Lessons on Love, from my mom.

With Valentine’s Day coming up, I thought it would only be appropriate to y’all about love. I know, so original. However, when thinking about where to go with this, valentines outfit, marriage, God’s love? It dawned on me, while sure, God’s love is the purest, no one has ever embodied that love and walked it out for me like my momma.

True to her southern roots, my mom is fiercest woman you will ever meet that can also make cakes in insane shapes and throw elaborate princess tea parties. She is beautiful inside and out, but Lord she can be scary. (Love you mom) But that fierceness, is backed 100% by her loyalty to protecting those that she loves. My mom is Lily Potter and Molly Weasley mixed together. Although I think if my mom had faced Voldy, it would have been a different story. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, me and JK Rowling are weeping)…

So from my mom to you, here are the top 5 lessons on love.

1. People will tell you who they are, so listen.

My mom was a fierce believer that people will tell you exactly how they feel about you through their actions. If people are playing games with you, not making time for you, and sending you “mixed” (or straight up bad) signals. LISTEN. TO. THEM. I am queen of looking for the good in people of thinking I can “fix” people, and my mom would always tell me, “they are telling you who they are and what you mean to them, listen.”

So when someone starts raising their red flags, wave your white and retreat.

2. Not everyone deserves to know your story.

If vulnerability comes naturally to you, you might be giving too much of yourself to people who don’t deserve it. Not everyone deserves to know all your secrets and intimate details of your life. Find your select few that have earned the privilege of knowing your heart so well and don’t share so much of your heart with everyone.

This is a lesson that took me especially a long time to learn, for a long time I thought vulnerability = intimacy. Like somehow spilling my heart all over people made us closer. But I guarantee you will live life with a lot less heart ache if you stop giving so much of yourself away to people you don’t know well. (Except for a blog on the internet)

3. “I’ll always love you, but I don’t like you right now.”

Just because you get into an argument, or they’re being a butt head, shouldn’t affect the love you have for someone. Lord knows there were many times my mom loved me the hardest when she liked me the least. That’s how love works sometimes. Sometimes when someone is the least like-able is when they need you to lean in love them, and sometimes you just have to love them from the other room.

This is a lesson especially important to carry into marriage.

I love my husband stupidly-silly. I fell hard and have loved him hard from the get go. However, there are days, when my dear, sweet husband, is not my absolute favorite person. (*gasp*) Sometimes he puts his dish on the counter instead of in the dishwasher or complains for the millionth times that I have messed the sheets up while sleeping. And while I love him and would still go to bat for him, I also kind of want to throw something in his general direction. This is what love is like sometimes, you don’t have to be stuck at the hip with someone 24/7 and think that everything they do radiates sunshine and flowers to love them well.

4. Loving yourself is a lot more about who you are, not what you are.

I hope that this encompasses this lesson well enough. My mom always instilled in me that WHAT you are, as far as your circumstances matters a lot less than WHO you are and WHOSE you are.

Your job, your house, your car, or whatever it is will change, but who you are on the inside is what matters. Knowing who you are and being true to that, loving yourself as a child of God, understanding that you will screw up and still be worthy of love. That is what is important.

5. Loving your tribe FIERCELY is the only way to do it.

As I said, my southern momma loves her tribe hard. She has shielded me from so many things. Not to say that I was sheltered, but my mom spoiled me with a Lilly Potter type love. She took the brunt of a lot of hard things for me, made a lot of difficult things easier for me, did a lot of things she didn’t have to do so that I would be a little less hurt. And because of how fiercely she loved her tribe and witnessing how hard she loved her family, it made it impossible for me to love my tribe any other way.

I saw my mom love and protect my dad. Even if we all picked on him, heaven and all it’s angels could not have put a hedge of protection around anyone who said anything ugly about him.

My mom raised three daughters, constantly challenging her own vulnerability with daughters that were so needy of her. She exhausted herself emotionally, being someone who needed alone time, and often sacrificed it to us. She showed us, day in and day out, what selfless love really looked like.

This lesson is kind of the epitome of all the other lessons, you find your tribe, you share pieces of yourself and learn pieces of them, intertwining your lives together. You love them hardest during their most difficult times, which means sometimes you give them space and hold your tongue. Other times you tell them the hard truth when no one else loves them enough to give it to them. You hold true to who you are and love yourself, which makes you a consistent source of love and honesty to those around you. And you love, you love your tribe so hard that they grow up to be fierce lovers too.

This is to all you moms. You fearless, fierce lovers. You give so much, and the world is better for the love you give. Thank you moms, for teaching us how to love our people so well.

And thank you to my mom, for teaching me the hardest lessons, and for loving me so fiercely. You deserve all the awards. I hope you know how much you rock and even if you question sometimes how well I soaked in those lessons, I hope you see how many of them stuck in the way I raise my own daughter. I’ll make sure she always knows you get the credit for how awesome her mom is. I love you dearly.

Where ministry, laundry, and life meet.

Have you ever gotten caught up in what comes next and completely ignored the now?

