Celebrating Motherhood Milestones

1
Feb
2016

Celebrating Motherhood Milestones

Motherhood is a jungle of ups and downs, wondering if we are making the right decisions with our kids and hoping we don’t screw it up.

My journey as a mom has certainly been like that. As a single mom I did the best I could and now looking back I wish I had done some things different, but isn’t that how we all are? Questioning ourselves and not allowing grace to fill our spirit? I have learned and can share my experience with others – hoping they can take something from my mistakes to avoid their own. Authentic community is like that.

We bombard ourselves with more than we deserve and don’t savor the good. Because there is always good to see.

Today, this post is a bit different. I get to share a personal moment that happened in my family – and one I think is important to share. I try to be genuine and give you at least the bigger picture of motherhood so you don’t feel it’s all rosy – because it’s not – but there are days that come where a motherhood milestone is celebrated and you can hardly take it all in because it’s so glorious.

  • The day your child is born.
  • Their first words.
  • When they learn to ride a bike.
  • Their first day of school.

But as your child gets older, it seems those celebrations get a bit further apart, so when one comes along it comes with a big bang.

And for me, I am celebrating almost the best thing ever – my 19 year old son chose on his own timing and in his own journey with Christ to get baptized yesterday at our new church home.

My Son Being Baptized

This picture is powerful. It may not be the greatest quality, but it speaks volumes as the men who have spoken life into my son are praying for him after he arose from the water.

I don’t think I have enough words to describe it. My gut swelled with emotion and tears flowed. To hear his voice proclaim Jesus as His Savior and to see his body go below the water and come up fresh, new, and filled with the Spirit – there are no words, but I will try.

Glorious. Incredible. Grace Beyond Imaginable. Mercy. Hope. New Life.

So in the midst of the dirty laundry piled high, the dishes left unwashed, toys scattered from one end of the house to the other, and take out pizza for dinner – remember that you are a caretaker of these littles, but God is so much bigger. He steps in when we ask and when we’ve lost our big girl pants. (You know those days when you want to crawl back in bed!).  He can draw our kids in a way that even we cannot and that is just so AMAZING!

Pray for them. Pray that He would grab hold of their hearts on HIS timing, not yours. You see, His timing is perfect – even when it may not be what we would like. But you can only see that on the other side. But it’s beautiful.

My Son's Baptism

So here’s to my motherhood milestone where I can rejoice today and celebrate.

I would love for you to share one of your recent milestones too. This is where we get to encourage each other and spur each other on for HIS Glory!

Faithbox: Fun Gifts for Christian Families

11
Jan
2016

Faithbox: Fun Gifts for Christian Families

Who loves getting surprise gifts in the mail? Um…ME! I think that is one of the reasons I love receiving StitchFix each month too – it’s like opening a Christmas gift every month, picked just for me!

So, when I ran across Faithbox (a monthly subscription company that sends you a box full of Christian goodies which make fun gifts for Christian families), I knew I had to check it out! They were kind enough to send me a free box to review, so here is my honest review.

One of the first draws for me was the idea that each box was a surprise – I love that. But even more, I knew that each box would contain items that would be relevant to me, a Christian, and would have some positive impact on my daily life.

They take the time to combine items that will brighten your day and your faith walk. Plus, here is the very best part – for each subscription box they send, they provide three meals to hungry kids in a Christian orphanage. Seriously, a company with a bigger mission! 

What's in a Faithbox?

