Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Say What You Mean & Mean What You Say

There are things my children teach me everyday.  One thing I love about children is their honesty.  They tell you how it is even if you don't want to hear it.  As adults, we sometimes 'sugar coat' things because we don't want something to come off the wrong way or we try to make things to seem perfect.  It's great to be in the company of children where you never have to guess how they really feel, like we sometimes have to do with other adults.  As a mom, I know no one is perfect and no family unit is perfect either and I've accepted that fact!

Have you ever noticed, especially as a mom, it's so enjoyable and much easier to be around people with a sense of humor?!  I am very thankful my husband and I both feel a sense of humor is critical in life!  Just last night as the kiddos were in bed, him and I were getting ready to wash pinto beans to make homemade refried beans today and he didn't realize the 10 lb bag was still open and yep, you guessed it, we had pinto beans all over the kitchen floor!  I just started laughing and so did he after the shock of seeing his feet surrounded by beans!  The worst part was they were too hard for the dog to clean up and eat so I had to get the vacuum out :)  As soon as we cleaned them up, which was no big deal, I said to him "if one of the kids did this we probably wouldn't be laughing!"  He agreed.  Sometimes when our patience is running low and we tend to react too quickly, it's easy to yell at our kids, get upset over accidents, and say things we really don't mean.  I've really tried to be aware of my reactions lately with my kids.  On Father's Day we were out to dinner and our little guy dropped his cup on the floor, the lid fell off and water puddled under my chair!  Not five minutes after we got that cleaned up, my oldest accidently knocked her glass of water over and water went all over the table and then on to the floor.  At that point, my husband and I just started laughing!  I said, "well, I think two at one meal is a new record!"  We have no problem admitting we are not perfect parents and our children are not perfect either.  But we can choose how we react to situations with our words and actions. 

I'm thankful my children are totally (sometimes brutally) honest with me because it makes me analyze what I need to change and they trust my reaction enough to be honest with me.  I don't get offended or upset with them.  Instead, I look at it as an opportunity to grow and be a better mom and a better person!  And with children, the criticism isn't alway constructive, but I get their point and I value their opinions even if I don't agree with them.  I want to lay the foundation early in their lives that they can come to me anytime with any problem, concern, as well as their honest opinions.  What good is it if they have to put on a front just to 'make me happy'?  That's not fair to them.  If I'm teaching my children to be honest, yet I cannot accept their honest opinions, what am I teaching them?   I may not always agree with their opinions, but I will always respect their feelings/opinions and not get upset with them for feeling the way they do.  I never want them to tell me something just because that's what they think I want to hear.  I believe every child, no matter what age, should be able to be honest with their parents without them getting upset at their opinions.  With that being said, I also think it's important for us parents to teach them how to do this in a respectful way which I believe can be done.  We all deserve to be heard even if we don't agree with each other.  When we listen and don't reject our children's honesty, we are showing them that they are valued while teaching them they need to respect the honest feelings/opinions of others as well.  I believe the key to any real, close relationship is expectance of honesty from each other.  If we don't allow our children (and others) to be honest with us, then they won't be.  And if they aren't honest, they aren't being real either.  I never want my children to feel like they can't be real with me.

Just the other night I had to put the phrase 'mean what you say' into action.  My husband and I have both always tried hard to make sure we followed through with a consequence that we have warned will happen depending on our childrens' choices.  I had warned my 3 year old that if she did something I had just asked her not to do, then she would not be getting ice cream later in the evening!  Well, by 9 am, she had lost the ice cream for later that night.  And, all day long, she kept asking if she could have ice cream that night!  My answer was consistently no and everytime I told her that, I also reminded her why the answer was no, which was based on the choice she made.  She cried numerous times about it, but I was not backing down.  It's easy for us to threaten a consequence, but unless we follow through and mean what we say, we aren't teaching our kids the valuable lesson of conseqences.  Instead, we are teaching them not to believe us!  It's so important to choose a consequence that we can follow through on. 

When I tuck the kids into bed, after we say their prayers, I look them in the eyes and say, "you are kind, you are smart and you are important!"  As most of you know, this comes from the book The Help.  I love this.  Because I'm truly meaning what I say.  They just smile and giggle at me when I say it, but I know someday it will really sink in with them.  I want them to know I am saying what I mean and meaning what I say, even when they are this young.  That way, they always know they can expect that from me.

I also love this quote, "With the passing years, people with forget what you have said and what you have done, but they will never forget how you made them feel."  It's so true.  Our words and actions (or lack of) translate into others' feelings and sometimes go much deeper than we think.  I want my children to feel loved, valued, appreciated, accepted, etc.  But I also want them to feel this way after everytime they are completely honest with me.  They deserve it.

God Bless :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Greatest Father

Yesterday we spent Father's Day honoring my husband and I was thinking of and missing my dad a few states away.  While we were in church and they had all the dads come up for a blessing, I was thinking about all the people who have lost their own father or their children's father.  I counted my blessings that my children have a wonderful father who loves them to the moon and back and tells them "I love you" all the time.  I'm thankful this is true with my own dad as well. 

