Gratitude and Prayer

My One Little Word (OLW) for 2016 is gratitude. And yet, here it is almost August, and I have written about gratitude…maybe three times? I haven’t counted, but it’s been a long time.

In the gratitude journal that sits on my bedside table, I’ve long stopped writing a gratitude list everyday. It’s turned into more of a prayer journal lately. Funny, I thought about choosing prayer as my OLW.

Prayer for weary

I’ll be the first to admit that praying can sometimes fall to the bottom of my to-do list. And then I feel guilty for praying only when I need help in this life. Because this life can be rough, people.

I like road trips but right now our family is journeying down one rocky road. And I don’t like it. Not.one.bit. Guilt aside, I have been praying. A lot.

Ethel Barrymore is quote as saying, “When life knocks you to your knees, and it will, why, get up! If it knocks you to your knees again, as it will, well, isn’t that the best position from which to pray?” And, yes, she is related to those Barrymore’s of Hollywood.

Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, presents your requests to God.”

Prayer is a way to spend time with God. It’s a time to share our heart, lay all our worries on Him, and give thanks for what has been given to us.

Also, “Prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan.” -John Bunyan

So, I’ll pray and give thanks.

Here’s a prayer I discovered at Susie Larson this week. It has helped calm my soul this week; maybe it will help you too.

Lord, I’m weary after a long day. I lift my chin and look to You. I offer You the cares from the day, the concerns of my heart, and the things that keep me up at night. Take my sincere yet imperfect offerings and miraculously multiply them to meet the needs around me. When I crawl under the covers tonight, help me remember that I’m not under my circumstances. I’m safe under the shadow of Your wing. Cover me with sweet, nourishing sleep tonight. Oh, how I love You. Amen.

***Linking up with the lovely Holley Gerth at Coffee for your heart. Go check out all the inspiring links there. It’s your coffee break.

Dear moms of teens, it’s time we stick together.

Dear moms of teens,

It’s time we stick together.

Moms of teens

Seemingly good teens will make bad decisions. Sometimes they don’t get caught, or it takes months before the truth comes out. Sometimes they get caught doing something with potentially dangerous consequences.

And when they get caught, we moms have to stick together. And stop the finger pointing.

Because teens will make bad decisions despite the fact you have taught them right from wrong. They will make bad choices whether they were raised in a two-parent home, a broken home, low income home, or upper income home. They will make bad choices whether they attend a “good” school or an inner-city school, attend church or never stepped foot in a church…it.won’t.matter.

How do I know this? Because I am living it. Right now.

And if you think “it’s not my kids”, well, you’re fooling yourself; and one day, when you least expect it, you will be slapped across the face. Just.like.me.

Here’s something else I know: Moms will be blamed…by other moms, because, like, “where were you?” “Why wasn’t she watching her kid?” “She should have known.”

I find it ironic that moms get blamed for all the bad things our kids do but get none of the credit if that kid gets into Harvard, or some other equally great accomplishment. But I digress.

So, moms we HAVE to stick together. We have to call another mom if we hear something about their kid doing something that is harmful to themselves or others. That’s a hard conversation to have. I get it. It’s a conversation that should be done in love and compassion.

We have to have each other’s back. Support one another.

It’s not about just my kid making bad decisions; because if my kid is doing it, chances are so is yours. You can pretend all you want that your kid is being honest with you. Guess what? I thought the same thing and yet, here I am with a kid who has made some bad decisions and we are both facing the consequences.

Wake up call. Are you listening?

Being honest about what your teen has been up to doesn’t mean giving in to gossipmongering, it means being real with ourselves and others. It’s easy to think that our teens successes mean we are being a good mom; it’s equally easy to think that their bad choices mean we are being a failure as a parent. Neither are true.

I don’t think we were meant to do it alone, this mothering thing. You’ve heard the saying, “It takes a village…”

It takes a village of moms.

So let’s stop judging, and start working together. The added benefit of having a tribe of moms who have your back? Your teen will also know that there is more than one mom watching over them and may less likely to take a step in the wrong direction.

Photo credit: pixels.com

May in Photos plus a Recipe

May has been crazy. It’s been a frantic race to the finish line to summer break.
Herbs

Every year I say this is the year I grow herbs in a pot. And then I kill it. The cilantro tasted great while it lasted.

Peonies

Rainbow

Sitting in rush hour traffic, with a rainbow in my rear view.

Grad

It’s hard to believe Alex is leaving middle school for high school. It’s hard to believe we both survived it! I can’t believe I am a mother of a teenager who is so awesome.

Selfie

Parker will still take selfies with me.

Porch

The backyard umbrella is up.

