mom

Discover Life Balance & Time for Yourself

So today, I really thought there was going to be a knock down drag out fight between all of the voices in my head who all wear different hats. The hat of mom, wellness and life purpose coach, teacher, student, homemaker, family cook, and oh, let's not forget wanna be "hottie wife". Trying to balance all of them and find time for myself with a little exercise is mentally and physically exhausting. Can I hear an amen? I mean really, is it even possible? I've come to learn that it is; however, it may be different than what some think. 

I am passionate for each role that I have, but to keep it together and stay healthy, I had to learn (and still learning) a couple of things. 

  1. My day must start with quiet time with the Lord. It's a must!
  2. I need to honestly answer a few questions and be real with myself.
    • What are my priorities? 
    • What season of life am I in right now? 
    • Have I made allowance or changes with my "yes's", schedules, and individual pursuits?
    • Does my time really go toward what I say is important?
    • Is what I am doing today going to make the biggest difference 1, 5, 20 years from now?

What about you?

As seasons of life change, have you made adjustments to your routine, schedule, and priorities? Have you taken the time to write down your priorities? You see, not everything can be a priority. If we try to give everything equal time, we are left feeling overwhelmed and too busy, yet never feeling successful at anything

By identifying our priorities in the current season, we can better manage our time around them giving us a sense of peace and balance. Ah! Doesn't peace and balance sound so refreshing?

Take a moment to think about a few things to ensure your time is organized and directed to what is important to you.

Evaluate Wasted Time

Try this courageous challenge. Spend a day, noting everything that takes up your time. Be brave enough to list things such as Facebook, Pinterest, favorite TV shows, even sleep, etc. How much of your time is given toward what you say is a priority? Sometimes, it seems we are so busy, but we can waste time on things that really do not matter. They may seem little, but small pockets of wasted time, add up to a lot of wasted time, which leads to a long list of things that were forgotten at the end of the day.

Evaluate Busy Time

Okay, so you might be saying, "I do not waste time. All of my time is spent on important things." The question then becomes, "Are they things that need to be a priority right now?" Just because it was given attention at one stage in your life, does not mean it needs to be now. Look at your list again and ask:

  • Is there something that you could put down for a while?
  • Is there someone else who could grow and/or learn if you delegated a specific task or responsibility?

The truth is, how we spend our time reflects what is really important to us. For example, if we say our health is important, but we are on the fast food diet with no exercise, it may not be as important as we think. If we say God and our family is everything, yet lack in quality time with God or too exhausted at the end of the day to spend time with family, they may be on the back burner. 

And now, one final step that can help us pull it all together to stay organized and get things done.

Focus

Oh man, a word I say to my 8-year-old say daily over and over. But honestly, don't we busy women struggle to stay focused? We can text, email, talk on the phone, and work on a project all at one time. But does it really produce a good outcome? To shut down all of the voices in my head, I have to consciously remember to work wearing one hat a time. Focus means, "Giving attention to one thing at a time." Yikes! Is that possible? Yes, and here is how. 

  • Begin your day by writing down what needs to be accomplished for that day. I do not encourage procrastination, but don't fill your day with tasks/projects that can be attended to another day or even another week. They are not a priority for today.
  • Schedule a specific amount of time for each task. That would include projects, phone calls, text messages, emails, and even Facebook (yes, give Facebook a certain amount of designated time).
  • While working on tasks, avoid answering text, emails or phone calls which interrupt your focus. Remember, you have given it a designated time, you will come back to it.

Part of being healthy is taking charge of our time and focusing on what is really important, which brings a sense of balance. Once we are healthy on the inside mentally and emotionally, then finding time to exercise will be the next natural step. 

Ephesians 5:15-16 says,

"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil." (NIV)

Let's be wise with our time and get healthy and fit on the inside and out.

