Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Pondering 2014: A very general reflection

As the year comes to an end I sit in reflection of a year FULL of adventures, heartaches, joyous events, financial struggles, moments of bleakness, and moments where hope finally shone through. In all these life experiences this last year one thing remained constant! God.

He has held us through the tough times and the happy times. I am thankful for my Heavenly Father and the blessings in my life. These blessings are not riches or an easy life, but good friends and a loving family. People who I can look to in a time of need or to smack me up side the head when I start acting a fool...again!

In a later post I will list my highlights of 2014 as well in another post I will list our struggles and how we got through them or are still getting through them.

In this post however I just want to take a moment and be very general. Ha! I have grown much this year. I'm 30 years old now and I love it. I love the maturity and wisdom that is coming with each new year and experience. I have a long way to go and I tend to be very child-like in my heart. Believing the best and getting totally crushed when my eyes are opened to the unspeakable cruelty that is everyday human behavior has become commonplace in my life.

I am child-like, very different from childish, and I am not ashamed of it. The only draw back is the shock I encounter when people are cruel or unkind or lie. I've been living in the human condition for 30 years and I'm still shocked by folks.

It's a good thing, I know but it doesn't lessen the sting of disappointment. BUT the joy of having faith in humanity and watching true kindness by far outweighs the sting. I am blessed to wake up every morning anew with the expectations that today will be a good day, that today will be a day where someone shows kindness, does the right thing, sacrifices for others and serves them.

This year has taught me many things. I'll save my lessons for yet another post. I really just want to stay within the realm of sweeping generalizations.

God has taught me so much this year. There are undeniable truths that I don't necessarily forget, but that can get overshadowed by our own humanity and we must be gently and sometimes abruptly guided back to them.

So no I'll leave you to ponder your 2014 and how God has been there the whole time. Even when you think you were all weren't.

Please share you favorite verses for 2014 in the comments.

2 Corinthians 9:8 "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work."

Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

Thank you for reading,
A Girl of Many Hats

Friday, December 12, 2014

Why Do I Wear Makeup?

Lately, I have been pondering the question whether or not I should paint my face. I have shared this with a few of my female friends to get their feedback. I have a deep desire to raise my girls to be confident and have a healthy self-esteem. I believe that this may be a path that I must venture down.

I few months back I was applying make up, which I do rarely to begin with, when I heard a small, sweet voice say, "Mommy, pretty me?" I looked down to see El extending and making grabbing gestures with her hand to receive make up and then pointing at her face. I deduced that she was asking me to make her pretty by applying make up to her already perfect face. I paused for a second as I tried to think of just the right thing to say, "No, baby. You're perfect the way God made you; without makeup." She made a pouty face and let out a "humph" to make sure I knew of her dissatisfaction with my answer and left the room. I continued to apply my makeup.

Later that day a caught a glimpse in the mirror and stood there staring at my reflection. What was I looking at? I do not believe that makeup is evil or necessarily wrong. I actually have no issues with it or if others choose to wear it. My only issues are with MY OWN intentions. Why is Lydia wearing makeup? I have never and to this very day applied make up on a daily basis. I wear it sparingly and on special occasions. The application is very light to barely there. I do love a bright red lip and the winged black eyeliner. My everyday look is no makeup at all. I feel confident in my appearance that I do not feel the need to apply makeup every morning when I wake up. I do like looking all "dolled-up" sometimes too.

Even though I have always been sporadic in my use of makeup, I must have said things to influence my toddler to believe that Makeup is what makes you pretty. So perhaps it is not makeup alone that I need to eliminate. I do not believe that I am unattractive, I do not believe that I am the most gorgeous woman in the world. BUT I do believe that I am beautiful to my Father and to my husband. That's enough for me. So wearing makeup should not be the reason my daughter thinks is where beauty comes from. It's my attitude towards it.

My stance on the matter maybe to monitor my self speech first and see if I am indeed causing confusion on the matter for my daughter. It's easy to throw blame on inanimate objects, but I'm determined to be honest with myself and others. Makeup alone does not encourage low self-esteem or the misguided idea that without it a girl is ugly. 

