“I’ve got this!”

We are moms. We are strong. We are amazing. We can do hard things. We are often afraid to ask for help . . . Why?

Well, I think maybe part of it is the “I’ve got this” mentality. Which is great. It helps us get through those tough moments, or days! I really believe women are stronger and more powerful than we even realize and the force for good that we are is immeasurable. But this mentality can also be detrimental. You know where I’m going with this. When you’re going through something that is honestly too much, or when you’ve taken on too much, or when you’re just plain exhausted. . . Sometimes we need the help, truly, yet so many women I’ve spoken with refuse to ask for help, often sacrificing their happiness and sanity in the process, not to mention the happiness and sanity of their family members! Why? Because we feel like we should be able to handle it, because we don’t want to be a burden to others, because we feel like loser-mom if we have to rely on someone else to help us which obviously means we are “less”. As in “less than adequate” as a mom, as a woman, as a human.

How can we change this? Well, let’s get some perspective. Mosiah 2:17 says “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” And the Matthew 25:40 says, “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

Obviously, we are expected to serve others. Service to others helps refine us and teaches us so many things. However, in order for there to be servers, there have to be servees. Who can we serve if everyone just doesn’t accept our service efforts? And what is the message we send if we refuse service? The person’s efforts/gifts/time/etc aren’t good enough! And what about the fact that if I don’t allow someone to serve me, I am denying them access to blessings? That in and of itself is service, right? I may be receiving actual physical help, but my allowing someone to serve me is also me serving them by helping them access blessings from heaven.

Years ago I had a friend in church who missed one Sunday because she had a bad cold. I texted her to see if I could bring her some chicken soup and she replied, “No I’m fine!” Really?! No you’re not fine, you missed church because you’re sick! I said something along the lines of “Please let me serve you, I could use the blessings!” She allowed me to bring her the soup, and said her perspective on allowing others to serve her had changed a bit. Sometimes we have to be humble and gracious and receive the help we need!

Other times we have to be humble enough not only to accept service, but to ASK for help in the first place. I remember after having my third child that I was experiencing a rough week and I finally caved and called a friend to help me out. She arrived and asked what I needed. I asked if she could help me fold some laundry. I just couldn’t keep up with the apartment and I thought that’s what I needed most. Her answer was, “No you need dinner and a nap!” She had brought ear plugs and most of the makings of a crockpot meal with her. She sent me off to bed, played with my kids, and did actually get some laundry folded for me. It was amazing! And I’ve never forgotten it. It was hard for me to ask, but I’m so grateful I did. And she came without any judgement or hesitation, just earplugs, some food, and lots of love.

And don’t forget service can come in so many forms, not just a friend from church bringing a meal. As a homeschooling mom of 4 who helps run the family gymnastics business and teaches adult Sunday school every week, keeping my house in order can be challenging. And I need it in order or I lose it. It magnifies my stress by like 100Xs if my house is a mess. So the help I need comes in the form of my kids. They have to clear their places after every meal, do their laundry, and occasionally clean the bathroom. Sometimes an older sibling helps with the younger so I can get some work done. These kids are a huge blessing and a help to me, and in the process they’re also learning how to help and serve others and building life skills for when they’re on their own someday. It’s a win/win.

I know reaching out for help can be scary. I know we want to feel like superwomen, like we can handle anything life throws at us. But remember we need each other and that is by design. You have strengths that I do not and vice versa so that we can bless each other and grow in love together.

I recommend the following book by Emily Watts. It’s cute and she devotes a whole chapter to knowing when to ask for help.

So remember, you’ve got this! I believe in you. You are amazing and spectacular and just what your family needs! AND you’re a human being, who may need help from time to time. Reach out, give others access to blessings, and accept their gift of service with grace. Sometimes that’s the hardest thing we women will ever do.

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Stand

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about Ephesians 6:10-18. The King James version reads as follows:

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Notice that there is much work to be done on our part. Armour is heavy and cumbersome to put on. My boys love watching this video depicting the above verses. It kind of gives you a sense for the work one must put into actually putting on their armour.

But I noticed something this last time that I studied these verses. And maybe this information won’t be new to you, but I had an “aha!” moment. In the verses above, Paul is telling us what we must do to be protected against “spiritual wickedness in high places.” Protected against. Notice he doesn’t tell us we need to fight against. In fact, that is never stated. The only thing he says is we need to put on this armour and stand. Stand. That’s it, just stand. We have so much work to do just to protect ourselves and stand. And the one offensive weapon we are given is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Do you see? In the above verses Paul is telling us that we still have work to do, we still have to protect and defend ourselves, but the fight is not ours. The Lord will fight our battles for us. And we see this in many instances throughout the scriptures. Look at Joshua and the battle of Jericho, or Jehoshaphat and the children of Israel, or more recently Zion’s Camp.

