Chp. 13: Shower Your Kids With Grace

Chp. 13: Shower Your Kids With Grace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to The Mom Project. For the next few weeks, we’ll be launching my book The Mom Project by hosting several mom friends who have tried it out for themselves. They read the book, completed a project from the book with their kids, and wrote all about it. And these are real moms. Busy moms. Unsure-of-themselves moms. Single moms. Special needs moms. Working moms. Stay-at-home moms. They do the hard working of mommyhood every day, and have found fun ways to connect with their kids in the simple activities found in The Mom Project. Read on to hear their experience:

My daughter Anya has crossed that mysterious threshold, called middle school. I refer to it as the tween twilight zone. I had taken for granted the innocence of elementary school, the fairy forts being built in the backyard and listening to the endless stories of her class fishing with bamboo sticks in the creek. I was completely unprepared for sixth grade and the change it would bring to our home! Anya on the other hand is living her best tween life with one small exception…missing homework. I am certain my daughter completes her homework, because I have the unfortunate experience of wracking my brain trying to help her figure out what the slope of xy is if y is -4! Did I mention my strong disdain for algebra? Oh, and we haven’t even reached algebra this is pre-algebra! Since, she excelled in math in fifth grade she was placed in pre-algebra two levels higher than the average sixth grade math course, which has caused somewhat of a rift in our relationship!

Some of our discord is my fault. I have a new- found obsession with the online grading system that allows me to check the status of homework and grades at any time of the day…which I do…multiple times. I don’t check because I’m in training to be a tiger mom. I check because first, I’m perplexed that work is missing and second, I’m concerned. I never had issues with her handing in homework. I’m fully aware that Anya is responsible for her grades, but my momma heart can’t help to be a bit worried.

I decided to lower my blood pressure and put a stop to my new found unhealthy habit of visiting RemWeb. It was working, until one evening when she asked me to check if her math test was recorded. I eagerly agreed, after all my resistance was wearing weak! I put in the password, pulled up pre-algebra and there it was…a D, and to make matters worse, the overall grade was a D-. If she didn’t understand the material that’s one thing, but just not handing work in, well that’s another.

My eyes scanned the grades and it was apparent that she was in real trouble and partly because of missing work! I was ready to lay down the hammer, then I saw her eyes filling up with tears. I knew that anything I said in the heat of frustration would only result in a big blow out. Instead I gave her a goodnight kiss decided it was time to dive into the, “Mom Project.” I needed help!

The project, “Shower Your Kids with Grace,” immediately caught my attention. It was time to try a different angle, one that was completely opposite of what I felt like doing, which was dropping the gauntlet. After reading the project, I knew the best lesson wasn’t going to be a lecture, but a good dose of grace.

The next morning, I let Anya sleep in for a bit and woke her up with her favorite homemade waffle breakfast with whip cream and blackberries. She looked at me quizzically and cautiously. I told her we were taking the day off and having a mother daughter day in Washington, DC. She loves photography, so I planned a relaxing day of visiting her favorite spots to let her take photos. It would be a day free of grades, judgment or blame. We hopped on the metro and began the day in our Nation’s Capital. Watching Anya so care free, doing cart wheels on the National Mall, practicing her photography skills at the Botanical Gardens, and grabbing a sweet treat at Georgetown Cupcakes was a perfect way to shower her with the grace she needed.

While hanging out at the National Gallery’s Sculpture Garden, Anya said, “Thanks, mom. This has been the best day,” and she opened up about some feelings and even fears that I had no idea about. After our excursion, without my prompting Anya asked me to drop her at school at 7:30 am to get tutoring in pre-algebra. She handed in the missing work and pulled her grade up to a C. I have no doubt that day of grace made a difference for the both of us.

I learned that a little bit of grace goes a long way. This project made me think of my too many to count colossal screw ups and the grace upon grace Jesus so graciously gave me. Jesus has loved me unconditionally through every stage and I had to make sure that I was showing that same grace and love to Anya as she goes through her many stages, even the twilight teen years.

