Friday, October 23, 2015

INSTAGRAM | MANDI411


If you could see me right now, I’m sorta cowering down with my tail between my legs. I feel THAT BAD for letting my blog go neglected the past couple of months. I never EVER thought it would come to this. I always MADE time for writing before, so what gives?! Do I have time management issues. (Yes. Highly likely. Among other issues.)

Life ebbs and flows, I’ve discovered. Some seasons are slightly more full than others. And I do believe I’m in a very full season. This, however, doesn’t fly well with me. I’m a big fan of freedom, of wide-open spaces, of not being confined and imprisoned and stuck.

Otherwise, why did Jesus set us free? So we would be free. That’s basically it. He emancipated us from everything that imprisons because freedom is its own reward. To hear the Bible tell it, Christians should be the freest, most unstuck, unrestricted, liberated people breathing air.

(Also, to the dear teachers out there, thank you for the bazillion hours you invest in our kids, but we need to make a deal that after April testing, we assign no more projects and/or homework. K? K.)

The one and only social media outlet I appear to be most loyal to, is Instagram. There’s a bond between me and a camera, yes. And I guarantee you, it’s still me. It’s still my real life. It’s still the usual stuff moms deal with – kitchen sink overrun by dishes, toddler drawings on the wall, someone having a meltdown in Target.

So, please, come visit me on Instagram when you’re taking a break in your day. I will still be sharing much of the same as you experience here, with maybe fewer words and more hashtags.

XOXO



Thursday, October 1, 2015

THINGS I'VE LEARNED LATELY


One of my most important ministries is to love my children. I’m learning to love them by adjusting to the new season of life they are in…as my daughter hormonally into adulthood, as my eldest son navigates his sophomore year of high school, as my 4-year old’s vocabulary suddenly blooms and I’m answering questions about God and life after death (of a pet). I’m learning to become more of a coach or advisor who helps my children manage and learn from the consequences of their actions, both positive and negative.

If I’m cold, I am useless. Subconsciously I’ve always known this. But there was a day early this month when I was trying to write at Starbucks and I couldn’t think or focus because it was FRE-E-ZING. I have learned which coffee shops and restaurants are unreasonably cold, but I opt to sit out on the patio regardless.


Knowing what’s for dinner makes the day better. I’ve been trying out Green Chef , a food service that delivers pre-measured ingredients and recipes to your door each week. I chose the three meal paleo plan for four people (which is plenty of food for our family of six) and have loved making those meals at the end of the day. Even the teens join me in the kitchen, zesting, chopping, measuring, etc. If you’re interested to try it out, you can use this link to get 4 FREE meals.

Life is too short to hold grudges. Plus, holding a grudge is like holding a 1,000-pound anchor while trying to swim. Swim in God’s grace and forgive people.

God is still there even when you aren’t experiencing all the feels. Faith is such a journey of ups and downs and I’ve learned again and again to recognize and acknowledge my feelings, but not to depend on them.  This year has been a quiet one of continuing in daily practice of prayer and Bible reading and thankfulness and service without any of the tingly excitement of feeling His presence.  I simply trust that He is there, out of a lifetime of listening and because he says he is.  It reminds me of marriage.  Some years are exciting and some years are just the daily work of building a relationship. Equally important.


I love my community. Most days, Pete and I have no trouble picking up the Littles from preschool, and later the Bigs from their after-school activities, but more so lately than not, I’ve had parent meetings or church functions overlap the pick-up times and God bless my fellow volleyball moms who are like “I got this! Go to your meeting and I’ll bring Bailey home later.” Angels, I tell ya!

It’s okay to take care of yourself a little bit. Sometimes as moms we put everyone else first and then we’re too tired to do anything to help ourselves.  This year I added in being an author and I started to feel a little ragged between all the office work and the blog work and the mom work, so I figured out some little things to take the edge off.  I’ve added in a yoga class once a week (like…JUST this week) to make me stretch and strengthen.  This is about me breathing and getting quiet and talking to God in my head and thanking him for my body.  I also dumbed down dinner and am serving easy foods and once a week we get to use paper plates and throw them away, because I need a break.  I also watch Jimmy Fallon at night (DVRed from the night before because LATE) and I laugh my guts out and lay on the couch and eat popsicles and pet the dog.  And occasionally, on a weekend I sit and read a book (well, okay, a few pages) and let everyone dart around me.  I like to think that this models reading for fun to the kids (not sure they are convinced).

There is no magic bullet for balance and getting everything done. For months, I ran around going, “If we can just get this…” and ” We just have to make it to…” and then I realized that there is no magic bullet.  There is no perfect rhythm.  Every day we just work and juggle and sign forms and pack lunches and it’s an endless swirling dance, so figure out how to enjoy the chaos and celebrate when you remember stuff and don’t beat yourself up when you forget. 