The Shark Tank

“In looking for people to hire, look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy.  And if they don’t have the first one, the other two will kill you.”   - Warren Buffet Last week as I stood in line at Target I chatted with a woman who was shopping with a daughter the same age as mine.  After a few minutes she asked where I worked and without thinking I answered, “A Shark Tank.”  We laughed and continued our conversation about snacks, short shorts and the long lines that seem to plague all California retailers.

I’ve only been in my new job for 6 months and while I’m enjoying the change of scenery, the change of pace and the new challenges my job has presented; this office has already left a bad taste in my mouth.  One of my first observations when I got here was that everyone was smart and ambitious, just like me.  However, there is a trait missing amongst some of my colleagues – integrity.

Trust and integrity take years to build; projects completed on time, fair prices and billing, promotions for those that work for you.  All it takes is one lie, one bad choice to destroy it all.  Having an “end justifies the means” mentality may get you the result you need in the moment but it could also be beginning of the end.

“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.” Proverbs 10:9 (English Standard Version)

I see some of these people rewarded and I know who they have stepped on and over to get their results.  As much as I would love my share of the limelight I know that it’s a path I cannot choose.  When I first decided to take this job I’ll admit I was enticed by possibilities of promotions, new titles and more money.  I will always strive for more, to be better, to grow – it’s who I am, but it’s the path we choose that sets us apart.

“Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.”  Proverbs 28:6 (English Standard Version)

It may take me longer to get where I want to be, but I have faith that things will happen as they should; and I can’t put a price tag on the example I set for my daughter.  At the young age of five, she sees, hears and absorbs everything.  When she is an adult I hope she can be proud of the decisions I’ve made and understand why I made them.

“The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him!”  Proverbs 20.7 (English Standard Version)

Stoplight Prayer:  Father in Heaven, Thank you for making me who I am and giving me direction and correction.  Help me to be a woman of integrity, a woman who lives her life in private the way she lives in public.

Stay In Your Lane

  Several weeks ago I was playing with Wii bowling with my daughter.  The best part of electronic bowling is that it’s impossible to be really bad.  You might get a few gutter balls from time to time, but at least you’ll always stay in your lane.  We were neck in neck as she proudly announced, “I’m a great bowler.  Right Mommy?”  I happily agreed.

After our game was over, she opened her box of Bob books and began reading to me.  “Mommy, I’m a really great reader.  Right?”  Again, I happily agreed.

Twenty minutes later we moved onto singing and dancing to Ava's jams.  She climbed onto the coffee table, microphone in hand, and began singing “All Star” by Smash Mouth at the top of her lungs.  “I’m a great singer.  Right Mom?”  This time I froze.

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.  1 Peter 4:10 (New Living Translation)

It’s a natural response to tell your children that they are great at everything they do and that they can be anything they want to be, but there comes a point when you realize that might not always be the best choice.

God gave each of us special gifts and talents that he intended for us to use.  When I was younger I wanted nothing more than to be an actress.  As I grew older, I still wanted to be an actor, but I wasn’t interested in being a starving artist in Hollywood.

I found way to use my gifts working for a non-profit organization.  For a time I traveled the state of Texas doing drug and alcohol prevention school assemblies, it was then that I met a cute teacher who would later become my husband.

While it is good to stretch yourself and grow in the areas you’re not so great at, I encourage you to incorporate your gifts.  Stay in your lane; you never know what kind of surprises He has in store for you when you operate within your gifts.

As for Ava, I told that she was great at a lot of things and that as much and Mommy and Daddy loved to hear her sing there were other things she was so much better at like drawing and making up great stories.

Stoplight Prayer:  Father in heaven, thank you blessing me and making me special and unique.  Please open to door for me to share my gifts with those around me.

Spicy Baked Corn Dogs

When I was a kid, my Mom would occasionally fry up some corn dogs made completely from scratch.  Now that I'm a Mom I thought I'd do the same thing for my little one.  That being said, I'm not fond of frying since I manage to burn myself or ruin an article of clothing every time.  Plus baking is a far more healthy method of cooking.

