________

and then now started the process with another child, I have found myself
immersed in parenting literature for children with special needs, 
and behaviourial problems.

However, I have found that many of the principles can be applied to any child 
to help bring about a better outcome for you AND the child
in any stressful situation.

_________________________


Your toddler is throwing a tantrum on your shopping venture because
he is feeling overtired & overwhelmed.

Your preschooler is not herself these days. She is finding your daily routine
too chaotic & acting out much more than usual near the end of the day.

Your school aged child is upset about changes going on in their sibling's life.
Unable to process this, he begins to act younger than his age and gets himself
repeatedly in trouble for being silly at inappropriate times.

Your tween is starting to notice changes to their body. They are continually 
looking in the mirror & feeling frustrated by what they see.
When you ask a simple question, they are on the verge of tears.
You are left wondering what just happened!

Your teen has just been told he was gossiped about by a supposedly "good" friend.
Said teen doesn't want to admit that it's bothering them, but instead starts to "bother" their
younger siblings for the duration of a long car ride to an appointment.

These may be real life specific examples from our own family,
 but I'm sure you can apply the 
principles to your particular life situation.

In the midst of whatever frustration is going on, we as the parents may feel overwhelmed,
angry, sad, frustrated, lacking understanding, and wondering where we went wrong!

It is often far later in the game that we can look back & see what the triggers were 
for our child, or the overall situation.

Of course, I need to add, this doesn't excuse poor behaviour.

It needs to be addressed. These are great teaching moments.

You can aid ANY parenting strategy by effectively identifying your child's triggers,
& trying to de-escalate the crisis.

Even as adults, I'm sure we can relate to a heavy issue weighing on us
& needing to be dealt with immediately before we continue on.

Sometimes a word of encouragement, and we're back at it.

Emphathy. Understanding. Patience.

All three allowing space for our child (& us) to breathe.

_________________

Here are FIVE things to remember when your child is having a bad day:
(maybe even write them out on your fridge!)


1. Let them know you love them.

Unconditional love goes so far with ANY hurting individual.

The most hurtful situations in life that I've experienced is
when I felt "love" with a string (or condition) attached...

No one likes that.

Put the behaviour aside, and always let your child know you love them
in spite of what they just did or said.

I have found this alone will sometimes diffuse a very stressful or tense situation.


2. Offer them a hug.

This goes along with the first point.

Physical touch is a key way to let your child know
that you feel their pain & are right there with them.

I say offer instead of force, because I know myself how 
much an unwanted touch (even a hug) can upset us,
even it comes from someone we usually would enjoy it from.

I have a few really touchy kids who love physical affection,
and others like me, who need to be in the right mood.

However, a safe hug can make all the difference in the world to a
hurting child.

3. Allow them a few minutes to breathe.

If the child or teen isn't making sense, they most likely 
are in flight or fright mode, and are no longer being rational.

It is important that if they need space, that you allow for it to help
them to calm down & self-regulate.

Both of our children with special needs get upset very easily, and if
we continue to push back ("argue", even try to discuss) and they
are not ready for it, then it is fruitless on both ends.

I have found allowing the child to go to their room, or take a quick walk
allows them to regroup & they usually come back
apologetic, and ready to work things out.


4. Allow them space.

This goes along with point number 3, but it also means that
you allow them space & time to think about their responses.

You may even have to allow them a day or two to think on a difficult or tense 
conversation you just had (especially with older ones).

If you have given them say two choices, don't pressure them
to immediately given an answer under duress unless
circumstances dictate it is necessary.

This is particularly important if their difficulty relates to others
outside of the family (maybe someone has deeply hurt or rejected them).

They will likely need a few shorter conversations over a few days, rather
than trying to jam in all of your thoughts & encouragement in a long session 
while the wound is still fresh.


5. Pray with and for them.

I am ending on what I feel is the most important point.

There is no one on the face of the planet who loves your child
more than God does!