If you want to try this project, find ways to incorporate simple and spontaneous grace in your family’s life to create a home that emphasizes your love for them in all circumstances. Maybe show up at school to take them out to an impromptu lunch, give them a free pass on chores for an evening, or simply don’t dole out a much-deserved consequence as a way of showing grace. Sewing grace into the fabric of our homes create kids that know how to accept grace, but also freely give it to others as well. Who couldn’t stand a little more grace in their day?

Ready for your chance to win a copy of The Mom Project? To be entered into the drawing, just comment on this post and you’ll be entered to win. *Only US readers are eligible to receive the free book.

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This is written by Chere Williams, a passionate single mother who encourages women to make God their partner in their single parenting journey through her blog, “A Single Christian Mom’s Advice on Making Life Easier” Read an excerpt of her upcoming e-book,  “15 Tips on Avoiding Single Mom Burnout.” Click here for a free download.

Chapter 10: Get the Conversation Started

Chapter 10: Get the Conversation Started

Welcome to The Mom Project. For the next few weeks, we’ll be launching my book The Mom Project by hosting several mom friends who have tried it out for themselves. They read the book, completed a project from the book with their kids, and wrote all about it. And these are real moms. Busy moms. Unsure-of-themselves moms. Single moms. Special needs moms. Working moms. Stay-at-home moms. They do the hard working of mommyhood every day, and have found fun ways to connect with their kids in the simple activities found in The Mom Project. Read on to hear their experience:

The Project:

Making a connection with my three kids who are ages 11 and twins who are 9, is a challenging enterprise. Life with three kids close in age will always be a challenging task. I desire connection with them but homework, errands and the minutiae of a day always seems to corrode time. I pick them up from school and then all of a sudden it is time for pjs and brushing teeth. Dinner is a gamble. Who is done with the day already? Who is grumpy because they don’t like what is on their plate? Who is annoyed at their sibling who is sitting where they wanted to sit. Connection at dinner is a miracle akin to the parting of the red sea… okay maybe not to that level but I mean when it happens I am giddy. The Mom Project suggests thinking beyond dinner and encourages thinking outside of the box I typically try to operate in. I’ve been reminded through the Mom Project that well-intentioned isn’t the same as intentional. Maybe this is obvious to most but I think this is a game-changer for me. Intentional connection requires a bit more than me saying, “How was your day?” and “Don’t forget to eat your veggies!”.

The Plan:

Here’s my reality. The best time to connect with my kids is at bedtime. They always want me to lay down with them and chat or just cuddle. The stress of the day is mostly over and their defenses come down. This is, of course, the time when I am the most ‘done’. It is 8 pm and I am ready to tap out. However, I want to connect when they already want to connect by intentionally creating space for this to occur. My plan is to spend time once a week in each child’s room and just sit and be – maybe we will have a snack, cuddle or just have a tickle fight. Just 15 minutes one-on-one with each child is what I am looking for.

Results:

They love it. And so do I. Connection is honestly what I love most about being a mom (it is certainly not the homework time) and so I started looking forward to my time with each child. Some evenings I could sit with all three kids for just a few minutes each and even that short time was a welcome few moments of connection. Bedtime may take longer, but I also come downstairs from tucking them in with a full heart.

What I learned:

Some nights are better than others to try and do this and so I need to be flexible. I did this project while my husband was out of town and it will be great for us to take turns taking a few extra moments one-on-one with the kids. The most necessary component of this is a willing heart ready to sit and just be, because you can’t rush and you have to be present. I have to be less concerned about what I have to do next and what is still waiting for me to take care of.

Extra Tips: Some days one of my children will need me more than another. When I sense that a particular child needs me I can take extra time to connect with them at bedtime. Also, with a little planning ahead I can include a favorite snack or look up knock-knock jokes ahead of time to share.

Ready for your chance to win a copy of The Mom Project? To be entered into the drawing, just comment on this post and you’ll be entered to win. *Only US readers are eligible to receive the free book.