Preheat oven to  425˚

2 boxes Jiffy corn muffin mix, 1 cup flour, 2 eggs, 3/4 cup milk, 1/2 stick melted butter, 1 ½ teaspoons cumin, 1 ½ teaspoons cayenne pepper, 1 ½ teaspoons garlic, paprika, 1 package of 8 hot dogs, 16 popsicle sticks

In a shallow mixing bowl mix together Jiffy mix, flour, eggs milk and melted butter.  The batter will be sticky.  At this point I typically set aside about 1/2 cup to make 2 corn dogs for Ava, this recipe is too spicy for her little taste buds.  Add the cumin, cayenne pepper and garlic.  Mix until the spices are thoroughly blended into the batter.

Cut the corn dogs in half and stick the popsicle stick in half way.  They are much easier to work with half sized.

Spread the batter evenly over each dog.  Don't make them too thick, about a 1/2 inch thick will do nicely.  Try not to leave any of the dog exposed and seal the bottom by the stick.  This will keep the dogs from drying out while they bake.  Sprinkle with paprika and bake for 12 - 15 minutes on the middle rack.

Now you are ready to serve.  You can serve alone or with a dipping sauce of your choice (honey mustard?).  My neighbor, a major meat eater, eyed one cautiously before taking a bite.  On his way out the door, he grabbed a second for his 50 yard walk home.  Don't be discouraged if they crumble a little, the batter is very muffin-like.  You can cover the popsicle sticks with foil if you don't want them to brown.  I don't usually have that kind of time, and I have yet to start a fire... expect that one time at Thanksgiving... story for another time!

Take A Chance On Me

  When it takes you an extra 20 minutes to flat iron your hair, the Kurig won’t brew until you to add more water and your child wants a second breakfast before you walk out the door, you know you’re in for one heck of day!

Days are busy for this working Mom and sometimes I wonder, “Mama Mia!  How I’m going to get everything done?”  I’m certain I’m not alone and I’m grateful for my faith that God can make a 36 hour day fit into a mere 24.

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”  Hebrews 11:1 (New Living Translation) 

God will see you through the day.  He’ll see you through your situation.  Just remember that our timing isn’t always in line with his.  When I’m overwhelmed and my faith is shaky I picture Funky Jesus singing, “Take A Chance On Me” by ABBA.  Don’t make fun of me!  I like to think that Jesus had a fun loving personality.

“Take A Chance On Me”    

If you change your mind, I'm the first in line

Honey I'm still free

Take a chance on me

If you need me, let me know, gonna be around

If you've got no place to go, if you're feeling down

If you're all alone when the pretty birds have flown

Honey I'm still free

Take a chance on me

Gonna do my very best and it ain't no lie

If you put me to the test, if you let me try 

Take a chance on me

(That's all I ask of you honey)

Take a chance on me

-ABBA

And so ladies, today I leave you humming a song with a great visual and remind you take a chance on God.  He is faithful to complete the work he’s started in you.

Stoplight Prayer:  Father in heaven, thank you for being there to guide me and love me.  Help me to continue in the faith so that I may be grounded in your word.

Hungry for More: Noah built the ark in Genesis 6:1 – 9:17, Abraham offers Isaac in Genesis 22 & Jesus and Peter walk on water in Matthew 14.

A Tug-a-War...Exercise vs. Mom

Summer is around the corner and as a mom, you may have this thought running through your head,  “I liked to tone up for the summer, but I do not have time for exercise and be a mom.” Trying to find time for yourself and have time with your children can sometimes feel like a tug-a-war. I remember the days before children; I worked out 1.5 hours 6 days a week.  That kind of schedule is not going to happen now with two small kids.  Not only do I not have the time, I choose not to take it.  What I have learned is that my workouts depend on my children’s stage of life.