WHAT AM I SAYING ABOUT MYSELF, OUT LOUD, THAT WOULD PLANT THAT IDEA IN MY TODDLER'S HEAD? What am I saying about myself in my mind that would cause me to verbalize comments about my appearance that would induce such thoughts from my child?

That is the real problem here. ME. 

I'd like to hear from others on this topic. What do you believe makeup teaches our young girls and boys about beauty, self-esteem, and self-worth? Ladies, do you wear it? If no, why not? Do you believe that you need it to be attractive? 

*Please understand that I am be no means judging or shaming. My ultimate intent is always to improve myself and be the very best example to my daughters. I am merely uncertain on how to act concerning this matter and am eager to get opinions from all y'all.

God Bless,
A Girl of Many Hats

Friday, December 5, 2014

My Breaking Point with My Strong-willed Child.

Today I broke. I fought with my toddler for 2.5 hours to take a nap. She didn't nap.
I'm tired and exhausted of constantly fighting with my toddler. I keep reminding myself that I am the parent. My El is sweet, loving, kind, adventurous, fearless, and determined. For over a year I have bumped heads and locked horns with her. This power struggle has exhausted me. I've all but lost my own will. What am I doing wrong? A question I ask myself everyday, almost hourly. I am patient to a fault, or at least I was. My fuse is much shorter now after a year. I look at her and I see a big heart and a HARD HEAD! My mom tells me that I was equally tremendous and strong-willed. Payback? My mother-in-law once told me how impressed she was that I was always so calm and handled situations well with my first child. She was a easy, happy, stoic infant. Always watching and taking it all in. She would sit back and watch others, not really ever interacting with them. It was like she studied them before allowing herself to open up to them. Now that kid is outgoing and will interact with everyone! She rarely throws tantrums that are full of screaming and writhing on the floor like a possessed fish. Her tantrums are more like standoffs with some whining and turning up of her nose. I'm not sure which method irks me more.

Sleeping. Sleeping is a huge currently unresolved issue for us. She was a fantastic sleeper up until 16 months or so. She stopped sleeping. Napping is a rare occurrence. Sleeping at night is most often a two hour battle of the wills. Eventually we win, if you can even call it that, but at the expense of everyone's nerves. I have been given advise that could be compiled into a novel. I have researched late into the night for different techniques and "sleep training", which now I believe is nonsense. I'm glad it worked for you, BUT I've tried it all. NOTHING works on this kid.

I mentioned I had finally broke today. It was my first see it up there. Yeah. Well, I called her pediatrician today. Explaining in detail our routine, how long this has been going on, all the 'training' I've been implementing, et cetera, et cetera. Her advise? Stop. Stop stressing and stop forcing naps on her. Keep with the night time routine and have quiet time during the day. I had tried this as well so trying it again isn't going to be difficult. All the things I was already doing or had done were reiterated to me; however the call was worth every bit of hearing that there is absolutely nothing wrong with her. When she finally does sleep, she SLEEPS! This means that there are no behavior or developmental issues. What a relief. Her pediatrician explained that toddlers out grow naps and as long as she does sleep there is nothing to worry about. My El is just strong-willed and is exercising her free-will.

I read this article today and found it encouraging. All the stress of trying to fit my almost 3 year old into some mold of what she should be like or doing has only caused discord between us. She is obedient and well-behaved, until she has her heart set on something, at which point her will becomes ironclad. I truly believe if I let go and become more calm and patient with her like I once was, then we should be able to weather through this storm with some grace and without me having an aneurysm!

My strong-willed child is a BLESSING. She is caring and such a great big sister. She is very worried about her baby sister's well-being and makes sure that we tend to her right away. Sure they fight over toys sometimes and El has trouble sharing. It's a learning process, this being a decent human being. If we popped out of the womb perfect and never misbehaved then why would we need a Savior?

