Reflections on Motherhood!

Playing at the beach in Naples!

Motherhood – it is a simple and a beautiful life in Him!

I have such vivid memories of my babes coming into this world, the intense and overwhelming emotions of feeling them kick within my womb, feeling them emerg for the first time, nursing them, kissing their sweet little faces, sticky hands, smelly feet, the first “I love you mommie”, falling asleep in my arms, crying on my shoulder, birthday parties, skinned knees, bike rides, swimming pools, sandy beaches, their first steps, belly laughs and funny words…temper tantums, asking for forgiveness, sweet prayers, reading books together, holding my hand, soccar games, pulling my hair, dirty diapers, bubbles in the bath, first day of homeschool, road trip in the van, boat rides, bug nets, sandboxes playing catch. Dressing up like princesses, playing dolls, braiding hair, dressing up for weddings, opening presents, shabbat dinners, running through the sprinkler and potty training. These memories evoke emotion in my heart that I cannot supress, words cannot explain the joy I feel as I recall these events and I remember them so well in each of my children.

Thank you God for sweet moments and beautiful memories!

My little Atirah only 6 hours old.

Today is the day after Mother’s Day and I am finally able to sit down and reflect on being a mom. I think that becoming a mother has been the most drastic change in my entire lifetime. Although Jim and I had planned to start having children I was not completely prepared for what was about to happen. Now as I look back I think, how can anyone be prepared or trained to be 100% selfless without having the oppotunity to try it. I have endured many challenging life situations; but nothing has been more physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually challenging than motherhood.

Mercy wearing her favority dress (at the time, it has now changed to a different dress:)

I am constantly faced with choices each day; choices concerning urgency, constant physical demand, timing issues, unexpected sickness, homeschooing classesand questions, case sensitive issues, sibling rivalry and more. No one prepared me for this, no one told me it would be this difficult, all the while making these choices under high volume stress, crying and running on little to no sleep. It seems like insanity!! I didn’t think anyone prepared me for this…but actually I believe I have been preparing for this my entire life and just didn’t know it!

Out for an afternoon walk

Every season of life is full of choices. We can all decided to choose what is best for us or we can put others first. I have, on many occassions put myself first and that is why I believe motherhood was so hard for me. I went from living for myself and my agenda to living for my children and meeting their needs. I have learned that the only way to be the best mom that I can is stay connected to the One who ultimately gave life to my kids. When I connect with the Father and pray for wisdom, strength, insight, grace, mercy and love for my kids it changes everything!

Family photoshoot when Atirah was 4 weeks old.

I definitely could not be the mom that I am without Him. There are days when I try to do it on my own and the end of my day usually ends by me asking my kids for forgiveness for being impatient amd selfish. I am thankful that His MERCY is new EVERY morning and that he loves my kids even more than I do. Before I used to look at motherhood as a chore and something that was going to be hard no matter what, now I look at it as a blessing, something that I need to cherish because all too soon it will be over and my little birds will leave my nest. I know that I will one day stand before the Lord and give account for what I did during these years. I want to boast that in Him I was able to love and raise up a generation who serves Him! That my children are being trained to honor, trust in and love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. I pray that they will be arrows that hit their mark!

Playing hockey on our ice rink

Motherhood is a challenge but what a gift it is. Remember to hold your little ones close today and tell them how much you love them! See them as a picture of the Father and you, He loves you too, He is pleased with you and He longs to reveal Himself to you. They are soil that we need to sow many seeds into. They are worth our all and every amount that we can invest.

My little Mercy loved playing in the toilet! It’s more funny now than it was then:)

May you feel His embrace today, may you remember that every day to Him is Mother’s Day, He wants you to rest in Him and allow Him the job and teaching you how to love and nuture your children. Let us redefine motherhood in this generation. We are training up our little ones to serve the King, we are preparing them to live their lives to the fullest and to embrace everything that the Father has for them!! Happy Mother’s Day!

Spring is Here!!

The beautiful weather this past week has been a tell tale sign that spring is finally here! (That and the fact that my children need baths at the end of the day because they are so dirty from playing outside:)

Playing in the sand!

