An Earnest Attitude of Gratitude.

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It is November. We have Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving that we host every year and so quickly I can get distracted by the planning (I like to really plan with a lot of care and thought our Friendsgiving to create an intimate time for the group of us that have been celebrating for the past 3 years). I am seeing on social media, people posting thankful anecdotes daily, which is so refreshing to read when I decide to scroll – especially when I haven’t been online for a few days and all the thankful posts pile up! Some have been known to cause a few tears in my own eyes.

I feel like while I am mama, teacher, cook, tidy-upper, help mate and all the other hats that I juggle through my days I miss being thankful for my life, abilities and the little things!

Someone once told me it could simply be a matter of switching up the narrative in my head. when my days get busy (especially lately when home inspection calls are non stop some days), I get caught up in the stress of what I have to get done. Earnest dad will come home after a long day of inspecting and maybe hunting, and he wants to relax. All I can see is what we have to do and I quickly get overwhelmed. There are days he comes home early and the moment I see him, I immediately think of my have to list and I don’t stop to even greet him. (I feel awful saying it but it is true).

The word of God says,

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
2. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
3. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Psalm 100: 1-5

Be thankful to him, for the Lord is good and his mercy is everlasting. These words were life to me this week.

We use a curriculum that we print monthly – and it is a lot of printing! Well we start a new unit TODAY and because of the busyness and time spread everywhere, I started printing last night. And last night, nothing was going right. With lack of sleep (thanks daylight savings), homeschooling, business phone calls and energetic kids I was done. I felt, as Bilbo Baggins so eloquently put it, “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” My patience, calm and thankful tanks were on empty. I went to bed and as I fell asleep I remembered the words, attitude of gratitude.

As I got up this morning feeling resting, my youngest little laid on the ground with his little fingers reaching under the door and began singing one of my favorite hymns. In my head I hear, attitude of gratitude. I go to get my morning vitamins and breaks and my little guy climbs up to sit on the counter with me (I was with him the whole time) and brewed me my k-cup (again with my support). Again, I am reminded attitude of gratitude. I need to change my narrative.

Here I sit, with my printer trying to print our workbooks we should already be working out of and there is a paper jam. Then mid print job, it cancels itself. No error information, no reason that I can see. Attitude of gratitude. So I changed the narrative. Today for homeschool we will read stories together, we will clean up the house together, we will do our supplemental subjects already printed and ready to go. We will go outside and get some vitamin D and watch our favorite squirrel at the park as he buries his acorns in planning for his winter survival. Today we will do what we can with what we have. That is all that we ever have.

Instead of telling myself I have to, today I will remind myself that I get to. I get to school my children in my home because my husband works hard and the Lord blesses us. I get to clean up with my children because all of us are healthy and able. We get to go the to park because we have an amazing set up less than a block away in our quiet neighborhood. I get to work with my technology because we have the ability to own the necessities to do so.

I sit here, printer in error state, some kids not clothed running about the house with more screen time than I would like. But we get to do all of this because of the blessings that we have in our lives. This earnest home, family and life we have is such a privilege and honor, I am working daily to keep in an attitude of gratitude and to not let the sideways, caught off guard messes throw me off. Let November be the month you work to gain gratitude, then keep it all year long. Not because you have to, but because you earnestly get to.

x. earnest mom.

Hey Mama…

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This is a reminder.

Mama, you are so loved. Even in the moments of overwhelming and complete failure, you are still the best mom your children have had. None of us has this mom-gig worked out, and that’s ok! Your children love you so much. Let them see you fail, cry, pick up your pieces and try, try, try again. Resilience is learned from example and motherhood is the perfect opportunity to show your children that we can make mistakes and still keep going.

You are not perfect, but your are the perfect mom for you children. I heard this quote and felt that the word “perfect” made me feel anxious. Let’s drop perfection all together. The only perfect person that there was will make all things new again, until then, let’s stop setting an impossible bar for ourselves and other moms. There is beauty in our idiosyncrasies, our imperfections and our quirks. Let’s revel in them, celebrate them and the ones we don’t like, slowly work to focus on the good ones. Each mama has their own motherhood journey, let’s celebrate that instead of comparing, measuring and weighing ourselves (and each other).