Over the next few days I will be studying the scriptures, these versus specifically.
Psalms 127:3
Proverbs 22:6
Ephesians 6:4
Colossians 3:21
1 Peter 5:3
Titus 2:7
Proverbs 29:17

You might wonder why I did not list Proverbs 13:24 along with those other verses. Before I can expect my children to do the right thing, I must be an example of the right thing. I do not disagree with spanking, I only wish it to be the very last resort. My love for God, my daily example of kindness, patience, and mercy will speak volumes to my children. Christ loves us. He sacrified His life for all mankind! He led His life in perfect example, rebuking when needed, forgiving when needed, and when it called for it, He he got physical in Matthew 21:12-13. My actions will speak louder than "Because I said so." My children will be my delight, because I'm teaching them through my example.

My prayer tonight is that I practice the same patience God has for me on my children. I want to be the example that Christ was when He walked the earth.

Goodnight and God bless,
A Girl of Many Hats

Do you have a strong-willed child? Please share your experiences and advise. Although, I wrote that I have tried everything, I'm sure I missed some. I am a fallible human being and am careful not to pretend to be otherwise.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Why should I start blogging again?

To blog or not to blog. I have been wrestling with this blog for over three years. Since becoming pregnant with my first child. I started out with true determination and with what I thought would be interesting enough for me to keep up with & not give up or become bored with as quickly. My main hesitation has always been that I don't believe that I have anything interesting to about which to write. I've always enjoyed writing. Perhaps I don't find myself interesting enough. Why would anyone else? Why does that matter? I started this blog for me, right?
This blog was intended to be a place where I could express myself creatively, sharing my struggles and triumphs as a girl who wears many hats. Wife. Mother. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Servant. There are so many parts of who I am and sometimes they "argue" with one another as I try to succeed at this new hat of being a parent. The mom struggles with the part of me who just wants to sleep in or just sleep at all. There's also the constant struggle between the stay-at-home-homeschool-mom and the free-spirit who doesn't like or want to be 'tied down'. I have conflicting drives and desires. I know I can make it work. I just haven't figured it all out yet. This blog is suppose to be the recordings of my journey.

I created a Facebook page to promote my blog. Why? Why would a girl who is uncomfortably awkward with attention do that? 

I love helping others. My husband teases me that I am always trying to save the world. He's right. I get bent out of shape if I can't fix someone's problems. There is always the next cause with me. Whose suffering can I alleviate next?

Regardless of it all, here I am blogging once again. Will I stick with it this time? l sure hope so. I have a lot to say. l suppose I lack the conviction that what I write might actually make a difference in someone's life. Yes, that is important to me. l should not walk this earth without serving others. It just seems silly for me to go all the years of my life on this earth and not make a difference. I may not cure cancer or solve world hunger, but that shouldn't stop me from serving my neighbor or the family that lives down street that I've never met.

So, here I am starting up my blog again in hopes that I'll stick to it, but more importantly uplift others & make a difference in the world. Even if that world is just on my street. Everyone matters!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

A long time ago...

I started this blog a long time ago as a manner is which to decompress and air out my thoughts. I don't care if anyone really follows so I haven't really been adamant about posting frequently. My last post was in April. Today is the last day in August. Summer is gone. School is back in session. Fall is at our doorstep...well, sort of. Here in San Antonio summer holds on till February. It's so hot here. But I do like living here.

A long time ago, I was not skilled in the art of being social. I do believe I am what's known as socially awkward. I have lots to say on many things and when I'm around people it usually comes out wrong or weird. I'm okay with it actually. Sometimes. Anyway. It took me 7 years in Tampa to make friends.'s been a year and a half and I must say I have a handful of really good friends. Much faster. Am I better at reaching out? Do I have more things in common with people now that I have entered motherhood? Or is it the being a military wife with two small children and a husband who is never around an excellent motivator to come out of one's shell and say "Hi, neighbor."? Perhaps my current situation is the driving force behind my recently developed social-butterfly condition?