It is so relieving to know that the fight, the offensive fight, is not ours as long as we have done our part. But we must do our part and do it well so that we have the protection we need and the Spirit with us to guide us. I can not get the words of President Russell M. Nelson out of my head from this most recent conference of the LDS church. He said:

“Nothing opens the heavens quite like the combination of increased purity, exact obedience, earnest seeking, daily feasting on the words of Christ in the Book of Mormon, and regular time committed to temple and family history work.

To be sure, there may be times when you feel as though the heavens are closed. But I promise that as you continue to be obedient, expressing gratitude for every blessing the Lord gives you, and as you patiently honor the Lord’s timetable, you will be given the knowledge and understanding you seek. Every blessing the Lord has for you–even miracles–will follow. That is what personal revelation will do for you.

I am optimistic about the future. It will be filled with opportunities for each of us to progress, contribute, and take the gospel to every corner of the earth. But I am also not naive about the days ahead. We live in a world that is complex and increasingly contentious. The constant availability of social media and a 24-hour news cycle bombard us with relentless messages. If we are to have any hope of sifting through the myriad of voices and the philosophies of men that attack truth, we must learn to receive revelation. [I]n coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.”

You can read, listen to, or watch his full talk here. I highly recommend it.

As a mom, I am finding that revelation from the Lord is more and more necessary as my kids grow older. I am on my knees daily seeking His guidance, often multiple times a day. When I’m following the above counsel to feast upon the scriptures, pray, and keep the commandments with a pure heart, I find the blessings and answers flow into my life. What a gift to be directly connected to, watched over and protected by, and given answers and blessings from a loving Father in Heaven who knows so much better than I how to bless my children.

My only battle is with myself, fighting against the “natural man”, fighting to do the things which will provide the protection I need. I may not be perfect, I may not even be all that strong, but I’m strong enough to put on my armour and stand. Any other battles that may come can thankfully be left to the Lord.

Appreciation

Am I alone in feeling like I generally verbalize my disappointment and frustration, but rarely my appreciation? I think good thoughts but don’t often express them. Why is that?

I was once talking to my children about a promise I’d been given that I would have “great joy as I raise and teach” my children. My oldest apologized. I asked why and he said, “Because you don’t have any joy! You just have stress from us making messes all the time and making bad choices.” That was a huge wake up call for me. Because the days of a mom can be hard. Add homeschooling into the mix and well, “hard” is a bit of an understatement. BUT there is also great joy! Really, truly blissful moments with my kids. Why didn’t he know I felt that way? Why do I have a hard time expressing the joy I feel?

I’m not sure why. It seems to be how my brain operates. I shy away from sharing the good thoughts I have. Like saying “I love your outfit” to a woman in line at the grocery store, or “You have a lovely smile” to the cashier, or “You really do an amazing job” to a co-worker. Or “I love being with you guys!” to my kids. Our brains seem to naturally focus on what’s wrong, not what’s right. Generally speaking. How do we train our brains to see the good instead?

As my wise mission president, Arlen B. Crouch, once said “It doesn’t take any brains to see the negative around you. There are wrongs everywhere. Use your brain and see the good.” I’m paraphrasing here but it was good advice. One way I have attempted to do this is by keeping a “Thankful Journal”.

Every day since I started it I have written at least 3 things I am thankful for that day. At the end of a long, tiring, stressful day, it’s therapeutic to take some time to reflect on the moments that were good. Some days the things I’m grateful for are that my kids are still alive, we have electronic devices to make up for my lack, and bed time. But most often I notice the little moments, or things, that I have to be thankful for. Like my little girl putting her arms up, looking at me with her beautiful blue eyes, and saying “Up!” Or our fun family UNO game before bed one night. Smooth jazz at the end of the day, the ability to get my van fixed (there was a time in our lives where that would have been a HUGE burden financially), dance parties with my kids, date night, dish washers, answers to prayers, etc. etc. When we are looking for the blessings, we find them. Even if it’s just in the form of a cough drop, or a nap, or electricity and running water.

As I notice the good in my life I find myself at home with my kids giving more hugs, saying “thank you” more often, sharing words of love and gratitude more than I did before, living in a state of joy more often than not. Don’t get me wrong, I still go into stressed mommy mode at times. I am a work in progress after all. But keeping track of the things to be thankful for has made me appreciate what I have. Which appreciation then spills over to others.

How do you share your appreciation and goodness with those around you?

An intro . . . and something taboo.

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An intro. . .

Thank you to Monta for asking me to contribute to her Strong Mom’s FB group regularly! I had good intentions to be a consistent blogger, and I failed miserably. BUT that doesn’t mean I can’t try again, right?