We have been having a blast outdoors, SO many things to be thankful for; the buds on the trees, long walks, biking, running through the grass, playing in the sandbox, lunch picnics, parks, wearing summer hats, sandals and shorts, hiking in the bush, clothes drying on the clothesline, tulips poking their heads out of the ground, birds bombarding the feeders and sunlight that warms our skin!

Judah was trying to feed this deer, he actually got really close, but then we just threw the apple at him and he ran away. lol

It’s amazing and I am so thankful for this beautiful season. Spring is one of my favorite seasons. I love the new expectation that it brings. I love how you can see the physical changes in the environment and people seems to be excited to get out! There is a joy that rises up in our hearts of what is to come.

Mercy flying her kite:)

Living out of town it is fun to watch the forest change and the animals come out of their hiding. We have been going on many nature hikes, finding acrons, moss and giant pinecones. We have lots of deer in our backyard, many of them now have little fauwns with them, they are so cute!

This past week we had Shabbat outside on our back deck, we don’t have any deck furniture yet, so we set up the table on the ground, it was so fun! I am so thankful for the sun and the excitement of new things to come. I am amazed at how much a little vitamin D from the sun can do for my emotions and physical alertness. I love making fun memories with the kids in these days.

In the next couple weeks we are going to begin our small garden in the yard. I am looking forward to teaching the children about gardening and allowing them the oppotunity to watch the seeds grow! May to experience the joy and excitement that comes with this season! May you enjoy the longer days with more light and sun! May the winter that is past serve as a reminder of how great our God is and that His desire is to reward those who persevere until the end! Bless your family!

Making our memories of Florida last…

I had this idea while we were in Florida on the beach collecting shells that we could bring them home and decorate small jar to give away, plant herbs in, use as a piggy bank or a toothbrush holder. The kids are all over fun crafts these days and this seemed pretty simple to me. I found a couple mason jars in my cupboard and my glue gun. I covered a small area on the jar with the glue and then allowed the kids to go nuts on them with the seashells. And they turned out AMAZING!! You could easily modify these and use rocks, smooth pebbles, or pieces of wood. You could also use small pots or vases to cover instead. I think we may have enough shells left for me to do a flower vase!

Prior to doing this we gathered all of the shells that we found on the beach and I soaked them with a small amount of bleach and water. We then laid them out on the counter to dry. The kids picked out their favorite shells and we glued them on! We used a hot glue gun so that the shells would stick. A hot glue is definintely not kid friendly but we had a good little system going. I would put some glue on the jar and then they would take the shells and stick them on, one at a time. (this craft took a little longer than expected:) Once it was filled we let it dry and then the kids wanted to use them as toothbrush holders:)

It was really fun to talk about our time away with them while we were gluing them onto the jars. We also talked about how God created all the shells on the beach and even the sand on the seashore. It was a very rich experience for us to do this together! I am always in awe of how many amazing conversation comes when I allow my little ones to focus on a task and talk about what they are thinking in that moment. It is a memory I will never forget.

I pray that your day is full of rich experience with your family as we remember the death of our Savior. May you reflect on the amazing freedom that we have in Him! May you be blessed and remember that the God who knows how many seashells are on the shore, loves you very much!

Loving Laundry

I have had many readers ask me about how I manage laundry in our household with three little ones running around. I must say that it has taken me several years to learn from trial and error how to get on top of my laundry. I have been working at making laundry a simple event that is organized and efficient. On any given day our family goes through, 5 shirts, 5 pairs of pants, 10 socks, 4 pair of underwear, and 6 cloth diapers, not to mention any accidents that require extra shirts, underwear socks or sweaters. So here is how I do laundry, hopefully this may help some of you:)

Note: laundry in our household fluctuates depending on the season, winter seems to be less and fall, spring and summer there tends to be more and how many chidlren are in cloth diapers at the same time.

1. Have Laundry Days. I do my laundry twice a week, Monday mornings and Friday mornings. I have found that doing it more often is too much and I can’t do it any less, this is the minimum amount of time that I could get away with. I really did not like when I tried to do laundry depending on how many clothes were in the basket but it seemed as though I was doing a load every day or every other day. Having the two set days has helped to keep it at bay. We cloth diaper as well so I do a SMALL load of cloth diapers on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I always hang the cloth diapers on the drying rack so we save on the drying.