Nothing is as it seems. Two words, social media. If scrolling is depressing you more than inspiring you, it is ok to log off. Instagram perfect shots, Facebook perfect posts and trendy TikTok clips may seem harmless but filtered, spotless, crisp, clean snippets are not how things always are. We cannot compare our 24 hours to 24 seconds of edited snap shots. Let’s put down our phones and appreciate what is around us. Real life lives in real homes filled with life and with tiny little humans who love us so much they rather enjoy watching us poo!

None of us are getting it right 100% of the time. Life is full of mistakes, that is who we are. Things crumble and because we have emotions, we will not get things on point every time. I err daily. Daily. I am quick to speak and slow to listen, I give too much advice instead of being a listening ear, I have a hard time with silence so I feel like I need to make conversation all the time. I rewind my conversations with my children, husband, friends and family every night and make edits on how I could have said things better. Maybe I am the only one, but I am so thankful that I wake every morning with a chance to try again.

Lastly, mama taking some time for you is a good thing. I am the first one when I am away from my children to immediately feel that pang of guilt that I could walk away and enjoy time “sans children.” Mom time is needed time, not just a spa mask on Sunday nights either (though keep doing this too!). You cannot fill from an empty cup, since I cannot often just get away I find my mom time in small moments. When my husband gets home, some nights I need a twenty minuter, alone in my room. Other times (currently I have put in a formal request) I need a 24-48 hour break, alone – just myself to recenter, reconnect and refresh. We moms are integral to our homes, and when we are worn, the whole ship can start to tumble. It is okay to get away.

We are in this together, you are not alone. Please know, asking for help is a good thing too. Reach out if you need, there is no shame if you cannot do it all. Doing everything is just too much, a weight that can be shared. Lean in to those who love and support you. Be encouraged to find some fellow moms you can talk to, visit with and simply fellowship. A little MOPS plug here – find a local MOPS! You never know where your next BFF is waiting! You are doing a good job, you are wonderfully made and so loved.

x. earnest mom.

Earnestly Seeing the Moment. The Overwhelming Moments of a SAHM.

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Let me set the scene, it is after dinner and usually the dishes wait until after the kids go to bed…or sometimes until the following morning. Anyway, it is after dinner, we have full bellies, family conversations have ended and next we watch a show or two then start bedtime routines. We head into the TV room, earnest dad kicks up his feet the in recliner and I am in my usual corner of the sectional. All of the sudden I cannot breathe – all three earnest littles are on top of me. Literally two on my lap and another snuggled so close next to me it almost hurts! To be honest, I get overwhelmed.

I am the type of person who likes her own space, I am a snuggler but after being home with the kids all day while earnest dad works – my love tank is full. I am ready for the littles to be all over daddy and let this mama breathe. I look over to earnest dad, reclined, relaxed and maybe even dozing a bit and I get overwhelmed.

There are times in the day, when the kids are running and screaming, fighting and crying, trying to pull me away from cooking dinner to “watch this” or they are too quiet and in a massive panic I rush in to see what is going on. In these moments I am desperate for earnest dad to walk through the door so I can pee alone or at least without children crying and banging down the door. Again, I find myself feeling overwhelmed.

That chaotic hour between home from school and dinner time, when I have to focus of chopping, boiling, tossing and cooking (food not my kids lol) are sometimes the craziest moments of the day. I have to be mom, tutor, playmate, personal chef, or heaven forbid the business phone rings and I have to toss all my hats off to wear the self employed secretary and scheduling hat. I am trying to keep it all together and sound professional, I get overwhelmed.