A long time ago, I was very anti-social and pretty much hated being around other humans. Especially the smaller, noisier, dirty ones known as children. I would hold my husband's hand, stand behind him, head down, and barely utter a greeting when introduced. Strange really. My whole life I have been meeting and greeting and I've had to hold conversations with folks. Mainly it was after my parent's presentation of our missionary work in Central America and folks would come up with questions. Come to think of it, I'm better at informing other humans than I am of actually carrying on a conversation. *I should clarify that I do not hate children. I am aware that my sarcastic humor can be mistaken as me being a perfectly horrible human being*

A long time ago, I was tenderhearted. Oh wait, I still am. I've just learned to not let it show. Like ever! I know that I come off as unfeeling or uncaring. I rarely know what to say in situations where someone else might be able to respond with something encouraging. I seem to be seen as the tougher one in the group of friends who doesn't understand what it's like to get my feelings hurt or upset by another's actions, words, or look. I am actually very easily hurt, even though I tell EVERYONE that I am not. I just try to convince myself that I have a tough skin. Say it to you believe it, right? When people hurt me I feel awful (naturally), I don't let them see it, I go home and I tell my husband how mean that person was to me, and then I push it down deep and tell myself it doesn't matter. It's not worth it. I'm not worth it. Keeping the peace is more important. Drama bad. Peace good. Anyway.

A long time ago is still happening for me today. I am better at certain things. I'm still praying and God is still working on aspects of my being. But I am important to God, my husband, and my family. That's what matters in the end. I still want to make a difference in the lives of others, I'm just held back

Still growing,


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I Love My Military Children

April is Military Child Appreciation month. April 15th, today, is the day we are all invited to show our support by wearing purple. Today is Purple Up Day! Here are a few pictures of our sweet military brats and an article I wrote for the JBSA-Lackland Enlisted Spouse Club newsletter. 

Getting ready for our photo shoot with our favorite Airman...our dad!

"My husband and I have been married over nine years and through those years we have survived many deployments and TDYs. As he prepares to leave on yet another TDY I begin to think about the stress and exhaustion of being a quote-unquote single mother for 3 weeks. I’ll be lonely and will miss him coming home at the end of a normal workday to give me 20 minutes of alone time away from a 2 year old and 2 month old. I start to feel very sorry for myself, but then I stop. My babies. My sweet babies. We have two beautiful daughters. The oldest is just over 2 years old and the other will be 3 months in a couple weeks. My oldest has already gone through a 6 month TDY. Although she was 13 months when Daddy finally came home, she missed him, but it was subtle. This time will be more difficult for her. I often think about it and dread the long days and nights ahead of me. I’ve been considering all the different aspects of being a military child. As wives we knew, for the most part, what we were getting into. We married into the military. We sacrifice daily for our spouses and country. We are able to understand and deal with the responsibilities that take our spouses away from us for various lengths of time.

But our children? The sacrifices they are asked to make for the sake of freedom and fellow countrymen are great. I think of the crazy, wild joy my 2 year old daughter displays when she sees her daddy pull into the drive way and how she is just dying for him to walk in so she can fling herself into his arms. Or the morning when she is awake when he leaves…The desperate racing down the stairs crying “No. Stop! Papi!” as he walks out the door, and then cries at the door while he pulls away. It breaks my heart. The hardships of being a military child are very real and unappreciated. As a military child of an active duty father, she will frequently encounter obstacles and conflicts. Whether they are deployments, long days at work, or trips to the field, absence is the hardest obstacle that she will face regularly. Although this particular struggle will become routine, and she will have to learn to cope with this conflict, every time he leaves will leave her feeling hollow and alone. A deployment or any lengthy separation evokes an array of emotions: fear, isolation, detachment, and longing among others. For a child these feeling are overwhelming. Having such a physical disconnection from their father or mother is very daunting.

How do we help them? Although every child is unique, they all have the same basic needs: to feel loved and safe. There are many coping ideas on the internet. I have been searching for different ideas and activities that we can do to ease the sting of separation. I don’t have all the answers and what works for us may not work for you, BUT, and that’s a big but, the constant is love and security. A child’s world is turned upside down when a parent leaves for even a short amount of time. They need to feel loved and reassured that Mommy or Daddy still loves them and wants more than anything else to come home and be with them.