He created them, and you, and He is very interested in helping
you both resolve the situation.

Sometimes I'll stop to offer a prayer right then & there.
Other times I'll just quietly pray on my own later.

Either way, the child is covered by our prayers.

I have found the battle is tough these days, and is not
for the faint of heart.

We must persevere both in our parenting, and in prayer, reading the 
Word, and fellowship, as we seek to disciple our children to Christ.

___________________


Most of all we need to show them grace.

To be consistent, and yes, hold them accountable for any wrong actions,
however, always remember their age, understanding (as in with special needs),
ability and the context of the situation.

___________________________


Lastly, I wanted to add, that even with doing ALL of the above,
sometimes circumstances still suck for our child.

Sometimes our child may struggle for more than a short while.

Trust me, we have been there.

I can relate to the powerless feeling of saying you've done all
that you know to do, and life still stinks for your child.

Don't hesitate to seek professional help.

I find the best referrals are from other parents already
two steps ahead.

Ask around, and ensure you find the right team of people
to help you when the bad days are turning into weeks...months...
or even longer.


______________________


Whatever you are facing right now,
don't give up.

There is always hope. 

_________________________

This post may have contained some affiliate links. 
Which means that if you purchase from an affiliate link, 
we receive a very small commission. This is at NO cost to you.

Thank you for supporting our family :)








Sunday, September 17, 2017

Receiving The Diagnosis (Or Finding the Answers You Need)



















In complete shock.

That's how I felt when I got the news...

______________



The last six months have been hard.
Many aspects of that "hard" are simply the 2 facts that:
I am parenting seven children, and I have three younger ones!

..and teenagers...let's not get started ;)

However, today, I will share an aspect of that hard journey
and a peek into my heart.

______________


Facing difficulties can also be seen as opportunities.
Opportunities for God to come through.

And to remind us that there is always hope for our future.

That is what I'm choosing to see this chapter of my life as.
A great big -freakin' hard-but rewarding opportunity.



"There is surely a future hope for you,
    and your hope will not be cut off."

Proverbs 23:18








_________________________


When yourself or your child face difficulties of any kind,
usually our first response is to "buck up" & keep on keepin' on.

While perseverance definitely has its merits,
what about the circumstances
that don't simply disappear?

What about the situations where something in your gut feels off,
but you can't quite put your finger one it.

Hindsight, of course, is 20/20
but I choose to give myself grace in that
I can only act on the information that I currently have.

____________________

None of my children had that eventful of a birth.
Really, very little out of the ordinary.

There weren't any diagnosises given at birth.

Over the years we did see a few minor learning issues crop up,
but again, there wasn't anything noteworthy at the time.

Some of my kids had high energy levels, but again, I didn't really think much of it.

Some of them had memory issues ("I just said that!") but again, not overly noticeable.

Some of them have stuggled with disorganization,
but I'm myself a "neat nik" so who am I to render a balanced judgment?

Many children  (and adults!) struggle with these traits,
so on their own they don't necessarily say anything.

However, put together they could be seen as part of a bigger picture.

The last noted marker we noted was experiencing intense emotions
& the unique ability to hyperfocus on something that grabs interest.

Some of you may already know where this is going...


________________


At the markers started to add up, we talked to other parents with similar children.
Some parents had shared how they had pursued answers,
 and once we acquired some leads, we decided to inquire about rates for 

That is the big "Bertha" of assessing for learning issues & related disorders.
It is also VERY expensive. 

Although we had partial coverage (thankfully!), we still had to pay out of 
pocket about $900. 

So, we had to put it off for awhile until we had the money saved,
but finally the testing could begin.

It included handing in past report cards, a self-assessment, a parental assessment,
teacher assessment (if applicable; we only used past report cards) & 
an approx. 3 hour test between the child & assessor.

That was last year, and we were very pleased with the depth of
the answers we received.

The results were very clear.