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Bethany Howard lives in Tucker, GA with her husband, three kids, dog and cat. She enjoys words, her children’s laughter and any dinner she doesn’t make. She’s recently developed a passion for dark chocolate covered almonds. She doesn’t aim for perfection because that is unattainable so you just might be comfortable visiting www.bethanyhoward.com where Bethany wades through the ups and downs of life to discover kindling for joy and growth. Click here for a free download on being the best mom you can be for your kids (it’s not what you think it is) and to subscribe to Bethany’s blog.

How To Get Unstuck When You’re Paralyzed By Mind Clutter

How To Get Unstuck When You’re Paralyzed By Mind Clutter

You are precious and honored in my sight, and… I love you. (Isaiah 43:4, NIV)

All it takes is an instant for me to forget my royal identity and start labeling myself with lies. Like the time I froze up over a spatula while hosting a baby shower. I’d opened the doors of our tiny rental house, keenly aware of the four-foot scrape on the linoleum floor, and other dings and dents left by previous tenants. The pressure of playing hostess to a bunch of southern belles who knew how to act at a baby shower (way better than I did) was stifling. That’s when it happened. Someone asked for my cake server. Knowing I didn’t have one in the wedding-gift stash, I rummaged around in the junk drawer for an alternative. When I finally produced a semi-melted, black plastic spatula, I saw what looked like disdain as the other ladies scrutinized it.

And that’s when I froze. My spirit crushed as I accessed my most painful memories of being bullied in junior high school. In an instant, I was that sixth grade girl, fearful, weak, a nobody. I harshly labeled myself:

“You don’t fit in.”

You can’t do anything right.

“You’re unacceptable.”

How God Sees Me

Elijah knew his unique identity in the Lord. But he also knew labels. A prophet of God, he had a special message. One filled with heart for God’s people. And yet, King Ahab, with all his royal clout, labeled Elijah in 1 Kings 18:17: “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?” Ouch.

I love how Elijah dealt with this, and the general dejection of running for his life:

  1. He took care of business – divine business. Read the story of Elijah praying for fire down from heaven in 1 Kings 18:21-39. It’s awesome.
  2. He got alone and took his heart to God. “I have had enough, LORD.” (1 Kings 19:4)

And what did God do? He provided for his needs. He fed him bread for the journey ahead.

So what can I learn from Elijah, who was human, just like I am? (James 5:17)

  • When I feel unloved, I take my hurts to God. He holds my hand and collects my tears in a bottle. (Isaiah 42:6, Psalm 56:8)
  • When I feel like nobody, I remember that I am precious and honored in God’s sight. (Isaiah 43:4)
  • When I feel like I don’t fit in, I remember He has not rejected me. (Isaiah 41:9, 10)

Friend, take your hurts to God. He’ll give you bread, sustenance, for the journey.

One Small Step

What lies are your inner bullies telling you? Are you listening to and affirming them?

Prayerfully write down who you are in God. Post on your bathroom mirror, your phone background, and above your kitchen sink. Let these beautiful truths sink in as they become louder than the mind clutter bullies.

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Kelli Pavlovec draws from her experience as a work from home mom to help smart moms get unstuck and find their best self at www.twohourmom.com. For a free worksheet on 7 Ways to Pursue Your Life Dreams, Even While You’re a Mom, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Match Your Stuff To the Size of Your Plate

How To Match Your Stuff To the Size of Your Plate

 

It’s March 27, 2017

Due to an emergency, Kathi is unable to do her scheduled Facebook LIVE with the Clutter Free Bible Study group and asks if I’ll fill in.

“If you don’t have any areas of clutter struggle any more, ” she says as only the Queen of Positivity can, “maybe you can tell them about your past challenges.”

“Oh, I’m sure I’ll think of something!” I assure her, glancing guiltily around my office.

During the Facebook LIVE, I show everyone my greatest clutter struggle: the many ways I preserve my ideas.