Bedtime is their special time. My husband gives our daughter a bath and gets her ready for bed. Afterwards, they share a bowl of Greek yogurt, brush their teeth, 2 or 3 rounds of “ni ni” kisses for everyone in the house, even guests, and then off to her room where they read a bedtime story and say their prayers. This routine is so special to her because he makes it special. To my husband it is not a chore. It is a chance to spend quality time with his little girl. He treasures those moments because he knows they are fleeting and soon he will have to leave, again. I will be in charge of bedtime when he’s gone. If possible we will Skype to say goodnight to Papi. We will say our prayers and ask God to bring Papi safely back home to us.

There’s a precious bond that cannot be broken between a parent and child. It can be strained by the stress and fear of separation, but strengthened tenfold upon reuniting and rebuilding the trust and security in that parent's love for them. Each later deployment or TDY will only strengthen the bond. There is a horror and a beauty in being a Military Child. We call them military brats, but in reality they are heroes. Watching Mom or Dad walk away to travel to some distant land for 6 months to a year, not truly knowing if they'll come home, but hoping against all hope and praying that time will fly by and they'll be back in their arms again is heroic.

A military child is expected to be brave and strong. A military child is expected to face separation from their parent to ensure our nation's freedom and way of life. A military child is expected a great many things. A military child tends to be under appreciated.

April is the month that is set aside to honor the Military Child. Help us at the LESC honor every military child by wearing purple on PURPLE UP day, April 15th. Dress your military child in purple. You could even take it a step forward and snap a picture of your brave little Military "Brat" and post it with the hashtag #purpleup via any social media platform. Let's celebrate our nation's littlest heroes!"

We try to foster a love our country in our children. We salute our flag at every retreat, whether indoors or outdoors. Elora Danan runs to the door and stands at attention with her hand on her heart. She doesn't always make its through, but that's okay. Living on an Air Force base has given her the love of planes constantly flying over head, except for when they are too loud. That still scares her. She excitedly points out any planes. In the air or pictures or planes.

Parenting in general is not easy. Parenting a military child has its unique and at times daunting challenges. It's worth it though. All parenting is worth it. Even when you want to pull your hair out. So to all you military parents out there, hang in there. And...

A HUGE THANK YOU TO EVERY MILITARY CHILD, PAST AND PRESENT! Your sacrifices are great and I am grateful for you!

*Photos take by my hubby.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Am I doing too much?

For the past seven weeks I have been functioning, quite inefficiently I might add, on a mere two to three, if I'm lucky, hours of sleep a night. My dearest mother was a great help while she was here visiting, alas she has gone home and I am left to this challenge on my own. My husband does much to help me, as did my mom; however, there are certain things they just couldn't do in my place. However, a great help they had/have been. While visiting, Mom helped with cooking, household chores, LAUNDRY, grocery shopping, entertaining a toddler, and pretty much making sure I didn't go insane. Her visit was far too short.

The endless laundry....
My husband helps with what he can with his limited time. He changes diapers whenever he's home. He starts laundry or transfers or folds or puts away, whichever happens to be left to be completed. He loads and unloads the dishwasher. He'll watch the girls so I can shower on some evenings or while I'm away teaching my Zumba® Fitness classes. Once in a great while he'll make dinner if I was unable to get it started before I leave to my class. He is solely in charge of El's bedtime routine. Bath, lotion, brushing teeth, bedtime story, prayers, all of it. There are other little things he does - prepare diaper bag, stuff cloth diapers, bring me coffee or food because he knows I put everything else before myself, etc... He's magnificent. Best of all? He never tells me that he shouldn't be doing these things because he's not the mother. That kinda thinking and attitude seriously irks me. So, blessed he doesn't think or act that way.