A few nights ago, kiddos all tucked up in bed and earnest dad working on his reports I was able to sit with my book and some tea, then I started reflecting on my day. It is such an incredible, blessed, exhausting, confidence testing, love never ending, over the top kind of ride, this wild ride that is motherhood. As I sat in my peace, my quiet, my still I start to already miss those squishy little feet tucked under my thigh, the warmth of the toddler and preschool bodies resting heavily on my lap and the arms of love intertwined on my arm as my nine year old lays his head on my shoulder. I got overwhelmed, I missed them and my love for then made me want to cry. My perspective shifted and I remembered the line from the brilliant Lisa Jo Baker’s latest book The Middle Matters,

“I am not asking you to seize the day, just to make sure you actually see it.” – The Middle Matters

So many times I allow the sense of overwhelm take over and I cannot wait to get out of the moments I am in. I cannot wait until, the kids are settled, sleeping, older, quieter or even gone to school. I realize I waste so much of my current moments getting sucked into wishing for different times and I completely forget to see the precious and delicious moments I am currently in.

As we get older we look back on the ‘good ol’times’ with nostalgia and desire to go back. Right now, today I am in the good old days I will look back on, (Hopefully when I am surrounded by my grandchildren and reminding myself they get to go home with their parents, lol). Nonetheless I needed to get out of the rut of longing for a different time and see the moments I am in, before I miss them altogether.

I have the amazing privilege to stay home with my little ones and I have started to make that effort to start earnestly seeing the moments laid before me. It is okay to feel a bit overwhelmed from time to time, but I am working diligently to stop wishing for something different and start finding joy in the moment I am in. Being present is one of the best gifts I can give my children and I know I have a lot more I can give.

x. earnest mom.

Earnestly Breaking Up With Facebook.

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Facebook, it’s not you it is me…wait no, it is totally you.

Confession, I am a Facebook user however, it is one of those things in my life that has been causing more annoyance than anything. The rants, the politics, the over dramatized version of lives that I really can see through immediately and truly never care to know SO MUCH about. My least favorite are the posts that post some super hot topic as a question as right or wrong and says, “going to get popcorn and sit back and read.” Ugh.

Another confession, before Christmas I deleted Facebook off of my phone and really wanted to focus on the people around me versus those on a screen. Would you believe my screen time average dropped by 75%?! What was I doing on Facebook that much?! Who knows; but whatever it was made it enough that I decided to break up with it.

Do not get me wrong, Facebook can be used for good – it can, and I am not here to say that it is bad all around – just no longer something I want to have so much of in my life. I mean, I had become someone that says to my friends “well did you see my Facebook post?” Expecting them to be SO interested in my life that they would want to constantly see everything about me. When I realized that I decided – no more. I am now being intentional on sharing PERSONAL messages and pictures with family and friends in actual messages to them. Mind you, I still really enjoy seeing my friends and their children when they post – honestly, I do and I will continue to hit the virtual heart when I see them. I just need to reevaluate what Facebook means to me in my earnest life.

It was an amicable break. Clean, thoughtful and a beneficial one. Now I allow myself a few minutes where I intentionally get on my laptop, sign on and visit Facebook for a few moments a day. It has been more than a month and my average screen time is about 22-33 minutes a day (which includes the Pokemon Go we play as a family for fun).

I have had less opinions (well err gossip if I am being honest) of other peoples lives because I am not reading all about everyone every single day. I still text, reach and talk to people – a lot actually but my friendship cannot not measured by whether I choose to thumbs up or heart specific posts. And honestly I am a better and more intentional friend for it.

Sorry Facebook, it was kinda good while it lasted but I am moving on. I need less Facebook and more face time with the people in my life, including my husband, children and friends. They are SO worth it!

A Village that Lifts. An Earnest Effort.

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Find your people, a current focus in our MOPS International theme this year. Find your village. This is such an integral part of motherhood; all those late nights, days inside with sick kids or leaving kids home to be at work, it can get lonely. Reaching out to fellow moms can help so much, and if you have a local moms group like MOPS that is even better. If you do not have a moms group, start one. Get online with local moms and see if anyone is interested, I bet there are many. Having a fellow mom that gives you an uplift when you need it, an ear when you cannot talk to anyone else or a prayer when you do not have the answers can make all the difference. Sometimes, we can encounter moms that take the faith in a village away – some that can make us feel less.

Recently I was in the grocery store with my three children, let me set the scene. My youngest who is 2 refuses to keep shoes or socks on (even though it is cold and snowy) and tries to wriggle out of all the shopping cart belts, my middle little has a super power of big emotions and usually ends up crying in disappointment when we do not have the time to stop and look at all the Disney Lip Glosses on an end cap, and my oldest is a busy body who wants to touch all the groceries and talk to me about all the Pokemon.