Grilled BLT

Smores

Grilled pineapple

Grilled peaches

Grilled BLT with cheese, s’mores, grilled pineapples and grilled peaches. I see a theme here. As promised…a recipe:

Grilled  Peaches with Ice Cream

Heat grill to medium heat. Slice peaches, coat with pure coconut oil (I used the spray version). Place peaches on grill pan, cook 5 minutes each side. Top with scoops of vanilla ice cream and drizzle with honey. Enjoy!

Side note: I will now only eat my vanilla ice cream with a drizzle of honey. It’s so good!

Popsicle

The freezer is stocked with Popsicles; perfect for evening porch sitting.

Basketball

Ceramics

Parker and I celebrated the last day of school with painting ceramics at Crackpots in Longmont, CO. If you’re in the area, I would recommend you stop in and get your creative on! Super cute place.

Ceramics

Hawaii

We’ve got our grass skirt…Bring on summer!

There will always be someone who does it better

In life,  no matter what you are doing; no matter how much experience you have at your job; no matter the advanced degree that require post-nominal acronyms after your name; no matter if you’ve been doing it—whatever it may be—for 4 years or 40 years…there will always be someone who does it better.

Or, at least you THINK someone is doing it better than you.

Ah, the fine art of comparison.

There is a girl I know, whom shall remain nameless. (Hint: she bears a strong resemblance to me.) She is an amazing young lady. She is creative, funny, loyal, beautiful inside and out. She excels at school work; taking high school math classes in middle school. She gets grounded so rarely, she doesn’t really understand what it means.

Athletically, she excels there too. She has been known to become interested in a sport and, with very little training, she goes out there and makes the All-Star Team. Where she got that gene, I will never know.

She was born with another gene too…the hyperactive comparison gene. I know where she got that one.

She can be highly critical of herself. Everyone may tell her she is has natural talent at a sport, but if she meets another girl, who has had years of training and practice, then she immediately perceives that girl “better” than herself. She doesn’t think she can compete. Because they are better, and she isn’t.

She struggles with comparison, and perfectionism. (That comparison-perfectionism gene runs in the family.)

We all fall into the comparison trap. And what a trap it is! Even at my age, I have yet to learn to stop the comparison already.

When I was a mother of toddlers, I would compare myself to the fellow mom at the playground who seemed to have it all together. That mom always had wet wipes and snacks…the good kind. She never yelled at her kid. Her hair was done, not just thrown up in a messy ponytail. And, she actually was wearing something other than yoga pants! She had it all together, and I was a failure because I compared myself to my perceived perfection of her.

But, listen closely. She was never perfect. She was probably comparing herself to me; wishing she too could wear yoga pants and no makeup. And pull it off.

Well, nobody’s perfect.😉

So, when comparison has you trapped, here are a few life truths to remember:

  • We are all creatively designed by a great creator. He didn’t create us all to be a pro-athlete, or a super-mom, or president of the free world. Those are just titles we attached to people. He created us to be wonderful us. Nobody else. Go be you and let someone else be president.
  • We are not born professionals. Even Michael Jordan sucked at playing basketball at one time. Hard to believe, I know. He practiced, and practiced, probably thought about giving up because someone on the court was better than him, or he was told to quit, then he practiced some more. Strive to be the best of your ability. That is all you can do.
  • “Comparison is the thief of joy.” President Theodore Roosevelt said that. When we constantly compare ourselves to others we miss out on the joy of doing. Just do it because you love it, not best you are the best at it.
  • Stop comparing, start doing. Life is short. Don’t miss an opportunity to do something amazing because you don’t think you are good enough to do it. Do it anyway. The only way to get better is by doing.

Still have trouble comparing yourself to others? Think about this:

  • Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star in 1919 because, his editor said, he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”
  • While alive, Van Gogh only sold one painting.
  • Steve Jobs was fired from his own company. That company was Apple.

…And, Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. He once said, “I have missed over 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I have missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Like the graphic pictured above? Get a free printable by clicking on the image. Print it out as a reminder to do your thang…and stop comparing yourself to others.

LINKING UP at Holley Gerth.

Because I haven’t posted in a month

So. I haven’t posted in a month. Can I make it up to you with my new favorite chocolate chip muffin recipe?

Bakery style chocolate chip muffins

The recipe can be found on Cooking Classy.

Bakery style muffins

We made 36 for Parker’s class read-in. It was to celebrate finally wrapping up PARCC testing. And they are #damndelicious!

Easter

Easter eggs

Thor the black lab

Thor is my snow dog

Basketball

Alex on the All-Star team. Basketball season is over😦

Sunrise

Archery

Rocco

Word sign art

My mom sent me wall art stickers. I cut the pieces apart and created this canvas sign.