Check Out What Was in My Box for December

  • Everyday Faith Devotional Book – Everyday Faith is a modern Christian devotional with daily reflections to help you in your walk with Christ. It was awesome! I loved the small size (easy to fit in my purse) and a few lines where I could write notes too. You can also purchase a subscription to just the devotional book and they provide three meals to children in need!
  • Mitscoots Socks – I received a fun pair of socks from the company Mitscoots. Loved this company and it’s mission – for every pair of socks you purchase, they give away another pair to someone in need. And – even more – they take pride in employing the less fortunate. How intentional to make a difference. Loved their slogan: get + give + employ.
  • Anchored in Hope Ornament – I received a handmade metal ornament made by Haitian artisans through the mission of Anchored In Hope. The artisans use the metal from a 55 gallon oil drum and a variety of tool and carefully handicraft each piece with unique style and design. How incredibly special and meaningful. You can check out their shop here.
  • WorldHelp – Lastly I received two $10 gift cards to donate to the cause of my choice. World Help was started in 1991 out of a desire to continue a vision of revolutionary companion, which Jesus practiced while here on earth. It was really touching for me to donate to a cause I felt led to and then they suggested I give the other card to a friend so they may donate, so I did!

Learn How You Can Grab a Faithbox for Yourself

You have three choices for subscription options:

Faithbox Subscription Options

Or, you can shop past boxes in their marketplace and purchase individual boxes.

At the time of posting, they were offering a discount code of 10% with promo code NEWYEAR16. This awesome discount code makes it the perfect time to give it a try. Don’t miss out!

I am planning to get my own subscription. After reviewing some of the past boxes and upcoming ones, I can see the value of the items you get is considerably more than the actual cost you pay for the box. I am frugal at heart, so when I see a deal I love that.  

I also am really drawn to the products they deliver and the care taken when choosing what companies to involve in the boxes. It can really make a difference when you make purchases from companies that have an incredible heart to give back. I saw this very clearly with Faithbox.

What a perfect gift idea for a friend or family member, or even your pastor!

Faithbox has served 100,000 meals to hungry children – that is really something to celebrate and I believe sets them apart.

My Six Day Juice Cleanse Story

28
Dec
2015

My Six Day Juice Cleanse: The Why, What, How, and More for Inquiring Minds

I had heard about these crazy folks who chose purposely to not eat food – but ingest only juice – for days at a time. I thought I wasn’t that “crunchy” yet and it really wasn’t my thing. So how on earth did I end up going on a six day juice cleanse? Let me just share with you why I did just the thing I thought I would never, ever do and how God met me during this time in unexpected ways.

Why Did I Choose a Juice Cleanse

A friend posted about her starting a ten day juice cleanse on Facebook, so I sat by and observed as she shared the physical changes she experienced and how her body was changing. About mid-way through her ten day session, I decided it was something I wanted to commit to and see what all the hype was about. She was seeing positive results in her skin, her health, and more. With my own journey of choosing ways to take control of my health and wellness, this was truly one of the next steps for me to experience.

Whenever Cleanse with Cashew Milk

My Cleanse Choice

I ended up ordering my own six day Whenever Cleanse with Cashew Milk from the company she was using, Juice from the Raw, which is their beginner cleanse. I ordered two of the three day cleanses to use in conjunction with each other. I chose the Whenever Cleanse because this was my first cleanse and I also am a coffee drinker, so I thought this would be a bit easier on my system.

I loved that I could pick the exact date for delivery of the juice, which is immediately frozen after it is cold-pressed (the best alternative). So I looked at my calendar and choose six days just prior to Christmas.

My Experience

The first day was pretty easy. I do drink coffee – so this was a bit of a shock to my body. I developed a massive headache that lasted over two days. This was extremely disappointing to me, but I persevered. I did not get hungry and honestly had trouble finishing all six of the juices for the day. Over the next few days I decided to add in the one vegetable that you could eat, so I had celery and a handful of carrots. By day three the headache was gone and my mind began to clear a bit. I certainly experienced the brain fog that comes with transitions and thankfully I had some grace with myself as I cleared my calendar a bit.

I planned to do this cleanse while my husband was out of town for half of the days, so I did not have to cook dinner but just provide simple meals for my six year old. This was very helpful. When he returned and our house was full, it was a bit more difficult to be cooking and not enjoying the food, but I managed.