_________________________



Suddenly I'm holding the test results & walking in a Dollarama.
And all I can say is I felt like I was floating.

Not in some dreamy mystical way, but that I was in shock.

Disbelief.

I mean it all made sense now.

Kinda, sorta.

I felt like everything that was familiar to me was...
well, it wasn't.

I felt overwhelmed because I then realized some of my other children
also seemed to have a few of the traits.

Based on the current research that is out there

And I now began to see various traits "sticking out" to me in all
directions of our family tree.

Even some of the characteristics I saw in myself.

______________________


The assessor did say that much of the population displays various aspects
 of ADHD, and that's why so many have a hard time with the label being used
as an "excuse" (in their opinion) for children's (or adult's) negative behaviour.

However, she reminded me that the key to making a
definitive diagnosis is that these attributes are:

1) pervasive enough that they effect more than one area of their life &
Some people do "outgrow" it (or find ways to cope/compensate as we all do
with our given weaknesses), but not all.

My Doctor even told me that she has seen many doing well by the age of 40.
Well, I had to chuckle at that one.

That seems a LONG way off for any child.

_______________

Nonetheless, the journey into this 'foreign' new world of
special needs, whether invited or not, has come our way.

Our schedule has profoundly changed.

Our educational plan has changed.

Our goals have changed.

The way we allocate our finances has changed.

Some of our social circles have changed (very naturally; people tend to
gravitate to others in the 'same boat').

For the most part it has, thankfully, widened :)

___________________

Exploring these difficulties can be time consuming.
It's also often costly.

Many times we don't want to expend the energy, or even know where to start.

If you yourself are facing a difficult situation with your child and
are not sure what the next step is, I'd encourage you to speak with
the appropriate professional.

For us, it was the assessor mentioned above, and then
communication with our Dr.

Depending on the age of the child, there are (usually)
many resources available in any given community.

I was fortunate enough to even find other professionals
that have proved helpful.

Bonus, I stumbled upon a great parental support group.
The only group I've ever been in where I didn't
feel like I was the worst mother in the world
(due to my child's behaviour on a difficult day).

Yep, seriously.

We are now entering a season of further assessment for
another child for a different medical issue.

Often when it rains, it tends to pour.

Nonetheless, I am finding much hope in this season.

Answers have come, and are continuing to do so.

Compassion has grown, and I hope continues to do so.

Understanding.

More patience when child "x" acts out
(most days...I'm still growing).

Most importantly, we need to surround ourselves with 'safe' people.
People (and professionals) who we can talk to about anything
 pertaining to how this new diagnosis will affect us & our families.




_______________


My plan over the new few blog posts is to share
more of my journey.

While I will not share personal details, ages, or names
with you (& please, I won't discuss those in person either),
 I will describe how this very difficult journey
has FORCED helped me to learn & grow.

Sometimes "imposed" life circumstances are the best teachers in life.

Unfortunately...

& yet, they can also be rewarding opportunities when
we choose to learn what we need to, and pass
along that info & hope to others :)

___________


This post may have contained some affiliate links. 
Which means that if you purchase from an affiliate link, 
we receive a very small commission. This is at NO cost to you.

Thank you for supporting our family :)






Sunday, March 12, 2017

5 Reasons To Attend A Homeschool Convention








I still recall my first convention attended in the researching phase
of our homeschool journey.

It was grand and inspiring, and intimidating all in one nutshell!

There were people of all sorts, ages, and although it was mainly
women in attendance, a smattering of men joined the ranks,
as well as some teenagers.

I left realizing that although most days I may "feel" 
alone in our journey, while I'm schooling on the outskirts of town,
 I actually am part of a growing trend.

In order to combat any negative challenges, we homeschoolers may have of:
isolation, loneliness, increased stress, pressure on finances,
less relaxation time for the teaching parent, sibling conflicts, etc. etc.
I believe that being around other homeschooling families is of
of great benefit.

