The Mom Project Chapter 13: Shower Your Kids With Grace

The Mom Project Chapter 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.

How to Have Mercy for My Mess

How to Have Mercy for My Mess

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)

I walked into the beautiful home of a new friend for the very first time. She is a single mother of 3 young children, successful entrepreneur and multi-business owner.  As I was ooo-ing and ahh-ing over the impeccable decor and the stunning architecture of her home, she repeatedly asked me to overlook the “mess.”  After a couple mentions about the kids’ toys I stopped and quickly replied, “One of my superpowers is that I only see messes in my own house, not in others’!”

It’s so true. So many of us have unlimited mercy for other people’s “messes,” whether that be a cluttered home, a wayward child, a disconnected marriage or even difficulties getting pregnant, but when it comes to the messes in our own lives, we seem to have run out of compassion.  Why are we so hard on ourselves? We can be rocking it in so many areas of life, but we beat ourselves up over the one or two areas that may be a little bit messy.

God’s Word is clear.  The second greatest commandment that Jesus gives in Mark 12:31 is for us to love others as we love ourselves. Leave it to Jesus to be able to strategically maneuver two crucial commandments into one simple message.  In order to love others well, we first have to be able to love ourselves well! No matter who you are, the number of degrees you may have, or the amount of talent you may possess, it isn’t realistic or possible for any of us to have success in every area of our lives all at the same time.

It sounds ridiculous even saying it right now, yet, we can become our own biggest critics when life isn’t going as planned.

Do what Jesus says. Love yourself and others well. Have mercy for your own mess.

One Small Win: Today, I want you to think of one area of your life that is messy.  Now, take a look at it through the superpower of mercy, just as you would see it in someone else’s life. How do you see your mess now?

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As a Couples Life & Fertility Support Coach and 3x Surrogate that has carried five children for three families dealing with infertility, Tiffany Jo Baker spends her time speaking, writing and helping women and couples birth their dreams and navigate the road and relationships well while trying to conceive. Married for 18 years to her polar opposite, yet best friend, together they have two teenage girls and have built a life and family based on faith, core values, humor and forgiveness. She loves to laugh, eat french fries, find amazing deals and create new memories.?? www.TiffanyJoBaker.com

 

 

Join the Undone Life Together Conversation!

Join the Undone Life Together Conversation!

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Last year, just three weeks after her most recent (and most radical) surgery, Michele Cushatt and I hung out on her family room couch with friends Traci Sheer and Joy Groblebe, chatting about her newly-released book Undone: a Story of Making Peace with an Unexpected Life.

Today, I’m excited to share some of our convo and for Michele to tell you about her new Undone Life Together: a 5-Week Conversation about the Unexpected Life that begins February 22.

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Kathi: You and I have talked a lot about self grace. This is something you’ve really struggled with. When we first met, I thought, “That woman is harder on herself than anyone else I’ve ever known.”

Michele: You’re not the first person to tell me that.

Kathi: I’m not surprised.

Michele: I’ve pretty much heard that my entire life.

Kathi: Reading the chapter about your upset over the A- … if I’d come home from school with an A-, my parents would have thrown a party! But all you saw was the minus.

Michele: I only saw the minus. And isn’t this true about so many of us? We look at our lives and all we can see is the minus? We can’t see the “A”? That has been a theme in my life.

Kathi: I think a lot of people have pocket perfectionism. They’d be cool with an A-, but there’s other things they’d lose their mind over.

Michele: Not me. I’m pretty much across the board.

Kathi: So, speak to that. I feel like in the last couple of months, there’s been a lot more self grace. There’s been a shift.

Joy: You’ve had to ask for help. … I work with you every day. There’s stuff we’re doing that normally Michele would have handled, but she’s been handing over, saying, “Could you do this for me?”

Kathi: But her standards haven’t slipped.

Joy: Not at all! It’s still this high level of excellence. But it’s a reall sweet soft side of you. And I like watching God work in your life like that.

Traci: It’s what we get from you as your friends. You are very grace-full and very forgiving, and you see all of our As…

Joy: Always.

Kathi: Oohhhh…

Traci: …but you don’t see yours. So it’s nice to see you give some of that back to yourself.

Kathi: That’s good. Because she is the biggest cheerleader in the world.

Kathi: What’s been the transition?

Michele: I’ve landed in a circumstances that have given me lots of practice. Where I have no ability to control all the errant details of my life. So I have to let go at some point. And it forces me to see that not everything is my fault. Not everything is within my control; some of it is just life. Just life.