2. Start First thing in the morning. The sooner you can get done the better. Some people like to make it a family event or involve their children and I believe that I will one days involve my kids but because they are so young right now it is much easier for me to do it on my own. Next year in homeschool I am going to teach Judah how to do laundry but for now its mommas job and I want to be fast and efficient so that I can spend more time with my babes! I try to start my first load at 7am and when I do this I can usually be done by noon and fold it all from 1:00-1:20pm during nap/quiet time.

3. I do 3 loads on Mondays, 1 dark, 1 light, 1 cloth diapers. I do 4 loads on Fridays 1 dark, 1 light, 1 towels, 1 cloth diapers.

4. Once a month I wash all the bedding (sheets, pillow cases, duvet covers) on Monday mornings, (unless someone wets the bed which usually happens at least once a month:)

5. When springtime comes I hang out my laundry and it saves us “loads” 🙂 on the hydro bills. However, if it is raining on a day when I would hang out the clothes I still do them but use the dryer that day. Otherwise it throws my entire schedule off.

6. There are NO laundry baskets in any of the kids rooms. All the laundry goes directly into the laundry room. (this may not be feesable for everyone, our laundry room is on the same floor as the bedrooms) I find when there are many baskets it makes for more laundry and my kids throw things that are not dirty in them. I also like having all the laundry in one room because I do not have to go collecting it the morning of, nor do I find any surprises in the baskets:) I also know how much laundry needs to be done because I can see how full the basket is getting. Jim and I also have a basket in our room but that is all. Less is more when it comes to baskets!

Enjoying laundry and serving my family in this arena is something that I have grown in. I used to whin and complain about it all the time but now I laugh and enjoy this time. God has given me peace and joy when it comes to laundry. I love to serve the Lord and in this season of my life I am going to be faithful with the laundry piles that build up in my home. I am thankful that we have clothing, that I have little ones who are growing and I get to continually wash their little socks and t-shirts as I watch them grow before my eyes, I love that we have amazingly efficient laundry machines and I don’t have to do it by hand, there are SO many things to be thankful for in laundry.

At this point I find it more frustrating to try to involve my kids in the process. It become tedious and I am easily irritated and they get bored and restless, so I have decided that I work more efficiently if I do the laundry alone. However, I am also looking forward to the day when I will teach my little ones how to do their own laundry and who knows maybe one day one of them will do the laundry for me:)

May you be blessed as  you serve your husband and children by cleaning their clothes. May the Lord wash you with His word today. Bless you!

A Time of Rest…

Our family was blessed these past few weeks with a wonderful vacation in Florida. It is something that we do every year, Lord willing, and I am amazed as how the God refreshes us during this time.

I believe that there are so many important things that come when we take time apart from our routine. You certainly do not have to go to Florida to experience the Lord’s refreshing but I do believe that there is value in stepping out of our normal routine if only for a couple days and getting a new perspective on things. God wants to take us to new places, to have new perspectives, ultimately to give us an ariel view of our lives so that we can see the bigger picture.

As I was running one morning in Florida, the Lord was speaking to me about giving me eyes to see what He is doing in the earth and how to be part of His plan. I was feeling so “stuck” in my own little world of being a mom, keeping our home in order, and feeling isolated and disconnected at times.  As I began to focus on Him and His word I began to see how my role fits into His master plan. Each of us have a part to play.

Imagine that God is the director of an incredible play, each of us are given a role in which we must perform. According to our gifts and talents he appoints us as different characters in the play. Each of us are given the platform at some point in His play to do what He casted us for. Life is the practice and rehearsal for this play. Each day we recite our lines, plan our costumes and rehearse our part. The final day will come when there will be no more dress rehearsals, no more practicing, we will be on stage doing the very thing we were created to do.

Are you ready? Have you practiced as much as possible? Do you know your lines?

Are you using the giftings that God has given you to be the best you can be?