You don’t have to wear heels anymore if you don’t want to. My feet hurt and I broke up with heels.  Oh happy day.



Monday, September 28, 2015

LOVE GOD. LOVE OTHERS.

 

And love your neighbor as you love yourself (Mark 12:30–31). Some have boiled this down to two sentences: “Love God. Love others.”

Sounds easy, right?!

It can be easy to read those four words and think they are weak or watered down. It can be easy to believe those four words don’t offer enough of a challenge. But what happens when we actually begin living them? When we approach every little thing in our lives with a love for God and a love for everyone around us — even our enemies, especially our enemies — we swim against the current and walk against the grain. Living the Good News in every encounter is no small endeavor. In fact, when held up against one another, living the gospel is probably much more difficult than defending it. What if, instead of defending the faith, we began the hard work of loving God and loving people with everything available to us?




Tuesday, September 15, 2015

MAINTAINING MARGINS


Our department is fun. I’m not gonna lie. Honestly, it’s nearly sinful how much I enjoy the people I work for, with, and alongside.

We got into a deep discussion this week at our breakfast happy hour, as we often do, about…well, dying without regrets.

A couple of people mentioned their elderly parents and grandparents – how they regret having been driven by money and success, spending little time with the people they love all in the name of fancy clothes, fast cars, giant houses, status quo, etc, etc.

My ears immediately perked up. Oh, how I can relate. Fortunately, for me, my epiphany came early in my 30s. It was truly a moment of paralysis, one day, in my Controller days, that I realized for the two previous years, neither my children nor I had a doctors or dental appointment. Even more importantly, I hadn’t had lunch with my children at their school. And when evenings had once been “our time” to enjoy one another, they were spending more evenings and weekends with babysitters while mommy worked on her career.

Literally, over night, I declared a fresh start for myself and for us. With an exhale and a clean slate, I reevaluated my “yeses” and chose to turn some of them into “no’s.” The items that made their way back onto the list were priorities —promises to family and friends, job responsibilities, and a few small personal goals.

It takes a lot more effort to maintain margins than it does to fill them up. We all need to define our own margins. If we don’t, they will be defined for us in the form of no margins at all.

For the sake of my family, I have to fight for margin.

For the sake of my work, I have to fight for margin.

For the sake of my soul and my life with God, I have to fight for margin.

My soul isn’t made for hurry and neither is yours. We have to choose the margins in our own life and then fight to keep them in place.

Don’t let fear push you around.

Monday, September 14, 2015

WHEN OTHER PEOPLE HURT US


Let’s be frank, our honesty in suffering is the greatest gift we can give each other. Not that I have a big airing of dirty laundry or anything particularly juicy or radical to write about (at this given moment). But in general, writing….er, being in a place of authenticity...fearlessly, totally uncensored is what I both strive to be and am attracted towards in others.

I wish I had known then what I know now. I wish I had known the promise of Jeremiah 1:5, where God says: “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart” {NLT}.

Isn’t it easy to neglect ourselves to meet the needs of everyone around us, and call it self-sacrifice? It sounds godly. But in doing so we risk shutting down a place in our soul where God has gifted us and set us apart — to serve and thrive.

Changing gears.

I have this little nack for attracting kids. It suits me just fine right now. There are two particular little girls I have befriended at my daughter’s volleyball games. Anyway so today the one little 4-year old is sitting on a bleacher in front of me soaking up my attention, expressing hurt from another child, and I’m feeling moved to be a guru from my world weary and wizened place. And so I clear my throat and tell her in my most impassioned yet gentle tones about how when other people hurt us it’s only because something inside of them is missing or hurt or broken. It’s not about us at all. And that life is generally easier the sooner we realize that and believe it. (PS: Hypocrite Alert!  But you know…do as I say….not as I do..) Anyway, this kid is just taking it all in, her head is cocked to the side, her blue eyes piercing through to my soul, and I feel like our souls are connecting and I’m thinking,  “I may not have much to offer this world, but I think I just changed this kid’s life forever!” Finally, she says thoughtfully, “you know what I think?” “What?” I eagerly ask with a wise and benevolent smile. “I think that when it rains, it’s because God is sweating a lot”.

It’s possible I could have saved a lot of money on therapy if I’d met this kid sooner.

Don’t sweat the small stuff, friends.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

LIFE LATELY

Hi there. I know -- it’s been a while. At least on screen. I’ve been very prolific though. Though my time here has been limited the last month, I have written a blog post almost every day. In my head. Every time I went for a walk, even while hiking in Kauai, I composed at least 3 of them. And yet here I am, with little to say. Sometimes, I think, writing blog posts in my head somehow feels concrete, purposeful and powerful. Obviously, not so much for my readers. And I will try to change that, and be more present and intentional with my blog. I’ll soon be back regularly. you’ll see. Until then, thank you for your loyalty. XOXO





Monday, August 31, 2015

WELCOME BACK!