So, there I was standing in the dairy aisle looking to see which organic egg brand was on sale with a 2 year old barefoot and crying because I will not let him stand in the cart, my 5 year old who is crying into my coat because I will not spend $8 on Disney Princess Lip Gloss and my 9 year old talking louder than the cries to see if I know which Pokemon he is talking about. Reader, overwhelmed is an understatement but working on my patience and keeping it cool a fellow mom approaches me. She is smiling, about 10 years my senior and stops at the base of my cart. She proceeds to say “Well, get used to it. It only gets worse before it gets any better. Best of luck!” Proud as punch for the “sage advice” she has just given me, she walks away waving and smiling. I was shocked, here I am alone struggling with my three kids trying to grab a few essentials and this was the what I got. I am sure somewhere there was intent to try to relate to me but sorry ma’am, not today – not in this grocery store, this was not that moment.

This encounter made so thankful for the group of women and moms that I have in my corner, they show me what a true village is. If I had no community of moms and women that I know to be loving, supporting and caring, this experience alone could have enough power to make me doubt I could ever find it. A few takeaways from the experience for me:

1. A kind word always (ALWAYS) comforts more than a harsh one.

2. If you cannot say anything nice, say nothing at all.

3. I want to do better, I want to reach out and be kind to all my fellow mamas out there.

4. The “Golden Rule” always applies, treat others as you want to be treated.

Please know, I have had great, positive encounters in grocery stores, men and women. Some who have played peek a boo with my children, offered them toys from their purses (including one who gave my son a seamstress measuring tape to keep him occupied while I paid) and some who have reached into their pockets and given my children dollar bills. There are good people out there and I am sharing my experience to put hope out there that even though we may have some not so good experiences with fellow moms, we can make the difference.

Uplifting actions will only build communities while negative ones reach up and break them down. Let’s be encouraged, let’s earnestly be the change. I do not want another mom to feel as helpless, hopeless and isolated as I did in that moment. Sprinkle kindness like confetti – let it get everywhere. Find your village, even if it means you have to take the shovel and start by building the foundation. Let’s be a village that lifts one another.

x. earnest mom.

Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. – Proverbs 16:24

A Year of Less. An Earnest Non-Resolution.

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I am not a “New Year New Me” kind of person; it just does not work for me and honestly causes me too much pressure to come up with changes and promises that by January 10th end in dissolution and disappointment. That is me though, I am imperfect and human on my best days. This year I did want to have a focus; a way to make things more simple for myself and one word stood out to me: LESS.

I want less, less clutter, less things, less overwhelm. I need less of the busy, demanding and constant that is in this world and less time spent on things other than what is really important to me.

By committing to less, keeping my kids in less activities, scrolling social media less, and looking outside to what everyone else is doing less is causing me to actually have MORE. I have found in a few short weeks, I have more time, more patience, more fun, more moments that make me smile, and more focus on my family, marriage, home and me. I usually listen to audio books while mop or do the dishes but I have actually found the time to get halfway through Jane Austen’s Emma – something that used to be near impossible for this SAHM of three. Less busyness has made more time!

I am giving myself permission to replace the “shoulds” in my life with “coulds.” Instead of pressuring myself like “I should fill in any demand on moms, women or wives here.” And giving myself the permission to say I COULD do it but I do not have to. I do not know about you, but when I fail to do something I feel I should do feels a whole lot worse than failing to do something I could do. (Thank you MOPS for that advice last year!).

So I am in this less attitude as I look at the non necessities in my life, and I am seeing so much more available to me that just naturally falls into place, and the more is really good. This feels incredibly organic compared my past failed attempts of doing more, more, more! I only found that adding more to my plate without taking anything off, threw me off and I was left more overwhelmed and frazzled than before. Sound familiar?! It has taken 35 years but I have finally learned, I cannot do it all and that is ok. I love me for me. God created me just as I am, and there is so much comfort in that knowledge.

What things could be less in your life that could help you find more? Please, share.

x earnest mom.