God bless this man!
Even with the occasional/limited help so lovingly and graciously given by my love, I am still exhausted. I have no real complaints really. I choose to breastfeed exclusively. I choose to co-sleep. I choose to use cloth diapers. I choose to work outside the home. I enjoy being involved and helping others. I enjoy contributing to causes and church and social clubs. Sometimes, okay, a lot of times, I hear from others that I should slow down. Stop adding more to my plate. Statements like that. Well, I know I have my hands full right now. I know I am struggling to keep up with my responsibilities. I am behind. I am forgetting. I am unable to complete new songs for my Zumba® Fitness class. I am unable to spend one uninterrupted hour making a couple flyers. I've been writing this post for a week now. It's frustrating really.

Let's see. What do I do? I'm a wife first and foremost. I try to be there for my husband in every way he needs. Friend, confidant, cheerleader, etc. Secondly I am a mother of a 2 year old and a 7 week old. I breastfeed exclusively, cloth diaper, attempt to cook every meal from scratch and clean/whole/real food as I attempt to move us away from all foods processed, and the dreaded domestic chores, bleh. Aside from home life and responsibilities I have committed to MOPS, LESC, being a Key Spouse, and being involved with my church. These things I have chosen to do. Made commitments. Lastly I chose to work outside the home as a personal trainer and a Zumba Fitness instructor. I love helping others.

Balance. Time management. I am a stranger to these concepts right now. I have been working on finding that rhythm to my new life as a mommy of 2. I'll get there. I don't think I do too much. I honestly think it's a matter of organization, motivation, a feeling of being overwhelmed, and being exhausted. With proper sleep and an attitude adjustment, I'm certain to catch up and do better. I'm stubborn and pigheaded. I don't give up easy or ever... that can be a bad thing. I know there is a solution to everything, I just haven't found them all, and try different approaches if the prior doesn't pan out. I can be annoyingly resilient.

The toddler years bring on new and challenging adventures.
My hats aren't fitting to well lately. I am certainly overwhelmed, but I wouldn't say that I'm stressed. I think there is a difference. With lots of prayer and with God's grace I got this!

Oh, and LOTS of coffee....

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Encouraging Others in Parenting: Another 2014 Resolution

We chose to parent how my husband & I feel and believe is best for our family. Doesn't mean we think we are better or can do better than YOU. I believe if you are doing what you believe is best for your family, then our way shouldn't offend you or make you feel inadequate. We should encourage each other as parents, not break each other down. Today the Mommy Wars run rampant! Snide remarks and underhanded insults are common place. It breaks my heart that we can't encourage one another more often. I've had to explain again and again that I post as an accountability to myself and to inspire others. How can I truly believe in caring for my health and the health of my family if I feed my children junk? Why do I even need to explain wanting to feed my child only the best? Is it easy? NO! Is it affordable YES if you are willing to make sacrifices! I have given up much for my child's health and wellness. Giving up certain luxuries, such as cable, bi-weekly hair or nail appointments, etc, is not as terrible as it sounds. You CAN live without them. There's always something you can give up in the pursuit of your child's ultimate well-being and health. In the end those sacrifices are not missed. Sacrifices we have made include: no cable, no going to movies, no pampering like mani/pedi or eyebrows at a salon, my husband rides a bicycle or walks to work, I walk down to the store with my toddler in her stroller and insulated thermal bag for groceries. These are just a few of the things that can be done to make it affordable. If there's a will and desire, there is always a way. Do I think you are the worst for feeding your kids goldfish? NO! I think our food industry is shameful for making a profit off of endangering the health our children.

My first daughter at only a day old. The light of my life!
As a Personal Trainer and ZUMBA Fitness Instructor I promote health and wellness. I do so because I believe that as a Christian I should respect and treat the body God gave me well. I am heartbroken when accused of being a skinny-minny or that I have an eating disorder or that REAL MEN don't like skin and bones. I am here to encourage and motivate YOU to live cleaner, not to look like me. If you are offended by my appearance then I don't know what to tell you. I look the way I look. I am a healthy girl, who eats more than I grown man. I love REAL food like fruits and veggies, but I also have my guilty pleasure foods. I'm not perfect, but I am responsible for what God gave me. I am responsible for my body and the bodies of my children and even my husband. It is as simple as that. When we married, we became one another. He belongs to me and I to him. There is no individuality in marriage. We are one. We operate as one. Does that mean we are slave to one another? No. It means that we are to love and care for the other as if it were ourselves.