It's August 31st and I'm both shocked and embarrassed that I blogged not once this month. My readers have probably all parked my webpage by now.

I came back from Hawaii and started a new job. My photography business also kicked back in. Which left little time for laundry, dusting, responding to emails, and much less, blogging.

But school is back in session. Which means that our house returns to routine. I can't tell you how happy this makes me. There's something very comforting to me returning to the cycle of our normal life -- having the opportunities to cycle through our day in a predictable way.


Shiny new supplies are labeled and tucked into backpacks.  There are visions of straight A’s dancing in parents’ heads.  Students are groaning at the thought of homework.  Kindergarten parents are tentatively testing the waters of letting their baby grow up.  And teachers are ready to fill students’ minds with math and science and reading.     

Amen.

Monday, July 20, 2015

TOP 10 METHODS TO SIMPLIFY MOTHERHOOD

Hi there, my friend! I'm off on an adventure of a lifetime, with my beloved and four children. While I'm going to miss you, I want you to know that I'm getting my batteries recharged so that I can come back and be the best blogger I can be. In the interim, you can find me on Instagram. All day. All the time.

In my absence today, I'd like you to meet my uber talented friend, Molly. She's not only an exceptional writer that I've come to follow on a regular basis, but she's also a Bradley Method Childbirth Educator with a wealth of knowledge regarding pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, baby and parenting.

Please welcome Molly to All My Happy Endings. Show her a little love by leaving a comment or asking her a question at the end of this blog post.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Top 10 Methods to Simplify Motherhood

10.  Wear Maxi Dresses
      In the warm (sweltering – if you live in Texas) summer months, what better way to keep your style low key and effortlessly chic, with a flowy maxi dress.   Both fashionable and stylish no leg shaving is required! The longer the better to cover un-manicured toes too.  Not to mention when the self-tanning goes awry, call in your maxi dress for full coverage.  For many mothers, myself included, showering is a lost art.  Finding time to shave your legs is a luxury reserved only for date night.  Enjoy my tip and worry no more; the maxi dress will cover up your secrets.

9.  Listen to Books on Audio
      Whether you borrow books from the library, listen to podcasts or subscribe to Audible this is the best way to tidy-up the house at the end of the day.  When all my kids are asleep, my home is left looking ransacked – the culprits, my children.  Of course, we all know I should involve them in the clean up process, instilling responsibility, pride and leadership. However, sometimes (okay most days) it’s easier to just do it myself and avoid the arguments, relentless stalling and subpar results.  Diving into the fictitious world of Liane Moriarty’s latest mystery, reveling in the real life suspense of Serial or feeling inspired by Sandberg’s “Lean In” rhetoric can enhance the relentless tidying, wiping, folding… and repeat.

8.  Call Your Grandparents
      There is nothing more grounding than catching up with your grandparents.  If they are no longer with us call an older cousin, aunt or uncle.  Touching base with your parents can be compounded with strings and baggage, but grandparents are there to smother and love.  After talking to my grandparents I am invigorated by their wise anecdotes and encouraging words.  I feel youthful and rejuvenated with a sense of where I came from which helps me navigate where I’m going in my role as a mother.

7.   Give In To Your Coffee Habit
      If you’re working on a family financial budget, often one of the first suggestions for cutting back is to do away with coffee expenses.  I beg to differ.  My coffee habit is for the safety of my family and therefore supersedes any budgetary restrictions.  Without coffee I can’t communicate, drive, let alone parent so therefore take my advice, drink up.  It’s for your family’s safety. 

6.  Find Something You Love Outside of Motherhood and Pursue It
      I recently became a Certified Bradley Method® of Natural Childbirth Educator and this has actually provided me with more energy.  The buzz I get from coffee pales in comparison to the adrenaline rush I experience from teaching.  This type of energy is deeply rooted in my soul, igniting a vitality that I thought I lost in the sea of sleepless nights and unyielding demands of motherhood.   

5.  Just Say Yes
      When a friend offers to bring over dinner or your in-laws want to babysit, just say yes.  If your spouse suggests you sleep in or offers to fold the laundry, let him and let go of control.  It may not be done to your exact specifications but it can help immeasurably.  This is guaranteed to make you a happier and more patient mom, at least for a few hours.

4.  Get to Know You Neighbors
      We live in the suburbs and really do have the ideal relationship with our neighbors.  Whether I need to borrow an egg or I am in need of wine and girl talk, our neighbors are unfaltering.  I lose my keys on a regular basis and the neighbors have saved us every time. Thank you to them for unlocking the spirit of community. 

