Browsing Category: Intentional Living

One More Step {a Review}

There are days, weeks when taking another step makes me want to scream into a pillow. The very thought of another sibling fight, another meal to be cooked, another life issue to be dealt with makes me want to leave my life at the kitchen table and walk out the front door, never to return.

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Life is hard. Sometimes, the thought of taking another step is daunting, another step in faith feels impossible. Because why did God call me to THIS mess, when someone else’s seems so much tidier?

A couple of months ago I requested to review Rachel Wojo‘s One More Step: Finding Strength When You Feel Like Giving Up, and then it sat on the shelf, because life was becoming too much and reading a book was impossible. With the new year I was determined to clean up the book reviews remaining from the old. I planned on just “getting through this” as best I could.

Sitting on a last minute flight I managed to read over half of One More Step; I sipped tentatively at it’s pages, before taking life giving gulps from it. Logically we know that other people “get it” that we’re not the only ones struggling through life, but we need that reminder so often. One More Step is that reminder.

Rachel Wojo shares about her struggles as a single mom to a terminally ill little girl and her journey to and through marriage and becoming a mom of many, while struggling through the loss of her own mother. She talks candidly about her frustrations, her anger with God, and her continual struggle to deal with life and releasing it to God over and over again.

At the end of each chapter Rachel shares a few Bible verses, Pillars of Truth, as well as a Stepping Stones…questions for you to think about and record in a prayer journal. Rachel does a fantastic job of sharing her knowledge and giving you the tools you need to discover for yourself how to take that next step.

Whether you feel like you’re lost at a dead end or just looking for how to avoid burning out, this book is book will help you unravel the rats’ nest of chaos that’s presiding in your life.

*I received this book for free from BloggingforBooks.com in exchange for my honest opinion. You can find my disclosure policy here.

My One Goal for the New Year

Anyone listen to podcasts? I love them; keep wanting to try my hand at them. I don’t get to listen to them all that much, but I found one that’s really striking my fancy! A few months ago I was getting the writing itch. As you all know I’ve been really struggling with this whole blogging thing and where I fit in. Of course it doesn’t help that blogs seem to be going the way of the dinosaur.

Wanted: Writing Buddy @JessicaMWhite.comSarah Werner is my now favorite podcast….Write Now…she’s wonderful! Her voice is peaceful and melodic, she’s funny, and she’s got such words of wisdom. On her New Year podcast she was talking about her writing resolution: To write 100 words every day. I thought…I can do that! {maybe…we’ll see…honestly, it hasn’t happened yet this year.} My one goal for the new year is to become more intentional in my writing….not necessarily in my blogging, but my writing.

The next thing she said struck me: Find a writing buddy!  So that’s where I’m at…finding someone to be accountable to, to inspire and get inspired by, to do this whole writing thing with. Because, honestly, this whole being-a-writer thing is rather lonely.

So, here I am…who wants to be my writing buddy?

 

A New Year a New…

a new year a new you: When the New Year Stresses You Out @JessicaMWhite.com

Can I be honest with you? The whole “New Year” mentality is enough to give me a nervous breakdown. There’s all these hopeful posts on instagram, facebook, blogs and pinterest: Start that diet, renovate your home, revamp your systems, rethink your methods, read the bible, and everything else. Honestly, I’m over here still trying to process 2015 and the what and how of everything that happened. And I know I can’t be the only one.

a new year a new you: When the New Year Stresses You Out @JessicaMWhite.com

I know I can’t be the only one who feels completely behind the 8-ball when it comes to starting a new year. It’s the 8th of January and, other than the weather, I feel like it’s somehow already the middle of July. All the resolutions {which I don’t make} have gone out the window and we’re all fully entrenched in survival mode. {I hate survival mode}. I want to give up on 2016 and it’s just started.

The whole thing is ridiculous though and that’s what I will continue to tell myself. One, other peoples’ agendas can’t dictate to me how and what I should be doing. Two, who says that things have to change because it’s the new year or that they can’t change when it isn’t?!

As I’ve gotten older there are a few things I’ve learned: 1) if I don’t do something every day it doesn’t mean I’m a failure; 2) I can make changes whenever I want; and 3) I don’t HAVE to change anything, unless I want to. So…take a deep breath. Feel that freezing cold air right down to your toes. This is YOUR LIFE. It doesn’t have to be lived according to any specific structure, it doesn’t have to fall into the norms of the world.

You do you.

Dear New Mom….

In nearing the end of this pregnancy and having had a friend who just had her first, I’ve been thinking a lot about how people perceive the birth of a new baby…as this end of an era that brings with it dramatic changes, all with a touch of doom and gloom. People seem to have this common perception, both from experience and impending baby-dom, that a baby means things end. That life as you knew it will cease to exist in its entirety, right down to the minutiae in life.