How God Showed Up

This was the part that truly surprised me. God had some things to share with me as I underwent this time of discipline to not eat and also gave up things I enjoyed, like a glass of wine, a bite of chocolate, and a warm mug of coffee. He reassured me that I could do this with His power. He was able to show me how strong I truly was when I released control and allowed Him to show up. To be honest, I do not think I could have done this on my own. It was hard! It took definite attitude adjustments, pushing through pain, and also remembering my end goal. God walked along with me and He showed me a lot about who I am and who He desires me to be.

My Takeaways

I was shocked honestly when I woke up on day seven and was able to have my normal routine back. I did love my morning cup of coffee, but I realized I can live without it.

My favorite juice of all was the Spicy Lemonade. It was amazing! It has a bit of cayenne pepper in it and at 4:00 PM when it was on my schedule to drink it, it met me with “cheering up”. All of the juices were good, some were much better than others. I had a hard time getting the last juice of the day down only because I wasn’t hungry and had no interest, yet I managed for the most part.

I lost 6.5 pounds during the detox cleanse.  This was not my intention, however it was a great bonus for sure. I did see some slight changes in my skin – it was very bright and vibrant. I felt slim and at the end was getting my energy back. Mornings were good. I did make sure that I got a lot of sleep during the six days and allowed myself to sleep in. This I think helped my body immensely.

Would I Do It Again?

Yep, and I am currently looking at my calendar to find a time to put it on my calendar. This is by far one of the best things I have done for myself – physically, mentally, and spiritually.

If you are interested in checking out the Juice in the Raw company and the cleanses they offer, be sure to use the discount code theconfidentmom112 if you make a purchase. They offered this code for my friends and readers to get 60% off. It is by far the best deal – better than the Groupons I have seen lately too. (By the way, I am not an affiliate for them – just a very satisfied customer wanting to share with you!).

What a great way to start your new year!

Tips

Remove your six juices the day before you need them, set them on the counter to thaw, then place them in your refrigerator.

The Cashew Milk was best warmed a bit. I boiled some water and place the hot water in a bowl and placed my bottle of juice in it to warm it. It was so tasty – much better than drinking it cold!

Have grace with yourself during the time of the cleanse. Spend some time reflecting and listening.

A Visit to Young Living Academy

30
Nov
2015

A Visit to Young Living Academy

I recently had the privilege of visiting the Young Living Farm in Chongon, Ecuador where we grow several plants used in our essential oils – Ylang Ylang, Ecualyptus Blue, Dorado Azul, Oregano, and more. It was amazing to see the Seed to Seal process in action once again. This is the fourth Young Living Farm I have personally visited. However, what struck me more on this trip was a visit to the Young Living Academy.

Young Living Academy was started because D. Gary Young saw the poor conditions of the local neighborhood school. He purchased land close to that small school without bathrooms and built a new school that now has 290 students, expanding to 350 next year.

Young Living Academy

The Young Living Academy has been expanded to include a preschool and a high school for the children of Chongon, Ecuador. Students cultivate their own organic garden that contributes to their healthy, organic lunches; participate in soccer, baseball, volleyball, dance, music, chess, and drama clubs; and participate in student council.  

Only 25% of high school seniors graduate from public school in Chongon – but not at the Young Living Academy (100% of enrolled seniors will graduate)! It was incredible to see. The new high school is is pictured above. The lives of underprivileged children in the Chongon neighborhood are being changed – FOREVER.

Just over a year ago our family took sponsorship of a child who attends school at the Young Living Academy – Benjamin. I chose him because he was the same age as my youngest (five). Well, we had the chance to meet him and it was powerful and emotional and something I will never forget.

Us with Benjamin

He was in shock over the American football, school supplies, toys, and humongous backpack we brought him – he hugged my husband for nearly 1 minute and would not let go! I was taking video of it all – my husband did a great job trying to communicate with him even with the language barrier.

