Tips to creating a joy-filled day with little ones in our homes..

We must remember we are the example for our kids. We get to show them it is possible to find joy in the little things each day. If we want our kids to experience joy everyday,we get to go first! If we are struggling with joy in our homes, then it begins with us. We as the parent are the lid. If we are not experiencing joy, then it may be difficult for our kids as well. The good news is, we can change and go on a journey of discovering great joy in parenting. It may be uncomfortable if you’re not used to living this way, but trust me, it’s worth it! Lets fight for our joy so that we and our whole family can benefit!

If you are struggling with depression and/or anxiety, do not hesitate to reach out to a good counselor. I’m certain everyone at different times in their lives could use a good counselor to help them walk thru certain things. I know I have and it was absolutely worth every penny! It’s incredible how depression, anxiety, rage, anger, feelings of being overwhelmed can dramatically be healed as you tend to your soul with a compassionate counselor who can help you process thru these emotions. Most often it is not our children or our spouse that is the root of our triggered feelings, it’s unprocessed feelings from long ago yet they can get the brunt of the negative feelings that are triggered if left unattended too. Don’t let this be you. You are worth it and so is your family!

A few tips on inviting joy into your everyday life:

1 Decide that everyday is a good day, and train your children to think this way too! When my girls were very little, I would ask them when they would first wake up “What day is it today girls?” and they would respond by saying “It’s a good day, Mommy!”

2 Train yourself and your children to look for the good and the beautiful in everything and in everyone.  Everyday we will have opportunities to focus on the negative AND the positive, the bad AND the good. Decide that what you are going to think about and talk about is going to be the positive, the beautiful and the good.

3 Choose to be thankful for all the little things throughout your day.  It’s the green light that you made, the parking spot you found, the cup of coffee in the morning, the running water, the tiniest patch of blue sky through the clouds, etc. There is ALWAYS little things to be grateful for. Make it a game! When doing a task that needs to get done that would normally not be very fun such laundry, dishes, meals, cleaning or raking leaves or whatever – use that time to say out loud all the things you can think of that you’re grateful for. Or listen to an encouraging podcast or fun music. Make it enjoyable.  I always tell my kids “Why would I ever choose to complain about something I get to do everyday for the rest of my life? That would be no fun!” I just decided long ago that I was going to enjoy these tasks!

4 Find out what fills up your soul and incorporate those things into your life.  Do you need time with friends, alone time to process, a fun adventure, a date-night, a healthy creative outlet? What fills you up? As parents we give so much and it’s so important that we also fill ourselves back up so that we can be in a heathy state to be able to give. Are you in a position where you could budget in a little help here and there? I like to wake up early before my kids are awake to enjoy some coffee & reading & then get in a workout and shower before they are up.

5 Prep the day before for an overcoming, beautiful tomorrow. Put into practice little routines that help bring beauty and order to your life and that help contribute to feelings of joy. For example, clean up the kitchen the night before & set the table for breakfast so in the morning you can begin fresh. Prep your fridge with healthy snacks. Prep the coffee the night before. Throw in a load of laundry before getting into bed so it doesn’t build up for a whole weekend project.

6 Remember, your kids are your team. Train them and require of them age-appropriate chores.  With some instruction and encouragement they can take a lot off of your plate and you can empower them with life-skills they will need to win in life. Empowering your children with a great work ethic is so good for them (and you!). It builds a confidence in them that they will need in life.

I asked my 4, 5, & 8 year old how they experience joy everyday and here were a few of their sweet answers:

1 Have a good attitude!

2 Sing while doing your chores

3 Make a choice to be happy

4 Enjoy sitting on your sidewalk

5 Make a picture in your mind of what you want an outcome to look like and keep working until the picture in your mind is real life