I also couldn't help thinking about those whose father is not present in their lives, physically or emotionally.  For some of those who don't have their dad present in their lives or never have for whatever reason, I'm sure Father's Day is a difficult day.  But no matter our circumstances, we all have a reason to celebrate Father's Day.  The greatest Father in the world is a father to all of us.  How many father's would sacrafice their own child's life to save a bunch of sinners like us?  Only one.  And no matter what we do, where we go or who we don't have present in our life, we always have a father that loves us unconditionally.  God our Father will fill us emotionally and spiritually if we only ask, and at the end of the day, that's all we really need.  So many times we look to others (or material things) to fulfill a need and make us happy, whether it's our spouse, our children, family, friends, etc., and we end up disappointed.  God didn't intend for others to make us happy because He knew all along that only He can do that!  So, take heart in knowing you will always have a father who is here with you now and will be forever. 

On a much lighter note, our Father's Day took an unexpected turn as we were getting ready to leave the house. Our smoke detectors started going off and even after changing the batteries in every single one and shutting off the fuse, we couldn't get them to stop!  So, after a call to 911 they suggested to send the fire department out to take a look.  He assured me they would have their sirens and lights off, which we greatly appreciated!  After checking everything out, they discovered a spider had made a web in our basement detector and had set it off.  They were 3 great guys and offered to let the girls sit in the fire truck, which they loved of course!  Nothing like providing a little neighborhood entertainment on a Sunday afternoon :) 

God Bless :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Seasons of Friendship

I've recently been reflecting on friendships over the last few years during my time as a mom and I've discovered just as there are seasons of motherhood, there are also seasons of friendship.  In the past few years, I've met more amazing women and moms than I could have hoped for.  I know it was all part of God's plan and His reason for moving us here.  I'm so grateful to have such great women in my life who share so many similarities and are 'real'.  When we find real, true people who can be themselves and don't have anything to prove, it's so comforting and really makes us want to invest our time and energy into deepening those relationships.  They become a priority.  As moms, so much of our time is taken up with our children that we don't have time for relationships with people that won't be 'real' with us.

I've recently found peace after going through a difficult season of friendship.  I struggled coming to terms with a friendship that was once very strong and a big part of my life but has faded.  It's difficult when you pour your heart and soul into a friendship and give everything you can to be there for a friend but then you stop getting that back in return when you need it most.  Going through this, I knew God had a reason and a plan, but in the midst of it, it was difficult to see.  I feel like I went through stages of loss.  I felt angry, sad, and betrayed in a sense.  So many thoughts went through my mind and how the relationship had been so important to me and now it wasn't there anymore.  I didn't want it to be about me and what I was or was not getting in return, but the hurt was so strong I had a hard time getting past it.  Could I have done more to reach out and try and pick up where we had left?  Yes, but something in me didn't have the desire to and when I realized this, I then knew it wasn't a priority anymore.  I knew I had to get past it but I didn't know how.  I thought about confronting the situation and sharing my honest feelings.  I was very close to doing so but after much prayer and advice, I was questioned as to what I had hoped would be the outcome of doing that.  After thinking about that and stepping back from all the negative feelings, I found peace in the fact that right now at this point in my life, I don't need that relationship that was once so important.  For me, I think the most difficult part of letting go was because it held so much of my past.  When a friendship is a big part of our lives, we have a hard time imagining our life without it and moving on.  But I have discovered it's truly possible.

I realized I couldn't live in the past anymore, but instead focus my efforts on friendships here in the present.  When I decided to do this, God showed me the people He strategically put in my life, here in the present, willing to deepen our friendship.  I love how God knows exactly what we need, who we need and when we need them in our lives.  I am now at peace with all of this because I see what His plan was all along.  He knew it was in my best interest to let go of a part of my past to open myself up to the wonderful friendships of the present.  This difficult season of friendship I went through has taught me so many things.  Who knows?  Maybe God has planned to bring this relationship back to my life when He feels it's time.  If not, that's okay.

I share this story in the event someone else is struggling or has struggled with letting go of a relationship.  If you can relate, I encourage you to pray about your situation and ask God to show you how to handle it and He will.  I'd love to pray for you as well.  It's hard to let go of the past for many different reasons.  It took me awhile to figure out that was part of my struggle.  I'm thankful I did because it made me open up to the present, be more aware, and grateful for the awesome people I have in my life right now.  We shouldn't waste time living in the past when there are so many gifts for us here in the present.  For we never know when our gain will be much greater than our loss!