Another Young Living member brought along some tattoos and all the kids were waiting for them, so I joined in the assembly line and helped place tattoos on those little ones. They were thrilled.

Putting on Tattoos

This was a highlight for me – pure joy to do something so simple but meant the world to these kids.

They treated us to a music program, food, games, and tours – something they had been looking forward to for a year.

I can say for me, it is a critical part of who I am to be part of something that gives back to the community. For the last 20 years and counting, Young Living has a vision to improve our global community and philanthropic work has always been close to the hearts of founders D. Gary and Mary Young. I am the one blessed to be part of an organization helping with improving the health and wellness of families but also making a difference worldwide in much bigger ways.

My heart was so full – blessing these children, seeing their smiles and joy was priceless. So when you purchase oils and become a member with Young Living, please know you are part of a huge family giving back to make the world a better place.

Here is a video about one child that has been impacted by the Young Living Academy.

“Salomón Francisco Olivarque is among the many young people who attend Young Living’s education program in Chongón, Ecuador. In comparison to his previous school, which Salomón says did not provide meaningful educational experiences, Young Living Academy has become like a second home to the 14-year-old boy. In this video, see how the efforts of the Young Living Foundation and generous sponsors change the lives of children in this underserved area.”

Watch the Video Here

To learn more about becoming a member of Young Living, click here. For more information on the D. Gary Young Foundation, click here.

6 Ways to Nurture a Grateful Heart

9
Nov
2015

6 Ways to Nurture a Grateful Heart

We all want to help our children grow to have grateful hearts, but I admit – it can be incredibly hard in our society. We have to try harder to block the excess and the “entitlement” attitude and allow tenderness and mercy to seep in. The Me, Me, Me Epidemic: A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World by Amy McCready has been very helpful in opening my eyes and helping me find ways to parent more effectively in this area. 

As I journey through this “second” season of parenting again with a five year old, I am reminded of the little things I can do each day to help be intentional in teaching gratefulness.

Set the Right Example

I was convicted of this and have been more intentional in my speech. We want our children to say “please” and “thank you”, so shouldn’t we model that? How many parents do you see saying “thank you” to there two or three year old children? It is through example that kids learn best, and teaching gratitude is no different than anything else in that respect. Children do learn what they live.

Teach by Showing Them How to Be of Service to Others

Even something simple, such as holding a door for an elderly person, is a small way we can show them how others appreciate us and our actions. It is also a way to put a smile and a lift into a stranger’s day, which always creates a good feeling within the person who is doing the kind act as well. You would be surprised how many times a simple gesture like this can occur in your normal day-to-day activities, in places like grocery stores, school, or shopping trips.

Make a List

This is on my list to begin during our dinner time, creating a simple list of what each person is thankful for. During this Thanksgiving season you could even make this Thanksgiving Tree decoration to help visualoze all the things your family is thankful for.

Teach Gratitude While Going Without Things

What can your family go with out? Whether it is intentional or not, like losing power for a day, you can take opportunities to bring in some reality to how life is for those who are not as blessed as we are.

Show Them How to Be Thankful for the Little Things in Life

We can easily forget how the simple things really are things to be thankful for. Having food to eat all the time, friends to play with, and having plenty of toys and school supplies are items to truly appreciate. Kids have no concept, especially if having these things are normal and they have never been without.

Teach Them to See the Good in Someone They Don’t Like

This is one I need to be reminded of often – so when you are having to go through it yourself, it provides the perfect opportunity to share that with your child. Being an adult is hard – but being a kid these days can be just as difficult as we learn to respect others and respond to others in kindness. This is hard when they’ve been mistreated, I totally know that. We have had the opportunity to talk about situations that have happened and share how we can respond better and with God’s love rather than how our spirit wants to respond.

It is all about developing character. If we want our kids to grow up having grateful hearts, it all starts with us and how we portray that in our homes.

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