I have to find my value in somebody other than myself and my performance.

I have to find my sense of worth and value in something other than myself and my performance. For 43 years of my life, I had find my value in my ability to perform well. To produce children who behave and listen. To have a marriage that looks spotless. To do everything with excellence.

And I have learned that’s very shaky sand.

Ultimately, the only sense of value I can find that will not move, that is unshakable, is the love of God for me.

The only thing that I know I can wake up to tomorrow that will not be different than today is the fact that God will still love me. He will still know my name. And He will not leave. Romans 8:35, 37-29. It’s the only thing I can stand on that will not change.

I have no idea what my children will do tomorrow. I have no idea what kind of kids they’re going to grow up to be. I don’t even know if my husband will be here tomorrow; we never know these things. I don’t know how much I’ll be able to speak once everything is done.

The only thing I can stand on for sure, in cement, is the love of God for me.

And that allows me to first of all grace myself, because it’s not dependant on me any more. It’s not about me getting up and working really hard to talk well. It’s not about me reading a bunch of parenting books and being the best mom and winning some kind of parenting awared.

It’s about the fact that nothing is going to change the wide, high, long, deep love of God for me.

And somehow, that helps us make peace with our unexpected lives and undone selves.

Joy: Because that never gets undone.

Michele: Ever.

Who can change the mind of God?

His love for your is already established.

It will never change.

(You can view the entire conversation here:  https://youtu.be/TBi3-0TLWpg … the portion shared above starts around 26:35 and runs through 34:55. Begin at 26:10 for a bit of fun banter!)

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I’ve come to believe we can endure just about anything as long as we know we’re not alone.

Problem is, too often we feel alone. Utterly and completely.

In spite of the emails and messages and well-wishes, our crises isolate us, creating a divide too wide to bridge. It makes us feel “other,” separating us from those who seem to carry on unhindered in their ordinary, pain-free lives.

But here’s the thing: I think pain-free is a fantasy. I don’t know anyone who’s living the life they always imagined. I know more than a few people who are pretending to. But behind their well-crafted charade sits a schism of struggle they’re too afraid to expose. Thus we trudge on—both the pretenders and the strugglers—each of us swallowed up in our aloneness and fear.

But what if …

What if someone went first?

What if someone dared to create a safe place for the complicated questions and conversations?

And then, what if you and I could find a way to laugh and cry and be undone together?

I think there is.

That’s why Monday, February 22, I’m launching Undone Life Together: A 5-week Conversation About the Unexpected Life. Picture it like a giant family room with a bunch of fluffy pillows and chairs. There’s a seat for you there; me, too. And we’ll circle up and unpack the tough questions we bump against every single day. Only, this time we won’t do it alone. We’ll do it together.

When you join Undone Life Together, you’ll receive:

  • A 5-week Daily Reading Plan through the chapters of Undone: A Story of Making Peace With An Unexpected Life. If you’ve already read it, no problem. You can revisit the chapter themes and engage in the conversation. Don’t want to read it? That’s okay, too.
  • Daily emails designed to create conversation around your biggest questions.
  • Dedicated Facebook group conversation around the days themes.
  • Weekly videos where I dive a bit deeper into the most complicated topics.

We won’t come up with all the answers nor will we resolve all of life’s unknowns. But we’ll open the doors for an honest conversation. I believe, in the process, we will discover a God who is faithful, a peace that is unshakeable and a community of fellow strugglers who will walk with us in this Undone Life Together.

Like cold water in the driest of deserts, my friend.

It begins February 22 and ends March 25. Even better, it’s absolutely FREE. That means you can participate as much or as little as you like. You can even lurk in the background for the entire five weeks if that’s the most you can do. Believe me, I get it.

But you need to sign-up to join.

I can’t wait to get started. And, honestly, my heart is aching for you to join us. I may not know all the details of your story, but I know what it feels like to be alone, drowning in questions without answers. And I know the One who holds the key to staying afloat.

I’m so glad we’re in this together.

 

 

3 Ways to Make Family Time Tangle-Free During the Holidays by Carey Wiggens Scott

3 Ways to Make Family Time Tangle-Free During the Holidays by Carey Wiggens Scott

Carey Scott, is a new friend, but boy – when you read just what her mother-in-law did to sabotage her Christmas – you will instantly bond with her, just like I did.

Be sure to head over to Carey’s blog to enter to win her latest book Untangled.

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She left out one of the main ingredients.

On purpose.