Perhaps you don’t even know your part in the play…maybe you have never auditioned? It’s time. I encourage all of you to take seriously that which God has placed before you. Don’t ever let up, give up or shut up. See everyday as a rehearsal for what is to come. Let’s make our director proud!

God reminded me of a verse I’d like to share Jeremiah 29:10b,11 Msg “I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for”. Isn’t that AMAZING!!? Let’s trust Him to lead us everyday and allow His plans for us to become a reality!

May you be blessed as you see life from a new perspective, may you embrace your role in the master play! God help us to be faithful with what you have given us!

The Fruit of the Spirit

The Fruit of the Spirit!

Today we tried a fun little activity for homeschool. I decided this week that we would focus on the Fruit of the Spirit from the book of Galatians in the Bible.

Mercy and Judah have been learning alot these days about loving each other and learning to serve one another. They are both at the ages now where they have their own STRONG opinions, ideas and thoughts about EVERYTHING and this leads to alot of arguing, complaining and fighting. We read the passage from Galatians 5 and discovered what the Bible says about our actions. We made a “fruit basket” with the fruit of the Spirit in it and placed it in the middle of the kitchen so we can remember to fill ourselves up with these fruit. This activity was a practical way to help me talk with them about the ways in which they can show love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control to one another.

He cut out the fruit and wrote most of the words:)

I gave them the example of how a fruit tree produces its own fruit; i.e. apple trees produce apples. I explained that in the same way we produce fruit according to our words and actions. This fruit belongs to either a “SPIRIT-filled tree” or a “SELF-filled tree”.They seemed to get the concept and I was challenged as well. It really made me think about what fruit I am producing in my life through my thoughts, words and actions. I desire to live a life that demonstrates a consecration to God and his Spirit!

What kind of fruit are you producing in your life? Are there areas that need to be refocused?

May you experience the abundant love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control that are yours in the Spirit. May you walk in the fullness of His plans and purposes for your life today! Blessings!!

Mothers and Daughters

I love my mom!

After having my sweet daughters Mercy and Atirah I have become increasingly aware of the unique relationship between mothers and daughters. Having little girls is so special. As I watch them grow I see so much of myself in them. I love being their mommy. Being a mom often reminds me of my mother as well. I don’t think I truly appreciated my mom to the fullest until I had children of my own. I never really took note of all the sacrifice and service that goes into being a mother. I’m not just talking about a woman who bears a child but one who completely abandons herself to nuture and care for that child. I have been blessed in this life with an incredible mother. She has taught me 99% of what is important in life and has been a constant example of what I one day want to be like!

Today is my mothers birthday! I wrote this blog in honor of her. She is my hero, my wise counselor, and my inspiration. She is a god-fearing woman. I celebrate her life today! All the countless hours of loving me, the sleepless nights, the temper tantrums, the arguments, the hours spent driving to and fro, the millions of meals cooked, the money spent, the time invested. I could never have the words to thank or repay her. I honor my mother and I am humbled to have her in my life. Although I could never say anything that would equate to her service to me the one thing that my heart longs to do is to give my all for my girls. I want to serve, love and mentor them. I want to spend countless hours rocking them to sleep, playing dolls, teaching them about life, kissing their little cheeks, having tea parties, travelling the world, reading them stories, telling them that they are valuable and lovely. Just like my mom did for me.

My mom and my Mercy:)

There are not many people that I aspire to be like but there is one that I am sure that I want to be like, that’s my mom. She is compassionate and caring, humble, wise, discerning and full of love. She always listens, never judges, prays unceasingly, serves relentlessly and does it with joy! She is selfless and patient, kind and thoughtful, she is a leader and always follows God, she is nurturing and gentle, couragious and strong, a wonderful essence of peace. I wish these traits were genetic because I would love to inherit all of them. She has worked hard and been tried and tested. She has earned her character and integrity. I feel blessed to watch her grow! Her grandparenting skills are outstanding and all my children adore her. She is the woman that the book of Proverbs speaks about. The Bible talks about this woman’s children rising up and praising her and it would be impossible for me not to do so because “charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised!” Provbers 31:30. I will forever sing her praises!

Happy Birthday Momma Bear, I love you and I will spend the rest of my life trying to be like you:)