6 Enjoy your flowers

7 Relax in your backyard with a good book

8 Sharing makes you happy!

9 Enjoy your view

10 Listen to the birds singing outside

11 Go for a walk and enjoy the view and fresh air

2nd Mile Parenting…

I recently had the privilege of getting to hear Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-fil-a, speak at a conference my husband & I recently were at. Dan says that their business model is based from Matthew 5:41 “And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.”  He thought to himself, what is the expected? What is everyone else in the food service industry already doing? Now, I want to dream of what the ‘2nd Mile’ could look like and that is what I want our service to be like. Have you ever been to a Chick-fil-a restaurant before?  My husband and I recently had the opportunity to visit one in Texas and it was quiet a joyful experience!  The staff was warm & friendly, the restaurant (and bathrooms!) were very neat and clean and after one of the cashiers handed me my cup for a drink, I replied with a “thank you” and they replied with a friendly “my pleasure”.  Apparently this is one of the pre-planned responses for anytime someone says “thank you” to one of them.  I love that part of their culture is these pre-planned friendly phrases.  For Dan, 2nd Mile thinking sounds like this “People are more hungry for respect and love than a good chicken burger”. (So good, so true!!) How can we instill value, dignity & respect into our employees and our every customer? Another thing I loved about Dan’s talk was that he wears a “DAN, IN TRAINING” name badge.  He noticed that his employees in training were wearing these name badges and he thought, That’s a great idea! I need one of those! Just in case there’s ever a mistake or a mis-understanding, he could humbly apologize and say that he is still “in-training”.

Umm I think I need a name badge that say’s MOM, IN TRAINING !!  I mean, do we ever fully arrive?! In the past 8yrs of being a Mom I’m pretty sure I have needed to ask for forgiveness every single day! When I am operating at my best, we all know it’s only because of Jesus’ grace working thru me!

As I was sitting their listening to Dan speak, my mind began to think, I wonder what ‘2nd Mile Parenting’ could look like?  What could we dream up for our “2nd mile” in parenting? To me, ‘2nd Mile Parenting’ represents out of the ordinary, beautiful, heaven on earth, life-giving, intentional, training, investing, full of love, joy, grace & peace – basically, it’s co-parenting with God. Allowing Him to empower us with his super-natural ability.  Allowing our thoughts to line up with Philippians 4:8-9 “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heart and saw and realized.  Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” (MSG) Allowing our talking to line up with Ephesians 5:3 “…Thanksgiving is our dialect”. (MSG)  Allowing the word of God to define us.

I love this scripture in Romans 4:20-21 in the Passion Translation that says (speaking of Abraham) “He never stopped believing God’s promise, for he was made strong in his faith to father a child.  And because he was mighty in faith and convinced that God had all the power needed to fulfill his promises, Abraham glorified God!”

Replace Abraham’s name with your name. “(She) never stopped believing God’s promise, for (she) was made strong in (her) faith to (mother) a child (her children).  And because (she) was mighty in faith and convinced that God had all the power needed to fulfill his promises, ___________ glorified God!”

We can do this, dear ones! Because with God as our helper, we can do ALL things through Jesus who strengthens us.  Nothing is impossible with God. He powerfully declares us righteous in his eyes (Romans 4:5 TPT). He declares us flawless in his eyes. Our faith guarantees permanent access into his marvelous kindness (which we need as moms!) and we have been given incredible joy that bursts forth within us as we keep on celebrating our hope in experiencing God’s glory!  But that’s not all! Even in times of trouble (or those tough days, moms!) we have a joyful confidence, knowing that our pressures (hello!) will develop in us patient endurance. And patient endurance will refine our character, and proven character leads us back to hope. (!!!) And this hope is not a disappointing fantasy, because we can now experience the endless love of God cascading into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who lives in us! (!!!!!!) (ISN’T THIS THE BEST NEWS EVER?!?!!!) (Romans 5:1-5 TPT)

Just in case you didn’t get your bible reading in today, there you go! Side note: reading the word always lifts my faith, energy, and re-sets my perspective that I can actually do this thing called parenting THRU Him!!! Don’t you love the above scripture that says this hope IS NOT a disappointing fantasy!!

2nd Mile Parenting; living in total pursuit of the one and only, Jesus. There’s so much MORE, friends. He has so much more  of himself for us to experience of Him.  He is not a God of just a little, or just enough, or a few time experiences. NO. He is an outrageously generous God with endless love for us to experience all the time! He wants to fill us and empower us every single moment of every single day. He wants all of himself to overflow in us and spill over onto our children. He wants his presence to fill us, our kids and every nook & cranny of our homes. He wants his presence to spill out of our homes & overflow into our neighborhoods, grocery stores, schools or wherever we go. He wants us to be like Abraham, Abraham glorified God by grabbing ahold of His promises by faith!

We are not alone in this. Not only are WE together in this, but most importantly, HE is with you ALWAYS. He is available to help you on a second’s notice. Lean on Him. He is your helper. He will guide you every step of the way. We can do this “2nd Mile Parenting” because He is walking with us and enabling us. Every time we breakthrough and walk in victory in different areas of our lives, we are setting our kids up to win. Sure they will have their own battles, but when we breakthrough, we’ve broken-thru for them too. We are moms and we don’t give up. We keep showing up and we keep believing and we will see our breakthrough and we will walk in victory, for us and for them (and the generations to come).