God Bless :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Seasons of Motherhood--Inaugural Post :)

Hey!  Thanks for coming to check out my new blog on Motherhood!  Being a mom of 3 children, motherhood is a subject near and dear to my heart.  So, I've decided to journal my personal experience of motherhood through this blog.  I'm not here because I think I have all the answers or great advice.  I'm not a professional writer and I don't intend to be.  Instead, I enjoy sharing my experiences and lessons learned in the hopes of reaching at least one mom who is looking for someone to relate to.  No mom should feel alone in this wild journey!  I'm also passionate about passing on great lessons/stories I've learned from some amazing moms so they can continue to be shared with others.  Isn't that what it's all about?  Some days just knowing we are normal moms and the challenges we face, we don't face alone.  If I can give another mom encouragment and inspiration, then I've accomplished what I've set out to do! 

Here's the reasoning behind my blog title... 

Happy Hour:  First, every mom deserves a daily happy hour, even if your happy hour does not include adult beverages!  There will be challenges throughout our day, so as moms we deserve an hour (at least) that is relaxing and happy!  For me, yes, some days that includes an adult beverage or 2 with my husband or girlfriends :) 

Friendship:  For me, this not only includes friends but also family.  Because of my frienships with family and friends, life and motherhood are easier and more enjoyable!  Having great people to rely on for various things is wonderful.  I'm so thankful for my friendships that have stood the test of time and life's numerous seasons. 

Faith:  Last and most important to me, is my faith in God and Jesus Christ.  Without God, I wouldn't be where I am today and I wouldn't have my three precious children that have given me the title "mother".  I credit this beautiful gift of motherhood to God, who draws me closer to Him through my role as a mom.  He is the only constant in our lives and when friendships seem to fade and happy hour seems out of reach, God is and always will be there.  What a relief!!

I was asked to do a guest blog post on Motherhood a few weeks ago and I really enjoyed it!  So, here is my first ever personal post in case you have not seen it already.  I would love for you to share your thoughts as well :)

Seasons of Motherhood

Hi!  I’m Megan Schimmelpfennig, the lucky wife of Sam, and blessed mom of three children ages 6, almost 3 and 1!  I’m also the founder and owner of my online children’s boutique, Trendy Tots ~n~ Polka Dots (

The definition of motherhood has changed significantly for me over the last two years.  This change started with our move from Arizona to Colorado, and having to leave my job as an advertising account manager in the corporate world for nearly six years.  A week after arriving in Colorado, we were thrilled with the news baby #3 was on the way, and little did I know, I was about to enter a new ‘season’ of being a full-time, stay at home mom.  I feel very fortunate to be able to stay at home with my children, but I’ll be honest, it’s been quite a transition.  Going from striving to meeting and exceeding sales goals and receiving awards for doing so, to striving just to get laundry done, the house picked up and little mouths fed numerous times a day has been no easy feat!  Needless to say, success has a whole new meaning for me.  Some days I feel like the ring leader of a three-ring circus and other days I feel like I’m up on the tight rope trying to balance it all.

By having the awesome experience of being part of a MOPS Group (Mothers of Preschoolers) since moving to CO, I have not only strengthened my relationship with God, but He has made it quite clear this is the season I’m meant to be in, right now, and I couldn’t be happier or more content.  With all the ups, downs, frustrations, challenges and some days very little praise or acknowledgement, I’ve realized I don’t need awards to prove I’m accomplishing great things.  I’m fulfilled when I see my children be kind and loving to each other and make good choices in difficult situations.  When they look at me with their big blue eyes, tears streaming down their cheeks, and they look to me for consolation and I’m here for them.  Being able to impact my children every day brings me immeasurable joy.  I’ve grown to be a more patient mom, cherishing even the time-outs and lessons learned, as I know this season will pass all too quickly.  I look at my patio door and so many times think, “I love those little handprints.  Some day they won’t be there and I will give anything to see them and have a noisy house again.”  During this season, I’ve learned to focus on what’s really important.  I know that for all of us our time is so limited with all that we have to do and the places we need to be, but at the end of the day, it all shakes down to priorities.  Our children are quick to make note of our priorities as well.   

One of the great things I love about motherhood is God created us all to be unique moms like our children are unique!  Just like we shouldn’t compare our children to other children, and we shouldn’t compare ourselves to other moms.  We set high standards for ourselves as moms and seek approval from other human beings.  We sometimes feel like the biggest compliment we could receive is to be told that we are a wonderful mother.  It’s nice to hear, but I don’t believe it validates anything.  Why?  Because we only need to be the mother that God created each of us to be.  That looks different for all of us.  At the beginning of everyday, my goal is to be the mom God has meant for me to be and raise my children to be the person that God created each of them to be!  I find when I keep feeding my soul with His word and listening to His voice, I’m on the right track in sticking with His plan.  I’m thankful motherhood is not a destination, because we would miss so many blessings along this journey.  And through this journey, God gives us His grace when we make mistakes.  He wouldn’t create us to be mothers without leading and guiding us and being our constant mentor.  What a comforting thought!  My wish for all moms is to live in the present moment of the season you are in.  And remember, the days go by slowly, but the years pass quickly and before we know it, this precious season is over.