For example

As a baby

Once cleared from my doctor to exercise after the birth of my daughter, I struggled to figure out what I should do. It was too hot to go outside in the afternoon and her naps could be unpredictable.  My focus was not to get in a long run or take the time to go to the gym.  My favorite workout was simple….a pair of weights, an exercise band and a resist-a-ball right in the middle of my living room floor. I would work as hard and intense as I could for 20 minutes, which was all I had on most days.

As a Toddler

A walking/running stroller is a must at the toddler age.

There was nothing I loved more than a long walk or run while talking to my little one and exploring the world.  My goal was to utilize my time for exercise as an opportunity to spend time with them and be a good example of health and fitness.

As a child

A long talk, family time and a lot of calorie burning has been accomplished while they ride their bikes next me as I walk or run.

It is not always at the intensity or duration that I may desire, but it gets the job done. They have also hit the stage to play in the backyard while mommy gets in a 20 minute strength training work out.

Finding time for kids and exercise will change with the season of your family.  Do not be discouraged. Throw out what you may have done in the past and create a new plan for exercise with your kids and don’t let the tug-a-war pull you down. Not only will you “tone up” but you will be a great example and before you know they will be working out right next to you.

Homemade Flour Tortillas

In just a few weeks, summer will  be in full swing.School will be out and summer  camps, swimming parties and sleepovers will begin. As a child ,my siblings and I always spent part of our summer break with our grandparents and that meant antics with the cousins, evenings in the back yard gazing at the stars and of course, family dinners. Flour tortillas, made daily, were served with every meal and younger women learned the art of kneading and rolling from the older women.

Here are four generations of women in our family (circa 1984). On the left is my Mom ,Sarah, holding Karah. I stand behind pig-tailed Kala and Grandma Dora is on the right. Her kitchen was the center of the home and where I learned that food has the power to pull people together.

Fast forward 25+ years. Kala is no longer wearing pigtails but holding her baby girl, Ava ,who was 18 months old when we started teaching her how to maneuver around the kitchen.

Ingredients

4 ½ c. flour

2 t. baking powder

2 1/2 t. salt

1 c. shortening

1 c. hot water

Just a few weeks ago she had her first experience with a rolling pin.

Step 1

Place all dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Add hot water slowly and knead  to make a large dough ball.

Pinch off pieces almost the size of golf balls and create small dough balls. Click here to see a video of this process.Lay each piece on the counter and roll back and forth, then lift, make a 1/4 turn, lay on the counter and repeat 2-3 times until your raw tortilla is more or less round (this takes practice) and no thicker than 1/4 in.

Place on a preheated griddle and cook on either side until light to medium brown spots are visible.

Ideally, you should cool them on a rack. When they're completely cooled off, you  can store them in a large ziploc bag and they won't stick to each other.

Food=family and family =love

I'm a fan of  traditions. They make people  feel safe because they are reminders of WHOSE we are. You can leave your Fingerprint on the lives of others by keeping traditions alive with your biological family, a neighborhood  or workplace family. The important thing is to give life to traditions that create memories of love, laughter and truth.

Sleep On It

When I think of sleep, I usually envision recharging my battery or even escaping my troubles. But when Jesus slept, He was doing neither of the two.

"Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat.

But Jesus was sleeping." - Matthew 8:24

Jesus and His disciples were on a boat in the midst of a huge storm and as the disciples flipped out, they looked over and found Jesus asleep.

The storm they see doesn't match the peace they see Him resting in. They wake Him up and ask Him to do something. They look for a solution in the form of action. He surprised them all when He rose from His sleep and spoke to the storm. All the elements responded. The raging waters and fierce winds ceased and the storm was over.

Life in the Now

My favorite Bill Johnson quote is "You have no authority in a storm you cannot sleep in.”

Recently, my mom and dad were given horrible news that my sister had cancer and would need emergency surgery. They comforted her and each other, then they each went off to pray. They found a quiet place to intercede for their daughter and, with conviction, reminded God of His promise of healing. After a time, peace came over them and sleep followed. Soon after came news that the doctor could not explain. The cancer they'd seen was no longer there. "We are not sure what is going on," but the family knew. The peace that came brought rest, then healing. God first gave them rest and then the storm blew over.