It's also a fantastic way for those researching this way of life,
to see if this, in fact, might be something their particular child is up
for, and how they feel about it as a parent who will have to
be responsible for their child's tailored education.





______________







Five Great Reasons to Consider Attending a
Homeschool Convention


1) Researching your curriculum

Curriculum choices for homeschooling are almost
as limitless as the children who use them!

There are so many diverse materials out there
(both online & in print) that range from 
offering full parental teaching support to 
students completing the work on their own,
even sometimes being marked by an outsourced teacher. 

With the myriad of options that are out there,
 I find it wholeheartedly worthwhile
to get my hands on the curriculum and peruse it,
being able to pick the owner's brains on how to get 
the full benefit of it, and who it might
be best suited for.

With access to the vendor hall being included 
in your registration fee, that alone can 
sometimes be worth the cost.

One fair warning: do not let yourself
be intimidated by the vendors. Some vendors
do use high-pressure sales tactic (however, most don't)
so just be polite and have a catch phrase ready to use.

I find, "I'm just looking around, thanks." usually suffices :)



2) Investing in your child's education

Any professional career that I'm aware of requires you to 
take advantage of opportunities to develop yourself.
Whether it's done through their training structure
or outsourced, this is seen as bringing beneficial
assets to your company.

For the homeschooling parent, it is often said that
we don't need a higher education to teach.
Which, in many ways, is true.

Fail proof educational options given either online
or in curriculum sets, offer an array of choices
for both educated and parents who have struggled 
academically alike.

However, I am a personal believer in developing
ourselves in any area that we strive to do our best in.

A convention offers us an opportunity to expose ourselves
to new ideas, new ways of teaching, new theories, concepts or goals
that are being explored in the homeschooling community.

I don't see it as simply a couple days to "get away from the kids" 
(although there's that bonus, no doubt), but I see it as personal 
investment in my chosen "career" at this time: homeschooling parent.




3) To connect with others

During the busy season of homeschooling,
it can be difficult to meet new families that
also, find themselves in the same boat as you.

Even in a typical month where we participate
in a local co-op, or take part in a fun field trip or two,
the quality discussions between adults
are usually minimal with the kids in tow.

Since a convention is limited to adult 
participants, maybe a nursing baby tagging along,
it is far far easier to make time for a tea or snack
with another parent to encourage and connect
with one another.

My first year I knew very few families 
with which to make that connection, but
there was a "newcomer's" corner I found
myself in, spilling my heart out to another
experienced homeschooling mother.

The subsequent years, I've found myself
between seminar sessions, meeting up with 
various friends in the cafe, sharing our dreams,
challenges and choosing to uplift one another.



4) To be inspired

Probably the number one reason I hear
cited on why parents attend a homeschooling convention is
this: the dynamic seminars and workshops they offer!

I know that I was ecstatic when I recently saw our local convention's
released schedule for this year's event.


It was peppered with some really good (and assorted) topics:

*special needs 

*dual income

*single parenting

*high school

*real mom sharing type panels

*legal issues in homeschooling

*inspiration for marriage, leadership and the like

I printed out the posted list and began
systematically circling my "must hear" category
of seminars. 

It really got me excited to glean from this year's speakers!!!

These are the 'meat and potatoes' of any convention, 
and offer great value for your registration fee.

Most of the speakers are experienced in their field,
and can offer a wealth of knowledge.

Others are speaking directly from their lives,
but I have always personally gleaned MUCH from
any class I've attended.



5) To remind yourself of why you began...

Like anything in life, there is the honeymoon stage,
which is at some point followed by reality setting in.

Our homeschooling journey has included many highs
and lows, as well as many in-betweens.

Life isn't always a party, and my kids (and I) have
quickly realized that although we can take a few
more field trips than a typical school,
at some point, the book work has to be cracked
open...daily discipline becomes part of the equation.