But I digress...

So I read this here and it got me thinking. Why do we judge each other so harshly? Why should my way make you feel inadequate? I don't go around telling you what a bad parent you are for not doing something the way I would. I share how I do things and half the time if not most I'm saying I hope I'm doing it right. The only one I criticize is...ME. I'm very hard on myself and I expect only the absolute best from myself. When I fail it hits me hard. However, I know that I am human; therefore fallible. Making mistakes is just part of this life. I just gotta regroup my efforts, refocus, pray that the good Lord gives me wisdom and grace for myself as I try again.

Baby-wearing while on a family outing. She's only 3-4 weeks old here.

This New Year...make an effort to help a struggling mama or daddy. You know they're out there. I'm one. You are probably one.  No one has it figured out and no one ever will, but tearing down and being cruel is not the answer. Being offended and hurt over someone else's social media post or parenting lifestyle choice is a personal issue that needs to be looked at. I'm guilty of this too. Pinterest makes me feel inadequate at times. I'll spend hours a week wishing I could be like those mommies who post on Pinterest. The reality is I can't. I can only and should only want to be me. It doesn't hurt to try, but if you aren't as successful, it's okay. Try again or move on.

So this year will be the year we can encourage one another in parenting. Choose someone you know and pay them a compliment. A SINCERE compliment. Find something you think they do well as a parent. Send them a private note via mail or text or Facebook Messenger. Call them and ask them to coffee or lunch (your treat) and tell them about what you've noticed. Encourage them and tell them that you wish only the best for them in their parenting endeavor. Trust me, you just may make all the difference in the world to the worn out, beat down, given up parent, who wears a mask of "I know what I'm doing and I don't need help, support or encouragement". We forget that those who "have it together" are human too and feel the same as every other humans does. Affirmation is not feeding into the ego. Also, who are you to judge whether their ego needs inflating or not. The Bible doesn't say encourage one another, unless you think that person's ego is too big, then you can just skip that one. Again, you make assumptions and judgments. Don't mistake someone being appreciative of their blessing and wanting to share them as a sign of boasting. It's not always the case. You don't know the whole story or how much that person needed it or the pain they were going through before or during that blessing. Life is terrible and rough, but we have a God who is just and merciful and full of grace. During the darkest hours He can and will give us great blessings. And if we chose to share those, leaving out the bad, we shouldn't be cut down for it. Don't assume you know everything about another person. Don't assume you know another's heart. You don't. Only God knows the heart. Only God can judge.

Nursing my 15 month old at the Dallas-Ft Worth Zoo.

Make this year about uplifting and encouraging without bias. Choose someone you aren't particularly fond of and start with that person. It's easy to encourage and affirm or faves. The real challenge is being unbiased!

This is another one of my resolutions too. I'm all about praising those I admire and are nice to me. I'm changing my thoughts from "Why should I say something nice to them when all they do is put me down" to "They probably need this more than I do." I don't want anyone to hurt. Even when being vindictive I think about how I should be nicer. I'm terrible at revenge and I think it's 99% my own doing or fault. I put up a good front, but in the end I feel it's me. And because of this mentality I tend to get hurt when in a situation like this. So, This year I will concentrate more on dishing out the same grace, understanding, and mercy I desire and seek for myself.

Thank you for stopping by and enduring my inner thought rambles!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Year 2014 Resolution Part 1