3.  Stop Comparing
      This applies when comparing mother-to-mother and child-to-child.  But the more damaging of the two is when moms compare their children to other children.  Every child is different and every child has their strengths.  Of course, as parents we need to be aware of our child’s developmental milestones.  But comparing their abilities like walking or talking to other kids their age is only creating an unhealthy competitive atmosphere.  This can undervalue your child’s intrinsic strengths and emphasize what they have not yet learned as opposed to what abilities they already posses.  It is beneficial to feel inspired by other kids’ achievements and introduce new goals for your child but we must value our children as individuals with their own agendas.

2.  Lose Your Pride
      Perhaps I am an over sharer and therefore I would benefit from some refinement, but not at the expense of losing my authenticity.  It is essential to be honest with both yourself and others.  What is the point of perpetuating a disingenuous life?  Be real, faults and all.  I remind myself often of the quote, “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

1          1.  Exercise
Spend 30 minutes a day doing something outdoors that gets your endorphins pumping.  If running feels impossible start by walking, if walking is too high impact, swim.  My 97-year-old grandfather exercises every day and if that isn’t enough of a testament I don’t know what is.




Wednesday, July 15, 2015

LIFE IN PICTURES





Tuesday, July 14, 2015

#LOVEWINS



This may sound corny, but the common thread is always love and the human connection. I mean, when we strip it all away, that’s always the only thing left. Our love for each other, our relationships in this life. It’s not houses or cars or material things that we will miss when we depart this world; it’s the people. In every belief system, the common thread running through us is the sustained bond between people — simple.




Thursday, July 9, 2015

BIBLE VERSES


But right now I’m in a season where I don’t have the time to consume chapters at a time. Some days it’s just one or two verses that I tuck into my heart so I can try and live them out.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

LIFE IN PICTURES




Tuesday, July 7, 2015

WHAT TO WEAR | PACKING FOR HAWAII

We soon leave for Kauai, Hawaii, our most-loved island of all. Having hiked the east coast, the mid-west and the west coast, Kauai is by far the most laborious and the most beautiful. Hawaii and I are a match made in Heaven. Life there is meant to be lived outdoors. The culture runs deep and the artistic community is strong. The inhabitants are diverse yet proud, and the landscaope is incredibly intense yet varies. There's so much more than grass skirts and luaus - though I admit, I've really taken to the sound of the ukulele.



The Kalalau Trail is 11 miles one way along the stunning Na Pali Coast, frequently named Hawaii's most scenic place. It can be seen via helicopter, boat or on foot. 

The first time I went, I was a little intimidated and likely unprepared to tackle the entire two-day, 22 mile trail. Fortunately, there are plenty of options that allow just a portion of the trail, with opportunities to see waterfalls and beaches that are only accessible by hiking there. Hanakapi'ai Falls makes for a strenuous but doable 8 mile hike, and when you reach the falls, it comes at a the perfect time for a swim and/or just a break.


But I digress. 

Packing. Yeah, probably my least favorite part of travel, and even pulling together a suitcase for something as blissful as 10 days in Hawaii usually leaves me writhing in agony on the floor of my closet. This being my second time to the Aloha state, I feel I have a little bit better idea on what to bring and what to leave behind. 

We are a very adventurous family and always have an active itinerary of hiking, biking, strolling, cave exploring, snorkeling, and lots and lots of exploring. We do enjoy higher-end dining, but it's still rather laid-back and casual in Kauai. So, leave those heels at home!

Here's an idea of what I'd wear hiking in Kauai. Comfortable and sporty is key. Along with copious amounts of sunscreen and water. Note: I love my Merrell hiking shoes similar to the ones here, but honestly my Keen water shoes (closed-toe) gripped the wet, slippery rocks we approached along the path).
Packing for a Hawaii Hike

Thursday, July 2, 2015

MY DAUGHTER


A woman of true beauty is a woman who in the depths of her soul is at rest.  She exudes a sense of calm, and invites those around her to rest as well.  She speaks comfort, she offers others the grace to be and the room to become.  In her presence, we can release the tension and pressure that so often grip our hearts.  Her spacious beautiful soul invites other to come, to be, to taste see that the Lord is good.  A woman who makes herself vulnerable and available for intimacy invites others to do the same.  In her presence, you can breathe again, you are free to be you.  She unveils her beauty and invites you to life.  ~Staci Eldredge



Wednesday, July 1, 2015

MOTHERHOOD ISN'T ABOUT PERFECTION


You mamas who feel like everyone is doing it better, has it all together, maybe even all figured out. It's not at all true. Motherhood isn't about being perfect, but rather it is a journey of learning, becoming and perfecting. And while we are in the living and often overwhelming process of raising children, God is in the ever grace-giving process of raising parents.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...