Think About It

Is there a storm in your life that keeps you awake? Are you looking for a solution that is action oriented?

Talk About It

Dad, You're the source of all peace. No matter how bad the storm, You still provide all the answers, whether I see them or not. Take me to a resting place in Your presence where I can be certain that You are in control. Amen.

More of the Truth

Psalm 23, Romans 8:6

Fashioned From the Inside Out

It was Easter Sunday as I dressed my two little girls, ages 3 and 7, for church.  It was the 70’s and Winnie the Pooh dresses, a frilly Easter bonnet, and white patent leather shoes were in style.  At last we were ready to put our hats on and leave for church. That’s when the fight with my three-year-old began.  “I not wearing dat hat,” she loudly proclaimed!  “Of course, you are wearing this hat; this is what I bought for you to wear;  please wear it for Mommy!”   “NO!”  “I don’t like it, I don’t like it,” she screamed.

I couldn’t believe I was having a FASHION tug of war with my three-year-old on Easter Sunday of all times. Thirty minutes later, off to church she marched in the Winnie the Pooh dress, minus the Easter bonnet.  Little did I know that this episode was the beginning of many tug of war matches the two of us would have in the years to come.

The 80’s came along and with them came “the fly bangs.”  “You’d look so cute with straight bangs and a long pony tail,”  I insisted.  “NO!  I want fly bangs.”  And so, I stood back and  cringed as I watched her brush those bangs to the left and right, and then plaster them down with hair spray.  She’d then march out of the house; a very confident eight-year-old that she was in style.

As a parent, I thought it was my duty to introduce her to activities that would enrich her life, as well as prepare her for adulthood.  Thus, I enrolled her in piano lessons.  “NO!”  “That’s not what I want to do!”  “I want to take dancing lessons,” she protested.  Again I insisted, “You need to learn to play the piano so you can be the church pianist when you grow up.”  “Besides, I’m afraid if you learn to dance, you might go to un- Godly places.”  “But,  Mama, I don’t want to be a belly dancer, I just want to dance!”  Of course, she won again.

By eighteen, it was time to think about career options.  Being a schoolteacher myself, I thought it was the perfect job for a woman.  I just knew this child of mine who had been protesting everything I had ever suggested for her to do, starting with the Easter bonnet, would love teaching.  Can’t genetics spill out from me just one time in my life to this child?  But, the all familiar protest of  “NO,  I want to major in Fashion Merchandise.”

And with that, I finally gave up trying to be my daughter’s Fashion Designer, both Inside and OutShe had a mind of her own of what she wanted to wear, as well as what she wanted to become.  But in the process, I learned a very valuable lesson from those tug-of-matches.  The way the limb on a tree is bent, is the way it will grow.  You can’t unbend the limb and make it grow in the opposite way that it was formed.

My little girl is all grown up now and a Mom herself.  Her name is Heather, the creator of CREATED WOMAN,  which is being viewed by thousands each month here in the United States and several countries abroad.

Heather’s vision for this website is to encourage women to become all that God has created them to be both inside and out.  Included in her vision statement for this site, she states:  “Being a Created Woman touches every single part of the world you live in!  Living out your full potential in every stage of your life whether you’re a teenager, college student, single woman or mom, married with children, career woman or grandmother, your life will leave a legacy!”

I have to believe that Heather’s vision started with her saying “No” to an Easter bonnet that she felt was not right for her to wear, and “Yes” to the call of God on her life as she allowed HIM to Fashion Her From the Inside Out to become what He created and formed her to be in my womb.   [Psalm 139:13-16]

What about you?  What are you saying “No” and “Yes” to in order to pursue the plan and purpose that God has bent, shaped, fashioned, and uniquely designed you to be?