Earnest Mom Squad Feature: Peaceful Parenting of a Tween.

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A guest article from a member of The Earnest Mom Squad,  Kahentiiosta.

I have one girl amid the tween stage and two just beginning.  You would think that I would be a pro since I’ve had one girl as a tween for two and a half years now. Alas, I am still learning something new every day.  A Tween is no longer a little child, but not quite a teenager.  A tween is a child between the ages of  9 and 12. Their emotions and behaviors reflect this in between stage.  The term tween has become very popular in the last few years.

Even if you thought having an easy child, would make tweenhood easy as well.  You may come to realize it is very different.  There are new challenges with each stage of your child’s life.  Learning to deal with your newly independent tween can be frustrating, for both the parent and child.  There are so many new things to think about, discipline, school, homework, spending time with family and friends, and learning independence. 

Many parents react to the them by distancing themselves due to the tween’s moodiness, increasing independence, and maturing physical body.  This can cause some strife to the tween, as they begin to lose that connection with their parents.

One of the main ways to make it through this stage is continuing to build a firm foundation with your child and this will ease the transition to the teen years. 

Here are six tips to peacefully parent your child.

  1. Recognize and work with your tweens need for independence and reduce rebelliousness. As parents we often feel less powerful and become overprotective to compensate.  Instead of hovering over your child, learn to agree and enforce rules that are reasonable and meaningful. Example no phone until after dinner and homework, setting a curfew for the weeknights.
  2. Continue to stay connected.  Spending one on one time with your tween is crucial for this age.  Even if it is a quick check in with them each night, a dinner out together once a month, or taking a walk together. Allow your child to voice their concerns, inspirations, and goals for the future.
  3.  Learn to re-think your ideologies of discipline.  Learning to repair rather than punish, ask open ended questions instead of lecturing.  This will assist in your child learning how to have better judgement with new life challenges.  Learning to base the consequences on the actions, will only work for so long until your child begins to talk back.  Learning to reciprocate the love for one another, will lower the power struggle of one thinking they are always correct. 
  4. Preteens are actively shaping their identity.  It seems as if every week there is a new popular fad, you just caught up to one and another one your tween has jumped into.  Offer support to their experimenting and exploring.  It may be difficult but try not to comment on their fashions if their body coverage is appropriate and keep an open mind about their music. Be supportive of their deep passions and add guidance as needed.
  5. Don’t take it personally!  If they yell at you, don’t overreact.   They may hurt your feelings, and your first line of defense is to walk away, take a deep breath and stand your ground.  Responding with love and calmness will get a more respectful reaction.
  6. Teach your tween about healthy physical self-management.  Tweens need at least nine hours of sleep each night, regular meals with low glycemic snacks, and protein.  Along with regular exercise.  Find ways to maximize on learning mindfulness by encouraging them to listen to guided meditation.  This can assist with fueling creativity, concentration, and reducing moodiness.  Working together as a family can be beneficial, instead of centering your tween out.

It is natural for a parent to worry about their ever-growing child, but we must be mindful of our reactions to the ever-changing world, and culture around ourselves and tweens.  Enjoy this newfound freedom and learning together as a family as the new norm for a developing tween.

What are some of your advice for families with growing tweens?

Head Lice Bugging You? It Earnestly Bugs Me.

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Please note, I am not selling or promoting any specific products for profit – I only recommend what I use because I am sure of it’s quality and effectiveness. Also the recipe included is not certified to treat head lice, it only helps with prevention.

When I was in the 7th grade I got head lice so bad that my mother (bless her heart) cut my long hair above my ears with kitchen shears. I cried, I remember holding my ponytail recently separated from my body through blurry sobs. In 7th grade I knew not to share hats, brushes, sweaters or lay next to friends for worry I may get head lice – but I got it anyway. So I showed up one day after all the dreaded “Head Lice Memos” went home, with a boy’s haircut (we went to a pro once I was all cleaned up from lice). I was mortified, I had such bad head lice that I still cringe at the nick names I received from the whole experience, ‘lice queen, lice hotel,’ and other creative names I do not care to mention. My 7th grade self is still petrified of getting head lice, and now that I have a long haired daughter starting school – I have worries, naturally.