I have this endearing (re: annoying) quality where I am constantly ready to jump into something new. My husband sometimes gets aggravated that I rearrange our house once a month, my parents saw this in me having a new “plan” or passion anytime I heard an exciting speech. I am actually constantly annoyed with myself because for someone who feeeels so many feelings about so many things, I don’t get a whole lot accomplished.

Despite having one of my dream jobs and having every opportunity to pursue further endeavors in exactly what I want to do, the minute I hear a passionate speech by someone else on, lets say for example, being a missionary in Gaza… my heart starts turning and I am suddenly wondering why I am not a full time missionary and wondering how I can convince my husband to get on a cargo ship and live as missionaries.

My mom (hey mom) is probably ready to roll her eyes so far back into her head she can see the past every time I give her a very impassioned speech about what I am going to do with my life, how I am going to blog, start a ministry for young women, become the Methodist Beth Moore, you know, simple stuff. But I someone told me something recently that really resonated with me.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. (Thank you Jordan Page from FunCheaporFree)

What does that translate to?

You don’t do anything big in one day. You take steps, some bigger than other, but steps. No one that you follow on instagram, youtube, Forbes, etc. built what they do in one day. You don’t build a blog, start a ministry, create a house you want to live in or raise a kid in one day. You do it one step at a time.

The bigger question? How do you take steps in all those directions at the same time? How do you take steps towards building a blog and a brand, actively building a ministry, raise a child, and take care of your home and husband like a Proverbs 31 woman at the same time without stumbling like you are in some awkward three-legged-race?

The answer? You don’t. It will be awkward. You will trip sometimes (Excuse the overplay of this analogy), you will take more steps in one direction than others sometimes, and you will definitely need to cover more distance in one direction than others sometimes.

Juggling all these different duties and passions at once can be difficult. And if you are like me, Enneagram type 3w2, then you will find in more difficult than others to stay on track.

I recently talked about a 3 month challenge on Instagram. Picking your lanes, your main duties/tasks, the top things you are wanting to progress in and setting attainable steps you can take in three months to avoid passing those months and arriving exactly the same and wishing you had done something different.

So what are mine? Home, Health/Fitness, Bible Study/Reading, and Mom.

Don’t worry I didn’t forget my husband in there, but trust me, clean house, happy, fed baby, and happy, fed, Bibled’up wife = happy husband. I promise, he suffers not.

What are my steps? First off, I have made no specific time stamped steps like “do this every morning” or anything like that, hasn’t worked for me in the past and no matter how passionate I feel right now I know it wont stick. Play to your strengths here.

So Home. My every day steps are..

  1. Clean up after yourself. This is for me and Dustin. We both get stressed when our house is a wreck, so we are dividing and conquering and making sure we pick up after ourselves and cleaning up after Zoe anytime she is asleep. So far, so good.
  2. Laundry. Jesus be near. This will be the straw that breaks this camels back. I struggle with laundry. Partly because I am holding onto clothes that are comfy but should not be worn anymore. Partly because we forget to change the clothes over and rewash the same clothes 4x before we put them in the dryer and then they stay in the dryer until someone gains the strength to move them to their resting place on the couch….where they will stay until Dustin bugs me to fold them, we have people come over, or they all get worn. So we are both tackling this and making it mandatory to fold and put away one load of laundry every day.

Health/Fitness

  1. Bleh. I hate to make another unrealistic fitness goal but something must be done about this 10 lb holiday weight that carried into the new year. Curse you cornbread dressing. However, I am making it a point to limit fast food to once a week. Easy enough. This is better for the finances too.
  2. MOVE YA BOOTY. I am making a serious effort to move more every day. Whether that means a walk or running around in the back yard with Zoe, an actual workout, dancing with the Fitness Marshall (check him out on Youtube), or at least just stretch or stand while I work instead of sit all day. Just an effort to move more every day. That is it. Like I said, we are taking small steps, not leaps.

Bible Study/Reading

  1. This one is simple. Read something every day. This one has been easy to stick to. Whether I finally read one of those many devotional emails I am subscribed to, reading the SheWorksHisWay devotion app (reccomend 100%), reading a bit of one of the books I am working on. Whatever. Just reading every day.
  2. Making time to study the Bible in depth a few times a week. Staying more on track with the SheRefined plan. I have kept up with this but sometimes I slack on actually digging in, so I am making an effort to get back into this practice.

Mommin’

  1. Make time every day, no phone, not even for pictures, to play with Zoe one-on-one. This has been so great for both of us so far. Leave my phone in another room and just play with my daughter. If you have kids, please do this. It isn’t just for them, it’s for you. Take time to notice everything, how much their hair has grown, count their teeth, remember their giggle and cheesy grins. Take it all in.

And that is it, those are my steps. I challenge you to think about something you would like to be closer to achieving, something you want to be better at, an opportunity you would like to take, anything and come up with some steps you can do every day or week for the next three months. See what you can do!

I am including some screensavers I have been using on my phone and apple watch to help remind myself every day to be focusing on these small steps. If you have Instagram, go follow me there and lets encourage each other! In three months you will be so happy you are a little further than you were before.