  • A shelf lined with 2 inch binders labeled “Blog Post Ideas #1” … “Blog Post Ideas #2” … “Blog Post Ideas #3″…
  • File boxes full of hanging file-folders stuffed with notes from in-process book proposals and retreat messages.
  • Stacks of printed drafts (I live in terror of losing digital data, so I hav a printing compulsion) from the months when Kathi and I were writing Overwhelmed: 1st draft, 2nd draft, 10th draft.
  • Notebooks from the various writing and speaking conferences I’d been to, dating back before 2010.

“They’re all so beautifully organized and labeled, Cheri!” someone comments.

“Aren’t they?” I agree.

“Which is exactly what has allowed me to justify keeping all this stuff. After all, if it’s color-coded, labeled, and organized in binders, certainly it’s not clutter…right?!?”

My sarcasm evokes laughter, and then we all fall silent in communal conviction.

Just because our stuff looks good does not mean we should keep it.

What Size is Your Plate?

In Overwhelmed, Kathi describes each person’s individual capacity in terms of “the size of your plate.”

Most women have dinner plates—an average capacity for activity and productivity.

A few have turkey platters and can accomplish 2-3 times as much as most people.

I, on the other hand, have a small plate. As a highly sensitive person, I am extra easily overwhelmed.

“Does all this stuff in my office match up with a small plate person?” I ask the Clutter Free Bible Study group members.

No way, they all agree.

All the binders and boxes and stacks match someone with a turkey platter.

A hard truth hits me, smack dab in the middle of Facebook LIVE:

Hanging onto so much stuff is a form of greed stemming from distrust.

Protecting my precious ideas is me saying, “God, I don’t trust you to remind me of what’s important.”

And ultimately, hoarding my ideas is my way of trying to stretch my plate.

I never wanted a small plate. I’ve always wanted a turkey platter. So I’ve surrounded myself with “evidence” that “proves” my preferred truth.

It’s my way of saying, “Look! I have all this! If I have so much, I must have a really big plate!”

Bottom line: I’m keeping an office full of stuff so that I can prove God wrong.

<gulp>

Learning to Trust God

After the Facebook LIVE I look around my office with new eyes.

I’ve worked so hard to protect all my precious ideas, but I have far too many to use.

I need to trust God to choose.

I need to believe that God will help me remember the ideas I need when the time comes. Or trust that He’ll give me something new.

Either way, it’s time to quit pretending I have a bigger plate than I do.

I need to accept the size of my plate and let most of this stuff go.

My stuff needs to match the truth about who God created me to be.

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Cheri Gregory is a teacher, speaker, author, and Certified Personality Trainer. Her passion is helping women break free from destructive expectations. She writes and speaks from the conviction that “how to” works best in partnership with “heart, too.”

Cheri is the co-author, with Kathi Lipp, of The Cure for the “Perfect” Life and the upcoming Overwhelmed.

Cheri has been “wife of my youth” to Daniel, her opposite personality, for twenty-eight years and is “Mom” to Annemarie (25) and Jonathon (23), also opposite personalities.

Cheri blogs about perfectionism, people-pleasing, highly sensitive people, and hope at www.cherigregory.com.

 

 

 

 

Eps. #294 How to Keep Comparison from Conquering Who You Are

Eps. #294 How to Keep Comparison from Conquering Who You Are

It all started in the garden with Eve…doubt and comparison crept in with the question, “Did God really say….?”

We see it in the Bible with the story of Rachel and Leah too. They didn’t need social media to allow comparison to grow a wedge between them. We need to decide who’s truth we are going to align our lives with, ours or God’s?

Join Kathi and Nicki Koziarz as they talk about comparison and how we have the false perception that to do something great for the kingdom of God, we need to go viral, live big or have thousands of followers. Nicki urges us to see how what God is doing in each of us is so special and unique, that we can’t dare to put a classification on what He’s doing in our lives.

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Meet Our Guest

Nicki Koziarz

Nicki Koziarz

Nicki Koziarz is a wife and mom to three girls plus a handful of barnyard babies. They live just outside of Charlotte, NC. She is an inspirational author, Bible teacher, and speaker with Proverbs 31 Ministries. Nicki leads from her own brokenness that somehow God is making meaningful. www.nickikoziarz.com