If you want to know more about me, check out the “about” section on my blog, as well as the posts from years past. I try not to post anything that would be a waste of time. And just a bit of background, Monta and I served our religious missions together for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on Temple Square back in 2003. I love her and the other sisters I served with. My mission taught me many things, but one HUGE thing I’m grateful it taught me was how amazing we women are. I mean, I knew but I didn’t really KNOW, you know? I learned a lot about how when women unite for good, amazing things can and do happen. We are powerful, and we ARE changing the world.

My posts will be the third Wednesday of the month. “Wicked Wild Wednesday” as I like to call it. Wicked because that’s totally New England slang, and I am a New Englander born and raised. Wild because that’s my last name (Just a fun fact, my maiden name is Lyons. We almost hyphenated backwards, Wild-Lyons. But Wild is pretty cool too). And Wednesday because, you know, it works because of alliteration.

Monta asked me to come up with a topic, and that’s just not possible for me. I am always in the business of bettering myself as a mom, a wife, and a daughter of God. My plan is to share whatever I’m learning at the moment with you in hopes that it blesses your life in some way. Just my two cents, take it or leave it.

Finding joy in motherhood has been a journey for me that started 10 years ago (almost 11 now!) with the birth of my first son. And while some days as a homeschooling mother of 4 can be, well, less than ideal, there really is true joy to be found in the beautiful mess of life. I am looking forward to sharing with you the thoughts and experiences I’m having, and hope you’ll share with me too.

And something taboo . . .

OK ladies, I’m just going to dive right in here and share what I’ve been studying lately. Sex. Yep, you red that right. Why, you may ask? Well let me first assure you, it’s not because of any problems. It’s because a book was released and is sold by a company I trust. I’ve not done much reading about, and definitely not any taking about, sex. Just, you know, health classes in school many many years ago. I’ve been leery of picking up a book on the subject because I didn’t want to read something that didn’t meet my standards. But when Deseret Book carries it, I know I can trust it.

Knowing Her Intimately: 12 Keys for Creating a Sextraordinary Marriage

And yes, the subtitle is a bit corny. Just stick with me.

I’ve been listening to this book, actually. It delves into this taboo topic very tastefully. It keeps intimacy between husband and wife sacred, yet gets into the nitty gritty of things. My husband is listening with me and we are both learning a ton! I’m not going to share more than that about us, just that we recommend this book. Highly. If you have any sexual intimacy problems, this will help. If you don’t, and things are good, this will still help.

The relationship between husband and wife is ordained of God. He created us. All of us. And sex is a way to deepen the connection between spouses, and is divinely designed and created by a loving Father who wants us to connect in that special, amazing way. It’s nice to read about/listen to someone discussing sex in a positive, confident, healthy way. It’s helping me be a better wife and I am learning how to talk about sex in a healthy, positive way with my children, when the time comes.

Thanks for reading. I hope this blesses your life! Until next month . . .❤️

Delicious “banana bread” Green Waffles

Ok, so, my youngest son is going to turn into bread. That’s all he wants to eat. All. The. Time. Oh and pasta. And now that the cold weather is upon us, he’s the one getting sick most often. I decided things were going to change. 

So today we had Christmas waffles. When it’s not Christmas season they can be Ninja Turtle Waffles or Zombie Waffles or whatever we decide to call them. I had to find ways to get creative and get some good nutrients into my kids! And even though waffles aren’t bread, they’re dang close and they are a food my youngest will eat for breakfast. 
I found one recipe for kale waffles on Pinterest but they use a mix and it has milk in it and we can’t eat or drink milk. So I played with a recipe I use and made these awesome, vegan, green waffles. The kids loved just the smell as they were cooking which made them eager to eat these. And the flavor did not disappoint. I used just a little kale to see how it would turn out but next time I may add more for a deeper green color. 

The recipe:

1 large kale leaf

2 bananas

4 cups water

4 Tbsp coconut oil

4 C flour of your choice

4 tsp baking powder

Cinnamon to taste (optional but sooo yummy!)

Blend the kale, banana, water, and oil in a high speed blender. 

Combine dry ingredients. If you have a mixer you can use it. Mix the dry ingredients in the mixer first and then add the wet ingredients to the dry. Or just mix in a bowl with a spoon as you add the wet ingredients to the dry. 

Spoon into waffle maker. Eat waffles. Easy peasy!

The things I like about this recipe are that you can half the recipe or double it or quadruple it and it works out great! And you don’t need any kind of fancy mixer to mix this. I’ve made them with a mixer but I’ve also made them with just my wooden spoon and they turn out great!

They went really well with my PB chocolate smoothies. Recipe to follow 🙂

I hope you like these! Leave comments or questions below!