I know the reasons why we began to homeschool,
and here are a few of them:

*dissatisfied with the public school system

*wanting a tailored education for our children

*helping our children to pursue their interests

However, during some of the more challenging times, 
I've had to remind myself of the "why" more often than not.


Going to a homeschooling convention can help you rekindle
and help you stay focused along the way.





_____________


Homeschooling, as I've alluded to above,
can be a rewarding, but sometimes stressful lifestyle.

One book that I've read many positive reviews on
addresses this stress: "Teaching From Rest: A Homeschooler's
Guide To Unshakeable Peace"

I haven't personally read it yet, but I ordered it 
yesterday with our quarterly book order.

I've heard enough feedback to know that
this book sounds very impactful.

 I look forward to reading it for myself :)

Get yours today by clicking on the image below!


Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to  Unshakable Peace

________________


MORE LIKE THIS-->








This post may have contained some affiliate links. 
Which means that if you purchase from an affiliate link, 
we receive a very small commission. This is at NO cost to you.


Thank you for supporting our family :)


















Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Parenting Through Stressful Situations










I feel like I could write a chapter book on parenting through stress.

I've parented through some pretty intense situations, 

When I had my firstborn, I was not a natural mom at all!
I was a young, inexperienced mother who wasn't too sure of anything...

I remember changing those first diapers and trying to get
the groove of showering again plus coordinate with a
fussy baby and his feeding schedule. It seemed an insurmountable
uphill battle, that finally eased up over time.

As baby number two came along, there were the sleepless nights again, 
and this time trying to put together a decent work schedule (albeit part-time), 
and then return to university to finish my degree
PLUS care for two demanding little ones...

Then after number three and four came...there were the stresses of a new life
in marriage and new neighborhood. Positive changes yes, but I still recall
all the getting to know you years all while dealing with pregnancy sickness
and babies, tots... and children in school.

We thought we'd have only ONE more...
however, we gained three more children of the "deal"!

So, number FIVE, SIXand SEVEN came fairly close together. 
Each one is 17 months apart from the one next to them. 
Three babies within three years!

and I'm battling to keep my eyes open ;
(but trust me, writing is cathartic so I continue)

All throughout these seasons we've also dealt with the "normal" stresses
 that often come with young families: unexpected financial burdens,
 pressures at work, difficult seasons of parenting
 (like the toddler stage or the transition to becoming a teen).

And for us, there's been a few unexpected additions in our journey: 
chronic sickness, fighting depression during most of my pregnancies 
(and post-partum after the last one), dealing with unique educational needs 
and testing, and loss of some of our support systems that we had had in preceding years.

I realize that our journeys are not necessarily going to be the same. 

Nonetheless, one thing I can tell you though is this, 
when you are parenting through stressful situations 
there are many steps we can take that will help keep us 
balanced and on track.


________________



For a long time, I have not liked that scripture!!!

My husband has used it in rough times to quote to me, and basically said, 
"Buckle down Rachael, whether you like it or not you can't give up now."

I know it's true, and I know it's a great scripture, 
but in that moment of such intense pressure, I often feel like I can barely take any more...

The babies are crying, the phone is ringing, the supper is still not made,
 I'm in my PJs, the teens are discontented and being disrespectful, 
the kids are bickering, and it always seems that it's in those 
moments that the worst bombshell will drop...

The bombshell has come in many forms, but regardless of how it comes, 
you know in that moment you have two choices:

1) have a big fit (whether on the outside or the inside)

...maybe even feel like running away from it all...anyone else ever been there??

OR

2) Breathe deeply and pray for wisdom. It's the stop and pause response. 

Talk to yourself and say, yes this does look hard 
(maybe even downright impossible depending on the situation), 
but step-by-step I/we can get through this crisis with Christ's help.

Sometimes, I admit, I do a combo of 1 & 2.

However, I'm learning more often than not, that stressful situations come, and
then they go...