   

Holiday stress is such a real thing. I mean let’s just be honest, there is SO much pressure. All the cooking, baking, dressing nice, trying to keep the house clean, shuffling back and forth to all the places, budgeting for presents and holiday shopping, maintain your fitness and health goals, deal with inevitably you or your family (or both) being sick at some point; and try to just keep your head above water. 

Anybody else relate? My to do list is usually so overwhelming that I stop keeping one and just turn on autopilot until January. Then I get to January burnt out, emotionally drained, and physically beat down from not taking care of myself and focusing on the wrong things. 

Don’t get me wrong, all the things I listed are important bullet points on the holiday to do list and I’m not saying you should knock any off just yet. What I HAVE found; and what I am BEGINNING to learn, is that the holidays are (as we all know) about being thankful for our families and for God. We are meant to be focusing on those things. So while just realistically there will be stress. I have found that it is so much better for everyone when I focus on the WHY of the season. 

Maintaining your health and fitness. 👈🏼 important. Not so you can look good in the holiday dress. But so you feel good, get sick less, and have energy for everything you’re doing! A 3 month sugar binge is not going to keep you fueled and happy. Make good choices when you can, enjoy yourself at events, and remember your WHY. 

Budgeting/holiday shopping 🛍 👈🏼 I love shopping for people and finding their perfect gifts! But my WHY is to let the people in my life know how special they are to me. But you should NOT let gift giving stress you out or empty your accounts. Set your budgets and work within them. Even if that means you don’t do physical gifts. Give the gift of time or service. 🙌🏼

Being sick 🤒 this, at least for our family is inevitable. But in our house we take sickness like a rainy day and just get through it. At the first sight of sickness we buckle down, the person exhibiting signs of sickness immediately gets lots and lots of rest and fluids, we diffuse oils in our house, disinfect; and we take medicine like clock work. Don’t let sickness put you on the couch for days. Do what you have to do to get better. 

Most importantly, don’t let your personal care slack off. Take your bubble baths, do your Bible study, bake; whatever it is that helps you get recharged. Keep your focus! I am right there with you momma. We’re all walking through the holiday seasons together and I see you, tired momma; you got this!

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AGirlRefined

So I have followed Soul Scripts, Jordan Lee Dooley for over a year now and have just fallen in love with the way she loves Jesus and her passion for sharing Him with people, specifically women. Jordan is a vibrant, genuine woman who has no problem laying it on the table for you. Continue reading “AGirlRefined”

How to start a budget

Today I’m writing to you about the B-Word.

Budgeting. Yuck.

Budget is a taboo word, you either love it or hate it. For some it can seem big and scary like you are about to have to live on rice and beans and give up Starbucks forever.

Well I am hear to tell you that is NOT the kind of budgeting we practice in our household, however budgeting is as extreme as you want it to be or need it to be depending on why you are budgeting. Here are the most common reasons I find people need to budget: Continue reading “How to start a budget”

Low Carb Staple Groceries, Meal Plans, Budgets.

Okay so here is something I get asked a lot, what diet am I on? The sad truth is that most people now a days are on some kind of diet, weight watchers, low fat, atkins, etc. and I suppose we are no different because we eat primarily low carb/lazy keto. I wont claim to be keto because we live an 80/20 life most of the time. If I am craving cake, I dont hunt down crazy ingredients to make a keto cake. I get the real deal, satisfy the craving and move on. Continue reading “Low Carb Staple Groceries, Meal Plans, Budgets.”

Hey, can you fix this?

Tonight I was sitting here thinking, as I usually do when I’m supposed to be sleeping. Looking at Pinterest and Instagram on my dear iPhone, my source of entertainment. Trying to be lulled to sleep by the sound of my husbands deep breathing and twitching of his body. (Doesn’t it sound dreamy?)

I got caught up in this image. Of me bringing my phone, that I love so much, to a bike shop, and asking them to address the issues I have with my phone. “Excuse me, Mr. Bicycle Man, my phone is so slow, can you make it faster?”

I’m sure he would laugh. “No, I don’t tix phones, I fix bikes! Bring that to a phone store”

Duh.

If you want a bike fixed. You bring it to a bike man.

If you want a phone fixed. You bring it to a phone man. Continue reading “Hey, can you fix this?”

Feel the burn, not the burn-out.

If I had a dollar for every time someone used the phrase “burned-out” (or if you’re from the south burnt out) I would be a millionaire. Wanna know why? Because people are willing to go above and beyond when they feel called to a ministry, they feel a burning fire under them to get things done because it’s a passion for them. But- sooner or later, they get overused from a lack of delegation, lack of volunteers, lack of boundaries. Continue reading “Feel the burn, not the burn-out.”

Wanted: A Godly Tribe

Have you ever found yourself searching for a tribe that will lift you up in your life and walk with God only to find yourself pouring into friendships that leave you empty?

“Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in;

hungry and thirsty,

their soul fainted within them.

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,

and he delivered them from their distress.” Psalm 107:4-6

Continue reading “Wanted: A Godly Tribe”