As my mother-in-law was writing down the recipe for her crowd-pleasing breakfast casserole – the one my husband really wanted me to make for Christmas morning – no one realized she was angry.

Even though we had spent Thanksgiving with them and planned on Christmas Eve too, the fact that we’d wake up at my parent’s house on the 25th made her spittin’-mad.

Wait. What?

And as my husband stood over her shoulder, he noticed she not only skipped a flavor-delivering ingredient, but also tweaked the measurements of the others.

I was being set-up for failure – a label I already wore when it came to all-things hospitality. A label she wanted me to continue wearing.

Truth is I’m not a confident cook or baker, so I’d have followed the recipe to a tee. The result would have been one nasty casserole. And ruining the Christmas morning meal would have heaped guilt and shame on me for not being better equipped in the kitchen — tightening the tangle that said “I’m a culinary catastrophe.”

There’s something about the holidays that brings out the nasty in family and the insecurity in us.

… Maybe we step back into dysfunctional family patterns, the ones we’ve paid big bucks in counseling to overcome.

… Maybe we feel like mom is judging the way we celebrate the holidays today because it’s different than how she did it when we were kids.

… Maybe old tapes replay in our minds, and we hear the tangling messages from childhood of “You’ll never be good enough” all over again.

… Or maybe growing up in our home was so painful that spending time there causes us to feel oppression all over again.

In a season where we’re supposed to step out of hectic schedules, set aside disagreements, and gather together to celebrate the important things in life… we find ourselves tangled in the messy-ness of family.

And instead of looking forward to the holidays, we dread them.

So what can you do to make family-time be tangle-free during the holidays?

Be prayed up

If you don’t ask God to prepare your heart in advance of these self-esteem-draining situations (and people), you’ll find your tinsel tangled. Start now praying for grace … for peace… for perspective… and for God to tender your heart while He strengthens your spirit. Ask Him to remind you of all the ways He delights in who you are. It will make a difference.

Plan to step out

Instead of maxing out your time with family that maxes out your confidence, be clever. Find opportunities to regroup. Make a run to the store. Take an extra long shower. Take the dog for a walk. Find ways to step out of the insanity so God can replace those age-old lies of worthlessness with His truth.

Breathe grace in

Experts agree a fail-safe way to keep from unleashing your anger on someone is to take a deep breath in. I don’t know the physiology of it, but I know how many times this simple idea has saved the life of the person standing in front of me (#justsayin). When your self-worth gets dinged and your hurt turns to anger, take a God-sized dose of grace into your lungs so you can exhale kindness and mercy. You don’t want to be a tangle-maker.

My mother-in-law and I never saw eye-to-eye. In all fairness, I wasn’t always easy to love. But neither was she. And while we made peace before she passed a few years ago, she was a tangle-maker through and through. Each time we got together, I asked God for help, I found pockets of time to regroup, and I inhaled grace. Lots of it.

The holidays can get us all wrapped up in the wrong things because we’re around the people who know what buttons to push, and have often been the ones to hurt us the most. But this year can be different.

10-21-15 Scott Carey book coverRemember friend: Be prayed up. Plan to step out. Breathe grace in.

And never forget that the Creator of the world – the one whose virgin birth we’re about to celebrate – delights in you… stumbles, fumbles and all.

He created you to be a gift to the world… and you are.

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for encouragement to help you recover from that pesky problem of perfectionism? Today’s featured book is Untangled.

You can enter to win a signed copy by leaving a comment directly on Carey’s blog.

PLUS, you’ll also be entered into the grand prize drawing for the Wrapped In Grace gift package: signed copies of all five of our books, a $100 Visa gift card, and a bunch of other fun goodies. All winners will be announced Saturday, October 24th at http://www.WrappedInGrace.info.10-21-15 Scott Carey Headshot

Carey Scott is an author, speaker, and life coach, honest about her walk with the Lord… stumbles, fumbles and all. Her passion is reminding women of their immeasurable worth, something the world is quick to discount. She speaks to women’s groups and writes about the issues that matter most to the heart of a woman.

Carey lives in Northern Colorado with her husband and two kids where she tries to be domestic, and appreciates the grace when she’s not. You can learn more by visiting her website and blog at www.CareyScottTalks.com, or by tracking her down at the closest Starbucks.

Join the You Don't Have to Try So Hard Book Club

We'll be conducting the book club through Kathi's Private Facebook Group, Clutter Free Academy. Join the book club to get access to the private facebook group. You'll receive an email with instructions once you submit this form. 

Check your email for more instructions!