Browsing Category: Intentional Living

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….

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

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 you and how people perceive the birth of a new baby…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?