Slow down, rest…or else! (Video Followup)

It has been exactly one week since I started working to consciously slow down and rest. Here is how it went:

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Slow down, rest…or else!

So, my last post was about the car accident my family had in December, and the bad news, and good news that resulted.

Today,  I have a follow up to that, and it’s about my realization that I am not going to heal completely from the accident unless I make a conscious effort to slow down, and rest. I’ve gradually come to this realization since Friday.

What happened? Well, for the past few weeks I was really feeling better. In fact, I was feeling better than at any other point since the accident. Couple that with some beautiful weather last week, and I felt like doing more. So, I had the kids out enjoying the weather, I was getting chores done, and errands run. It was great!

Then, on Thursday, I woke up feeling like I had just been in a car accident. I was thinking, what is going on? I had to cancel plans for Thursday and Friday, and have someone drop off and pick up my kids from school. All I could do was lay in bed. I saw my physical therapist Friday, and ask what happened. He simply said, you may be feeling better, but your not better. All we’ve been doing so far is working on getting your muscles to relax. That’s what the stretches you do at home have been for. We haven’t started on getting your strength back, and you have lost strength due to the accident. So, if you try to go at the pace you did before the accident, your going to start hurting again.

When I first thought about what he said, I got frustrated and, truthfully, mad. This sucks! Was my thought. My mindset was that I can’t fit two hours of stretching a day into my schedule with two young children, a husband and a home to take care of! Just trying to get to the multiple accident-related appointments each week– which meant finding a sitter for the kids, and often making dinner late– was hard enough! I just want to feel better now, was my heart’s cry! And, I did cry.

This morning, it struck me that I don’t have a choice. If I want my health back, I have to slow down, I have to rest, I have to do the stretches…or else!

That means I have to be patient with myself, and I have to let go of the idea that I should be feeling better now.  I have to say no to activities that are great for the kids, but exhausting for me. I have to release the guilt I feel about the dirty floors, piled up laundry, dishes in the sink, etc. I have to give myself permission to ask for help, again. (I had asked for help from family and friends right after the accident.)

Something amazing happened when I accepted this truth. I stopped feeling frustrated, and angry. I felt a sense of peace. I felt a weight lift off my chest. I think I was subconsciously trying to be a super woman, and getting angry because my body wouldn’t agree to it.

Also this morning, my husband and I were going to take the kids on an outing. Yet, when looking at that outing from the perspective of healing, I realized that that wasn’t going to be a good idea for me. As my first act of putting healing first, I asked if I could stay home. He was for it, and ask his sister if she wanted to go in my place. It turned out that she and her husband wanted to spend time with the kids. And, the kids were super excited to know their aunt and uncle would be going with them! What’s even cooler was that everyone got to ride in our new minivan instead of taking separate cars like we used to have to do! Praise the Lord!

While they enjoy a wonderful extended-family outing, I am writing this blog from bed, with the heat pack on my back, while sipping tea. I feel very productive indeed! 🙂

I’m praying that all productive mommies stop trying to be super women, and take the time to heal in whatever way  is needed.

God Bless,
-Productive Mommy

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Bad News and Good News

Back on Christmas Eve, 2016, Rob, the kids, and I were in a car accident. We had just left Christmas Eve service, and were singing Christmas carols while waiting at a stop light, when we were rear ended. The police officer said that the vehicle that hit ours was going about 45 miles an hour, and didn’t brake at all. We were pushed into the vehicle in front of us as a result. The officer also said that it was a Christmas miracle that we all were able to walk away from the accident.

Our little 2001 Toyota Corolla was totaled. I had owned it since college, it was paid off, and — although a car that old certainly has problems– we enjoyed it immensely. The kids named it Snowball, and Jennifer would regularly ask “her” very politely to open her door, and say thank you, when we would be getting in to go somewhere. Truthfully, seeing Snowball all smashed up that fateful night was traumatic for the kids, and us parents too.

Backing up a year: It was early 2016, and I was reading through the book  “Enemies of the Heart,” by Andy Stanley, with a Christian friend of mine. One of the revelations I had from that book study was that I often didn’t ask God for things I needed, let alone wanted, when I couldn’t see a way  of at least starting the process of getting it myself.

One of the things that we needed was a minivan. It ended up being a spiritual breakthrough for me to start praying to God for a minivan without any clue as to how we would get it. Interestingly enough, I found myself more grateful for the Corolla after that. Before, I would regularly wish we had more space, a CD player that worked, that the front seats were far enough from the back that my son wouldn’t be kicking the back of the drivers seat. You get the picture. After, I would pray: Lord, thank you so much for my car, and how it’s been paid off for several year now, and how it’s reliable. I’m ready for the minivan when you’re ready to give it. I would even think, one of the nice things about having a small car is being able to hand my kids stuff from the front seat!

Today, we have a minivan! A 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan. And, get this, the monthly payment is about the same amount of a monthly bill we had just paid off before the accident!

I’ll be honest, I was unhappy about being in an accident. So grateful that we’re only dealing with whiplash, and not concussions, broken bones, or worse, but unhappy about the accident. I was unhappy that I was in too much pain to take care of my family like I was used to.  I was especially unhappy that someone else’s carelessness caused all of this.

Yet, I’m compelled to declare, once again, that God is good! He is so amazing that he gives blessing even in the middle of difficult times. His word is true that he is our rock, our strong fortress. And when all is said and done, he gives us beauty for ashes. He turns our tears to joy.