Before my 7th grade experience, I got head lice for the first time, in Kindy; I remember sitting to get my bum length hair french braided and sprayed before school. I can still taste the mist of that choking aerosol spray we used to help prevent any louse wanting to get to my scalp. Of course, I ended up getting lice and my first experience with that nasty, stinky shampoo and painful nit catching comb. God bless my mother, she had 4 girls and head lice was quite an event in our house.

I know when I was in school there was a lot of myth and misinformation about lice, and today I still hear the same stuff. Here are some facts, head lice are:

  • 1 of the top 3 reasons kids miss school
  • Extremely common! Between 6-12 million U.S. kids 3-11 years old get head lice each year
  • Not dangerous, but are contagious (and SO annoying)
  • NOT signs of unwashed or unclean hair – they thrive in clean hair
  • Unable to jump, fly or swim
  • Unable to live on your pets
  • Unable to live in your environment (couch, carpet, furniture, pillow, sheets, mattress, car, movie theater, airplane)

Now, I also know that there are A TON of sprays and solutions out there that promise prevention and they are CRAZY expensive so I am going to share my recipe that is super easy and effective, but also will not break the bank. I will also share the prevention tips I follow and so far so good while my littles have attended PreK, VBS and play dates!

Lice Prevention Spray

Recipe:

  • 4 oz Distilled Water
  • 1 tsp alcohol free witch hazel
  • 8 drops dōTERRA Tea Tree Essential Oil
  • 5 drops dōTERRA Lavender EO
  • 5 drops dōTERRA Rosemary EO (optional)
  • 4 oz glass spray bottle (I recycled this one from Urban Oreganics Rose Water Spray)
  • Shake well and spray on wet or dry hair before and after styling.
  • I use this daily with my kiddos, lice can attach to any hair that is 2 inches or longer so if you have young lads with longer hair they can use the spray too!

    Witch hazel – Since head lice do not like clean hair, my kids wash their hair every two/three days, a very small amount of witch hazel can help reduce oil build up

    Tea Tree Essential Oil (melaleuca) – anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties make it effective for preventing lice, treating dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. It can clear the follicles and allow your hair to breathe; also moisturizes the scalp while preventing buildup of excess oil on the scalp.

    Lavender Essential Oil – has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, which can prevent head lice and improve overall scalp health. Lavender is also known for properties that can generate the growth of cells and reduce stress.

    Rosemary Essential Oil – can counter hair loss by stimulating blood circulation in the scalp, which, in turn, promotes hair growth. Its high nutritional value and anti-inflammatory properties make it an excellent ingredient for nourishing the hair follicles and soothing the scalp. It is also known to aid in lice prevention.

    Other oils that are good for preventing head lice – eucalyptus, peppermint and neem.

    Lice Prevention Tips:

    • Weekly lice checks, not sure what to look for? Google human lice/louse/nits
      Wash hair infrequently
      Style longer hair in braids or ponytails
      Use above spray daily before going to school/activities
      Encourage children not to share combs, brushes, hats or shirts
      Keep on the look out for frequent scalp itchiness or complaining of tickling feeling on scalp/hair

    Good luck mamas! If your kiddos end up getting head lice take a moment, breathe and do not panic. There are several ways to treat, kill and clean lice from heads and home. It can be quite a task but worth the work of preventing re-infestation; some natural and OTC treatments may not work as some are resistant; if necessary feel free to call and see your child’s practitioner.

    Please know, and I speak from experience, that parental reaction can have long lasting effects and staying calm, reassuring and supporting to your child who has lice is worth it’s weight in gold.

    You’ve got this!

    x. earnest mom

    The Middle Matters. An Earnest Book Review.

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    “Because grilled cheese without the middle is just toast.”

    – Lisa-Jo Baker, The Middle Matters

    Having been a fan of Lisa-Jo Baker since Surprised By Motherhood, I was thrilled to receive her recent book to review.  Lisa-Jo has an amazing way of storytelling that takes your life, intertwines it with hers and once you put one of her books down, you feel forever connected.  The Middle Matters: Why That (Extra)Ordinary Life Looks Good On You definitely delivers true to Lisa-Jo form.  It is honest, loving, filter-free and raw; when I read that last line of the final page, I closed the book and again, felt connected forever.