No More Perfect Moms  -     By: Jill Savage
_________________________


Learning to Surrender:

This for me has been the most difficult life lesson that I still battle.

How do you surrender control under the pressure??
How do you go beyond saying "I can do all things through Christ.."
 or "Trust in Me with all your heart..." to really living like you mean it?

I'm not always sure of the answer, but a few things I have learned along the way...

a) you are never going to know all the answers no matter how much you try

b) it is never going to make total sense no matter how much you attempt to "figure" it out

c) free will is both a gift and a "curse"

By curse, I mean that others have the same free will 
to choose good or bad as you do.
And sometimes those choices will cause you
to experience great amounts of pain...

And sometimes, even our choices will cause others pain (even if unintentionally), 
so we better learn how to forgive and show grace...
cuz we're gonna need it too!


 Although He will not always give us all the answers,
 if we surrender our hearts to Him, 
He will give us the strength we need for the journey.

_________________



There is probably nothing greater than having wisdom in a stressful situation.

Whether it be:

Wisdom from His Word.

Wisdom from prayer time (He may drop a thought you hadn't previously thought of)

Wisdom from others who have gone before you.

(i.e. talk to those who will give sound advice, not just say what you want to hear).


No More Perfect Kids: Love Your Kids for Who They Are    -     By: Jill Savage, Kathy Koch

___________________


Let go of what YOU think others expect from you.

Let go of what you expect from yourself (when it is unreasonable).

Let go of trying to keep up a certain image.

Let go of unhealthy relationships.

That may include limiting the time you spend with people
who don't support you where you're at, and add to the pressure.

_______________________


Allow yourself permission, to be honest, and ask for help when prompted.

This has probably been the toughest change I've made.
Whenever someone used to offer help, 
I'd always say thanks, but no thanks, we've got this...

One day while lamenting in a marriage counseling session
about how difficult things were going for us with the new baby, 
the counselor challenged us to take help whenever it was offered. 

He asked us why we thought they were offering in the first place.
Of course, they were most likely wanting to help!

I admitted that I thought they were only being polite. 
Same thinking that my spouse had.

He challenged us to take people at their word, 
and if they back out after you give them a few examples
 of help you need, then that will be on their own conscience 
(well, of course, they may not actually be able to help OR 
they may have indeed just said that to be polite, 
but that's not on us to "pre-decide")

So, we both ventured out and started to do that...

It was humiliating at first.

A few people did flat out take back their offers when they saw
we were truly receptive to their good wishes...
but many said they really would be honored to help us in any small way they could. 
So, I learned to keep a few suggestions in mind 
(a meal, or take a child or two for a playdate, or 
if they could genuinely keep us in prayer for something specific).

Interestingly, I also started to change the way I offered help to others (it's a two-way street, right?!).

Instead of just saying a general, "How can I help?" when I see someone else 'drowning' in their present life circumstances, I have learned to offer specifics of what
I can do in this season to help them, and give 2 or 3 options for them to think on.

___________________________

So, let's do a quick recap:

The bottom line is that when you are parenting through a stressful situation
it is imperative that you don't get freaked out. 

That you take a moment in those intensely pressurized situations 
to relax, breathe, pray and tell yourself it will be okay.

 Then you need to seek out the right wisdom and
learn to let go of any unrealistic expectations. 
Be gentle with yourself, and with others.

Lastly, that you learn to take help when it's offered, 
and offer it genuinely when you see someone else in need.

Don't forget that difficult seasons don't last forever!
Better days are ahead.

___________________


If you've been following this blog for any length of time, you know how much I enjoy
& appreciate author, Jill Savage...

Well, she's released a new book!! 

"No More Perfect Marriages"  looks like an absolutely fantastic companion
to her two previous amazing reads: "No More Perfect Kids" & "More Perfect Moms"

Get yours today by clicking on the picture below!

No More Perfect Marriages: Experience the Freedom of Being Real Together  -     By: Jill Savage, Mark Savage


______________________



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