An even more hidden blessing in this accident situation, is that our need resulting from the accident caused us to grow closer to our family, church family, and friends. So many people were there for us — being God’s hands and feet. Bringing us food, taking care of our children, helping around the house. It has been so beautiful, and encouraging!

May God bless an keep you, and show you what it means to truly be productive today.

-Productive Mommy

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Giving Thanks for Today

This morning, as I left a physical therapy appointment  for my back and neck, (my family was in a car accident in December), I was overwhelmed with a sense of thankfulness to God. Don’t get me wrong, I thank God everyday for many things. Yet, I usually also have some kind of request as well. So, this was different because it was only thankfulness.

It struck me that, a year from now — or even tomorrow — I could be looking back on this day as the good old days. A time of peace and prosperity.This day that is sure to be imperfect, sure to have frustrations and disappointments, sure to be tiring. Yet, if it’s like yesterday, or so many days that God has blessed me to see, it will count as a “good old day.”

Yet, if I spend my day, as I admit I often do, consumed with worries about what I don’t have, and what I’m not getting done, I’ll miss out. I’ll miss the blessing of this day.

By focusing on what I don’t have, I risk having to look back and wishing  that I had enjoyed, even savored, this day. Savored hearing my son asked for the 100th time to play video games again, or my daughter’s 100-year-flood of a temper tantrum. How many mothers right now are in agony because they will never hear their child’s voice again?

Even my seemingly endless list of chores is a blessing because I can get up to do them. Even though it’s been slow going, and sometimes painful, after the accident I can still do them. How many mothers right now are wishing they had the ability to just get up to sweep the floor, or enjoy a silly dance with their child?

The truth is that tomorrow I could be joining those mothers in no longer having what I have, or doing what I am able to do. The bible is so clear about this. Tomorrow isn’t promised. That’s why today I want to tell God thank you without any added requests.

Well, I do want to add one request. I want to lift up in prayer right now every mother who is walking through days that feel like perpetual midnight. I pray for every mother who is waking up wishing that yesterday was just a nightmare, not her reality.

May all of us, who are just dealing with everyday stuff, be more grateful, and savor our everyday blessings.

-Productive Mommy

 

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My Parenting Mission in a Post-Trump America

Like many Americans I couldn’t believe the outcome of the election. I felt sick to my stomach, and shocked. I felt like hate had won a victory, and I was terrified for my children — for their future! Rob was upset as well, and quite frankly disgusted.

We had a long talk late into the night just trying to calm down enough to get some sleep. During that talk, something amazing happened. The conversation started with tears, anger, and fears. But, as we talked, Rob reminded me that we’re Christians! Our hope isn’t in who’s elected! We took our stand with our vote, and we know that Trump’s acceptance of hate groups in his campaign was wrong. Yet, now is the time to stand on our faith, and trust that God is working everything out for our good. The election results is not a sign that God isn’t in control.

Then, the Lord brought to my mind this scripture: “For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (AMP)

That helped me to start releasing the fear for my children. Yes, these are fearful times. But, the bible tells us to fear not. Jesus has already overcome this wicked world. Will and Jenni’s lives are in his hands. Not the hands of Trump, or the KKK, or whoever would want to harm them.

That said, the next day was still tough. I stayed away from social media and the news as much as possible. As I went about my day, I realized that I have to take another stand. A stand to not let fear take root in my home. If it does, it will infect my children, and those who wish to intimidate them will win.

I want my kids to grow into adults who will look anyone who would try to marginalize them in the eye and say: bring it! I want them to know with every fiber of their beings that there is no such thing as an inferior person. Not a minority, a woman, not someone with a disability, you name it! We are all equal!

I want my children to know that they know that showing love to their neighbor is the answer to the message of hate. We know love works because our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ won the battle for the whole world with a sacrifice of love.

So, that’s my parenting mission in a post-Trump America.

It’s been a difficult, yet productive week!

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My Wedge Issue This Election

I’ve cast my vote! Yay! I’ve done my civic duty!

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Before heading to the polls today, it struck me that there are a lot of reasons to vote for, or against, either candidate. Many people vote solely on wedge issues: abortion, gay marriage, climate change, etc. I started thinking about what my one issue is that I’m voting about? I realized that my one issue is protecting my children.

I can’t vote for a person who accepts the support of individuals and groups who hate my children simply because they are “non-white.” I can’t vote for a candidate who embraces the praise of those who believe that my children being half black means they are inherently inferior, and inherently what’s wrong with America.

I can’t vote for a person who got the endorsement of the Klu Klux Klan newspaper. A group whose long history of torturing, and publicly killing, Americans who happen to be black is well documented!

If those types of people are for a candidate, then I know that that person’s presidency represents a clear and present danger to my children. My two amazing and beautiful gifts from God. Two people whose lives represent just how much color doesn’t matter! And, the beauty, hope, and joy that is created when we get past the lie that race divides us. So, that’s my wedge issue this election. I am casting my vote to protect my children.

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Getting God’s Help With the Kids in Real Time

I had a breakthrough recently in getting out of that place where I’m stuck seeing my kids as annoying. You know, that place where it’s virtually impossibly to treat them with kindness, compassion and patience? The Lord really helped me out, but I had to ask! I’d love to hear from you in the comments below how you’ve handled getting stuck!

May God bless you with being productive in all the ways that matter the most!

-Productive Mommy

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