    This book consists of truth-telling letters/essays to the middle parts of Lisa-Jo’s life; from the middle of her muffin top, to the middle of her failures.  She shares stories of motherhood and marriage that will leave you in tears; laughing tears, sad tears, happy tears and realizing you are not alone tears.   Lisa-Jo takes the hard parts of life and makes them bearable, especially when you know someone out there has experienced the same.  I love the idea of building villages by sharing our stories, this book was made to build villages; villages made up of all of us here in our middles.

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    I remember as a teenager Chicken Soup for the Soul books were all the rage, they were the books I read at my beginning – I love food so this will be a food metaphor – Chicken Soup for the Soul was like my appetizer in life and The Middle Matters is the main course, right in the middle of appetizers and desserts.  It is a hearty helping of comfort food that is necessary in this middle life of ours.  A warm serving of exactly what we need to remember, the scale is not the boss of us and we are the boss of our own emotions.  It brings delicious satisfaction to read Lisa-Jo’s words and know that she has been there too sister, and together we can all get through it.  This middle part is not always easy, often quite busy but is so worth remembering.  She reminds us not to rush through the middle just to get to the end, we must finish our main course before the dessert.  Slowing down to try and see the days as they pass is totally worth it.  Worth every moment.  Lisa-Jo dedicates the book to her late mother whom she says taught her: the harder the moment, the greater the story.  I love this.  Let’s savor those hard moments so we can share great stories with our fellow and future middle mamas.

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    This book is one I wish I could buy for every woman I know, whether in the beginning of the middle, the middle of the middle or the end – we all need a book like this.  The Middle Matters is everywhere you can buy books, get out there and grab one for yourself and a few girlfriends!

    Stay tuned to my Instagram for an (extra)ordinary giveaway next week!!

    x. earnest mom.

    The Middle Matters is published by Waterbrook and Multnomah and is on bookstore shelves now. I received a free advance reader copy for my honest opinion.

     

    It’s Happy Here. An Earnest Anecdote.

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    “It’s happy here!” My oldest earnest little cried out amongst the laughter at the dinner table. As we all laughed together trying our best “dad” jokes, my heart leapt when I heard those words.

    As a mom, I am constantly bombarded by the world, social media, parenting books telling me who and what I should be. That is all well and good I know, I do glean what works in our earnest home; but there are times I cannot help but look to those picture perfect Pinterest-Insta-Worthy pictures and compare.

    Maybe if we did more crafts.

    Maybe if we did more alphabet practicing.

    Maybe if we played more sports.

    Maybe if we ate more organic.

    Maybe if I was more, more, more!

    It is sometimes overwhelming to try and be more than I could ever be and in those moments, those self-doubt enemy of my peace moments, I need to tell myself “I am ENOUGH.” And when I cannot voice it to myself, the Lord does through my kids.

    “It’s happy here.” Just three words but oh, the weight they carry. My children do not look to me and think “I wish you were more (fill in blank).” No, they run to me with huge open arms, squeeze me so tight sometimes I lose my breathe. It is incredible how they see the world – happy. They love me, as I am, whether my hair is combed or not, whether there are boogers on my shirt or not, whether I am perfect or not. Which I will tell you reader, the latter I am most definitely not.

    “It’s happy here” is now my mama-motto. (Seriously, I had vinyl stickers made up and stuck to my kitchen door!) Remembering no matter what, in our home, or wherever we are together, it is happy here.

    I do not know what it is in your home that will make you want to shout out “It’s happy here!” as my eldest did, but I charge you to find it. Seek it. Welcome that happiness with open arms, do not let the “picture perfect” ideals take away the happy time you have together. These sweet, sticky and delicious summers fly by in a flash. Find your happy, and keep it there. Sometimes, just ten minutes of happy a day can change the entire year; that is 3,600 minutes of happy in one year. You got this mamas, one day at a time, let’s look around and find moments that cry out “it’s happy here.”

    x. em.