I have many resolutions for 2014. Among those are living "greener". Now the great thing about being "green" is that there's really not too much or too little that you could do. Something as simple as recycling every week helps protect our planet. The choice is yours. Doing your part, even though small, makes a difference. My resolution isn't just to be "green" in care of the earth, but also be "green" in care of my body and health, and that of my family.
I plan on bringing my family to the point where we eat only unprocessed, real food. This means cooking from scratch, perhaps some backyard gardening, and rebudgeting in order to afford eating and feeding my family real food.
I also plan to eliminate all cleaning supplies with harsh, toxic and dangerous chemicals. I have begun to look into companies such as Norwex (I have a friend who sells, so I know more about this particular one than I do others at this point) and other ones that lay claim to being clean and healthy. I am also going to be experimenting with simple homemade cleaning remedies to see what works.
Another facet of being "green" will be to avoid using non-recyclable and disposable products. I'm already almost exclusively cloth diapering and using cloth wipes. I'm using reusable baby/toddler food pouches, instead of purchasing them, and I'm slowly convincing my husband to use a reusable water bottle with a filter at work, home, and when out (gym, hiking, running errands, etc) to keep use from spending money on bottled water that would normally not go into recycling bins when out.
There are many more ways to be "greener" and save not only the planet but our bodies and health too. I have always had hippie/tree hugging tendencies,  along with feminist tendencies, as well as a love for technology, a mistrust of the pharmaceutical industry, a tendency to seek holistic or natural methods/cures for illness, and just an outright flare for the extreme, and balancing those in my life is difficult at times. I'm not a middle ground,  neutral girl. I either love radically and unconditionally, without logic, or I don't. I have common sense about a lot of things, but logic eludes me at times. There's a huge difference between the two.
Not being wasteful & disrespectful either with the planet or the body God gave us, just makes a whole lot of sense to me. I love fitness and living a healthy lifestyle because it makes sense to care for one's body. It's not about being a size zero to me, but about respecting and loving the body God gave me. I believe that gluttony and laziness are slapping God in the face. "Thanks, God for this body. Now watch me misuse and destroy it". Same goes for the earth. "Thank you for this beautiful planet with this perfect life-sustaining atmosphere, but I think I'll pollute the air, poison the waters, and use up all natural resources". This enrages me, but I digress...
Another way I plan on being "greener" is financially, but that's another post and falls under another resolution.
I think I might be biting off a lot with a new baby on the way, a toddler, a scarce/deployed husband, and being a WAHM...but I figure it's doable if I give myself the whole year to experiment and perfect. The year 2014 will be filled with triumphs & failures, mishaps & "wow! I can't believe that actually worked", crying fits of frustration & victory dances, giving up & starting over. I'm looking forward to all the adventures to be had by myself and my family as I take us into uncharted territory and new beginnings.  I'm sure I will have many headaches and moments that will test not only my patience, but also my resolve. But it will be fun...right?
Well, I'm ready. I think? Bring it on 2014...I got this!
Also, if anyone wants to join me (at whatever level of "green") I'd appreciate the support and accountability.  Also, you know what they say, "Misery loves company!" Errr I mean, "The more the merrier!" Just comment below that you'd like to join me and what your goals are! I'd love to hear them and you may have a goal/method I'd like to steal, I mean, add to my plan.
Thanks for reading what's floating around in my noggin!
Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

I Like Being Wrong

I actually like being wrong. I MOST OFTEN am wrong about A LOT of things. But if I wasn't making mistakes, I wouldn't learn and grow. I'm FAR FAR from perfect and I am RIDICULOUSLY HARD on myself! Drives my husband nuts. If I didn't want to constantly be improving myself as a person, mother, wife, christian, friend, stranger, etc... I would just be. To me that's not good enough. I still make NUMEROUS mistakes on a DAILY basis and that's okay. My family and friends show me exceptional grace and mercy EVERY DAY (of which I am EXTREMELY grateful...thank you)! I focus mainly on my flaws and where I need improvement. But I also have had to learn to let go of certain things and feeling. I can't always be in control. Somethings are beyond my grasp. And if it has to do with another human being, FORGET ABOUT IT! I can't  change them. Only me. I can ONLY CHANGE ME. GOD WILL CHANGE MY HEART. GOD WILL CHANGE THEIR HEARTS. BUT ONLY IF ALLOWED TOO!

So I continue to concentrate on me! Lydia can only improve Lydia! I want to be the best example I can for my beautiful daughters!

Found on Google images. I do not own this image. I just really like it.

Thanks for stopping by to read what's in my head!
Lydia - A Girl of Many Hats