People who have “been there” are completely guilty of propagating this feeling of dread, telling the new parents that they better enjoy these last few weeks and days, go out to dinner, get a manicure, see a movie, all with the idea that these things will seemingly never happen again. Soon to be mamas, I am here to tell you something: This is not the case.

Yes, your world is about to be rocked, things are obviously going to change and will never be the same again, but life doesn’t end…it’s only just beginning. This new little one is the rebirth of you: You get to relive your childhood through this precious baby; you get to experience the entire world as you did before, but just can’t remember; you get to be the one to introduce this tiny being to all of the glories God has created for us.

Dear New Mom...a baby isn't the end. It's just the beginning.... @JessicaMWhite.com

Is this new experience hard? Absolutely. I’m not going to lie. You are going to be stretched and tested and exhausted and ready to give up, you may even have minutes or days or weeks when you wonder why you even thought this whole having a kid thing was a good idea. At some point you will feel like a baby IS THE END, but it will be worth it. If not for your child, then for you, because in this journey of mommy-hood you will discover just how strong you are and just how good God is.

But there is a choice that must be made. You must choose whether you embrace the new changes and all their messy beauty OR fight against it, clinging to the life that was. This isn’t an either or choice. This doesn’t mean it’s you or the baby, that only one of you can dictate what life is like. It doesn’t mean kiss YOU {and your interests} goodbye.

It’s a moment by moment choice.

Sometimes YOU will be the priority, when you feel your self starting to slip, when that 10 minutes of silence in the shower is not just about getting clean, but recouping yourself and wiping away the desperate tears, and sometimes that baby will be the priority, when they’re screaming because something is wrong, something is hurting, even if you don’t know what it is, but you know they just need you.

Then there are the bigger choices: Having a baby doesn’t mean you put You, your interests, your relationships, up on a shelf for the next 18 years. It doesn’t work that way, and it doesn’t have to be that way. God created you to be who you are, uniquely crafted with thoughts, ideas, and talents. Mommy is just another part of that. “Mommy” doesn’t mean you’re no longer allowed to exist beyond your child. That your child somehow now trumps your spouse. It doesn’t, and it shouldn’t. But it is a balance act, having to relearn who you are in this new world.

Regardless of what society expects…..you are NOT super mom. No one is, unless they have a team of helpers, and then they are still not. You are a mom, trying to find balance in the constant changes of babyhood and motherhood. Sometimes it is glorious as you ride the waves and sometimes you’re just trying to keep your head above water.

And you know what new mama…you will get to go out to eat again, get your hair and nails done, even sit for hours quietly doing nothing but what you want to do. It will happen, and when it does, you will think back longingly on the days that used to be and how that little person is not so little anymore.

* and I write this, as I sit here, totally freaked out about what a 5th child is going to mean in our life, because whether this is your first or fifth it is a life changing experience.

**Lest anyone get too excited…that picture is of Avelyn.

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” 1 Peter 4:10

Waiting tables at Saturday’s Bread (a local soup kitchen): I think I was 8 or 9 years old. Twenty years later that still is in my mind. One of my desires for our children is that they be socially minded. While it would be great to raise little Mother Theresas, it’s more realistic that we raise children who are kind hearted and willing to serve and help those they may often overlook….Neighbors.Avie

We’ve lived in our house almost 7 years now and, honestly, we’ve not had much to do, beyond casual hellos, with our neighbors, if that. In the book “Cleaning House” one of the things Wyma had her children do was focus on helping others. I decided that this is something that even Ave can do.

We had some zucchini from my mom: I whipped up a triple batch of zucchini bread, wrapped them nicely, put the kids in the stroller and off we went. {Of course it had to be the hottest day of the summer} It was a lot of fun. I made Ave go up to each door and knock, say hello, and give them the zucchini bread. It took a bit of coaxing and translating from me, but she did  it. I was so proud of her. At one point she looked up at me and asked, “Mommy, am I shy?” No, my sweet-child you are certainly not shy.

Our neighbors were excited to receive the zucchini bread and see the kids; most of them had heard someone had had triplets, but hadn’t yet seen them. We didn’t discriminate, we gave a zucchini bread to our 9 most immediate neighbors, even if they haven’t been the nicest. We even swapped baked goods with one neighbor, then received a thank you note from another.

And what did it take of us? Not much. I had a couple of hours in time baking the breads and packaging them, we spent about an hour-and-a-half walking around. I figure we’ll work on this a couple of times a year, being sure to have interactions with neighbors, then eventually work on doing the good deeds WITHOUT the response of neighbors (surprising them).

How are you teaching the children in your life to serve others?